• Friday email

    Posted by Jay Marden on 3/23/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Good Afternoon River Parents,


    Congratulations to our fourth grade students for last night’s music performance. There were many moving parts as students drew on music history reflecting various California Indian tribes past to present. And on the topic of music, this week students in upper grades enjoyed a visit from the CMS Band, which was an incredible experience given the growth students were able to see, and hear, as former River players took to the stage. These visits not only expose our students to the arts, but give them a window into how well they can play should they stick with an instrument into their middle school years. Thanks CMS for attending.


    Family Friday

    Today, our entire student body stood up, grabbed their younger partners and peers, and escorted them to the multi age/grade level “families” that assemble for the program. The focus for today was “responsibility,” and next Friday all of our students will celebrate the pillar at our Character Education Assembly. Click on the link to see today’s Family Friday:



    Read-a-thon Rewards!

    Students who met the Read-a-thon goals will participate in an extended recess and an ice cream party next Friday. Many thanks for the PTA’s assistance with the Read-a-thon and upcoming party.


    PTA – survey results, Focus on CUSD socio-emotional goal - presentation

    Our next PTA Meeting is this Wednesday, March 28, 8:45 a.m. in our Ottertorium. At the meeting, we’ll focus on results from the parent survey and a guest speaker will join us, CUSD Chief Student Services Officer Casey O’Brien, to share with parents CUSD K-12 wellness initiatives designed to help us achieve our district goal of creating “happy and healthy learning environments.” While the meeting starts at 8:45, please join us beforehand at 8:30 to socialize with our New Parent Chairs Cerry and Jill; we’d love the company!


    Partners in Community Service (PICS) program

    Our student leadership team, PAL, has been meeting week to research and interview local charity representatives in the community for the purpose of awarding a $1,000 grant to the chosen organization. The PICS program partners Carmel Valley Rotary with our students to give the award after going through a process that educates and enlightens our students on the good that the groups perform in our community. Thanks to Rotary for allowing us this wonderful opportunity.  


    Pedestrian beacons on the way…

    Before the end of the school year, we’ll have our pedestrian beacons affixed to the crosswalk signs on 15th St. and Monte Verde St. I’d like to thank our school district for assigning CUSD labor to the project, which will save over $10,000 for our PTA!


    Pancakes and Bunnyland

    On Saturday, March 31, 8:30 to 12:00 p.m. at Devendorf Park, students are invited to have breakfast with the bunny. They’re also invited to tour Bunnyland in the park while enjoying different carnival games and activities. There’s a modest fee for breakfast and tickets are available at the event.




    Talent Show – rehearsal on Monday

    The dress rehearsal for the Talent Show is 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. this Monday, March 26 in our Ottertoreum. Students are required to dress in show attire and bring props and instruments as needed to rehearse. All students who have acts accompanied by music need to have their music delivered to Todd Weaver no later than the rehearsal date. The evening show is March 29 and the morning show for students is March 30.


    Volunteer Breakfast

    On Thursday, April 5, our staff is hosting a Volunteer Breakfast for all the wonderful volunteers who have given their time, large or small, to the students and families of River School. Please join us, 8:00 to 9:00 a.m., in our Ottertorium so that we may thank you properly!


    Family Ocean Afternoon – put on your calendar!

    On Thursday, April 26, our school will celebrate all things "ocean" as we host "Family Ocean Afternoon." Starting at 3:00 and ending at 5:00 p.m., several ocean organizations will be present with hands-on stations and booths dedicated to educating our families about marine animals and ocean conservation.

    If you are in an ocean profession or have an ocean based hobby you wish to share with our families (diving, fishing, conservation, science), please email me so that we can include you and enrich our families' experience during the event.

    We will also have a taco truck at the event, and families can purchase dinner in the weeks leading up to it.

    We look forward to hearing from some of you!


    Important Dates:

    • March 26 Talent Show Dress Rehearsal, 6:00 p.m.
    • March 27 CUSD Band Festival, 7:00 p.m.
    • March 28 PTA Meeting, 8:45 a.m.
    • March 29 Talent Show – evening
    • March 30 Talent Show – morning
    • April 4 Comprehensive Emergency Drill
    • April 4 CUSD Orchestra Festival, 7:00 p.m.
    • April 5 Volunteer Breakfast 8:00 to 9:00 a.m.
    • April 6 Mystic India matinee
    • April 9-16 Spring Break


    Enjoy your weekend!

    Jay Marden


    Comments (-1)
  • Friday email

    Posted by Jay Marden on 2/16/2018 5:00:00 PM

    Good Afternoon River Parents,


    Before we depart for a week of vacation, I’d like to share with you some school news and events that transpired this week:


    May Festival

    Our students have begun to rehearse for the May Festival.


    California – living history

    Our fourth grade students participated this week in a “Walk through California History” where they are learned about California’s rich history and assumed the roles of various individuals who played a key role in its development.


    Third grade students – congrats!

    Our entire grade level of third grade students performed beautifully this past Tuesday evening in a night dedicated to the wonder of music as they sang and played various instruments in our Ottertorium.  


    PBL – project based learning in action – redesigning classrooms

    As our district embarks on Master Facility Planning, it is only fitting that we should hear from our K-12 students on the topic so that we honor their collective voice regarding what physical learning space they feel promotes optimal and healthy learning. This goal is at the heart of one project based learning initiative in Mrs. Kobza’s fifth grade classroom as students were tasked with reinventing their physical space. I’m excited to know that students at every school are weighing in with suggestions as part of the formal, Master Facility Planning process.



    Earn your child three Otter Bucks!

    Please remember to complete your parent survey and earn your child three Otter Bucks in the process.  Below, you will find the survey link: https://goo.gl/forms/4ajySARITuNdrVm33

    Thank you for completing the survey!


    Important Dates:

    • Feb. 19-23             Vacation
    • Feb. 27                  Dairy Council assemblies
    • March 1                 Third Grade Farm Day visit to Fairgrounds
    • March 2                 Spirit Day – Hawaiian Day
    • March 12-16          Parent/Teacher Conference Week, 12:30 dismissal
    • March 16               Mother/Son/Family Carnival


    Have a great week!

    Jay Marden


    Comments (-1)
  • Friday email

    Posted by Jay Marden on 11/17/2017 4:00:00 PM

    Good Afternoon River Parents,


    We had a spirited “mustache” day today! Many thanks to all of our students who participated!


    Turn Off Tech. Week – read the powerful article provided on the link

    As I communicated last week, this year we will once again challenge our students to “Turn off Technology” for a week - December 4-8. There is a strong body of research, which documents that too much screen time can have detrimental effects on children. In preparation for the week, and to prompt serious refection on the topic, please take 15 minutes to read the following sobering and fascinating article on the topic and featured in The Atlantic  - “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation.”


    Regardless of one’s personal viewpoint on the topic of screen time, I think you will agree that the article is powerful in bringing to light socio-emotional issues associated with technology use. The 15 minutes parents spend reading the article may very well change parenting behavior.


    Monterey County Foodbank – bins are in Ottertoreum!

    Please click on the following link to learn more about our food drive to benefit local, needy families. Our students are interested in participating not only because of the charitable act, but because they can earn Otter Bucks!


    Also, please know that we’ll be participating in a drive in December to collect shoes and socks to be given to Highlands Elementary School in Monterey. Highlands Elementary has a significant number of students and families that are homeless, and they have already been incredibly grateful to hear that we’ve committed to the upcoming drive.


    A 19 year study reveals kindergarten students with these two skills are twice as likely to obtain a college degree (and they have nothing to do with reading!)

    It's hard to believe that what your child knows at age 5 could influence their future chances of success, but that's exactly what a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found. Curious? Please read the article provided in the link below that identifies the two skills. I’ll provide a hint – they are very well aligned with the goals we have not only for our kinder students, but all our students:




    Upcoming dates:

    November 15-21 – Minimum Days, Parent/Teacher Conference Week

    November 22-24 – Vacation

    December 4-8 – Turn Off Tech. Week



    See you Monday!

    Jay Marden


    Comments (-1)
  • Friday email

    Posted by Jay Marden on 11/9/2017 3:30:00 PM

    Good Afternoon River Parents,



    Last night, our fifth grade students performed beautifully in the musical “This is America” at the CHS Theater. Paying homage to patriots, the musical also included a touching remembrance of the patriots and relatives that are, or were, part of our fifth grade students’ families.


    Turn Off Tech. Week

    During the week of December 4-8, our students are going to be challenged to “Turn Off Technology” to promote health and wellness. There is a strong body of research that reveals that too much screen time can have  detrimental effects on children. In preparation for the event, but coming later, I’ll also assign “homework” to parents and ask that our parents read one powerful article that documents the ill effects of tech. overuse. For now, please be aware so that you can support the challenge of Turn Off Tech. Week by talking to your children about the upcoming event.


    Mustache Day!

    Next Friday is a spirit day with the “mustache” as a theme! Students are invited to be creative and wear a mustache to remember! We do have a contest at each grade level to determine the most spirited student!


    Talent Show Coordinator needed!

    We still do not have a Talent Show coordinator and will have to consider not having the show this year if we do not fill the role soon. Please contact me at school if you are interested, or if you are willing to share the coordinator with another parent.


    SUPPORT A GOOD CAUSE - FOCUS (Friends of Carmel Unified Schools) needs your help to continue its legacy of providing teacher and staff grants to support students within the entire Carmel Unified School District!  Although FOCUS is taking a break from its annual Fall Back Bash auction, we are now providing an opportunity for you to bid online on some of the historically most popular items donated by our schools! The auction opened on Friday, November 3rd, and will run through11pm on Sunday, November 12th. Don’t lose out on this once-a-year opportunity to bid on auction items like: Be River School’s Principal for the Day – includes lunch with Jay for your child and their friend! Or the VIP Package to the River School Family Campout where a large tent is setup for you in a prime location, ready for your family to use. Includes dinner, breakfast, s'mores and snacks for the family delivered to your tent. To view and bid on these and the other popular auction items, please visit: https://www. charityauctionstoday.com/ auctions/focus-fall-back- auction-3273  Thank you for your support!


    Upcoming dates:

    November 10 – Veteran’s Day, no school

    November 13 – School Site Council Meeting

    November 13-17 – Book Faire – 8:00 to 4:00

    November 15-21 – Minimum Days, Parent/Teacher Conference Week

    November 17 – Spirit day - Mustache theme

    November 22-24 – Vacation

    December 4-8 – Turn Off Tech. Week



    With many thanks to our Veterans,

    Jay Marden


    Comments (-1)