District will Build on Success with English Learners

The Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) is not only about identifying sound investments for Fresno Unified students, it's also about making sound investments that positively impact the community.

That is why 43 community members and district staff spent six months analyzing current resources and creating new structures that would build upon Fresno Unified's recent increases in English learner (EL) redesignation rates - from 10.3% in 2013/14 to 17.8% last year.

The committee shared the priorities of the community and provided preliminary recommendations to Superintendent Michael Hanson and the Fresno Unified Board of Education in early May; recommendations that will serve as the foundation for writing the redesign of the English Learner Master Plan, due to be published later this summer.

Some work has already begun to support the master plan, including hiring more Spanish and Hmong teachers; relocating bilingual principals to support new dual immersion programs; and adopting new English language arts and math curriculum -- curriculum that fully integrates English language development.

Over a six-month time period, district leaders, teachers, parents, principals and community members worked side by side to create a plan that would further build upon the progress of the district's English learners.

Some of the key master plan redesign recommendations included:

- Adding teachers to expand Hmong courses at all high schools, which among many benefits will provide students a potential pathway to the newly approved Hmong minor at Fresno State
- Increasing the investment in dual immersion programs as the district plans for future expansion
- Expanding after school programs and interventions, including tutoring
- Increasing the number of summer school opportunities for English learner students

The board approved adding $2.5 million in funding to support the recommendations, expanding investments in EL to $7.8 million, making this initial investment twice as much as any the district has made connected to a community report.

English learner LCAP investments are part of the focus on Goal 1: "All students will excel in reading, writing and math."

At a press conference on May 11, Hanson commended the committee for the critical thinking that went into creating the master plan, providing even more opportunities for students to excel academically and reach that graduation stage.