LCAP Funding Boosts Access to Accelerated Learning Programs

Fresno Unified students will have greater access to Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses and testing thanks to a $925,000 investment approved by the Fresno Unified Board of Education on June 1.

These funds, part of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), will help strengthen a district-wide approach to serve all students eligible and interested in pursuing accelerated learning programs such as AP, IB and GATE.

Access to GATE programs will be significantly increased.

Currently, Fresno Unified's GATE program includes full-time classes at Manchester GATE Elementary School and third and fourth grades at Yokomi Elementary School, as well as part-time enrichment activities at other elementary campuses. All middle schools also offer GATE classes.

Beginning with the coming academic school year, families will still have school choice options.

But in addition, teachers across the district will be equipped to support GATE students all neighborhood elementary schools, said Melissa Dutra, instructional superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction & Professional Learning.
In preparation, GATE training will be provided this summer for 50 elementary and middle school teachers. In the fall, lead teachers will participate in trainings and an internal GATE certificated program will be implemented.

This will allow neighborhood schools to appropriately differentiate instruction for accelerated and GATE-identified students.

A similar approach will be taken for AP and IB programs. High school teachers will participate in training this summer to provide differentiated support for additional students enrolling in AP and IB courses.

In addition, staff will be hired at each high school to support AP teachers in an effort to ensure students enroll and complete courses, including the passing of AP exams with a three or higher.

Learning labs, tutoring, and summer courses will also be available for AP/IB students in preparation for their final AP/IB exams.

"We are equipping our teachers with the materials and strategies to support the district's expansion of accelerated learning programs and providing access for more students to be prepared for advanced courses at the high school level," Dutra said.

Dutra said the plan to increase access to accelerated learning programs was based on research from other districts, the Broad Foundation, Council of the Great City Schools and the College Board.

The comprehensive expansion effort targets improved teacher practice, student access to high-level courses and increased student achievement.

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