Oak Ridge Elementary School

Approximately 50 Oak Ridge Elementary School sixth graders gather for a Class of 2021 photo during a promotion ceremony organized by parents at Oak Ridge Park in Chino Hills. 

Four mothers of Oak Ridge Elementary School sixth-grade students organized a promotion ceremony Monday afternoon in Chino Hills. 

Sixth-grade promotions were not permitted by the Chino Valley school board because of COVID-19 safety restrictions. 

Parent Holly Parker said the moms went into action  and spearheaded the event with help from other parents. “We were able to give our Bobcats their pre-promotion in the park,” Mrs. Parker said.

The ceremony was held at Oak Ridge Park in Chino Hills, located in close proximity to the school on Valle Vista Drive.

The students were given pre-promotion certificates, balloon decorations, snacks, and time to play and “just be kids,” Mrs. Parker said. 

“It was so awesome to see these kids all together again, and the chance to see them get a certificate in person and not on a Zoom presentation,” Mrs. Parker said.  “They deserved better,” she added. 

The Chino Valley school district allowed in-person ceremonies for junior high and high schools.

Several elementary parents at the May 6 board meeting requested the district allow in-person ceremonies for their students promoting to junior high. 

Superintendent Norm Enfield said the elementary schools were not equipped to comply with state regulations concerning visitors and social distancing required for after school events.

He also cited conflicts with families who would be attending high school graduations and junior high promotions since these were spread out over multiple days during the last week of school.

At the request of trustee Andrew Cruz, the item was placed on the May 20 agenda for a vote which received support only from James Na.

Board president Joe Schaffer, Christina Gagnier and Don Bridge voted against the item.

Mr. Schaffer said he spoke with several elementary principals and was told that virtual promotions and other activities would be held for the sixth grade students. 

“To say it’s not going to be celebrated is inaccurate,” Mr. Schaffer said.

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