Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Antioch School Board places $105 million school facilities improvement bond on March ballot

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Will benefit schools and affect properties in former Mello-Roos District

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Wed., Nov. 13, 2019 the Antioch School Board voted 5-0 to place a $105 million bond on the March 3, 2020 ballot to pay for improvements to schools in the former Mello-Roos District. The annual cost is estimated at $60 per $100,000 in valuation. So, owners of a home valued at $500,000 will pay $300 per year. Resolution 2019-20-17 Ordering a School Bond Election in SFID No. 2

The bond measure requires a 55% vote of approval to pass and if passed, will raise an average of $7,000,000 annually for 36 years.

“This makes sense. It just makes sense. As a new homeowner I’m a bit scared by the tax,” said Velma Wilson, who was the only member of the public to speak. “I think it’s really good what Antioch High has done with Measure B. So, to see those bonds doing what they’re doing…and our schools with their upgrades, I think this is really good for our school district. Kids like to go to school with good facilities.”

The board also voted 5-0 to approve a resolution creating the facilities district. AUSD Formation of SFID No. 2

The resolution reads as follows:

“The Antioch Unified School District has formed School Facilities Improvement District #2 in the area of Antioch previously impacted by Mello Roos assessments. The Mello Roos District was dissolved in 2016. The Mello Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 provided funds for the District to build schools during a period of rapid growth within Antioch Unified School District. The Mello Roos assessment helped pay for the construction Carmen Dragon Elementary, Diablo Vista Elementary, Jack London Elementary, Lone Tree Elementary, MNO Grant Elementary, Black Diamond Middle School, Dallas Ranch Middle School, Orchard Park K-8 School, Deer Valley High School, and Dozier-Libbey Medical High School.

This bond measure placed only before the voters in SFID#2 will provide funds to improve and maintain all of the schools within the former Mello Roos area. The funding will be provided over eight years with priorities set by the school board and monitored by an Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee.

The Improvements shall consist of projects which: renovate classrooms, update school safety and security systems, improve technology, energy efficiency, upgrade science labs, modernize schools, and repair and replace roofs, and to qualify for state matching funds.

To meet all identified school facility needs, the District may complete projects using a combination of funding sources. These sources may include joint-use funds, contributions, developer fees, state and federal funds and any other available funds.

The specific projects authorized to be financed with bond proceeds are as follows. The projects are authorized to be financed at all current and future sites within SFID#2.

  • Update aging classrooms and District facilities to support high quality instruction.
  • Upgrade electrical, communications, safety and security systems.
  • Replace heating ventilation and air conditioning units as needed.
  • Upgrade plumbing and renovate restrooms.
  • Repair/Replace roofing systems.
  • Repair and replace damaged and uneven paving and concrete.
  • Improve accessibility to sites, classrooms and upgrade playgrounds (ADA).
  • Repair and replace floors
  • Test foundations for seismic standards and upgrade as needed.
  • Renovate, modernize and/or remodel kitchen, food service and multipurpose spaces.
  • Update and improve athletic fields and facilities.
  • Make the necessary changes to improve drainage systems.
  • Update technology infrastructure and computer equipment (paid for within its useful life).
  • Replace old classroom desks, chairs and other necessary furniture.
  • Remodel, replace and refurbish classroom interiors.
  • Replace all exterior walkway damaged canopies.
  • Add exterior lighting to improve campus safety.
  • Reconfigure parking areas to improve traffic flow and student safety.
  • Remove or replace aging portable buildings and classrooms with permanent construction.
  • Install dual pane windows to improve ventilation.
  • Replace underground infrastructure.
  • Install or repair playground equipment and play surfaces and structures.
  • Acquire and/or upgrade fencing to improve school safety.

Other Projects

  • Remove hazardous materials, such as asbestos, lead, etc., where necessary.
  • Address unforeseen conditions revealed by construction/modernization (such as plumbing or gas line breaks, dry rot, seismic, structural, etc.).
  • Other improvements required to comply with existing building codes, including the Field Act, and access requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Necessary site preparation/restoration in connection with new construction, renovation or remodeling, or installation or removal of re-locatable classrooms, including removing, replacing, or installing irrigation, utility lines (such as gas lines, water lines, electrical lines, sewer lines, and communication lines), trees and landscaping.
  • Rental or construction of storage facilities and other space on an interim basis, as needed to accommodate construction materials, equipment, and personnel, and interim classrooms (including re-locatable classrooms) for students and school functions or other storage for classroom materials displaced during construction.
  • All work necessary and incidental to specific projects described above, including demolition of existing structures.
  • Paint the interior and exterior of buildings.
  • Repair and replace damaged and uneven paving and concrete.
  • Provide classroom furniture and equipment as needed.
  • Improve school building safety and security.”

A request was made to Superintendent Stephanie Anello for a map of the new facilities district which was not included with the resolution. To see if your property is affected, please check the following report of parcels with streets listed in alphabetical order: Parcels for Proposed SFID 2

Please check back later for updates to this report.

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Antioch, Pittsburg residents earn degrees from Western Governors University

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY (Grassroots Newswire) November 5, 2019 – The following local residents have earned their degree from Western Governors University (WGU). The online, nonprofit university held its 71st (Cincinnati, Ohio); 72nd (Anaheim, California); 73rd (Salt Lake City, UT); and 74th (Seattle, Washington) commencement ceremonies in the spring and summer of this year to celebrate the recent graduation of more than 10,000 students from across the country.

  • David Huntley of Antioch has earned his Master of Business Administration degree
  • Patricia Valdepena of Antioch has earned her Bachelor of Science, Nursing degree
  • Capricia Borrero of Pittsburg has earned her Master of Science, Management and Leadership degree

WGU has recognized 5,750 undergraduate and 4,488 graduate degree recipients, who have completed their degrees since June 24, 2019. Their areas of study include business, K-12 education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. The average time to graduation for those earning a bachelor’s degree was 2 years, 3 months, while the average time to degree for graduate programs was 1 year, 7 months. The average age for those who graduated is 38 years old.

WGU pioneered competency-based education, which measures learning rather than time spent in class. Designed to meet the needs of working adults, students study and learn on their own schedules with individualized, one-to-one faculty support. They complete courses as soon as they demonstrate that they have mastered the subject matter; allowing them to move quickly through material they already know so they can allocate time for what they still need to learn. As a result, many WGU students are able to accelerate their studies, saving both time and money.

About WGU

Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 119,000 students nationwide and has more than 158,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 21 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families, and preparing the workforce needed in today’s rapidly evolving economy. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and was featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at

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Deer Valley High ACE Academy skywatching events in Oct. and Nov. begin at John Marsh house Saturday night

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

The Deer Valley High School Academic Challenge & Enrichment (ACE) Academy has a lot of things going on for the public in the next three weeks. Take a look at these skywatching events and join us for a look at the heavens. More and more people are attending our planetarium program — our first two shows were basically running at full capacity. In addition, for each of the three events listed below we will also have a lunar sample disc borrowed from NASA that has six samples of rocks and soil brought back to earth from the Apollo missions. You can see a moon rock at any of the three following events.

October 19 – John Marsh Stone House.

6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m Join Astronomer and teacher Jeff Adkins for a close-up view of the night sky. Enjoy the history and splendor of the Marsh Creek State Historic Park. $20 per person

ACE Academy students and Mr. Adkins will provide a stargazing event at the John Marsh Stone House south of Brentwood near the new LMC campus as a fundraiser for the new state park interpretive center being built there. There are events all day long including a meal. This event is NOT free ($20 for the astronomy part) but you can pay for only the parts you want. For tickets, directions and more information visit this link:

October 24 – DVHS Planetarium presents “We Choose Space,” a program provided by Loch Ness Productions and sponsored by Corteva (formerly Dow Agriscience). This program reviews the beginning of the space age and explains why we explore space. Following the program we will have a planetarium show to look at Saturn, the Summer Triangle, the Ring Nebula, and other objects. The planetarium is free and the doors open at 8 PM. The show starts at 8:15 and observing starts at 8:45. We will finish up around 9:30-10 PM. For more information go to

October 26 – DVHS astronomy students and Mr. Adkins will be at the Los Vaqueros Reservoir in Brentwood, one of the darkest locations in Contra Costa County, to observe the night sky with our fleet of telescopes. This event will run from 8 – 10:30 PM (although I will be there earlier as it gets dark.) There is a parking fee for each car.

For more information go to

Finally, on the morning of November 11 the planet Mercury will pass in front of the sun. Our school’s solar telescopes can see this event and we will be displaying it “live” so you can see it. This is being done as an ACE academy fundraiser at Barnes and Noble in Antioch. We will be encouraging visitors to mention ACE as they check out to help support the academy. This is the last transit of Mercury visible from North America until the year 2049. Our event will already be happening as the sun rises and will continue until about 10 AM. For more information about the transit including an animation of what we expect to see visit: (Please note the moon rocks will not be available for this event.)

For the Mercury Transit, the Stone House, and the Los Vaqueros reservoir, the events are subject to the weather. If it is cloudy they may be cancelled. The planetarium show happens rain or shine.

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Bay Area Lifeline Nursing training school opens in Antioch

Saturday, October 5th, 2019

Located in the heart of Antioch, Bay Area Lifeline Nursing is a Nursing Assistant and Home Health aide training school. Our goal is to help change lives within the community one heartbeat at a time.

We prepare our students for the California Health Department Certification for Nursing Assistants and Home Health Aides. We also offer CEU (Continuing Education Units) and CPR classes.

Our instructors are highly experienced nurses with backgrounds from various healthcare settings including nursing education.

We offer an accelerated 21-day program to complete the Nursing Assistant Training and get you ready for the board examination and certification.

Certified Nursing Assistants are currently in high demand in health care facilities such as hospitals, nursing and convalescent homes, assisted living facilities, doctors offices, rehabilitation facilities, group homes, and in-home settings.

The California Health department requires periodic continued education units by every certified nursing assistant for certification renewal. Bay Area Lifeline Nursing offers courses to meet these requirements.

Let BALN help you start a new lifestyle with better job opportunities in California. They’re located at 3501 Lone Tree Way, Suite 1 in Antioch. For more information call (925) 839-7279, email [email protected] or visit

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Los Medanos College partners with JFK University to host Olga Custodio, the first Latina U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Tuesday, Sept. 24

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

Los Medanos College (LMC) is partnering with John F. Kennedy University (JFKU) to host Olga Custodio, the first Latina to serve as a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force.  The event will be held on Tuesday, September 24, at LMC’s Pittsburg Campus in Room SC-136 (Science Building, first floor); Lt. Col. Custodio’s presentation will be held 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., followed by a reception.  The campus is located at 2700 East Leland Road in Pittsburg.   There is no charge to attend, and guests are asked to RSVP online.

The event, which is part of LMC’s fourth annual Equity Speaker Series, will feature Retired Lt. Colonel Olga Custodio sharing her story of “Passion, Patience & Persistence.”  Custodio was the first Latina to complete military pilot training in the United States Air Force (USAF), graduating in the top five percent of her class, and the first to become a USAF fighter pilot.  She went on to break even more barriers as the first female flight instructor at two major USAF bases, and later as the first Latina commercial pilot for American Airlines.  Living by the mantra, “querer es poder” – loosely translated to “where there’s a will, there’s a way” – Custodio’s perseverance, fighting spirit, leadership abilities, and passion for flying took her where few women have gone before.  Now retired, Lt. Col. Custodio continues to lead and inspire, championing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and motivating women and girls to pursue aviation and male-dominated professions.  She is involved with a number of professional and service organizations, including: Women Military Aviators Association, as an active charter member; Women in Aviation International, as executive director and treasurer of the Alamo City Chapter; the Hispanic Association of Aviation and Aerospace Professionals, as vice president; the Order of Daedalians; and the Daedalian Foundation, as a Trustee.  With her dedication to attracting more women and young people to aviation and STEM careers, she also serves as a mentor with the Aviation Explorers organization in San Antonio and with the School of Aeronautics of the Inter American University in Puerto Rico.

Collaborating on this event expands LMC’s existing partnership with JFKU.  The two institutions have previously partnered on a Student Wellness Program that provides mental health counseling to students at LMC.  In addition to marking Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) Week and National Hispanic Heritage Month, the event with Lt. Col. Custodio reflects the shared commitment of LMC and JFKU – both Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), with undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25% Hispanic – to providing opportunities and support toward degree completion for Latino/a and minoritized students.  Lt. Col. Custodio’s visit comes on the heels of LMC celebrating its 10-year anniversary of participating in the Mathematics, Engineering, Science & Achievement (MESA) Program, which focuses on helping underserved and underrepresented students achieve success in the STEM workforce.

Questions about this event may be directed to Dr. Sabrina T. Kwist at [email protected] or (925) 473-7314.

For more information about all of LMC’s Office of Equity & Inclusion, visit

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12th Annual Mary Allan Fellows Awards dinner to honor top Antioch teachers Tuesday night

Monday, September 16th, 2019

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, the Antioch Schools Education Foundation hosts its 12th annual Mary Allan Fellows Awards, which honor top teachers in the Antioch Unified School District.

As usual, Allan (the awards’ namesake) said she and the committee were overjoyed with the many nominations of strong teachers and were delighted to visit each educator in his/her classroom.

This year seemed to be a year of particular “intention, commitment and (focus) on the individual needs of students,” said Allan, adding that she remains impressed by everyone’s passion and humbleness in the important roles each plays in a student’s life.

The Fellows winners are Jose Cumagun, Bruce Ellison and Kiel Olff, all from Deer Valley High; and Tim Mays and Rebecca Quinones, both from Antioch High.

Semifinalists are Shirley Bull, Turner Elementary; Mary Jane Grove, Jack London Elementary; Patt Middle; Vicki O’Connor, Dozier-Libbey Medical High; and Julie Verhoek, Sutter Elementary.

All will be spotlighted at the awards dinner at Lone Tree Golf and Event Center in Antioch. All educators and community are welcome to attend. This year’s speaker is Samy D’Amico, a former AUSD educator.

“Born in Argentina and coming to America as a second-grader, D’Amico is well aware of the struggle of being a non-English learner. Since then, he has embraced his background and its cultural richness, keeping it at the forefront when interacting with students,” said Allan.

For more info and to purchase the $70 tickets:

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Antioch School Board adopts policy requiring commemorative flags flown on separate pole from U.S., state flags

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

The U.S. and California state flags flying at the AUSD offices.

By Allen Payton

In response to concerns about the district flying the LGBTQ rainbow flag at the district offices and each school, in June, the Antioch School Board adopted a flag policy at their meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Now, any commemorative flag must fly on a separate and shorter pole from the U.S. and California state flags at the district office. However, the policy does not include flying commemorative flags at the schools in the district.

The new language of the policy includes the following:

“Commemorative flags displayed at the District office shall be on a flagpole separate from the flag of the United States and the flag of California if a secondary flagpole is available. The secondary flagpole shall be located in a place of less prominence and shall be at a lower height than the main flagpole.”

In addition, the policy states, “The District will not display a commemorative flag based on a request from a third party, nor will the District use its flagpoles to sponsor the expression of a third party.”

When asked why the schools weren’t included in the policy, Anello simply responded, “It was not party of the policy.” Asked why not, she responded, The Board didn’t request it. But, probably will address that next.

Both Trustees Crystal Sawyer-White and Ellie Householder were also asked why the school sites weren’t included in the policy. Householder responded, School sites are allowed to develop their own policies regarding flying flags.”

The policy was adopted on a 4-0 vote, as Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray was absent. The complete policy can be read, here: AUSD Ceremonies and Observances – after changes

Please check back for any updates to this report.

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Antioch School Board adds immigration status to information policy to protect illegal immigrant students or families

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 11, the Antioch School Board adopted a new policy regarding handling information of students and their families who are in the country illegally.

According to the staff report, “This policy was revised to reflect Assembly Bill 699 – new legislation mandating school district to adopt policy consistent with a model policy developed by the California Attorney General which limits assistance with immigration enforcement at public schools.

These changes reflect the recommendations of the California School Boards Association (CSBA).

In addition, the California Department of Education (CDE) Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) conducted a Civil Rights Review (CRR) of the Career Technical Education (CTE) program at Dozier-Libbey Medical High School during the 2018-19 school year. As part of the review, the reviewer advised the District to update this policy to reflect the recommendations from the California Attorney General addressing the following areas in order to provide a safe, welcoming environment for all students:

  • gathering and handling student and family information
  • responding to requests for access to school grounds for immigration enforcement purposes
  • responding to the detention or deportation of a student’s family member
  • responding to hate crimes and bullying related to national origin or ethnicity”

According to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest, AB699 prohibits “school officials and employees of a school district, county office of education, or charter school, except as required by state or federal law or as required to administer a state or federally supported educational program, from collecting information or documents regarding citizenship or immigration status of pupils or their family members. The bill would require the superintendent of a school district, the superintendent of a county office of education, and the principal of a charter school, as applicable, to report to the respective governing board or body of the local educational agency in a timely manner any requests for information or access to a schoolsite by an officer or employee of a law enforcement agency for the purpose of enforcing the immigration laws in a manner that ensures the confidentiality and privacy of any potentially identifying information.”

The new policy includes the following language:

“Responding to Requests for Information

Unless authorized by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act pursuant to 20 USC 1232g, student information shall not be disclosed to immigration law enforcement authorities without parental consent, a court order, or judicial subpoena. The Superintendent or designee shall annually notify parents/guardians that the district will not release student information to third parties for immigration enforcement purposes, unless the parent/guardian consents or as required to do so by a court order or judicial subpoena.

Upon receiving any verbal or written request for information related to a student’s or family’s immigration or citizenship status, district staff shall:

  1. Notify the Superintendent or designee about the information request
  2. Provide students and families with appropriate notice and a description of the immigration officer’s request
  3. Document any request for information by immigration authorities
  4. Provide students and parents/guardians with any documents provided by the immigration enforcement officer, unless such disclosure is prohibited by a subpoena served on the district or in cases involving investigations of child abuse, neglect, or dependency

Resources and data collected by the district shall not be used, directly or by others, to compile a list, registry, or database of individuals based on national origin, immigration status, religion, or other category of individual characteristics protected against unlawful discrimination.”

The Federal Educational Rights and Policy Act “allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):

  • School officials with legitimate educational interest;
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring;
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
  • Accrediting organizations;
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.”

In addition, the policy’s language states, “The Superintendent or designee may refer a student or his/her family members to other resources for assistance, including, but not limited to, an ICE detainee locator, legal assistance, or the consulate or embassy of the parent/guardian’s country of origin.”

The policy was adopted 4-0, as Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray was absent.

The complete AUSD policy can be read, here – AUSD Response to Immigration Enforcement – with changes

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