Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Antioch Schools Trustee Vinson served with recall papers at meeting, Wednesday night

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Board to hold another meeting to reschedule dates for Rocketship charter hearing, vote

By Nick Goodrich                         

At their regular meeting on Wednesday, October 26th, the Antioch School Board witnessed Trustee Debra Vinson served with recall paper and heard district staff’s endorsements of candidates in the upcoming election. They also postponed a discussion on the Superintendent’s goals for the 2016-17 school year, and scheduled an emergency board meeting for Friday to discuss scheduling the meetings for the Rocketship Charter school petition.

During Public Comments at the beginning of the meeting, several Antioch residents stepped up to speak about Vinson, who has drawn attention in recent weeks after allegedly berating a District employee and making offensive comments.

District employee Nicole Cedano, who had promised to begin the process of recalling Vinson, served the Board Member with recall papers after speaking about the incident.

“She has failed to issue an apology or show remorse for her actions,” Cedano said of Vinson. “I came before you in previous meetings supporting her recall, and I still feel that way.”

Vinson found support from two Antioch residents, however, who were disturbed to hear the reports of the recall petition.

One 20-year resident, Reginald Johnagin, whose wife is a teacher in the district, stated that Vinson always responds to problems and inquiries in a timely and positive manner, and is both dependable and likable. He stated further that she brings “sensitivity” to the increasingly diverse neighborhoods of Antioch, wherein many families may feel that they do not have a voice in District proceedings.

“Just because there was a personal disagreement with someone doesn’t mean someone should be immediately recalled,” he told the audience.

Rocketship Charter Meeting Dates

Not on the agenda Wednesday night was the issue of Rocketship Education’s charter school petition public hearing and final vote. Board Member Fernando Navarro attempted to add the issue to the agenda as an urgency item, but was withheld by District staff and Board President Diane Gibson-Gray, who cited board policy interpretations after conferring with the School District’s attorney.

Rocketship is a private non-profit corporation that currently operates a network of charter schools with 6,000 students in the Bay Area and three more schools outside of California. They have submitted a petition to operate a charter school in Antioch. Dates that appeared to be finalized, for the public hearing and final vote meeting, were suddenly up in the air, leaving Rocketship to wait for the go ahead from the Board.

According to an article by Herald staff, the Board had voted 5-0 in its previous meeting on October 12th, to set the dates for the hearing and vote for November 2nd and 28th, respectively. The minutes of the October 12th meeting, however, do not reflect this Board decision, stating only that the dates were “tentatively suggested.”

Navarro attempted to get the matter placed on the Wednesday night’s meeting agenda as an urgency item but failed, after Gibson-Gray twice refused his efforts. However, he was able to schedule a special board meeting to discuss the issue and confirm the dates. He was supported by fellow Board Members Walter Ruehlig and Alonzo Terry, who agreed with Navarro on the urgency of the issue.

The special board meeting will occur on Friday, October 28th, at 4:00 p.m. in the School Services Building, at 510 G Street. The Board will have the opportunity to finalize the dates for both the public hearing and final vote on Rocketship’s petition, within the legal timeframe.

Superintendent’s Goals

Before a discussion could be held on Superintendent Stephanie Anello’s goals for this school year, a motion was made by Navarro to table the item, until next meeting. The proposed goals were discussed at a public meeting, held on Wednesday afternoon, October 12th, before the last regular Board meeting. However, no members of the public were in attendance. Anello asked the Board to take formal action on the goals at the next meeting. The motion to table passed 3-2 with Gibson-Gray and Ruehlig voting against.

Candidate Endorsements by Staff

Also during public comments at the beginning of the meeting, Scott Bergerhouse, Principal of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School, acting in his capacity as President of the Antioch (schools) Management Association, delivered the endorsements of the AMA, Antioch Education Association, and California School Employee’s Association for the Antioch School Board in the November elections. The candidates endorsed by all the organizations are current Board President Diane Gibson-Gray and former members Joy Motts, Gary Hack.  The AMA also endorsed a fourth candidate, Mike Burkholder.

After conducting interviews with the candidates, Bergerhouse said, the organizations looked at qualities like a collaborative spirit, strong interpersonal skills, knowledgeable in the field of education, and a passion for improving the system.

“These candidates are committed to the District, strong, and willing to roll up their sleeves,” Bergerhouse stated after delivering the endorsements.

Speaker Defends Navarro

Also, during public comments, John Crowder, the director of the Math Intensive Program in the district spoke in support of Navarro and what he has been doing since being appointed to the Board, last year.

“Over the last several weeks, political opponents have stepped forward to use the public comments portion of this meeting to attack one of our Trustees, Mr. Navarro,” Crowder stated. “They’ve called him out for expressing his views on important matters related to this school district, including his shining a light on the dismal academic outcomes revealed by the SBAC test results.”

“Tonight, I want to commend Mr. Navarro for having the courage, in the face of increasing vitriol, to address a long-standing problem: academic results that are the worst of any major school district in Contra Costa County,” he continued. “As far as academic outcomes are concerned, AUSD has a very big problem.  Less than 20% of AUSD students achieve basic proficiency in math.  What’s more appalling is the fact that students of color post results that are even worse.  Results for English Language Arts aren’t much better.”

“Parents are not waiting for you to address this crisis,” Crowder shared. “They’re moving their children.  I can personally cite scores of parents that have removed their kids from this district, and are now either paying for a private school education, or commuting to other communities, to obtain solid educational opportunities.”

“Your jobs, as school board members, is to oversee the education of Antioch’s children.  When that job’s not getting done, it needs to be addressed, boldly and forthrightly.  Mr. Navarro, you need to continue to speak out about this. By doing so, you’re fulfilling your obligation to truly represent the children of our community,” Crowder added.

Questions were emailed to Board Members and staff following the meeting regarding the urgency item and special Board meeting, tomorrow. Check back later for updates to this article.

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Antioch School Board receives charter school petition amid opposition from faculty, starts 60-day process

Friday, October 21st, 2016
Antioch High School teacher Sara Savacool speaks to the Board wearing a T-shirt with her position on the Rocketship charter school petition at the Board meeting on Wednesday, October 9, 2016.

Antioch High School teacher Sara Savacool speaks to the Board wearing a T-shirt with her position clearly spelled out on the Rocketship charter school petition, as Associate Superintendent Chris Learned looks on, during the meeting on Wednesday, October 9, 2016.

Discusses revisions to policy on Limits of Board Member Authority

By Allen Payton

At their regular meeting on Wednesday, October 12, 2016, the Antioch School Board voted unanimously to receive the petition by Rocketship Education, to establish a public, non-profit charter school in Antioch. The board also dealt with a recently adopted policy believed to be restrictive of board members. Plus the board heard complaints from the public of police interrogations of students, the negative comments about the school district and a vote against Prop. 55 by Trustee Fernando Navarro.

On September 30th, Rocketship presented a charter school petition to Antioch Superintendent Stephanie Anello for a K-5 school. Once the board received the petition, it started both a 30-day timeline for a public hearing and a 60-day timeline to make a decision to approve or deny the charter, according to a report by Chris Learned, Associate Superintendent for Business and Operations.

He said the time-frame was “a little difficult because of the holidays and election.”

“If this board holds a public hearing it only seems right that the current board makes the decision,” Learned stated.

So the Board and staff settled on Wednesday, November 2nd for the public hearing and Monday, November 28th for the vote. Staff is proposing the hearing be held at Deer Valley High because of the capacity.

Three speakers, including two teachers, spoke against the charter for Rocketship, including one, Sara Savacool, who, along with others in the audience, was wearing a yellow T-shirt with the words “No Rocketship” across the front.

“Charter schools are a complicated issue,” she said. “There’s a lot of law. There are different types. You really need to do your homework.”

Savacool mentioned “corporate interests, profit and a very stripped down education for our students.”

“We fought them at Mt. Diablo (Unified School District),” she continued. That board “voted 5-0 against.”

“I’m very disappointed they’re bringing their brand of second-rate education to our community,” Savacool concluded.

Ken Kent, a fifth grade teacher at Kimball Elementary School in Antioch, was the next to speak.

“Antioch has some very good grassroots and research-supported (charter) schools versus a cost analysis model,” he stated. Then he mentioned who are on Rocketship’s board of directors, including one person with an education degree, a financial analyst and for-profit education executives.

Kent said students in Rocketship schools spend “a significant portion of their day behind a (computer) screen.”

“This is not a moral thing to do,” he continued. “Rocketship has had some numbers of improved API scores. But they haven’t held true” and then asked about “how much we’re having to give up for that?” and “Why are we pressing this so fast, now?”

Before the third public speaker shared his thoughts, Marie Gill, the Bay Area Regional Director for Rocketship spoke, offering her own background and local connection, and that she was “coming back to Antioch after 20 years.”

Rocketship has “over 6,000 parents from the Bay Area with students in our schools,” Gill stated. “We’re happy to host you at one of our schools. We want you to be informed as board members.”

She said “we’d like to extend an invitation to tour our facility and school in San Jose.”

Willie Mims, a regular critic of the Antioch School District, representing the NAACP East County Branch and the Pittsburg Black Parents, was the last to speak during public comments.

“I and Rocketship have crossed paths over the past five years,” he stated. “Is there a need? You have some serious issues, here.”

Then referring to test scores, Mims said “they are atrocious. Charter schools are circling. You only have to blame yourself for Rocketship being here. If you don’t address them, then you’ll have more Rocketships.”

Then he explained the process.

“If the Board denies and the County Board denies, the State will help them get their charter approved,” Mims shared. “Once they move you can’t stop it.”

The Board members then shared their thoughts on the matter, with Trustee Debra Vinson speaking first.
“Having a charter school problem for the district isn’t new, since we fought for Dozier-Libbey,” she stated. “We have a mandate to improve academic outcomes for all students. Are they an option? Are they the solution?”

“I’m going to research…and do what is in the best interests of this District,” Vinson added.

Board President Diane Gibson-Gray said “the clock starts, today” referring to the timelines.

“Between the 2nd and 14th (of December) three Board members may have no power,” speaking in favor of the shortened timeline for the hearing and decision.

Trustee Fernando Navarro spoke next, saying “I have to echo what Mr. Mims said. Nature abhors a vacuum and unfortunately we’ve provided a vacuum.”

“They will get it at the state level,” he continued. “I’d rather work with them than work against them.”

Trustee Walter Ruehlig said there are “three most difficult decisions” as a Board member: “hiring a new superintendent, closing a school and considering a petition like this.”

The Board then voted 5-0 to receive the charter school petition and set the hearing and meeting dates for a decision.

Public Comments

Before the discussion on the Rocketship charter school, the Board heard from the public, with both Mims having some concerns and Kent criticizing Navarro for his vote on Prop. 55.

“Looking at the budget,” Mims began, “you’re transferring $400,000 of grand fund for deferred maintenance. That was an illegal move. I found the $400,000 deep into the budget, and now into the General Fund.”

He then complained about “some serious increases in classified (employees) of 22%. An increase of over $4 million.”

His third and final issue had to do with “complaints of police interrogating our children.”

“You faced a lawsuit over that several years ago,” Mims stated. “You have to be careful. They need to be read their rights.”

Gibson-Gray referred Mims to staff, saying he could talk with Dr. Adam Clark, the district’s new Associate Superintendent for Educational Services, who was in attendance at the meeting.

Contra Costa County School Board Member Jeff Belle spoke next, as “a private citizen,” he said.

“A famous general once asked ‘what’s the difference between appeasement and surrender’” Belle stated. “It’s time.”

“It’s time we step up to the plate,” he continued. “There’s activities. But, it’s time that we start getting outcomes for our students. The outcomes do not match the investment. The City’s economic stability and security is dependent on our education system.”

“Before you blink, tomorrow becomes today,” Belle added. “Let’s do a better job than what we’re doing.”

Antioch resident Velma Wilson then spoke about wanting to be more positive.

“I just want to applaud the efforts of the AUSD,” she shared. “2016-2017 has so far been a phenomenal school year. I’m welcoming parents who are coming to me crying. I’m so tired of all the negative from people who are not at our school campuses.”

“I invite you to come out and see the smiling faces,” Wilson continued. “PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) is in full effect.”

To those being negative she said “go sit somewhere.”

“I’m always about let’s continually promote the positive,” Wilson added.

Then Kent spoke, chastising Navarro for voting against the Board resolution in favor of Prop. 55 on the November ballot, which would extend by 12 years, the three-year temporary income tax increase, that will expire this year.

“Thank you Board for your vote in support of Prop 55,” Kent said. “I was disappointed to hear that Trustee Navarro voted against it. You have put forward your own ideology ahead of the needs of our students. Shame on you. We need a caring school board member. You are not that board member.”

Michael Sagehorn who teaches history at Deer Valley High and at the Performing Arts Academy said “I’m the one who brought with me the students, tonight.” He spoke of helping students become “artists as activists” and “my history students are participating in government.”

“I really try to implement integrated education, Sagehorn continued. “There’s a rumor going around that it’s going away.”

Restorative Justice

On the issue of ratifying a vendor agreement with Rita Alfred for Restorative Justice, Mims had a question and comments for the Board and staff.

“What are you proposing the outcome with restorative justice,” he asked.

Dr. Clark responded with “this particular goal is part of the LCAP building in inclusive and safe communities.”

He explained that the district is hoping to “lower suspension rates by 10%, and for African American students by 20%.”

Clark shared that the process will include conducting an on-site workshop, three days of training and six days of classroom monitoring.

“My concern is who restorative justice is on,” Mims responded. “Training should be for people who are meting out justice. There needs to be a clear understanding of what restorative justice is.”

Board Member Authority

At Navarro’s urging, the Board discussed concerns and proposed revisions to a new policy they adopted, earlier this year, known as Board Policy 9200 – Limits of Board Member Authority.

Navarro suggested changes to section two regarding interactions with schools and school employees. He was concerned that the policy is “not allowing us to be a listening entity.”

He also suggested eliminating section four, which requires a Board member to inform the Superintendent before volunteering in their own child’s classroom.

“I still retain the right as a parent and my First Amendment rights,” Navarro stated.

“I think a board member retains all of their parental rights,” Vinson shared.

“It’s a very new board policy,” Navarro continued. “It restricts our ability to represent the voters. We should be able to listen to them” referring to teachers, parents and staff.

Gibson-Gray responded with “I have conversations with parents, teachers…I don’t see where this restricts your ability.”

“Why all of a sudden this new board policy?” Navarro asked.

Superintendent Stephanie Anello responded.

“Every other district has this policy,” she explained. “We were missing this policy. It is my job as Superintendent to recommend policies to the Board that are in compliance with state law, which this policy is.”

Vinson then suggested her own alternative language to the policy, to what Navarro proposed.

“I was trying to address some of Fernando’s concerns as to Board authority,” she said. “It didn’t seem like the policy was clear English.”

“I did quite a bit of research on Board policies form other districts,” Vinson continued. She suggested changes “So it doesn’t look like we’re limiting Board authority” and “they’re hands are tied.”

Gibson-Gray then address Navarro, stating “For the get go, you can to talk to anyone you want.”

She then said “I suggest you both send your recommendations to the Superintendent.”

In an email conversation following the meeting, Anello was asked about a concern voiced by residents that teachers and staff in the district have been told they aren’t allowed to speak with Board members.

“Regarding the policy discussed last night about communications between board members and faculty or staff, it’s one thing for Diane to tell Fernando as a board member that he’s free to talk to whomever he wants. It’s another if faculty and staff have been directed not to speak with board members,” this reporter wrote.
Anello was then asked if there have “been any directives from either you or anyone in the administration to any faculty or staff members that they are not allowed to speak with board members.”

She responded with, “Staff has not been directed not to talk to BOE (Board of Education) Members. If you have any further information such as who may have said this and/or who may believe this to be true, I am happy to look into it.”

The next Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the School Services Building, 510 G Street in downtown Antioch. For more information about the District, visit

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Three finalists announced for Community College District Chancellor, public forums scheduled

Friday, October 21st, 2016

The Chancellor’s Search Committee has announced the selection of three finalists for the position of Chancellor of the Contra Costa Community College District (District). The finalists are: Eugene Huff, Dr. Kindred Murillo, and Dr. Fred Wood.

The 20 members of the Search Committee have been working since May 24th to recruit and interview candidates and narrow their choices down to the top three.

Public forums have been scheduled at each college and the District Office on Monday, October 31, 2016, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The three finalists will make statements and answer questions from attendees. The public forums will be 50 minutes each and are open to the community, students, faculty and staff. A detailed schedule of the public forums is available at

chancellor-public-forum-scheduleIf anyone is unable to attend the scheduled public forums, the public forums held at Contra Costa College will be streamed live, and links to these recorded public forums will be available on the District website. Online comments about the finalists will be accepted through November 1, 2016, 5:00 p.m.

The Governing Board will interview all three finalists on November 1, 2016, and conduct additional deliberations as needed. It is anticipated that a public meeting will be scheduled within a couple of weeks following the interviews at which time the Governing Board will take action on the Chancellor search.

The Chancellor serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the District and reports directly to the five-member elected Governing Board. The Chancellor, in collaboration with the three college presidents and other District leadership, is responsible for assessing, planning, organizing and evaluating the resources, programs and services of the District to meet the educational needs of the students and the community.

As the educational and administrative leader of the District, the Chancellor represents the District to community groups, business and industry, labor organizations, public school districts, the Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges, the University of California, California State University, private colleges and universities, city and county agencies, and the California legislature.

Following are the three finalists for Contra Costa Community College District Chancellor

gene-huff-finalGene Huff (top left) has been with the Contra Costa Community College District since 2001. He has served as Executive Vice Chancellor, Administrative Services, since 2013, overseeing the fiscal services, human resources, information technology, police services and risk management areas for the District. He first served as a contract administrator, Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, in 2004 and has been the District’s chief negotiator since that time. Prior to joining the District, Huff worked for Whirlpool Corporation in operations and human resources for eleven years. Huff serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for the Contra Costa County Schools Insurance Group, and chairs the District’s Retirement Board of Authority. He is best known for training and presenting on collective bargaining, and interest-based bargaining in particular, to human resources and other groups for almost a decade. He graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in management.

dr-kindred-murilloDr. Kindred Murillo is a passionate college educator serving for twenty years in the California Community College System. Serving for the past five years as the Superintendent/President of Lake Tahoe Community College, Kindred has worked with the campus and the local community to financially stabilize the college through Measure F, transparent and accountable budgets, and a focus on scheduling for “student access and success.” Before arriving in Tahoe, she served as the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services for Contra Costa Community College District. Kindred also served as the Vice President of Administrative Services at Pasadena Area Community College District. She was promoted to Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services when Copper Mountain Community College became a separate district. Kindred was hired as an adjunct faculty at Desert Community College District in 1996, served as a full-time faculty member, and moved into college administration in 2000. She brings a unique background to community college with 13 years of business and six years of governmental relations experience. Kindred is a product of the community college system, graduating from Barstow College with a liberal arts degree.  She completed her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Redlands University and earned a Master of Science in Organizational Development and a doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Pepperdine University. Kindred enjoys spending time with her family riding bikes, hiking, and paddle boarding. She loves to read and is an avid seeker of knowledge.

dr-fred-woodDr. Fred Wood presently serves as Chancellor at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC). UMC, which was a two-year technical college beginning in 1966 and transitioned to a baccalaureate granting institution in 1993, is a work-force focused campus of the U of M system of which half of the degree seeking students are on-campus students and the other half are on-line. UMC offers an experiential learning based curriculum where on-campus students are required to complete an internship and currently offers 14 degrees fully on-line. Chancellor Wood joined UMC after a 26-year career at the University of California, Davis, where he served as vice chancellor of student affairs from 2007 to 2012, leading one of the largest student affairs portfolios in the nation. His career at UC Davis included other leadership positions, as well, such as interim vice provost for undergraduate studies and associate dean of the College of Letters and Science, while concurrently serving as a faculty member in chemistry. He began both his college education and professional career at the community college. Prior to UC Davis, Dr. Wood was a faculty member at North Idaho College and his first teaching assignment during graduate school was at Diablo Valley College. A first-generation college graduate, Chancellor Wood earned an A.A from Diablo Valley College, and B.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from UC Davis. He is married and has three grown children. He enjoys hiking, biking and skiing with his family.

The Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The CCCCD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.

Following are the Members of the Chancellor Search Committee:


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Congressman DeSaulnier receives “A” from National Education Association

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), the only Bay Area member on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, received a perfect grade on the National Education Association’s (NEA) annual report card for the first session of the 114th Congress. The NEA is made up of 3 million members who are teachers and staff that work in every level of education, from pre-school to university graduate programs. Their Legislative Report Card measures Members of Congress’ overall support for public education and educators, with each Member receiving a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F.

“We know student success is highly dependent on early investment in their education. In my first year as a Member of Congress, I fought for a high quality and affordable education for every student in every classroom across the country. I am deeply honored to receive an A from the National Education Association and look forward to continuing to work with the NEA to improve our schools and prioritize student’s academic success,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.

“We commend Congressman DeSaulnier for listening to educators and getting the job done for students during the 114th Congress,” said Mary Kusler, NEA director of government relations. “The Congressional passage of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, which Rep. DeSaulnier supported, is a direct result of what is possible when legislators from both sides of the political aisle put students ahead of partisan politics especially in an era of gridlock in Washington. This result also is an unequivocal recognition that many lawmakers still believe educators – those who know the names of their students – are the most trusted professionals best equipped to make school and classroom decisions to ensure student success regardless of ZIP code. We hope that the bipartisanship displayed at times last year will lead to greater future collaboration. We will continue to work with all elected officials to ensure the success of every student in America.”

Congressman DeSaulnier’s measures to improve Head Start programs, protect student athletes from concussions, and strengthen students’ access to support and “wraparound” services like tutoring, counseling, and other extracurricular activities were successfully included in the Every Student Succeeds Act. Additionally, Congressman DeSaulnier recently completed his Education Listening Tour, during which he visited every school district and in California’s 11th Congressional District.

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Belle ballot statement lie case continued to December, may change plea or face trial

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

By Allen Payton

The latest court hearing in the Contra Costa District Attorney’s case against Contra Costa County School Board Member Jeff Belle, over a lie on his ballot his statement in 2014, was held on Monday, October 17th.  However, according to Deputy D.A. Steve Moawad, “it was put over” and “the next court date is December 15th.”

At that hearing, Belle will have to either change his plea from not guilty or the judge will set a date for trial, Moawad explained.

Belle was charged with lying on his candidate’s statement in his campaign for school board in 2014, for writing that he had a college degree, when he had not yet obtained one. That fact was revealed in an interview with this reporter for an article posted on the Herald website.

If convicted, the maximum penalty for lying on a ballot statement is a fine of $1,000. Belle represents Area 5 on the county school board, which includes most of Antioch.

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Antioch School Board to review petition for public, non-profit Rocketship charter school, tonight

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Community organizations and hundreds of families support new, high-quality charter school

Rocketship Education annou​nced today that the nonprofit public charter school network filed a petition with the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) to open a public elementary charter school for grades TK through 5th for the 2018-2​019 school year.

​Rocketship Education is a non-profit network of public elementary charter schools serving over 6,000 students in Bay Area neighborhoods with limited access to excellent schools. Nearly nine out of ten Rocketship students in the Bay Area are socioeconomically disadvantaged, over half are English Learners and 83 percent are classified as ethnic minorities.

This proposed school is already seeing a groundswell of community support, with more than a dozen organizations and community leaders pledging to back the project. Furthermore, several hundred parents signed on to bring a Rocketship school to Antioch, demonstrating a strong demand for high-quality public school options in their city.

“The historic and prevalent impact of systematic oppression on school systems has produced racially disproportionate outcomes that are all too familiar. Education must continue to serve as a vehicle of social mobilization for at-risk communities. Under-served families must have access to high performing schools that are based on a model of equity, excellence and efficacy. Our community needs a school model that demonstrates coherent cultural responsiveness and authentic community engagement,” said Dr. Lamont A. Francies, Pastor Delta Bay Church of Christ.

Families in Antioch are helping to bring Rocketship to their city due to the lack of high-quality public schools in the area. For the 2015-16 school year, only 19% of all students in grades 3-5 in the AUSD met or exceeded state mathematics standards, leaving thousands of children behind grade level. Only 15% of both socioeconomically disadvantaged and Hispanic students met or exceeded these standards. In English Language Arts (ELA) just 30% of all AUSD students in grades 3-5 met or exceeded grade-level standards on the California state assessment, and less than one quarter of socioeconomically disadvantaged studentsmet or exceeded standards.

​Yet on this same 2015-16 California state assessment, Rocketship’s Bay Area network of 10 schools ranked in the top 10% in both math and ELA among all elementary school districts serving a similar student population across the state.

“As someone who has been working with and for children in and around Antioch for years, I’ve seen far too many who give up, and never go on to college. This is especially true for students of color,” said Angel Luevano, Executive Director of Todos Unidos. “Rocketship schools have a college-focused mindset beginning with the youngest students. Their goal to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime is not just rhetoric, but is real, and seen every day at Rocketship schools. They bring with them hope for success, and they know how to get the job done.”

“I’m very excited that Rocketship Education is coming to Antioch,” said John Crowder, Director of the Math Intensive program in the district. “​I’ve personally visited two of their ten schools in San Jose, and have seen first-hand the positive impact they’ve had on student achievement. This is great news for our students, our parents, and our community.”

About Rocketship Education

Rocketship Education is a nonprofit public charter network of 16 elementary schools serving low-income communities with limited access to excellent schools. Founded in 2007 in San Jose, California, Rocketship has since expanded to Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Nashville, Tennessee; and Washington, D.C. By building a scalable and sustainable school model that propels student achievement in underserved communities, Rocketship is working to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime. Visit to learn more.

The school board meeting is at 7:00 p.m. in the School Services Building at 510 G Street in downtown Antioch. To view the complete meeting agenda, click here.

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Fathers 4 Education to hold forum in Antioch, Thursday night

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016


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New Orleans Coroner may not release cause of College Board Trustee Nejedly’s death for two to four months

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016
John T. Nejedly

John T. Nejedly

By Allen Payton

In an effort to learn the cause of death of Contra Costa Community College District Trustee John T. Nejedly over the weekend, while he was in New Orleans following a conference, inquiries were made to both the New Orleans Police Department and New Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office, today.

“The New Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office releases the names of victims,” said Dawn Massey, Senior Public Information Officer of the New Orleans Police Public Affairs Division. “We’ve had a couple of unclassified deaths that came in over the weekend.”

Unclassified means there was no obvious signs of death, she explained.

When asked for information about Nejedly’s death, Gayell Johnson of the Coroner’s Office said, “Once the person is autopsied it takes awhile to determine the cause of death. That is not something we know at this time.”

The Nejedly case “came in as a UI which is ‘under investigation’,” she added.

When asked how many days that will take, Johnson replied, “You mean how many weeks. The usual time is eight to sixteen weeks” for the results of the autopsy to be released.

However, his body can be released once the autopsy is completed, which is within 24 to48 hours, so a memorial service can be held, she added.

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