School is back in session for Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) with the first day of the 2022-23 school year on Thursday, Aug. 4. The summer is still upon us but the break for students is over.
Currently there are no mask mandates and all students will return to in-person class instruction. There are a few changes this year with new start times for the high school students and some new staff.
RUSD Superintendent Christine Facella noted that the elementary school and middle school start times will remain the same. The only start times that will change this school year are for the students at Riverbank High School (RHS).
The staff at RHS has made the adjustments to accommodate the new mandate. The high school students will start school at 8:30 a.m. and end their day at 3:16 p.m. Breakfast will be served between 8:15 a.m. and 8:25 a.m. with lunch time at 11:58 a.m. to 12:28 p.m.
The new bell schedules have been posted on the RHS website along with a YouTube video from Principal Greg Diaz on any other changes for the 2022-23 school year at RHS.
In 2019, Governor Newsom signed SB-328 Pupil attendance: school start time that was set to begin July 1, 2022. The bill requires schools not to begin instruction any earlier than 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. for middle and high school students.
The state-mandated program imposes new duties on school districts and charter schools after the State Department of Education did research on the impact of sleep deprivation on adolescents and the benefits of a later school start time.
They did not have Bruin Day at the high school this year since students have the ability to access their information and schedules online. They did have Link Crew Day at RHS, which is freshmen orientation, last week that Facella noted was well received.
The district has about 14 new teachers on the roster this year and a new Program Grant Manager.
They hosted a “Kick Off” ceremony this week to prepare for the new school year that included all district staff. They had several introductions from the school board members and others. The keynote speakers were former Riverbank graduates that overcame significant obstacles and barriers to be the successes that they are today that shared their stories. They also recognized employees that have been with RUSD for the past 15, 20, and 30 years.
There are several Riverbank graduates that pursued higher education and have come back to serve the community they grew up in including the district.
“I am really impressed with the number of people in Riverbank that choose to stay and work and it is their calling to provide the educational needs in the community or whatever other needs,” stated Facella. “It is great. It really is. They are compelled. They have a moral purpose in (that) they’re supporting their community and serving their community. It is really good. It is very refreshing and kind and a loving thing to see. They aren’t just doing it because they don’t want to go anywhere else but they really want to be here.”
RUSD received an Assets grant that will support students with college and career readiness as well as activities for students at RHS. They also received a Dual Language Grant to support the RAME program at California Avenue Elementary. Facella is hopeful that these grants will give students more opportunities through their education.
Next week several schools within the district will host back to school nights.