October 2016 - Fresno Unified School District - Building Futures

Preparing Career Ready Graduates - A publication of the Fresno Unified School District
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Student Achievement on the Way Up


This is an exciting time for Fresno Unified as a variety of initiatives are creating a culture of college-going and career preparation -- resulting in heightened academic success for students.

The hard work of staff and students is evident in a number of ways, including:
  • Improved state test scores

  • A record-high graduation rate

  • Increased numbers of students applying for and attending college

  • Large numbers of students involved in arts, athletics and other activities that better connect them to school


"We are thrilled and encouraged by the success our students are achieving on a number of fronts. The hard work and dedication of staff, and the support of our community, is coming to fruition with test scores, graduation rates and in many other areas," said Superintendent Michael Hanson. "At the same time, there is much more we need to achieve on behalf of our students, to help them learn and grow."

Students Improve on State Tests

In late August, the district learned good news about state testing results. Last spring, students took the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) standardized tests and for the first time in 15 years gained in both English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, at every grade level tested.

While overall percentages of students meeting or exceeding standards remain lower than what the district is striving for, at 31% in ELA and 22% in mathematics, Fresno Unified is encouraged the the improvement in scores.
Gains are also evident in every substantially represented student group in the district, including Hispanic, African American, Asian, and white students, as well as the district's English learner students.

Graduation Rates Up

Fresno Unified students are graduating at the highest rate in at least a decade, a result of the district's increased efforts to break down barriers that have kept students from obtaining their diploma.

The district's four-year graduation rate for 2014-15 was 83.8%, an increase of 4.5% over the 2013-14 rate of 79.3%, according to data released in May by the California Department of Education.

The graduation rate increased for several substantially represented student groups in 2014-15, including all groups with over 50 students.

  • Graduation rates for Hispanics students rose from 77.6% in 2013-14 to 82.3% in 2014-15, compared to the national Hispanic graduation rate of 71% for 2011-12 (the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics).

  • Rates for African-American students rose from 73.1% in 2013-14 to 82.1% in 2014-15, compared to the national African-American graduation rate of 68% for 2011-12 (the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics).

In addition, the four-year dropout rate for the district cohort is 11.7%, lower than the previous year's 14.0%, and down from 15.6% in 2012-13.
The district's 4.5% increase was the second largest graduation rate increase compared to other large school districts that are part of the California Office to Reform Education (CORE) with Fresno Unified. Only San Francisco Unified School District, with a gain of 5%, surpassed Fresno Unified.

College Going on the Rise

District data indicates that with more students finding success in high school, more are pursuing higher education, with 85% of seniors applying to college in 2015-16.

More than 5,000 high school students are enrolled in Advanced Placement courses and more than 5,000 high school students are enrolled in career technical education (CTE) courses.

Students Pursue Arts, Activities and Athletics

Students have to be in school to learn and one way of connecting students to their school and adults at their school is encouraging them to participate in arts, activities and athletics -- the Fresno Unified Board of Education's adopted Goal 2.

With expanded options for students, 64% of district students participated in Goal 2 activities during the past school year. That number is expected to rise as the district expands arts programs, increases transportation for Goal 2 activities and ensures high-quality athletic facilities and coaches.
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Español | Hmong

College Packet


Greater numbers of Fresno Unified students are graduating eligible for college - with a wide-array of options -- but many students are not aware of all of the colleges that they can apply to.

Eighty-five percent of Fresno Unified students applied to college last year, but just half of eligible students applied to colleges that correspond with their academic profiles. For example, 54% of the low-income students eligible for University of California are actually applying to UC campuses, and less than 44% of low-income students applied to California State University campuses.

This fall, in an effort to expand students' higher education plans, the district launched a pilot program to inform seniors of all of their college options that match their academic profile. The district has sent every eligible senior a customized college information packet based on the premise that many students and parents are just not aware of all the colleges the student is eligible for.

The packets contain a matrix of California public universities and colleges the student has qualified for and recommendations on next steps to take.

A letter was sent to their parents as well encouraging them to support their student in pursuing all college options. The letters were translated in English, Spanish and Hmong.

With a Nov. 30 deadline to apply for most four-year colleges and universities, the customized college packets contain critical information that will help guide students as they make decisions about college.

The packet also contains information on UC admission, paying for college, California State University, scholarships and the California Dream Act.
Students and their families are encouraged to explore all options and meet with the student's academic counselor.

The overall effort reflects a strong inter-department partnership between the Equity and Access, College and Career Readiness, Communications and Technology departments. This effort also reflects what Long Beach Unified School District has learned from its efforts to reach out to its families with college going information.

A letter was sent to their parents as well encouraging them to support their student in pursuing all college options. The letters were sent in English, Spanish and Hmong.

With a Nov. 30 deadline to apply for most four-year colleges and universities, the packet is critical information that will help students as they make decision about college.

The district is pleased that 85% of Fresno Unified students applied to college last year. But just half of eligible students applied to colleges that correspond with their academic profiles. The district's Equity and Access Office staff put together the college packets based on the premise that many students and parents are just not aware of all the colleges the student is eligible for. The packets contain a matrix of California public universities and colleges the student has qualified for and recommendations on next steps to take.

The packet also contains information on UC admission, paying for college, California State University, scholarships and the California Dream Act.
Students and their families are encouraged to explore all options and meet with the student's academic counselor.
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2016 Important Dates

Oct. 1, Nov. 5, Dec. 3, Jan. 21, March 11, May 6 and June 3: SAT tests offered at various Fresno locations (see www.collegeboard.org)

Oct. 12 and 26 Board of Education meetings at Nutrition Center

Oct. 19 Free PSAT testing for grades 9-11

Nov. 11 Veterans Day holiday

Nov. 21-25 Thanksgiving holiday

Dec. 1 Deadline for choice schools applications
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Parent University Classes in October


  • English Learning Module

  • Long Term English Learning Module

  • LCAP Parent Workshop

  • Elementary School Module

  • Special Education Module

  • Fresno Police Department's Community Residence Academy -- Roosevelt High School


The Parent Resource Center open house is Oct. 10 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

More information: (559) 457-3390 or www.fresnou.org/dept/parentu

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Fresno Unified School District
Important Phone Numbers

Constituent Services: (559) 457-3736
How to enroll: (559) 457-3351
Immunizations: (559) 457-3294
Main number: (559) 457-3000
Parent University: (559) 3390
Preschool: (559) 457-3682 or (559) 457-3803
Transfers Office: (559) 248-7538
Transportation: (559) 457-3138
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