Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Writer says public school alternative programs take time to succeed

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Dear Editor:

After attending a few board meetings, it has become more apparent that the parents who want charter schools simply want options for their students to learn. Unfortunately, some people may not realize that when you change something it takes time because there is no instant switch that automatically changes something.

The people in favor of charter schools don’t take the time to realize what the public schools have to offer. Plus, the reason so many charter schools probably fail is because they don’t take time to put together these programs like the public schools do.

While attending these meetings, I have noticed that these people who are in favor of the charter schools attend the meetings to get their public comment out there. While this is all fine and dandy, it did not seem to me that many of them stayed long enough to hear the options that AUSD is trying to put in place. Also, these options take time because, remember there is no instant switch to make these options happen. Just like with the academies at the high school level, they did not just roll out overnight. These academies took time to roll out at the high school level, like years to become the greatness that they are. Now, because of the successful implementation of these options, oh, I meant academies, there is starting to be more options at the middle school level for students to take classes that give them options to learn.

I know a lot of parents want their students to learn how to code or learn other skills, but those programs take time to develop and these programs also take time to implement. Also, what parents may not realize is that there is this thing called expanded learning and during LCAP meetings (which all parents who want to know what’s going on should be involved in) there was a large discussion on what should we offer our AUSD students for expanded learning. Coding, engineering related skills, and other computer skills were mentioned; but what was not mentioned was anything about charter schools. Parents that want to give their students a different learning opportunity should get involved in PTSA or LCAP, which help and support all students and takes in ideas on how to improve learning and the betterment of all students.

Also, after being lied to once and then your director not knowing what he was talking about I would be skeptical about wanting to send my child to this school.

Deanna Rundall

Antioch

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Applications for Antioch School Board appointment to Personnel Commission due Dec. 5

Monday, November 26th, 2018

The Antioch Unified School District Board of Trustees is accepting applications for appointment to the District’s Personnel Commission, Unexpired term 2/13/19-12/1/20.

Must be a registered voter, live in AUSD boundary, adherent to Merit System principles, qualified to hold CA public office, not employee of AUSD or any governing board.

Application & Packet: Click Here

Or stop by Personnel Commission

510 G Street, Antioch, CA 94509, (925) 779-7500 x55500

www.antiochschools.net

Due: 12/5/2018

 

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Contra Costa community colleges will remain closed until Monday, Nov. 26

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

By Timothy Leong, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa Community College District

The Contra Costa Community College District (District) has decided to close all College and District operations on Tuesday, November 20th and Wednesday, November 21st. due to ongoing poor air quality.  The District Office and Colleges (Contra Costa, Diablo Valley, San Ramon Campus, Los Medanos, and Brentwood Center) will resume regular operations on Monday, November 26th.

While the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is forecasting improved but fluctuating air quality over the next few days, the District has decided to err on the side of health concerns of its students and staff.  The District has been closed since Thursday, November 15, 3:00 p.m., due to very unhealthy air quality in Contra Costa County.

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Contra Costa community colleges to remain closed on Monday due to poor air quality

Monday, November 19th, 2018

By Timothy Leung, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa Community College District

Due to the ongoing and unpredictable poor air quality we are experiencing throughout Contra Costa County, the Contra Costa Community College District has decided to close all locations  – Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, Los Medanos College, Brentwood Center, San Ramon Campus and District Office on Monday, November 19, 2018. We hope to re-open Tuesday, but will make a final decision by 3:00 PM on Monday.

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Contra Costa Community Colleges closed until Monday due to poor air quality

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

By Timothy Leong, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa Community College District

Due to the unpredictable and poor air quality we are experiencing throughout Contra Costa County, the Contra Costa Community College District has decided to close all locations – Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, Los Medanos College, Brentwood Center, San Ramon Campus and District Office – effective 3:00 p.m. today (Thursday), Friday and Saturday.  We will reopen all locations on Monday, November 19, 2018.

While the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is forecasting a significant improvement in air quality over the next few days, we believe this decision best serves the safety of our students, staff and community.

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Letters: Writer defends East Bay Tech Academies as necessary for Antioch students

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Dear Editor:

I am a strong supporter of all public schools. The proposed East Bay Tech Academies approved by the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) Board earlier this year are free, public, charter schools. All of us who worked on bringing this choice to Antioch also support improvement at our current AUSD schools. Even so, we need high performing schools now so that our current students have the chance for success that they deserve.

As a longtime resident, it has saddened me to see many great families with school-aged children move out of town, primarily to get their children into higher performing school districts. I agree with the comment posted by Ken Turnage (on a previous letter to the editor) that it is possible to get a great education in Antioch. My children had some outstanding teachers. However, at the same time, the great majority of children attending the AUSD perform below grade level and are not meeting State Standards in either math or English. This can’t all be a result of bad parenting. After all, where high quality charter schools are established in a community, most of the same children who were failing begin to excel.

The nationally recognized model that the East Bay Tech Academies is offering Antioch families has taken a school in a neighboring community from a poor performing school to one of the best in the state. Fifty-two percent (52%) of their students were proficient in Math in 2016 versus only 15% at Antioch High School and 32% at Deer Valley High School. Which school would you choose to send your children to if you had a choice? The opponents of these schools never argue on the performance numbers because these facts are indisputable.

In fact, almost all of the opposition to charter schools comes from the teacher’s unions. Ironically, I know of many teachers and politicians who send their own children to charter and private schools, while fighting to prevent school choice for others. Parents at the local middle schools signed the East Bay Tech Academies petitions at an astonishing rate. Eight out of ten parents that I spoke with signed immediately when presented with the petition. Parents clearly support choice.

The unfounded fear is that these charter schools will hurt the district by attracting children from the district schools. The reality is that parents and students have already left the district in droves because they want options. The AUSD student population has declined by over 5,000 students from twelve years ago when my children were in the AUSD schools. At the same time, the population of Antioch has risen by over 20%. The student population should have increased significantly over this same period. Performance numbers, not charter schools, are the threat to the AUSD.

I want to thank the AUSD Board of Education for challenging the status quo in order to give the parents and students of Antioch more options.

The American Dream is a set of ideals which includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility. Education remains the best tool for achieving this dream. As a community we should support multiple venues for our children to succeed, including charter schools.

Tom McNell

Antioch

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Letters: Founder of Antioch’s East Bay Tech Academy charter middle school offers other side of story

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Dear Editor:

For those who may not know me, let me introduce myself. I’m Jareem Gunter, an Antioch parent and the leader of the East Bay Tech Academy middle school. (We call it Tech Antioch for short.) Antioch is my home. My mother worked at Live Oak High School in the Antioch Unified School District for over 20 years until she retired last year. I was part of the opening class at Deer Valley High School, my alma mater. Now, a father with two young children, I was excited for my family to buy a home and set up roots back in Antioch.

Efforts to open Tech Antioch have raised questions about the connection between our school and Clayton Valley Charter High School. Since these concerns were first raised in the spring, numerous steps were taken to ensure Tech Antioch is completely separate from Clayton Valley. Our board was formed and includes experienced leaders in the charter school sector and a local Antioch resident, Fernando Navarro. I was named the school leader. And, we entered into a legal agreement with Clayton Valley creating a clear separation while also establishing a plan to reimburse Clayton Valley for the original investment it made into the school.

To be clear: I have no ties to Clayton Valley. Our board has no ties to Clayton Valley, my ties are to Antioch and Antioch public schools.  All my life I have attend public school, and care deeply about public school education.

We as a community, need to be honest. We need to look at the outcomes of Antioch schools and ask ourselves: Is this good enough? Last year, nearly 69 percent of students didn’t meet state English standards and 81 percent failed to meet math standards. While 80 percent of our students graduate high school, only 35 percent of those students are prepared for college. That means about two out of every three graduates leave with a diploma but not the skills they need for success if they want to pursue a career that requires a college degree. What we’re doing is not working for most children.

We are leaving too many children behind. All our children deserve and can be successful if we provide them the right opportunities. As a charter school, we can bring new ideas to our community. Our world is continually changing. We need to invest in new methods and ideas within our educational offerings.

Tech Antioch can provide an opportunity for innovation in our community and help our public schools become better. In other communities–such as Denver, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Houston and San Diego–forward-thinking leaders have focused on what children need and incorporated charter schools into their solution.

We need to spend time focused on what children in our community need. They need the right opportunities, and that can include giving them another public school option through Tech Antioch.

As a community, our current approach is not working for too many children. Our traditional school options are allowing too many children to graduate without being prepared for life. We need to try something new. My vision for Tech Antioch is to be another option for those children. Parents need to have access to another public school choice for their children. Providing our families with more opportunities for their children will only improve our district.

I want to work with the district to give children a choice. And, I want to work with other school leaders. Let’s work together to redefine how we support our children. Together, we can raise the expectations for our children and ensure they are positioned to achieve whatever dreams they have.

We can only work together if we stop political posturing and start having actual conversations. I ask that you honestly consider what our children need and welcome a partnership with our school.

Jareem Gunter, Founder/Director, East Bay Tech Academy

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Deer Valley, Antioch High Marching Bands each win first place at Lodi band review

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

DVHS Drum Major Marcanthony Ponce and AHS Drum Major Mariah Capote with their first place trophies. Photo by AUSD.

By Allen Payton

The Deer Valley High School and Antioch High School Marching Bands both took home first place trophies in their divisions for the parade competition at the 41st Annual Lodi Grape Bowl Classic Band Review on Saturday, Nov. 3. Hosted by Lodi and Tokay high schools, the review included Marching Band Parade Competition, Jazz Band Competition and Field Show Competitions for middle and high schools.

The event was held at Lawrence Elementary School, followed by a field show at the Lodi Grape Bowl, according to the Lodi Sentinel.

Susan Te contributed to this report.

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