Wednesday morning, Fresno Unified held its first kick-off rally in nearly ten years and it attracted city leaders like Mayor Ashley Swearengin and new Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro.
"It's the most exciting start that we have had," said Superintendent Michael Hanson.
Nearly 10,000 teachers and administrators filled the Save Mart Center in Northeast Fresno for a back-to-school convocation. The event was designed to bring the district staff together under one roof to inform, uplift and encourage them before the start of the next school year.
"I think this is a big step forward for Fresno Unified. It shows a lot of unity and I think it's pretty exciting," said Edison High School teacher John Burg.
Lincoln Elementary teacher Vicki Fox agreed.
"I thought it was very inspirational and motivational and I can't wait to get back now," she said.
During his speech, Superintendent Michael Hanson said big changes are coming to Fresno Unified.
"Our students and teachers will begin to see the new Common Core standards, a new and rigorous curriculum, we will be working through the new funding formulas for our district," he said. "But our kids will find prepared teachers, we've been training the heck out of them, they will find stronger programs in preschool, they'll find expanded schedules in middle schools, they'll find a deeper investment in music and the arts.">
Some campuses like Fresno and Hoover High Schools will also have much needed upgrades, where new buildings will replace dozens of portable classrooms on the first day of school. And while all of this change takes place, district leaders want to remind faculty to focus on the unique needs of students in the second poorest city in the country.
"We need support, we support our students. I don't know any teacher that doesn't, but sometimes we don't support each other because we don't see each other so bringing us together like this is very important," said Edison High School teacher Vicki Love.
Both Fresno and Clovis Unified start school Monday, August 19th. Clovis will hold its back-to-school rally Thursday at Selland Arena.