Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Free College Admissions Workshop for adult students in Antioch, Tues., Sept. 27

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Thought about going to college, but not sure about the process?  Thought you were “too old” to start college?  Well, think again. Community colleges are a great starting point for reaching career goals.

The Antioch Adult School is offering a College Information Workshop on Tuesday, September 27 from 3:00 – 4:30 pm at the Antioch Adult School, 820 West Second Street, Room 144, Antioch.

Nick Morgan, Adult Transition Specialist for the school, will present information about the college application process.  The workshop is especially geared for non-traditional adult students who may be entering with a GED/high school equivalency or at a later stage of life.  He will discuss admissions, enrollment, assessments, and answer questions.  A future workshop is being planned to discuss financial aid.

The community is invited to attend.  For more information, please call the Antioch Adult Education office (925) 779-7490 or drop by Monday-Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.

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Free ESL, GED classes available in Antioch

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Ready to get a job but need a high school diploma?

The Antioch Adult School offers FREE GED preparation classes as well as FREE English as a Second Language classes Monday – Friday with several open session times to match your schedule.

Registration is ongoing and orientations are offered on a weekly basis. Students learn in modern comfortable classrooms conveniently located at 820 West Second Street, Antioch (on the Tri Delta bus lines).

GED classes are self-paced. Classes contain both book-based and computer-based instruction with a credentialed teacher in class at all times to assist students.

Why do students take these classes? One new GED student stated, “I was so happy to find out about these classes.  I’m working on my GED and can’t wait to move up in my job as soon as I pass all the tests.”

Another student, Patricia Oliver-Munoz, explained her reasons for taking the classes:  “I’m proud that my children have all done well in school and are going to college.  Now it’s my turn. My children want to be proud of me and so they have encouraged me to get my GED. I’m working hard on my classes so I can pass.”

Antioch Adult School also has an Adult Transition Specialist, Nick Morgan, whose job is to help assist and support adult students as they transition into community college or career technical education.  He has information about the community college application process, financial aid, and programs offered. Students can sign up for a one-on-one session with Morgan.

For more information about the classes or to register for GED or ESL orientation, please call the Antioch Adult School office at (925) 779-7490 or stop in at the front desk today.

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Fernando Sandoval challenging Community College Board Vice President Greg Enholm in Ward 5 election

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
Fernando Sandoval

Fernando Sandoval

Pittsburg resident Fernando Sandoval is the seeking to oust incumbent Contra Costa Community College Board Trustee and Vice President, Greg Enholm in the Ward 5 race in the November election. Enholm is seeking his second term on the board.

In a press release sent Thursday from Sandoval’s campaign, it stated the following:

Fernando Sandoval is running for election as Contra Costa Community College Board Ward 5 serving the interests of Los Medanos College and Diablo Valley College.

He continues to meet with educators in the district, unions, college students, community members, non-profit organizations and elected officials to gather support and outline his position

A Pittsburg native, was raised and educated in East County. A Vietnam Veteran parent committed to improving the quality of education for all residents and for future generations in Contra Costa County. His experience and business background includes key roles in Finance, Collaboration, Financial Oversight, Innovation, Technology in the US and Internationally.

Fernando’s discussions in the community for serving and promoting the interests of the College District is resonating.

“We need fresh eyes, new ideas, and a leader who can bring people together in order to solve problems with practical ideas and future thinking”.

“Fernando has one of the most open and honest outgoing personalities I ever known, along with a people focused style and anyone who has the opportunity to meet and work with him will see that right away. I can say from personal experience with him that he brings his heart to the community and ideals to the table using his experience to bring a new wave of concepts to that organization”-  Valerie Romero Lopez

Fernando believes we need to:

- Support student success across the ward to enroll & complete their educational pursuits with access for education for all with ensuring financial sustainability, diversity and inclusion.

- Respond to our communities’ need for stronger collaboration with K1-K12, additional enrichment and vocational courses to prepare students for employment.

- Advocate for the inclusion of high demand Innovative and Emerging Technologies programs to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow for our community, today.

Fernando is listening to you, and your voice will be heard. Fernando has the education, experience, and commitment to bring needed change.

For more information about Sandoval visit

Ward 5 includes all or portions of the cities and communities of Concord, Clyde, Bay Point, Pittsburg, Antioch, Oakley, Brentwood, Bethel Island and Knightsen. View the ward boundaries map, here.

The election is November 8.

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Governor signs Glazer’s “California Promise” bill, to increase four-year CSU graduations

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Sacramento, CA – Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 412, Sen. Steve Glazer’s California Promise, a landmark bill that will pave a new pathway for more California State University students to graduate in four years.

To bolster CSU’s four-year graduation rate – one of the lowest in the nation at only 19 percent – SB 412 will require CSU campuses to offer enhanced academic advising and priority registration to students who commit to 30 credits per academic year. Low-income students, under-represented minorities, first-generation college students and community college transfers will get priority registration in California Promise programs, which will begin in the fall of 2017.

Senate Bill 412, which Sen. Glazer jointly authored with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, marks an important turning point in California for CSU students, said Sen. Glazer, D-Orinda.

“We all know a college degree is a critical rung on the ladder of economic success,” Glazer said. “It is an especially proud day to know that we will now provide CSU students a better chance to do what most want to do, which is to graduate on time.

“California Promise students will now get what many students do not and that is a human touch,” Glazer added. “More academic advising will mean that California Promise students can chart a path with professional guidance and important follow up. It is unfortunate that there are more human touches in getting a piece of fruit to market than there is in student counseling on how to graduate in four years. We can turn that around with this new law.”

Ensuring that California students have all the tools to get through college in four years is a top priority of the Legislature, de León said.

“I congratulate Senator Glazer on the signing of SB 412,” de León said. “California continues to lead the way in implementing policies that support and incentivize students to graduate in four years. The state Senate will continue working to ensure all California students, regardless of race, income or ethnicity have access to higher education as it is the passport to economic success, not only for the student, but the state.”

Gov. Brown said that the legislation, “coupled with today’s action from the CSU trustees, creates conditions that allow students to timely graduate and avoid the burden of extra tuition.” The CSU Board of Trustees earlier Wednesday approved a new 2025 Graduation Initiative that aims to more than double the number of students graduating in four years to 40 percent.

Glazer added: “I applaud CSU for submitting newly enhanced goals of raising 4-year graduation rates to 40 percent by 2025. The California Promise, along with other innovative student success measures, will instill fresh momentum into improving four-year graduation rates.

“I look forward to being part of legislative oversight efforts to keep this program on track.”

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Deer Valley High math teacher, Maria McClain honored for excellence by President Obama

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016


Maria McClain, math teacher, Deer Valley High School, Antioch Unified School District

Maria McClain, math teacher at Deer Valley High School in Antioch

Deer Valley High School math teacher Maria McClain, was honored, recently by President Obama with one of the annual Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). It is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics or science (including computer science) teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Up to 108 teachers are recognized each year. Since 1983, more than 4,400 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.

Presidential Awardees receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States, a trip to Washington D.C. to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

“I am extremely honored to receive the Presidential Award as recognition of the commitment of mathematics teachers in providing rigorous and relevant curriculum that guarantees equity and access for all students. This award provides me the opportunity and responsibility to continue to advocate for changes in expectations and practices that will increase student engagement and achievement. Receiving this award ensures that my voice will be heard as I continue this work on behalf of all students.

Maria McClain has been teaching mathematics for the past 28 years, the last 20 of which have been at Deer Valley High School, where she currently teaches Mastering Algebra I, Precalculus, Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB, and AP Statistics.

Maria believes in creating a classroom environment which supports and challenges students through the use of instructional strategies designed to promote exploration, critical thinking, and discourse. In her role as Mathematics Department Chair, she supports the transition to the Common Core by facilitating professional development and collaboration opportunities for teachers. She is dedicated to providing access for all students and has worked extensively to eliminate barriers that prevent students from enrolling and achieving in higher level coursework.

Maria has served as a District Mentor Teacher for the past 16 years and is the Lead Teacher of a California Academic Partnership Program grant designed to implement the Common Core and create a seamless transition from high school to post-secondary education. Her awards include Antioch Unified School District and Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year for 2015-16, and California Teacher of the Year Semi-finalist for 2016. She is National Board Certified in adolescent and young adulthood mathematics.

Maria earned a B.A. in mathematics from California State University, Sacramento. She is certified to teach preK–12 and adult mathematics.

For more information about PAEMST, visit

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Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year for 2016-2017 to be announced at dinner, Thursday

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

2015-16 honoree, Deer Valley High School math teacher, Maria McClain will speak about her year

Vicki McGuire, teacher at Antioch’s Sutter Elementary, is this year’s representative from AUSD

Contra Costa County’s two 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year (TOY) will be announced at the annual TOY Dinner Celebration, held this Thursday evening, September 22. Two of the four finalists will go on to represent Contra Costa County in the California State Teacher of the Year Program. The county TOY program is presented by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE).

More than 400 attendees will be on hand for the dinner, which will be held from  6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Hilton Concord Hotel. The assembly will include the 21 celebrated TOYs, plus numerous educators (K-college), business executives (sponsors), local government, and local political representatives. The evening’s entertainment will be provided by the Hillview Junior High (Pittsburg) Jazz Band, directed by Diane Klaczynski. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata will serve as master of ceremonies. Each of the three finalists, who will be introduced by a former student, will give an inspiring five-minute speech.  (The same speech as they gave at the TOY Speech Presentation in late August.) The evening will conclude in excitement and anticipation, with the announcement of the two 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

After being named Teacher of the Year by their respective Contra Costa County school districts, then passing a rigorous application screening, followed by a panel classroom observation and interview, and concluding with a speech presentation, two of these four finalists will be selected to represent Contra Costa County as its 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year:

This year’s two Contra Costa County TOYs will join the long list of other finalists, dating back to the 1972-1973 school year. Along with the four finalists, this year’s other 17 TOY candidates will also be honored at this event (for complete list below).


Shauna Hawes teaches computer applications/technology to grades 6-8 at Valley View Middle School, in Pleasant Hill. The 18-year teacher has been with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District during her entire teaching career. Prior to her current position, Hawes taught 6th grade core (English, history, and reading) at Valley View. Before coming to Valley View, she taught 5th grade (all subjects) at Hidden Valley Elementary, in Martinez, from 1998-2007.

Gina Minder-Maldonado has recently begun her 26th year of teaching. For the past 18 years, Minder-Maldonado has taught at Oakley Elementary School, in Oakley. Currently teaching 2nd grade, Minder-Maldonado’s former teaching experience includes preschool through 5th, as well as adult education.

Summer Rodriguez has commenced her 17th year as an educator for Liberty High School, in Brentwood. Rodriguez has taught all levels of high school English, AP English language and composition, and AP English literature and composition. In addition to her education duties, she has served as director of the school’s student activities through its Student Leadership Program.

Joyce Rooks began her career in teaching after serving as a senior programmer analyst/senior systems analyst for Mervyns, as well as an independent computer-training consultant. This year, Rooks has begunher 14th year teaching for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, where she has served as an instructor for Dougherty Valley High, California High, and Coyote Creek Elementary. She has been teaching first and second grades for the past five years at Creekside Elementary, in Danville.

2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives:

Jamie Cackler Bennetts, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary

Cynthia Boyko, Acalanes Union High School District, Miramonte High

Rachael Byron, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Dougherty Valley High

Erin Dinday, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High

Krystal Figaroa, Pittsburg Unified School District, Stoneman Elementary

Daniel Yoshio Haley, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, El Dorado Middle

Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Valley View Middle

Judy Jernigan, Lafayette School District, Lafayette SD Schools

Kristyn Loy, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Stewart Elementary

Judy Mazur, Walnut Creek School District, Buena Vista Elementary

Vicki McGuire, Antioch Unified School District, Sutter Elementary

Aminta Mickles, Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa College

Gina Minder-Maldonado, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Oakley Elementary

Dayle Okamitsu, Orinda Union School District, Wagner Ranch Elementary

Lawrence Pang, West Contra Costa Unified School District, El Cerrito High

Deborah Guillén Rocchild, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High

Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District, Liberty High

Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Creekside Elementary

Juliet Simens, Brentwood Union School District, Pioneer Elementary

Angela Taylor, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Parole Education Program Oakland Computerized Literacy Learning Center

Sarah Vieira, Byron Union School District, Timber Point Elementary

Note regarding eligible participants:

Sixteen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts, as well as the CCCOE are participating in this year’s TOY program.

Each year, one instructor from Contra Costa Community College District is submitted to the TOY program for his/her outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.) This year is Contra Costa College’s turn.

Due to the larger number of students and teachers in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates.

Follow Contra Costa County’s Teacher of the Year program on Twitter: #cocotoy

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RESCHEDULED: Antioch Herald school board candidates’ forum now on Friday, Sept. 23

Monday, September 19th, 2016

The forum for the seven candidates running for the Antioch School Board in the November election, hosted by the Antioch Herald, has been rescheduled for a final time to Friday night, September 23 at 7:00 p.m.

We apologize but, this is due to three of the candidates informing us, either yesterday or today, that they couldn’t attend the forum previously scheduled for tonight.

Associate Publisher Connie Woods will be the panelist asking the questions, City Clerk Arne Simonsen will serve as timekeeper and Publisher Allen Payton will serve as moderator, keeping track of the questions, answers and rebuttals.

The Antioch City Council candidates’ forum will still be held tomorrow night, Tuesday, September 20th at 6:30 p.m. and the Antioch Mayoral candidates’ forum will follow at 8:15 p.m.

All three forums will be held in the Antioch City Council Chambers at City Hall, located at 200 H Street, between West 2nd and West 3rd Streets in downtown. Each candidate will have the opportunity to ask two questions of fellow candidates and give two rebuttals. The audience will have the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates, as well.

A video of each forum will be made and will be shown later on one or more local cable TV access channels.

So be sure to attend and bring with you your best questions to be asked of the candidates.

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Antioch School Board candidate Burkholder takes Trustee Navarro to task at board meeting, for negative comments about the district

Friday, September 16th, 2016

By Nick Goodrich

During the regular meeting of the Antioch School Board on Wednesday, September 14th, Mike Burkholder, the publisher of and a candidate for school board in the November election, had some particularly harsh words for appointed Board Trustee Fernando Navarro.

Toward the end of the public comments section of the meeting, Burkholder entered the room and stated his desire to make a comment. Board Vice President Walter Ruehlig, who was running the meeting in President Diane Gibson-Gray’s absence, allowed it.

Burkholder then proceeded to take issue with a statement that he said Navarro made at a debate last week for the school board candidates, hosted by the Friday Morning Breakfast Club.

According to Burkholder, Navarro said that the AUSD provides “services equivalent to the DMV.” Burkholder also said that he had been told by a local elected official who had met privately with Navarro to discuss the state of the schools, that Navarro had said, “If the District were to be graded, it would receive an F minus minus.”

Burkholder went on to say that, as a member of the School Board, Navarro should be “promoting the District and building it up, rather than shedding a negative light on it.”

“It’s simply bad rhetoric,” Burkholder said of Navarro’s comments.

With Antioch Unified already facing problems such as a high transfer-out rate, he said that one of the Board’s primary concerns should be to always promote the District in a way that attracts new students and those that are already here.

Burkholder called for Navarro to issue a formal apology to the District and the Board Members, while citing Antioch’s recent college fair – in which dozens of scholarships were issued and students accepted to schools – as a sign that the District is seeing some notable successes.

“When a member of the School Board is that negative,” he said, “It makes the District look bad and makes these problems worse.”

9/19/16 UPDATE: Burkholder did not participate in the candidates’ forum on Thursday, September 8. But, he did provide an audio of Navarro’s comments during the forum, which was surreptitiously obtained. The forum moderator, Ann Flynn of the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley specifically stated that no unauthorized recording of the forum would be allowed. On Monday, September 19, Don Freitas, the leader of the Friday Morning Breakfast Club which sponsored the forum stated, “I didn’t authorized an audio recording. If there is one, it was done without the FMBC’s permission.”

Burkholder was asked how he obtained the audio, but didn’t respond.

Following is Navarro’s complete statement at the forum, which can be heard, here:

“Well I’d like to start with what I’m not. So, I’m not a politician. I’m not a polished orator. But, what I am, as I’ve stated before, I’m a parent with two children in the district, which gives me skin in the game. I’m a business owner, like I said for 20 years. I know customer service and I know quality control. Demographically, we’re losing 900-plus students between last year and the end of this year, projected. We’re dropping the ball on quality service to our customers, which are the kids and their parents. We’ve lost 25% of our student population in the last dozen years. If we were a for profit business, we’d be shuttered and closed down, by now. But because we are subsidized by the taxpayers we’re becoming a little tone deaf and we’re becoming equivalent in customer service with the DMV. For God’s sakes, let us not become the DMV.”

When asked for comments following the school board meeting, Navarro said that, although his comments were taken out of context, he stands by his assessment of the District’s condition. Noting that over 900 students have left the District in the last two years, and the exceedingly low state test scores by Antioch students in math and English, Navarro said the AUSD was failing the majority of its students.

“My point as a business owner was to underscore the dangers of not respecting where the incoming funds originate. We talk about the funds coming from the feds, or from the state. Ultimately, though, all funds come from the taxpayers,” he said. “Whenever a government body loses that perspective, becomes tone deaf, and suffers no consequences, we become just like the DMV. My actual statement during the debate was, ‘Folks, let’s not become like the DMV.’”

Navarro also said that he was surprised that the private conversation he’d had with Antioch Mayor Wade Harper had been passed on to the public, but that the statistics on student outcomes supported that statement, as well.

“When over 80% of our students are not proficient in math, and 70% are not proficient in English,” he said, “That certainly seems like a failure to me.”

Despite the backlash to his comments, Navarro was also appreciative. “I am open to any criticism, comments, and suggestions that can help improve the District,” he said. “This isn’t fun and games. We must be serious about it for the sake of the kids and the District…If we’re simply going to conceal our issues, we’re never going to solve them.”

When reached for comment to explain if and why he shared what Navarro had told him with Burkholder, Harper said he had “no comment.”

Allen Payton contributed to this story, specifically providing the 9/19/16 update, including Navarro’s complete comment at the forum.

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