#GivingTuesday comes only days after many of us have stuffed ourselves silly (Thanksgiving), so maybe it’s appropriate that we think about the people who often don’t have enough to eat — like some Fresno City College students.


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Nancy Price

School Zone

The FCC Ram Pantry, which started in 2015, provides free food for all enrolled students. This will be the second year that the college is seeking donations for the pantry on Giving Tuesday, and officials hope to raise at least $50,000.

And there’s a bonus if the fundraising campaign hits its goal: Gina Cuttone, president of State Center’s Foundation, has pledged to contribute $5,000, and Foundation treasurer Chris Morse and his wife Michelle have pledged an additional $5,000 match.

Last year’s campaign raised more than $57,000 and helped feed nearly 5,200 students who visited Ram Pantry in the fall semester of 2019. On average, 531 students visit the pantry each day, for a total of 34,006 visits this semester.

“As we prepare for Dec. 3, we’re energized and encouraged by the community’s generosity. We appreciate Gina, Chris and Michelle’s continued support,” said Carole Goldsmith, president of Fresno City College.

Want to donate? Here’s the link.

Charter Schools Association Gives Thumbs Down to Madera School

The California Charter Schools Association is recommending the closure of nine charter schools, including Chawanakee Academy Charter, that the association says are “chronically underperforming” on academic performance measures.

The O’Neals-based school is authorized through the Chawanakee Unified School District. It is the only school in the Valley region recommended for charter non-renewal and closure.

The association evaluates schools through its Accountability Framework, which reviews test scores and college and career readiness data as well as data tailored to each school’s mission and outcomes.

“We must challenge ourselves — both traditional and nonprofit charter public schools — to do better for students,” said Elizabeth Robitaille, the association’s senior vice president for school performance, development, and support.

“By advocating for high-quality public schools and the closure of underperforming schools, we are sending a strong message that ignoring the needs of our most vulnerable students won’t be tolerated. We cannot close California’s historic achievement gap by looking away while chronically failing schools persist year after year.”

Enrollment Strong at Fresno Pacific

Fall semester enrollment at Fresno Pacific University topped 4,000 students for the third year in a row, and university officials are crediting improved outreach to community colleges.

Fall’s enrollment was 4,109 students, just under the record of 4,212 set in 2018. The university enrolled 334 new traditional undergraduate students, including 144 transfers.

“Community colleges are truly our partners in educating this region.”Fresno Pacific vice president Jon Endicott

The university is among the independent colleges and universities in California partnering with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to create enrollment pathways for community college students earning associate degrees for transfer. In January, Fresno Pacific will begin offering degree completion business classes at Reedley College.

“Every student is important to FPU, and we work hard to remain accessible and welcome every population,” said Jon Endicott, vice president of enrollment management. “The reality in California is that community colleges are a crucial part of the education system since so many students can begin their higher education journey at little to no cost. This is particularly the case here in the Central Valley, where we have many residents who have attended community college, but are well under state and national averages for people with bachelor’s degrees. Community colleges are truly our partners in educating this region.”

Here’s a Scholarship for Budding Ag Majors

High school seniors from Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings, and Kern counties who are planning to attend a four-year university and major in an agriculture-related field may want to apply for the  “We Believe in Growing” scholarships offered by World Ag Expo and E.M. Tharp, Inc.

Two $10,000 scholarships will be awarded in early February, and the winners will be recognized at the World Ag Expo opening ceremonies on Feb. 11. The scholarship money will be disbursed over four years.

Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation; a copy of their high school transcript; ACT or SAT scores; and be graduating from high school in the 2019-20 school year. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Jan. 17.

Download the application online at www.worldagexpo.org/scholarships and send the completed applications to International Agri-Center, “We Believe in Growing” Scholarship, 4500 S. Laspina St., Tulare, CA 93274.

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