Marylee Williams

Richmond nonprofit tackles new approach to urban renewal

James Anderson has a habit of peeking out of his house, day or night, constantly checking on his unofficial front yard. From his front door or upstairs window, he can scan the half-acre park known as Elm Playlot, just to make sure there’s no trouble. He grew up in the Iron Triangle, a notoriously high-crime neighborhood in central Richmond named for the train tracks that create its distinctive borders. More than year ago Anderson started working at Elm Playlot, located…

Initial report in on student achievement

West Contra Costa school trustees grappled with new evidence Wednesday suggesting the district failed to meet some student-achievement goals for the 2014-15 school year. Trustees and district employees spent half of a roughly three-hour board of education meeting discussing academic goals laid out as part of a state education funding program. For the 2014-15 school year, West Contra Costa received about $212 million total in grants from the state program. The district had to develop a “Local Control and Accountability…

Parents of truant students called to court in Contra Costa County

Six families with elementary and middle school-aged children sat in the gallery of Department 5 at the Contra Costa County Courthouse. They were called to appear at 10 a.m. Judge Rebecca Hardie wouldn’t emerge for another half hour. First, the adults were given a lesson about the impact of poor student attendance.