Friday, August 15, 2008

Encouraging STAR 2008 Results for Fresno Unified

Last year, Superintendent Hanson asked that schools place extra emphasis on math instruction. STAR results for 2008 show that this focus has paid off. FUSD outgained the state in all grades in mathematics except for grade 6. All grades 2-7 showed improvement. Twenty-five schools made gains of 8% or more. All subgroups showed growth. While White student achievement increased, the District at the same time closed the achievement gap between White students and Hispanic, African American and Asian students. In grade 8 Algebra I -- a critical determinant to success in High School -- the District moved from 43% proficient to 55% proficient, an impressive gain of 12 percentage points. It means 1,200 more students are proficient than was the case a year ago.

The results were also encouraging for English Language Arts (ELA). Six grades showed improvement, while one grade remained unchanged and three grades declined. Four schools showed gains of 8% or more. All sub-groups have shown improvement in the last three years, except special education which saw a slight decline in 2008. As with math, White students showed improved performance at the same time that the achievement gap with all other groups was narrowed.

Lincoln Elementary and Greenberg Elementary were the “star” performers, both showing schoolwide gains of 8% or more in both math and ELA.

While this is all very encouraging, a sobering note must be added. The state still outperforms FUSD at all grade levels in both math and ELA. There is much more work to be done, but the STAR 2008 results offer evidence that FUSD can and will soon take its place among the best in districts in the State

What is STAR?
The California Standardized Test and Reporting program (STAR) measures students' progress toward achieving California's state-adopted academic content standards, which describe what students should know and be able to do in each grade and subject. Students in grades two through eleven take multiple-choice tests in various subjects. Students in grades four and seven also complete a writing assessment as a part of the English–language arts test. F or more information on the STAR test, go to

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Help Us Save Fresno Unified!

Save Fresno Unified is a partnership between Fresno Citizens for Good Government and the citizen advisory group who produced the “Choosing our Future” report. " Choosing our Future" is a plan to turn Fresno Unified from one of the worst school districts in the nation to what we hope will become one of the best. Nothing is more important to the future prosperity of our community. Our purpose is to monitor progress of the District and to encourage community support for this ambitious and vitally important turn-around effort.

Fresno Unified School District serves more than 73,000 students from preschool to grade 12. It is the 4rth largest district in California.

29.6% of the District's students are English learners. 79.9% are eligible for free or reduced cost meals. 8,000 students receive special education services.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Progress At a Glance 2004-2007

Three years ago, Fresno Unified School District stood precariously on the edge of financial and academic bankruptcy. Click here to see what progress the District has made since then. You'll find there is reason for optimism, no room for complacency, and lots of areas in which members of the community can step up to help accelerate progress.

Photo caption:
Deborah A. Holmen Elementary School is one of five new elementary schools to be built in the last three years. These new schools enabled the District to eliminate year round schools and replace eleven different school schedules with one schedule for the 2008-2009 school year.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Walt Buster Speaks Out About Leadership at Fresno Unified

Walt Buster is the Director of the Central Valley Education Leadership Institute at California State University, Fresno. Buster is the former Superintendent of Schools of Clovis Unified School District. From July, 2004, through December, 2004, he volunteered his time as Interim Superintendent at Fresno Unified after then Superintendent Santiago Wood was terminated. Buster knows from firsthand experience how important leadership and continuity are for Fresno Unified. Click here to find out what other people are saying.