Tag Archives: Riverside Unified School District

Partnership Expands STEM Education

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sean Nealon and published in Inside UCR on September 22, 2015.)

From left, Kim Wilcox, Wolde-Ab Isaac and David Hansen sign an agreement to create a partnership to expand STEM education in Riverside. Photo Credit: Inside UCR
From left, Kim Wilcox, Wolde-Ab Isaac and David Hansen sign an agreement to create a partnership to expand STEM education in Riverside. Photo Credit: Inside UCR

The University of California, Riverside, Riverside Unified School District and Riverside City College signed an agreement Sept. 8 to form a strategic partnership to expand STEM education and expose more Riverside students to college-level courses at any early age.

The partnership was signed by UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox, RUSD Superintendent David Hansen and RCC President Wolde-Ab Isaac at a ceremony at Interdisciplinary Building South at UCR.

With an increasing number of jobs requiring skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), preparing a highly-educated workforce in STEM fields is a national and local priority.

To meet these workforce needs, Riverside Unified, UCR and RCC have formed the partnership to ensure more high school students have early access to hands-on experience in laboratories and specialized STEM guidance at UCR and RCC.

This partnership builds upon the current success of the Riverside STEM Academy, which is operated by RUSD and located less than one mile away from UCR. In addition to enhanced curriculum, the agreement also allows the future possibility for RUSD to develop additional academy space on the UCR campus to accommodate student enrollment growth.

Partnerships like this are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar. UCR, RUSD, and RCC are dedicated to educating the next generation of students and helping them succeed. These partnerships play a vital role in strengthening our community’s workforce and job growth.

School Districts Aim To Better Identify Homeless Students

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Bo Kovitz and published in The Press Enterprise on Aug 10, 2015.)

Waudier "Woody" Rucker-Hughes
Waudier “Woody” Rucker-Hughes

Local school districts are on a mission to find homeless youths, described by many experts as hidden in plain sight.

The Riverside Unified School District and Moreno Valley Unified School District each plan to increase the number of counselors they send to individual schools to better identify homeless youths.

Waudieur "Woodie" Rucker-Hughes, a child welfare and attendance manager for the Riverside Unified School District, works in her office on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. Woodie is also the president of the Riverside NAACP. Photo Credit: Stan Lim
Waudieur “Woodie” Rucker-Hughes, a child welfare and attendance manager for the Riverside Unified School District, works in her office on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. Woodie is also the president of the Riverside NAACP. Photo Credit: Stan Lim

RUSD will hire 14 counselors to work with at-risk youth, which includes those who are homeless. They’ll be paid with state Local Control and Accountability Plan funding.

Both districts also received federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act funds for homeless youth services. RUSD plans to use that money to help pay for specific homeless-youth services such as bus passes and hosting outreach events. The funding also may help pay for more nutritional services, books and backpacks, tutoring, homework assistance at homeless shelters and access to field trips.

There are thousands of homeless youths throughout the Inland area.

In 2014, Riverside County identified and worked with 25,731 homeless public school students at some point in the year, and San Bernardino County identified as many as 36,866 homeless students, according to data from the California Department of Education.

In the city of Riverside, there were 3,826 homeless students identified, and 3,352 were identified in Moreno Valley, according to the state data.

Those numbers reflect only those students that school districts were able to identify as homeless. But many remain uncounted because they don’t share their housing situation with school officials.

Woodie Rucker-Hughes, homeless-student coordinator for RUSD said there are likely hundreds that may be uncounted — those still on the streets or sleeping in the living rooms of friends and relatives.

Rucker-Hughes, who works to find homeless youths and connects them to student services, now has $128,140 in McKinney-Vento funds to help homeless youth. Moreno Valley Unified School District received $157,979.

The San Bernardino County Office of Education was granted $225,684 in McKinney-Vento funds for the 2015-2016 school year. The Ontario-Montclair School District received $157,979 and San Bernardino City Unified School District got $142,462.

The Riverside and Moreno Valley districts both will use the funds to increase educational services for homeless youths, and Riverside will also use LCAP money to hire more counselors.

“Additional counselors are something sorely needed in the district,” Rucker-Hughes said. “These folks will come in and help lighten the load, and counselors will be given more meaningful time to be spent with the kids who need it.”

Currently RUSD uses two to three full-time counselors to work with homeless students. In the Moreno Valley school district, as many as 10 counselors are paired with homeless youth, but those counselors also have other duties.

To Rucker-Hughes, having more counselors will help schools find more of the hidden homeless.

Efforts like this truly show why Riverside is such a unified city. Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

To read the full article, click here.

Riverside Unified School District Partners With Local Women’s Prison To Give Hope To At-Risk Students

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in RUSD News feed on 7/2/2015.)

Photo Credit: RUSD
Photo Credit: RUSD

At-risk Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) students who successfully committed to improving their grades and attendance received bicycles at a special event on Wednesday, July 1 at the Central Registration Center, 5700 Arlington Avenue. The bicycles were refurbished by inmates and donated to RUSD by the California Institution for Women, working with the non-profit Correctional Employees Youth Group, Continuing the Dream.

RUSD Superintendent Dr. David Hansen, California Institution for Women Warden Kimberly Hughes, retired corrections officer Roy Mabry, chief executive officer for Continuing the Dream, Sue Lynn Jones from the Riverside Police Department and RUSD staff joined students and their parents at the bike giveaway. Four bicycles were awarded to members of the Ramirez family, who worked hard to get to school each morning and to improve their grades. The Riverside Police Department provided helmets and locks. The district has six more to give to other successful students throughout the year.

“In the face of varying circumstances, our students work extremely hard to stay on track. It’s great to know that we have community partners who care so much about the student families of Riverside that they would reward our students with a donation like this,” stated Dr. Hansen.

“The women [inmates] love giving back,” added Warden Hughes. “It’s a win-win situation. It allows the children to look forward to something and to have something tangible for their accomplishments of going to school and furthering their education.  We are always looking for innovative ways to give back to the community. “

The idea for the bicycle giveaway grew from School Attendance Review Board (SARB) hearings that Mabry and other corrections officers regularly attend. These hearings are held for chronically truant students – those who have more than 20 unexcused absences. Mabry’s 30 years of experience as a correctional officer told him that these students’ stories would not have happy endings. In fact, he noted, research shows that as much 82 percent of students who don’t graduate end up in prison. He’s hoping that something as simple as a bicycle can help to change this dismal statistic.

Working with the Continuing the Dream organization, Mabry and other volunteers are partnering with the California Institute for Women and other correctional facilities to provide an incentive for students to work hard to improve their grades and attendance.  In addition to helping students, the project also provides an opportunity for inmates to give back to their community. The program is now in Rialto, San Bernardino, Pomona, Chino, in addition to Riverside.

“Bicycles seem to really work for kids,” Mabry said. “It’s good to see them focus…they have a different reason to focus.”

“It’s independence,” added Child, Welfare and Attendance Manager Woodie Rucker-Hughes, who said that in many cases, students have no means to get to school and sometimes their families also do not have transportation.

Rucker-Hughes said she the bicycle program can make a huge difference in a child’s outlook for success. It’s empowering to let students know that if they come to school and work hard, they will have a reward. Students start to think, “I’m going to change my life,” she said.

Although the program is just the beginning of a solution to a larger problem, Mabry said, it’s a good start.

“I see the results,” he said. “I say, we all need to be part of it.”

Organizations such as Continuing the Dream are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar. We are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

For more information about the Continuing the Dream organization, visit www.continuingthedream.com.

Riverside Unified School District is the 15th largest school district in California, serving nearly 42,000 students in 48 schools in Riverside, California. The district serves the majority of the City of Riverside as well as unincorporated areas of Highgrove and Woodcrest in Riverside County and is governed by a publicly elected Board of Education consisting of five members who serve five different trustee areas. The district is led by Superintendent Dr. David Hansen.

Who Says There’s No Such Thing As A FREE LUNCH?

(This information was pulled from the RUSD Nutrition Services webpage on June 25, 2015.)


 “RUSD F.E.E.D.S. (Food for Every child to Eat During Summer).” Beginning Monday, June 15th through Friday, August 21st lunch will be provided to any child, ages 2-18 for FREE.

This program, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Services, is vital for many low-income children especially in this difficult economy.  Free school meals provide children with up to 75% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances for key nutrients.  When school is not in session, these meals are lost and may not easily be replaced.   As children obviously do not stop growing physically or cognitively because they are not in school, this summer program fills a crucial gap, helping to ensure that students will return to school ready to learn.

The Nutrition Services Department also partners with the City of Riverside Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department to provide meals.

During the summer months it is important to encourage your child to eat healthy food and stay active.  Visit one of the eighteen (18) neighborhood parks or six (6) school sites this summer where a daily outdoor bar-b-cue will be provided at no charge. Parents do not have to complete any applications or provide any money for their children to eat.  Any child 2-18 will be eligible for a FREE meal.

Please bring your kids and their friends and join your neighbors for a hot BBQ lunch in the park.  See their flyer for a complete listing of locations and service times where children can receive free meals during the summer. If you need more information please call (951) 352-6740.  Si tiene alguna pregunta, llame al (951) 352-6740.

RUSD’s  commitment to making one-other’s life a little better is a great example of Riverside acting as a unified city. The actions of all the participating organizations demonstrates that Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

Program Brings Science to University Heights Students

(This article contains excerpts from the article posted in the RUSD news feed.)

Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise

A group of about 50 University Heights Middle School students spent their day on Thursday, April 23 hiking Sycamore Canyon and learning about the plants and animals there as part of the SISTERS program – Success in Science and Technology: Engagement with Role Models. The girls got a chance to interact with a UC Riverside professor as well as the UC Riverside Science Ambassadors. This was just one of many fun and informative interactions the girls have had as they have spent the year exploring science in hands-on activities. They also have spent time in a college laboratory and visited the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. It’s all designed to give young women hands-on experience in STEM fields to encourage them that they can succeed in and pursue careers in these areas. It is hoped that this pilot program soon can be expanded to serve other schools as well.

Programs like this are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. Encouraging students to pursue an education in STEM is no easy task, but the UCR students can relate to the young girls and encourage them to purse a career in the STEM field. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

To read a in-depth article about the program, click here.

Congrats To Our Remarkable Teens!

(This article was pulled from the RUSD news feed on April 7, 2015.)

Photo Credit: RUSD
Photo Credit: RUSD

Congratulations to the 15 RUSD teens who are among Riversides’ 25 Most Remarkable teens. Our honorees are: Jessica Goehring – Arlington HS, Sydney Azpeitia – Poly HS, Karen Cuautle – Ramona HS, Tracy Doan – Ramona HS, Christine Flores – Ramona HS, Ivett Martinez – Ramona HS, Andy Meza – Ramona HS, Amanda Orantes – Ramona HS, Christopher Paz – Ramona HS, Juliana Tiscareno – Ramona HS, Leslie Vergara – Ramona HS, Nathan Williams – Ramona HS, Asia Suarez – John W. North HS, Connor Tom – John W. North HS, and Hannah Terao – University Heights Middle School. These students will be honored at a special City Council meeting, to be held at 4 PM Tuesday, May 12 at the Council Chambers at City Hall, 3900 Main Street. This program is coordinated by the Riverside Youth Council.

RUSD’s outstanding scholastic achievements make Riverside a location of choice for parents seeking the best education for their children.

North High’s Rich Davis Awarded County Certificated Administrator Of The Year Award

(This article contains excerpts from the article posted on the Riverside Unified School District website.)

Photo Credit: RUSD
Photo Credit: RUSD

Congratulations to North High School Assistant Principal Rich Davis, who has been named the Riverside County Office of Education’s Certificated Administrator of the Year! Mr. Davis learned of the honor with a surprise visit from Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Kenn Young on Monday.

Awards like this demonstrate what makes Riverside a location of choice for residents seeking a great education.

Educators of the year are selected by a committee comprised of Riverside County educators—including former honorees—that review nominations, letters of recommendation, and other criteria. Committee members also conduct selected site visits and interviews as part of the awards process.

Kids With Special Needs Get Super Bowl Of Their Own

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in the RUSD News on January 29, 2015)

Photo Credit: RUSD
Photo Credit: RUSD

More than 200 special needs students from across the Riverside Unified School District celebrated Super Bowl Sunday at few days early on Wednesday, Jan. 28 as Poly High School hosted its second annual Super Bowl for Kids event.

This event gave students in kindergarten through sixth grades the opportunity experience the excitement of being part of a high school football team. As students arrived, they ran through a welcoming row of cheerleaders and through the Poly Bear tunnel. The Poly band played the fight song as each student got out on the field, grabbed a football and made a touchdown with help from members of the Poly football team.

And, just like a real game, colorful posters lined the fence near the stands, which were, of course, filled with crowds of cheering fans. Television news crews were on hand to capture all of the action.

Lisa Miller, Special Education Student Advisor at Poly, said the event benefits special needs students by letting them be part of an exciting school activity they might not otherwise be able to participate in. It also helps the high school students learn respect and acceptance of others.

“It puts a smile on my face. It’s just really heartwarming,” noted sophomore quarter back Alec Quintero. “Seeing these kids smile, it’s just a good feeling.”

“This speaks to the spirit of the Poly community and the RUSD community,” added Poly Principal, Dr. Michael Roe.

Miller said Poly is excited to keep the tradition of Super Bowl for Kids going and added that they likely will invite middle and high school students to participate next year.

Events like this truly demonstrates what makes Riverside such a unified city. We are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

For the complete article, click here.

Kids’ Produce Market Opens at Longfellow

(This post includes information taken directly from the Riverside Unified School District website on December 29, 2014.)


Longfellow families were treated to blackberries, mangos, tomatoes, onions, eggs, and a bounty of other fresh produce on Wednesday, December 17 as the Kids’ Produce Market came to school. This program, coordinated by Feeding America in conjunction with the RUSD Nutrition Services Department, brings fresh fruits and vegetables to students once a month. It is currently in place at Longfellow and Madison Elementary Schools and will be growing soon. This program allows families living in ‘healthy food deserts” – areas with little access to fresh and healthy food – to get the nutritious fruits and vegetables they need.

Organizations constantly collaborate to identify ways to make Riversiders healthier. In this example, we were able to take advantage of some great programs to improve our kids’ health. Riverside is a healthy community and that makes it a location of choice. 

Pathways To Higher Education Conference Set

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Dana Straehley, published in the Press-Enterprise on September 29, 2014.)

Riverside Unified School District high school students and their parents are invited to attend the Pathways to Higher Education Conference which takes place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at J.W. North High School, 1550 W. Third St., Riverside.  Parents and students will see what it takes to get into college and learn about financial aid.

Faculty and staff from Riverside Unified School District are devoted to their students and provide resources necessary for them to succeed, exemplifying Riverside as a unified city.  These types of seminars and conferences are designed specifically for students and their parents to ease the transition into college.  With a lot of students being the first in their families to move onto college, not every student is given equal or ample advice and instruction.  This conference will help bridge the gap of confusion between distraught students and resources to higher education.

he Pathways to Higher Education Conference will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at J.W. North High School, 1550 W. Third St., Riverside.  Photo credit: Press- Enterprise
The Pathways to Higher Education Conference will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at J.W. North High School, 1550 W. Third St., Riverside. Photo credit: Press- Enterprise

Admission is free to the conference presented by Riverside Unified School District and State Sen. Richard Roth (D-Riverside) with the UC Riverside, Cal State San Bernardino, Riverside City College, Pitzer College and Completion Counts, the citywide initiative to increase high school and college graduation rates.

The conference will cover what classes students need to take in high school to be eligible for university admissions, writing a successful college entrance essay, financial support, the California Dream Act and guarantee programs at RCC and Cal State San Bernardino. Workshop sessions are intended to answer questions.

Riversiders are brought together among mutual interests to enhance quality of life and accelerate the common good for all through education.

To read more, click here.