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Parent Networking Center Open For Business
Riverbank Unified School District Board of Trustees member Ernest Velasco, left, along with Cardozo Middle School attendance clerk, California School Employee Association (CSEA) president Diane Gonzalez, parent liaison Karen De La Torre, Assistant Superintendent Christine Facella, representative Brandi LoForti from Assemblyman Heath Floras office, Cardozo Middle School principal Kevin Bizzini, and Riverbank Unified School District superintendent Dr. Daryl Camp were all on hand for the Parent Networking Center opening. Photo Contributed

The official grand opening of the new Parent Networking Center was held on the campus of Cardozo Middle School on Wednesday, Aug. 30. The center will be open daily for parents of all district students to gain resources with the support of parent liaison Karen De La Torre and Riverbank Unified School District staff like district parent liaison Alma Calzada.

There were two sessions hosted Wednesday to celebrate the new center with one held in the morning and the other held in the evening to accommodate working parents. Riverbank Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Daryl Camp, Cardozo Middle School Principal Kevin Bizzini and Assistant Superintendent Christine Facella, along with the two parent liaisons, attended both celebrations. During the 9 a.m. celebration several members of the Riverbank community were on hand including Mayor Richard O’Brien, Councilman Cal Campbell, and Board of Trustees member Elizabeth Meza. The evening event had attendees like Board of Trustees member Ernest Velasco, and Brandi LoForti, a representative from Assemblyman Heath Flora’s office that presented a proclamation to De La Torre.

“Almost all parents in attendance walked away with a raffle prize,” added Camp. “I’m thankful to our community for the generous donations that were provided for the raffle. Contributions were received from Krispy Kreme Donuts, Sno-White, La Salsa Fresh, Designs by Karen and Pizza Plus.”

There were refreshments provided during both the celebrations like pan dulce and doughnuts in the morning and little sandwiches and cookies in the evening. Along with the raffle prizes provided by Riverbank businesses, Cardozo Middle School raffled off free yearbooks as well.

“Parents who came were enthusiastic and grateful to have a place to go and get assistance,” stated Facella. “The center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and parent trainings open to all parents in the district will be offered during the school year.”

Camp explained that during the strategic planning process in 2014, the school community and board of trustees indicated that the Riverbank Unified School District needed to work in partnership with the community so that students will achieve at high levels. The center is a tool for RUSD to support student success and get parents involved throughout the district.

“Our staff did a great job in getting the Parent Networking Center up and running for the 2017-18 school year,” stated Camp. “Assistant Superintendent, Christine Facella, worked with a team to secure a federal School Improvement Grant at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. After being awarded the grant, staff worked diligently to get the parent liaisons on board before the beginning of the school year.”

Parents will be able to take advantage of the resources and activities that the Parent Networking Center will provide like parenting classes, assistance with technology, community resources, and parent teacher communication as well as college and career information.

“Thanks also to Rudy Serrato, the director of maintenance, operations and transportation, for getting Room 33 at Cardozo Middle School ready for the Parent Networking Center,” expressed Camp. “The fencing was changed so that parents can access the Center on Fifth Street without having access to the school.”

Parents are welcomed to visit the Parent Networking Center during normal school hours or by calling (209) 863-0837.

“We are all very excited to watch this Parent Networking Center grow over the coming year and want to encourage parents to participate in their child's education,” said Facella.