PATTERSON — Patterson Joint Unified School District is having its second Back to School Block Party and Safety Fair today, co-sponsored by the city of Patterson. The event will take place on the circle in downtown Patterson from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The KlaasKids Foundation will be on hand to provide free fingerprinting, and more than 30 community services agencies, including the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department and Patterson Fire Department, will give safety demonstrations for parents and students.
"Last year, we decided to host a block party to celebrate the opening of a new school year," district Superintendent Phil Alfano said in a news release. "We planned for 500 parents and students, but more than 2,000 showed up."
Patterson schools have received more than 2,000 new books from the First Book program. The books will be distributed today at no charge to children of all ages at the event as part of Patterson's Family Literacy Initiative.
"We know from all the research that literacy begins at home," Assistant Superintendent Veronica Miranda said. "Students who have a solid foundation and read with their parents at an early age get a head start in their studies. That's why this initiative is so important."
Each of the district's eight schools will have a game booth at today's event, and district staff will be available to assist with questions about the district's lunch program, immunizations and extracurricular activities. Wal-Mart, Grainger, Chevron and other local businesses have contributed to make the day a success, Alfano said. The Patterson Lions Club will cook hot dogs for the crowd.
"We could not continue to do this without the help of our business sponsors and community service organizations," the superintendent said.
The party will include a DJ, giant slide, music and contests. Prizes will be raffled throughout the day, including gift certificates, tickets to Oakland A's games, an iPad and more.
Patterson Joint Unified's school year begins Monday.
On the Net: To view a flier for today's event, visit www.patterson.k12.ca.us.