Accountability and Support in a Coherent System of Continuous Improvement

Fresno Background

Fresno Unified School District. (2014) District at a glance: Fact sheet. Fresno, CA: Author. Available for members at this link.

This snapshot of Fresno Unified School District (USD) includes information on the district’s student population, number of staff and facilities, core beliefs, and goals to prepare career-ready graduates. In the 2014-15 academic year, the district serves more than 73,000 students, of whom about 85 percent are living in poverty and 25 percent are English learners.

Student Enrollment

Fresno Unified School District Enrollment by Ethnicity/Race. Data retrieved on January 26, 2015 from DataQuest, California Department of Education. Available for members at this link.

This pie chart and table show Fresno USD and California’s student enrollment by race/ethnicity and for English learners and students with disabilities in the 2013-14 school year.

Student Performance

California District ELA Proficiency Rates, 2004-2013. Data retrieved on June 24, 2014 from DataQuest, California Department of Education. Available for members at this link.

This graph provides California district English-language arts proficiency rates over the span of the 2004-2013 school years.

California District Mathematics Proficiency Rates, 2004-2013. Data retrieved on June 24, 2014 from DataQuest, California Department of Education. Available for members at this link.

This graph provides California district mathematics proficiency rates over the span of the 2004-2013 school years.

Historical Background to Fresno’s Data System

This collection of materials explains the genesis of Fresno’s data dashboard and student monitoring systems. In 2008, a math teacher at Edison High School was accused of and later held responsible for changing the grade of a star football player from an F to an A. The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) initially led the allegation process but dropped the case. However, Fresno USD spent two months and $50,000 investigating the issue. These events propelled the district to develop the data systems they have in place today.

Ginis, K. (2008, November 20). FUSD leader vows change - Hanson says grade controversy is sign of a systemic problem. The Fresno Bee, Main News, p. A1. Available for members at this link.

This Fresno Bee article is one in a series of local news stories following the grade-changing incident. It elaborates on the events leading up to the investigation, the response from the teacher and teachers union, and Superintendent Mike Hanson’s promises for a stronger student monitoring system.

Hanson, M. E. (2008). Statement by Superintendent Michael E. Hanson: Edison High School investigation [text of oral statement of findings to Fresno Unified School District Board of Education]. Fresno, CA: Fresno Unified School District. Available for members at this link.

This transcription of Hanson’s public statement outlines the proceedings of and findings from the investigation. He reiterated his commitment to taking the findings seriously and pursuing actionable steps that would prevent student information mismanagement moving forward.

Fresno Unified School District. (2008). FUSD report to superintendent on system improvements based on the 2008 investigation at Edison High School [recommendations to district leadership and governance teams based on investigation findings]. Fresno, CA: Author. Available for members at this link.

Following the investigation, the district released this report to Hanson and district leadership. It points to specific problems with the district’s existing student information systems and recommends potential solutions for each.

Fresno Unified School District. (2014, October). ATLAS rollout aug 2010 lessons learned (draft). Fresno, CA: Author. Available for members at this link.

This review of the creation and rollout of a new student information system (SIS) in Fresno USD between June 2009 and January 2012 gives a description of the challenges encountered, the district’s responses to those challenges, and the lessons learned in the process for 11 different elements of the system. Among these, one central challenge was insufficient communication—including a lack of teacher training, insufficient access to technical support, and the absence of parental access to student information. Another issue was time management, including the contracted developers taking too long in the exploratory phase of determining what the SIS would entail, a rush in converting to new software, and the district’s decision not to push back the release of the SIS despite it not being fully ready.