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Providing an educational program with high expectations for all to learn the academic, social and emotional skills needed to become lifelong learners and to foster a learning environment that inspires in students and families the passion and the power to make positive life choices by becoming architects of their future is the mission statement and vision of the Fresno Unified School District. It has enabled the district to become a leader in the area of education, committed to turning young, impressionable minds into productive citizens.

The main focus of Fresno Unified is to increase student achievement. To facilitate this process, it has implemented an accountability system that will provide data and feedback to teachers and administrators of how students are doing in relation to other students of equal grade from around the nation. Initiated in 1998, the Fresno Unified accountability model is entitled “Vision for Success.” Every department and school site uses the model to develop a focus for ongoing improvement. Each site conducts a needs assessment to analyze data, set goals, select measures, develop an instructional plan to address goals, monitor progress of their plan and evaluate the results in a continuous, ongoing cycle.

Fresno Unified

With an enrollment approaching 79,000, Fresno Unified is the fourth-largest school district in the state of California. Keeping in touch with such a large and diverse student population has been a challenge for the district, but with the hard work and dedication of a top-notch group of teachers, we have been able to address the different needs of our students. With the many different languages that are spoken within the district, Fresno Unified has had to stretch the boundaries of traditional education, continuously looking for new and innovative ways to reach such a diverse group of students.

The district is made up of 66 elementary schools, 18 middle schools and nine comprehensive high schools. A $609 million budget enables the district to employ more than 9,000 people and maintain more than 800 acres of school grounds along with its 2,038 buildings.

Fresno schools offer numerous opportunities for students to excel and make the most of their educational experience. One such school is Edison Computech middle school that offers the GATE program. GATE stands for Gifted and Talented Education. Computech is a computer/math/science magnet school that attracts students from throughout the Fresno Unified School District. Created in 1983 as part of a comprehensive 7-12 grade program, it includes Edison High School, which is next door to the campus. Striving to overcome racial divisions that have been a part of the past of most larger cities, Computech buses in students from every district in the City of Fresno. The student population is representative of the cultural and ethnic diversity of Fresno. African-American, Asian, Hispanic, white and other ethnicities show Computech is at the forefront in the battle to overcome racial and ethnic division in the City of Fresno. Students are not automatically eligible to attend Computech. Students are referred by their elementary teachers on the basis of test scores, grades, citizenship and other recommendations. They then apply to the school, and are reviewed by a team of teachers and administrators for final selection. Computech is a “California Distinguished School,” and is the recipient of the National “Blue Ribbon” School and Endowment for the Performing Arts award for excellence.

Fresno Unified students have been on the winning end of numerous local, regional and national awards. A fifth-grader at Hidalgo Elementary School, who beat out 70,000 other competitors for the grand prize, won a national logo design contest for the National Youth Sports Program. Her logo will be featured on all NYSP T-shirts nationally, as well as the cover of the programs calendar.

Students looking for a more advanced degree can find numerous opportunities of higher education right here in Fresno.

Fresno City College is the oldest community college in California. Established in 1910, its reputation as an educational institution is well-known throughout the state. Associate’s of Arts or Science degrees in over 100 different disciplines are available to students.

Consisting of 103 well-manicured acres, Fresno City College is attended by 18,000 full- and part-time students and employs 700 full- and part-time faculty. Recently, Fresno City has added to its already impressive facilities a state-of-the-art Health and Science Building. Over 44,000 square feet in size, the Health and Science Building allows students to benefit from having at their disposal the latest technology in the fields of health and science, along with having the opportunity to learn from some of the top educators in the state. The campus is also home to the Vocational Training Center, which offers open-entry vocational programs lasting 20 to 30 weeks, training students to excel at such in-demand careers as nursing, paralegal and computer technician.

Across town at the northern end of the city is California State University, Fresno, playfully nicknamed “Fresno State” by local residents. This four-year institution is one of the finest fully accredited universities in the nation. Home to the Fresno State Bulldogs, the school has received numerous awards for its academic, as well as athletic, achievements. Established as a normal school in 1911, it became a teacher’s college in 1921, and started offering advanced degrees in 1949. It belongs to the California State University System, one of the largest systems of higher education in the world. Fresno State has a student population of 14,768 undergraduate and 3,348 graduate students. It employs 1,096 faculty and has awarded more than 3,500 degrees at its most recent commencement. Fresno State has been named by U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Buys” in the U.S. for a student looking for an advanced degree.

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