Archive for the ‘Education’ Category
Graffiti of a bomb threat discovered at Holy Rosary Catholic School in Antioch, Saturday, classes held MondayMonday, November 16th, 2015
By Allen Payton
An email sent to parents of students at Holy Rosary Catholic School in Antioch from Principal Tim Hooke on Saturday, warned of a threat against the students in grafitti discovered in the boys bathroom, earlier that day. What was written and who was responsible was not shared by Hooke.
According to one parent, who wished to remain anonymous, stated via email “Someone found out the threat was to kill all the students at Holly [sic] Rosary School.”
The email received by parents read as follows:
Saturday, November 14, 2015
This morning, during the Parish CYO basketball games at the Holy Rosary Gym, threatening graffiti was discovered in the boy’s bathroom. The threat was taken seriously and the police were called. The Police Department was unable to identify any immediate and/or credible threat and is working with us to ensure the safety to our campus. They Police Department will provide extra attention to our campus this weekend, which will include a physical walk-through before the campus opens on Monday morning. The safety of all who enter our campus is of the utmost importance to us.
Calls to Hooke and the Antioch Police media line were not returned, as of publication time. However, according to a school staff member, the school was open, Monday morning.
8:00 P.M. UPDATE: Principal Hooke responded via phone call and email, Monday afternoon providing a statement from the Vicar General of the Oakland Diocese.
From the Office of the Vicar General
On Saturday Morning, graffiti was found in the boys restroom of the gymnasium at Holy Rosary School. The narrative stated a threat to the school campus. The Police Department was called and they investigated. The Principal, Mr. Tim Hooke was present and cooperated with the Police department. On Saturday, an email was sent out to the parent community informing them of the situation. Mr. Hooke met with the police department on Monday morning, to complete a thorough-walk through of the school buildings before school opened. All was found in order. The parents were updated via Constant Contact on Monday. Mr. Hooke collaborated with the Police and was in communication with the Department of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Oakland throughout the weekend. In keeping with the procedures and policies, the administration of Holy Rosary School throughout the weekend, took actions and communication to ensure the safety of all the students.
Very Reverend George Mockel
In addition, Hooke provided a copy of the email he sent to parents on Monday:
Monday, November 16, 2015
I want to update you on what has been done to ensure the safety of our students today. The Antioch Police Department had officers monitor the campus throughout the weekend. Monday morning at 5:30 am, I met with officers and did a thorough walk-through of the school buildings and school grounds. Everything appeared to be in order and so our normal Monday school day went on as planned as will the remainder of the week. I understand in light of the events in our country and the world that an incident like this can instill concern and fear. Let us join together to pray for peace, safety and ongoing respect for each other that our Faith calls us to.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work with the authorities in this matter. Please contact me if you have any questions.
In a phone message from Acting Sergeant Tom Fuhrmann of the Antioch Police Department, Monday at 4:00 p.m., he stated the graffiti was “of a bomb threat giving a date of Monday it would go off and there was also some other satanic type stuff written on the walls. A report was taken and the investigation is still ongoing. There’s no suspect at this time. The school was checked. There was nothing suspicious found.”
By Allen Payton
The agenda for a Special Meeting of the Antioch Unified School District Board of Trustees for Thursday, November 12, at 11 a.m. listed a Closed Session item for “Public Employee Appointment: Interim Superintendent.”
An email sent Tuesday night to Board President Claire Smith, Board Members and Superintendent Don Gill seeking answers for why the meeting was being held, resulted in an email response by Smith, that night.
That email stated the following:
“Dr Gill is on paid leave.
There was no vote taken as of yet.
There will be a special board meeting at 11 am on Thursday Nov 12
I have not seen the agenda for the November 18th meeting.
We should be having a discussion and possible vote on the search firm that night.”
The Board action occurred during a Closed Session of a Special Board Meeting at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, with two agenda items entitled “3. I. Public Employee Performance Evaluation: Administrators” and “II. Public Employee: Discipline/Dismissal/Release.”
In phone interviews, Wednesday, Smith said the reason Gill is on paid leave was “Because the board put him on paid administrative leave and it’s a personnel matter and that’s it.”
She said it was done as of this Tuesday, that she announced it publicly, following the Closed Session, and that it was a unanimous vote of the trustees. However, no news release was sent to the media regarding the Board’s action.
She wouldn’t say why the board took the action.
“The reason we can’t say is because it is a personnel matter,” Smith stated. “If it was something illegal, that would be completely different. There’s nothing illegal. If it was illegal this would be an entire different conversation.”
In a prepared statement sent via email, Wednesday night, Smith stated:
“1. Don will be on a leave of absence for the remainder of the year.
2. Government Code section 54957 subdivision (b)(1) allows the board to hold closed session to consider the appointment or employment of a public employee.
3. Any action in Closed Session including a motion and vote will be reported in Open Session immediately after the Board reconvenes.”
Smith clarified that Gill is on leave until the end of the school year, next June.
His contract lasts until June, 2017 but his resignation, which Gill announced in Septemeber, will take effect June 30, 2016.
The board will be “interviewing people that we think might be able to do the job in the interim,” Smith said.
“We did this the last time, too,” she added. “We interviewed a lot of senior staff. We invited maybe eight people in to meet with the board and we just asked them all the same exact questions.”
The actual appointment vote will be done in public at Thursday’s meeting following the closed session in which the interviews occur,
“There is a provision in the law that allows us to take the vote in Closed Session,” she continued. “But I try to get the board to do things in public.
“We have to say who voted how, if it’s not unanimous,” Smith added. “It could be three seconds or an hour” before the Closed Session is completed and the Board takes their vote to appoint an interim superintendent during the open session.
The interim appointment will last until the Board hires a new superintendent.
Efforts to reach Dr. Gill for this report were unsuccessful.
The Antioch School Board meetings are held at the School Services Building located at 510 G Street, in Antioch.
PITTSBURG: Los Medanos College (LMC) will hold a Veterans Day Observance on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, at 10:00 a.m., on the LMC Student Services Center Patio. The college is hosting this event to honor its student veterans and all of the men and women of the Armed Forces for their service, bravery, and sacrifice. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend. Complimentary parking is available in Lots A and B.
The program will feature the Brentwood VFW Marine Color Guard, guest speakers, representatives from LMC’s Veterans Services, and musical selections to mark the occasion. Light refreshments will also be served.
Among the guest speakers will be three honored veterans:
Mr. Dale Cook, retired Army Corporal; is a decorated World War II veteran, who served in the Army Infantry in the Pacific Theater from 1944 to 1946. He is an Iwo Jima survivor, and was awarded both the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Ribbon. Following his military service, Mr. Cook went on to work for the U.S. Atomic Energy Agency as Director of Public Relations.
Mr. Justin Kerns, U.S. Army veteran and Antioch resident; served in the U.S. Army for ten years, five years in Infantry and five years in aviation as a Blackhawk helicopter crew chief in the California National Guard. In total, Mr. Kerns served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is President of the recently reconstituted LMC Veterans Club.
Mr. Anthony Amador, former Navy serviceman and current LMC student veteran, served as an Electronics Technician on a Navy submarine during Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF). He is Vice President of the LMC Veterans Club.
Please join us to salute the men and women of the Armed Forces for their brave service.
By Allen Payton
With the field of applicants for the vacancy on the Antioch School Board narrowed down to eight, the Antioch School Board held their interview process at a special meeting, Wednesday night, and ended by appointing small business owner Fernando Navarro as the new trustee.
The appointment is provisional for 30 days, in accordance with the state Education Code, during which members of the public can voice their opinion one way or another, or call for election. If all goes according to plan, Navarro will be given his oath of office at the next regular School Board meeting, after the 30-day period, which will be held on Wednesday, December 16.
The process began with the applicants choosing numbers to determine the order in which they would speak and then being given a three-minute opening statement at the podium. Then they were each asked the same four questions, with each question beginning with the next applicant in order. One applicant, Alicia Okoha, left after her opening statement, to go pick up her daughter, and missed the first two questions. The meeting was briefly suspended so district staff could look for her in the district office building.
When she returned to the podium to answer the third question, Okoha explained that she had informed Nancy Belleci, Superintendent Don Gill’s Senior Executive Assistant, that she would have to leave the meeting briefly.
The first line of Okoha’s three-minute opening statement was memorable and sounded strident.
“Hash tag all minds matter,” she stated. “But the black and brown minds have been miseducated in this history of this country.”
Another applicant, Mark Jordan focused his opening statement on the hiring of a new superintendent.
“This is of paramount importance to this community,” he said. “Dr. Gill has done a good job. But we need change because the community has changed.”
Then he committed to only serving 12 months and not run for election.
Navarro offered a philosophical answer to the first question of why he wanted to be on the board and what skills he would bring to the position.
“The basis of knowledge is understanding how the world works,” he stated. “But the basis of wisdom is the understanding of why the world works.”
He then shared about the need for more vocational schools.
Following the answers to the fourth question in the first round, the four board members then voted and announced their top four candidates. Any candidate who received at least three votes would move on to the next round of questions.
Only three candidates made the cut, Navarro, Alicia Marroquin, each with four votes, and Julie Young, who received three. The next closest applicant was Millard Larkin, who received two votes.
Jordan and former trustees Gary Hack and Joy Motts each received one vote.
School Board President Claire Smith thanked those who didn’t make it past the first round for their participation the process and said “By all means, consider running in November.”
“I think it was a very transparent, fair process,” Jordan said, after the process was completed.
The board then asked the remaining three candidates another series of questions.
In response to the question about their short-term, and long-term plans if appointed, Navarro said “Nobody’s indespensible. My focus isn’t in being a career politician. If my time here is efective, then I’m open to it (running in next year’s election). But it’s not my goal.”
“If I do a good job and if the community wants me to stick around, then I’m here at your service,” he added.
He spoke about being impartial and that he would listen, when asked what he would do if a parent met him in a grocery store and asked for his vote on a hot issue. Navarro also responded “It’s not the place to have a debate” and that he believed the role of a board member is “to be the voice of the community.”
Of the 11 applicants who applied, three were unable to participate in the interviews. Jayson Bordges, as previously reported, backed out because he was out of state and couldn’t attend the meeting. Another, Ronald Partain was disqualified because as of the date he submitted his application, he was still registered to vote in Brentwood, where he moved from four years ago. He explained that he has voted by mail for years and forgot to re-register when he moved to Antioch, but went to the county Elections Office in Martinez on Wednesday afternoon to change his registration. However, it was too late. Elections Office staff explained that candidates and applicants for elected or appointed office must be registered in the district in which they wish to serve at the time they file their papers.
The third applicant to miss the interviews was Carleton Booker, who stated by text, Thursday morning, that he had a family emergency and was still at the hospital, at that time.
Following the final round of questions, the board members shared their thoughts before taking their final vote.
“I think you are all extremely qualified and would welcome any of you on the board,” Smith said. “Each one of you has great strengths. I wish that the two of you who don’t get appointed would run in the General Election.”
Trustee Walter Ruehlig offered a different perspective.
“We’re not always looking for a better candidate,” he said. “We’re looking for the best fit for the board.”
They then took another vote and Navarro received four votes, Young received three and Marroquin received one. The unanimous decision of the board gave Navarro the appointment.
Smith offered her final comments to the two applicants who weren’t appointed.
“You two ladies have made yourselves and your families proud,” she stated.
Then, Navarro was given the chance to return to the podium and share his thoughts.
“Now I have to tell my wife. I’m in trouble,” he joked. “I’m in shock. I am so honored and humbled. This is my first dip in the pool. I just spoke from my heart. What you see is what you get.”
Then he turned to the audience and said “This is your opportunity to have a person in this seat who will listen to the community.”
“Don’t worry,” Willie Mims, who regularly attends and speaks at school board meetings, said to laughter.
Navarro is married and they have two children who attend Carmen Dragon Elementary, and has lived in Antioch for nine years. He owns a mobile waterless car wash and detail company serving, what he said are “dot com companies in the Silicon Valley.”
To read Navarro’s application for the appointment, please click here: Fernando Navarro
On Thursday, November 5 the Deer Valley High School ACE academy will sponsor a new planetarium show called “Back to the Moon for Good,” narrated by Tim Allen. This program explains the Lunar X-Prize contest, which describes a contest for a privately funded mission to the moon that will release a rover and send back pictures and messages.
Also that evening, we have a NASA Lunar Sample Disk with some small moon rocks on display. These are actual samples of rocks and soil from the moon, encased in an acrylic diåsk.
If you’ve never seen a moon rock, come take a look. The event will be Thursday night at 7 PM in room 511 at Deer Valley High School, 4700 Lone Tree Way, Antioch.
Contact Jeff Adkins for more information at either firstname.lastname@example.org or 925 899 4001.
By Allen Payton
According to the Antioch Unified School District’s website, 11 people have submitted applications for the vacancy on the Antioch School Board, created by the resignation of Barbara Cowan, for the one year remaining in her term.
The applicants include both former Antioch School Board Trustees who were defeated in last year’s election, Gary Hack and Joy Motts, as well as Carleton Booker, Jayson Bordges, Mark Jordan, Millard Larkin II, Amalia Marroquin, Fernando Navarro, Alicia Okoh, Ronald Partain and Julie Young.
11-3-15 3:45 PM Update: According to their applications, posted on the district’s website, this afternoon (available below), phone interviews and internet searches, Booker is owner of 911 MYNONPROFIT and author of the book Things You Need To Know About Non-Profits – Making Sense of Non-Profit Status, and a pastor in an Antioch church; Bordges is Pastor of the Antioch Wesleyan Church; Jordan is a real estate broker in Antioch; Larkin is a Senior Vice President of One Ingress, a start-up technology company based in Walnut Creek; Marroquin is a mental health therapist; Navarro is the owner of a mobile waterless car wash and detail company serving “dot com companies in the Silicon Valley”; Okoh is a social worker; Partain is a retired locomotive engineer and CEO/Director of Wings Ministry International; and Young is an independent kitchen consultant.
Jordan said he would not run for the seat, in next year’s elections, but he thinks it would be good to have a business person on the board during the selection process for the new superintendent.
They will be interviewed by the Board during a special, public meeting on Wednesday, November 4 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board Room at the School District offices located at 510 G Street, in downtown.
11-4-15 12:15 PM Update: The school district, following media requests and the standard practice by the County Elections Office for candidates for public office, released the phone numbers of the candidates for both the media and public to be able to contact them. Below is that information in the order it was received by the district.
In addition, Gill stated Wednesday morning, that Jayson Bordges had withdrawn from consideration because he is out of state and unable to make the meeting for the interview, this evening.
Applicants and Phone Numbers (all are 925 Area Code unless noted):
Carleton Book – work: 877-865-4445, home: 752-1973
Gary Hack – home: 757-1375
Mark Jordan – work: 757-8080, home: 876-8080
Millard Larkin – work: 472-6968 x 105, home: 755-9724
Amalia Marroquin – work: 427-8664 x 242, home: 708-4693
Joyann Motts – work: 513-0444, home: 813-0036
Fernando Navarro – work & home: (650) 630-5209
Alicia Okoha – work: not provided, home: 864-2325
Ronald Partain – work & home: 628-1777
Julie Young – work & home: 778-5915
Antioch School Board hears Deer Valley High football coaches, students speak against accusations, approves new Math-Intensive program for Deer Valley studentsSaturday, October 31st, 2015
By Nick Goodrich
On Wednesday night, October 28, students and coaches with the Deer Valley High School football program, turned out in force to the Antioch School Board meeting, to protest accusations made against them, involving an incident with the Pittsburg High School band, earlier in the month.
Videos were posted on social media of the football game between Deer Valley and Pittsburg on Friday, October 16th, apparently showing Deer Valley football players and coaches interrupting the Pittsburg band, as they performed their routine before the game. Later claims made by band members and parents alleged that band members were pushed, spit on, and harassed by both Deer Valley players and coaches.
However, the Deer Valley students and coaching staff said that the incident was a misunderstanding and in no way occurred as it had been portrayed on social media. The Board agreed, stating that the incident was blown out of proportion, but stood firm in the decision to place Head Coach Robert Hubbard on administrative leave pending a full investigation.
“We have to remind everyone that Coach Hubbard will have to remain on leave until the investigation is complete,” said Board President Claire Smith.
Many of the comments by students and coaches present at the meeting centered on Hubbard, who they say has had “a great impact” on students and players both on and off the field, and who also teaches a special needs class at Deer Valley. He has served as the DVHS football program’s head coach since July of this year, following the departure of previous coach Richard Woods.
During the meeting, the Board also voted 3-0 to approve a new math intensive tutoring program for Deer Valley students, developed by Antioch residents John Crowder and Angel Luevano. The program, which will be available after school for three hours every school day, places a special emphasis on students struggling in their current Algebra 1 classes.
Students in the program will work with tutors on their current class work, while also catching up with work they have learned in the past but may have forgotten. Testing will occur at each students’ entry to determine which skills need to be worked on with each individual, and will continue throughout the program. Once a student is deemed through testing to have sufficient knowledge of the subjects being learned in class, he or she will graduate the program, opening up the spot for another student to be brought on board. As many as twenty-four students at a time can participate. The Board members said they excited to vote the program in, and expects to see positive results with Algebra 1 students at Deer Valley.