• Friday email

    Posted by Jay Marden on 3/8/2019 4:00:00 PM

    Good Afternoon River Parents,


    In this Friday email, we'll cover:

    • Parent/Teacher Conference Week
    • Helicopter Bunny
    • Student writing
    • Computer Programming
    • Mother/Son/Family Carnival
    • PTA Meeting
    • Yearbooks
    • St. Patrick's Day


    Parent/Teacher Conference Week next week and Read-a-thon!

    Next week, March 11-15, is Parent/Teacher Conference Week, and students will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. It is also Read-a-thon, Week and students are encouraged to read, read and read with all that extra time they are at home! Read-a-thon packets were sent home today and accompanied by a book purchased for each student by the PTA - thank you PTA!


    The challenge of letting go...

    As parents, all of us struggle with processing the degree to which we should let our children experience and work through obstacles on their own as they grow up. Raising three boys, who are now in their twenties, this continues to be a challenge that I contend with as I resist the temptation to solve their problems. Fortunately, I feel I have managed to strike a healthy balance in this regard as I have reflected on a quote by speaker unknown: "We can hurt a little watching our children learn life’s lessons now, or hurt a lot as we watch them grow up to be individuals unable to care for themselves." I believe this quote captures that there is great value in letting our children navigate life's obstacles without us intervening to remove each bump on a road they must travel. This dynamic is also something that I have more than periodically addressed in my career as I've attempted to assist many parents with the above advice. The greatest biographies and autobiographies have one common theme - overcoming obstacles. With that in mind, I'd like to share the story of the "helicopter bunny," which I hope you'll find valuable in prompting your own reflection on this topic:



    A pony helps with kindergarten writing...

    The Carmel Writing Program entails three different genres: narrative, opinion and informational writing. To help facilitate informational writing at the kindergarten grade level, a pony visited Mrs. Perkins' class below as students learned all about this beautiful animal as they captured in writing details they learned about this adorable creature.



    Technology and Coding - budding engineers and computer programmers

    One of the tech. goals we have for our students includes computer programming as students manipulate objects through coding. Below, students in third grade learn how to interface their laptops and windmills they assembled to create wind energy. Students were unaware I took the photograph given how engrossed they were in the activity!



    Mother-Son Family Carnival, Friday, March 29th from 6:00-8:00

    All River mothers are invited to join us for the annual Mother-Son-Family Carnival, which will have a Hawaiian theme!  Dessert will be served and lots of mother-son carnival games will be on tap: magic show, face painting, and Lego competition. Many other fun games and surprises will be on hand too. The price is $15.00 per mom/son-s. Please purchase your tickets in the office by March 27th. Tickets will be sold at the door, but will be $20 per mom/son-s. If a mother is not able to attend, a young man may bring a special person (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.

    A sign up genius is going to be sent to your inbox requesting volunteers to sign up to help set-up, clean-up and run the event; please sign up and help with this awesome event.

    If you have a local business and would like to donate for the raffle please contact majospencer@yahoo.com.

    Thank you,

    Majo Spencer, coordinator

    PTA Meeting
    Yesterday, CUSD Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Suzie DePrez, attended our River School PTA meeting to present to parents the "California Dashboard," which is the state's new school rating system. She reviewed CUSD and River School data, which reveals that we are doing exceptionally well in reading and math, but have some work to do around attendance. Granted, the latter is a hard nut to crack. We certainly don't want students coming to school when they are sick, but we also know that there's belt tightening we can do with extended vacations and things of that nature that are technically "unexcused" by state standards. The state measures school growth based on the previous year's data, and despite the fact that we have healthy attendance rates, we had a dip from the previous year that we'll strive to address. Please know it won't come in the form of asking you to send your sick child to school! 
    Yearbook sales close April 7
    CRS yearbook sales are currently open. You have two easy ways to place your order: YearbookOrderCenter.com or by calling Herff Jones 866.237.3096. Please reference our school order #30388 when placing your order. Sales will close April 7th, 2019.
    Saint Patrick's Day - celebrate next Friday!
    While St. Patrick's Day is Sunday, March 17, we invite our students to dress up in all things Irish and green next Friday, March 15.
    River Rec. packets available next week
    The registration packets for T Rex, River Rec, and TK before and after school care will be ready for pickup March 11th.  Packets can be picked up at Carmelo, T Rex or River Rec and MUST be returned to Carmelo. All programs are first come, first serve basis and every family has to register every year.  There is a $50.00 Registration fee due with the packet.
    I'll leave you with a beautiful video clip from the CUSD Choral Festival last night at Sunset Center. Take a moment to view the clip and hear how impressive these elementary students are!
    Important dates:
    March 11-15, Parent/Teacher Conference Week, 12:30 p.m. dismissal
    March 11-15, Read-a-thon Week
    March 15, Spirit Day - Saint Patrick's Day - wear green!
    March 26, CUSD Band Festival, 7:00 p.m., Sunset Center
    March 29, Mother/Son/Family Carnival, 6:00 p.m.
    April 1-5, Turn Off Tech. Week part II
    April 2, First Grade Musical, 6:30 p.m.
    April 4, Miss Becca Show, 6:00 p.m.
    April 5, Miss Becca Show, 9:00 a.m.
    April 10, CUSD Orchestra Festival, 7:00 p.m.
    April 15-19, Spring Break 
    Enjoy your weekend,
    Jay Marden
    Carmel River School Principal
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  • 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


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  • 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


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  • 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


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