Banta's new high-tech school
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Aug 09, 2013 | 4581 views | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
River Islands Academy dedicated
Lathrop city councilman Steve Dresser (from left) along with Banta school board trustees Patricia Speer, Joe Perry and Frank Silva join River Islands project manager Susan Dell’Osso cutting the ribbon to dedicate the River Islands Academy in Lathrop on Wednesday, Aug. 7.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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LATHROP – Students like 9-year-old Destiny Morales are motivated to return to class this fall as a student at Banta Elementary School District’s new River Islands Technology Academy.

Destiny and her mother Stephanie Chervellera, both of Tracy, were on hand for the school’s dedication ceremony on the Lathrop campus at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7.

“I’m really excited,” said the rising fourth grader. “I like computers.”

Chervellera said her daughter is “very fortunate” to be attending the advanced technology school.

“I enrolled her and then I went to the open house and realized I made the right choice,” Chervellera said. “I can’t wait until they open the gates.”

Built as part of the Banta school district, the charter will serve 350 to 400 students in grades K-6 when it opens its doors on for the first day of classes on Wednesday, Aug. 14, according to Banta Superintendent Albert Garibaldi.

“This is a momentous milestone,” he said at the dedication. “It marks the culmination of many years of planning and pre-planning.”

In addition to an administration building and multipurpose room with gymnasium, the school also has classrooms with wireless internet hubs, a fully equipped kitchen, science labs, library and a computer lab.

Students in kindergarten through second grade will receive mini iPads and the students in the higher grades will get laptops.

“All of us are very excited to plug it in and get to work,” Garibaldi said.

The new charter is the first new school to be built in the Banta district in more than 130 years. It is the first of nine schools under Banta’s jurisdiction at River Islands, situated in the western portion of Lathrop.

“We want this to be the centerpiece of this community,” Garibaldi said. “We want the school to be the focal point.”

Banta School Board President Frank Silva said the school project was merely a thought more than a decade ago.

“Today is a very, very proud day for us,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have a good school district addition to what we have now. It’s a really good feeling.”

Silva said they hope to expand the school to a K-12 over the next two to three years, but that will depend upon home sales in River Islands.

Project director Susan Dell’Osso said River Islands officials are in the process of selling 500 home lots divided between four builders with plans to break ground by the end of 2013.

There are only two to three Banta students in the incoming class, Garibaldi said. The majority of the students come from Modesto, Manteca, Lathrop and South Stockton.

Fifth-grade teacher Chris Miles was setting up his classroom on Wednesday.

“I’m very excited,” Miles said. “It’s excited and fun. The kids are going to be excited. The technology is pretty amazing.”

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or
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August 09, 2013
"There are only two to three Banta students in the incoming class..."

It's so nice that this school was built for the Banta residents and their kids. And not because some developer handed wads of cash over.

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