Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Deer Valley High ACE Academy skywatching events in Oct. and Nov. begin at John Marsh house Saturday night

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

The Deer Valley High School Academic Challenge & Enrichment (ACE) Academy has a lot of things going on for the public in the next three weeks. Take a look at these skywatching events and join us for a look at the heavens. More and more people are attending our planetarium program — our first two shows were basically running at full capacity. In addition, for each of the three events listed below we will also have a lunar sample disc borrowed from NASA that has six samples of rocks and soil brought back to earth from the Apollo missions. You can see a moon rock at any of the three following events.

October 19 – John Marsh Stone House.

6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m Join Astronomer and teacher Jeff Adkins for a close-up view of the night sky. Enjoy the history and splendor of the Marsh Creek State Historic Park. $20 per person

ACE Academy students and Mr. Adkins will provide a stargazing event at the John Marsh Stone House south of Brentwood near the new LMC campus as a fundraiser for the new state park interpretive center being built there. There are events all day long including a meal. This event is NOT free ($20 for the astronomy part) but you can pay for only the parts you want. For tickets, directions and more information visit this link:

October 24 – DVHS Planetarium presents “We Choose Space,” a program provided by Loch Ness Productions and sponsored by Corteva (formerly Dow Agriscience). This program reviews the beginning of the space age and explains why we explore space. Following the program we will have a planetarium show to look at Saturn, the Summer Triangle, the Ring Nebula, and other objects. The planetarium is free and the doors open at 8 PM. The show starts at 8:15 and observing starts at 8:45. We will finish up around 9:30-10 PM. For more information go to

October 26 – DVHS astronomy students and Mr. Adkins will be at the Los Vaqueros Reservoir in Brentwood, one of the darkest locations in Contra Costa County, to observe the night sky with our fleet of telescopes. This event will run from 8 – 10:30 PM (although I will be there earlier as it gets dark.) There is a parking fee for each car.

For more information go to

Finally, on the morning of November 11 the planet Mercury will pass in front of the sun. Our school’s solar telescopes can see this event and we will be displaying it “live” so you can see it. This is being done as an ACE academy fundraiser at Barnes and Noble in Antioch. We will be encouraging visitors to mention ACE as they check out to help support the academy. This is the last transit of Mercury visible from North America until the year 2049. Our event will already be happening as the sun rises and will continue until about 10 AM. For more information about the transit including an animation of what we expect to see visit: (Please note the moon rocks will not be available for this event.)

For the Mercury Transit, the Stone House, and the Los Vaqueros reservoir, the events are subject to the weather. If it is cloudy they may be cancelled. The planetarium show happens rain or shine.

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Bay Area Lifeline Nursing training school opens in Antioch

Saturday, October 5th, 2019

Located in the heart of Antioch, Bay Area Lifeline Nursing is a Nursing Assistant and Home Health aide training school. Our goal is to help change lives within the community one heartbeat at a time.

We prepare our students for the California Health Department Certification for Nursing Assistants and Home Health Aides. We also offer CEU (Continuing Education Units) and CPR classes.

Our instructors are highly experienced nurses with backgrounds from various healthcare settings including nursing education.

We offer an accelerated 21-day program to complete the Nursing Assistant Training and get you ready for the board examination and certification.

Certified Nursing Assistants are currently in high demand in health care facilities such as hospitals, nursing and convalescent homes, assisted living facilities, doctors offices, rehabilitation facilities, group homes, and in-home settings.

The California Health department requires periodic continued education units by every certified nursing assistant for certification renewal. Bay Area Lifeline Nursing offers courses to meet these requirements.

Let BALN help you start a new lifestyle with better job opportunities in California. They’re located at 3501 Lone Tree Way, Suite 1 in Antioch. For more information call (925) 839-7279, email or visit

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Los Medanos College partners with JFK University to host Olga Custodio, the first Latina U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Tuesday, Sept. 24

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

Los Medanos College (LMC) is partnering with John F. Kennedy University (JFKU) to host Olga Custodio, the first Latina to serve as a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force.  The event will be held on Tuesday, September 24, at LMC’s Pittsburg Campus in Room SC-136 (Science Building, first floor); Lt. Col. Custodio’s presentation will be held 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., followed by a reception.  The campus is located at 2700 East Leland Road in Pittsburg.   There is no charge to attend, and guests are asked to RSVP online.

The event, which is part of LMC’s fourth annual Equity Speaker Series, will feature Retired Lt. Colonel Olga Custodio sharing her story of “Passion, Patience & Persistence.”  Custodio was the first Latina to complete military pilot training in the United States Air Force (USAF), graduating in the top five percent of her class, and the first to become a USAF fighter pilot.  She went on to break even more barriers as the first female flight instructor at two major USAF bases, and later as the first Latina commercial pilot for American Airlines.  Living by the mantra, “querer es poder” – loosely translated to “where there’s a will, there’s a way” – Custodio’s perseverance, fighting spirit, leadership abilities, and passion for flying took her where few women have gone before.  Now retired, Lt. Col. Custodio continues to lead and inspire, championing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and motivating women and girls to pursue aviation and male-dominated professions.  She is involved with a number of professional and service organizations, including: Women Military Aviators Association, as an active charter member; Women in Aviation International, as executive director and treasurer of the Alamo City Chapter; the Hispanic Association of Aviation and Aerospace Professionals, as vice president; the Order of Daedalians; and the Daedalian Foundation, as a Trustee.  With her dedication to attracting more women and young people to aviation and STEM careers, she also serves as a mentor with the Aviation Explorers organization in San Antonio and with the School of Aeronautics of the Inter American University in Puerto Rico.

Collaborating on this event expands LMC’s existing partnership with JFKU.  The two institutions have previously partnered on a Student Wellness Program that provides mental health counseling to students at LMC.  In addition to marking Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) Week and National Hispanic Heritage Month, the event with Lt. Col. Custodio reflects the shared commitment of LMC and JFKU – both Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), with undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25% Hispanic – to providing opportunities and support toward degree completion for Latino/a and minoritized students.  Lt. Col. Custodio’s visit comes on the heels of LMC celebrating its 10-year anniversary of participating in the Mathematics, Engineering, Science & Achievement (MESA) Program, which focuses on helping underserved and underrepresented students achieve success in the STEM workforce.

Questions about this event may be directed to Dr. Sabrina T. Kwist at or (925) 473-7314.

For more information about all of LMC’s Office of Equity & Inclusion, visit

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12th Annual Mary Allan Fellows Awards dinner to honor top Antioch teachers Tuesday night

Monday, September 16th, 2019

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, the Antioch Schools Education Foundation hosts its 12th annual Mary Allan Fellows Awards, which honor top teachers in the Antioch Unified School District.

As usual, Allan (the awards’ namesake) said she and the committee were overjoyed with the many nominations of strong teachers and were delighted to visit each educator in his/her classroom.

This year seemed to be a year of particular “intention, commitment and (focus) on the individual needs of students,” said Allan, adding that she remains impressed by everyone’s passion and humbleness in the important roles each plays in a student’s life.

The Fellows winners are Jose Cumagun, Bruce Ellison and Kiel Olff, all from Deer Valley High; and Tim Mays and Rebecca Quinones, both from Antioch High.

Semifinalists are Shirley Bull, Turner Elementary; Mary Jane Grove, Jack London Elementary; Patt Middle; Vicki O’Connor, Dozier-Libbey Medical High; and Julie Verhoek, Sutter Elementary.

All will be spotlighted at the awards dinner at Lone Tree Golf and Event Center in Antioch. All educators and community are welcome to attend. This year’s speaker is Samy D’Amico, a former AUSD educator.

“Born in Argentina and coming to America as a second-grader, D’Amico is well aware of the struggle of being a non-English learner. Since then, he has embraced his background and its cultural richness, keeping it at the forefront when interacting with students,” said Allan.

For more info and to purchase the $70 tickets:

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Antioch School Board adopts policy requiring commemorative flags flown on separate pole from U.S., state flags

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

The U.S. and California state flags flying at the AUSD offices.

By Allen Payton

In response to concerns about the district flying the LGBTQ rainbow flag at the district offices and each school, in June, the Antioch School Board adopted a flag policy at their meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Now, any commemorative flag must fly on a separate and shorter pole from the U.S. and California state flags at the district office. However, the policy does not include flying commemorative flags at the schools in the district.

The new language of the policy includes the following:

“Commemorative flags displayed at the District office shall be on a flagpole separate from the flag of the United States and the flag of California if a secondary flagpole is available. The secondary flagpole shall be located in a place of less prominence and shall be at a lower height than the main flagpole.”

In addition, the policy states, “The District will not display a commemorative flag based on a request from a third party, nor will the District use its flagpoles to sponsor the expression of a third party.”

When asked why the schools weren’t included in the policy, Anello simply responded, “It was not party of the policy.” Asked why not, she responded, The Board didn’t request it. But, probably will address that next.

Both Trustees Crystal Sawyer-White and Ellie Householder were also asked why the school sites weren’t included in the policy. Householder responded, School sites are allowed to develop their own policies regarding flying flags.”

The policy was adopted on a 4-0 vote, as Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray was absent. The complete policy can be read, here: AUSD Ceremonies and Observances – after changes

Please check back for any updates to this report.

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Antioch School Board adds immigration status to information policy to protect illegal immigrant students or families

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 11, the Antioch School Board adopted a new policy regarding handling information of students and their families who are in the country illegally.

According to the staff report, “This policy was revised to reflect Assembly Bill 699 – new legislation mandating school district to adopt policy consistent with a model policy developed by the California Attorney General which limits assistance with immigration enforcement at public schools.

These changes reflect the recommendations of the California School Boards Association (CSBA).

In addition, the California Department of Education (CDE) Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) conducted a Civil Rights Review (CRR) of the Career Technical Education (CTE) program at Dozier-Libbey Medical High School during the 2018-19 school year. As part of the review, the reviewer advised the District to update this policy to reflect the recommendations from the California Attorney General addressing the following areas in order to provide a safe, welcoming environment for all students:

  • gathering and handling student and family information
  • responding to requests for access to school grounds for immigration enforcement purposes
  • responding to the detention or deportation of a student’s family member
  • responding to hate crimes and bullying related to national origin or ethnicity”

According to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest, AB699 prohibits “school officials and employees of a school district, county office of education, or charter school, except as required by state or federal law or as required to administer a state or federally supported educational program, from collecting information or documents regarding citizenship or immigration status of pupils or their family members. The bill would require the superintendent of a school district, the superintendent of a county office of education, and the principal of a charter school, as applicable, to report to the respective governing board or body of the local educational agency in a timely manner any requests for information or access to a schoolsite by an officer or employee of a law enforcement agency for the purpose of enforcing the immigration laws in a manner that ensures the confidentiality and privacy of any potentially identifying information.”

The new policy includes the following language:

“Responding to Requests for Information

Unless authorized by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act pursuant to 20 USC 1232g, student information shall not be disclosed to immigration law enforcement authorities without parental consent, a court order, or judicial subpoena. The Superintendent or designee shall annually notify parents/guardians that the district will not release student information to third parties for immigration enforcement purposes, unless the parent/guardian consents or as required to do so by a court order or judicial subpoena.

Upon receiving any verbal or written request for information related to a student’s or family’s immigration or citizenship status, district staff shall:

  1. Notify the Superintendent or designee about the information request
  2. Provide students and families with appropriate notice and a description of the immigration officer’s request
  3. Document any request for information by immigration authorities
  4. Provide students and parents/guardians with any documents provided by the immigration enforcement officer, unless such disclosure is prohibited by a subpoena served on the district or in cases involving investigations of child abuse, neglect, or dependency

Resources and data collected by the district shall not be used, directly or by others, to compile a list, registry, or database of individuals based on national origin, immigration status, religion, or other category of individual characteristics protected against unlawful discrimination.”

The Federal Educational Rights and Policy Act “allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):

  • School officials with legitimate educational interest;
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring;
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
  • Accrediting organizations;
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.”

In addition, the policy’s language states, “The Superintendent or designee may refer a student or his/her family members to other resources for assistance, including, but not limited to, an ICE detainee locator, legal assistance, or the consulate or embassy of the parent/guardian’s country of origin.”

The policy was adopted 4-0, as Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray was absent.

The complete AUSD policy can be read, here – AUSD Response to Immigration Enforcement – with changes

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Antioch High School wins award for exceptional career-focused education program

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Antioch High School’s Career Choices Silver Medal.

Antioch High School is being recognized with a Career Choices Silver Medal for its outstanding education program promoting college and career readiness.

As a Career Choices Medal School, Antioch High School is among the top five percent of schools across the nation that have exemplified an eagerness to promote student success with the Career Choices series curriculum. The school’s Get Focused…Stay Focused! efforts, alongside, help students plot achievable 10-year plans for their future education and career goals.

Mindy Bingham, author of the Career Choices series, said being awarded a Career Choices Medal is a great accomplishment that requires solid leadership, top-notch teachers and a lot of hard work.

“After nearly 30 years, we know what it takes to implement a program that will result in increased student success and improved college and career readiness,” Bingham said. “Many of the schools we work with are committed to that level of excellence, and that is reflected in their careful planning, intentional implementation of our materials and dedication to ongoing improvement.”

The career-focused course at Antioch High School is administered to freshmen and sophomores, and it has been able to help students from all different backgrounds plan for their future, teacher Nick Wisley said. Specifically, one student who was struggling at Antioch High School was able to improve his grades after learning what kinds of careers were attainable if he attended higher education, Wisley said.

“His grades turned around, and he decided he wanted to continue to go to school after that moment,” Wisley said. “That’s what I love about this course. It’s teaching life.”

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Former Dozier-Libbey principal, Scott Bergerhouse moves to new role at Antioch School District offices

Friday, August 16th, 2019

New AUSD Director of Student Support Services, Scott Bergerhouse in his new office. Photo courtesy of AUSD.

Settles in as Director of Student Support Services.

By Charleen Earley

Scott Bergerhouse grew up attending Antioch schools before taking a teaching position at Park Middle School following college. After 35 years serving thousands of AUSD students as a teacher, vice principal and principal, – most recently for Dozier-Libbey Medical High School – it is rare for Bergerhouse to go anywhere in the community without running into a former student, parent, or colleague.

Bergerhouse’s work has also impacted current teachers and principals in the District including John Jimno, Principal of Park Middle School. “Mr. Bergerhouse was my sixth grade teacher at Park and later my Vice Principal at Antioch High School.” Although Mr. Jimno has many fond memories of Scott, he recalls one incident in particular that impacted him. “I only got in trouble one time in school and I had to go see Mr. Bergerhouse who was then my Vice Principal. I remembered being scared about what my consequence would be. But rather than suspend me or assign me to Saturday School, Scott talked me into becoming a camp counselor for fifth grade students that summer.”

“He taught me something that day that I will never forget and that helped shape the administrator I am today,” says Jimno. “You have people learn more when they do something that makes them grow, that shows that you believe in them. That day Scott showed that he saw something different in me and I try to do the same when students are sent to my office.”

Bergerhouse says he is excited about his new position as Director of Student Support Services.

“I was fortunate enough to work in this position for two months this past year,” he saidd. “I loved it because I love finding solutions that work for students and families.”

“I also love working with health and wellness and mental health supports, because that’s what some kids certainly need,” Bergerhouse added. “The tiered interventions are what truly support students and their variety of needs.”

Born in Arkansas City, Kansas, Bergerhouse moved to California in 1965. He’s the father of Nicholas, age 34, and Carly, age 23, and the proud grandfather of Kailiana Joy, age 6.

“My parents still live in the same house in Antioch that I was raised in,” said Bergerhouse, who currently lives in Discovery Bay with his Chihuahua named Cody. “I am a product of the Antioch Unified School District.”

Education, he says, is all about supporting students.

“It’s about playing an integral role in students’ lives to help them build the confidence and commitment to survive in a challenging society,” said Bergerhouse. “Not a day goes by that I have not been rewarded in some way from a student’s story, a student’s compliment to a teacher, a handshake, etc. I would never want anything more than that.”

“Education has been the best career that I could ever have imagined,” he added. “The lasting friendships, positive relationships and the unwavering commitment to students are things that are so important to me.”

His educational career includes attending Los Medanos College for one year, followed by a baseball scholarship to the University of Nevada, Reno, then onto Southern Utah State University, graduating with a BS in education.

“I taught school for one year in Utah before returning to California,” he said. “I received my administrative degree at California State University, Hayward.”

Growing up, however, Bergerhouse had a more glamorous plan for his life.

“When I was younger, I wanted to be a professional baseball player until my father influenced me that a ‘Plan B’ was imperative,” he said. “The best thing I ever did was following that advice.”
In his new role as Director of Student Support Services, Bergerhouse said some of his duties will include responding to school emergency calls, working with administrators to help provide support for students, keeping lines of communication open with all school leaders, and visiting schools to provide support.”

“Other duties will include overseeing Strategic Threat Management’s two officers; providing support for schools; producing monthly suspension and attendance data for all schools; overseeing the District nurse and counselors, as well as working with various support programs,” he said.
When he’s not working, Bergerhouse spends his time outdoors.

“I love to play golf, even though I’m not very good! I enjoy spending time with my parents and siblings, and I love the ocean and being around water,” he said.

He also spends his time volunteering.

“I have been the President of Delta Advocacy Foundation for approximately 15 years, helping individuals and families through short-term financial difficulties throughout East Contra Costa County,” he said. “This would also include situationally impoverished situations. This has been very rewarding, and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a wonderful board of community leaders working toward truly helping to support individuals and families.”

With 35 years working in education, Bergerhouse is no stranger to an eclectic array of jobs along the way.

“I was a custodian during the summer during my first year teaching. I was a lunchroom monitor during college. I also worked on a factory assembly line producing onion and tomato fiber drums,” he said. “I mopped floors at a sausage shop and laundry mat. I worked for $2 an hour in a print shop. I also worked on a loading dock for Sears, the tomato fields picking tomatoes, I worked at SkyWest Airlines directing planes as they were taxiing down the runway. I even worked for AVIS car rental!”

He said health, happiness and enjoying what life brings, are the top three, most important things in his life.

Confidence in oneself, he feels, is also essential.

“My mantra aligns with a quote from Henry Ford,” he said. “‘If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right.’”

There are two words, he says, that he uses to describe himself.

“Personable and approachable,” said Bergerhouse. “People and positive relationships are important to me.”

Republished with permission of AUSD. Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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