April 13, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

Rialto Unified School District breaks ground on one if its dreams – International Healing Garden with help from Assembly Majority Leader Reyes

2 min read

Photo Manny Sandoval: Pictured from left are Brian Montes, RUSD Grounds Supervisor, Dr. Cuauhtémoc Avila, RUSD Superintendent, Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes, Edgar Montes, RUSD Board Vice President, Stephanie E. Lewis, RUSD Board Clerk, Dr. Darren McDuffie, RUSD Lead Strategic Agent, and Diane Romo, RUSD Lead Business Services Agent.

On Thursday, October 7, Rialto Unified School District (RUSD) and Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gomez Reyes broke ground on the district’s forthcoming International Healing Garden.

“It’s no surprise we’re recognizing and awarding the RUSD with $1 million. This check is part of the California state budget; it’s coming straight out of the budget because the State of California recognizes the value in having an International Healing Garden in the city,” said Reyes.

The garden, the first of its kind in the region, will provide students, staff, and families a facility for the education of environmental studies, water conservation, climate resiliency, as well as support physical, social and emotional health outcomes.

“This project is very important to our school district, as it places a big focus on education and social-emotional healing. For the past five or so years, our district has been busy implementing gardens into all of our schools where students can plant and grow produce, which is then incorporated into our nutrition services,” said Edgar Montes, vice president of RUSD board of education.

The healing garden is set to feature a large teaching area, dock walkway, a bridge, wastewater treatment demonstration space, drip irrigation demonstration, an amphitheater, Japanese garden, citrus trees, eating areas, and a waterfall.

“It’s possible that in two years we could be ready for the official grand opening. We’re getting ready for the site to start its grading process, which will be followed by fencing and infrastructure drainage,” said Brian Montez, Grounds Maintenance Supervisor at RUSD.

To date, RUSD has planted almost 700 fruit trees at 29 schools across the district and the opening of the forthcoming International Healing Garden will continue the trend upward.

“When I look out at this two-and-a-half acres, you may see weeds…but I see dreams coming true. The RUSD has continuously led the region with innovative projects that seek to engage students and the community. Not only do they come up with innovative ideas, like building a garden at every school in the district, this is a first and I hope many of our other school districts will learn from this and do the same thing,” concluded Reyes.

As of October 2021, eight RUSD schools have been recognized as Green Ribbon schools for excellence in health, wellness, environmental and sustainability education.

For more information, visit kec.rialto.k12.ca.us.


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