FONTANA, CA – As cheerleaders chanted “We are Southridge Tech,” Fontana Unified board members, administrators, educators and students celebrated Southridge Tech Middle School’s honor as one of 16 California schools newly chosen for the 2019 Schools to Watch list.

The Schools to Watch list, created by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, identifies schools across the U.S. that share three features: academic excellence, developmentally responsive to early adolescence and social equity.

Southridge Tech was recognized for bridging the technology and achievement gap and improving campus culture. Southridge joins Fontana Unified’s Wayne Rubble Middle School in the list of 2019 honorees; Sequoia Middle School made the list in 2018.

“I’m incredibly proud of the extraordinary students that we have and our amazing staff and teachers,” Southridge Tech Principal Dr. Roy Rogers said. “Everything that everyone does here at Southridge Tech creates a positive, collaborative and high caliber learning environment.”

Southridge band students delighted audience members with Queen classics and the school’s cheerleaders delivered sharp, upbeat performances during the afternoon’s festivities. Teacher of the Year Brian Bolda reminisced on the school’s history and on the legacy being established.

“I have enjoyed each and every day of the last 20 years with the other dedicated educators as we guide our students on their journey of discovery,” Bolda said. “Our role as middle school educators is to ensure our students are prepared for the pitfalls and challenges, and to give them the tools necessary to succeed no matter what the obstacle might be.”

California Schools to Watch Co-Director Carole Carlson attended the event along with Fontana Unified Board of Education Vice President Marcelino “Mars” Serna, board member Mary Sandoval, Superintendent Randal S. Bassett and past president of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform Dr. Irvin Howard. Howard, who was a professor at Cal State San Bernardino, trained middle school teachers at Southridge 30 years ago. He also served as the director of the California Schools to Watch program.

“We have created over 150 middle school teachers, that are now throughout the state and country, sharing what they learned from the teachers at this school,” Howard said. “I’m really proud to be back here because when I came for the initial visit a few months ago, I saw that the quality had not gone down but indeed had improved.”

Southridge Tech’s associated student body president Addison Landeros spoke at the event, describing the huge advancements in educational technology at the school, including the 1:1 student-to-device ratio and 3D printers.

The event also was attended by Maha Rizvi, representative of Assemblymember Eloise Reyes, District leaders, parents and more than 1,000 middle school students.

“At Fontana Unified School District, we are committed to a rich and rigorous educational experience that will prepare every student for achievement,” Superintendent Bassett said. “This effort encompasses comprehensive early learning opportunities, programs and services that narrow the achievement gap, positive supportive learning environments, and integrating 21st century skills within the school culture and curriculum – and that is something that I see, truly, here at Southridge Tech.”

Southridge added Tech to its title on April 17 to reflect the school’s efforts to bolster academic performance through technology and celebrate its status as a Microsoft Showcase School.

Toward the conclusion of the event, Serna challenged fellow board representative and FUSD officials to add Schools to Watch honors to the District’s remaining four middle schools. Serna reminded audience members of the legacy that Fontana Unified middle schools hold, and that their high achievements will ensure future success.


Leaders from Fontana Unified and Southridge Tech Middle School, in addition to students and a representative of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, celebrate the school’s selection for the 2019 Schools to Watch list on April 24.

Southridge Tech Middle School cheerleaders celebrate the school’s honor as one of 16 California schools chosen for the 2019 Schools to Watch list.