Fresno Unified's I Pledge Campaign prepares kids for college and careers

FRESNO, Calif.

When Santiago Martinez walked his son Junior to his kindergarten class for the first time he was in for a big surprise.

Martinez: "He's like go ahead you can leave already, but I'm like I don't want to go."

Action News Reporter: "That's funny because it's usually the other way around right."

Martinez didn't want to leave just because of the slight role reversal, but because when he walked through the door the district already had his 5-year-old thinking about graduation with the "I Pledge Campaign."

The campaign is Fresno Unified' s latest initiative to improve graduation rates and get kids college and career ready.

"I think your age doesn't matter, I think people need to have purpose and to be told over and over and over what things are about and this continues to reinforce for our youngest kids why they are in school, what this means and why they're working towards each and every day." Michael Hanson Fresno Unified Superintendent said.

Over the last year the district has made a number of improvements to help students succeed. At Rowell elementary alone construction crews have replaced 25 portable classrooms with new buildings equipped with some of the latest technology like SMART boards, cameras and projectors. It is the school's first renovation in more than 40 years.

"This is the first time we have more permanent buildings, we're down to just a couple portables to have some overflow enrollment. So it's a first. The kids have never had that and so as the neighborhood," Annarita Howell Rowell Elementary student said.

Upgrades, parents like Santiago Martinez hope will create the type of learning environment his son needs to get through his first year of school.

"So far he's doing good. I'm impressed with his behavior in the classroom and with the other kids," Martinez said.

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