The state of Clovis Unified School District continues to be strong, but district officials aren’t about to rest on their laurels, Superintendent Eimear O’Farrell said Thursday morning at the 2019 Superintendent’s Breakfast.
To achieve the goal of maximizing achievement for all students, each Clovis Unified employee has to be an educator, no matter what their job is, O’Farrell told more than 600 business leaders, educators and community members who crowded the Liberty Ballroom at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District Building.
“Every employee is in position on a daily basis to facilitate an educational experience for our kids,” she said. “Whether it’s as a bus driver, a groundskeeper, a clerical employee, or as a teacher, our kids are watching how we conduct ourselves. They’re watching how we deal with adversity, with conflict. They’re watching how we persevere through challenges. And they’re watching our work ethic.
“We are all role models, and maximizing student achievement is way more than a classroom experience.”
(Click on the video at the top of the story to see Clovis East High School graduate Constantine Pappas, who has performed in the North America Tour of “The Phantom of the Opera,” sing at the breakfast.)
Clovis Unified Outperforms Other Big Districts
O’Farrell said maintaining a focus on excellence and student achievement has reaped big rewards. For the past four years, Clovis Unified student assessments have been at the highest level for English language arts among the state’s 20 largest school districts — Clovis is now the state’s 14th largest district — and second-highest in mathematics, she said.
She noted that strong community support, including support for the district’s foundation, also is key to keeping Clovis Unified at the forefront since the district is the lowest-funded out of Fresno County’s 32 school districts.
If Clovis could get the average of what’s provided to its “sister” districts, its annual budget of $560 million could grow by $110 million, O’Farrell said. With that extra money, the district could lower class size by 10 students in every single classroom and still have millions left over, she said.
That’s why community support is so important to Clovis Unified, whether it’s supporting the Foundation for Clovis Schools or a potential bond measure for new schools and improvements, O’Farrell said.
The board is scheduled later this month to vote on whether to put a $408 million bond measure on the March ballot. The proposed bond measure would include money for a new high school in the south part of the district and alleviate crowding at Clovis East High School, she said.
Foundation Helps Bolster District Efforts
Likewise, the district has benefitted from the support of the foundation, which provides scholarships for students and classroom and school grants, among other things, O’Farrell said.
Adam Holt, foundation treasurer and fund drive chairman, noted that Clovis Unified is key to the community’s success, and “thankfully this community continues to invest.”
The foundation raised $639,000 last year and is on track for this year, with nearly $100,000 already raised by 21 sponsors of the Superintendent’s Breakfast, he said.
The foundation coffers grew even larger when Darius Assemi, president and CEO of Granville Homes and publisher of GV Wire, presented a check for $54,145. The funds were raised through the annual Granville Home of Hope fundraiser that helps underwrite the foundation’s Students of Promise scholarship program.
“We’re proud to be a partner with Clovis Unified,” Assemi said. “You guys, all the educators out there, you do God’s work. The future of our community is in your hands. And we’re glad to be behind you, to support you in any way we can.”
Holt noted that the total contributions from the Granville Foundation now top $500,000.