Complaints About Lack of Counselors, Privacy, Books

Teachers and administrators from the Alternative Education Program smile for the camera after being recognized for a recent increase in student achievement scores.

By Amy Claire

While the Antioch School Board recognized improvements in the alternative education program at their September 14 meeting, not everyone was smiling. One teacher from Prospects High School, which is part of the alternative education program, raised concerns about the school’s lack of a vice-principal or a counselor for its students.

Because alternative education students are often those who have struggled with traditional education settings, he saw the removal of the counselor and administrative support as potentially harmful to student development.

Three parents also expressed their disappointment with the district.

The first, angered by the release of private information to an individual who did not have custody over her children, was also upset by the lack of district response to her repeated complaints about the matter.

The second parent, mother of three students who are high achievers and involved in many extracurricular activities, voiced her irritation about an ongoing absence of textbooks in her son’s advanced world history course in high school. She stated that this was an unacceptable state of affairs, particularly now that the school year is four weeks into session.

The third parent was also frustrated by apparent apathy from the district. The day after her son broke his hand at school and failed to complete an assignment, his teacher demanded to know why he had not brought his homework to the hospital in order to finish it. The parent was very upset by this response, but felt further scorned when, after repeatedly contacting administrators and district employees, the issue remained unaddressed.

The board stated that it would look into her situation, as well as those of the other two parents.

The alternative education program, in contrast, projected high spirits. This program, which includes Live Oak, Prospects and Bidwell as well as the adult education program, has recently seen significant increases in student achievement scores, and has helped to raise the graduation rate in the district by 5.2 percent.

Program Principal Amy Farias expressed gratitude to the teachers and staff on her team, and Superintendent Donald Gill agreed. “They make this program proud,” he said.

The board also recognized change order committee member Fred Ehler for his service to the district. They then gave special recognition to two donations from the Antioch High School Alumni Association to the AHS football team and the performing arts program. After the special recognitions, the board was presented with the budget actuals for the 2010 – 2011 school year, which were largely positive.

The next regular school board meeting will be on Wednesday, September 28 at 7 p.m. at the district office, 510 G Street in Antioch.

School board members pose with Fred Ehler after presenting him with a certificate recognizing his service on the change order committee.

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