Preparing Students for Success in College, Career, and Life

By Don Gill
Superintendent, Antioch Unified School District

It has been a great year for Dozier-Libbey Medical High School. In the short span of three years since this high school opened its doors they have amassed an impressive array of awards and recognitions. Dozier-Libbey Medical High School is a school that is the product of the collaborative efforts of the Antioch Unified School District and its affiliated administrators, teachers, staff, students, parents, businesses, and elected officials. The results of their efforts show the depth of their commitment to this school’s success.

The most recent recognition bestowed upon Dozier Libbey Medical High School occurred July 11th when the Antioch Unified School District was informed that this Academy earned the distinction of becoming an official Linked Learning Certified Pathway Program high school. This certification was granted to Dozier-Libbey Medical High School as a result of a two day site visitation by the Linked Learning Pathway Quality Review Team on March 30-31, 2011. According to Arlene P. LaPlante, Director, ConnectEd Network and Linked Learning Certification Coordinator, “The review team took special note of the strong spirit of collaboration, support, and leadership that is reflected in student outcomes.”

Nancie Castro, Principal of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School and her team of dedicated teachers and staff members need to be commended for their work in building such a strong connection with the students and families that attend this outstanding school. Nancie has worked very closely with Antioch Unified School District Executive Director of Programs & Intervention, Robin Schmitt, and the larger local and regional business community. They have worked as a team in support of promoting the Linked Learning initiative at this school which helps students pursue pathways to careers by combining rigorous academics with demanding technical education, work based learning, and academic interventions.

In addition to receiving the Linked Learning Pathway Quality Review Certification, Dozier-Libbey Medical High School recently joined 97 other exemplary California public secondary schools that were selected as 2011 California Distinguished Schools. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson stated “These schools are recognized for attaining high levels of performance and sustained growth and for making significant progress in closing the academic achievement gap.” He went on to state, “Becoming a distinguished school is a direct reflection of the dedication, hard work, and vision of each school’s education community. They have succeeded despite a bleak economic environment and have endeavored to maintain their momentum and focus.” As an added bonus, Dozier-Libbey Medical High School also earned the honor of receiving the Exemplary Career Technical Education Program award of which only five were granted this year.

Thanks to the generous and committed support of ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, which is funded through the James Irvine Foundation, the Antioch Unified School District has been the recipient of $2.5 million in grant funding to support the District’s efforts to promote Linked Learning academies such as Dozier-Libbey Medical High School, Deer Valley Delta Academy for the Performing Arts, Deer Valley High School Law Academy, and Antioch High School’s Engineering and Designing for a Green Environment Academy. In addition, other smaller learning communities are active in their pursuit of connecting students to multiple pathways such as the Business Academy and Science and Research Academy both of which are located on the Deer Valley High School campus.

The Antioch Unified School District Board of Education is committed to preparing its students to meet the challenges that they face as they assume the roles and responsibilities expected of them upon their graduation from all the District’s high schools. The evidence mounts each year that this comprehensive approach to multiple pathways can raise achievement, reduce the dropout rate, and increase post-secondary persistence and career success. The District looks forward to continued expansion of its Linked Learning and Career Academies and is appreciative of the $2.5 million grant funding from ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, through the James Irvine Foundation, and the $2.5 million Smaller Learning Communities federal grant that was recently awarded to Antioch High School. These funds will continue to move the District forward in preparing students to meet the challenges of a fast changing world.

The economic impact and opportunity of ensuring that students graduate from high school with the necessary academic skills to assume high wage careers and post-secondary education are critical to our region. As stated in the Gateways Regional Cradle to Career Education & Workforce Partnership 2010 Annual Report to the community, the California Department of Education estimates, for example, that if just 1,000 more students completed high School in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties, they would earn $20 million in additional income each year, purchase an additional $66 million of housing by the midpoint of the careers, support 100 new jobs in the region, increase the gross regional product by $24 million, and add $2.9 million to state and local government coffers.

The Antioch Unified School District is committed to replicate the successes that have been achieved at Dozier-Libbey Medical High School in their short history. This includes the Linked Learning academies and Smaller Learning Communities at both Deer Valley High School and Antioch High School. We see our District as a vital part of building local and regional pathways to prosperity, social cohesion, and equal access to opportunity. If you wish to be a part of the expansion of this exciting work, please contact Mr. Robin Schmitt at

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