Patterson invited to block party to celebrate school's start

local@modbee.comAugust 9, 2013 

    alternate textNan Austin
    Title: Education reporter
    Coverage areas: K-12 education, Yosemite Community College District
    Bio: Nan Austin has been a copy editor and reporter at The Modesto Bee for 24 years. She has an economics degree from CSU Stanislaus and previously worked at the Merced Sun-Star and Turlock Journal.
    Recent stories written by Nan
    On Twitter: @nanaustin

— 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

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