Scottie Smith at June 28, 2016
El Cerrito Democratic Club
A local democratic club hosted an anti-charter (school) panel. Audience member Scottie Smith, a long-time activist in the West Contra Costa Unified School District (California), engages in some intense critical "sharing" about
the panel's approach in terms of actually helping
students of color...

West County trustee discusses charter schools and school district obligations
By Rick Radin | June 29, 2016 | EastBayTimes
Excerpt:   Kronenberg, speaking at the El Cerrito Democratic Club's monthly meeting on June 28, did a hurried reprise of a "State of the District" presentation delivered last fall by outgoing Superintendent Bruce Harter.
    But questions and comments during and after her presentation seemed more insightful and up-to-date. ...
   Before 2010, the district was one of a few districts statewide that offered lifetime health benefits for retirees, according to a report entitled "Managing Public Sector Retiree Healthcare Costs," published by the Contra Costa Economic Partnership.
   Although West Contra Costa negotiated an end to that program for new retirees that year because of rising costs and reduced income during the recession, hundreds of former teachers who retired before 2010 are still receiving benefits. ..
    On the school construction front, district critic Scottie Smith lambasted Kronenberg for West Contra Costa's spending bond money to build a new football stadium at El Cerrito High School while thousands of students throughout the district are languishing in substandard facilities. ...
Complete Article:

By Joyce Tsai - Bay Area News Group | August 15, 2016
Mixed reaction to West Contra Costa school superintendent’s announced retirement
Questions about the West Contra Costa school district’s $1.6 billion bond construction program have been swirling the past two years, prompted in part by investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the FBI, and an trustee-ordered forensic audit of the program.
      So when the district announced late last week that longtime Superintendent Bruce Harter would step down at school year’s end to revive taxpayers’ trust and remove a potential obstacle to renewing a parcel tax, one would think that bond critics, who had been calling for improved accountability and transparency at the district, would be declaring it a victory. ...
     The BlackBoard of West Contra Costa, a community group that advocates for African-American educational achievement, had sent a letter before that vote calling for a new vision for the district. The group expressed a “no confidence vote” on Harter because the achievement gap for the district’s black and brown students was still too great after so many years.
     “Well, the only thing I can say about this is that every tub has to sit on his own bottom,” said Scottie Smith, the organization’s vice president, suggesting that every person needs to take responsibility for their actions. “If this is what he feels he needs to do, then he needs to do that.”
     But as to whether this would help renew faith in the district, she said the jury was still out.
     “It’s not just Harter’s leadership, but it’s also the board leadership,” she said. “There’s been too much focus on construction rather than instruction.”        
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The BlackBoard of West Contra Costa presents African American Student Achievement in the WCCUSD: "Where Do We Go From Here"     
March 2014
Forum Objectives:
To educate the community about the achievement opportunities in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. To inspire parents and community members to take action and partner with the District to ignite change in student achievement.

Forum on African-American student achievement in West Contra Costa
The BlackBoard of West Contra Costa community advocacy organization is hosting a free forum Saturday on African-American student achievement in the West Contra Costa school district, which ranks among the bottom statewide.
   The forum will include presentations on equity and social justice in education and academic performance, followed by a panel discussion and brainstorming. ...

BlackBoard Exercises for March 22nd 2014
A new community organization zeroed in on the academic achievement of African-American students in the West Contra Costa Unified School District has started up. What’s promising about this group is that the lead is being taken by someone else besides the usual players, school officials and professional advocacy groups. Of course, they’re involved, just not in the driver’s seat.
     Of the two main contacts, I know Scottie Smith. She’s a totally solid person and has a lot of experience dealing with these issues. Hopefully, this group will achieve some success. ...
Announcement on Mystery Education Theater 3000 website:
The Sponsoring Group
The BlackBoard is a group formed a couple of years ago by black community members to make sure the black student achievement gap didn’t get lost amidst all the competing goals of the district by forming a group to specialize in this issue. The group focuses broad attention on analyzing the issue and developing and promoting solutions. Currently, the president of the group is WCCUSD ex-principal, Gloria Scoggins, and the vice-president is long-time WCCUSD education advocate, Scottie Smith.

BlackBoard Candidate Forum
Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 6:30 pm
Bright Futures - 1060 Manor Road, El Sobrante

Guest commentary | East Bay Times | April 7, 2016 | 
Improving West County schools:
If not now; when?

By Miriam Wong and Scottie Smith

Quality education is a human right for all people — no matter their ethnicity, economic level, or immigration status. As longtime residents and advocates for equity in Richmond, we have dedicated a combined four decades of work toward building a just and thriving community.
     We love calling Richmond our home and feel a strong sense of community here. But we see a significant problem in our schools — students in West Contra Costa are not receiving the quality education they deserve, and that must be fixed immediately.
     We represent two different organizations, the BlackBoard of WCC and the Latina Center, both of which are dedicated to improving the lives of our community members. We are proud advocates for low-income residents, communities of color, immigrants, students and families. ...
     For low-income students, English-language learners and students of color, it is even more challenging to succeed in school — only 21 percent of our African-American and 24 percent of our Latino youth are college ready. And only 10 percent of WCC English-learners are college ready. ...

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