Realizing that today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, it is vital that students have every opportunity to receive a quality education, excellent training and the skills necessary for a successful future.
Educational opportunities in the Fresno area abound. The area offers quality public school systems, options for excellent private schooling, vocational and technical training, and access to some of the finest colleges and universities in the nation.
For the majority of children in Fresno, education begins with one of three excellent public school systems.
The Fresno Unified School District (FUSD), California’s fourth largest school district, does an excellent job of meeting the academic needs of more than 81,000 students through 61 elementary schools, 19 middle schools and eight high schools. This diverse school district, where 74 different languages have been represented, also provides an abundance of extracurricular activities. Continuing education for more than 25,000 adults is also available.
One of the district’s schools, Bullard TALENT, is a magnet school for students from kindergarten through grade 12 that teaches the FUSD core curriculum with an emphasis on the visual and performing arts. This unique program was one of the factors for the school’s two awards as a California Distinguished School, selection as a National Blue Ribbon School and its recognition by the California Alliance of the Arts for excellence in arts education.
More than 80 FUSD school sites offer comprehensive after-school programs that are funded through various sources, and include academic enrichment opportunities, homework assistance and physical activity.
The Central Unified School District (CUSD) is the third largest school district in Fresno County. The district serves approximately 13,000 students through four pre-schools, 12 elementary schools, two middle schools, two high school campuses and one adult school. Two of the district’s schools, Liddell and Madison Elementary, were named 2004 California Distinguished Schools through a state program that identifies and honors some of the state’s most exemplary and inspiring public schools.
More than 14,000 students from the City of Fresno are educated in the Clovis Unified School District. Students are provided a quality education and the opportunity to participate in after-school programs. The schools and their staffs work closely to create enrichment programs that act as extensions of the students’ educational experiences. The district also offers a gifted and talented program and numerous extracurricular activities. Students can also take advantage of the outstanding education offered through the numerous private and parochial schools in the community.
The Fresno Christian Schools teaches students that represent more than 100 churches — the majority of students attend one of the seven sponsoring churches (Bethany Mennonite Brethren, Butler Mennonite Brethren, Fresno Christian Reformed, Fresno Evangelical Free Church, Northeast Assembly of God, The People’s Church and Valley Christian Center). The Fresno Christian Schools system serves students from kindergarten through grade 12, and has received national recognition for its spirit of cooperation between different denominations.
Catholic schools include Our Lady of Victory, Sacred Heart, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Helen (all of which serve students through eighth grade) and San Joaquin Memorial (grades nine through 12). Other private and charter schools include the Fresno Adventist Academy, Emmanuel Learning Center, the Pilgrim Way Christian Academy and the West Fresno Performing Arts Academy.
Those who wish to continue their education are fortunate to have an abundance of excellent educational institutions close to home.
Fresno City College, California’s first community college, is considered a comprehensive learning community that provides a vast array of supportive services to assist its students in achieving their educational goals. The school, which offers a wide range of educational programs that award degrees and certificates, is dedicated to working collaboratively with the community to enhance the economic and social development of the region.
California State University-Fresno (more popularly referred to as Fresno State) is one of 23 campuses of California State University — one of the largest systems of higher education in the world. The school (located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada range) offers 26 nationally accredited department programs, among the highest number within the California State University system.
Students can also take advantage of the convenient access to the Fresno Campus of Heald Business College, the Micro Computer Education Center or San Joaquin Valley College (where they can choose from a wide range of programs in various fields, including business, technology and healthcare). The San Joaquin Valley College campus in Fresno is also home to the aviation program.
The Alliant International University, located adjacent to Fresno’s Yosemite International Airport, offers educational programs of the California School of Organization Studies, the California School of Professional Psychology, the Graduate School of Education and the School of Social and Policy Studies (which includes both master’s and doctoral programs in forensic psychology). The university also boasts of an exceptional library that has been carefully planned to meet the special curricular and research needs of its students.
Additional resources for students can be found at any of the many area libraries. The Fresno County Public Library provides collections and services through its Central Resource Library in Fresno and its 34 branches throughout the county. The Fresno Library (which boasts nearly 900,000 books and 1,600 periodicals) is part of the San Joaquin Valley Library System, a cooperative network of nine public library jurisdictions in the counties of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa and Tulare.
Fresno Pacific University
Fresno Pacific University is an independent university with a main campus in Fresno and academic centers in Visalia, Bakersfield and North Fresno. It serves about 2,000 undergraduates and graduate students, plus thousands more across the country in professional courses.
Academic programs prepare undergraduates for professional careers and graduate study in more than 40 fields. Graduate students prepare for professional promotion and certification in business, several areas of education and conflict resolution in organizations and communities.
The faculty is made up of experts dedicated to teaching. Most hold doctorates and many publish regularly in their field. As a Christian institution, all FPU programs emphasize the importance of values, ethics and character development for professionals and leaders.
The university’s success has been recognized by such publications as U.S. News & World Report, which includes FPU in its top tier among master’s universities–west.
The faculty works with students to build relationships that encourage learning. In their first semester, freshmen are matched with a group of peers led by a faculty member to ease their integration into university life. All through their time at FPU students find most classes have 20 or fewer students.
Two faculty recently won Fulbright Scholarships, and a Fulbright scholar from Ukraine was on campus in 2005. Many other faculty share their talents in music, art and drama or consult with businesses and nonprofit agencies.
Distinctive facilities also enhance learning. Alumni Hall offers a fireplace lounge, coffee bar and campus bookstore. Steinert Campus Center feeds both body and spirit and as students and faculty eat together in the main dining room.
The design of AIMS Hall of Mathematics and Science encourages faculty and students to gather, bringing together people as well as disciplines. The building also features a 41-foot Foucault Pendulum in the lobby — one of four in California and the only one in the Central Valley.
The Cockerham Track and Ramirez Soccer Field are among the finest in FPU’s conference, and the seven-court Harold and Betty Haak Tennis Complex was dedicated in April 2005.
STUDENTS OF ALL AGES
The university attracts well-prepared students who reflect the community’s ethnic and cultural mosaic. SAT scores and high school grade-point averages among the top quarter of each class rival those at several University of California campuses.
Working adults can finish their bachelor’s degree in accelerated evening programs. Graduate programs are geared toward professionals in businesses and education. The Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies offers a dual program with the San Joaquin College of Law that is unique in the nation.
BEYOND THE BOOKS
FPU students don’t wait until graduation to put education into practice. Members of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) placed third in their category at the 2005 national competition, and internships give students from many disciplines an early start in the workplace.
Sunbird athletes have won numerous honors in the Golden State Athletic Conference and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The women’s volleyball team has earned two national championships, and the men’s soccer team is a formidable competitor. Teams also compete in men’s and women’s basketball, cross–country, track and field, and tennis as well as women’s soccer and men’s baseball.
The music department has ensembles ranging from baroque to jazz, several of which tour. The theater program produces two full-length productions each year as well as readings and one-act plays.
Clubs and organizations cater to a wide spectrum of interests. Student volunteers help in the community, nearby cities and foreign countries. Those who wish to travel and study for a semester or year find that opportunity in various national and international programs.
HISTORY & AFFILIATIONS
FPU was founded in 1944 as Pacific Bible Institute. Bachelor’s degrees were first awarded in the mid-1960s and teaching credentials and master’s degrees in the 1970s. FPU has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges since 1965. The university is affiliated with Pacific District Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.