The New Year brings new visions. With the widening Highway 4 and the nearby inauguration of Hillcrest e-BART Antioch sits on a promising crossroads. We all hope that it might soon fulfill its’ promise of a ‘destination’ city.
I was privileged growing up in such a town, Great Neck, Long Island. Though we lived on the modest side of town, nevertheless, we would periodically find at our doorstep a stranger’s note asking us to kindly call them should we ever decide to move. The town was desirable because it was rated in the top ten school districts nation-wide. Case in point; my German teacher spoke nine languages and would quote, from memory, extended passages from Goethe.
We all know the two main drivers of real estate prices are safety and public education and that Antioch has challenges.
Criticism aside, Antioch has plentiful appeals, boasting Rivertown’s elegant El Campanil Theatre and the Delta breeze; over two dozen parks; a ‘Miracle Mile’, with a medical office complex, stunning hilltop church, community center, second City library, swim and skate parks; and unchopped hills overlooking curving, undulating streets.
We have a corps of talented and dedicated public school teachers; a cutting edge network of ten career themed academies, including the award-winning Dozier-Libbey Medical High; abundant choice with Montessouri and now Rocketship Charter School; and a rich tradition of Christian schools like Cornerstone, Holy Rosary, Golden Hills and Seventh Day Adventist.
Granted, too often we have a two-tier proficiency system, haves and have-nots. My son, Joshua, as example, prospered at Deer Valley High taking Advanced Placement classes. He went on to Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo and within three days of graduation became an environmental engineer. Antioch schools served him well.
Others, though, get left behind; too often children of color or students perhaps homeless, latchkey, transient, special needs or English language learner. Distressingly, only 19% of our students score math proficient. English scores are marginally better. This cries for bold action by school administrators instituting aggressive interventions like the after-school Individualized Math Intensive program.
Parental involvement is also paramount as education, after all, is a three legged stool– students, teachers and parents all cooperating.
My New Year goal is that working together one day we can all open our doors and see a note asking for us to call should we decide to move.
Antioch can become that destination city.
President, Antioch School Board