For an overview on Riverside public schools, see Comment #2 under SCHOOLS SEEKING PARENTS.

10 thoughts on “Riverside

  1. Back-to-School Night is great for getting the inside scoop. Last night’s scoops:

    1. Riverside USED to have a magnet elementary, at Longfellow, but parents didn’t want to send their kids to that neighborhood (– parent).
    2. Every grade at Highland is “impacted” — too many kids (– teacher).

    I think Highland is doing a great job, but . . . how do we start a magnet school?

  2. Dear Betsy,

    Fascinating question. . . I think a magnet school would include some complex city/school district battles. . . What about a charter school (easier to get off the ground)?

    Knowing you have just SO much free time,

  3. So much to learn about! Okay, maybe a charter school. Do you have advice?

    What we’re most concerned about is the middle school that lies ahead. Many of the teachers are dedicated beyond belief, but they’re trying to hold back a rising tide of hormones and gangs. A local pattern is for families that can afford to move away to do so just as their kids approach Grade 7.

    The good news (scuttlebutt) is that Change is in the air at the district level.

  4. At today’s PTA Board meeting, folks seemed interested in joining this discussion, so here’s a potential topic to get us going:

    Would you like an alternative to University Heights Middle School for your child? What sort of alternative?

    Of course, any other school-related comments are welcome!


  5. Three cheers for Indrani Mukherjee! This mom of a kindergartner, new to Riverside, didn’t just fume about the freight trains that block the way to school regularly at Spruce and at Blaine St. She did some research, made some phone calls and brought info to the PTA.

    As a result, today’s School Site Council meeting featured Riverside City Council Members Steve Adams (Ward 6 and Chair of Transportation) and Mike Gardner (Ward 1 — our ward). Here’s some of what they told us:

    1. The railroad line needs repair; that’s why the trains run so slowly. Repairs are not likely in the near future.

    2. The railroad line is owned by Metrolink, who would be responsible for grade crossings and RR signals such as traffic barriers.

    3. The trains using the line are run by BNSF and Union Pacific. Steve Adams is meeting with them in early 2009 to discuss scheduling the trains so as to avoid busy school-arrival times. Highland Principal Lia Boucher noted that the same line affects students at North High, University Heights Middle School, and Highgrove Elementary, and that when large numbers of students are late arriving to school, it really disrupts learning.

    4. Metrolink lost its federal funding for the Perris line last month (due to the economic meltdown), putting that plan back to square one for the foreseeable future. No nearby train station, no major track upgrades, no increased safety risk, but also no convenient commuter rail for UCR.

    5. Mike Gardner suggested some solutions the city could provide and listened to others raised by parents and teachers. Ideas included restriping Spruce, adding a crosswalk and/or traffic signal, hiring a crossing guard at Spruce and Watkins, having more of a police presence at the relevant intersections, and placing a speed feedback sign (like that at Highland Playground) on Spruce near the field behind Uni.

    Change happens locally, folks! Let’s hear it for democracy in action! And let’s not lose a kid as happened outside a school in LA last week.

  6. Huzzah for the parents of Riverside!

    Now that an inspiring seachange has occurred in presidential politics, CHANGE is now!!!

  7. Yes! And while it’s great to see Congress already gearing up for change, a number of us at the Nov. PTA meeting had second thoughts about the pace of change in Riverside.

    Why exactly is that meeting with railroads not happening till “early 2009”?

    Perhaps Steve Adams (Ward 7) could answer that question. We can call him at (951) 826-5991 or email him at sadams@riversideca.gov.

    Or if you’d rather ask Mike Gardner (Ward 1), that’s (951) 826-5991 or mgardner@riversideca.gov.

  8. LeeAnn,

    Thanks for this link! It would be great if we could get this Seattle program for RUSD schools. Any idea what our first step would be?


  9. The current RUSD scoop: 325 pink slips; 15% of district teachers laid off. It would have been worse except that the superintendent absorbed $5 million in cuts by not planning to replace retirements in his office staff. Also, to save jobs, the district is cutting funding to many categorical programs. No official word yet which ones, but unofficial word says to look for GATE and International Baccalaureate programs — which serve high achievers — to lose funding.

    So who got the pink slips? It breaks my heart. Our elementary school went back to 1994 staffing, so we’re losing young, energetic, amazing teachers. Like the Special Ed. teacher who got donations from businesses and planted a fruit orchard and a raised vegetable garden for “her” kids. Like the GATE teacher who refused to leave out science even though it wasn’t in the script. He got his fourth-graders making electromagnets and writing about it. He also decided that the KIDS should make their CA Missions (what a concept!), out of recycled materials.

    And both of these fantastic teachers have new babies.

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