education

Courtesy of Kei Jackson

The American Civil Liberties Unions of Northern and Southern California sent a letter to the Greenfield Union School District Superintendent this week after a former employee complained of a racially hostile work environment. 

Kei Jackson says before going to the ACLU, she filed multiple complaints with the district about what she calls microaggressions she experienced while teaching English to seventh graders at Ollivier Middle School. There was the time in February last year when she wore a dashiki to school. 

In accordance with Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent order, the Fresno Unified School District announced Friday, it will be shifting to online instruction for at least the beginning of the fall semester. Some parents will have a choice between two online options.

 

In early July, the Visalia Unified School District removed Black Lives Matter posters placed by students along a fence outside El Diamante High School.  While some saw this act as silencing free speech, the district says it was trying to protect students. Now the district is creating a new space for students to engage.

 

Brandon Gridiron is the district’s Administrator of Equity. He says the decision to take down the signs came solely out of concern for the safety of the students after several adults became aggressive.

 

Courtesy of Diana Vidales

Over the next month, many students will be graduating from college, but without the traditional pomp and circumstance or cap and gown. So we asked two students and their mothers about missing out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and what songs come to mind when they reflect on their journey.  

We spoke to Greyson Canterbury and his mom Kim Canterbury who live in Visalia. Greyson is a Fresno State Dean’s Medalist and is planning to go to Sri Lanka as a Peace Corps Volunteer, though the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed those plans.  

On this week’s Valley Edition: How are students in the San Joaquin Valley keeping up with their studies from home? We talk to education reporters about the challenge of distance learning and how access to technology deepens educational inequity.

Also, many college graduations are taking place this weekend and over the next month. What’s it like for students without the traditional pomp and circumstance?

Plus, we hear from a small town mayor about leading a mostly farm worker community through the pandemic.

Courtesy of Angela Christiano

We recently asked a few students for audio postcards about how the pandemic is affecting them. Today, we’re going to hear Selma High School senior Mia Salinas who says she’s missing out on prom, her final season of track, and the chance to say good bye to her teachers and friends.

We also hear from Fresno State student Julianna Mazziliano. She’s in her second semester as a liberal studies major and works two jobs, both of which have cut hours due to the pandemic. She says she “didn’t pay $7,000 a year at Fresno State to just sit at home.” 

On this week’s Valley Edition: Lawyers are pushing to get their at-risk clients out of detention centers before they get sick with COVID-19. We hear about one woman’s unexpected journey.  

We also talk to educators about the challenges of distance education especially among the Valley’s most vulnerable students. And we hear from a few students about how school from home is going for them.

Later, we talk to an emergency room doctor about what it’s like to be on the frontlines. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Unified Supt Bob Nelson announced Monday that while schools remain closed, meals will continue to be served. 

“The last thing that will go down at Fresno Unified is feeding kids every day,” said Nelson at a press conference.

Every school site offered meals Monday, but Nelson said the district is monitoring where families are picking up meals and will consolidate meal distribution sites, starting Wednesday. 

Fresno Unified School District

Three Valley districts have made the decision to close their schools starting Monday until April 13: Fresno, Clovis and Central Unified. They’re the latest across the state to announce a blanket closure of schools due to coronavirus concerns.  

In a press conference Friday, Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson said preserving the health and well-being of students is the district’s priority.   

On this week's Valley Edition: There's only one proposition on the ballot this year, Proposition 13. Some say it will deepen state debt, while others think it’s the fix for California’s aging schools.

Plus: We’ll speak to a California native who served in two presidential cabinets. Secretary Norman Mineta was pivotal in convincing the U.S. government to formally apologize to Japanese Americans after their internment during World War II. 

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Chronic absence plagues most school districts in the San Joaquin Valley. We know that students who can’t make it to school miss out on learning, and research shows that missing even three days a month over time can put students a year or more behind their peers. Thursday, the Fresno County Office of Education hosted a conference looking at ways to reduce chronic absenteeism. 

This week on Valley Edition: January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. We talk to people on the front lines tackling this complex problem. 

Plus, elections are changing in Fresno County as it adopts the Voters Choice Model. Madera County is also using that model, so ahead of this year’s primary, we ask the county clerks what local voters need to know.

And later, we hear from one of the nation’s leading researchers on chronic absence in schools.  

Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above.

Milken Family Foundation

Teachers often give their time and money in ways that are hard to quantify. But this year, one Fresno teacher has been recognized by the Milken Family Foundation for her work with the Sunnyside High School Video Production Academy. Katie McQuone is one of 40 teachers nationwide to receive this annual award. 

Listen to the interview above to hear McQuone talk about how she engages the at-risk students she teaches.

On this week’s Valley Edition: A show about giving. A woman who grew up in a Weedpatch migrant camp during the Dust Bowl era is now welcoming a new set of people who feel displaced. 

Also, community advocates who work tirelessly to improve the lives of so many in our Valley share advice on how we as citizens can help out.

And later, who gives more than teachers? We talk to one whose video production classes give kids a voice.

Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above. 

In The Studio: Making College Work After Foster Care

Dec 13, 2019
Courtesy of Guardian Scholars

Many students struggle to transition from high school to college, but that challenge is intensified for students coming out of the foster care system. At UC Merced, the Guardian Scholars program provides resources for these students that allow them to reach graduation at rates approaching the general student body. FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Guardian Scholars Program Coordinator Edith Ramirez, as well as two UC Merced students who have benefited from the program’s support – Michael Grey and Alyssa Garcia.

On this week's Valley Edition, we go up in the air for an aerial view of Kern County’s Cymric Oil Field. And on the ground in Tulare County, will a village of tiny homes help solve the homeless crisis? 

You may know McFarland for the Disney movie about an against-the-odds cross country track team winning the state championship. But now the town is in the spotlight for a different reason - two investigative reporters tell us about its “second chance” police department. 

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Bee has served the Valley for nearly a hundred years, but like so many newspapers across the country, it has lost revenue along with dozens of reporters in the past decade. Now, the paper is trying a different approach to serve and inform its public. Inspired by a similar project out of the Seattle Times, the Bee is building an Education Lab. The way the Bee is funding the project is also pretty nontraditional: with private, non-profit funding. 

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: California is trying to manage its groundwater better, but some communities, already grappling with unsafe drinking water, worry they’ll be left behind by local agencies to fend for themselves.

And a Bay Area conservation group just purchased the world’s largest privately owned giant sequoia grove: 530 acres of pristine forest.

Plus: We hear from journalists about two upcoming projects. One of them is run by young women throughout the state, the other is an effort to improve education reporting in Fresno. 

California State University (file photo)

The California State University system is searching for its next chancellor. Timothy White announced Tuesday he’ll retire next June after more than 7 years running the 23-campus system. 

In an interview with Capital Public Radio, White says he’s leaving the university “as stable and focused” as ever — on students:

White: “Everything that should have moved up during the last several years has moved up.” 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Mayor David Cardenas of Fowler wants his small city to be at the forefront of education. That’s why he spends his lunch break passing out fliers, urging families who can’t afford preschool to consider an alternative. His target audience is families with children who won’t be attending kindergarten until Fall of 2020. 

“We’re here because I’m trying to bring this program, but I want to make sure it’s going to be a program for young little kids,” Cardenas says as he drives from the local senior center to the Presbyterian church to drop off a stack of fliers.

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