About 20 community members recently went back to school for a day. Their assignment: Connect with students and see them honing their future work skills.

The Principal for a Day program featured Linked Learning academies from Antioch, Deer Valley and Dozier-Libbey Medical high schools. In addition, Black Diamond, Dallas Ranch and Park middle schools shared their STEAM/Lead the Way programs.

Spearheaded by Sean Wright, executive director of the East County Business Education Alliance, the goal was "to increase public awareness and support for our Linked Learning academies and increase support from the business community to create more work-based learning opportunities for our students."

The day, hosted by AUSD and the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, began at the district office with an overview of Linked Learning and the pathways before each went to their assigned campus.

The academies included: Engineering & Designing a Green Environment; Environmental Studies, Media Tech and Leadership at Antioch High School; Business and Technology, DV Law and Performing Arts at Deer Valley, in addition to Dozier-Libbey Medical High and the three middle schools.

The community participants shadowed vice principals and student ambassadors. They met with teachers, observed class work and talked with students.

Gina Del Carlo of Workforce Development Board was one of the participants.


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"I was impressed with the real world skills the students were learning and observed students designing websites," she said about the media academy at Antioch High.

"The students were engaged and self-driven. I actually have a website that could use the expertise of the students I met and have plans to work with the school to create a partnership ... I was pleased to see Antioch High preparing students for their futures."

DV's Ken Gardner said his guests received "a thorough over view of the academy, highlights of each, as well as observing classes and talking to students."

He added: "(They seemed) to "thoroughly enjoy time on the campus and getting to know our staff members, students and teachers."

The day ended with a lunch session where they discussed their experiences.

Said Wright: "I was overwhelmed by the connections that were made with the students, faculty and business and the willingness of businesses to go back and help our students."

Reach Trine Gallegos at TrineG@att.net

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