Trustees on the Fresno Unified School Board who represent the Bullard area have talked for years about the need for a new, taller, sturdier fence around the northwest Fresno high school.
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Unlike most, if not all, of the district’s comprehensive high schools, the school is sort of surrounded by a shortish chain link fence that’s open on the front side, leaving the students and staff open to neighborhood marauders and ne’er-do-wells. (School Zone notes that high schools in Clovis Unified, including two that lie within the city of Fresno, are not fenced in.)
This lack of fencing at Bullard has led to some interesting moments when reporters have appeared in the school’s front office seeking comment, only to be told to leave the school grounds and stand on the Palm Avenue sidewalk. While it is true that schools have the authority to limit the public’s access to school grounds — Fresno Unified has a nifty security system that involves scanning visitor’s driver’s licenses and then issuing a paper badge with a sticky back — it is also true that under state law reporters who are going about the business of reporting are supposed to be allowed a certain latitude when it comes to school access. School Zone has brought this to the attention of Fresno Unified’s communications guru as a result of past interactions at Bullard.
The construction of a fence will make this discussion moot, since presumably the fence will be designed in such a fashion as to allow public access to the front office while maintaining strict security for the remainder of the school grounds.
So, how much longer before this long-awaited fence gets built, and how much do you think it will cost? A recent board communication to the trustees has the answers: Approximately 18 months from today and $1,660,766.25.
No, the fence will not be gold-plated. According to the board communication, the project includes the demolition of existing sidewalks, mow strips, and bollards, and “installation of new mow strips, curb cuts, safety and accessibility improvements, concrete and asphalt paving, landscaping, ornamental fence, chain-link fence, vehicular gates, and cameras at main entry gates.”
Also in School Zone:
- Fresno Unified’s big annual scholarship fundraiser gets boost from Amazon. Again.
- New California Community Colleges chancellor to give keynote speech in Fresno.
- Local universities ranked highly by national publications.
- Fresno City College CityFest 2023 raises money for scholarships.
- More local high school students may be ‘Bulldog Bound’
Amazon Delivers for Fresno Unified Scholarships
For the second year in a row, Amazon is making a big contribution in support of Fresno Unified scholarships with a $30,000 donation to The Foundation for Fresno Unified Schools to sponsor an upcoming gala.
Last year the foundation awarded $309,000 in scholarships to 219 students, thanks to donors.
“We sincerely thank Amazon for its investment in our students,” Wendy McCulley, the foundation’s executive director and head of the district’s Office of Engagement and External Partnerships, said in a news release. “We all recognize that Fresno’s future innovators, builders, owners, workers, voters, and leaders are in our schools. Scholarships are the fuel that drives our students’ dreams.”
Amazon will be the lead sponsor at the foundation’s upcoming 2023 State of Education gala. The gala will be on Oct. 12 at the Manor Estate in Madera County, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. Tickets will go on sale Friday.
To sign up as an event sponsor, contact LindaLaettner@fresnounified.org or call (559) 457-3906.
New Community Colleges Chancellor Coming ‘Home’ for Ed Summit
Dr. Sonya Christian, chancellor of the California Community Colleges system, will be in Fresno on Oct. 20 to deliver the keynote address at the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Summit 2023.
The theme of the summit is “Student Success through Equity and Inclusion — Thriving in the Central Valley.”
Summit officials consider it a homecoming of sorts for Christian. As the former president of Bakersfield College and chancellor of the Kern Community College District, Christian was a member of the consortium. She made history as the first woman and first Asian-American, as well as a first-generation college graduate, to become chancellor of the state’s community colleges. Christian took the top job on June 1.
The summit, which is being sponsored by the College Futures Foundation, will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Fresno Convention Center’s Valdez Exhibit Hall at 848 M St.
The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium is a nonprofit of 28 colleges and universities in the nine-county region from San Joaquin to Kern.
Celebrating Their Rankings
Fresno’s two universities are tooting their horns over national college rankings that put them near the top for social mobility, or how affordable colleges help people improve their socio-economic status and achieve success.
It’s not just bragging rights. High rankings can help with recruitment efforts for universities like Fresno State and Fresno Pacific University in the competition for students.
In the 2024 U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges rankings, Fresno State jumped from No. 30 last year to No. 8 this year in social mobility.
Fresno Pacific also did well in the U.S. News and World Report ranking, coming in at No. 41 overall in the Master’s Universities—West category, No. 4 in social mobility, and No. 12 among best values. In 2022 the university was No. 2 in social mobility, No. 39 overall, and No. 16 in best values among schools in the category.
In the Wall Street Journal/College Pulse 2024 Best Colleges rankings that came out earlier, Fresno State was No. 6 for social mobility. In the same ranking, Fresno Pacific was No. 78 on the Best Colleges 2024 list of 400 colleges and universities. Among Christian schools, the university was No. 2 in California and in the top 10 nationally.
CityFest 2023 Tickets On Sale
Sounds like Saturday’s CityFest 2023 will be pretty exciting. The promotional flyer says it all: “Dancing! Food! Beer and Wine! Silent Auction!”
Tickets range from $40 per person to $300 for a table of eight, and proceeds will benefit the Fresno City College library and the Learning Support Services Dean’s Medallion Award (those things don’t grow on trees).
The festivities will start at 6 p.m. in the Old Administration Building East Courtyard, which School Zone knows from past experience is a lovely place to hold a fundraiser.
Want to buy a ticket? Click here.
Kings Canyon Unified Partners with Fresno State for ‘Bulldog Bound’
Fresno Unified students aren’t the only ones with an inside track for admission to Fresno State. Kings Canyon Unified School District recently announced a new partnership with Fresno State’s Bulldog Bound program that guarantees admission for students who meet admission requirements.
High schoolers will need to earn at least a C average in college prep classes and an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher, and complete the A-G coursework that’s required for students heading to California State University and University of California campuses.
There’s no telling how many of the students from Kings Canyon’s four high schools — Orange Cove High, Reedley High, Reedley Middle College High, and Kings Canyon Online — may be Bulldog Bound someday.