The Office of African American Academic Acceleration believes that literacy – the ability to read, write and comprehend – is a civil right of every student and is the gateway to a successful academic future, career and livelihood. We recognize literacy is a fundamental building block of learning and academic growth so we ensure it is an integral part of each of our programs for elementary and secondary students. A4 has been at the forefront of providing literacy programs with proven results to close the academic achievement gap for African American students within Fresno Unified School District.
Below are our current and past programming targeted at improving experiences and outcomes for African American students.
In the 2020 school year, the Afterschool Literacy Program, a 10-week long extension of the Summer Literacy Program, will be implemented in 10 elementary schools. This program consists of similar aspects of the Summer Literacy Program including one-on- one literacy mentoring.
Summer Literacy Program
In partnership with Springboard Collaborative, A4 implemented an intense five-week literacy program for elementary students for the past three years focused on accelerating those who are below their reading grade level to proficiency and beyond. The Summer Literacy Program was comprised of daily reading instruction and workshops to coach parents on how to teach reading at home.
“ I have seen students accelerate their reading by one or more grade levels during the Springboard Collaborative Program.”Bethany Mertens, Teacher at McCardle Elementary School and A4 Summer Literacy Program
“Only two weeks into the summer literacy program and utilizing the tips from the family workshops, our child had a noticeable increase in comprehension, expression of speech and confidence In reading. This program has already helped us more than what we expected.”- Sandrina, Parent of Pre-K Student
A4 Academic Advisors provide more in depth, consistent and rigorous monitoring of academics for African American middle and high school students who would benefit and excel even more with heightened support. Academic advisors are available at participating middle and high schools.
Academic Center for Suspended Students
The Academic Center for Suspended Students will offer academic support for students who are suspended from school for non-mandatory expulsion offenses. It aims at preventing an academic slide for these students and assists in accelerating them to grade level. This program will be located at the West Fresno Family Resource Center.
African American Achievement for Males
African American Achievement for Males was established in 2018 at Terronez Middle School as a course to help close the academic gap between African American male students and their peers. The purpose of this course is to advance our students’ ability to handle a rigorous academic career. A4 also piloted a combined boys and girls course in its first year.
College Mentoring Program
In partnership with community members, the College Mentoring Program provides high school students with mentoring from their junior year of high school through their first year of college. Building on the success of Fresno Unified’s College and Career Readiness Department, this program was established to increase African American student enrollment (matriculation) in college and completion of their studies.
Summer Literacy Program – Middle School
Over the past two summers, we conducted a three-week Summer Literacy Program for middle school students. In addition to reading acceleration workshops and lessons, this program also included activities focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
Past Piloted Programs & Events
In collaboration with Baird Middle School, A4 administered a six-week “Saturday Academy” literacy program for students who attended the 2018 Summer Literacy Program. Saturday Academy provided continuous literacy instruction and acceleration.
i-Ready is an assessment piloted for all African American students to better identify English and Math academic gaps, in order to provide information that can help address students’ individual needs.
Following A4’s innovative approach with this Program, FUSD adopted the i-Ready diagnostic tool across the District, ultimately solving a systemwide challenge. As a result of the dedication and emergent work of A4, i-Ready is now the assessment choice for FUSD.
“ You can’t close a gap that you cannot measure.”-Wendy McCulley, Executive Director, School Leadership
The A4 Father’s Day event was designed to increase the visibility of African American parents and guardians at school sites and their involvement with their students academically, with the intent of changing the erroneous narrative that black males are not deeply involved in their childrens’ schooling. During the 2018-19 school years, over 1,000 fathers of all ethnicities attended at 18 elementary and 10 middle schools.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Expo
The A4 Office organized a HBCU Expo for high school juniors and seniors at Fresno High School during the 2017/18 school year. Twenty-five HBCU colleges and universities were showcased to the 400 plus students who attended, leading to over 200 on-site admission offers and over one million dollars in scholarships awarded.