Friday, April 17, 2009

{Article from our city newspaper}


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 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 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


llw said...

On the subject of CST waivers - I think it would be important for anyone who submits a waiver to consider sharing the conversation they had with administration with this community. In order to combat the propaganda we need to know what the official and unofficial position is of the District regarding this action.

No matter what you are told, you have the legal right to not only opt out of testing, but to request courses or classes for which you believe are in your child's best interest. As Americans, you as the parent or guardian are in charge of the programs or courses in which your child participates. The District can put in place criteria for placement, but they would have to be very, very careful in denying access to a class if the only requirement that was missing from your child's portfolio was a CST score.

Keep your child's work in a folder at home as proof of their proficiency, as well as their report cards and teacher comments. If they have received awards at school, keep those too. Having a good record of your child's achievement, passions, and extra curricular activities is a smart practice - these are the real documents that count for colleges - not CST scores. Even if your child does not choose college right away - their employer is NEVER going to ask how they performed on the California Standards Tests! They'll want to know what kind of person they are.

This movement can be an example for our kids about the value of civic participation. Keeping it focused, positive, and real are important factors that will contribute to its success.

Amanda Betten said...

You are so right! I had a parent tell me at the gym this morning his kids principal called and requested to met with the parents.If they are trying to scare you into not turning in the form by saying,"Your property values will go down." Think about why they are telling you this. Because forms are getting turned in and YOU THE PEOPLE are voicing your opinion!

Thank you parents for your voice and support! The Colton School Board works for you! They answer to no one else but you!
Keep it up Colton School District memembers!!!!!

Saundra@ItalianMamaGoneCrazy said...


Don't let the administration bully you... YOU are your childs parent,and YOU make the decisions necessary for your children.

They are scared... and I understand why... MONEY! But they could have just done the right thing in the first place and give this city what it deserves... naming rights..

Now... fortunately... there are so many more probing eyes on the district and their FUND APPROPRIATIONS, or show I say MISAPPROPRIATIONS.

They (school district) have just made a bed they will not want to lie in. They are going to be in very deep water... very soon.
This decision of theirs has opened the eyes and caught the attention of numerous officials that would love to have stamp in their passport. There is NOTHING THE district can do to Grand Terrace. WE VOTED ON A MEASURE TO BUILD A SCHOOL HERE... they can not reneg on it, it's the law... we voted on it.
Scare tactics... don't let it get ya.

Anonymous said...

Nick Betten said...

Well written Diane. You make it clear what's going on and what people can do to be involved. Any pursuasion coming from school officials in regards to the star test has only the intent to intimdate thereby getting parents to balk/hesitate. Keeping people informed and engaged is our most effective tool right now 'cause it gives them understanding, ownership, and they truly can make a legitimate difference. Knowledge, in this matter, truly is power. Long Live Grand Terrace High School!!!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I have heard from a reputable source in CJUSD that a set of talking points was sent to administrators as was a copy of a letter encouraging parents to take the test. The letter should go out next week sometime or another.
Sinister? No. Is the district worried. It appears that way.

Amanda Betten said...

POWER TO THE PEOPLE! You are the voter you have your rights! EXERCISE THEM!

Amanda Betten

Anonymous said...

So, what happened????

Are we really going to settle for GTHSATRAJEC?????

I for one do not want to be Grand Terrace High School at the Ray Abril Jr. Educational Complex

Let's keep this going and TOTALLY remove the person making the lame suggetion. THERE CAN BE NO COMPROMISE!!!

Robert Armenta MUST go. Remember He's the one that suggested the elongated name. He's the one that thought we were dumb enough to fall for Grand Terrace High School at the Ray Abril Jr. Educational Complex.

Too late for holding CST hostage. Not sure what else we can do. Maybe start a recall?? I think that would get his attention.

Grand Terrrace High School.