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Kindergarteners Coming to Campus

Adopted Kindergarten Class to Picnic on Campus

Class from Alvord Unified School District is participating in national program that teaches elementary school children the value of a college education

(May 3, 2010)

Kindergarten students enjoy a visit from Scotty the Bear.Enlarge

Kindergarten students enjoy a visit from Scotty the Bear.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - ( - A classroom of kindergarten students from Foothill Elementary School in Riverside will cap a yearlong college preparation program with a picnic Thursday at UC Riverside.

The students and their parents are expected to arrive at 11 a.m. They will walk through Sproul Hall, which houses UCR's Graduate School of Education, and then have a picnic on Pierce Lawn. They expect to be greeted by Scotty the Bear, UCR's mascot.

"They have been talking about this the whole year," said Hector Zaldivar, the principal at Foothill Elementary. "So, going to the actual university is going to be an awesome experience."

The school, in the Alvord Unified School District, is aiming to become part of the No Excuses University network, a national program that teaches elementary school children the value of a college education. The network already includes schools from the Alvord, Riverside, Hemet, Romoland, Fontana, Corona, San Bernardino and Palm Springs school districts.

Zaldivar encouraged teachers to adopt a college for their classes. In their classrooms, they posted pennants from the college. Also, Fridays were designated College Day, when the students where T-shirts from the institution they adopted.

The No Excuses University network stresses the following points collaboration, standards alignment, assessment, data analysis and interventions. Foothill Elementary officials are accessing their progress toward these points and expect to join the No Excuses network within a year, Zaldivar said.

The students visiting UCR are from Alejandrina Vasquez' class. Vasquez earned her undergraduate degree in 2002 and master's degree and and bilingual teaching credential in 2004 from UCR.

Vasquez reached out to Anne Jones, director of teacher education in UCR’s Graduate School of Education, about adopting her classroom. Jones quickly agreed because it's provides a connection to alumni and shows the community the university is accessible.

Jones and her colleagues made several trips to Foothill Elementary School during the school year, each time talking about the importance of college.

On the first trip in November, they brought UCR T-shirts and bags of school supplies for the 24 children in the class. They returned with gingerbread cookies in December. And, in March they celebrated Read Across America by reading Dr. Suess and Berenstain Bears books.
Students arrive on campus.Enlarge

Students arrive on campus.

A student displays her temporary UCR tattoo.Enlarge

A student displays her temporary UCR tattoo.

Students pose with Scotty the Bear.Enlarge

Students pose with Scotty the Bear.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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