Footprints: 1976: DelNorte Unified School District

June 15, 2007 12:00 am

Sharon McKinney

In June, our thoughts are on the end of the school year, graduations, parties, and plans for the future. Summer break beckons with luxuries such as sleeping late and spending time on fun projects instead of studying. Students and teachers need the break to rest from the vigorous challenges of teaching and learning.

One look at the "schools" entries in the telephone directory yellow pages shows how many choices we have for educating our young people. In 1976, the Del Norte County Unified School District offered Kindergarten through 12th grade educations. A building change for the alternative education location was proposed in June with the study of possible sites for the continuation high school. The preferred spot was the old Dodge garage on Northcrest Drive. One possibility was to move the Regional Occupation Program auto shop into the garage building and use that building for the high school. The cost made a different location more feasible.

Continuation high school

The next step for the continuation high school was the hiring of Max Riley to head the program. Max had served his master's degree internship in the psychology department of the school district, working with Roy Krause and Barbara Clausen who gave positive reports about his abilities. Riley was in charge of selecting five teachers who would press a reality-based curriculum, complete with basic education plus the ability to stay current with what the students need to succeed in the world.

Max Riley believed in modeling the behavior that he wanted to instill in the students and wanted to do everything possible to keep them in school. ("We can't teach them if they aren't in school.") The expanded continuation program expected to have 50 students the first year and would have as its goal the support and input of the parents, instilling the basics needed for work, taking care of truancy problems, and "teaching them to fish instead of giving them a fish."

The garage building was leased and included the relocation of the agriculture program that has recently lost its "home." The owner of the building, Ardella Miller lowered the rent from her original asking price of $1,200 per month to $700. An additional $71 a month was earmarked for insurance to cover the continuation and agriculture programs.

Auto shop awards

Three auto shop students were honored for their work by teacher Richard Friberg. Robert Claassen, Mick Moore, and Bob Banchero were the recipients. The awards were designed to give appreciation for their achievements in auto maintenance.

Friberg said athletes and academic students are recognized and he wants the occupational students to be recognized as well for work well done.

Sharon McKinney is a Del Norte Historical Society volunteer.