Dozier-Libbey Wins Distinguished School Award

Proudly accepting a plaque of recognition as a California Distinguished School is Dozier-Libbey Medical High School Principal Nancie Castro. In attendance on December 8th at the Dozier-Libbey gym were (L-R) Antioch Board Trustees Gary Hack, Claire Smith, Diane Gibson-Gray, Joy Motts, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Antioch Superintendent Dr. Donald Gill and Trusttee Walter Ruehlig. (Photo courtesy of ABC School Portraits)

Antioch’s Dozier-Libbey Medical High School received some early Christmas presents in the form of several awards and accolades, including being named a California Distinguished School in an award ceremony earlier this month.

The California Department of Education gives the Distinguished School award every year to schools that demonstrate academic success through high test scores among all of their students, regardless of background.

Closing the achievement gap was a particular focus of this year’s award, which is now celebrating its own silver anniversary.

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson was on hand at the packed ceremony to present the award to the medical career focused high school.

Torlakson said that Dozier-Libbey won the award because of its high Academic Performance Index, (API), scores and its career themed, “real-world” focused education which he said is the future of education in the State.

“Here at Dozier-Libbey … every student is valued, every student challenged,” said Torlakson. “This philosophy of having every student helped and creating and understanding relevance every day … is a big reason [for the award].”

The high school, which specializes in a rigorous curriculum that exceeds California public school requirements with a focus on math, science and careers in the medical field, has improved its API scores every year since it opened its doors in 2008.

This year student’s average API scores were in the mid 800s, placing them among the top high schools in the county.

Dozier-Libbey Principal Nancie Castro believes her school is one of the best around. And, like Torlakson, she sees Dozier-Libbey’s “real-world,” student-centric learning model as something that could revive the state’s ailing public education system.

“I believe in my heart that this is a model that works for all kids,” said Castro. “Getting experience for students outside the classroom, really bringing relevance to what they’re learning – it means they’ll blossom. And [the award] is validation that what we’re doing here really works.”

As if to prove Castro’s point further, Dozier-Libbey also received a California Linked Learning Certification at the ceremony for its use of up to date, career-focused education to help improve student engagement, achievement and eventual transition to college as well as an additional award for Exemplary Career Technical Education Program.

Dozier-Libbey’s small size – it will hold a maximum of 600 students by the time the school is at capacity – allowed all of its students to attend the ceremony, including the school band. The enthusiastic cheers from the bleachers seemed to prove the students were just as proud of the award as the school staff.

“It’s a really great honor,” said Nazifa Fazli, 17. “I think it encourages everyone to try even harder.”

Another student and future pediatrician, Raymond Maciel, 17, said that the awards give the students and staff a chance to show special their school is. “Dozier-Libbey, from its environment to its excellent teachers – it makes our futures one step easier to achieve,” he said.

17-year-old student Celynn Knight summed up the ceremony by simply saying, “Everyone here is a family.”

After all of the accolades perhaps that’s the one thing that really sets Dozier-Libbey apart.

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One Comment to “Dozier-Libbey Wins Distinguished School Award”

  1. Savannah says:

    I am a student at Dozier-Libbey Medical High School and there are just a few things I feel were left out in this article that I wish people would know. I feel this article was very well written, so I have no criticism towards the writer of it. There was a quote stated in it by my principle, Nancie Castro, that I feel needs a little modification.

    She said, “I believe in my heart that this is a model that works for all kids,” said Castro. “Getting experience for students outside the classroom, really bringing relevance to what they’re learning- it means they’ll blossom. And [the award] is validation that what we’re doing here really works.”

    Now, onto my little rebut (I hope that word makes sense there) but she mentions how this method will work for every child. All I have to say is that that is false. This method is great though, I mean I have had the ability to job shadow and witness a c-section, which I know that if I went to another school I would not have been able to do that. But what I have to add to the article is how spectacular our teachers are at DLMHS. This school would not be where it is today if it were not for the teachers there who love seeing us be successful. That is the real problem in our education system, teachers without desire. Not once in this article was it mentioned that the teachers are not just teachers, but they are like parents in the sense they want to see us get somewhere in life and I believe with all my heart that it is because of them, not our princi”pal” but the teachers who deserve all the credit. I would not even give credit to the students, even though we are awesome, but I may just be a bit bias.

    I have several older siblings who when attending high school left home early because all they were doing in class was watching a movie, and I have many friends at Antioch High that I have met through sports that say things like, yeah in class all our teacher did was yell and cuss at us, or things like we didn’t have a lesson. If people are worried about the education system, they need to start looking at those who are “teaching” and begin there. I promise that this will have an enormous effect on the students.At DLMHS we have the teachers that make our school what it is. I am now all done with this tirade, thank you for letting me use my first amendment right and let me say some not so kind things 🙂
    Have a lovely night!

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