March 2017 - Fresno Unified School District - Building Futures

Preparing Career Ready Graduates - A publication of the Fresno Unified School District

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

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Keeping Students in Class

Health and Wellness Centers Planned at Six Schools

The district has taken a significant step to improve the health of its students and families.

Community health clinics will be built at six schools -- all in regions of the city where residents have the least access to health care -- following a vote by the Fresno Unified Board of Education on Feb. 8.

Health centers will be built at:

  • Addams Elementary School
  • Bakman Elementary School
  • Sequoia Middle School
  • Tehipite Middle School
  • Duncan Polytechnical High School
  • Sunnyside high School

The clinics will be modeled after Gaston Middle School's Health and Wellness Center in southwest Fresno, which opened with the school in 2014.

The Gaston health center not only serves Gaston students but those ages 0-19 years old in the surrounding community. The center has become a significant asset to southwest Fresno, with the number of patient visits rising from 3,373 in 2014-15 to 4,235 in 2015-16, with an expected 5,500 patient visits through June of this year.

The clinic is open 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday and is operated by the non-profit Clinica Sierra Vista. The center is augmented with a registered nurse and licensed vocational nurse provided by the district who work out of the school nurse's office.

Based on the success of the Gaston center, Fresno Unified identified several high-needs areas for similar clinics. Health centers at Addams, Bakman and Tehipite are targeted to open in the 2017-18 school year, with the others to follow.

The board has selected Clinica Sierra Vista to operate the health centers. Clinica is partnering with Valley Children's Healthcare to provide health center facilities and equipment. Other partners in the planning process have included Kaiser Permanent Fresno with a $99,371 grant through the California School Based Health Alliance, the Fresno County Department of Health, St. Agnes Medical Center and Community Medical Centers.

The centers will provide primary care and treatment, physicals, case management, immunizations, vision care, mental/behavioral care, lab services, referrals for dental care, drug and alcohol counseling, health education and transportation to the main clinic.

"By adding health clinics to six more schools and neighborhoods, we continue our efforts to do all that we can to make sure our students are in school, learning, and to be a beacon for the communities surrounding our schools," said interim superintendent Bob Nelson.

Studies have shown that school-based health centers improve school attendance rates and student test scores. Fresno Unified's Gaston Health and Wellness Center is among 243 school-based health centers in California and 2,000 across the nation.


Fresno Unified Recruits and Celebrates AP Students

Fresno Unified has seen a boost in enrollment in Advanced Placement courses with a 10% increase in students taking AP classes this spring when compared to spring of last year.

The district credits the additional 690 students enrolled to improved student support through each AP instructional coordinator at school sites. The AP instructional coordinator helps organize one-on-one tutoring plus free online tutoring with the Khan Academy.

The Khan Academy is a free resource provided by the College Board. AP instructional coordinators also heavily recruit students for AP classes with a personalized effort to find out what each student needs along the way.

Previously, Fresno Unified provided 260 hours of tutoring for each comprehensive high school. Now, each school site has more than 2,000 hours to provide tutoring and exam preparation.

"Fresno Unified is excited about the growth of students in Advanced Placement courses," said instructional superintendent Katie Russell. "We strongly believe the individualized tutoring and support for each student has helped encourage enrollment and retention so we can continue to provide career ready graduates district wide."

To celebrate their students' success, this year Bullard High School hosted a brand new event for students who have earned a qualifying score on an AP test. On Feb. 23, the students gathered at Pardini's for a dinner event that included award certificates and T-shirts. A video featured testimonials from students.

Bullard is hoping to bring more awareness of AP tests and reward students for their hard work. A total of 89 Bullard students were honored for their achievements in AP courses such as Spanish, Human Geography, Government, European History and more.

Edison High School also acknowledges AP students who've earned a qualifying score on their tests by holding a lunch and pep rally on campus. Many Fresno Unified high schools also host parent nights to celebrate their students' success on AP tests.



Students Aim to Inspire 15,000 Acts of Kindness

All over the district, high school students are posting about helping others, whether it's being a sounding board for a friend, putting away the trash cans for a neighbor or buying flowers for a teacher.

Edison High School senior Ollie Wagner said the kindness campaign, which began with Edison at the start of the school year, has made a noticeable difference on her campus.

"There's been a complete shift on campus, less fights, a lot less issues," Ollie said. "We've seen a huge shift in the way our students interact with each other and teachers as well."

Edison's #bekindbeatiger launched 500 social media posts about random acts of kindness in just the first week of school. The Student Advisory Board (SAB), made up of student leaders from all district high schools, has set out to replicate Edison's effort districtwide, and is encouraging staff and Fresno Unified school board members to post acts of kindness on social media as well.

The goal of #bekindbealeader is to post 15,000 kindness acts by May 16, SAB's last meeting of the school year. Kindness acts can be captured on all social media forums, including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Results will be announced at the May 17 board of education meeting.

"We could use everyone's help," said Leslie Loewen, district campus culture manager. "If you see an act of kindness you should post it. If you do an act of kindness, you should let us know, even if it feels unnatural. Your act of kindness inspires others."

This latest kindness effort builds on the Human Element kindness campaign Fresno Unified high school student leaders have been spreading at all campuses since the 2012-13 school year.

Ollie said the #bekindbealeader is especially important now.

"There's so much hatred in the media, so much outrage, hate speeches," Ollie said. "I think it's so important to instill in children, in teenagers...that no matter how much hatred there is in the world, kindness starts with just one person."

For more information on all Human Element actions, past and present, check out the Human Element website at