Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Antioch, Pittsburg residents earn MBA degrees from WGU

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (Grassroots Newswire) July 24, 2017 – The following local residents have received their degree from Western Governors University (WGU). The university held its 33rd semi-annual commencement ceremony at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on July 15 and celebrated the graduation of more than 10,000 graduates.

  • Manjit Sooch of Antioch (94531) has received her MBA in IT Management
  • Ritche Martija of Pittsburg (94565) has received his MBA in IT Management

At the commencement, the online, nonprofit university recognized 6,348 undergraduates and 4,140 graduates who have completed their degrees in business, information technology, K-12 teacher education, and healthcare, including nursing. Clayton M. Christensen, the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and Founder of The Christensen Institute, delivered the commencement address, and joined President Scott D. Pulsipher in honoring the more than 1,000 new alumni participating in the ceremony. Students who were not able to attend the ceremony in person were able to watch the event via live video stream on WGU’s website.

WGU has made convenient and affordable higher education available to busy adults. Demand for its competency-based programs can be seen in the year-over-year growth of WGU’s national impact.

Forty percent of this year’s graduates represent the first generation in their family to complete college. The average time to graduation for bachelor’s degrees was two years, three months and the average time to graduation for graduate programs was one year, eight months.

Since WGU’s founding in 1997, the online, competency-based university has awarded more than 87,000 degrees; 20,000 of them in just the past year. Designed to meet the needs of working adults, WGU’s competency-based learning model makes it possible for students to fit studying into their busy lives. Students complete courses as soon as they demonstrate that they have mastered the subject matter, enabling them to move quickly through material they already know and spend more time on focusing on what they still need to learn. As a result, many students are able to accelerate their studies, finishing faster and saving money.

About WGU

Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves 82,000 students and 87,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 20 years, the university has become a leading force in changing lives of through education. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at


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Antioch High School Class of 1977 to hold 40-year reunion, Sept. 16

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Tickets available until Tuesday, Aug. 1

Enjoy some Saturday night fever at the Antioch High School Class of 1977 40 Year Reunion, on September 16. The reunion will be held at the Antioch Community Center, 4703 Lone Tree Way from 6-11 p.m.

Cost is $60/person and the deadline for ticket purchases is Tuesday, August 1. Tickets will NOT be available at the door.

All information can be found at  Classmates are also welcome to join the reunion Facebook page at:

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Four Antioch teachers win 2017 Mary Allan Fellows awards, to be honored at September dinner

Monday, July 24th, 2017

To be honored at annual dinner, Sept. 19

The Antioch Schools Education Foundation has announced the winners, finalists and nominees in Antioch’s 2017 Mary Allan Fellows awards.

Fellows: Tammy Ely-Kofford, 11th Grade Social Science, Deer Valley High School

Jacey Renfroe, 5th Grade, Marsh Elementary

Italo Rossi, 11th/12th Grade Human Anatomy & Physiology AP Biology, Antioch High School

Frank Zrinski, Seventh Grade Science, Antioch Middle School

Finalists: Connie Azevedo, 1st Grade, Belshaw Elementary

Sara Buckley-Carson, 8th Grade Science, Park Middle School

Christine Graves, 6th Grade, Park Middle School

Patrick Green, 6th-8th Physical Education, Antioch Middle

Lorie Guinard, 6th-8th Grade Severely Handicapped, Park Middle School

DarVisa Marshall, 6th Grade English and History, Park Middle School

Nominees: Megan Benson, Kindergarten, Orchard Park K-8 School

Tricia Campbell, English Language Development (ELD), Park Middle School

Marlein Jeans, 1st Grade, Jack London Elementary

Shawna Lucey, 3rd Grade, Grant Elementary

Michele White, 4th Grade, Mission Elementary

10th Annual Mary Allan Fellow’s Awards Dinner

The four winners will be honored at the 10th Annual Mary Allan Fellows Awards Dinner on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Lone Tree Golf & Event Center, 4800 Golf Course Road, Antioch. The dinner will feature 2017 National Counselor of the Year Terri Tchorzynski and a special guest. Tickets are $75 per person, go on sale August 16 and can be purchased at Umpqua Bank, from 3:00-7:00 p.m.

To learn more visit



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School supply drive in Antioch Saturday, July 29

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

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Ron Leone, former Deer Valley Vice Principal, announces run for County Schools Superintendent

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Concord Councilman Ron Leone. Photo from his council campaign website

Concord Councilman, former teacher and A.U.S.D. Director of Student Services

By John Crowder

Concord City Councilman and one-time mayor Ron Leone, a former vice principal at Antioch’s Deer Valley High School, confirmed today that he is running for the position of Contra Costa County School Superintendent in the June 2018 election. Incumbent Karen Sakata, serving in her first term, has not yet indicated if she will seek re-election.

Leone, who is also a former Teacher of the Year and was the Director of Student Services for the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD), has been involved in education for over forty years.  In an interview with this reporter, Leone said he is running because, “education is my passion.  Everything I’ve done over my career has led me to this point, and I want to use my experience to ensure our students achieve academic success.”

According to his bio on the City of Concord’s website, “Ron Leone, a resident of Concord since 1978, was elected to the City Council in 2010, re-elected in 2014. He served as Mayor in 2012 and Vice Mayor in 2014 and 2016. Leone served 35 years in education as a high school teacher and principal. He was the teacher of the year in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and teachers’ association president. He coached high school baseball, and several championship mock trial and constitutional academic teams.”

“I believe that I have the vision our schools need now,” he continued.  “In many ways, our schools throughout the county need help.  For example, last year the Grand Jury delivered a report on truancy that was very troubling.  Our county is one of the worst in the state for truancy, but I know first-hand that we can turn this around.  I served as the Director of Child Welfare and Attendance in Antioch some years ago, and was the first to conduct truancy sweeps, coordinating with local law enforcement.  Students who were truant were given Saturday school, and phone calls went home to parents.  In subsequent sweeps, we found that, by having real consequences for the students who skipped school, we dramatically reduced the number of repeat offenders.”

Leone also mentioned the financial challenges he plans to address.

“Another potentially serious problem is the County Office of Education’s unfunded liabilities,” he stated. “They continue to grow, and this will undoubtedly impact our ability to keep dollars in the classroom, if it continues.  We faced the same issue in Concord, but by exercising the leadership needed to tackle the matter, we were able to pay down the debt and create a $30 million reserve.”

Vocational training is strongly advocated by Leone. He described a Regional Occupation Program (ROP) his students used during his tenure in Fremont.

“The Mission Valley ROP Center that was developed was part of a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) with three school districts,” he said.  “I believe this approach would work for our County, as well.  I’m proposing a vocational training center in Central Contra Costa County.  Students from several school districts would be able to attend after school hours.”

Leone wants to work closely with the local school districts in the County. As of today, he’s already met with twelve of the County’s local school district superintendents.

“One of the things that I’m seeing is that the County Office of Education can help our local districts through expanded support of teacher training,” he said. “In addition, we want to encourage school districts to implement programs that advance academic achievement, and to help engage parents in their students’ success.”

Prior to being elected to the Concord City Council, Leone served for 16 years as an elected member of the Mt. Diablo Hospital District Board, as well as Chairman of the Board of the John Muir Hospitals, and the City’s Planning Commission.

Leone invites anyone interested in learning more to contact him at

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Gov. signs Frazier bill allowing funds for out of state school field trips

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

Sacramento, CA Gov. Jerry Brown, Monday signed AB 341 by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay), which gives local school districts the authority to use funds at their discretion for student participation in field trips or excursions to other states, the District of Columbia, or a foreign country.

“School districts have been explicitly prohibited from using funds to help students participate in field trips or educational excursions out of state,” Frazier said. “AB 341 changes this, allowing schools to use district funds to enhance educational opportunities by increasing access to student resources and improving the outcomes that students experience.”

 The idea for AB 341 came locally from the Fairfield-Suisun School District, which is in the 11th Assembly District. In the spring of 2016, Armijo High School and Grange Middle School VEX robotics teams qualified to participate in the world competition in Kentucky. The students on these teams needed financial assistance to attend the competition. The school district was required to file for a waiver to the state Department of Education, in order to use district funds for this purpose.  AB 341 will eliminate the need for a waiver, allowing school districts to use their own discretion on whether to use district funds for travel that enhances student educational experiences.

 “This common-sense legislation grants local school districts the authority to use funds to help students whose families may not have the financial means to pay for these types of opportunities,” Frazier said. “I thank Fairfield-Suisun School District for bringing the need for this legislation to my attention and for the district’s strong support of AB 341 during the legislative process.”

Assemblymember Jim Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove. To contact him please visit his website at or call his District Offices at 707-399-3011 or 925-513-0411. Follow him on Facebook and “Like” him for updates on events and happenings in the 11th AD.

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Antioch students honored by Fleet Reserve Association for patriotic essays

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Gary Blackburn, past National President of the Fleet Reserve Association, with Paideia Academy essay award winners Hugo Cortes, Khaaliq Parker-Thomas, and Eddy Crowder.  Also pictured is Eddy’s sister Heidi Crowder. Photo by Sheri Crowder.

On Wednesday, May 24, the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) honored three Antioch students for winning first place at their respective grade levels in the annual FRA Americanism Essay Competition.  The theme for this year’s competition was, “What Memorial Day Means to Me.”

The three students, all of whom attend Paideia Academy, are: 7th grader Khaaliq Parker-Thomas, 8th grader Eddy Crowder, and 10th grader Hugo Cortes.  Each of the students was presented with a cash prize and an American flag that had been flown over the United States Capitol.  They were hosted at a dinner held at the Veterans Memorial Building in Vallejo.

Gary Blackburn, past National President of FRA, expressed his appreciation for the students, and for Paideia Academy, which has seen students entering the competition for over a decade.

“We are very pleased to receive the essays from the Paideia students every year,” he said.  “Patriotism is something we, as veterans, value very highly, and working with a school that emphasizes this important character trait gives us great satisfaction.”

Sheri Crowder, Administrator for the school shared her thoughts.

“We consider it a great privilege to be able to enter the patriotic writing and speaking competitions,” she said. “It gives the students an opportunity to develop their research and writing skills.  It helps to teach the students how to focus their thoughts, and express them in a clear, logical way.”

“It also gives students the opportunity to think of something and someone bigger than themselves,” Crowder continued. “Most importantly, it gives all of us the opportunity to meet veterans and hear their stories.  It never fails to amaze me that in our attempt to honor veterans, we come away blessed and honored by them. Thank you to all the veterans.”

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Antioch High graduates largest class in six years

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Deontay Currie and Kaeli Cavallo are all smiles as they head to Eells Stadium for the Class of 2017’s graduation commencement on Friday, June 9. Photos by Trine Gallegos / Antioch High School.

Antioch High Student Body President Chelsea Abillano speaks to her classmates.

By Luke Johnson

Associated Student Body President Chelsea Abillano was brought to tears at the end of Antioch High School’s commencement ceremony, when graduates formed the traditional “block A” on the football field.

“It was when I had one of my last encounters with a teacher who made a big impact on my life,” Abillano said.

She was referring to Student Government teacher Sean Taylor who embraced her with a hug while graduates threw their caps into the warm, nighttime sky over Eells Stadium.

“Mr. T was a teacher who always taught life lessons,” Abillano said. “It was always fun and memorable.

Approximately 368 students received their diplomas Friday, June 9. This was the most for AHS since 2011 – the last year before Dozier-Libbey Medical High School started graduating classes in the same district.

Najee Harris with Principal Louie Rocha.

Abillano said in her four years spent on campus she will remember athletes and coaches turning around the school’s athletic program.

When she was in 8th grade the boys’ basketball team finished 0-22, and when she was a freshman the football team went 1-9. However, before she graduated she witnessed the football team win a league championship for the first time in 31 years and the basketball team win a playoff game for the first time in six years. On top of that, the boys’ volleyball team won its first league title in two decades.

The school’s most famous member of the Class of 2017, who helped create some of that sports success, Najee Harris returned from the University of Alabama to walk with his classmates and participate in the commencement ceremonies.

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