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$154 Million in Funds Enhances Services to Students
Fresno Unified continues to expand and improve services to students through a $154 million investment of Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) funds this school year, and is already focusing on creating even greater opportunities for students in 2017-18.
The district began in November to gather community input on the LCAP for the 2017-18 school year by hosting Community Idea Exchange workshops. The regional workshops will continue through December and January. The focus is on priorities for the LCAP.
"We want all our school communities to have a say in how we prioritize LCAP funds. We want to know what parents and community members see as most important for improving academic achievement for our students," said Superintendent Michael Hanson.
Workshops include a presentation about previous investments and programs, such as field trips, career technical education and additional instructional time at 40 elementary schools. Those who attend the workshops and any community member are invited to respond to an LCAP survey, which is available in both print and online versions and in multiple languages. To see the schedule of regional workshops and provide feedback, visit Fresno Unified's website at www.fresnounified.org.
In November, the district released an LCAP report that highlighted the progress of this school year's key investments aligned with the district's board of education-adopted goals that all students will excel in reading, writing and math; all students will engage in arts, activities and athletics; all students will demonstrate the character and competencies for workplace success; and all students will stay in school, on track to graduate.
LCAP Community Idea Exchange Workshops
The community is invited to attend regional meetings to provide input on the Local Control and Accountability Plan. The meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. and are in the school cafeterias.
Dec. 1: Hoover High School
Dec. 7: Patiño School of Entrepreneurship (for communities of Design Science and Duncan Polytechnical high schools as well)
Dec. 12: Edison High School
Jan. 12: Fresno High School
Jan. 17: Bullard High School
Jan. 24: Roosevelt High School
(Meetings were held in November at McLane and Sunnyside high schools.)
Teacher, Campus Safety Assistant Named top County School Employees
Fresno High School chemistry teacher Jacqueline Ruiz and Edison High School campus safety assistant Danny Alberty have wildly different jobs, but both share a common approach as educators: they seek to truly know their students and figure out how to help them succeed.
Ayer Elementary School Resource Lab Aide is First to Greet Students
Marla LaBorde has been a district employee for 17 years and a resource lab aide at Ayer Elementary School for six years. Her work, however, goes far beyond her paid duties because of her dedication to the students and staff at Ayer. She was a 2016 Excellence in Education finalist, and is beloved by students. "Ayers students know that they can always go to her," said Heather Reynolds, office assistant.
Employee Spotlight: Deidra Babcock
Deidra Babcock has been an eighth grade English language arts teacher at Yosemite Middle School for the past six years and was selected as a 2016 Excellence in Education finalist. Principal Nichole Horn said Babcock mentors other teachers in the "Yosemite way of building relationships with students first so that each student knows we care so they will care to learn."
McLane's Outfitters Closet opens its Doors -- and Hearts -- to Families in Need
What started as a request by McLane High School principal Scott Lamm to help just one student has become the Highlanders Outfitters Closet, serving hundreds of students throughout the school year.
The "closet" is actually a converted classroom at McLane. Every Thursday afternoon by appointment students and families can choose from everyday items to get them through tough times. The Outfitters Closet supports all 13 schools in the McLane region.
The room is stocked with clothes, shoes, socks, new underwear, toiletries and personal care items, sheets, towels, pillows, sleeping bags, backpacks, school supplies, boxes of food, snacks and microwaveable lunch items. The Outfitters Closet gives out 50 to 100 articles of clothing and shoes each week it is open.
With the arrival of cold weather, warm scarves, hats and gloves are available, along with blankets made by a member of the Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church.
"The Highlander Outfitters Closet is the one thing that for many families, makes a difference between a student coming to school or not," Lamm said. "Some of our students lack clothes, shoes, backpacks, and any number of essentials most of us take for granted. They are faced with a host of circumstances that they sometimes have no control over."
In 2013, one of Lamm's students was in desperate need of clothes, personal items and a sleeping bag after turning 18 and being kicked out of his home. Knowing that the Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church had a program to help those in need, Lamm asked the group to step in.
He then asked if they would consider a permanent outreach on his campus. The Outfitters Closet opened in November 2013.
"We were very happy to do so and have enjoyed immensely this partnership," said Printess Schlist, a member of the church and director of the Highlander Outfitters Closet.
"Thursdays are the highlight of our week because we go to Highlander Outfitters and help the students find clothes that look good on them and assist with any other basic living needs, and then end each visit giving each student a snack to take with them."
The Outfitters Closet also provided 60 full course box meals to families in need for Thanksgiving and will provide another 60 at Christmas.
At students' requests, the Outfitters Closet has increased its inventory of career clothes for students going on job interviews. Schlist said if they don't have the appropriate size available the church will purchase the correct sized clothes. They even have someone who will do minor alterations to fit the student.
"We love what we do and we love the students of McLane High School," Schlist said. "Our dream is that someday every school in Fresno Unified School District will have a room such as ours set up to meet the needs of the students and by doing so give them a greater chance of building a better future."
Lamm said the Outfitters Closet volunteers are "beautiful people just wanting to make a difference in the lives of students." The church has developed a strong connection to McLane's students and community, "a commitment level that normally isn't seen in a voluntary program."
On Nov. 9, the Outfitters Closet hosted an open house and lunch for McLane staff as a way to thank them for their support and to introduce new staff members to how the closet can be a resource for students and their families.
To Donate Gently Used and New Items
- Urgent needs: jeans and T-shirts and money to buy tennis shoes, underwear and socks
- To donate contact firstname.lastname@example.org stop by Room M-20 on Thursdays from noon to 3:30 p.m.
Superintendent Thanks Community for Approving Measure X
During the Nov. 8 election, our community passed Measure X, Fresno Unified's $225 million bond measure, by a 66.7% vote. We are extremely appreciative of the community's confidence in the work being done by Fresno Unified, and its support for quality school facilities for all students. Be assured that work is already underway on immediate investment priorities, which include:
- Cafeteria air conditioning
- Gathering additional input from high school communities for master plan priority projects
- New classrooms to replace portables at the most highly impacted schools
- Planning for high priority deferred maintenance projects
- Continuing the design process for the new southeast elementary school
Thank you for supporting Fresno Unified students!
Dec. 1 Deadline for choice schools applications
Dec. 1: Regional meeting at Hoover High School for Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP)
Dec. 7 Regional LCAP meeting at Patiño School of Entrepreneurship (for communities of Design Science and Duncan high schools as well)
Dec. 8 Parent University recognition ceremony at Fresno High
Dec. 12 Regional LCAP meeting at Edison High School
Dec. 14 Board of Education meeting
Dec. 16 End of semester
Dec. 19-Jan. 6 Winter Break
Jan. 12 Regional LCAP meeting at Fresno High School
Jan. 16 School holiday
Jan. 17 Regional LCAP meeting at Bullard High School
Jan. 24 Regional LCAP meeting at Roosevelt High School