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Local Schools Brace For Opening Day
School bells will be ringing in Riverbank on Monday morning, Aug. 8 as the local schools reopen for the new school year.

Teachers have been preparing their classrooms and will meet this Thursday (Aug. 4) to talk with principals and staff while maintenance and janitorial crews scurry to finish all the cleaning and repair work in time for 8 a.m. on Aug. 8.

The enrollment for Riverbank Unified School District schools, namely Riverbank High (RHS), Adelante Continuation High, Cardozo Middle, Riverbank Language Academy (RLA), California Avenue Elementary and Mesa Verde Elementary, was 2,765 as calculated in late July but expected to climb a little by opening day.

There are seven teachers new to the school district. They are Travis Cardoso teaching ag mechanics and welding at RHS, Lupe Galindo teaching Spanish at RHS, Linda Lizarraga and Kevin McBride Luman both teaching at RLA, Jeffery Seibert teaching computer/multi-media and Nena Wood teaching home economics/culinary arts both at RHS, and Fred Wood teaching math and science at Adelante High School.

Three teachers who were "pulled back from layoffs" include Paul Smith who was teaching (and coaching football) at RHS and will now teach special education at Cardozo Middle; Charlotte Bowden who will teach sixth grade at Cardozo Middle; and Isela Wesley who will teach at Mesa Verde Elementary. In addition, Spanish teacher Vanessa Rojas has been transferred from RHS to RLA.

Both the high school and middle school have student orientation days. At RHS, students are expected to attend an orientation day today, Aug. 3 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to pick up their class schedule and other paperwork.

At Cardozo Middle School, students will attend a student orientation and registration day on Friday, Aug. 5 and can pick up class schedules when they bring in a completed emergency card signed by a parent. Sixth grade students should check in between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., seventh grade between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. and eighth grade between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Completed forms to be brought should include the emergency card, Internet photo agreement signed by a parent, electronic uses agreement signed by both a parent and the student, and free and reduced lunch application if desired.

Students will also have the chance to purchase physical education clothes, shorts and shirt for $20.

At RLA that now fills the former Rio Altura Elementary campus, enrollment had reached 438 by last Thursday and was expected to be 445 including 30 new students by opening day.

This charter school now caters to kindergarten through eighth grade students and has three kindergarten classes of about 20 children each.

In a reshuffling of principals announced several month ago, Mesa Verde Elementary's principal Kim Newton will move to Cardozo Middle School with Kevin Bizzini acting as her assistant principal; Laurie Sacknitz will be transferred from California Avenue Elementary School to Mesa Verde; and Sean Richey will move from Adelante Continuation High School to California Avenue Elementary.

Riverbank High principal Christine Facella will remain at that school and the newly appointed assistant district superintendent Daryl Camp will act as principal of Adelante that is due to open soon in new quarters adjacent to the district administration offices.

William Redford is the superintendent/principal of the Riverbank Language Academy that is a charter school supervised by its own board of trustees and separately funded by the state, but a dependent school of the Riverbank Unified School District.

Minimum days and back to school nights are slated for Aug. 11 at Mesa Verde; Aug. 16 at Cardozo Middle; Aug. 17 at California Avenue Elmentary and Riverbank Language Academy; and Aug. 18 for Riverbank High and Adelante High.

There will be a minimum day at the elementary and middle schools and a late start day at the high school on Aug. 31 for staff development. All schools will be closed on Sept. 5 for the Labor Day holiday.