Carmel River School News

Posted by Jay Marden on 5/15/2020 5:10:00 PM

Good Morning River Parents,


Please click on the link below for this week's student announcements. There are some fun events for students to enjoy!


Flat Otter - bring him wherever you go!

As mentioned in the student announcements, we are inviting our students to bring Mr. Otter's friend, "Flat Otter," with them wherever they go. Whether it's the beach, a bike ride, a hike or any location that students are excited to share, please open the link below, print out Flat Otter, then color and cut along the lines. After students visit various locations with Flat Otter, they are welcome to upload photos and/or video to the folder provided. We'll then assemble a montage of Flat Otter's incredible journey!


Parade this Thursday at River School

River staff will assemble this Thursday, 11:00-12:00 pm, on Monte Verde St. and 15th St. (both streets border school) to cheer and celebrate students and families who drive by in their vehicles. Please follow this route:

South to North on Monte Verde St. (one direction please) and then right on 15 St. in front of school

This will be our first encounter with our students in several weeks so please join us. We would love to enthusiastically cheer for each passing family/car! Please do not exit your vehicle,  but you are encouraged to drive slowly by. Of course, we must maintain social distance. 


Sign up for one on one tutoring

While teachers continue to organize and facilitate individual and small group academic support for students either through their direct assistance or the assignment of an instructional aide, we'd like to provide families with additional support at their request. Specifically, parents may sign their child up for a 25 minute tutoring session, Tuesday through Friday, within a 9:00 to 12:00 pm. window. Parents may also sign students up for more than one session a week, but will have to submit one form for each session. Once a parent registers their child for support,  instructional aides will contact students/families either through a Zoom invitation or a phone call, but Zoom is preferable given the visual support that can be offered. The appointment will also generate an email to each student's teacher so that teachers are aware of the family's request on behalf of their child. Please click on the link below to register your child for a session:

Week of 05/12/20-05/15/20 


NEWS from the MUSIC Room!  

End of year Composer test!!  Mrs. Barca-Hall is so excited to announce that our Music Memory Composer test has been put into a Google Forms Quiz!!  All students can take this test at home and it will tell you what your percentage is! We will even give a shout out to the top scorers in Mr. Marden's May 26 message!  

Here's the link:

Haven't listened to the last four composers yet?  Mrs. Barca-Hall will be hosting 2 Composer Luncheons this week on Tuesday and Thursday 12:30-1 for all students to attend.  We will listen to Schubert and Rachmaninoff on Tuesday and Girodani and Prokofiev on Thursday.  

Zoom info:

Meeting ID: 949 9707 6405 password 93923

Can't make the luncheon? Check out the video at

Instrument Returns:                                                                                                     

It is our wish for all band and string players to continue to play their instrument in the fall at either CMS or River school.  But, if your student is not continuing you will need to return the instrument this today or Wednesday (May 11 and 13).  Please communicate with Mrs Barca-Hall your plan via email

Erinn Barca Hall


News from the Children's Garden...                                                                  

Rumors are circulating that River School students are doing some exceptionally fine gardening at home. If you would like to share a photo or two of your favorite plant or space, Mrs McCormick and your schoolmates would love to see it! Please email it to Mrs McCormick with a brief phrase about what it is, and we will post it to the garden web page. Can't wait to see what you're doing at home! And check out the garden web page for more information about what's going on in our garden right now.

Maryann McCormick


Grading Policy for Elementary School                                                                    

Earlier this week Superintendent, Dr. Dill-Varga emailed parents information about a new Administrative Regulation (AR), regarding how students in CUSD will be graded for end of year report cards/transcripts. The language pertaining to elementary students states:

During school closure related to the COVID 19 crisis, grading for the spring of 2020 school year will be altered from our traditional systems. This plan is in line with the guidance provided by the California Department of Education to ensure students are held harmless during this crisis. 

Elementary: Students at the elementary level will not be evaluated for 3rd trimester on their report cards, instead an N/A (not assessed) will be placed in the box next to each standard assessed during the trimester. Teacher comments will be placed in the narrative box on the report card.

While teachers have created instructional plans and resources for students to follow and utilize during the closure, one of the greatest challenges for all educators in this climate is to assess student learning. As a district, we currently feel that we cannot accurately and substantively assess student learning remotely. In a normal grading period, before each trimester concludes, staff engage students in various assessments that are conducted in person through whole group, small group and one on one administration. In addition, student grades and performance in this environment is influenced by too many factors outside family and district control, hence the need for the above AR.

When we return in the fall, we will perform a number of pre-assessments to determine student learning needs.  The assessment results will guide instruction and lead to appropriate support for all students in need.  Assessment will not only target academics, but each student's socio-emotional and behavioral needs as well. Given the expertise of our teaching staff, I have a high degree of confidence that student learning will be expedited and "holes" that have been created during the closure will be successfully filled. 


Zoom with Elementary Parents                                                                              

This past Thursday, approximately 50 elementary parents joined CUSD administrators and teachers in a meeting to discuss lessons learned during the closure. The meeting also served as a forum to brainstorm instructional plans for school when it resumes, especially if remote learning is involved. A theme of the discussion seemed to assert itself, which is a desire for CUSD to focus on the articulation of tech. programs and platforms that lead to greater commonality of experience within and across grade levels. CUSD administration realizes and supports this goal, but also recognizes the need for on-going flexibility for teaching staff to employ strategies and tools that they have found invaluable during the closure. CUSD staff are currently working on a long term plan that encompasses both criteria in case our education program continues to incorporate remote learning. We will not know the outcome for several weeks.


Weekly calls to students…

Please continue to sign up for a phone call on the link provided in previous emails and know that I am very happy to spend the time with your child. I believe it' an uplifting, brief moment we can share together.



CUSD Technology Assistance

For specific technical support with your child’s Chromebook, you can now directly enter a help ticket to request assistance from one of our technicians. Use this link to see the instructions and the trouble ticket web address. We are providing Chromebooks to students who need them, and we are looking for solutions for families who have no or poor internet access. Please let us know if you have these types of needs by using this form. You may also email me directly ( if you need a Chromebook, and I'm happy to deliver one to you.


FOCUS needs you!                                                                                                                

Come join the FOCUS Board! FOCUS supports quality education within the Carmel Unified School District and since its founding has provided close to $3,000,000 in grants that support academic and social-emotional student success. Several FOCUS Board members have students leaving CUSD in 2020 or 2021. We need parents to join the Board so that they can shadow in the 2020/2021 school year for the positions of President and Treasurer.  We will also be losing our Secretary this year, so we need to fill that position for the 2020/2021 school year. If you are interested, please contact Kath Uyeda at:


Have a nice week!

Jay Marden