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.