Fresno Unified School District

Arynne Gilbert, Kelly Rauch, Kristie Leyba and Peggy Munoz

 

K-12 districts throughout the Valley have been grappling with how to educate students in the fall without contributing to the spread of COVID-19. To learn more about how Fresno Unified School District teachers are reacting, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with elementary music teacher Peggy Munoz, Roosevelt High School applied medical science teacher Kelly Rauch and English teachers Kristie Leyba from Edison High School and Arynne Gilbert from Sunnyside High School.

 

Fresno Unified School District Facebook

The Fresno Unified School District announced Thursday that on-campus instruction will resume August 17. 

Superintendent Bob Nelson said based on parent survey results, the district expects 75 percent of kids to return to school in the fall. However, school will be a little different.

John Fensterwald, Monica Velez and Ema Sasic

This week governor Gavin Newsom announced a revised budget plan to address the more than $54 billion dollar deficit the state is facing in the wake of COVID-19. In his address, Newsom called on the legislature to dramatically reduce funding to public schools. It’s the latest blow to districts already grappling with campus closures and an uncertain future. To learn more about how COVID-19 is impacting education and school budgets, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with education reporters.

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. 

The Fresno Unified School District and all Fresno County Public Library branches are temporarily closed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. But despite those closures, one Fresno librarian is still bringing story time to her students, via the web.

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.   

Alice Daniel / KVPR

Students at Terronez Middle School joined us for a conversation about the Hmong New Year celebration taking place at their school Friday, Dec. 6 from 5 - 7:30 p.m. The event includes dancing, singing, games and lots of food.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

In celebration of the end of Bullying Prevention Week, one Fresno elementary school hosted law enforcement and military members during recess. There were no tricks to the morning event, just treats.

Powers-Ginsburg Elementary students sat in fire engines, talked to police officers, and met a K-9 unit: real-life heroes who don’t tolerate bullying, said the school’s principal, Angela Balliet.

Valley Public Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed a discrimination complaint against the Fresno Unified School District Thursday on behalf of two black Bullard High School students, claiming the school failed to protect students from racial abuse. 

 

There’s been a pattern of racism and anti-blackness throughout the district, ACLU staff attorney Abre’ Conner said. Most recently, a white cheerleader at Bullard High posted a video of herself wearing blackface and saying the n-word on Snapchat in May.

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: The Fresno Unified School Board voted to censure Trustee Terry Slatic for unethical conduct. We’ll hear from Slatic himself and from Trustee Veva Islas, who wants him recalled.

And later, when you’re homeless, health care becomes much more complicated. We talk to a 68-year-old woman about the obstacles she’s experienced.

We also hear from freshman Congressman TJ Cox in his new Selma District Office.

Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above.

FUSD website

The interim Superintendent of the Fresno Unified School district says they are developing a comprehensive plan to respond to the needs of LGBT students.

Interim Superintendent Bob Nelson says he is working on a plan that will include specially trained staff to help LGBT students navigate the world and graduate from school.

Nelson says concerns from some in the community about the treatment of those students, including those as young as 11 years old, pushed him to take steps to make sure they are included and safe at school.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Fresno Unified Trustees are putting forward a resolution to declare the school district ‘safe place’ for undocumented students. The move is in response to student concerns about the Trump administration’s deportation policies.

Two-thirds of Fresno Unified School district students are Hispanic and district trustees say the heightened talk of more immigration enforcement has rattled the student body.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson is explaining in more detail why he has decided to end his tenure next year. A defiant Hanson says he is not caving to public pressure for his ouster.

Hanson has been superintendent for 12 years and during that time has helped solidify the district’s budget and improved educational results.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The future of one of the most prominent public officials in Fresno could be on the line Tuesday, but his name won’t even be on the ballot. The results of a vote on a local school bond and the political leanings of two new Fresno Unified School Board Trustees could be a signal about how much local support there is for district superintendent Michael Hanson.

Voters in Fresno are casting ballots on a $225 million school bond called Measure X and on two new trustees to take a seat on the board.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

Pressure on the Fresno Unified School District's superintendent continues to mount. Valley Public Radio's Jeffrey Hess reports the Fresno Teacher's Association is calling for three top district employees to be put on leave pending a federal investigation.

The FTA says the investigation into the district's use of no-bid contracts has overshadowed administrators ability to run the district.

File Photo

The head of the Fresno Unified School District is coming under fire after claims that he instructed his staff use a cell phone app that sends messages without leaving any trace. That practice could raise ethical and legal problems for district superintendent Michael Hanson.

Journalist Mark Arax was the first to report that Hanson allegedly used the Cyber Dust app which claims it leaves no record of any of the messages sent or received.

Cultiva La Salud

A local group is putting pressure on Fresno Unified School District to unlock school gates after hours and on weekends. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, they say every child no matter what zip code they live in should have a place to play.

The Fresno-based organization Cultiva La Salud, which means “cultivate health” is asking the district to keep school gates unlocked in south Fresno. They say in an area with high rates of obesity and lack of green spaces, kids need a place where they can play and be physically active after hours.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition KVPR's Jeffrey Hess reports on animal control in Fresno County. Later, Host Joe Moore is joined by Bill McEwen of The Fresno Bee to talk about schools and politics in Fresno. 

Fresno Unified Website

The superintendent of the Fresno Unified School District says their use of a procedure known as lease-leaseback to build new schools is legal.

The district has come under fire for selecting a local construction firm, Harris Construction, to build the $37 million Gaston Middle School without going through a competitive bidding process.

Harris was chosen through a process known as Lease-leaseback where the district can hand pick a company who agrees to front the construction cost and then be paid back over time.

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