Students at Edison High School who need a little help with wardrobe or life’s other necessities — or even formalwear for prom — can now turn to the Tiger Giving Closet.

The project, which Edison staffers have been working on for three years, kicked off Thursday with a pop-up event outside the school library. The school will host pop-ups every other Thursday to encourage students to check out the Giving Closet.

Nancy Price

School Zone

Edison High students check out the wardrobe options at the Tiger Giving Closet pop-up event Thursday. (Fresno Unified School District)

Contributions of gently used, clean adult clothing and new hygiene products can be dropped off at the Edison front office. In addition to school and business clothing, the Giving Closet will provide shoes and backpacks filled with supplies. All items are provided to students free.

And as for prom: Edison will hold a formalwear drive at the George Brown Sports Club at 1885 E. Herndon Ave. in Clovis from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 22 and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 24. Formalwear also can be dropped off at the school at 540 E. California Ave.

Reedley College Offers More Online Courses

Reedley College students who want to study agriculture business, information systems, animal science, or criminology can soon do so from the comfort of home — or wherever they have internet access.

Photo of Jerry Buckley

President Jerry Buckley

And in some cases, they won’t have to pay for textbooks.

The college received a $500,000 grant to develop and strengthen career education programs that can be completed online. The money comes through the “Improving Online CTE (Career Technical Education) Pathways grant program developed by the California Community Colleges’ California Virtual Campus — Online Education Initiative.

Money for the grants was included in the 2018-19 budget. Reedley was among 70 community colleges that received a total of $27.5 million.

More Access, More Degrees

The primary focus of the virtual campus initiative is to increase student access to programs and also to increase the number of transfer degrees awarded.

“This grant is a huge boost for our campus,” said Reedley College President Jerry Buckley. “To be able to offer on-line CTE courses with zero textbook costs is a win-win for our students.”

One-third of students in the California Community Colleges system now take at least one class online.

Kudos …

Accreditation Candidate

Madera Community College Center keeps edging closer to becoming a full-fledged community college. It now operates as a center under the auspices of Reedley College, but last month it was granted candidacy status by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association for Schools and Colleges.

To achieve initial accreditation, Madera needs to be in compliance with four standards, including publishing its own course catalog, during the two-year candidacy period, the commission said in a letter to Madera President Angel Reyna. The college must demonstrate compliance when filing a follow-up report in its application for initial accreditation, and that must come no later than Oct. 1, 2021.

But State Center Community College District officials are hoping to fast-track the accreditation process for Madera and are seeking a second site visit this spring to show that the college is complying with the recommended standards. If the commission votes for accreditation in June, Madera would then be eligible for recognition by the state as a community college — and for state funding.

Meanwhile, the commission had some good news for State Center’s other three campuses: accreditations were reaffirmed for Fresno City, Clovis Community, and Reedley. Porterville College’s accreditation also was affirmed by the commission.

Top Speller

Luke Moore from Kratt Elementary School won Fresno Unified’s 2020 Spelling Bee for elementary students in grades four through six by correctly spelling the word “mandible.” (OK readers, here’s a pop quiz: What is a mandible? No fair checking your biology books!)

Moore and runner-up Amayah Nutt from Thomas Elementary will represent the district at the Fresno County Spell-Off on March 17 at Fresno State.

Callie Nelson, who attends Manchester Gate Elementary, took third place in the Fresno Unified Spelling Bee. The top three finishers received trophies and gift cards from Barnes & Noble.

(Pop quiz answer: The mandible is the jawbone.)

Tree Planters

At Yosemite Middle School, shade was becoming more elusive at this central Fresno school after weather and vandalism claimed some trees. But help was on the way.

Teacher Ted Januse contacted Tree Fresno, which provided about a dozen trees that students helped to plant earlier this month and will help care for.

Yosemite Middle School students prepare to plant some trees. (Yosemite Middle School)

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