education

Brooke Ashjian

For the first time in a decade, the Fresno Unified School District is searching for a new superintendent. School board president Brooke Ashjian told Valley Public Radio in an interview on Valley Edition that he believes morale in the district is the "highest I've ever seen it" following the departure of longtime superintendent Michael Hanson on February 1st. Ashjian, who was one of Hanson's strongest critics reiterated his claims that the FBI investigation into district school construction practices is still active, contrary to statements made by the former superintendent.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mackenzie-mays-77053096

On this week's Valley Edition we are joined by the Fresno Bee's Education Reporter Mackenzie Mays. She covers Fresno Unified extensively and brings us an update on happenings in the district. To listen to the interview between VE Host Joe Moore and Mays click play above. 

Ian Oliver / Lindsay Unified School District

As we approach 2017, smartphones and Wi-Fi networks may seem practically universal. But even now, there remains a digital divide—and many San Joaquin Valley residents find themselves on the side without internet access. A new community effort, though, is bridging that divide, in what may seem an unlikely place.

Nikolaus Namba is a school district administrator in the town of Lindsay. He used to be a teacher—the Grinch on his tie is a dead giveaway.

“I’m still living in a land of being a child at heart,” he laughs.

Hank Hession/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Last week the Kern High School District Board voted to approve a plan to allow teachers with concealed weapons permits to carry their guns on campus. The move was controversial, both because of the topic, and also the last minute nature of the meeting and vote. Harold Pierce of the Bakersfield Californian joined us to talk about this story and other news regarding the district.  

The Youth Orchestras of Fresno and the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles will share the stage of the William Saroyan Theatre in Fresno this Friday night at 7:00 PM. YOOF director Julia Copeland joined us on Valley Edition to talk about why this event is important for local efforts to expand orchestral opportunities in the valley for underserved communities. 

The Fresno Unified School District is laying out what it plans to do if voters next month approve Measure X, a $225-million dollar measure.

The biggest single chunk, $90-million dollars, would go to constructing more classroom space and a new elementary school in Southeast Fresno. It’s part of an effort to reduce the roughly 1,000 portable classrooms still in use.

$25 million would be used to expand the district’s career and technical education, and another $50 million would go towards arts and athletic facilities like music rooms and gyms.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we look how local residents growing up in neighborhoods filled with violence are dealing with "toxic stress" - a condition often compared to PTSD. We also learn how large wide-body air tankers are changing the fight against wildfires, and hear from Dr. Dana Suskind, who talks about the 30 million word gap and what it means for early childhood development. Later in the show we get a preview of the new season of the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Lecture Series, which features Dr. Michio Kaku, Leon Panetta and Dave Barry.

30 Million Words Initiative

Back in the 1990’s researchers discovered something that has wide ranging impacts to anyone interested in early childhood development. Children who grow up in families struggling with poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age 3 than those who grow up in more affluent homes.

http://viz.edbuild.org/maps/2016/fault-lines/

Schools in the Fresno area recently ranked among the top 50 in the nation when it comes to economic segregation. That’s according to a new report from the national group EdBuild, a school reform organization that advocates changing the way schools are funded, and supports redrawing school district boundary lines.

Cradle to Career

Over two dozen non-profit groups and local governments, from school districts to local hospitals have pooled their attention and resources together as part of a new effort - the Cradle to Career partnership. It links efforts from early childhood education to jobs readiness and efforts to keep kids out of the criminal justice system. A key part of the effort is the on-going tracking of data in eight key categories - from kindergarten readiness to health.

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