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Districts Get Their Annual 'Report Card' from State. How Did Fresno, Clovis, Central Fare?
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By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 4 months ago on
December 18, 2023

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None of the three school districts serving Fresno and Clovis youngsters earned an “A” or an “F” on the dashboards released Friday by the state Department of Education on academics, attendance, graduation, and other factors for the 2022-23 school year.

The state implemented a dashboard system of evaluation in 2017, replacing a ranking system that compared districts overall and by districts with similar demographics. Under the current school accountability system, districts are evaluated according to whether they are making progress or losing ground to prior years’ evaluations. Their performance is color-coded ranging from red to blue, with red marking the steepest regression and blue the best improvement.

According to the dashboards released Friday, none of the districts reached the red or blue zones over a variety of metrics.

Friday’s release was the first since 2019; after that, the state suspended the annual evaluation during the COVID pandemic that skewed academic performance and student participation.

District Progress Pleases Central Unified Leader

Central Unified Superintendent Ketti Davis said Monday that the data reflects the hard work of students and staff, but the results also identify areas for improvement.

“In general, we are pleased with the progress our district is making concerning each indicator while also using this information to identify improvement opportunities,” she said. “Central’s vision is that all students graduate ready for success. We are most pleased to see this effort reflected in the dashboard. We know it represents the determination of students who started their high school experience in school closure and stayed focused on their studies to complete high school within four years. Central has a ‘green’ indicator for this area.”

Chronic Student Absences Drop in Clovis Unified

Clovis Unified spokeswoman Kelly Avants noted Monday that the district’s chronic absenteeism dropped by 8.3%, math scores grew slightly, and English language scores remained about the same. Clovis’ goal continues to help every child achieve at their best level, and the dashboard is one of the tools used by the district to accomplish that, she said.

The district has been working with the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Office to focus on areas identified as needing improvement, Avants said.

“We will continue working with the FCSS on metrics in this dashboard to provide targeted intervention and supports for identified subgroups in the areas of math and suspension indicators,” she said. “Our work with the FCSS is embedded in improvement science, a problem-solving approach centered on continuous inquiry and learning. We have been doing this work with different schools and departments since the inception of the dashboard.”

Fresno Unified did not immediately respond to GV Wire’ request for comment Monday.

Meeting Standards

All three districts met standards for teachers, instructional materials, and facilities; parent and family engagement; access to a broad course of study; and implementation of academic standards.

Clovis scored in the green — the second-highest category, for English language arts and mathematics, with students testing 38.8 points above standard in English language arts, a gain of 0.1 points from the year before, and increasing by 4.5 points in mathematics but still scoring 0.7 points below standard.

The distance from standard measures how many points a student is above or below Level 3 (standard met) on the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments and the California Alternate Assessment.

Fresno scored in the yellow by increasing mathematics by 8.1 points but was still 80.6 points below standard. The district was in the orange — the second-lowest category — for English language arts, increasing by 1.7 points but scoring at 49.8 points below standard.

Central scored in the orange for both English language arts and mathematics, increasing by 1.4 points and 1 point, and scoring at 23.4 points below standard for English and 63.6 points below standard for math.

Clovis Unified Leads in College/Career Readiness

In the category of college/career readiness, Clovis scored high on four out of five bars, with 64.3% prepared, compared to Fresno’s medium score at three of five bars with 40.2% prepared, and Central’s low score of two of five bars with 27% prepared.

For progress among English language learners, Fresno scored its only green, with an increase of 2.6% and 46.8% making progress.

However, the progress of English learners dropped by 3.1% in Clovis, earning the district a yellow score, but 57.2% made progress. In Central, 52.7% made progress, but the district also earned a yellow score because the increase was only 1.4%.

The districts were also evaluated in other categories.

Chronic Absenteeism

All three districts scored in the yellow, and Fresno’s improvement in attendance was in double digits. Clovis’ rate was 17.5%, a decline of 8.3%; Central’s was 26.9%, a decline of 9.4%; and Fresno’s was 34.7%, a decline of 16.2%. Statewide there were improvements in chronic absenteeism, which averaged 30% in the 2021-22 school year, an all-time high. Last year the state average was 24.3%, a decline of 5.%.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as students missing 10% or more of their school days. The data accounts only for students in grades kindergarten through 8.

Fresno Unified Graduation Rate Drops

The state reported a slight drop in the four-year graduation rate, which in 2023 was 86.2%, and attributed the slightly higher rate the year before to the phase-out of a state law that allowed for some flexibility in graduation requirements and grading policies following the pandemic.

Clovis reported a graduation rate of 94.8%, 0.7% lower than the year before and in the green ranking. Central’s increased by 1% to 87.7%, also in the green, while Fresno’s graduation rate was 85.8%, a drop of 3.7% and earning an orange ranking.

Local Suspension Rates Exceed State Average

All three districts were above the state average of 3.5% of students suspended at least one day, which put the state in the orange. Central was in the yellow with a suspension rate of 5.2%, a drop of 0.8%; Fresno’s suspension rate was 7.3%, an increase of 1.5%, putting it in the orange classification, and Clovis’ was 4.7%, an increase of 0.8%, also putting it in the orange.

Demographics

The dashboards include demographic information for each district for 2023: Fresno’s student population was 69,327, of whom 87.7% were socioeconomically disadvantaged, 20.5% were English learners, and 1.1% were foster youth. Clovis’ student population was 41,989, of whom 47.3% were socioeconomically disadvantaged, 4.7% were English learners, and 0.5% were foster youth. Central’s student population was 15,742, of whom 83.4% were socioeconomically disadvantaged, 14.6% were English learners, and 1% were foster youth.

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Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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