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New Champion For RUSD Students
Laura Granger
New Assistant Superintendent Laura Granger is looking forward to her new opportunity with the Riverbank Unified School District. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) has a new Assistant Superintendent. Laura Granger began with the district in late summer, brought in to focus on Learning Recovery and student success. With a wealth of knowledge from a variety of roles within the education realm, Granger brings her expertise and passion to make a positive impact on the district.

Granger began her teaching career as a third grade teacher in Ridgecrest where she taught for several years.

Her husband is also in education as an eighth grade math teacher and coach for a middle school in Modesto.

They had a short assignment in East Texas where they taught for about a year.

In 2002 Granger began teaching for Sylvan School District as a first and second grade teacher.

“I have been very fortunate over the course of my whole career that there are people that have invested in me,” said Granger. “They have seen qualities in me and potential in me which is what’s so great about what we do, is tapping in to everyone’s potential. So I had administrators and people that gave me lots of leadership opportunities.”

Granger is familiar with Riverbank as she was the principal at Crossroads and Mary Ann Sanders elementary schools for some time.

She was an Induction Mentor where she mentored all the new K-8 teachers in the Sylvan district. Then there was an opportunity for her to take on the role of Director of Professional Learning at the district which she did for about four years. She then transitioned to the Assistant Superintendent for a couple years.

“Then the opportunity to grow in new ways and work in Riverbank came open and I was really excited about that,” stated Granger. “That is what brought me here. I have been in education a long time in a lot of different roles. I have worn a lot of different hats.”

Granger majored in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations and has a love for the written word but she realized her true passion was children and education.

“Kids are at the heart of everything we do,” added Granger. “I have the good fortune to serve in a community, to serve in a school district, to serve parents. Their most precious is their children. It is a very humbling role I think because it matters such a great deal. I feel very honored. What we do together to impact kids; that is really my favorite part.”

Although the past 18 months have challenged students, teachers, and administrators, Granger expressed she is up for the challenge.

“The concept of learning recovery is not new,” mentioned Granger. “There has been an effect on students during a period of time with school closures in addition to loss they may have experienced. This has been traumatic for some kids and families. There are some kids that will be coming back with some gaps in their learning.”

The primary role that Granger will have with RUSD is Learning Recovery where they will identify students with gaps in learning and provide additional time and support.

She noted that RUSD was very proactive in their planning and thinking around the gaps in learning for students including behavioral and academic. The recovery team plans to expand the structure and framework with layers of support for the students.

Currently in development is adding paraprofessionals to TK-K and First Grade classrooms as part of a training series.

In just a few months Granger shared that some students have expressed feelings of success in the small group setting for learning recovery. They will examine the data from the first cycle of intervention to see the growth in student performance.

“I like to call it unfinished learning,” remarked Granger. “It does not matter how the learning became fragmented but what is great about it is that we have an opportunity to get after it. Learning recovery is a great way to do that. However it occurred, if we can be targeted in our approach then hopefully we can help some of these kids fill in those pieces and get where they need to be.”

Another part of her role as Assistant Superintendent is to oversee the Independent Study Program. Although each district has always had Independent Study the program has changed a bit since COVID. It is remote and is another option for parents if they do not want to send their student to campus for in-person instruction.

Not only is Granger settling into the new role with the district but she is also getting to know the Riverbank community. She was a judge during the fall Homecoming parade and she attended a celebration at the museum. While dining at L’Gusto Restaurant she recognized one of the waitresses that was a former Crossroads student.

“I have felt very welcomed here,” said Granger. “I have very much enjoyed meeting people in the community. I have gone to some different things out in the community and there is a tremendous sense of pride in the community. It is very lovely to see people have pride and enthusiasm in their community. I know it is small and people are connected but coming in I really feel that there is this energy around what happens in this community. People really come together.”