• Friday email

    Posted by Jay Marden at 5/12/2017 1:00:00 PM

    Good Afternoon River Parents,


    Thank you for coming to our May Festival today. I hope you enjoyed the students’ performance. It is always a blessing to enjoy such an event and follow it up with a picnic. Many thanks to Gloria Elber, Russ Shugars, Peggy Tobin and Jennifer Kemmerly for directing and assisting with the event. Jennifer donated many of the costumes, and we’re very greatly for her contribution. We also enjoyed today the Farmer’s Market with many wonderful foods, arts and activities. Many thanks to Maryann McCormick for coordinating the event.

    We are three weeks away from the end of school. Before then, we have several events to communicate, most of them listed at the bottom of this email. Below, I’ll provide you with some important updates and one celebratory note…


    Updates from River Library

    The Happy Camper Book Fair is just a few days away!  Doors open on Wednesday! This is a great opportunity to stock up on books for the summer. We are still in need of volunteers to help set up (May 16), run a register, and clean up after the fair (May 22). Please sign up using this Google Form.  You can also stop by the library and sign up, or email Mrs. Jasper (ajasper@carmelunified.org) and let her know you'd like to volunteer.

    All library books are due back TODAY! 

    AUTHOR VISIT: We are hosting an author visit on Friday May 26th. Patricia Newman, whose newest book is about sea otters at Elkhorn Slough, will be giving two presentations. Parents are welcome to attend either the morning session (10:45) or the afternoon session (1:15). She will be autographing books in the afternoon as well. Thank you to the River PTA for bringing this fabulous author to our students.


    Staff Appreciation Luncheon next Wednesday

    The River School Staff Appreciation Luncheon is next Wednesday, May 17th, and we want to make sure our staff knows how much we value them!  We are in need of additional food dishes for the event.  Please access the sign up sheet by going to 


    or contact Stacy Meheen, meheens@gmail.com(831) 760-0127 for more information. Thanks in advance for helping make this a spectacular event for our beloved staff!


    Open House – next Thursday

    Next Thursday, May 18, is Open House. The Art Show is 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the MPR, and classrooms are open for visitation, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Showcased, will be much student work centered on the oceans as our students have been involved in a number of activities that celebrate this vast and invaluable resource in our backyard. Students are involved in marine presentations, labs and projects dedicated to honoring, and being educated about, all things ocean.


    River School recognition – proud honor and accomplishment

    River School is proud to announce that it has received a prestigious award from Educational Results Partnership and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (ERP). Educational Results Partnership (ERP) is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving educational productivity. Using the nation’s largest database on student achievement, they uncover successful schools, particularly in economically disadvantaged districts, and promote their best practices. Supported by an alliance of national business leaders, ERP and its sister organization, the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE), also identify and recognize high performing schools through their Honor Roll program.

    After an extensive analysis of student data for every public school in California, Carmel River Elementary has been found to be a clear leader in getting students to grade level and beyond and has been named an Honor Roll school for the 2016 California Honor Roll. The Honor Roll is part of a national effort to identify higher-performing schools and highlight successful practices that improve outcomes for students. Schools receiving this distinction from leaders in the California academic and business communities have demonstrated consistent high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement levels over time and reduction in achievement gaps among student populations.

    The organization has recognized River School as a “Star” school. Star Schools include one of two designations. The first category includes those schools with significant populations of socio-economically disadvantaged students that have shown a significant increase in grade-level proficiency over time. The second includes Scholar Schools, which are schools that have shown significant levels of academic achievement, but do not have a significant socio-economically disadvantaged student population. It is the second category where we have been recognized.


    Important dates:

    • May 17-19 Book Fair
    • May 17 Staff Appreciation Luncheon
    • May 18 Open House
    • May 19 Character Education Assembly – Citizenship
    • May 25 1st Grade Musical – “Sounds a Little Fishy to Me”
    • May 26 Outdoor Movie Night on lower field – 7:00 p.m.
    • May 29 Memorial Day – no school
    • May 31 Kindergarten Promotion – 1:15
    • June 1 Fifth grade Promotion – 1:15
    • June 2 Last day of school, early release, 12:30 p.m.


    Enjoy your weekend!

    Jay Marden


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  • Friday email

    Posted by Jay Marden at 4/28/2017 6:00:00 PM

    Good Afternoon River Parents,


    Many thanks to all of our families for attending our Family Ocean Afternoon – it was a wonderful turn- out and experience. Many thanks to Seaberry Nachbar for helping organize the event.


    Common Core Exam (SBAC) starts this Monday

    The SBAC examination, which is the exam that third through fifth grade students take annually, will be May 1 through May 12. The exam will measure how well students perform in terms of demonstrating mastery of the common core standards in English language arts and mathematics. Each morning during the testing window, teachers will administer the exam. It is very difficult to make up, so we strongly encourage all third through fifth grade parents NOT to schedule any appointments for their children during the testing window for the next two weeks.


    May Festival in two weeks

    All River students have been practicing their dance moves in preparation for the May Festival, which will take place on Friday, May 12, which is a minimum day. The festival will be at 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Afterward, parents are invited to a picnic with their children on the lower field. Students will be dismissed from school at 12:30 p.m. 


    Farmer’s Market on May 12 after May Festival

    After May Festival, we will host a Farmer’s Market in the Children’s Garden. Below, you will find many of the exciting stations to experience:

    • Pizza –
    • Produce Sale -
    • Bake Sale
    • Plant Sale
    • Salad
    • Crepes
    • 5th Grade Craft Sale


    We will also have our Garden Club students, and perhaps the Cooking in the Garden students, join to help staff host the event..


    Open House

    River School’s Open House is Thursday, May 18, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. In conjunction with the wonderful student work that parents will view while visiting classrooms, we’ll have a student art show in the multipurpose room. 


    Running Feet – turn in logs

    Next Friday is the last day to turn in running logs to earn running feet. Many thanks to all of the students and families this year who participated in the Morning Mile program.


    Upcoming dates:

    April 29                 PTA – Roll with the Tide Party     6:00 p.m., Monterey Beach House

    May 1-12             SBAC Testing                                      3rd – 5th grades, a.m. testing

    May 12                 May Festival                                       11:00 to 12:00 p.m. picnic afterward, 12:30 dismissal

                                    Farmer’s Market                              12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

    May 18                 Open House and Art Show           5:30 to 7:00 p.m.             

    May 25                 First Grade Musical                          6:30 p.m.

    May 26                 Outdoor Movie Night                     7:00 p.m. lower field      


    See you Monday!

    Mr. Marden

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  • Friday email

    Posted by Jay Marden at 3/31/2017 4:00:00 PM


    PrincipalGood Afternoon River Parents,


    Many thanks to Becca Ledbetter, Todd Weaver and River Dads for directing and hosting the Talent Show, which was a huge hit. Becca is “retiring” from directing the show, and we can’t thank her enough for all of her contributions to the school as represented in the three years she worked hard to ensure a wonderful event for all of our students – thank you Becca!

    Turn Off Tech. Week is next week!

    The challenge is on! Starting this Monday through Friday, April 3-7, is Turn Off Tech. Week. Students are challenged to turn off all tech. devices (e.g. video games, TV, laptops, phones) each afternoon and evening that they go home. Attached, you’ll find the log to record their success each day. Those students who meet the challenge will enjoy an ice cream party. Regardless, if a child does not succeed, we hope the benefit of attempting and reflecting of/on the week will be a beneficial undertaking. Logs will be sent home this Monday.


    Next Wednesday, Volunteer Breakfast

    Have you volunteered in any capacity at River? Large or small? Our staff would like to extend a very heartfelt “thank you” and to show our gratitude we would like to invite you to our Volunteer Breakfast next Wednesday, April 5 in the multi., 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. We’ll have bagels, pastries, fruit, juice and coffee – please join us! Students may arrive with you on that day; we’ll provide supervision for them on the playground starting at 8:00 a.m.


    Yearbook sales end April 7

    Yearbook sales end next Friday, April 7.Two easy ways to order: log onto the secure website yearbookordercenter.com or call 1-866-287-3096. Please refer to our school code: 30388. If you have any questions please email CarmelRiverYB@gmailc.om


    Attention All Music Lovers!
    Come hear our talented string players from elementary, middle and high school perform at the upcoming District Orchestra Festival next Wednesday, April 5 from 7-9pm at the CHS Performing Arts Center. The CUSD Music Boosters is arranging a cookie reception immediately following the performance in the lobby and would like to ask for your help. You may sign up with the following link: 


    SAVE THE DATE: Mother-Son Family Carnival- Friday April 21st 
    Our Mother-Son Family Carnival this year is scheduled for Friday, April 21st, 6:00-8:00 in the multipurpose room. Dessert will be served and lots of mother-son carnival games will be on tap: balloon show; face painting; Lego competition; and new this year, the mechanical shark. There will also be other exciting activities to enjoy! The price is $15.00 per mom/son (no additional cost for a second or more son).  Please purchase your tickets at the office by April 19th.  Tickets will also be sold at the door, but will be $20 per family. Local businesses have been very generous and donated very cool prizes to raffle to attendees of the event.  If a mother were not able to attend, a young man may bring a special woman (e.g. aunt, family friend, etc.) in his life to the event. Please join us; we wish to celebrate our young men and the special women in their lives.

    Beach Clean Up on Earth Day – April 22

    On Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, we encourage our River families to participate in a beach clean-up at the foot of Ocean Avenue in Carmel, 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. What better way to show that we care about Mother Earth! We would especially like to see all of our Blue Crew students assume a leadership role at the clean-up, so if your child is in Blue Crew, please do your best to bring your child.


    Free Book Exchange available…

    What are those new book shelves in the library and outside the front office?  Please enjoy our new “Free Book Exchange!” Think of it as a book swap where you bring in a book and take another.  If you have ever seen the “Little Libraries” around town, it is the same concept.  This is a great way for students to get ready for the upcoming “Turn off Tech Week!”  Also, mark your calendars for the upcoming Happy Camper Book Fair!  This three day Book Fair is on May 17, 18, and 19.  We will be setting up on Tuesday, May 16 from 1:00-4:00 p.m.  Please sign up on the Google Doc to cover a shift or two.  Thank you for your support!  Happy Reading!


    Important dates:

    April 3-7      Turn Off Tech. Week

    April 5         Volunteer Breakfast, 8:00 a.m.

    April 5         CUSD Instrumental Festival, 7:00 p.m.

    April 10-14   Spring Break

    April 17        “Pennies for Patients” Leukemia Drive

    April 19        PTA Meeting, 8:45 a.m.

    April 21        Mother/Son Carnival, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

    April 22       Earth Day – beach clean up, 9:00 a.m.

    April 26       Family Ocean Night, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.


    Take Care,

    Jay Marden


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  • Friday email

    Posted by Jay Marden at 3/24/2017 5:00:00 PM

    Good Afternoon River Parents,


    In this email you will only read about one topic that I’d like to focus on – screen time and the impact it has on children.

    We will also be hosting, Turn Off Technology Week, April 3 – 7. More to come on the details later, but in a nutshell, we will be challenging all of our students to turn off tech that week, and this includes all devices! Please take a few minutes to read up on the very important topic of the effects of screen time and suggestions on how to reduce it…

    We have all seen an increase in the time students are spending in front of screens (phones, tablets, TV’s, computers, video games, etc).  We’ve all been in places where we see entire families or groups of friends sitting together looking on their phones/tablets rather than interacting and two year olds begging for their parent’s cell phone.  At one time or another, I imagine that all of us have thought, “How is all of that screen time impacting children, families, and relationships?” 

    More and more research is being done regarding the impact screen time has on people. At the end of this email is a link to part one of a two part series that focuses on this topic – Ted Radio Hour on NPR.  I encourage everyone to spend the hour listening to the podcast, or at least spend 12 minutes listening to the Ted Talk by Dimitri Christakis, listed as you scroll down the screen (yes, as a school we are seeing more students with attention issues early on).  Even if you don’t listen, and regardless of your feelings about how much time a child should be in front of a screen, I encourage all of our families to have an intentional family conversation about what your family rules are regarding screen time.  As a school that has computers in every classroom and individual computers for each student starting in third grade, our staff is also having this conversation.  At school, It is very important that we use computers strategically, in limited fashion, and in ways that enhance learning.  It is very important to us that our students do not spend too much time on computers at school and that computer time does not impact relationships students are forming at such an early age. 

    Here are a few family rules to consider:

    • Put a filter on your devices:  This is just good practice so children are not exposed to inappropriate content.
    • Set a screen time limit:  Whether it’s daily (i.e. 30 minutes a day), weekly (i.e. five hours a week), or conditional (i.e. for every minute of reading, a minute of screen) set a limit on screen time and hold everyone to it.
    • No screens at the table:  Family meal times are extremely important.  TV’s, phones, tablets, all get in the way of the conversations families can have during that time. 
    • No screens in the car:  There are two reasons for this suggestion.  First, I always recommend to parents that they volunteer to be the drivers for their child’s activities because it is amazing what students will talk about in the back seat of a car.  The children forget an adult is driving.  Overhearing those conversations provides a great window into what goes on in your child’s life.  While In the car it is also a time where you can have that precious, uninterrupted time with your children, or family, to talk about how life is going and connect with each other.  Second, recent brain research is informing us of how important “down time” or “bored time” is to the brain’s development.  It is during those down times when you are staring out the window or waiting in line that the brain builds connections to all of the learning that happened that day. 
    • No screens in the bedroom (or at least require the door to be open):  Admittedly, this changes as children get older.  Today, computers and phones are a window to the world and all the world has to offer, both good and bad.  Obviously, as children get older, this rule will need to be adjusted because of homework and other demands, but screens behind closed doors is always a risky venture. 
    • No phones in the room at night.  If you allow your child to have their phone in their room because it is an alarm clock, get them an alarm clock and take the phone out of the room. Not having a phone in the room will eliminate the temptation to navigate and interact with it at a late hour. This also helps with sleep deprivation.
    • Do a phone collection during play dates or sleepovers:  Whenever your child has a friend(s) over, as soon as they arrive, have the children put their phones in a basket on the counter/shelf.  Then, only let them use the phones when they are around you.  Even at the elementary level students are doing things on their phones that you would rather them not do.  When your child is in the presence of peers, we should encourage them to interact with one another to build their social skills and relationships, not playing side by side on their individual screens.

    My hope is that these rules will at least spark a conversation in your family about screen time.  Setting limits now, when your children are in elementary school, will make setting the limits when they are older much easier. They will also help establish healthy family habits and teach our students about the importance of relationships in their lives.  Finally, remember that children look to their parents as examples.  We have to behave as we want our children to behave. 

    If you are looking for a great online source for setting family rules and expectations for screen time and online behavior, commonsensemedia.org, is a great resource.  I encourage everyone to have a tech use agreement for all children in their home.

    And finally, here is the link to the NPR podcast:



    Have a lovely weekend,

    Jay Marden


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