FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Statewide, African American students perform below every group of students and have the highest suspension rates. The Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools has come up with its own plan to close the achievement gap.
It started with conversations between African American students and superintendents from the county’s four largest school districts. The outcome was a roadmap to improve educational outcomes for black students coming together at the African American Student Leadership Conference.
“The kids were excited about the fact that these adult educators and community members wanted to take a moment just to say welcome, we are glad to see you,” said Fresno County Superintendent of Schools’ Angie Barfield.
This is the 19th year of the leadership conference, hosted by the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools. It is designed to encourage and inspire the county’s African American students.
“When I come to these kinds of conferences it tells me as a person like this is who you really are, this is who you can be, this is who you can become in life if you just put your mind to these certain things like school,” said student Kamoren Owens.
The meeting represented the culmination of a years-long process to take a deep dive into statewide statistics that show African American students performing below every group of students.
“We want equality and equity for all for everyone but these numbers we can’t ignore we need to step forward and do more,” said Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino.
Looking for solutions, the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools held what it called a community convening – bringing together the voices of students, parents, educators for frank honest discussions about the experiences of black students in our classrooms.
The meeting included school superintendents from Fresno Unified, Clovis, Central, and Washington Union. It led to a document called Community Voices Working Towards Excellence – a guide for schools to improve outcomes for African American students.