Dozier-Libbey teachers provide Q&A on charter conversion

A press briefing was held on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 by the Dozier-Libbey Medical High School teachers working to convert to an independent charter school. Following are their notes.

Provided by Stacey Wickware, Lead Petitioner & Steering Committee Member

As expected, the Antioch School Board of Trustees voted to deny Dozier-Libbey’s petition to convert to a public charter school. This petition will now be forwarded to the Contra Costa County Board of Education on appeal. The board also voted to approve the district’s petition to create a “start-up” charter on Dozier-Libbey’s current campus. Legally, the district’s charter is in question and therefore, our staff has deferred to our legal council, the California Charter Schools Association, and the California Teachers Association for advice on how to proceed on that front. In the meantime, the Dozier-Libbey teachers are moving forward with their independent charter through the appeals process at the county level.

As the dedicated staff at Dozier-Libbey wants the best opportunities for our students and vehemently believes the independent charter conversion is the only option to guarantee the future of DLMHS, the programs we seek to create by converting to an independent charter will provide us the site-based authority to do even better for all students, particularly those who might not be well served in the traditional system. 

The district has attempted to paint our conversion charter effort as one without precedent. On the contrary, there are plenty of schools statewide that were considered ‘high performing’ before converting as well. We at Dozier-Libbey believe as these schools did, that converting to an independent charter allows the school to do much better by the students. Although it has been repeatedly stated that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” we submit that the school under district governance has not been able to do enough to help Latino, African American, English Learners and special education pupils succeed in a rigorous college preparatory high school. We know we can do better with local governance and we owe it to our students to do everything we can for them. Over the past month, even in the face of opposition, our resolve has only been strengthened. We believe there is no place for mediocrity in public education.

It is important to note that the Dozier-Libbey independent conversion charter will be very much a part of the public school system, and one that the community of Antioch will be proud of. Our desire is not to isolate Dozier-Libbey but to raise the bar and close the achievement gap for all public school students by working collaboratively and sharing best practices with public school educators of charter schools and district schools alike. As part of the public school system, we believe it is in the community’s best interest, and that of the school district, to work with Dozier-Libbey students to allow participation in district sports and activities. These students are Antioch public school students. In fact, the intent of Proposition 39 is to ensure “that public school facilities should be shared fairly among all public school pupils, including those in charter schools.” (Ed Code 47614). This includes access to not only the Dozier-Libbey campus but public school athletic facilities. Dozier-Libbey is committed to working together professionally with AUSD to create a workable agreement on behalf of the students of Antioch. We are willing and able to support our students in this process. The ball is in the school district’s court to make the decision to allow student athletes the opportunity to participate in district athletic programs just as they do currently.  

The issue of our student body and the lottery system has been raised frequently since the teachers filed the conversion petition. Unfortunately, there has been some misinterpretation of how the legally required public lottery will work. We would like to clarify as follows:

  1. All students currently enrolled in the Charter School – these are our current students, all of whom are part of the Antioch Unified School District’s attendance area. This includes, for the first year of the charter, the incoming freshmen already selected through the public lottery.

  2. Siblings of enrolled students – these students are siblings of currently enrolled students and therefore should also be part of the Antioch Unified School District’s attendance area.

  3. Children of Charter School teachers and staff – since the staff is small, this represents very few possibilities for enrollment (as many as 3 over the next four years).

  4. Students who reside in the former attendance area – these are all Antioch students as the former attendance area of DLMHS prior to charter conversion was only open to Antioch students.

  5. Residents of the District – this is exactly the same as #4 above since DLMHS enrolled students from the entirety of Antioch and did not have a separate attendance area.

  6. All other applicants – if, and only if there is still space available after all Antioch applicants have been placed, students wishing to attend from outside the AUSD may apply. Since the waiting list for DLMHS has been historically long, it is highly unlikely that space will be available for students residing outside the city of Antioch.

We would also like to clarify the confusion surrounding the school’s previous “No D” grading policy. The charter petition mentions the removal of this policy by the school district as an example of how proven, signature practices of the school that were originally supported by district leadership, have been eliminated. It is important to note that the charter petition does NOT indicate a return to this policy, contrary to what you may have heard. Rather, Dozier-Libbey is committed to exploring the best, standards-based grading practices for its students with an emphasis on accurately preparing those students for college, career, and for life. This means that students will be encouraged through best teaching practices and meaningful summative assessments in meeting the “a through g” requirements set forth by UC/CSU. As an independent charter, Dozier-Libbey will have the necessary supports in place to assist ALL students in meeting these requirements. To reduce the main motivation for charter conversion to that of the “No D” policy is an unfair assessment of the charter petition.

Perhaps the most compelling reason propelling the Dozier-Libbey staff forward in pursuing the charter conversion is the ability to fully implement several innovative programs that are only possible with local governance of the school. We like to refer to these programs as our “Sweet 16,” which represents our desire to serve ALL students as they have been designed around producing and developing well rounded, capable young adults. Several of these programs were specifically designed to benefit our disadvantaged students, something that we have not been able to accomplish effectively in the past. These innovative programs are as follows:

  1. Aggressive Intervention Programs for All Students Who Are Behind

    • Saturday Bridge to Success to close the achievement gap, focusing on low-performing 
students and those below proficiency on state tests.

    • Winter Session for elective credit and credit recovery during Winter break.

    • Summer Science Camp for 1-2 weeks partnering with Livermore Berkeley National Lab, 
JGI, California Academy of Sciences, and Exploratorium.

    • After School: Sophomore English support, Explore medical robotics, mini-series on 
health topics.

    • Summer Enrichment program with 4-week intensive study to close achievement gap in 
reading, writing and math using Achieve 3000, Destination Math, and Khan Academy.

    • Continue mid-day Advisory period where students seek teacher assistance with 

  2. Medical America

  • Implement this new U.S. History course, developed two years ago, that explores diseases, medical discoveries, and innovations in a historical context incorporating ethnic and racial minority inclusiveness with school advocacy projects.

  • Submit course to University of California to obtain approval for this class meeting UC and CSU entrance requirements.

  1. Forensic Pathology – The Medical Science of Crime Scene Investigations

    • In partnership with UCSF Forensic pathologist Dr. Sanchez, develop and implement a forensic pathology course including hands-on medical activities with biotechnology, 
entomology, toxicology, DNA analysis, blood typing and fingerprint analysis.

    • Students will take trips to the county morgue and a pathology lab. Guest speakers will include a coroner. Submit to University of California to obtain approval for this class 
meeting UC and CSU entrance requirements.

  2. Good Eats

    • Plant vegetable gardens with organic and genetically modified seeds on campus and 
analyze and compare outcomes.

    • Outcomes applicable to health science, science and math classes.

    • Give organic vegetables to school food services for student lunch.

  3. Dramatic Expansion of Art Courses and Extracurricular Activities

  • Expand student expression in the arts by offering classes in jazz band, music appreciation around the world, chorus, music composition, drama, ceramics, and cartooning.

  1. Get Connected!

    • Implement a student computer server. Students could bring their own computer to 
school, and DLMHCS will purchase computers for students who cannot afford them.

    • Server will provide a place to store students’ electronic portfolios and assignments.

    • Students will access this server via the Internet from home and the school network.

  2. Books, Books, Books

  • Hire a full-time librarian, which will allow development and implementation of electronic textbooks and reading materials, researching primary source and other databases for student research, and an after-school book club for our voracious readers.

  1. It Takes a Village

    • Upperclassmen lead Bridge program (Link Crew) for incoming 9th graders to orient 
students to high school focusing on study skills.

    • Upperclassmen and Los Medanos College students lead 10th and 11th grade in one-week 
summer program to prepare for success in chemistry, physics, and higher level math.

    • Assign upperclassman to serve as a mentor to each incoming freshman to meet with and provide tutoring and encouragement during the freshman year.

    • Recruit community members with appropriate expertise in medical fields to mentor 

  2. We Are One

    • Continue with mainstreaming of Special Education and English Learner students in all 
classes whenever possible.

    • Monthly teacher collaboration time to creatively design and improve individual Special 
Education and English Learner student accommodations and assignments to ensure 

    • Two year Spanish class for English Learner students that combines grammar and 
academic vocabulary to help re-designate students.

    • Design credit recovery classes tailored to Special Education and English Learners.

10. Sibling Care

    • Many of our students miss school because they need to stay home and care for a well or 
sick sibling so their parents can work. We will negotiate a contract for drop-in care with a licensed child care provider preventing our students from missing school and falling behind in their studies. Depending on parent income, this could be free child care or care at a sliding scale rate.

    • This program will also be offered to teachers with young children. 

11. The Counselor is In

  • Full-time counselor, and John F Kennedy University psychology interns to run grief, anger management, and stress relief groups during lunch and after school.

12. Happy and Healthy Carnival

  • Partner with elementary schools so that students can conduct a health-themed carnival during the school day. We will focus on students teaching healthy habits to children and parents to encourage physical and mental well-being.

  • Examples of games include a bean bag toss, throwing bean bags shaped like healthy food, into a giant, open mouth; a huge model of teeth and giant tooth brushes with students showing children how to brush properly; and a long, flexible tunnel children crawl through showing the digestive system from beginning to end.

13. Everyone Plays

  • Intramural sports program for all students to promote healthy life-long exercise and teamwork. Possible initial sports: volleyball, tennis, badminton, and basketball.

  • Implement a contract with local In Shape to allow 11th and 12th grade students to continue their goal of physical fitness for life. 

14. Health Careers, Here We Come!

    • Using innovative technology that currently exists with our Health Care Partners, watch 
surgeries and non-invasive procedures adhering to HIPAA guidelines.

    • Invite nationally recognized medical professionals in the classroom as guest speakers and project judges. Technology will allow us to tap into medical expertise at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Contra Costa County Public and Mental Health, and National health organizations such as Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and HHS (Health 
and Human Services) under the Office of the Surgeon General.

    • Continue field trips to Kaiser Permanent Operating Room and Nutrition Services (9th grade), John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek (10th grade), e-mentoring by health professional (10th grade), and practice interviews with Human Resources professionals from our health care partners (11th grade).

    • Continue to plan one college field trip per month to a 4-year college, with students attending a minimum of one college trip per year. 

15. Beyond the California Coast

  • Through innovative technology, establish virtual relationships with health care providers 
around the globe. Implement virtual job shadows where students follow a health care 
professional during a normal day.

  • Through technology bring international health care providers and the World Health 
Organization (WHO) into the classroom as guest speakers and project judges.

  • Collaborative project work with students from other countries using free CISCO platform.

16. Above and Beyond: Middle College

      • Implement a collaborative agreement with Los Medanos College to have students earn 
an AA or AS and a high school diploma in 4-5 years and then transfer to a 4-year college 
or university.

      • Counseling and teacher support for all students to succeed.

In closing, it is important to note that our charter petition is a proposal that nearly every teacher on campus participated in drafting, and every teacher on campus supports. We fully understand the value of working together with our community and our parents, which is why the petition states “parents may hold position on the board or in various school committees. Additionally, parents will be strongly encouraged to be involved in and contribute to DLMHS.” The teachers work with students on campus every day and, together with parents, are best situated to these student’s needs. We know these children. We know these parents. We have their best interests at heart and want to ensure that the school operates in a manner that will best prepare these students for success. We want a school that reflects the highest standards of excellence, a culture that empowers teachers, and demonstrates a fervent commitment to the success of every student entrusted to our care regardless of their race, socioeconomic status or learning needs. We must not pass up this opportunity for a great school simply because we have a good one. We ask our students, as does society, to try their best to be their best. It is our responsibility as teachers to model the same high standards to our students. It would be an injustice to ask our students to expect any less. Settling for mediocrity when it comes to education is not an option.

16 Comments to “Dozier-Libbey teachers provide Q&A on charter conversion”

  1. Antioch Resident of a bi-racial family says:

    Wow! I want my children to go to this school! Everyone needs to support this conversion to a charter school. AUSD is holding them back! Vote YES to the conversion, Contra Costa Board of Education.

  2. Jeanne says:

    Hello, I would like to say, I am a proud parent of Dozier Libbey Medical High School. We are so pleased of the interest of all the people that have written on Pro Independent Dozier Libbey Medical High school. The more people that write on our school trying to become Independent. THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Jeanne

  3. Terry Valencia says:

    This Charter is the way to go! I see diluted programs when districts take over, hope parents come out to support your efforts. Career Technical Programs are great for both 2-4 year college as well as entry level jobs! Hope the county supports your efforts! Good Luck!

  4. Jeanne says:

    My interest is what people in the Dozier Libbey Medical High school. I am a proud parent that support 100 % support the outstanding teacher’s. They are the reason this school is has high standers and do not like that Antioch Unified School District changing the original no D policy. Since the school has to follow the rules of the no D grade policy, it is changing the dynamics of our school and our ratings with the State testing. DLMHS HAS EXCEPTIONAL TEACHER’S. My child has always been spent 3 to 5 hours a night since 4th grade at, with the help of both parents and also his older sister. If your child is struggling, you can have meets with the teachers and they will help with raising their grades. If that doesn’t work, you can have your child tested for a learning or anxiety disability. Which is called an IEP test. DLMHS also has a great special educational teacher. DLMHS fortunately and unfortunately supersedes the other high schools in Antioch. I want all children to be able to get a great and safe education like DLMHS students. The teachers have taken the high road and AUSD put a gag order on the teachers. They have been forbidden to use their computers to be able to call or email any parents. That’s why a small group of parents are handing out flyers to get the parents email and phone numbers and addresses. DLMHS needs to know if you need more information. Also let them know if you will sign a form that states an INDEPENDENT Public Charter School Dozier-Libbey Medical High School. We also need all that information for the new freshmen class. Please do not give the forms to Antioch Unified School District. They have a table in front of the school. They won’t let us be on the DLMHS to hand out flyers. Last week two large men in suits from AUSD told us/ the Mom’s handing the flyers, said we were trespassing and we had to go to where the Sandcreek dead ends. I said our children do attend this school and we are not trespassing and they said we had to leave. I asked what they would do if we did not leave and they responded you don’t want to talk about that. AUSD is making DLMHS A HOSTILE WORKING INVIERMENT FOR THE TEACHERS, OUR CHILDREN AND THE PARENTS!!! AUSD has men in suits that just stand in the classrooms and make it uncomfortable for our children and the teachers. It’s hard for the student to be focused in class. And the thousands of dollars of all Antioch taxes payer’s money for many attorneys to fight and bully teachers and parents. Even if I didn’t have a student in school I would be very mad at AUSD, FOR SPENDING ANTIOCHS TAXES TO FIGHT A DOZIER LIBBEY MIDDLE SCHOOL. ALL THE SCHOOLS IN ANTIOCH NEED THAT MONEY PRICIPLES, COUSELORS, LIBARIANS AND MANY OTHER THINGS. Don’t have a student at the school. Please go to or email: PLEASE MAKE COMMENTS ON THE ANTIOCH HERALD! Thank you ANTIOCH HERALD! Jeanne Stuart-Chilcote
    This is what I have witnessed.

  5. Teresa Hinojos says:

    Antioch families deserve to have a high school that challenges students and believes that all students have the ability to succeed. Antioch DESPERATELY NEEDS this independent charter.

  6. Rusty says:

    As a parent of a student in Antioch I am so pleased to see these teachers step forward and try to do something to improve their school. From my perspective as a parent the district seems to be responding out of fear and the knowledge that these teachers are trying to maintain or create something the district could or would not. I say bravo for pushing our students to strive for more than just getting to graduation. You have my support 100%

  7. Ashley says:

    It’s rare to find a school so dedicated to their students. Dozier-Libbey is a shinning example of the right way to prepare our youth for their future. I sincerely hope that they are able to gain independence and form their charter. Our world is constantly changing the way we teach should change too. We need more schools like Dozier-Libbey and more educators with the passion these teachers have!

  8. Antioch Resident & Parent of a Dozier Libbey student says:

    Bravo! The independence charter needs to be approved as soon as possible, the students need this type of innovative education. Excellence at its best!

    To the Contra Costa Board of Education, “A beautiful ship cannot sail if AUSD keeps putting holes in it”.
    Let the Independent Charter break free from AUSD!


  9. Dozier Libbey parent says:

    Thank you so much! We support you 100% and appreciate what you are doing for our children, Dozier-Libbey, and the Antioch community. The proposed Independent Charter’s Sweet 16 Programs sound AMAZING! (This, in comparison to the District’s questionable Dependent Charter, which means no change, and the District keeps complete control.) I don’t want the District governing Dozier-Libbey when they are allowing bullies at the Black Diamond and Dallas Ranch to terrorize and assault our students and teachers!
    Everyone, please email the Contra Costa County Board of Education and tell them we want the Independent Charter!

  10. Ann O'Nim says:

    Best advice to all parents and community members who support Dozier-Libbey teachers and the Independent Charter.
    1. Email the Contra Costa County Board of Education and let them know you support the teachers petition for an Independent Charter High School.
    2. Email the AUSD school board and ask them to withdraw their “dependent” charter petition.
    3. Use facebook and twitter and encourage others locally and nationally to do #1 and #2 above. The power of networking is a proven strategy for social change.
    Did you know the AUSD is naming a new Principal this week for their
    “dependent” charter High School at Dozier-Libbey?

  11. Peggy Wunderly says:

    Support you guys 100%. One of the first things the AUSD did was threaten to take away sports from Dozier students if they went charter…that should tell everyone who the AUSD is looking out for, and it is not kids. You can spew rhetoric all you want, but your acts tell exactly what you believe. By going charter – knowing what they would face to get there – these teachers are telling the community that the students are first, not themselves, for they are willing to put themselves out there to fight for them.

  12. Dozier-Libbey Parent says:

    This is the most informative piece about the independent charter conversion. All those who are hesitant about this issue should read this and be more than convinced that going independent is the way to go. I hope the district will not steal your Sweet 16 ideas and put them in their 40+ page dependent charter petition to make it longer and put meat in it. Cuidado con el distrito! We’re watching you! By the weight (and the # of pages) of the petition alone, the district’s is nothing compared to that of the teachers’. That only shows insincerity every time the district says it’s what’s best for the students. They can’t even put enough reasons never mind if they’re good enough why they want DL to be dependent charter except the fact that they want to counter the teachers’ petition. They can’t even even identify the differences between the old DL and the dependent DL except the fact that they will be creating a parent committee to be engage in decision-making of the school. Isn’t that so called parent committee same as PTA or/maybe school site council? It’s not even a school board. How can this dependent charter be even called a charter without it’s own governing board? The AUSD board is even appointing a principal for its dependent charter on Wednesday without interviewing or posting this new position. Let alone getting input from the community or parents as to the qualification of the principal they want and need in their new dependent charter school. I hope the residents of Antioch will see how this school district is running public funding dry and schools to the ground. They should spare the money they will spend in their legal team and give the teachers raises in their salaries especially those who are teaching in hostile and dangerous environment such as Black Diamond MS, Dallas Ranch MS, Antioch High and Deer Valley High.

  13. Rochelle says:

    This is a great article! Extremely informative and shows how well thought out the “Sweet 16” programs are and how much the teachers care about making sure our students become well-prepared adults! How very exciting this would be–to able to implement and move forward. As a parent of a Dozier Libbey student, this is the type of innovative programming the kids need. This is why we fully support the teachers 100% and support the Independent Charter. They have the students best interest in mind. The article also debunks the blatantly false information the AUSD has sent out. Now let’s take a look at what the AUSD had done last week: Had huge banners made to scare us to get our intent papers in by April 7th or we would lose our spot at the school next year; several district employees making big money salaries setting up a table EVERY DAY with more useless information on their bogus charter and literally standing around with their coffee cups. Shouldn’t they really be focused on schools like Black Diamond and Dallas Ranch? This is a misuse of public funds. We need to stop this nonsense. As voters we should also remember the school board/those who hold a public office who stood behind the district and were in favor of what they have been doing as they made these poor decisions to push forth their bogus charter. They need to be voted out as well.

    We support you Dozier Libbey Teachers! We support the Independent Charter!

  14. Julie says:

    I loved this article by Stacey as it clearly states the vision that each of the teachers at Dozier-Libbey has for the school and our children. It is an exciting program but AUSD has, for some reason, decided it is not a good idea. I have said before that being average or mediocre is not an option for my children. To make it in this world, you must excel, stand out and make a name for yourself. I believe that Dozier-Libbey Independent Charter will put the kids of Antioch on the right path so that they will be successful in life and their careers. I want that for all children, not just mine. I have been in the medical profession, as an RN, for 26 years and it is not an easy profession nor is any profession within medicine. There are many challenges that are faced every day and important decisions made regarding our patients lives. Having a program that raises you up and challenges you to be the best is what I want for our future caretakers of society. I say thank you to the teachers at Dozier for standing up and saying that there is no place for mediocrity in public education. It is not easy to stand up to the bully, in this case, Antioch Unified School District, but with the state of our school system, something needed to be done. I appreciate you taking those first steps. There are a lot of parents, students, and community members that will be standing along side you, supporting you, every step of the way.

  15. Jeanne says:


Leave a Reply