Riverside Selected as Destination-of-Choice in California to See Christmas Lights

The Festival of Lights was highlighted as the place in California to see Christmas lights on TLC’s “Parentables” website for “50 Best Places to See Christmas Lights in America“.

The list comes from the family travel section on the “Parentables” website, which offers parenting advice and creative family activities. Riverside’s Festival of Lights was California’s listing for “Place to See Christmas Lights” and was in the company of several notable cities including Denver, Colorado; New Haven, Connecticut; and Orlando, Florida.

The annual Festival of Lights draws people from across the country to enjoy the extravagant array of lights and experience one of Riverside’s most popular and nationally recognized signature eventsThis recognition showcases just one of the many exciting events and cultural opportunities Riverside has to offer.

To view the full list of destinations by state, click here.

RCC Marching Tigers Perform as Opening Act in 2012 Rose Parade

Reproduced courtesy of the Press Enterprise:

Riverside City College marching band leaders helped usher in the New Year on two continents.

The RCC Marching Tigers joined the 2012 Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 2, the sixth time the college has been invited to the event.

But because band Director Gary Locke had already accepted an invitation to lead a “mass-band” in a New Year’s parade in London, his son, Paul Locke, led the Marching Tigers instead.

Paul Locke is a drill designer and instructor for the band and also band director with the San Bernardino City Unified School District, Gary Locke said.

The Marching Tigers, who have appeared on television shows such as “Glee” and “Parks and Recreation,” have become increasingly well-known and garnered invitations to big events, he said.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for the kids,” Locke said. “If you compare it to a sports team, we’d be saying we made it to the playoffs.”

In London, Gary Locke led six different U.S. marching bands, comprising about 700 members, in a performance that included a medley of the James Bond film theme, The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “God Save the Queen.” The performance [was] the grand finale to the London New Year’s Day Parade that [was] broadcast on the BBC, he said.

The Marching Tigers have gained national recognition on numerous occasions including having been the lead unit in the Tournament of Roses Parade, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Fiesta Bowl Parade and Hollywood Christmas Parade. This year, the Marching Tigers once again proudly represent the City of Riverside with their musical talent. 
Original article can be found here

La Sierra Bolsters Local Jazz Scene with “Pierce Street” Series

La Sierra University welcomed the Rick Zunigar Quartet to perform at the latest installment of the Pierce Street Jazz series. The free concert took place December 7th at the University’s Alumni Center.

The Pierce Street Jazz series has continued annually since 2009 and is an effort to provide jazz performances close to home while building upon the successful summer jazz concerts held at La Sierra University. Past performances have featured 13-year-old jazz pianist sensation, Jamael Dean; the Azar Lawrence Quartet; the Art Blakey tribute band sextet; and the Al Williams Quartet.

Dr. Marvin Payne, chair of La Sierra’s chemistry and biochemistry department and director of summer programs organized the summer series and is coordinating the “Pierce Street” series with support from the University Provost.

“La Sierra University wishes to support a very important art form and provide expanding cultural experiences on our campus to supplement the many fine performances held throughout the rest of the year,” Payne commented. “With this series we hope to enhance the already extensive offerings of high-quality music at La Sierra University.”

La Sierra’s Jazz series is an example of exciting, edgy cultural experiences close to home. The series provides an opportunity for the community, local residents and students alike, to join together for a free and entertaining jazz concert.

For full article about the December 7th performance, click here.

RUSD Serves as a Model for Digital Learning in California

Reproduced courtesy of EdSource:

As the effectiveness of technology in the classroom comes under increasing scrutiny, one California district encourages extensive use of iPads and other such digital readers, and says the benefits are clear and compelling.

A series of recent articles in the New York Times said research on the academic payoff of technological innovation in the class is slim to nonexistent. But Riverside Unified says some teens are studying more because they’re never without their e-readers. And their test scores are benefiting.

Riverside is the only district in California employing technology at this level, [Jay McPhail, director of instructional technology at Riverside] said. Two years ago it was non-digital and today has 10,000 district-provided e-readers — about a quarter are Android tablets, a quarter are iPads and iPod Touches, and the rest are netbooks. Those e-readers plus ones provided by students means the program has reached about three-quarters of the district’s more than 40,000 students, from pre-kindergarten through high school.

So far about 70 California school districts have toured Riverside to check out the program, and McPhail has been involved in demonstrations in several countries, such as Argentina, India and Korea. He recently worked with engineers in Istanbul; Turkey wants to provide a device to every student, he said.

McPhail did a controlled study on the impact of the iPad on Algebra I students who were taught by one of two teachers. Of the 10 classes these teachers taught, they used paper textbooks in eight and digital devices in two, which were randomly selected. Based on California Standards Test (CST) scores, 3 percent to 4 percent more students tested proficient or advanced in math compared with the prior year in the eight classes using paper textbooks, and in the two classes with digital textbooks, 19 percent improved to that level.

Although that’s the only controlled study yet done, McPhail says the district has seen growth in every area where digital textbooks have been introduced, even the most remedial. The lowest-achieving English learner students in three classes at Ramona High School were given an Android tablet. After using the tablets for a year, up to 7 percent of the students reached proficient or advanced on the English language arts CST.

The district also includes parents in this transition by educating them on the expanded learning opportunities offered digitally, such as access to the world’s libraries and videos that explain algebra problems. And they talk about how to protect students from inappropriate Internet content .

So far, teachers have volunteered to work with parents in sessions that can last from two to six hours because many teachers have been excited, McPhail says, about the educational resources available to students online. Teachers who do not want to use the devices can refuse to be part of the program, he added.

The teacher’s role has evolved into one helping students make sense of available information, as well as instruction on how to determine if it’s accurate, McPhail said, something teachers using traditional textbooks also have to do.

“It’s about digital citizenship,” he said. “How do you use it as a tool to learn?”

The digital textbook program at RUSD has helped to develop students with 21st-century mindsets who are better prepared and able to access information and continue lifelong learning through innovative technologies
To view the full article, click here

La Sierra University Connects With Young Musicians Through District Choir Festival

La Sierra University extended an invitation to students in three local school districts to participate in the first La Sierra University District Choir Festival. The Festival will include a daylong series of rehearsals with a combined choir, followed by an evening concert for family and friends. The festival will be held at La Sierra’s campus  in March.

School choir directors from Alvord, Riverside and Corona-Norco unified school districts have selected talented students to participate in the event. The students will arrive by bus at 9am and rehearsals and presentations for the students will take place throughout the day, with an evening concert slated for 6 p.m.

Students will enjoy a day of university-level music education interspersed with interesting presentations by various university programs. These presentations will potentially include intriguing stories by one of the University’s biology professors on his life-and-death expeditions through Southeast Asian jungles to find new lizard, snake and gecko species (he may bring a few of his study creatures to show the group), and a presentation by the World Cup-winning Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) team on their economic empowerment projects taking place around the globe. Additionally, several of La Sierra’s musical performance groups will provide a mini concert for the district students.

Dr. Earl Richards, La Sierra’s director of choral studies, will work with school district choir directors in developing a repertoire of pieces for the combined group to perform. He also plans to travel to school sites prior to the event for short, pre-festival rehearsals with students.

The La Sierra University District Choir Festival provides an avenue to connect with and broaden the experiences of young musicians, as well as pique students’ interests in higher education in general. The Festival is a unique approach to enhancing student engagement between university and k-12 students and provides encouragement for a successful transition to post-secondary education.

RCC Theater Production Recognized by Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

The Riverside City College Theater Department’s production of “Spring Awakening the Musical” has been chosen for festival participation at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region VIII (KCACTF). The  Festival will be held in February 2012 at Weber State University in Utah. The invitation was extended as a showcase for the finest productions entered this year within KCACTF Region VIII, which includes California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Hawaii & Guam. Regional festival productions are viewed by the National Selection Team chosen by the Kennedy Center and the KCACTF National Committee.  RCC was selected as one of the finest productions throughout University of California, Cal State, Community College and Private Institutions.

This national recognition for RCC’s Theater Department is not only a showcase of the hard work put in by all those involved with the production, but also highlights Riverside’s position as the center for arts and culture. RCC plays a key role in fostering artistic expression in Riverside and for their continued dedication, they truly deserve this recognition.

UCR Ranked 29th in World for Its Scientific Contributions

In a recent ranking reported by Leiden Ranking, from the Center for Science and Technology Studies of Leiden University, the University of California, Riverside came in 29th for best research university worldwide. First place went to MIT, second place to Princeton and third place to Harvard.

The Leiden Ranking measures the scientific impact of universities and their contributions to scientific collaboration. It’s based on publications in Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science from the sciences and the social sciences. According to the Center for Science and Technology Studies, the ranking provides an objective measurement of a university’s impact, as opposed to subjective information such as self-reporting or reputation surveys.

This ranking is another exemplary showing of Riverside’s strengths as home to prestigious institutions of learning and scientific innovation.

To view the full ranking, click here. For the full article, click here.

Parkview One of Few Hospitals To Use Webcams to Help Parents Check on Newborns

As reported in a recent article from CNN, the use of webcams in neonatal intensive care units has become an innovative practice to allow parents 24 hour access to see their babies. Only a handful of hospitals across the country are currently using this new webcam system called NICVIEW, and Riverside’s Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center is one of them. “Staff members are being trained on the system, and the hospital is scheduled to begin using NICVIEW by Christmas” said Marlene Burnett, vice president of business development. “Many babies who are brought to the neonatal intensive care unit at Parkview are transported from other hospitals. The system will make it easier for parents who live 30 minutes or more away to see their babies” she said. Betty Rowzee, clinical manager of the neonatal intensive care unit, said babies at Parkview typically stay for seven to 14 days. While most are premature, others are full-term babies with infections or feeding or blood sugar problems. Through NICVIEW, parents can access a secure connection allowing them to see their baby on their web enabled device. With this system, parents can receive the family bonding that is so important during the first days, weeks, or months. Riverside Parkview Community Hospital continues to prove that Riverside is the home of next-century health care with this cutting-edge technology that allows parents a more comfortable experience and an enhanced connection while their babies are in neonatal intensive care. To view the entire CNN article, click here.

Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful Honored For Dedication to Engaging Volunteers In Community Beautification

Keep Riverside Clean & Beautiful was honored November 30, 2011 at the 58th annual Keep America Beautiful National Conference for distinguishing itself as an exemplary affiliate organization. Taking first place in its population category, the organization was honored for its outstanding litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling and community greening programs within the City of Riverside.

Keep America Beautiful’ s annual National Conference, which took place this year in New Orleans, brought together award-winning affiliates from across the country to share best practices and celebrate the successes of the last 12 months. The Keep America Beautiful Affiliate Awards are open to all KAB affiliates for program activities during the 12-month period from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011. The honored organizations encourage individuals to make simple daily choices and to engage in volunteer activities that improve their communities and their local environment.

It is my privilege to honor Keep Riverside Clean & Beautiful and celebrate its dedication in engaging volunteers to make its community flourish,” said Matt McKenna, President and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “Award-winning affiliates, such as Riverside, serve as a great inspiration in our national effort to keep America beautiful.”

KRCB is a community program sponsored by the City of Riverside’s Public Works Department and Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce. The mission of KRCB is to instill a sense of community pride by creating partnerships that work toward the beautification of the city.

Their formula for success is simple and since 1992 the program has provided opportunities for volunteers to receive hands-on stewardship with beautification projects that reduce litter, remove graffiti and coordinate tree-planting projects throughout the year.

KRCB focuses on multiple programs that address the specific needs of our unique and diverse geography throughout Riverside to ensure that it is a highly desirable place to live, work and play.