COARSEGOLD – Rivergold Elementary School teachers, parents and students recently received special training to become the first school in the mountain area to implement the radKIDS program.
The R.A.D. system is an innovative self-defense program designed to empower students and promote an environment where violence is unacceptable.Formally called Rape Aggression Defense Systems, and usually referred to as radKIDS®, the program was initially designed to educate families about safety and awareness strategies and provide physical resistance and defense techniques specifically modified for children.
Rivergold Principal Cindy Simons calls radKIDS® and its effect on Rivergold kids, who graduated Feb. 15, “phenomenal.”
“It’s an empowering program that helps kids make the right choices and helps them learn that if they are uncomfortable with a situation, not to ignore it,” Simons explains.
Two Rivergold teachers and one parent spent five days training in the R.A.D. Systems program led by Christine Hawk of the Madera County Sheriff Department.
Rivergold teachers Gina Hansen-Sedor and Lynn Reimer, along with parent Debbie Gibbs, were present in Madera for the intensive training.
Once training was complete, the adults returned to their respective schools to implement the anti-bullying program, and each school is helping the other to train staff and students in radKIDS® technique.
The program was made available by an initial grant from the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians in cooperation with the Madera County Sheriff’s Office. Rivergold and Coarsegold schools teamed up and were supported in their efforts by Yosemite School District and Superintendent James Sargent.
While 1st grade Rivergold students were the first to graduate from the radKIDS® program in the foothills, their friends at Coarsegold Elementary are not far behind and will complete their R.A.D. education this month.
With the initial success of R.A.D. training at Rivergold, “Hawks” Principal Simons says the school is now making plans to implement the R.A.D. System into every student’s curriculum through physical education classes.
Meanwhile, Simons is counting on her newly informed students, 1st graders who she says are typically “watchers and observers,” to step forward when they see injustice.
In other news at Rivergold, the “Hawks” are competing with the Coarsegold “Cougars” for the first-ever Cougars/Hawks Spelling Classic, held over two nights, Monday-Tuesday, Mar. 11-12.
On Wednesday, Mar. 13, the Rivergold PTA will install an art exhibit of works created by students in a variety of genres. The exhibit will be on display in the multi-purpose room from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Finally, Rivergold Hawks will be flying through their annual Hawk Walk on Thursday, Mar. 21, and students are currently taking pledges for one of the school’s biggest and most popular fundraising events.