Check out my other School Zone columns at Nancy Price’s School Zone Facebook page.
There’s a new peace mural at a central crossroads on the Terronez Middle School campus, a place where students can head if they need to iron out differences or take a minute to reflect.
The mural, painted on concrete where a number of walkways conjoin, was designed by students with the assistance of local artist Will Portis. The project began in 2018 as part of Terronez’s work on restorative justice in partnership with the Fresno-based Civic Education Center, the district says.
It’s intended as a “working” mural. Students can go there to resolve conflicts and be prompted by the many questions contained in the artwork, which on Tuesday was surrounded by a metal barricade to keep it footprint-free prior to Thursday’s formal unveiling and dedication ceremony.
Superintendent Bob Nelson, School Board members, and representatives of the Civic Education Center will join with students and Principal Zerina Hargrove-Brown at the southeast Fresno school for the dedication, which is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Thursday.
Said Nelson in a news release: “This peace mural has truly been a student-driven project that will benefit the entire Terronez campus for years to come. It also directly reflects two of our district values – positive behavior and accountability.”
Also in School Zone:
- A candidate for the Clovis Unified School Board vacancy has emerged.
- Fresno High candidate’s supporters speak on his behalf at School Board meetings.
- Fresno City College Police Academy cadets are graduating.
- Madera Unified hosts its Cesar Chavez Education and Resource Fair.
First Candidate Declares for Clovis Unified School Board Vacancy
Communications consultant Samantha Bauer of Fresno has officially declared her intention to run for the Clovis Unified School Board Area 1 seat that was formerly held by Trustee Susan Hatmaker, who abruptly resigned Feb. 1.
Bauer, the mother of a Clovis West graduate and a current Clovis West junior, said she had considered running for the School Board in 2018 but decided not to challenge the then-incumbent, Sandra Budd, who lost to Hatmaker.
Bauer says her extensive background in education policy, her communications work with Fresno Unified and Elk Grove Unified school districts, her volunteer work with the district (including currently serving as chair of the district’s Citizens’ Oversight Committee) and in the community, and her experience as a Clovis Unified parent have well-prepared her to serve on the School Board.
Education “is a passion of mine,” Bauer told GV Wire on Tuesday. “I strongly believe we’ve got to get this right, for our students and our communities.”
Hatmaker’s four-year term was scheduled to end after November. The School Board opted last month to let voters elect her replacement instead of making a provisional appointment as the trustees did when the last vacancy occurred. Hugh Awtrey, who also served on the Citizens’ Oversight Committee, was appointed to replace retiring Trustee Brian Heryford in 2019, and won election to the School Board the following year. He represents Area 4.
Three seats will be up for election on the Nov. 8 ballot: Areas 1, 3 (represented now by Tiffany Stoker Madsen), and 6 (represented now by Betsy Sandoval). Although candidates can file their intention statement as early as they like, the official candidate filing period doesn’t begin until July 18.
How to Campaign in 2022
Speaking of candidates — Fresno Unified School Board candidate Andrew Fabela is running a low-cost campaign without the usual paraphernalia that big-bucks campaigns can buy. So he’s depending a lot on word of mouth, and he’s getting it.
If you’ve been watching the last couple of School Board meetings, you may have noticed that a handful of Fabela’s supporters are using the unscheduled public comment period to urge support for his candidacy.
Tammy Rae McMahon sounded a bit like a cheerleader as she expressed her support for Fabela. She used the first part of her two-minute comment to talk about the recent brawl at Fresno High and lack of safety on campus.
Then McMahon focused on Fabela. “This week in fourth grade, I taught the standard RL.4.3 plot, which talks about problems and solutions. For every problem, there’s a solution. In the real life story of Fresno Unified, we have problems, and I’ve got a person for you that has solutions. Andrew Fabela is the solution to District Area Five. Andrew Fabela is a man of integrity and action. Andrew Fabela does not favor or discriminate in any way. He cares for all kids. Andrew has the tools to offer to make our kids safe, and our kids literate. There is always hope, and it’s never too late if we vote … differently. Andrew Fabela, he’s our man. If he can’t do it, nobody can.”
Ballots are now out for the Fresno High Area 5 special election, and voters can choose from among Fabela, a retired firefighter, retired teacher Russ Allen, teacher/community organizer Andy Levine, and retired parole administrator Daniel Renteria. The deadline to vote is April 12.
Class #166 Graduating from Police Academy
Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama will be the guest speaker at Friday’s Police Academy commencement ceremony, which seems somewhat appropriate since more than half of the 47 graduates already have job offers from his department in hand.
In fact, all but six of the cadets have job offers from Fresno Police, Clovis Police, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Madera County Sheriff’s Office, Fresno State police, and other Valley police departments in Merced, Coalinga, Chowchilla, Porterville, Coalinga, and Atascadero. And the others have job offers pending, Fresno City College reports.
Although most of the cadets are from California, two traveled all the way from Florida to enroll in the police training program. Their class kicked off in September 2021.
Agency representatives will present badges to their new hires at the ceremony, which will be at 3 p.m. at CrossCity Church, 2777 E. Nees Ave. in northeast Fresno.
The Police Academy, now on the Fresno City College campus in central Fresno, will move to the new First Responders Campus in a few years.
Madera Migrant Education Department Hosts Resource Fair
Madera Unified’s Migrant Education Program will host a Cesar Chavez Educational and Community Resource Fair from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, which not coincidentally is Chavez’s birthday as well as a state holiday and federal commemorative holiday.
More than 40 community agencies and colleges, including Madera Community College, Fresno State, and UC Merced will have a booth at the event alongside school district resources and clubs. Dr. Angel Reyna, president of Madera Community College, will be the guest speaker.
In addition, 100 migrant students who have recently participated in a separate weekend event, Migrant Math Saturday Academy, will exhibit their projects and receive a certificate of participation from the academy.
The event is open to all Madera Unified families and will be at Madera High School, 200 S. L St., Madera.