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New Year - School Is Back In Session
California Avenue kindergarten students line up with their parents outside one of the kindergarten classes as the school year begins for the Riverbank Unified School District on Monday, Aug. 10. As classes began, the families received an orientation for the coming term. Ric McGinnis/The News


With backpacks filled with school supplies, lunch boxes brimming with goodies, and youngsters in the Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) dressed as sharp as the tip of their pencils, the 2015-16 school year has begun.

Summer break is over and the beginning of a new academic year started on Monday, Aug. 10. Alarm clocks rang for both parents and students early, as classes resumed at all instructional levels, kindergarten through senior year. Students and parents will adjust to the school schedule and get back into the groove of a new school year over the next few days.

On the first day of school at Mesa Verde Elementary and California Avenue Elementary, parents and students lined up and attended a kindergarten class orientation. Other students at the elementary schools were also welcomed back, settling in to new desks and greeting their teachers.

Riverbank High School welcomed six new teachers to the staff this school year, math teacher Jaime Aguilar, math teacher Narayan Bommireddy, ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) teacher Jim Flynn, culinary teacher Amanda Monyko, English teacher Rob Searway, and Leadership teacher Gina Tonarelli. Also new to the roster at RHS is a new vice principal, Dalila Hernandez.

There are five new teachers at Cardozo Middle School for the new school year, math teacher James Aguirre, Language arts eighth grade teacher Maggie Chudoba, sixth grade teacher Lisa Leonhardt, seventh grade English teacher Serena Sinclair, and Art teacher Susan Wagoner.

“The first day of school went amazingly well even though we had many new students and staff members getting acclimated to their new environments,” stated Cardozo Middle School Principal Kevin Bizzini. “We welcomed five new staff members to our campus this year; they are teaching at each of the three grade levels in the areas of Math, English, and Art.

“It was a pleasant surprise to see enrollment has stabilized and on opening day we have 520 students enrolled and ready to learn.”

As parents and students adjust to the earlier wake up time and cope with first week information gathering papers and homework assignments, they are also learning the schedule for ‘Back to School’ nights. At California Avenue Elementary and Mesa Verde Elementary, that will be this Thursday, Aug. 13. For Cardozo Middle School, back to school night will be on Tuesday, Aug. 18 and Adelante High School will be on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Riverbank High School will host back to school night on Thursday, Aug. 20.

Each site also offers a variety of extracurricular activities for students to join, ranging from band, clubs, and sports as well as taking on the academic challenges a new school year brings.

The week prior to Opening Day, to help prepare the students for the new school year, Riverbank High School hosted Bruin Day on Wednesday, Aug. 5 as well as the Cardozo Middle School Round-up where students were able to pick up their class schedules, take school pictures, purchase yearbooks and PE clothes, and get their lockers.

Cardozo Middle School also had activities out on the black top for students to participate in along with tours of the premises for those just entering the Middle School environment.

Cardozo is also having a Pencil Drive through Friday, Aug. 14 and for every person that donates pencils they will be given a raffle ticket to win a sweatshirt. Contact Cardozo for more information at 209-869-2591.

Officials did not report any major issues with the opening of school, with students and staff appearing eager and ready to kick off the new year.