Riley Elementary School 10 years later


Rossiel Reyes, Reporter

For five years I attended Riley Elementary school. As a first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grader, the halls of Riley seemed so big and daunting, but for these five years I made friends and had teachers that I still keep in contact today. Even though six years have passed since I last attended Riley, I saw many familiar faces as I walked up and down the small hallways . The first being Principal JoAnn Blevins. When I left, as a sixth grader, Mrs. Blevins was working as the assistant principal, but after the principal left, Mrs. Blevins took over.

As mentioned before, a lot of the teachers that I had growing up have since retired or moved onto other places, but luckily I still had the chance to chat with two former teachers that I had while at Riley: Mrs. Gatton and Mrs. Mai.

Mrs. Gatton was my third grade teacher in 2008-2009, but today she works as the technology coach. While talking with her, she mentions a few changes that I surprisingly didn’t notice right away saying, “Recently, Riley has gotten new carpet!” Mrs. Gatton also mentions that a lot of the teachers that once worked at Riley have moved on and in their place, new teacher have come to fill the positions.

The second person I talked to was Mrs. Mai. Although Mrs. Mai was never my teacher during the time I went to Riley elementary school, she would pop in during class to observe. Now, Mrs. Mai works as the literacy coach. As I talked to Mrs. Mai, she mentions that “…instead of having three classes per grade like we used to, Riley now has two classes for each grade.” Not only did this free up a few more rooms to have more space for the new preschool and kindergarten classes, but it also makes class sizes a bit bigger than what it used to be like. The last thing she mentioned to me was that the old reading program Riley used in the past, SFA, was replaced with a new program, Wonders.

After walking around Riley for a little bit, I finally spoke to Mrs. Blevins. The first change she pointed out were the new English/Spanish signs that were placed all over the school for the Spanish speaking families at Riley. Since most of Riley’s students come from a Spanish speaking home, it made sense that the signs displayed both languages. Mrs. Blevins also says that, “Riley now has one-to-one technology, meaning that every student at Riley has some type of technological device.” For the third to sixth graders that meant getting a Chromebook and for the younger students it was iPads. Mrs. Blevins also discussed the pros and cons of the new technology. “One pro is that it motivates the students, but the con that comes along is the new found responsibility they must have.”

Going back to my old elementary school brought back memories that I will probably never forget. The teachers may be different, but the energy and enthusiasm at Riley are still the same.