dropouts

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

From a young age, Geronimo Garcia wore a uniform to school: high socks, shorts and a white T-shirt.

It wasn’t a school requirement. Rather, it was an older brother requirement.

“They used to dress me up like a little gangster,” Geronimo says. “To me I always thought that was cool, but you know, as I think of it now, I don’t think that was cool when I was young. Come on, looking at a little kid dressed up in gangster?”

Since then, his clothing has determined who he hung out with at school.

Fresno Unified School District

Teacher Jenna Perry’s 7th grade English class at Fresno Unified’s Yosemite Middle School sounds like most others. Kids work to finish up their assignments, as the period is about to end. But there is something that makes her classroom different.

“Ok, before we leave today, let’s go over our class goal today. Somebody tell me, should we earn a point for staying on task? Why or why not? Regina?” says Perry.

At the end of every class before students are dismissed, they go over their goals, which are spelled out in a social contract they all wrote and all signed.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Earlier this Spring, the Fresno Unified School District established a community task force to provide the district with recommendations to help solve the district's dropout problems. FM89's Juanita Stevenson reports on how residents offered their input to the task force at a recent meeting.

This week on Valley Edition, we talk about the work being done by Fresno Unified's Graduation Task Force, which is working to slow the dropout rate in the district. We also talk about the challenges kids today face in getting a summer job, and learn more about a health conference in west Fresno.

Valley Edition for June 12, 2012:

This week on Valley Edition we talk about solutions to the truancy problems that plague local school districts, as well as efforts to boost shoppers at locally owned businesses, as well as the annual "holiday lights" show at the California Living Museum in Bakersfield.