Fresno Unified School District is celebrating success with results for 4th-grade students in math and reading increasing but only minor progress was made with 8th-grade students in the same subjects.
"Just trying to figure out what are the key elements there," said Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson. "One of the things that we have done in 4th grade is that we provided digital instructional time. How can we leverage that, what are the budgetary resources we can bring there to help middle school kids thrive."
Superintendent Nelson said 4th grade saw a four-point gain from 2015 in math and reading. While results for eight grade remained stagnant below one point.
Fresno Unified is one of 27 large school districts that participated nationwide but Nelson is looking at other Valley school districts for help on improving scores.
"Teaching can be a lonely profession. People will go inside their door and shut the door and they don't have collaborative opportunities with their colleagues," said Nelson. "So being intentional about getting grade level teachers or subject matters teachers together to talk about what is going well for them."
Fresno Unified is also looking at local universities for help on preparing teachers before stepping into the classroom for the first time.
For several years the district has been teaming up with Fresno Pacific University
"When universities bring their perspective on what constitutes good teaching and mesh it with the realities of what goes on in high poverty urban school districts we all get a lot more real and a lot smarter," said Lind Hoff of Fresno Pacific University.
Testing for NAEP takes a sample of a certain number of students from random schools in districts in cities with a population of 250,000.
Fresno Unified has participated in NAEP since 2009.