REPRINTED FROM CNN THE FACE MASK THAT COULD END THE PANDEMIC Keri Enriquez Sat January 23, 2021 CNN ~ Getting Americans masked up is a top priority for the Biden administration. Biden, who calls wearing masks “a patriotic act,” signed an executive order Wednesday -- his very first as President -- to ask Americans to wear masks of their choice for the first 100 days of the new administration. The executive order also requires mask use on all federal property, though in this case, not just any old mask will do.  Continue reading


"While most of the people who have been named Person of the Year have earned the title by achieving good things in the world, that’s not one of the criteria. In fact, both Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin have “won” the title in the past (Stalin actually won it twice!), and, well, it wasn’t because they were particularly good guys. Continue reading


According to the SPRWALDEF website: “SPRAWLDEF is a non-profit corporation created to take on environmental issues that others cannot or would not pursue. It is primarily focused on legal action.” Continue reading


November 5, 2020 Dear WCCUSD Community, After a great deal of thoughtful consideration I have decided not to return to the West Contra Costa Unified School District next year as your Superintendent. It is with mixed emotions that I will allow my current contract to expire on June 30, 2021 and choose not to seek re-employment with the school district for the 2021-2022 school year. The Board of Education will also be undergoing a significant change as a result of the recent election. In December, four new members will be seated on the five-member governing board. The community has spoken and they want fresh leadership perspectives to guide the future of our schools. The current Board should defer to this new crop of leaders to give them the space and time to fully own the process of finding my replacement. Hiring a Superintendent is the primary responsibility of the new Trustees. They should feel comfortable with the search firm they retain and the recruiting process they will oversee. For my part, I am committed to making the transition as seamless as possible. I will still be your superintendent for eight months as we navigate through the lingering COVID pandemic and will serve until the end of the school year. Now in my 5th year as Superintendent, I am very proud of the work we have done together and the many things we have accomplished. I am especially proud of the work our team and community have done during the COVID pandemic to create a schedule that is fair and sustainable for our students. We have respected the needs of our families, employees and students to create a safe, healthy and supportive learning environment in very uncertain and difficult times. It has been an unbelievable blessing for me and my family to have shared in the story of the West Contra Costa Unified School District for these years. From science fairs to football games and graduations to community meetings, every day has brought me great honor and humility.  Families and staff have welcomed me, shared their stories, their passions, their questions and concerns. I have done everything in my power to act to make the district a better place. Our district is unique and complex, stretching itself to serve many different cities and communities. It has been an absolute joy to work to meet the needs of so many different people. New school board leadership will take their oaths of office in just a few weeks. They will now be working in a new structure representing single areas of the district, not just the whole district. I wish all the new members the best of luck in building a strong and united governance team to help move the district forward while supporting their individual areas of representation. Our budget is in good shape and our internal systems continue to strengthen. The positive initiatives we started will leave WCCUSD in a strong, sustainable position for the future. My work for the remainder of this year is to help the district transition back to physical school regardless of timeline. Getting back to school is critically important and we will get there. We will work to ensure that our students are getting what they need and we are hearing their voices through this difficult process. There is still great need around our district. We have many struggling learners as well as students and families who have been historically disenfranchised. We will need to stay dedicated to equity and racial justice in our system and in our community. I am ready to work with our new Board over the coming months to strengthen and evaluate our work in support of all students in our district. Depending on results of elections, ballot initiatives and state finances, our budget in the coming years may be under significant stress. We will have to work even harder to make sure we can support our learners most historically far from opportunity and achievement. With work still to do, I am so proud of what I have been able to accomplish with your help during my time here.  Thank you to so many of you for insights and energies in bringing these initiatives and programs to life. While the district is on the move, there is much that remains to be done. With strong, collaborative leadership I am confident that West Contra Costa USD can continue on its journey to make our schools a place where everyone can thrive and succeed. Sincerely, Matthew Duffy Superintendent of Schools Continue reading


The world has never had to deal with a calamity the likes of which we’ve seen with the Covid-19 pandemic.  Jobs lost, businesses shuttered, the economy in tatters.  The world is having to rethink how things are done. One of the issues focuses on the food and agriculture businesses that routinely supply restaurants and schools—both of which have no outlet for the use of these food products. The United States Department of Agriculture came up with a plan to purchase the surplus food and give it to the millions of people who need it the most. Over the past two weekends, the Hilltop Community Church on Shane Drive near Hilltop Drive, has been distributing boxes of food to those that show up and ask. Continue reading


Students, staff and administrators of the new Michelle Obama School would love for you to join the celebration and attend the grand opening and dedication of the newly constructed campus on Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 11 AM. The virtual celebration will take place on the District and Michelle Obama School Facebook pages. Viewers will hear from students, staff and officials as they explore the many features in the new and innovative school and share. As the first Michelle Obama School in Northern California—and the second in the state— this historical moment will capture the hope of a community and set the bar for excellence and expectations in deeper learning that students will strive to achieve. Be sure to follow the school and District’s Facebook pages to witness the live occasion. Continue reading


On Thursday October 1st, 2020, the Fairmede Hilltop Neighborhood Council hosted a live and in person forum for candidates seeking to serve on the Richmond City Council. In these times of sheltering in place, Zoom meetings have become the norm.  But Zoom meetings are fraught with “Can you hear me now?” and “Unmute yourself”.  Virtual backgrounds can be abysmal, the sound is never good, for a candidate, appearances can be important. Continue reading


With all of the shelter-in-place restrictions in place these past 6 months, getting our hair cut, traveling, shopping working—they’ve all been curtailed. As bad as all of that is, it’s election season and we have important races on the ballot for Richmond City Council and the WCCUSD Board of Education. Continue reading


In the Covid world we live in today, it’s difficult to host the type of candidate forums that we’ve become used to.  Instead of gathering in a big room with the candidates sitting at a row of tables with an audience perched in front of them, we have the dreaded Zoom meetings. Instead of hearing from the speakers with a “good morning” what we hear so often is a “can you hear me?” Continue reading
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