Fresno is growing by leaps and bounds. It really is becoming quite a big city. It is broken up into so many different areas, and one of those areas is Sunnyside (South East Fresno). Sunnyside is technically in Fresno, but some of those who live there have their children in Sanger Unified School District.
Sanger Unified has become a bit of a hidden treasure to local families. Sanger Unified’s boundaries include the city of Sanger, as well as communities of Centerville, Del Rey, Fairmont, Lone Star, Tivy Valley, and some of the Sunnyside area. It’s big enough to cover 180 square miles, but have a small town feel of serving about 11,360 students. (Fresno Unified is well over 73,000 students.) Sanger Unified is comprised of 20 schools, including 3 charter schools, a community day school, and an adult school. This last school year two of Sanger Unified schools won a California Gold Ribbon School Award. (An award that recognizes California schools that have made gains in implementing academic content, and have high performance standards.) The awarded schools were Washington Academic Middle School and Sanger High.
So what makes Sanger Unified so great? There is so much to share on how wonderful of a school district it is. Here are a few highlights from educators, students, and parents.
- There are high expectations for staff and students.
- Every decision made is with the students’ best interest at the forefront.
- The district is very family oriented, and there is high community involvement.
- Whatever challenges come their way, the district works together to do what’s best for the students.
- Sanger Unified has been a leader in implementing technology.
- Implemented a Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) in almost all schools. This sets school wide expectations for students and rewards positive behaviors. It decreases suspensions and disruptions in class, as well as on campus.
- Teachers meet at least twice a month to collaborate as part of a Professional Learning Community (PLC). These educators share expertise and works collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students. Shirley Hord, an expert on school leadership, came up with perhaps the most efficient description of the strategy: “The three words explain the concept: Professionals coming together in a group—a community—to learn.” It is very important to Sanger Unified that all teachers are trained, and work together to provide the best for all students.
- The whole child is considered: Nutrition and PE are part of the curriculum with specific trained teachers for those subjects.
- Starting in 4th grade all students learn how to play the recorder. Starting in 5th grade students are offered daily band with district provided instruments (trombone, trumpet, flute or clarinet).
- High School athletic teachers regularly hold camps for elementary and Jr. High students to help them improve their skills.
- The teachers help to prepare the students for college an career readiness.
- The administration focuses on what practices are going to help support the students get all the can from the educational process. This aims at all aspects, such as academics, behavior, and social/emotional.
- The Superintendent is supportive of all of the schools. He’s been known to go to school carnivals and even bid on silent auction items. His own children attend Sanger Unified Schools, so you know he’s proud of the schools in his district.
There have been articles sharing about the great people who have come from Sanger Unified.. With stories about teachers and students like these, it’s no wonder Sanger Unified is a school district to be proud of.
Sanger Unified’s motto is “every child, every day, whatever it takes.” They take that seriously as they strive to make sure each student is successful, and in education that’s a wonderful thing. Each teacher I spoke with said that they feel supported in their career with Sanger Unified. They feel that Sanger Unified is such a collaborative and creative environment for teachers and students alike. So, here’s to this year ahead! Here’s to learning with such enthusiastic and positive educators, who want, and believe in, the best for their students.
If you’d like to find out more about this year’s events, check out their Facebook page.