Concerning the naming of the high school in Grand Terrace, I believe the board has not realized the full weight of their decision to name the school after a former board member rather than the community it is to serve. Some may ask why the issue is of such importance and why people care one way or the other. The answer is simple: The school not only serves the community but also represents said community in both academic and athletic settings. I am a resident of Grand Terrace and have lived here most of my life. I graduated from Colton High and was proud to represent Colton not only as a student but also as an athlete. Although I lived in Grand Terrace I felt a part of the Colton community by playing for and representing my school. As a teacher and the head boy's soccer coach at Bloomington High School, I again feel a part of a community in which I do not live. Every time my boys put on the BHS uniform I make sure to remind them they represent not only themselves and their team, but also the entire school and the community of Bloomington. When we have success on the field it brings attention to the entire community, not just our team. I am proud to have the chance to represent Bloomington every time I lead my players in competition. I do not see why the school board would want to deny such a feeling and sense of pride to the community of Grand Terrace and especially to her children. With all due respect to the Abril family, I cannot plausibly see how students are going to take pride in representing a school named after a board member. But, if the board truly wants to serve the entire district, they will reconsider their decision and allow the children of this new school to represent their community, and will enable them to deepen their pride in themselves, thus strengthening the district as a whole.
Grand Terrace residents get high school name they wanted
At a special meeting, the Colton Joint Unified School District Board of Education voted 4-0 to rename the 67-acre campus Grand Terrace High School at the Ray Abril Jr. Educational Complex. Vice President Mel Albiso and trustees Frank Ibarra and David Zamora were absent. Story continues below
About 120 people packed the district board room on South Mount Vernon Avenue. Grand Terrace resident Amanda Betten, who had helped organize a state testing protest against the district, praised the board and said her group plans to form a Grand Terrace High School Foundation to support of the campus. Not everyone was happy. Grand Terrace resident David Batyi said the inclusion of Abril's name was "ridiculous." "I feel that the board can redeem itself if they just name it Grand Terrace High School," he said. "That's all we want." The suggested change came from trustee Robert Armenta Jr. The action follows weeks of discord between the school board and Grand Terrace residents who were upset with the board's decision in March to name the city's first high school after Abril, a former longtime trustee, instead of calling it Grand Terrace High School. Last week, the board considered a compromise to rename the school Grand Terrace High School, with the tagline "honoring Ray Abril," but the motion died in a tie vote because trustee David Zamora was absent. Armenta, who advocated naming the school after Abril, said the change honors both Grand Terrace residents and Abril. In addition to the high school, the campus will have a career and technology center. "This renaming proposal both respects the city identity of Grand Terrace and duly pays tribute to Mr. Ray Abril Jr.'s advocacy and passion for children's progress in the classroom," Armenta said. Abril's daughter, Melinda Medina, said the family supports the change and that the honor is well deserved. "You're never going to make everyone happy," she said. "It's a compromise and I hope the residents of Grand Terrace will accept this." Reach Melanie C. Johnson at 951-368-9489 or mjohnson@PE.com -->
First off I want to thank everyone for their continued support in regards to the naming of our High School. What started as a small group has turned into an entire community.
Remember to call your childs school and let them know that they will be taking the test!!!!!!
A very special thanks to
Wendy for sticking by me from the very beginning
Amanda for being so strong and passionate and always knowing what to do next
My mom Kathy for being my rock and inspiring to start this thing
Ryan you were the missing piece of our group you make me proud
Tobin for always steering us in the right direction
My husband Darian without him I would have not been able to do any of this. With 5 kids at home he never ever complained when I said that I needed to go to a meeting, answer emails, post on the blog, or stand on the corner. He had to do a lot of running around with games and practices and I never heard one complaint.
Brenda for starting the t-shirts and helping behind the scenes
Maria for your endless amount of signs and copies
And to everyone else that was behind the scenes, I wish that I could name everyone but that would be impossible.
Thanks to the school board members that listened to us and did the right thing.
Tonight the name was changed to Grand Terrace High School and it will be located at the Ray Abril Jr. Educational Complex.
Colton school board members are wise to reconsider a school-naming decision that brought fierce opposition from Grand Terrace residents. The board should defer to community consensus and name the school after the city. The board of the Colton Joint Unified School District voted in March to name the school, slated to open in 2011, for Colton resident and former board member Ray Abril. The choice has roiled the district ever since, and trustees tonight will consider amending the name to "Grand Terrace High School at the Ray Abril, Jr., Educational Complex." The proposal is a reasonable compromise. It would give the school's sports teams and diplomas a community identity. And the name would still honor Abril, who served the district for decades. Grand Terrace Mayor Maryetta Ferre said Tuesday that she supports the change, which would put "Grand Terrace High School" on the school's marquee. Ferre and the City Council have objected to naming the school anything but Grand Terrace. And renaming the school tonight would end a battle that even Abril, according to Trustee Patt Haro, has said is dividing the community. Such division serves neither the public interest nor the board's reputation, and trustees would do well to remember the unity that city officials and residents provided in making the high school happen. The city's voters approved two bond measures, helping provide funding for the school. And the city gave up sports fields and moved businesses to make land available. And a name change would show respect for city residents as well. The board asked in February for public input, only to apparently ignore it. And about 200 people in the city of 12,500 showed up last week to protest naming the school after a former trustee little-known in Grand Terrace. The board should heed that community input, not resist it. The new high school should be a source of community pride and cohesion, not resentment and discord. Name the school Grand Terrace and move on to the business of ensuring a strong education for the students who pass through its doors.
COLTON - Colton Joint Unified trustee Robert Armenta Jr. has devised a compromise to try to settle the name debate surrounding Ray Abril High School.
Armenta wants the 67.5-acre site in Grand Terrace where the high school will be located called the Ray Abril Jr. Educational Complex. He also proposes that the school, scheduled to open in fall 2011, be renamed from Ray Abril High School to Grand Terrace High School. The complete name would be Grand Terrace High School at the Ray Abril Jr. Educational Complex.
"I think it's a good compromise," said Grand Terrace resident Letti Byrd, a leader of the parent group seeking the name change.
The school board has scheduled a special meeting at 5:30 tonight to consider Armenta's proposal.
"This renaming proposal both respects the city identity of Grand Terrace and duly pays tribute to Mr. Ray Abril Jr.'s advocacy and passion for children's progress in the classroom," Armenta said in a news release.
The board voted 5-1 in March to call the school Ray Abril High School, angering many Grand Terrace residents who wanted the school named after their city. Trustee Patt Haro voted against it, and Board President Marge Mendoza-Ware was absent.
Supporters of renaming the school launched a campaign to pressure the board to change the name.
Last week, the board deadlocked 3-3 on a proposal to put the matter on the agenda of the next meeting for a vote.
Mendoza-Ware said she thinks there are enough votes on the board to change the name. "I think it's a win-win for everybody," Mendoza-Ware said of Armenta's proposal. "I support it 100 percent."
If the board renames the school, Byrd said the group will urge parents to make sure their children participate in a state achievement test offered in the district over the next few weeks. Several parents signed waivers opting their kids out of the test in protest of the board's initial naming decision.
District spokeswoman Katie Orloff said the waivers can be canceled if parents change their minds and want their children to take the test.
As many of you know the school Board has called a special board meeting for tomorrow eveningat 5:30pm. We are very excited but optimistic at the same time. The proposed name would be Grand Terrace High School but it will be located at the Ray Abril Jr. Educational Complex. So yes the High School will be GTHS.
We are hoping that if you attend this meeting that you be respectful of everyone involved. This meeting was called for the sole purpose of renaming High School #3 so it will probably be very short and we want it that way.
If all goes as planned we want to remind the parents that they need to call the school in which your child attends and tell them that your child WILL be taking the test. We want to put as much effort into getting the kids to test as we did at getting them to opt out.
So please remember that we have had many many people involved in the renaming and they have been very respectful from the beginning. We need to keep it that way long after the name changing.
Today as I was driving by the new school site I noticed some changes.
There are several workers and heavy machinery on site today tearing apart buildings and putting up temporary fencing. It feels so good to finally have some changes being made that we can actually see. I will be driving by frequently and I will take pictures and post them here on the website so that everyone can see the progress.
Pico Street still remains open but it looks like it can be closed at anytime.
Listen to constituents What is it with our elected officials who simply don't get it? People have made it clear that they are unhappy with any name for the new high school other than "Grand Terrace High School" ("No change to school's name," April 24).
There should be an election between now and the opening of the school in 2011.
GRAND TERRACE - Supporters of renaming the new high school vowed Friday to continue their fight. The Colton Joint Unified school board failed to take action Thursday night to start the process to change the name from Ray Abril High School to Grand Terrace High School.
The $82 million campus at the corner of Taylor and Main streets is expected to open in fall 2011. The board deadlocked 3-3 on a motion to place the matter on the agenda for a vote at the next meeting.
Board President Marge Mendoza-Ware and board members Kent Taylor and Patt Haro favored putting the name change on the May 14 agenda. Board members Mel Albiso, Robert Armenta Jr. and Frank Ibarra opposed the idea. Board member David Zamora was absent.
The board voted 6-1 in March to name the school after former trustee Ray Abril Jr., upsetting many Grand Terrace residents. More than 300 people, many wearing t-shirts and carrying signs in favor of Grand Terrace High School, attended Thursday's meeting to urge the name change.
Taylor said he decided to support renaming the school, "Grand Terrace High School honoring Ray Abril," after hearing the outcry from the community. "I thought it would be a great compromise to heal our community," Taylor said. Armenta said that he would not compromise his "values and vision" by supporting a name change. "I do have a message for individuals who have been sending the board irrational, threatening and hateful e-mails as well as encouraging students not to participate in the classroom. I will not be bullied or intimidated," Armenta said.
Supporters of the name change said they will continue asking parents to boycott a state-mandated achievement test that starts at district high schools next week. "We're going to redouble our efforts to opt the kids out and send a message to the school board," said former trustee Tobin Brinker, a San Bernardino councilman who has two children attending Colton district schools. - firstname.lastname@example.org, (909) 386-3916
Keep sending e-mails. You are dealing with three individuals, the ringleader Albiso and his followers Ibarra and Armenta. Why these three don't seem to care about the racial anger and the problems this will create among our youth is beyond comprehension. The smug reaction of these folks may be a result of their underlying hatred and they continue to rub Ray's name into the ground.
I spoke to two board members last night who recommended that we CONTINUE to send EMAILS to board members on a regular basis. To paraphrase one of the members--KEEP THE EMAILS BRIEF, CONCISE, AND NON-THREATENING. Do not make personal attacks towards members that may distract from your original point.
I am requesting an exemption for my child______________________ from taking the STAR test (CST) the school year of 2008 /2009 . Education code 60615 states, “ Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a parent's or guardian's written request to school officials to excuse his or her child from any or all parts of the assessments administered pursuant to this chapter shall be granted.” Please contact me in writing to confirm receipt of this request and inform me where my child will be during the testing time and what instruction will be provided.
Colton school board takes no action on renaming new high school in Grand Terrace
As an overflow crowd waited, the Colton School Board failed to take action Thursday night to rename the new high school in Grand Terrace. The board deadlocked 3-3 on a motion to place the matter on the agenda for a vote at the next meeting. Board member David Zamora was absent. More than 300 people showed up to urge the board to change the name to Grand Terrace High School. The board voted 6-1 in March to name the school after former trustee Ray Abril Jr. going against the wishes of many Grand Terrace residents.
By MELANIE C. JOHNSONThe Press-Enterprise COLTON - A compromise designed to rename a new high school to be built in Grand Terrace after the community while also honoring a longtime former school board member died Thursday night when it didn't get the needed votes. The Colton Joint Unified School District Board of Education deadlocked 3-3 on a suggestion that the trustees put the high school name back on the agenda for a vote at its next meeting in early May. That vote would have been to consider changing Ray Abril High School to "Grand Terrace High School, honoring Ray Abril." Board President Marge Mendoza-Ware and trustees Patt Haro and Kent Taylor voted to put the name change on the next meeting's agenda for action. Board Vice President Mel Albiso and trustees Frank Ibarra and Robert Armenta Jr. voted no. Board member David Zamora was absent. Story continues below
More than 200 people packed the Student Services Center on South Mount Vernon Avenue, so many that the fire marshal cleared the doorway. Grand Terrace resident Bernardo Sandoval suggested the board rename Colton High School after Abril and called some of the trustees' expressed desire to name the new high school after a Latino to provide a role model for students as racially divisive. "I passionately support honoring Ray Abril, but I don't support naming Grand Terrace High School after Ray Abril," he said. Amanda Betten, part of a community group that is encouraging parents to opt their children out of state testing in protest, said after the board's decision against changing the name that Grand Terrace High proponents plan to up their efforts, even if it means the struggling district faces academic sanctions. Armenta said threats of recall won't determine his decisions. "I continue to believe that naming high school No. 3 after Ray Abril is an opportunity for our students," he said. "I will not be bullied or intimidated." Haro recounted a recent lunch with Abril in which he told her he faced a similar decision as a board member and went with residents' wishes as not to divide the community. "That speaks to the character of the gentleman we're trying to honor," she said, "and I believe we are dishonoring him." Reach Melanie C. Johnson at 951-368-9489 or mjohnson@PE.com -->
Do not pull out your childs test waiver. Please tell everyone to opt their kids out of the testing! Yes it's that important!!!!!!
Everyone should be aware that the issue of the high school name change is on the CJUSD board meeting agenda as a discussion item. There will not be a vote. The board members will have an open discussion amongst themselves. At that point a member may (we believe will) move to have it put on the agenda as an action item for the next board meeting, then a vote will take place. Having the name of high school on the agenda is a very good sign. We would prefer a vote now, but the rules for public meetings don’t allow it. Thanks to the efforts of many, the school board members have heard us. An informal meeting was held with three board members and four community members working together for the best solution. This meeting was very positive and turned out very much in our favor. Pay close attention to the discussion of this issue and you will get a feel for how each member stands. Let’s remain positive and mature in our actions in order to keep the momentum on our side. And be ready to pull your child’s test waiver on Friday, it’s that good!
Grand Terrace parents want kids to avoid test By Stacia Glenn on April 20, 2009 Hoping to pressure the Colton school board to change the name of the new high school here, parents are opting their children out of a state-mandated achievement test. Several parents in some of the Colton Joint Unified School District's highest-performing schools have signed waivers asking that their students not be tested. The district could be penalized by the state if enough students don't participate in the test, officials said. The parents' protest comes in response to the school board's decision in March to name the school after former trustee Ray Abril Jr., a longtime Colton resident. The district asked the public to submit names for the new school, scheduled to open in fall 2011. Grand Terrace High School was the winner. Ray Abril or Ray Abril Jr. High School came in fourth place. Two weeks ago, former trustee Tobin Brinker told the board that parents would opt their children out of the so-called Star Testing Standardized Testing And Reporting test program, which measures performance in English-language arts, math, science and history for grades two through 11. The testing in the Colton district runs from April 27 through May 26. "This is a way to send a message," said Brinker, a San Bernardino Councilman whose son and daughter attend Colton district schools. "If you won't listen to our opinion about the name of the high school, then you don't get the benefit of our test scores." Brinker, who opted his two children out of the STAR test, is part of a group that passed out letters to parents whose students will attend the new high school. A large group is expected to show up Thursday to urge the board to rename the school Grand Terrace High School. "If you change the name, if you listen to us, then we will let our children take the test," said Grand Terrace native Letti Byrd, who opted two of her children out of the test. Some board members say they are open to listening to the community. "All I can say is I'm looking at options to heal our community," said board member Kent Taylor. District spokeswoman Katie Orloff said she did not know how many parents signed waivers. "Parents should know that while they have a right to opt their kids out, it eliminates an important source of information about the progress their student is making in school," Orloff said. "It's too bad that they are choosing to take their concerns about their name of the high school out on our educational programs and the students who go to school here in this district." On Monday, Superintendent James Downs sent home a letter reminding parents of the importance of the STAR testing program. Orloff said the district is looking into the consequences if a large number of parents opt out.Under the federal law known as No Child Left Behind, each school district and school must have at least a 95-percent participation rate on statewide tests to meet federal accountability requirements. California also uses an Academic Performance Index for measuring progress. Districts run afoul of state accountability standards if schools don't test at least 85 percent of students in each subject area. "If they violate that rule, the state Department of Education will invalidate their API score," said Rachel Perry, the department's director of the policy and evaluation division.
Civics lesson During the ground-breaking ceremony for the new high school in Grand Terrace, a couple of the dignitaries proclaimed "today we are seeing democracy in action!"
These gentlemen must have missed a few civics lessons.
Webster's dictionary defines democracy as "government by the people; rule of the majority." The fact is, 124 people called and requested that the school be named "Grand Terrace High School" and only 17 voted for "Ray Abril Jr. High School."
Seems pretty cut-and-dry to me. The majority rules, Grand Terrace High it is! Perhaps the Colton Joint Unified School District board needs some remedial classes in basic math!
Market Night is this Monday from 5-8pm and I will be there along with some other volunteers selling t-shirts and collecting signatures. Please pass along this info to your friends and neighbors. We will also have waivers for you to fill out and turn into your kids schools.
GRAND TERRACE RESIDENTS UNITE TO RENAME THE NEW HIGH SCHOOL
After the disappointing decision by the Colton Joint Unified School District (CJUSD) Board Members to name the new Grand Terrace area high school Ray Abril High School on March 12th, Collette “Letti” Byrd took immediate action. She began a grassroots effort to rename the school by creating the website http://grandterracehighschool.blogspot.com. This site has been a valuable tool, by allowing community members to discuss positive solutions, organize protests, inform each other about upcoming meetings, and post copies of printed letters. However, the website isn’t the only form of communication that Letti has used. Along with fellow organizers, Wendy Baker, Amanda Betten, and Brenda Betten, the quest to rename the new high school Grand Terrace High School has expanded onto street corners, store fronts, businesses, and parks. On Monday, April 13th, a group of 70 concerned residents met at Richard Rollins Park to hear Letti, Wendy, Amanda, and Brenda discuss the latest developments. A small group has been regularly standing at the Mt. Vernon/Barton Road corner with protest signs and collected petition signatures in front of Stater Bros. About 30 people attended the April 2nd CJUSD Board Meeting, and about 200 people attended the April 4th ground breaking ceremony. More volunteers are still needed though to continue these activities and go door-to-door to inform residents and collect petition signatures. Their goal is to have enough volunteers to cover all of Grand Terrace for signatures and expand the protest sign areas to Cooley Ranch and Reche Canyon. An immediate recommendation for residents with school-age children is to request an Exemption for the upcoming State Test (STAR/CST) until the Board changes the name of the high school. Parents may refer to the website http://grandterracehighschool.blogspot.com/ for a sample letter. IF the Board officially renames the new school Grand Terrace High School prior the May test, THEN organizers asked parents to then rescind their request. Education code 60615 states, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a parent's or guardian's written request to school officials to excuse his or her child from any or all parts of the assessments administered pursuant to this chapter shall be granted.” Terrace View (806), Reche Canyon (791), Grand Terrace (769), and , Cooley Ranch (763) are among the highest elementary school scores in the district. In addition, Terrace Hills (678) is the highest scoring middle school in the district. Considering that the Colton Joint Unified School District is in Program Improvement with the state, this year’s test scores could greatly influence the future of the district. The organizers stated in the meeting that if just 5% of their school’s population requests a waiver/exemption, then it could cause a school’s scores to be invalid. They cautioned residents that school administrators may pressure them not to request an exemption. HOWEVER, the organizers stressed that the waiver/exemption is the most effective way to show board members that the community is determined in its quest to rename the high school.In closing, they asked residents to send emails and letters to board members, local newspapers, radio stations, and news stations about renaming Ray Abril High School to Grand Terrace High School. The organizers also stressed the importance of attending the next school board meeting on April 23rd. At the April 2nd Board Meeting, committee member, Tobin Brinker, informed the CJUSD Board Members that residents would begin requesting test waivers/exemptions. As a result, the board members requested that the discussion of the high school name be placed on the next Board Agenda (4/23/09). Whether you plan to speak or not, your presence is urgently needed at the next meeting to show support! The meeting will be held at the Student Services Center on April 23rd at 5:00 p.m. Wear blue or you may purchase a blue “Grand Terrace High School” T-shirt. For up-to-date information, refer to http://grandterracehighschool.blogspot.com.
It was interesting to see officials congratulating each other, preening and posing at the groundbreaking ceremony of the new high school in Grand Terrace.
Colton Joint Unified School District and its board have been fumbling this project for not years, but decades. To now spread the credit around, and name the school after one of those same people who so mismanaged this project is ludicrous.
Even Dr. Herb Fischer was there for the event. As much as I admire all the good Dr. Fischer has done, over a long and successful career in education, he is on the wrong side of this issue. As evidence, he now finds himself on the same side as Gil Navarro, that one-issue, one-trick pony. I think it is time for Grand Terrace to form its own school district, and leave Colton in the dust. From the buzz around town, this issue is far from being over. The next election should bring some dramatic changes to that board.
Residents of Grand Terrace have every right to be angry with Colton Joint Unified School District members! Quite frankly, they should look into a recall of all the members who did this. Also, I would suggest the families going into neighboring districts of Rialto, San Bernardino and Redlands to have residents there sign the petitions of outrage as well. We all should be angry with this blatant disregard of the people's will!
This is nothing personal against Mr. Abril, but he didn't even come in second. The football field, library or gym should be named after him. If he is truly humble, as he said in his speech at the ground-breaking ceremony, he and his family should step back from this disgrace and remove his name from the school.
County Superintendent Gary Thomas should be contacted, some local college professors, this sort of stuff is right up their civil rights- and freedom-loving alleys, and maybe even the ACLU. I know I stand behind my Grand Terrace neighbors; this is an embarrassing shame for Colton, which seems to not be able to escape bad publicity.
I have noticed a lot of negative comments here on the blog. It needs to stop! This is not what we are about. This blog is to keep everyone informed about what is going on here in our community. We are here to get the name of our high school changed and we need to do that as a community. This negativity is not what we are about and it needs to stop.
Several people are helping in the cause whether it be there time or money. I am sure we don't know what everyone is doing but we need to support each other.
Remember this has nothing to do with anyone except the Colton School Board they are the ones that choose the name. Not anyone else so please keep that in mind.
When I started this blog I only meant for it to keep people involved and to let people know what was happening with upcoming dates. I really do appreciate your comments but we need to stop going after each other.
CASSIE MACDUFF Naming a new high school after a man who dedicated much of his life to education is a commendable idea. But the Colton school board's decision to name the long-awaited high school in Grand Terrace after former trustee Ray Abril Jr. disrespected overwhelming public sentiment that it be named after the city that will be its home. It doesn't help that the board broke with tradition in doing so: The other two high schools in the district are named after the towns where they sit, Colton and Bloomington. People are offended -- and no wonder. The school district solicited suggestions from the community for the new school's name. Why bother to do that if you're just going to ignore majority opinion? Nearly 400 people wrote letters and e-mails, made phone calls and spoke at public meetings in response to the request for suggestions. Just 17 suggested naming the school after Abril. According to the district's own reckoning, 124 favored calling it Grand Terrace High School; 57 people wanted to call it Blue Mountain High (Grand Terrace is nicknamed the Blue Mountain city). Thirty-one others suggested some variation with "Terrace" in the title: Terrace Heights, Terrace Mountain, Terrace Vista and half a dozen more. Someone even suggested Honey Hills High, for the historic beekeepers' neighborhood at the foot of Blue Mountain. Any of those would have given a nod to the city that has awaited a high school for two decades and now will host the district's technology magnet school. But no. The board voted March 12 to name it after Abril, who served on the board for 28 years until 2001. If the board wanted to honor an educator, it could have named the school for the late Robert E. DeGroff, a government teacher and speech/debate coach at Colton High, who received 64 votes. The snub seems to be all anyone is talking about in Grand Terrace. Mayor Maryetta Ferre told me Thursday she had fielded four phone calls about it that morning, and when she visited the fitness club and a nail salon the same day, the naming fiasco was on everyone's mind. So why did board members flout public opinion and vote 5-1 to name the high school after Abril? The only member who returned my call seeking comment was Patt Haro, who cast the sole vote against it. Haro said she loves and respects Abril but thinks another venue would have been a better choice to name after him. Grand Terrace has been waiting a long time for its high school and people made it clear they wanted it to be named for their city, she said. "I just think it's a slap in the face to them not to honor their wishes." She's exactly right. The district could have honored Abril by putting his name on the high school's library, gym or auditorium. Or it could have named one of the other future schools for him. For that matter, it could have named the school district headquarters after him. Any of those choices would have honored him without alienating Grand Terrace residents (and the many Colton residents who shared their perspective). Now, when dignitaries break ground for the high school Saturday, folks are threatening to picket. If that happens, the Board of Education will see that its attempt to honor Abril has backfired. It's too bad that what was meant to be an honor instead engendered so much ill feeling. It would've been so easy to make a choice that pleased everyone.
Reconsider school name The Colton Joint Unified School District board needs to reconsider its actions. The board asked the public to suggest names for the new high school to be built in Grand Terrace. Grand Terrace has waited decades for a high school. The name Grand Terrace High School overwhelmingly received the most votes. The other schools in the city are Grand Terrace Elementary School, Terrace View Elementary School and Terrace Hills Middle School. All these school names identify with the city. Grand Terrace High School is the logical and favorite choice. But the school board picked the name Ray Abril Jr. High School, the fourth choice. Shame on the school board for not following the wishes of the people who elected them. Shame on the the school board for embarrassing Ray Abril Jr. by naming a school after him which the people in Grand Terrace do not want. If Ray Abril is such a honorable man, why doesn't he relinquish this honor that so clearly goes against the desires of the majority in Grand Terrace?
I took the waivers to my kids schools. The principal at one school wanted to talk to me about what I was doing. I had to be strong I explained everything too him and I also stated that I didn't want my child/children singled out. They said that would never happen. I hope that others are doing the same. I think it looks good if we do this in numbers. Remember we are doing this for our High School and what we feel is right. They choose not to listen to us now it's our turn to show them that we are here and we will do whatever it takes.
If you have any questions please feel free to email me.
I also know of at least 10 other parents that have done the same.
I contacted the school this morning to get and exemption for my child from the CST testing. All you need to do is write a letter like the example below and turn it into the school your child attends. Make sure to include the school year in your letter.....(There is not an official document to fill out.) They will contact you to let you know where your child will be during the testing.....
Last night at the board meeting Tobin Brinker spoke telling the board members that all we need for Terrace Hills Middle school is 50 students to opt out of testing and the entire schools scores will not be counted when the district is evaluated......
Here is a sample waiver request:
Dear School Administrator, I am requesting an exemption for my child______________________ from taking the STAR test (CST) the school year of 2008 /2009 . Education code 60615 states, “ Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a parent's or guardian's written request to school officials to excuse his or her child from any or all parts of the assessments administered pursuant to this chapter shall be granted.” Please contact me in writing to confirm receipt of this request and inform me where my child will be during the testing time and what instruction will be provided.
I want to thank everyone who came and supported the efforts of renaming our new high school. We had a good amount of people attend but we need more. Several people spoke up and they all did very well and received a huge applause from the audience.
At the end of the meeting Robert Armenta asked the board to bring up the naming of the high school at the next school board meeting. This was met with great applause.
Kent Taylor was next and he looked out at all of the GTHS supporters and thanked them for coming and supporting the high school. He also asked that the naming of the High School be brought up at the next school board meeting as well. He also asked to have a special meeting in regards to the high school naming. They were going to discuss this in their special closed door meeting.
Pat Haro (our hero) also asked that their be a special meeting as well as the naming be brought up at the next school board meeting.
I also thought it was interesting that the board members never called it Ray Abril High School. They always referred to it as the new high school. The only person to call it Ray Abril High School was a school district employee who was talking about the contractors.
So overall I felt the meeting wasn't bad but it wasn't good either but coming out of the meeting I felt better than I did going in.
I want to commend all those that spoke on our behalf. There was no anger shown and your speeches were very well to the point. I would like the school district to see that we are professional and we will not stoop the the level that the others have shown. Tobin Brinker thank you I thought your speech was exactly what we all want to say. Jaime Vilches I loved that you told them your feelings as well I agreed with everything you said.
Thank you again to everyone that came. We need to have 3 times as many people at the next meeting so spread the word and wear your shirts with pride.
I know that what we are doing is paying off. Our hard work has not gone unnoticed. We need to keep working hard and not give up until our High School is named Grand Terrace High School.
The next meeting will be April 23rd at 5:00pm. Please make a note of this so that you can attend.
Colton Joint Unified School District MEASURE B CITIZENS' OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE MEETING A G E N D A Wednesday, April 15, 5:00 - 6:00 PM CJUSD Board Room 851 South Mt. Vernon, Colton, CA 1. CALL TO ORDER – Dan Flores – Chair (1) _____ Larry Edmundson – Chair (2) _____ Belinda Madrigal – *Co-Chair _____ Lynn Hooker - *Secretary _____ William Hussey _____ Amos Isaac, Ph.D. _____ Jesse Rasso, Sr. _____ Jack B. Russell _____ 2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES January 21, 2009, Meeting. 3. PUBLIC COMMENT 4. OLD BUSINESS Projects Update – Alice Grundman Status of Ray Abril High School & Other Modernization Projects 5. NEW BUSINESS Member Term Limits, expiration – Jesse Rasso Sr. Member – I.D. Badges - Jesse Rasso Sr. Open discussion: Weekend Groundbreaking – Lynn Hooker Address New Name of H.S. #3 – Belinda Madrigal Naming issue : new high school Larry Edmundson 6. FINANCIAL REPORT – Alice Grundman 7. MEMBER COMMENT 8. NEXT MEETING - (Quarterly): July 15, 2009 9. ADJOURN
Decline the offer In light of all the letters, comments and opinions that have been submitted about the naming of Colton Joint Unified School District's newest high school, one person, group or family that appears to have remained silent is the name in question: Ray Abril Jr. Why have we not heard from Ray himself or a relative? How about it, Abril family? Why not do the right thing by both the citizens of Colton and Grand Terrace and renounce, relinquish and/or otherwise decline the "prestigious" offer of a high school being named in your honor? I'm sure that if you are the "outstanding" and "honorable" former school board member that you are so often called, you will do the "outstanding" and "honorable" thing by stating publicly that the newest high school be named by its proper name of Grand Terrace High School. Let's give it up for the Abrils for modestly and humbly declining the offer of a high school named after him or them. We all know that you will do the right thing.
I have noticed that there haven't been any letters in the newspapers in the past few days. Please Please send letters to our local newspapers. The school Board doesn't like to see letters in the newspapers. We should be bombarding them with letters.
E-mails are another way to keep the pressure up. On the right I have posted the School Boards e-mail addresses. Please send them emails as many as possible. If you do email them please keep track of when you sent them and if you got a response or not. We need to do this so that we can use it later if we need to. So far they have not been answering anyone's emails and this does not look good.
Someone sent this to me and I want to know what everyone thinks. I am very interested.
I will be requesting an exemption from the state STAR testing for my children. The Colton School Board did not listen to the people of Grand Terrace, San Bernardino and Reche Canyon that will send their kids to the new High School. They do not deserve credit for our kids TEST scores. California Education code #60615 allows parents to exempt their kids from the test. Lets see how good Colton School district will do without the scores of Terrace View Elementary (806 API) or Reche Canyon Elementary (791 API) or Grand Terrace Elementary (769 API) or Cooley Ranch Elementary (763 API). Out of the 18 elementary schools in the Colton district they are ranked #1, #3, #4, #5 respectively.
Terrace Hills Middle School is the Highest of the four middle schools with an API score of 678.
The School Board asked our opinion about the name of the new High School but refused to listen to the answer. Now we must resort to other means to make our voice heard.
Here is a sample waiver request:
Dear School Administrator, I am requesting an exemption for my child______________________ from taking the STAR test this year. Education code 60615 states, “ Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a parent's or guardian's written request to school officials to excuse his or her child from any or all parts of the assessments administered pursuant to this chapter shall be granted.” Please contact me in writing to confirm receipt of this request and inform me where my child will be during the testing time and what instruction will be provided.
Sincerely, Your name Address Phone # E-mail
cc: Superintendent Jim Downs, The Sun Newspaper, the Press Enterprise=
Protesters disrupt groundbreaking for new school Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell, Staff Writer 04/04/2009
GRAND TERRACE - Angry residents booed and heckled school district officials at the groundbreaking for the Ray Abril High School on Saturday. Around 200 people carrying signs, showed up at the site that will soon be transformed into a new school. Many said they were still angry that the school board decided to name the school Ray Abril High School in honor of a former longtime board member, instead of for the city it will be housed in. "It just makes sense that the high school would bear the name of the city it is in," said Jill Taylor-Anderson, as she carried a sign that read: For Unity: Colton High, Bloomington High, Grand Terrace High. "Colton residents are proud of Colton and and we are proud of Grand Terrace." The Saturday protest was part of an ongoing controversy regarding the board's decision to name the $82 million high school, expected to open in September 2011 at Main and Taylor streets, for longtime Colton resident Ray Abril Jr. In recent months, the Colton Joint Unified School District asked the public to come up with nominations for the new school and 73 names were submitted. Grand Terrace High School was the winner, with Ray Abril or Ray Abril Jr. High School coming in fourth place. But at a March meeting, attended by many outraged residents, the board voted to name the school after Abril. Despite the obvious disruption, the many officials attending the groundbreaking carried on with business as usual. District Superintendent James A. Downs described the day as a joyous occasion. And several board members praised Abril for his contributions to the district and community. "I am very proud to name this school Ray Abril High School to tie it to a wonderful person who has given many years of service," said board member Frank Ibarra. Abril also gave a cool and collected presentation, as many in the crowd yelled out "do the right thing Ray." "I am very proud and humble and see this as a whole Abril family gain," he said. Not all who stepped up to the podium showed support for the board's decision. In the past, the Grand Terrace City Council has expressed dismay over the name selection for the school. Mayor Maryetta Ferre again expressed disappointment, before thanking everyone who worked to make it a reality. At the conclusion of the groundbreaking, protester Wendy Baker tried to give a petition, signed by more than 1,000 residents, and a letter, asking him to reconsider, to Abril. Abril politely refused to take it, but a family member stepped in and accepted it from Baker. "We still hope that he will reconsider," said Baker. "If he doesn't we will take the next step, because this is in no way over."
Today is yet another sad day in a long string of sad days in San Bernardino politics. What is it about this county that drives us to continue to elect and re-elect these arrogant politicians? The list is as long as your arm, from the Colton City Council to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors…now to the Colton Joint Unified School District. From Jerry Eaves to Ramon Hernandez to Bill Postmus, we continue to pick the wrong people.
The events of today clearly revealed to me that we’ve done it again with the Colton School Board. Now, let me be clear; this IS about the naming of the new Grand Terrace High School after Colton resident Ray Abril; but it’s also about much more. We’ve already covered all the pertinent ground on the high school name. We’ve already established that this school should be named after the city in which it will be built and for the students who will identify the school with the City of Grand Terrace. And, we’ve already established that, as Grand Terrace residents, our wishes and pleas have been completely ignored…even mocked by members of the school board and school district. So why am I writing this? What’s my point? There is more.
Now…back to my point on arrogance. Today I attended the official ground-breaking ceremony for the new Grand Terrace High School. I watched…stunned… as School Board Member Mel Albiso smirked and waved from the podium as Grand Terrace residents expressed their displeasure with this naming decision. I watched…stunned…as the other board members who spoke, completely dismissed the fact that we were upset…that we were even present. I waited patiently for some healing words from Kent Taylor and David Zamora, the Grand Terrace representatives on the school board. Those words were not to come…they did not speak. The argument of the school board is, and has been, that this school is to serve the entire district, not just Grand Terrace. My response to that argument is, “I know we’re not the entire district but aren’t we still a part of the district?” Should we not still be heard?
I watched…stunned…truly saddened…as members of the Abril family waved their sign which, directly counter to Mr. Abril’s claim of humility, stated in bold letters, “IT'S RAY ABRIL HIGH SCHOOL, GET OVER IT!” My sadness deepened when two Abril family members yelled to us, “There is no Grand Terrace High School, and there never will be.” Then they “gave us the finger” as they walked back toward the Abril photo shoot. That was the second time that Grand Terrace residents were given “the finger” at this ceremony. The first was the collective figurative finger given by the members of the Colton Joint Unified School District.
And I felt a great sense of loss for the entire City of Grand Terrace as I stood quietly and watched as Ray Abril and his extended family were photographed with the school board members breaking ground on our new high school. They took from us a moment that was meant to be shared by an entire community…not a single family. This was a moment that has been a dream of many in Grand Terrace and Colton for many years…and it was yanked from our grasp at the last minute by this school board. I guess what I’m not getting is why the school board and Abril family can’t at least understand the reason for our anger and hurt as a community.
Keep on smirking Albiso…keep on smirking. Your day will come and when it does, I’ll be in the front row with a big smirk of my own. This is simply another instance of San Bernardino County politics in play. It’s just more of the same…back-room deal making, coercion, lies, betrayal, and mocking of the public who is to be served. This school board has made it clear, through their words and deeds, that there is nothing we can do about this…that they are in no way accountable to us.
THEY ARE WRONG! I think that, based on these events, a recall is warranted. It’s a long tough climb and, even if we fail to remove anyone from office, we can make them quite uncomfortable. We must remind them that they are indeed accountable to the people…yes, even to Grand Terrace people. This is clearly wrong and we have to do something…they’re daring us to…telling us that we have no voice. Let’s come together and show them some voice. Let’s show them some democracy. If we don’t do something than we are indeed as helpless and weak as the Colton Joint Unified School Board would have us believe that we are.
I will end on the one bright spot of the entire ceremony. When it was her turn to speak, Grand Terrace Mayor Maryetta Ferre at long last gave us our voice. Looking in the direction of the school board members, she stated how disappointed she was with the school board’s decision to name the high school after an individual. She then turned directly to us and proclaimed in a loud and clear voice that the name should be GRAND TERRACE HIGH SCHOOL. That was a very courageous stand to make in this corrupt county but Mayor Ferre, unlike our school board members, is keenly aware of who elected her… and she has always been aware of what is right and what is wrong.
MEET AT THE CORNER OF BARTON AND MT.VERNON AT 8:30AM IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MARCH TO THE GROUND BREAKING.
We are encouraging everyone to wear BLUEat Saturday's event to show the mass amount of unity for naming the high school GRAND TERRACE HIGH SCHOOL. We think it would make a big impact if we could walk in unison from Barton & Mt. Vernon to the ceremony to be visible to the city and the numerous people still unaware of the new school's name chosen not by residents and taxpayers, but by 6 board members. PLEASE come out in MASS numbers!!! If the Colton District & board see 40-50 people they will absolutely not care, nor will the media. PLEASE give up an hour of your time to show how truly important this is for literally generations to come!
Anonymous said... Proud Of Grand Terrace I have been arguing for this High school with the CJUSD Board for the past 2 years. I have been positive and upbeat the entire time. But at the March 14th board meeting this entire city was shown nothing but disdain and disrespect. Make no mistake this IS about Grand Terrace VS Colton but that was decided by the CJUSD Board. It is time to take the gloves off, this school board is accountable to the residents of this district and if they are going to ignore our wishes when we have done nothing but support them, then it is time for a change. The city has two school board representatives and we must show these two that if they are not going to represent the voters’ wishes then we must replace them, not tomorrow or next week when they will begin making decisions on the new high school but now so that this high school can represent the community which is going to make it tops in the state. Recall now, Kent Taylor and David Zamora, this is the action that needs to be taken to hold those individuals accountable who ignored the very people who elected them to show fair representation. Isn’t Ray Abril High School actually named after Ray Abril's father??? And when are we going to change the school district logo, because obliviously there is no teamwork and communication, how about jealousy, disrespect and egotism. April 1, 2009 9:37 AM
Name nod clouds planned groundbreaking for Grand Terrace campus
GRAND TERRACE - Decades after the initial rumblings about a planned high school in Grand Terrace, the moment of truth finally has arrived. The Colton Joint Unified School District plans to host a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday for the $75 million campus to be built at Taylor and Main streets. It is slated to open in fall 2011. "It's a dream come true to be a part of this high school really coming together," said nine-year trustee Kent Taylor, a Grand Terrace resident. "If you asked the community members, they'd say, 'The one thing you can do is get that high school done.' " The district is getting it done, but not without controversy. The Colton Joint Unified School District plans to host a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday for the planned Ray Abril High School, shown here in an artist's rendering, in Grand Terrace. On March 12, the school board voted 5-1 to name the campus Ray Abril High School, after a former trustee who served for 28 years. That decision came over the objections of some residents who strongly favored the name Grand Terrace High School. The district asked residents for input. Of the 365 nominations received, 124 favored Grand Terrace High. Ray Abril or Ray Abril Jr. received 17 votes. Taylor said those tallies don't reflect the informal votes he and other board members received from people on the street. Residents opposed to the board's action said they feel like they were asked to weigh in but then ignored. Taylor said the call for suggestions was important for gathering names, so that the district could see what ideas were out there. He voted for Abril because he felt the school should be named for a district elder who made many contributions, Taylor said. Now, it's time to unite and look ahead at what the school will mean to students, he said. That won't be easy for some. Joan Winchester, who has lived in Grand Terrace since 1973, said she and other residents plan to keep fighting. It's not one person who makes Grand Terrace but the community of volunteers willing to pitch in without accolades, she said. "We deserve to have our high school named Grand Terrace," Winchester said. "It's unconscionable that they would do something like this." Abril said he did not lobby for the recognition but is grateful for it. "It's just a true honor to have that happen to an individual such as I," he said. "It's an honor for the entire Abril family." The 76-year-old south Colton native still lives in the home his father bought in 1934. The Colton High alumnus, whose wife, Hortensia, died about five months ago, was elected to the school board in 1973. He served as president six years and clerk 13 years. He retired in 2001. Of the discord over the naming, he said he respects the board's decision. Roy Nix, a longtime school volunteer and 42-year Grand Terrace resident, said he has been friends with Abril for 40 years. With any other school, Nix said he could support honoring Abril, but the city's first high school should be named Grand Terrace because it means so much to sports teams and the students, he said. He said he plans to stay home Saturday. "The best message we can give them is to boycott," Nix said. "There is no question they can change it, but we can't make them change it." San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry and the Grand Terrace City Council sent letters to the school board asking that they reconsider. Mayor Maryetta Ferre, who called Abril "a really fine man," said she has heard from several people upset about the naming. Still, the groundbreaking is cause to celebrate, Ferre said. "It's a joyous occasion," she said. "It's taken a very long time to get to this moment." Reach Melanie C. Johnson at 951-368-9489 or mjohnson@PE.com
CEREMONY The Colton Joint Unified School District will break ground in Grand Terrace for its third comprehensive high school, to be named for Ray Abril Jr., a 28-year school board veteran. When: 10 a.m. Saturday Where: Main Street, east of Taylor Street
Fought for school Recently, the city of Grand Terrace had a chance to name two new buildings. The first was to name our new senior center. Some suggested that it be named after the lady who has run the existing facility, without compensation, for 20 years. She denied the honor with grace and class because she felt the center belonged to the city of Grand Terrace and, thus, it was named the Grand Terrace Senior Center. Then, there was a vote to name the recently approved high school in Grand Terrace. The Colton Joint Unified School District Board voted to name the Grand Terrace high school after a retired board member. The city of Grand Terrace has fought for a high school for years and would have loved to have the school named Grand Terrace High School. This would let others know that we have our own high school and it would have given us the privilege to have it named after our city like the first high schools in Colton, Bloomington, San Bernardino, Redlands, Yucaipa, et al. Understandably, the board would like to honor a retired board member, but couldn't the board name the gymnasium, administration building or a football field after this person?
Out of line 03/31/2009 Overwhelmingly, the residents of Grand Terrace, Colton and even The Sun newspaper have made their opinions very clear. The Colton Joint Unified School District board members, in their arrogance, have ignored the voices of the very people who put them in office by voting to name the new high school after Ray Abril Jr. instead of the obvious choice, Grand Terrace High School. When the funding for the school is needed, who gets bill? The taxpayers. But when it comes to naming the school, residents' opinions are cast aside and the school board does whatever it pleases. All I can say to every voter is they should remember the names of those board members and clean house when the next election comes around. The board members are obviously self-serving and have totally forgotten who allowed them the positions they now hold.
Pride of Grand Terrace I grew up in Grand Terrace and remember back in the '70s when GT fought Colton so we could become a city. Colton did not like that. I believe that contributed to the years of empty promises to give our kids their own high school and their own identity. It looks like Colton is still smarting from that fight. I say get over it and do what is right by the families the new high school will serve. Would it really kill the Colton Joint Unified School District board members to give in on this one? We are a city, and we deserve to have pride in where we live just like the Colton residents do. What are the school board members afraid of? That maybe the GT high school will beat some of those Colton teams? No, that can't be it, can it? Why doesn't Mr. Abril do the classy thing and step aside to do what is right for the citizens of Grand Terrace who have waited decades for their own high school?
Intend to fight I was appalled by the actions of the Colton Joint Unified School board at the March 12 meeting regarding the naming of Grand Terrace's new high school. Grand Terrace's years of support for the Colton school district have been disregarded. We were shunned at that board meeting, even after the board itself asked us to vote on this issue and we chose the name Grand Terrace High School. I have three questions for the board members, and please remember, you all are elected officials.
1. How much money was squandered in this school-naming sham?
2. With Colton and Bloomington having schools named in their honor, why would you deny the acknowledgment of Grand Terrace's existence?
3. How do you explain your flagrant prejudice in the decision you have made knowing this does not give the students of Grand Terrace the opportunity to experience what you have given Colton and Bloomington?
The added advantage is it gives our educators the ability to impress upon our students that school pride extends to pride in our city. Grand Terrace is only asking for our students to be given the opportunity of recognition in those sports playoffs and championships, the band competitions, the write-ups in the paper about our drama club, etc. - that they are from the great city of Grand Terrace. A suggestion was made to name the school Grand Terrace High School and dedicate it to Ray Abril Jr. but that was not even considered. I intend to fight this decision.
Americans First The article about the Colton Joint Unified School District board voting to name the new high school in Grand Terrace after a former board member and not the city is insulting to the residents of the district. The residents voted for the school to be named after the city. They are the ones who will be sending their children to the high school. This is another example of the attitudes of many of our elected officials to push their personal agendas and ignore the will of their constituents. The Sun seems to ask the same short-sighted sources, such as Gil Navarro, their opinions when a subject touches on ethnicity. When will he, and others like him, understand that all of our children need role models, beginning with their parents, regardless of their ethnic heritage? Spanish surnamed people settled in this country even before the first settlers from England. We are doing very well as Americans. Navarro is an example of the ethnic splitting politicians that we have all over this country. Teach your children that they are Americans, first and foremost. Good role models do not have to look like us to be effective.
Please come and join the celebration but remember to bring your Grand Terrace High School Signs. If you have t-shirts be sure to wear them! Write messages on your cars. Paint your faces. Bring your kids too.
We want to have a friendly protest but at the same time we are excited to finally be getting our High School.
There will be several newspapers as well as news media there so show your support.