Improving Equity and Access in Fresno: Lessons from a K12–Higher Education Partnership
The San Joaquin Valley has a high poverty rate and persistent challenges with academic achievement, college access, and college attainment for its students. Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) and the University of California Merced (UC Merced) established a groundbreaking partnership focused on equity and access for all students to address these challenges.
Improving Equity and Access in Fresno: Lessons from a K12-Higher Education Partnership (PDF, 92 pages) describes the inception and evolution of FUSD’s efforts to “provide students the greatest number of postsecondary choices from the widest array of options upon graduation.” The book, written by AIR’s Clarisse Haxton and Jennifer O’Day, describes the history of the Equity and Access initiative and partnership with UC Merced, how efforts of FUSD counselors and the district’s higher education partners have improved students’ access to college, and progress and challenges in expanding equity and access work to other district departments and to site-level planning efforts. It also identifies the importance of senior leadership commitment, an explicit guiding principle, a data system with timely and actionable data, and ongoing review processes to create a district culture of continuous improvement.
This book was released in October 2015 at a symposium on K12-higher education partnerships held at the University of California-Merced. A panel discussion facilitated by O’Day included Michael Kirst, president of the California State Board of Education, several California K12 superintendents, and representatives from Fresno City College, California State University Fresno, UC Merced, and the California Intersegmental Coordinating Committee. In November, this partnership and its influence on high school counselors will be featured in a November White House convening on Strengthening School Counseling and College Advising, as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher Initiative. (Chapter 3 details this aspect of the Equity and Access initiative.)
To request a hard copy of the book, please contact Dawn Smith.