State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Comes To Rialto

On Friday April 12th Rialto had the honor and pleasure to host State Superintendent Tony Thurmond as he formally received and recognized the Green Ribbon School winners from Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County. The event took place at Morris Elementary School, with site visits to Milor High School, which showcase the amazing efforts taking place at both schools that promote environmental literacy: environmental impact, wellness, and sustainability.

Additionally, Rialto USD has also been nominated to compete in the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition program, which honors schools and districts that conserve resources while promoting health and environmental literacy. State Superintendent Tony Thurmond came in and spent extra time before he sat down shaking hands and acknowledging the students in attendance at the event. Mr. Thurmond even asked his former colleague Eloise Reyes to join him at the podium for a moment as he thanked her for her dedication and service.

After the formal event that recognized Twenty-Four different schools and school districts Mr. Thurmond took a tour of Morris Elementary and Milor High Schools. At Morris Elementary he looked out at a butterfly garden and enjoyed the school’s outdoor classroom and garden area that he wanted to stop and enjoy a meal right then and there. Mr. Thurmond spoke to every child he came across and never took himself too seriously making jokes laughing and enjoying the schools garden.

At Milor High School Mr. Thurmond said he didn’t want to keep the students waiting with photos and walked right over to the students. Mr. Thurmond asked Desiree Ramos, George Falcon and Arianna Ordonez their names and what they wanted to do after high school. Then Mr. Thurmond asked something that threw the students at first “What can we do to support you?” He told them don’t answer now but think about it and handed them his card. Next the students showcased the serenity room a place where students can care for their mental needs. The room offered different areas for groups and individual counseling plus Thrive Thursdays where the students could do yoga. The room was so amazing that School Board President Edgar Montes asked if the School Board could use the room.

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Eisenhower Principal and Head Football Coach Come To an Agreement

Last week we reported to you that Eisenhower High School Coach Alvin Brown of the CIF Division Champion Eagles football team was forced to step down as Eisenhower’s Varsity Football Coach over continued stalling over offering him his teaching contract allowing him the ability to care for his family..

Well after our story broke Eisenhower and Rialto Unified School District staff stepped up and began talking to Coach Brown again. Coach Brown reached out to us on Thursday February 21st to say that he and Principal Camacho came to an understanding and he will remain as Eisenhower’s Head Coach of the Varsity Football program. This is amazing news because nobody was happy to hear about the possibility of Coach Brown’s departure. Parents, staff, teachers and community leaders all spoke out about the possibility of not having Coach Brown at the helm of Eisenhower’s Varsity program.

Coach Brown wanted to thank everyone for their kind words and support now and as the team forged forward this season. No details on what the agreement that Coach Brown and Principal Camacho came to outside of the fact that Eisenhower will not have a leadership change on the football field for the 2019-2020 football season!

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Rialto Unified Head Football Coach Resigns

Only in Rialto can you have a Head Coach of a popular local football program treated poorly and tossed aside.

Normally when coaches are forced out it has to do with poor performance from an amazing team or issues with parents & players. In Rialto we seem to mess things up in a very special way! Three years into his time at Eisenhower High School Head Coach Al Brown has resigned his position with the Football program in Rialto. This news comes on the heels of the Eisenhower Eagles return to greatness with a Division CIF Title the first one in 20 years and a very close second in the State Semi Finals against a very powerful Fontana Kaiser Cats football team.

Things all changed with the removal of Eisenhower High School Principal Scott Sparks who brought on coach Brown three years ago in an effort to return the football program to its former greatness. Coach Brown worked hard for two years under the support of Principal Scott Sparks to build a program that brought Eisenhower to its former glory but more importantly created amazing student athletes that are pillars in the community. The goal was to grow young student athletes that would continue to make Rialto proud.

Coach Brown not only raised up some amazing student athletes but he brought a CIF championship back to the Ronnie Lott stadium! Being close to Coach Brown and some of his prior players (now playing college football) this season was tough on Coach Brown. It was tough because the CTE (career Technical Education) class Life Management was not offered to Coach brown this year as new Principal Frank Camacho took over for the departing Scott Sparks. So in order to feed his family and remain available to coach Eisenhower’s Varsity team this year Coach Brown was forced to take substitute jobs. Working as a substitute offers no job security or medical benefits, also coach Brown had to be prepared for a different teaching situation each day. This fact alone made his CIF season even more amazing given what the coach was dealing with this season.

One constant face at Eisenhower High Football games was former Principal Scott Sparks. The former leader of Eisenhower High and a childhood friend of new Eisenhower High Principal Frank Camacho was at as many of Eisenhower’s games. Scott Sparks watched what he started blossom into a season and record that Eisenhower Alumni could brag about!

According to Coach Brown he was told that he would have a teaching contract this week solidifying his place with the Football team. When the deadline to offer this contract came and went coach Brown had no choice but to resign. Eisenhower High School staff have not been happy this year talking about how much life at the school has changed in just one year. Many people close to what Coach Brown was going through this school year hoped that the CIF season would be enough to prove to Eisenhower Administration that Coach Brown was a vital piece to the positive school culture at Eisenhower.

This writer is left wondering what is going on at District Office and what does Dr Avila and the School Board think this latest problem will do to moral and the culture at Eisenhower? According to Syeda Jafri the Communications Director from Rialto Unified “the district has not received a formal resignation from coach Brown, so it would be difficult to comment further on this matter”. Since posting this story it has come to light that the team is still waiting for the end of the year banquet. We have heard from sources that the school district is waiting for the CIF rings to come in so that they can be presented at the banquet. The rings can take 6 weeks to be ready.

One thing that we learned about this year was how difficult it is for schools in low income communities to get their rings. Kaiser High in Fontana was gifted a grant at the Inland Valley Classic Football game on January 26th to buy their CIF rings. Eisenhower High Schools rings are being taken care of by District Office. 

Most gut wrenching about this move is the $300k video that Westbound Communications did for San Bernardino on how hard Cajon High School in San Bernardino worked to keep an amazing sports program together. People gave up jobs and changed their lives to keep the coach in place and make it impossible for him to want to leave. One thing that Athletic Director Richard Imbriani says in this video is we teach kids life skills and how we don’t quit on people. Well apparently Rialto has a lot to learn from San Bernardino!

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RUSD, First K-12 District in So Cal to Own/Operate Compressed Natural Gas Station

Rialto, CA, June 18, 2018 – The Rialto Unified School District (RUSD) has made regional environmental history as the only K-12 school district in Southern California to own and operate a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) station that will, unprecedentedly, also to be opened to the public 24-hours, a day, seven days a week.

The Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting for the new CNG Fueling Station, located at 261 South Lilac Avenue, in Rialto will be held on Monday, June 25, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. “Our new station allows the District to lower the cost of fuel, while increasing our operational efficiency in ways that are environmentally responsible for our students and our community,” said Mohammad Z. Islam, RUSD Associate Superintendent of Business Services. “Our drivers currently have to drive to the cities of Fontana or Riverside to obtain fuel for our 38 CNG buses at a much higher cost.”

Over a decade ago, the District’s Transportation Department began the dialogue of providing clean fuel school buses. Five years ago, the RUSD Board of Education authorized the implementation of the CNG station, “In 2006, the RUSD Transportation Department began the journey of reducing our carbon footprint on the environment by incorporating clean fuel school buses, which reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emitted
during the transporting of students,” added Dora Parham, RUSD Transportation/Garage Manager. “Our buses are yellow, but our fleet is turning green.”

 

The District shared a strong business partnership with the California Energy Commission (CEC), Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC) and The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). “The hard work of our staff and the focus-based support of the Board of Education will now benefit our entire community of Rialto,” stated Dr. Cuauhtémoc Avila, RUSD Superintendent. “This is another success story in which, innovative, smart decisions are made in the best interest of our younger generation. Although we are educating our students, through modeling the importance of environmental science, the District is also excited to offer this fuel service station to the entire community of drivers.”

For more information on the CNG Grand Opening, please contact Syeda Jafri, Director of Communications/Media Services, at (909) 820-7700, Ext. 2127. For corporate account information to utilize CNG services, please contact Derek Harris, Lead Risk Management and Transportation Agent, at (909) 820- 7700, Ext, 2110.

New Art Centered Networking Event Has Come To Rialto

If you haven’t been downtown lately you may not know that there are some changes going on in our towns center. One of those changes is a new event called Lunch Break. Destiny a local young adult wanted to do something for the art community that did force us to drive out of town and fight traffic.

Lunch Break was created as a way to bring together community in the Inland Empire through arts, music, and love. Too often we have to travel to Los Angeles in order to get away, decompress, and take a BREAK from the everyday routine necessary for keeping our community afloat!

Now we have the space in our own backyards!

Join the OPEN MIC portion with a live band to accompany you!

Leave inspired, refreshed, and connected.

EARLY BIRD $5 tickets (Garunteed admission)

DOOR $10 tickets (Available on a first come, first serve basis, based on capacity maximum)

This event is 21 and over.

For more info go to LunchBreak.Live

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Threats Made To Carter High School This Week

Photo provided by Barbara Horzen

Carter High School in Rialto was the latest school to fall victim to a rise in local students trying to capitalize on fear with the recent school shooting in Florida. Political leaders have not helped because they have run off to their fight over guns rather than making sure people are ok. Photos of empty classrooms were popping up on social media today as parents decided to keep their kids home from school out of an abundance of caution.

Parents main fear is of the unknown, many of the comments from parents show a growing frustration with no information or information that contradicts itself. Many parents were upset that the school never called or when they did call there still were more questions than answers.

I’m very concerned for the safety of the students. I will be up at school tomorrow at 7 a.m. with my daughter. If there’s anyone who would like to join me please do. This is going on too often at mostly all the schools. My daughter is scared to go to school and really do not want to send her to school tomorrow. But I will be up there tomorrow morning at 7am asking questions.

So Friday my girls said they heard some stuff around the campus about someone threatening the school but since I didn’t get any voicemail from the district I thought it was just gossip. And yesterday and the day before I picked up my daughter from the back of the school (Maple) and there was nothing going on but practice. I get them not wanting to cause panic with the kids and parents but damn tell us something.

We spoke to Dr Avila about communication at Rialto Unified and he spoke about events such as these and the problems with not having one source giving out information:

As of this article there has been no message to our knowledge about the issues at Carter this week. We spoke to Rialto Unified Communications Director Syeda Jafri and she confirmed there was a threat made but that the student involved was contacted and deemed unable to carry out any threat. Mrs Jafri reassured us that students were never in any danger and School authorities along with Rialto Police were working on this issue once the threat was made.

One reason parents were so concerned has to do with the extreme rise in school threats locally in the last 2 weeks. As seen in the Press Enterprise article. One thing that local leaders are taking on is forming an opportunity for students and local leaders to talk and discuss how to deal with what is causing these horrible situations and how to begin to stop them.

 

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An Interview With Rialto Unified Superintendent Dr. Avila

About a year ago we had the opportunity to sit down with the new leader of Rialto Unified School District and in our first interview Dr. Avila laid out a plan that sounded great. Well to see where this plan led us we decided to watch the plan move through the process and look for the results. Dr Avila took the initiative to make sure we had time to revisit the previous interview and go over where we were a year later.

As it looks things are progressing pretty well, there were a few bumps in the road but all in all I’m not sure another School District in the area can boast a leader with a clear vision that is producing results and allows to explore other avenues along the journey to the plans end. One of my favorite parts of the long range strategic plan is the fact that it allows for deviation from the plan to explore side avenues that might offer benefits.

Question 1. You eased yourself into the district slowly implementing your plan. How has that gone?

Question 2. Last interview you spoke about your Random Act of Kindness imitative how has that gone and what have you done in your 2nd year as Superintendent of RUSD?

Question 3. In our 1st interview you highlighted awards the schools were getting for excellence. What awards have schools or administrators obtained in the last year or so that we haven’t covered?

Question 4. Last interview you spoke about up coming literacy programs a lot has happened since our last interview in this area. How has the Literacy launch gone and what programs are we working with?

Question 5. Last time we spoke about streamlining STEAM programs k-12 how has that gone.

Question 6. How can we offer more classes that prepare kids for skilled labor jobs? Currently when staff retire from these classes the classes are lost. Is there a plan to address this?

Question 7. Last interview you spoke about your desire to have school principles reach out to the community to work on bringing in a more diverse learning environment into the schools. Have you seen movement in this area?

Question 8. The district not only went through its own strategic planning and each site had their own stab at creating plans how has that gone and what was learned from this process?

Question 9. We spoke about the issues with communication at RUSD. How has the communication issue progressed as you have come on board? What worked? What sounded good but didn’t produce the required results?

Question 10. Rialto has had a long history of issues within the Special Education Program. What are your plans to begin making strides in this program to a better place?

Question 11. Finally what are your wishes for the remainder of the current school year. Any milestones your looking forward to celebrating?