Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Deer Valley, Diablo Vista Elementary locked down Friday due to report of weapon on high school’s campus

Friday, December 2nd, 2022

By Allen D. Payton

Both Deer Valley High School and nearby Diablo Vista Elementary were placed on lock down due to the report of a weapon on the high school’s campus Friday. But the report turned out to be false and normal schedules at both schools have resumed and police officers remain in the vicinity.

According to Antioch Unified School District Superintendent Stephanie Anello, the following messages were sent to parents and staff:

This is Mr. Lewis, Principal of Deer Valley High School. A short time ago, an individual claiming to be a Deer Valley student called the Antioch Police Department and reported that a non-student was on campus with what appeared to be a weapon. Officers were immediately dispatched, and the school initiated a lockdown. APD and administration conducted a thorough search of the campus using officers and a drone. No individual was located on campus matching the description given by the alleged student. We have also confirmed that there is no student at Deer Valley with the name the alleged student gave to APD. At this time, APD has lifted the lockdown and students are resuming their normal schedules. Out of an abundance of caution, APD will have officers in the vicinity of the school for the remainder of the school day. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions, etc. Thank you for your support.

“Good afternoon,

This is Ms. Bausola, Principal of Diablo Vista. A short time ago, an individual claiming to be a Deer Valley student called the Antioch Police Department and reported that a non-student was on campus with what appeared to be a weapon. Officers were immediately dispatched and the school initiated a lockdown. Out of an abundance of caution, Diablo Vista initiated a lockdown as well. Both APD and administration did a thorough search of the campuses.  No individual was located on either campus matching the description given by the alleged Deer Valley student who called APD. At this time, APD has lifted the lockdown and students are resuming their normal schedules. Out of an abundance of caution, APD will have officers in the vicinity of the school for the remainder of the school day. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions, etc. Thank you for your support.”

 

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Rocha finally claims victory in Antioch School Board Area 5 race

Thursday, November 17th, 2022

Unofficial Results from Interim Update 2 in the Antioch School Board Area 5 race. Source: CoCoVote.us. Re-elected Trustee Mary Rocha.

“I will see what the next four years will bring for me. I enjoy what I do and always have.”

By Allen D. Payton

With almost all the votes in the county counted and only 6,800 unprocessed ballots remaining, as of Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 16, 2022, in the Antioch School Board Area 5, incumbent Trustee Mary Rocha has, again increased her lead over newcomer Dominique King, now to 474 votes.

However, as of Thursday afternoon the Contra Costa Elections Division website now shows there are only 2,300 unprocessed ballots remaining in the county.

The long-time Antioch politician now has 2,101 votes or 56.36% to 1,627 or 43.64% of the vote for the first-time candidate.

A message posted on Rocha’s campaign Facebook page read, “Thank you. Although we continue to wait for the official final tally, I want you all to know how much I appreciate your support, your confidence and your votes. I hope to continue helping our students and staff. With gratitude, Mary.”

However, following the latest results update, Rocha finally accepted her victory Thursday afternoon saying, “This has been an interesting campaign. First of all, I didn’t know how I stood with my own neighbors. It was the first time I had to run a campaign in my own area. My very first campaign was for the bonds to build Mission School. I went around and got everyone registered to vote and we got the 500 votes to approve the bonds.”

“I’ve been participating a lot at Turner Elementary reading to the kids” she added about another school in her Trustee Area.

“At my age level, I’m not able to campaign like I used to. I have to give it to my committee who did a lot of work. They did a great job,” Rocha stated. “It was interesting too, to have Louie, my son in charge. He asked, ‘you want to run again? Do you want me to take you out in a coffin?’ I told him I still have interest so, he said, ‘OK. I’ll help you.’”

“My grandson was my treasurer, my daughter-in-law was my secretary, and my son was the chair of the campaign,” she continued. “There were more people that I want to thank, as well.”

“Now that I’ve been elected, I’m looking forward to people stepping forward to take my place in this position four years from now. I’m encouraging whoever is interested to follow me. It’s time,” said the 83-year-old. “In the past I never really wanted to let go. But the time has come. I really have to do it. I will see what the next four years will bring for me. I enjoy what I do and always have.”

At the next school board meeting on Dec. 16, Rocha will join Dr. Jaguanana “Jag” Lathan, elected without opposition in the district’s new Area 2, for their oaths of office.

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Antioch school district: Threat to “shoot up” middle school made on social media

Thursday, November 17th, 2022

Informed of it by principal then sent notice to families Thursday morning; APD posts officers in front of school during morning drop off; security added to campus

“There was no merit to the threat” – Lindsay Lopez–Wisely, AUSD Director of Educational Services, Secondary Support

By Allen D. Payton

In response to a request for more information about the previously reported threat made against Dallas Ranch Middle School Wednesday night, Nov. 16, 2022, Lindsay Lopez–Wisely, Director of Educational Services, Secondary Support for Antioch Unified School District said the person who made the threat is a former Dallas Ranch student who now lives in Stockton.

“He said he was going to shoot up the school and take his own life,” she stated. “It was a chat between him and another student” currently enrolled in the Antioch school.

Lopez-Wisely also shared the following details about the incident;

“At 7 am this morning Principal Spires received a message from a parent regarding a threating Instagram post. The parent confirmed that the police were contacted late last night. Principal Spires then contacted me, and we immediately called the APD dispatch and they put us in touch with the supervising officer – Officer Hughes.

Officer Hughes worked with both Principal Spires and myself as we immediately investigated the source of the social media post. We discovered immediately that the post was from a non-student who had moved out of the area. We were able to reach a guardian and confirm the student was safe and did not have any weapons. APD worked directly with that police department and assured the district that there was no threat against the DRMS campus or students. They kept several officers out front as an added safety measure during morning drop off. We also placed additional security personnel (STM) to start the school day. We immediately notified parents on the Remind App about the situation.

This was a great example of parents, school administration, and our police department working together to keep our students safe. When any school stakeholder sees something suspicious on social media or anywhere in the community it is important to say something. We would like to thank the parent for acting quickly contacting police and administration.

Here is the Remind Message we sent out to families:

‘Yesterday evening, a former student decided to write a threat on social media.  A parent saw the post and immediately contacted Antioch Police Department and our Administrative team.  Through our immediate action and the swift APD response, we have verified that there is no viable threat. We would like to thank the Antioch Police Department and the parent who notified us.  Student safety is our top priority, out of an abundance of caution we will have additional officer support on the campus. As always if you have questions, please contact the school office at 925-779-7485.’

“It didn’t take us long to respond,” Lopez-Wisely explained. “We probably solved it within 30 minutes. We were able to confirm with his parent that he didn’t have a weapon. There was no merit to the threat.”

“Stockton Police Officers went to the (former student’s) house to do a welfare check,” she added.

“We really commend the parent of our student who identified the former student and called the police who messaged the principal,” Lopez-Wisely stated. “She contacted the former student’s parent and confirmed. This was see something, say something. It all worked out how it’s supposed to work. This is a perfect example of it.”

“We’ve really been working with the police department and training with our principals to respond to critical incidents,” she shared. “We’ve really worked in Antioch around the issue of safety. It’s our number one priority. We can’t do anything for our students and staff if they’re not safe.”

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In farewell comments Trustee Householder ends tumultuous term ripping Antioch School District

Thursday, November 17th, 2022

AUSD Trustee Ellie Householder during her final board meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. Photo by Allen D. Payton

During final board meeting says student achievement “abysmal”, district “failing students”

By Allen D. Payton

During her final meeting as a member of the Antioch School Board, Trustee Ellie Householder offered prepared, farewell remarks in which she mentioned her accomplishments and criticized the district for the low performance of students in math and English. “We are failing our students, especially those who are Black, Brown, poor, or historically marginalized,” she said and that she was leaving the role with a “sense of feeling accomplished, but unsatisfied. A feeling of happiness but being misunderstood.” Householder said her focus on the board has been “about our students”.

She also defended her actions during the year she was board president and the post on her Twitter feed in support of the protest over the approval of six School Resource Officers for which Householder was later censured by her fellow board members. One of her first actions as board president was an unsuccessful attempt to terminate Superintendent Stephanie Anello.

At one point during that year, she wouldn’t allow Anello to speak claiming, “you’re not recognized” which was met with criticism and derision from teachers and members of the public. Some wore shirts with that phrase emblazoned on them while attending future board meetings.

Householder spoke of receiving a “seemingly endless barrage of online hatred and threats” for which she offered some examples. She also mentioned two attempts to remove her as board president as well as facing recall, which began last year but the effort was dropped by organizers earlier this year.

Householder later said she obtained the statistics shared in her comments from California Department of Education website at: https://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/ 

Householder’s Prepared Remarks

Following are her complete, prepared remarks:

“I say this with the utmost sincerity: it has been an honor to represent our community as the youngest ever elected to the Antioch Unified School District, Board of Education, Trustee. And again, as the youngest ever to serve as AUSD Board President.

As a product of AUSD, and proud continuation high school graduate, the depth of love and responsibility I have felt for this role cannot be overstated.

My love, however, as many here well know, rarely comes in the form of something sugar coated and sweet. And is more often, and aptly, described as a splash of cold water to the face, a wakeup call. As I have said, many times, on this Board, that in order to truly love something, you must be able to be critical of it.

My critiques or suggestions, or observations, or whatever one wishes to label it has always had the intent to simply speak truth to power. Meaning… to stand up for what’s right; to focus on what is happening; and share how I believe things can change.

The heartbreaking reality is the student achievement in this district is abysmal.

According to the District’s most recent testing, 64% of our students are not meeting Math standards; 48% of our students are not meeting English standards.

These numbers are even more alarming when we disaggregate the data 63% of the African American students are not meeting English standards; 54% of economically disadvantaged students are not meeting English standards; 77% of the African American students are not meeting Math standards; 69% of economically disadvantaged students not meeting Math standards. This means, a vast majority of our students are not graduating with the skills they need to become productive members of our society.

Regardless of the narrative spin that has often been made in regards to this data these numbers don’t lie. We are failing our students, especially those who are Black, Brown, poor, or historically marginalized. Period.

In response to these numbers, I have used my vote and my power to fight against the status quo, and the way things have always been done, because the way things have always been done isn’t working.

  • I spearheaded the initiative to establish a student board member representative
  • I made many attempts to reach across the aisle to my colleagues to develop a set of shared board goals
  • I have called for the fair and transparent evaluation of district leadership
  • I ensured the fair treatment of charter schools
  • I introduced the Pride Month Resolution, which led to the first Pride Flag being flown in AUSD.
  • I voted against the firing of librarians, counselors, and other essential staff.

Even in my losses, for which there have been plenty, I never threw away a vote, or avoided difficult decisions. I voted based on principal and conscious, always. Whether it was against using supplemental and concentration grant funds for mediocre photographers or against unfair raises, I always used my vote, my voice, to make a point.

Yet, somewhat ironically, I leave my role as school board trustee, today, with such an eerily similar feeling to the one I had when I graduated high school in this district. This sense of feeling accomplished, but unsatisfied. A feeling of happiness but being misunderstood.

I believe what I have endured in my short few years here is unlike many others. Countless hours, and I mean hours, of hate filled comments during board meetings.

Additionally, I’ve received a seemingly endless barrage of online hatred and threats, one of which was a message sent to me from an anonymous account of a photo of a close relative’s home here in Antioch, their address, and laughing emojis; followed shortly by another message from another anonymous account with a gun.

  • I was censured over a tweet that supported student protestors fighting against cops in schools
  • There was not just one attempt to remove me as board president, but two
  • There was even a failed recall attempt to remove me from the board

All because I refuse to stay silent and fall in line.

How do you do it? Well, it’s simple. It’s not about me. It’s about our students. And the abysmal outcomes they have here in our district.

Regardless of the continued attack over the last four years I have remain steadfast in my belief that we can, should, and could be doing more for the children of the Antioch unified school district.

Again, the majority of students of color, economically disadvantaged, and students with special needs are failing in AUSD.

I would like to express my desire that individuals on this board, and in our community, listen for understanding and not be so quick to judge.

I also hope that current members and future members of this board do their homework read the budget reports, read the LCAP, look at the data.

It’s okay to be bold and it’s okay to not agree.

What is not okay is the race and class disparities that undeniably exist for students within this district.

As Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this roller coaster four years.

My family. My brother and sister, whose unwavering support and belief in me is the only reason I sit here today. My mom, dad, stepmom, and stepdad, for showering me with love and admiration.

An extra special shout-out to Mr. Willie Mims, who, since my first day on this Board, has provided support and guidance.

Thank you to everyone who believed in me, and heard me out, sent me love, prayers, and ideas.

I want to officially end by saying three things:

  1. Black Lives Matter,
  2. Climate change is real; and
  3. Our kids deserve better.

Thank you.”

When Householder concluded, it was met with silence as no applause was offered by the audience in the packed board meeting room.

A video of her remarks can be seen on the Antioch Herald Facebook page.

Anello presented Householder with her photo that hung in the school district office that had a large bow on it.

At their next meeting on December 14, the board will welcome new member Dr. Jaguanana “Jag” Lathan, elected without opposition in the district’s new Area 2 and welcome back re-elected Trustee Mary Rocha who won in the new Area 5. Both will be administered their oaths of office that night.

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Incumbent Rocha has fundraising lead over King in Antioch School Board Area 5 race

Sunday, November 6th, 2022

Incumbent trustee Mary Rocha faces newcomer Dominique King is this year’s Antioch School Board Area 5 race.

Challenger gets over half her contributions with maximum $4,900 boost from Thorpe’s anti-recall committee

Rocha mainly backed by teachers, other unions

By Tamara L Seward & Allen D. Payton

In the race for Antioch School Board Area 5, Trustee Mary Rocha leads in fundraising with $19,159 in contributions over challenger Dominique King whose reports show a total of $11,095.02 raised including loans from herself of $2,759. Those figures are according to their Form 460’s as of close of reporting on Oct. 22 and Form 497 late contribution reports as of Nov. 2. King raised most of her funds inside Antioch. While Rocha spent almost twice as much as King during the reporting period, the challenger shopped local with most of her expenditures made inside the city.

While individuals and other political committees can contribute a maximum of $4,900 political action committees can contribute more. Campaigns must report the details for any amount of $100 more in contributions or expenditures.

Rocha Mainly Backed by Teachers, Other Unions

For her re-election campaign Rocha started with $119.74 from her previous run in 2018 which gave her a total of $19,278.74 to spend. MRocha ASB 2018 460 0701-092422   MRocha ASB 2022 460 0925-102222   MRocha ASB 2022 497 102622   MRocha ASB 2022 497 110222

Several unions contributed to Rocha’s campaign with $6,000 from the Antioch Education Association Political Action Committee, the local teacher’s union PAC, $4,900 from Dignity CA SEIU Local 2015, $1,500 from the I.B.E.W Local Union 302, $1,000 each from Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local #104 Political Action Committee and the Operating Engineers Local Union #3 Alameda, Ca. Code: OTH and $500 each from the Laborers International Union of North America Local #324-AFL-CIO and Plumbing Industry Consumer Protection Fund United Association Local #159.

Rocha’s latest Form 460 report includes two mistakes showing the $1,500 from I.B.E.W. listed three times resulting in an overstatement of her contributions received by $3,000. Her grandson, Ruben Rocha serves as her treasurer and son, Louie is assisting on her campaign. Louie said Ruben corrected the report as of Sunday evening, Nov. 6.

In addition, the incumbent received $1,000 each from LE03-Awin Management Inc. of Phoenix, Arizona which is a subsidiary of Republic Services, the garbage company that serves Antioch.

Her only reportable individual contributions from outside Antioch totaling $1,100 were $1,000 from former Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando of Brentwood and $100 from Deputy D.A. Mary Knox of Walnut Creek.

Rocha received $425 in contributions of $100 or more from Antioch sources including $325 from her son Louie and $100 from former Antioch Councilman Ralph Hernandez. The incumbent also received a total of $1,134.00 in contributions of less than $100.

Rocha’s expenditures which total $11,471.91 were mostly spent outside of Antioch. They include $5,625 to Mesa Outdoor of Danville for Highway 4 digital billboard ads, $4,521.92 paid to JB Services of Martinez for mailers and $485.34 to My Legacy Matters, Inc. of Vallejo for lawn signs.

She only spent $615 inside Antioch with $500 paid to the Antioch Historical Society for a fundraising event and $115 to the Antioch Herald for advertising.

Rocha’s latest Form 460 report shows an ending cash balance of $4,906.83 which was overstated by $3,000 and she had an outstanding debt of $1,875 owed to Mesa Outdoor. With the additional $5,900 in additional contributions reported on two Form 497’s on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2, that leaves her with $5,931.82 to spend during the final week of the campaign.

King Mainly Backed by Thorpe, Antioch Residents

King raised $8,336.02 in contributions with over half from Mayor Lamar Thorpe and the majority from three Antioch politicians. The mayor contributed the maximum of $4,900 from his Stop the #Karen Recall of Mayor Thorpe 2022 campaign committee.  DKing ASB 2022 460 0101-092422   DKing ASB 2022 460 0925-102222   DKing ASB 2022 497 101822

King received the majority of her individual contributions of over $100 from Antioch totaling $1,778.79. They include $515.88 from Daniel Hernandez, $309.43 from Beatriz Hernandez, $300 from David Asfall, $250 from Antioch School Board Area 1 Trustee Antonio Hernandez and $100 each from four individuals including District 1 Antioch City Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker.

Her individual contributions of over $100 from outside of Antioch totaled $1,203.48. The largest was $500 received from political campaign consultant Melody Weintraub of Lafayette, followed by $300 from Larhonda Crosby-Johnson of San Leandro, plus $303.48 from three individuals in Pittsburg, Berkeley and Vallejo.

She also received a total of $353.75 in contributions of less than $100.

King had only spent $5,099.27 as of Oct. 22. She shopped local with the majority of her expenditures over $100 inside Antioch totaling $3,024.13. They include $819.29 at La Plazuela restaurant for a fundraiser, $795.95 with Crystal Clear Logos, $756.79 with FastSigns and $506 paid to Vincent Cecilio for professional services.

The challenger also spent a total of $1,874 outside of Antioch including $1,059 at Copyworld Inc. in Berkeley and $715 on slate mailers.

King ended the period with $5,995.75 cash on hand and $2,759 in outstanding debt for the loans, giving her campaign a net $3,236.75 left to spend during the remainder of the campaign, unless she doesn’t repay herself. If not, whatever amount King doesn’t repay becomes a contribution.

The election is Tuesday.

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Newcomer King faces longtime Antioch officeholder, incumbent Rocha in school board race

Saturday, October 29th, 2022

Dominique King is challenging Trustee Mary Rocha for Antioch School Board Area 5 in this year’s elections. Sources: King campaign, Rocha campaign

King backed by Garamendi, Becton, Thorpe, Wilson, Torres-Walker, Hernandez

Rocha backed by Torlakson, DeSaulnier, McNerney, district teacher, employee and other unions, APOA

By Allen D. Payton

In the only race for the Antioch School Board in this year’s elections, incumbent Trustee Mary Rocha is facing challenger Dominique King for the Area 5 seat. Rocha has served on both the Antioch School Board and Antioch City Council, including one term as mayor, for 36 out of the past 51 years, while this is King’s first run for public office in Antioch.

King’s Background

Dominique and Kenneth King with their daughters. Source: King campaign

A member of the Antioch Parks and Recreation Commission, according to her campaign website, King was homeless and dropped out of high school at age 15 but “graduated from Job Corps at 16 and immediately went to work”. She is married to Kenneth, a deputy sheriff, and they have three children including two attending Antioch Middle School where she serves on the site council. According to her LinkedIn profile, the Kings  are business owners having started Lean In With The Kings in 2019 in which their “mission is to educate couples and families on how to foster healthy relationships”. She used to own 2Spoons, LLC which was started in 2014 and since 2016 King has been a consultant with Arbonne, a natural health supplements and skin care products company. Since last October she has worked  as a columnist for the Concord Clayton Pioneer newspaper and as of April, is also as a freelance columnist for the online PR Now Magazine. In addition, King earned an Associate’s degree in International Business from Los Medanos College.

King’s Issues

King says she will “fight to make sure: (1) children have safe, supported learning environments and access to high-quality education; (2) teachers and staff have the tools to meet the growing demands of our diverse community; (3) families feel connected to our neighborhood schools; (4) we embrace technical training and education, not just college preparation; and (5) we build appropriate support systems for all at-risk youth.”

She is quoted saying, “As a community, we have the opportunity to change the narrative and conditions of our schools. Antioch Public Schools should be the first choice for families.”

King’s Endorsements

King touts the backing of Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Councilwomen Monica Wilson and Tamisha Torres-Walker, AUSD Area 1 Trustee Antonio Hernandez, Congressman John Garamendi, District Attorney Diana Becton, Contra Costa College Board Ward 4 Trustee Andy Li, Antioch Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Marie Arce, Contra Costa Water District Board Member Patt Young and the East Bay Women’s Political Alliance. She’s also endorsed by the Democratic Party of California and Contra Costa and the Contra Costa Young Democrats – interjecting partisan politics into a local, non-partisan race – and Our Revolution East Bay, the local chapter of self-avowed democratic socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sander’s Our Revolution. In addition, King was given the label of Gun Sense Candidate 2022 by Moms Demand Action.

Questions for King Go Unanswered

King was asked about her background, including “Where did you grow up and experience homelessness? When were you appointed to the Parks and Recreation Commission? Is this your first run for public office? If not, what else have you run for previously, and where?”

She was also asked, “As part of your platform that ‘children have safe, supported learning environments’ do you support having police serve as School Resource Officers (SRO’s) at Antioch’s middle and high school campuses? As part of your platform that, ‘we embrace technical training and education, not just college preparation’ and as a business owner, yourself, do you also support teaching entrepreneurship in the high schools? What specifically do you propose for improving math and English test scores, mainly for Black and Hispanic students in the district?”

Regarding her endorsements, King was asked, “why have you chosen to interject partisan politics into a race for what is supposed to be non-partisan office? Also, in light of the recent settlement of the sexual harassment lawsuit against Mayor Thorpe, why do you still tout his endorsement and the endorsement by Patt Young who claims his two former female employees were not credible? What message do you think that sends to the female students in the district’s schools and the women who work for AUSD? Regarding your endorsement by Our Revolution East Bay, which is part of self-avowed democratic socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ national organization, do you consider yourself a socialist? If so, what does that mean to you?”

Regarding concerns expressed by some Antioch residents King was asked if she supports the teaching of Critical Race Theory and/or the 1619 Project version of U.S. history in Antioch schools, and does she have any plans or made any commitments to make a change in the position of superintendent.

Finally, King was asked if she supports charter schools and school choice in general to bring competition to public education, which in the private sector results in improved products and services.

After multiple attempts to reach King by phone call, email and text for this article she did not respond.

See a video by King about herself, her family and campaign on her Facebook page.

Rocha’s Background & Accomplishments

AUSD Trustee Mary Rocha with her son, then-Antioch High Principal Louie Rocha during this year’s graduation ceremony. Herald file photo.

Rocha’s campaign touts her experience as one reason to re-elect her. Having first started out as a volunteer in the Antioch school district in the 1970’s she was first elected to the Antioch School Board in 1971. Through her efforts the Special Education Department expanded from 100 to 1,200 students. Governor Jerry Brown appointed Rocha to the Special Education Commission and served for four years. She was the founding member of the Mexican American School Board Association and the National Hispanic School Board Association serving as president for both.

Rocha was elected to the Antioch City Council in 1984 being the first elected Latina in Contra Costa County. She served as a council member for eight years and was elected Mayor of Antioch in 1996 and served for years during which Rocha was elected by the Contra Costa County Mayors Conference of as the chairperson. In 2000, She was the top Primary Election candidate in the race for District 5 Supervisor but lost to Federal Glover in the General.

Rocha was elected to the city council, again in 2012 and served one term. Rocha was then elected, again to the school board in 2018.

She has over 30 years’ experience as a community organizer and activist concerning family and children’s issues in East County. Mary was the founder of Brighter Beginnings and coordinator of the Antioch First 5 Center facility providing services to families with children 0-5 years of age.

In her biography on the school district’s website Rocha writes, “While education is my platform – it is also my passion. I’m driven by my admiration for students and their families. I’ve raised three children in Antioch. They all attended Antioch Unified District schools. And now, my grandchildren are following in their successful footsteps. I want the same for your children.”

Rocha’s Honors

Rocha was a recipient of the “Maya Citizen of the Year”, the Los Medanos College Cesar Chavez Award and the League of United Latino American Citizens (LULAC) “Eagle Award” for her hard work with the Latino community. She was recognized as one of the “Women of the Year” by the CCC Commission for Women.

In recognition of her over 30 years of services as an advocate for low-cost day care, the “Mary H. Rocha Child Development Center” was dedicated in honor. The center houses 150 children with state funds run by the YWCA.

Rocha was recently selected to be honored in a book entitled, “Mujeres de Conciencia” (Women of Conscience) about 68 Latinas who have successfully impacted the wellbeing of California Latinos.

Rocha’s Issues

In a video posted on her campaign Facebook page Rocha said, “I continue to be committed to parent engagement, your involvement, safety for our children and teachers, and social and emotional health, and academic support for our children.”

She voted in 2020 for the six School Resource Officers to work at the district’s middle and high schools, before the current council majority voted to rescind the acceptance of the federal grant. Rocha still wants them.

Rocha voted against the Rocketship charter school and the middle and high school charter schools that considered opening in Antioch and shows another video on her campaign Facebook page by a teacher and union member touting her opposition to “corporate charters”.

In yet another video Rocha claims Rocketship is costing the district $35 million because “our administration has to oversee the policies and their budget”. Besides the budget her other top issues are campus safety and parental involvement.

Rocha’s Endorsements

Rocha says she has the endorsements of former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier and Jerry McNerney, Antioch Teachers AEA, Antioch School Employees CSEA, Antioch Principals and Administrators AMA, Contra Costa Central Labor Council, Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council, SEIU Local 2015 and the Antioch Police Officers Association.

Rocha Responds to Questions

Rocha was asked for her main accomplishments as a school board member. She responded, “First of all I was elected in 2018 and in my four years we dealt as a Board with the COVID virus making sure we provided enough computers for distant learning and helping staff gear up to a different way of teaching.  My key priorities were to ensure the health and safety of our students and employees, provide social, emotional counseling and academic intervention services with the goal of improved student outcomes for all students while maintaining a fiscally responsible school district budget. I was able to support the replacements of vice principals and increase counselors.”

Rocha was also what will she specifically do to improve the math and English test scores, of mainly Black and Hispanic students in the district. She responded, “The District’s 2021-22 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) aligns resources to meet students’ needs which spells out, retain teaching staff, and attract staff in math, science and special education; expand programs for wellness and reading intervention. Their goals are put together with parents’ involvement to reduce the achievement gap for high needs students and ensure all students are accessing learning at the highest levels. The Board reviews their outcome.”

Asked if she supports teaching entrepreneurship in AUSD high schools “Yes. We have 20 academies in our district that include Career Technical Business Education. In media, they learn as a business, web-based and mobile applications, games, films and other integrated media,” Rocha shared. “Business Tech Academy curriculum is focused on a business theme that integrates standard based classes and career technical education classes.”

Finally, Rocha was asked what other plans she has for her next term if re-elected. She responded, “The extra money that we have received from the state will sunset with in the next three years I want to be there to continue to fund those programs that have made a difference for our students. I would also like to hire Reading Specialists in the middle schools. My hope is to establish community schools linking resources so the whole family can be addressed and support family engagement.”

“I have valuable knowledge and experience in developing fiscally responsible budgets for the Antioch Unified School District and City of Antioch as an elected official. I am committed to keeping students and families at the forefront of all decisions. I invite you to join me in working together for improved outcomes for all students,” Rocha added.

For more information about Dominique King and her campaign visit www.dominiquelking.com and for or more information about Mary Rocha and her campaign visit www.facebook.com/MaryRocha4Antioch. The election is November 8th.

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Police identify teen arrested for gun near Antioch High Thursday

Friday, October 21st, 2022

Elijah Lowery arrested and the gun confiscated from him by police on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022. Photos: APD

Sheriff’s helicopter assists

By Antioch Police Department PIO Darryl Saffold

Yesterday afternoon, at 2:55 PM officers were sent to Antioch High School on report of a man, Elijah Messiah Lowery, age 18, seen near the campus with a handgun tucked into his waistband. (See related article)

Thanks to an alert citizen, APD officers (with the assistance from the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office Air Unit) located the described individual shortly after he left the area. A loaded firearm was recovered after an unsuccessful attempt at hiding it.

An adult male was arrested for possession a loaded firearm in a school zone and sent to the County Jail.

We are grateful for our partnership with the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office and for the exceptional service they provide communities like ours with their Air Unit.

Special thanks to those who saw something not right and immediately said something to our exceptional dispatchers, who immediately sent officers to make a successful and safe apprehension.

Lowery was charged with PC25850(A) – possession of a loaded firearm in public, PC25400(C) (6) – carrying a concealed weapon, and PC626.9(B) – violating the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995.

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Possible gun on campus and rifle pointed at Antioch High after school hours

Thursday, October 20th, 2022

Non-student arrested; police seek another suspect

By Allen D. Payton

After school let out Thursday afternoon, a gun was believed to be seen on the Antioch High School campus and later a rifle appeared to be pointed at the school from a passing car.

At 4:32 p.m., Antioch Unified School District Superintendent Stephanie Anello issued the following message to the trustees and media:

“The following autodialer will be going out to staff and students shortly. I want to commend the staff who intervened and acted quickly to ensure all students and staff were safe.

 Approximately 30 minutes later, a staff member witnessed a light-colored SUV driving down G Street at a high rate of speed. A passenger in the car appeared to have a rifle pointed in the direction of the school. The passenger was wearing a red, hooded sweatshirt and black mask. Police were notified immediately. It is unknown at this time if the perpetrators are in custody.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact the school should you have any questions, etc. Thank you.’

Thank you,

Stephanie”

10/21/22 UPDATE: – Friday morning, Antioch Police Department PIO Darryl Saffold provided the identity of the one who was arrested and additional details.

“Yesterday afternoon, officers were sent to Antioch High School on report of a man (Elijah Lowery-18) seen near the campus with a handgun tucked into his waistband.

Thanks to an alert citizen, APD officers  (with the assistance from the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office Air Unit) located the described individual shortly after he left the area. A loaded firearm was recovered after an unsuccessful attempt at hiding it.

An adult male was arrested for possession a loaded firearm in a school zone and sent to the County Jail.

We are grateful for our partnership with the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office and for the exceptional service they provide communities like ours with their Air Unit.

Special thanks to those who saw something not right and immediately said something to our exceptional dispatchers, who immediately sent officers to make a successful and safe apprehension.

DATE: 10/20/2022  TIME: 1455   CHARGE(S): PC25850(A), PC25400(C) (6), PC626.9(B)

 

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