Honing One’s Craft: A Commitment to Education

In the fall of 2002, Jesus Renteria arrived at Fresno State after enrolling in a bachelor’s program for English education, with a double major in Chicano Latino studies. Renteria graduated in 2006 and then one year later, in 2007, obtained his teaching credentials. While at Fresno State, Renteria learned many valuable lessons such as how to communicate effectively and speak up for himself when he was confused about a project or an assignment. He learned to advocate for his own education and to make sure his academic needs were met. 

Something Renteria is most proud of is the fact that he was able to start teaching immediately after earning his credentials. He began instruction for the Hanford school district in 2007 and is now in his fifteenth year of teaching. Adapting to the role of a teacher has afforded Renteria many leadership opportunities such as being the ELD lead for the Reading Intervention program. He has also learned to work with several specific bodies of students and has adapted to the common core standards, being able to successfully apply them in his classroom. 

Fresno State aided Renteria in many ways along his journey, one of the biggest influences being the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project. He would constantly get emails to attend workshops that helped writers with their craft. In 2016, Renteria began regularly attending some of these workshops, something that helped him grow and flourish as a teacher. Once he became more involved, Renteria was invited to attend the San Joaquin Valley Writing Summer Institute. After completing the course in 2018, Renteria became part of the Writing Project at Fresno State and was able to connect with other educators from all over the country. He has been able to collaborate with them on different strategies for how to work with ELD students and also brainstorm varying methods to help students cope with the pandemic, inventing new ways to ease the transition to online learning. The Writing Project helped Renteria learn how to teach English in a way that is more accessible to students and more engaging, helping build his confidence as he gradually pursues more online workshops and Zoom book study programs. He is grateful for all the assistance the Kremen school has given to him and how they continue to support teachers of color, especially those who are first generation. 

(Written by Audra Burwell, a Creative Writing student employed by the Kremen School of Education and Human Development .)

Paving a path to success for Latinx communities

Dedicated to transforming Hispanic Serving Institutions and transforming a campus environment that builds a sense of belonging from enrollment to graduation.

Future educator Dori Trujillo is studying at Fresno State, working her way toward earning a multiple subject teaching credential. After graduating in the summer of 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies, Trujillo knew her next step was to become an educator. What she didn’t know was that it would lead her to becoming a project assistant with Enseñamos en el Valle Central.

Enseñamos en el Valle Central is an innovative collaboration between Fresno State, Fresno City College and Reedley College that focuses on strengthening pathways for underrepresented future educators.

“With Enseñamos, I learned to appreciate my bilingualism as the beautiful asset it is,” said Trujillo.

Enseñamos responds to the many intricate challenges higher education poses, such as connecting with faculty and peers, obtaining academic counseling and mentoring support, interpreting degree plans and meeting graduation requirements.

“Enseñamos en el Valle Central places a strong emphasis on fostering a sense of belonging for students,” said Dr. Patricia D. López, director of the Enseñamos initiative and assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at Fresno State.

“We are intentional about going above mere enrollment of Latinx students and work hard to transform and influence how the institution reflects the students we serve. Our programmatic events are contributing fundamentally to a campus culture that affirms the rich history and cultural contributions of Latinx communities in the Central Valley,” said Lopez.

Fresno State has seen a drastic increase in incoming first-generation students of Hispanic ethnicity, particularly in the past couple years. In 2016, 52.6% of the student body was composed of incoming Hispanic students. That increased to 59.4% in 2020, representing well over half of the campus population. Some colleges, such as the Kremen School of Education and Human Development, saw an even greater increase, catapulting from 59.2% in 2016 to 70.8% in 2020.

One of the many factors that have contributed to the increase in Hispanic students pursuing higher education in the Kremen School is the $3.75 million Title V grant, Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, which created the foundation for the Enseñamos initiative to launch in 2018. Over the past four years, the initiative has flourished and taken shape, promoting the success of future Latinx teachers.

Nearly 65% of Fresno State students are the first generation in their families to earn a college degree, which can change the future trajectory of their lives.

“Many first-generation students are left estranged by higher education through often tedious and confusing processes and a lack of connection to faculty and courses that are detached from their communities and experiences,” said López. “These institutional roadblocks leave students feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, at times squeezing them out of the system altogether.”

Programs such as Enseñamos en el Valle Central respond to these ongoing patterns by focusing on institutional barriers while building up first-generation students to navigate higher education, allowing them to begin their educational journey with peace of mind.

“I have felt I can count on my colleagues as family,” said Trujillo. “I’ve found the best mentorship in our director, Dr. López. The way she advocates for students like me inspires me to build the same environment in my future classroom.”

Adding to the need for more support to Latinx students is a growing demand to increase the number of Latinx teachers, particularly those who can teach in bilingual classrooms. Minority students in higher education at times feel out of place or have experienced alienation among their peers. Having professors who are culturally affirming, approachable and who represent the diverse Latinx culture, allow students to feel more at ease and less isolated in the classroom. They are more likely to engage and ask for assistance if they feel seen and are given a warm and inviting learning environment.

Through collaboration the Enseñamos initiative begins working with students at the high school and community college level — providing counseling guidance and strengthening transfer pathways into Fresno State, structuring a smooth transition through higher education and providing continuous support to enter teaching credential programs.

López has spent the past four years collaborating with students, staff, faculty and community members, watching her vision grow as the program continues expanding.

Enseñamos en el Valle Central has gained traction alongside growing recognition of minority-serving institutions and the critical role they play in serving diverse students of color who are increasingly the face of higher education.

This includes a recent proclamation by President Joseph R. Biden declaring Sept. 12 through 18 as National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week:

“I call on public officials, educators, and all the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that acknowledge the many ways these institutions and their graduates contribute to our country.”

Enseñamos en el Valle Central continues to exemplify the goal of expanding educational opportunities and improving academic and career attainment among Latinx students. This fall they are kicking off a fall Plática and Taller series that centers art, culture, identity and healing, as a way to inspire dialogue among diverse communities and thoughtfully consider what it means to serve Central Valley communities. Events are open to all and can be found on their website along with an inventory of past events such as their highly successful anti-racism series during the 2019-20 academic year.

While many of these events transpire during specific windows of time, Enseñamos understands that students have extremely busy schedules with class conflicts so to guarantee equal access for all participants, they record each event and post details to their website which can be found at this link here.

(Written by Audra Burwell, a creative writing student, and assistant professor Patricia D. López)

Resources for world language teachers across the globe

When Jorge Morales immigrated to the United States from Jalisco, Mexico at age 9, he struggled with culture shock, assimilation to a new life and learning English. He remembers seeing other English learners struggling in school and wishing there were more helpful programs in place.

As Morales grew up, he realized he wanted to help students who are experiencing similar struggles. So he decided to become a teacher.

After graduating from Fresno State with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a Spanish teaching credential, he started teaching Spanish at Sunnyside High School in Fresno.

In 2016, Morales’ second year at Sunnyside, he was eager to find ways to be more effective, and he was inspired by the veteran teachers around him. He learned of workshops offered by the Central California World Language Project at Fresno State and decided to sign up.

World Language Workshops for Teachers

The project is part of a statewide initiative to improve access to high-quality world language instruction for K-12 educators. Both student teachers and experienced teachers are able to use resources and take them into their classrooms. Housed in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at Fresno State, the project is positioned to provide targeted support for the needs of the Valley’s future teachers, including for those who speak Spanish or Hmong languages.

“Teachers learn and leave with strategies, ready to be implemented into the classroom,” said Nancy Perez, project director. “And that’s what makes the project interesting and appealing to teachers, because they come, they learn and they practice.”

The project is not just for world language teachers but provides resources for all teachers. Since the project started in 2014, it has trained and supported over 1,000 teachers.

Historically, workshops were hosted in person, but COVID-19 has shifted the workshops to virtual. The project is offering over 30 free online workshops from July 27 through March 12.

Read more.

Teaching Credential Provides Direct Path to Area English Classrooms

For Breanna Aivazian, a chance to save money on college by living at home felt like a gift to her future self.

For Byanca Leyva, a meaningful job at her high school alma mater felt too good to pass up.

Aivazian and Leyva are just two among dozens of Fresno State alumni this fall who have landed new jobs teaching English and language arts at area high schools. Aivazian teaches freshmen and juniors at Clovis East High School, and Leyva teaches sophomores at McLane High School.

They are among a steady stream of newly minted Fresno State graduates each year who earn a single subject teaching credential in English, and then within a year find themselves immersed in the day-to-day life of a high school classroom, doing the job they’ve trained for.

“Usually, they all get jobs right away,” said Dr. Alison Mandaville, a professor of English who serves as faculty adviser for the English credential program.

The program is co-coordinated by the English Department, within the College of Arts and Humanities, and the Kremen School of Education and Human Development.

Although there were only 18 credential graduates in 2019-20 — “it was a weird spring,” Mandaville said, due to the coronavirus pandemic — the program typically graduates 30 to 40 credentialed English teachers each year. Area school districts remain eager to scoop them up.

Some students, like Aivazian, come to the English credential program through other majors. Most students, like Leyva, come through the undergraduate English education major.

Breanna Aivazian

Born and raised in Fresno, Aivazian said she sees herself living and teaching in the Central Valley “forever.” She appreciated the chance to stay close to home while affordably putting herself through college and starting her career. “My future self is very thankful for the decision,” she said.

As an undergrad, Aivazian wasn’t sure yet what grade level or subject she ultimately wanted to teach, so she majored in liberal studies through the Kremen School, before pursuing the English credential.

“I’ve known since a young age that I wanted to be in the field of education,” Aivazian said. “I wanted to be able to explore different options before making a decision.”

Aivazian received several scholarships from the Armenian Studies Program that supported her undergraduate work. She took four “invaluable” Armenian Studies culture and language courses as part of her electives.

“Being Armenian, it was, and still is, important that I educate myself on the rich history of my people,” she said. “I am very thankful to have had that opportunity.”

Aivazian last year completed the student teaching component of her credential program at Clovis East High, leading to a full-time job there. She said “it feels very full-circle” to be teaching English in Clovis Unified, the same district as her alma mater, Buchanan High School.

Aivazian said the focused time in the credential program — spent working closely with her mentor teachers, department teachers and school site administration, during her student teaching and classroom observations — was meaningful to her professional development and also crucial to getting a quick employment offer.

“I treated every single day like it was a job interview,” she said, “and I got hired at the school where I student-taught.”

Mandaville said Aivazian is a “passionate and dedicated” educator who caught the attention of her assigned school’s administrators right away. She said that type of scenario tends to repeat itself as students like Aivazian progress toward their credential.

“Our students go from being ‘good students’ who like reading and writing, to being creative and active learners who realize they can be leaders in, not just recipients of, their educations,” she said.

Mandaville explained that the meta-cognitive work that English credential candidates and English education majors do — that is, learning and thinking about how and why they learn and think — is immediately transformative for many students. They get a chance to consider their own histories as readers and writers, and they appreciate the power that language and the language arts can have in people’s lives.

“They also think about learning from the other side,” Mandaville said. “They are given permission to critique not only the texts they are reading, but the ways in which they are being taught and have been taught. That literacy, and especially critical literacy, can be a part of making change in the world, in addressing issues of equity. That’s really powerful.”

Aivazian credits Mandaville — who received a 2019-20 Outstanding Advisor Award from the University — for having a big influence on her in the credential program. “I learned so many useful strategies from Dr. Mandaville that I apply in my own classroom today,” she said.

One activity Aivazian regularly uses with her own students is the creation of comic strips and graphic storyboards in order to summarize texts. This approach comes directly from Mandaville, who regularly teaches with graphic novels and other visual texts.

Student teaching taught Aivazian the importance of relationship building and creating a positive classroom culture. “Every student needs to feel safe, valued and respected in order for learning to take place,” she said. “It is so important to cultivate this culture of trust very early on in the school year.”

Aivazian said she tries to make conversation with her students every chance she gets, especially in a time dominated by remote instruction. It makes students feel important when they are able to share things about themselves and what they enjoy, she said.

“At the start of every class, I pose a fun question to everyone and have them respond to it in the chat box,” Aivazian said. “It’s usually something as silly as, ‘If you could ask your pet one question, and they would respond, what would you ask them?’ Relationship building like this has been a little more difficult with virtual learning, but I still make the time to make it work.”

Aivazian calls Dr. Barlow der Mugrdechian, a Fresno State professor of Armenian studies, an “amazing professor” and a master at building relationships with students. She also credits him for introducing her to the works of the late William Saroyan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Armenian American author and Fresno native, who was one of the most prominent international literary figures of the mid-20th century.

“I would love to incorporate a text by William Saroyan into our reading list,” she said. “I have a poster of Saroyan up in my classroom.”

Byanca Leyva

Also born and raised in Fresno, Leyva’s deep connection to her Fresno Unified alma mater, McLane High, played a major role in her decision to attend Fresno State and study English education.

Leyva decided to stay local for college and “become part of the Fresno State family” when she got a job working for the after-school program at McLane right out of high school. A patchwork of federal and state grants, as well as a Dan Van Dyke scholarship for community service, provided her with full financial support.

She remembers feeling excited to work at McLane and to immediately give back to her community there, but she hasn’t always been sure about majoring in English. After years of disliking English classes, Leyva credits her 12th grade English teacher, Robert Hayes, for turning around her experience — by making learning fun and relevant, and by implementing choice in the classroom. Hayes later became her mentor teacher and is now her colleague.

“It only took one teacher to make me see things differently and motivate me to continue learning, growing and succeeding,” Leyva said. “Mr. Hayes was a huge inspiration to me, and he’s the reason why I decided to become an English education major.”

Mandaville said Leyva was a “truly amazing” student and student teacher at Fresno State. Like many students, Leyva started out in the major because she loved reading and writing herself. Students often attribute that love to a secondary school English teacher, Mandaville said, “someone who helped them feel their words and voices mattered.”

“As they move through our program, they begin to see how they can be that teacher for others,” Mandaville said, “and that they can, through literacy work, be agents for empowering others.”

Repaying the communities they grew from by serving them, like Leyva is doing, becomes perhaps the most powerful drive behind their education.

“Many of our students are first-generation college students and have seen firsthand the difference in opportunities they have through education,” Mandaville said. “They want to give back to their communities — and they do.”

Leyva also credits Mandaville as a big influence while studying at Fresno State, pushing her to achieve her full potential while gently but firmly “calling her out” when she fell behind on her work.

“Dr. Mandaville was the one adviser who always encouraged me to follow through and commit to my career goal,” Leyva said. “She was also the only faculty member that I felt believed in me from the moment I became an English education major, all the way until I reached my goal of becoming a teacher.”

Leyva said juggling school, work, student teaching and family responsibilities — including care for her younger school-age siblings — made it difficult to finish her credential. But after speaking with Mandaville, her student teaching coaches, and other mentor teachers, she decided she would not let any obstacles get in her way or break her.

“There was a point during the final stages of initial student teaching when I broke down and contemplated taking time off to gather myself,” Leyva said. “I needed to take a step back and breathe. I concluded that I needed to have patience with myself and keep pushing forward.”

Leyva said her student teaching experience last year was both rewarding and challenging. She had to learn and adapt quickly to multiple grade levels, schools and districts — working with freshmen and juniors at Clovis North High School in the fall, and then with seniors at McLane in the spring. Both experiences, she said, worked together to directly prepare her for the classroom.

“Luckily, I learned a lot about curriculum and most importantly, classroom management,” she said. “Teaching my awesome sophomores now at McLane, I’m loving every second of it.”

By Jefferson Beavers, Fresno State News

Science teacher enters first year on the job with national recognition

It was an exciting day for then-middle schooler Francisco Barajas as he learned how to use solar power to cook food. That was just one of many hands-on experiments Barajas participated in while attending a summer science program at Fresno State 13 years ago.

“The experiments were based on the idea of how we can push away from using fossil fuels,” Barajas said. “We were doing physics and there was a lot of hands-on construction.” This memory stuck with Barajas as he built a passion for science.

Many teachers will say their passion for teaching came from having great teachers growing up — and Barajas is no different. He remembers having several teachers who pushed him to have fun with science, leading him on the path to becoming a science teacher.

Fast forward 13 years and Barajas has been nominated for the Resident of the Year award from the National Center for Teacher Residencies.

Barajas is currently pursuing his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at Fresno State while simultaneously completing a single subject teaching credential in science. He is able to complete both of these programs through the Fresno Teacher Residency Program.

“It feels amazing, and I’m surprised,” Barajas said. “I feel weird that this is something that I accomplished and they saw that much potential in me.” This year, the National Center for Teacher Residencies is recognizing 15 resident nominees from around the country. This award honors the tremendous work residents are doing to learn and grow as they prepare to become full-time teachers.

After graduating from Fresno State in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Barajas spent the next year working as a substitute teacher and after-school program guide. He remembers speaking with the librarian at Sunnyside High School in Fresno and learning the librarian’s daughter went through the teacher residency program. This was not the first time he had heard good things about the program, and he decided to enroll in summer 2019 with an anticipated graduation date of fall 2020.

“It’s an intense program, but you have more than enough support,” Barajas said. “The whole idea is that you aren’t going at this alone. There was never someone I couldn’t talk to.”

Fresno State is dedicated to making a difference in teacher preparation. Teacher residency programs are intensive preservice preparation through which residents become members of the school community on Day 1 and contribute to the community throughout their teacher preparation. The residency model combines rigorous masters-level coursework, teacher credentialing coursework and in-classroom apprenticeship. Evidence shows that residents, upon graduation, are more like second-year teachers in their first year of teaching.

Amy Bennett, Fresno Unified School District’s teacher residency program coordinator, said the partnership between Fresno State and the district was established 12 years ago.

“The residency program allows for collaboration to occur on a regular basis,” Bennett said. “We have resident graduates that are coming in well prepared to work in Fresno Unified. Their entire credentialing experience has been contextualized in our district. Not only is their student teaching being conducted in our classrooms, but they are engaging in professional learning, throughout the entire school year provided by our district, so they’re up to date on all the current initiatives.”

Bennett nominated Barajas for the Resident of the Year award. “He stood out right away in our professional learnings because he is so highly invested in the conversation, willing to participate and make connections to his own experience. He brought background knowledge from his subbing experience that stood out to me right away. He was eager to learn, receptive to the information he was learning, willing to turn it around and apply it to the practice in the classroom.”

Barajas completed his residency in a science classroom at Scandinavian Middle School in Fresno. The science teachers took him under their wing and helped him along the way. He recently accepted a job at Yosemite Middle School as an eighth-grade science teacher and will begin this fall. He is currently planning for his first year to be taught via distance learning and is working on his syllabus and management plan.

“I’m getting used to the idea of working on Microsoft Teams. I have to get used to how to maneuver my way through it and how to set up different groups,” Barajas said. “I’m figuring out exactly how am I going to take attendance and be able to do a warm-up online.”

Fresno Unified is supporting its teachers through this online transition, providing a hub of resources on its website that both teachers and residents have access to. Barajas said he has had an excellent experience and feels well prepared for his first year of teaching.

See why this liberal studies graduate strives to put others first

While walking through the streets of San Francisco when she was 7 years old, Ariel Mendez remembers seeing a man holding a sign that read, “hungry.” She and her dad had just finished lunch, and she got his permission to give the man her leftovers. This is the first memory Mendez has of helping the homeless.

Mendez has always loved school and valued her education. Growing up in Tulare, education was an outlet for her.

As Mendez grew into a young woman, she continually felt driven to help others. While attending Tulare Union High School, she created a club called “Be The Change.” The club collected donations of new socks that the students gave to the homeless for winter. For Mendez, this was just the beginning of her efforts to help those around her.

Seeing the impact of donating socks to the homeless ignited a flame inside Mendez. She knew she had the power to do so much more.

“God put this in my heart,” Mendez said. “I have always seen myself as second, and I put others first.”

Mendez would continually visit the homeless and donate items of need. She noticed water and toothbrushes were a priority, so she would visit her local Costco and use her personal savings to stock up on supplies.

In June 2019, Mendez conducted her first large-scale donation to the homeless. She took to social media and asked her followers to donate any clothing they no longer needed. She received an overwhelming amount of support from her family and community. With a car full of donated clothes, she researched which states had the worst homelessness, and she started to drive. Mendez was able to reach five states in five days, donating all of the clothing to the homeless. She conducted a second round of donations and was then able to visit nine states in 10 days.

During her efforts to give, she has studied to become a teacher. She will graduate this May with her bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and a multiple subject teaching credential. As a transfer student from the College of the Sequoias, Mendez enrolled in the Fresno State Visalia Campus’ Integrated Teacher Education Program. The program allows students to transfer from a partner community college in the South Valley to the Fresno State Visalia Campus and complete a bachelor’s degree and teaching credential in just two additional years, all while staying in the South Valley.

Fresno State is celebrating its first graduating cohort from the program. With a graduating class of 28 students, cohorts have been growing year over year, with an expected enrollment of 50 students for fall 2020.

“Ariel will be an example of a teacher committed to social justice that we hope for from the South Valley [program],” said Dr. Frederick Nelson, associate professor and chair of the Department of Liberal Studies. “Her passion and dedication have been present throughout the program and have spread among many of her colleagues in the cohort. We are proud of her as a graduate of the first cohort of the South Valley [program].”

Mendez said she has always wanted to be a champion for children. Through teaching, she will be able to give love, support and nourishment to children.

In true Mendez fashion, she is dedicating her first teaching paycheck to go completely to helping people in need. She has already accepted a position with the Peace Corps. Once travel restrictions are lifted, Mendez plans to travel to Africa to work as a teacher. “My job as a teacher,” Mendez said, “would be to improve the English language speaking, writing, teaching and learning capacity of students, teachers, schools and communities in order to improve access to academic and/or professional opportunities, information and resources.”

Fresno State Alumnus Creates User-Friendly Educational Website for 5-year-olds

Parents across the country are in a very unique situation — many juggling the stresses of keeping their families healthy in the current environment while also navigating how to homeschool their children because of school closures.

School districts continue to transition from on-ground education to distant learning as some districts have announced school closures for the remainder of the school year, and others, such as Clovis Unified, will be closed at least through May 1.

Meanwhile, Valley teachers are at home missing their students and working to find ways to connect.

There are many barriers for school districts and teachers trying to ensure a stable learning environment. Do students have access to technology? Is there an adult available to facilitate the learning? Are children motivated and able to maintain a daily schedule?

Fresno Unified School District, serving over 74,000 students across almost 100 square miles, has created a digital hub of resources for parents to access. Ranging from educational websites, daily learning schedules per grade level, special education learning resources and resources translated in Spanish and Hmong.

One Fresno Unified teacher decided to take distant learning a step further.

David Hunter, a transitional kindergarten (TK) teacher at Ericson Elementary School near Chestnut and Clinton avenues, wanted to increase the connectivity between teachers and students. He knew some parents were overwhelmed with the stay-at-home order and school closures, and he wanted to create a resource his 5-year-old students could navigate themselves.

With the help of his fellow TK teachers, he collected a variety of educational videos created by the teachers that aligned with the learning curricula for his students. Students can see their own teachers guiding them in a learning activity.

Hunter wanted to create a website where his students could access these videos and navigate their way through the site. As a father himself, he recruited his 13-year-old daughter, Amelie, to build the site. Together, they created the Fresno TK website.

Hunter, who earned his teaching credential in early childhood education from Fresno State, has been teaching in the Central Valley for over a decade.

“My Fresno State education certainly helped me be a creative thinker,” Hunter said. “The thing I appreciate the most from my early childhood program is the focus on the early learning and what children need. That is what has helped me the most in thinking about, when I’m providing this resource to the children, how do I make it in a way that is still engaging and interactive and meeting their needs?”

Hunter states that most TK children aren’t reading yet and are still learning how to identify letters and numbers, so the website doesn’t have a lot of text. It is built with shapes and colors, similar to how the children learn in the classroom.

“In TK we do a lot of visual schedules, so we have pictures of what we do at each time of the day,” Hunter said. “So I wanted the front page of the website designed in a way so the kids can see the visual pictures and think, ‘Oh yeah, I go to the triangle to get the read alouds,’ or, ‘I go to the oval to do this.’ It is visually based for them to navigate easily and it isn’t needing a lot of parent help.”

Amelie is an eighth-grader at Computech Middle School and last year learned how to build a website using Google Sites. With this skill, she built the entire Fresno TK website, including over 10 pages and embedded videos.

“My daughter has been a huge part of this, and she will continue the role of doing the site maintenance, uploads and design.”

With over 10 teachers providing video content, including read alouds with superintendent Bob Nelson, Hunter plans to update content each week. He is encouraging parents to have their young children do one activity and one read aloud a day. There is even a link to a Spanish version of the website created by Scott Merrill, a dual-immersion TK teacher at Ewing Elementary School in Fresno.

“The website is a good resource for parents to supplement any instructional materials they are receiving from their own schools,” Merrill said. “But I am also trying to provide content for Spanish learners, because our goal is for students to be bilingual and biliterate. So, they need to have resources where they can continue to develop both languages. I made the Spanish website separate so I can help our culturally and linguistically diverse students continue to become biliterate.”

Merrill is also a Fresno State alumnus, having earned his multiple subject teaching credential and bilingual authorization.

The websites have been live for less than three weeks and are already seeing great success, both domestically and globally. Hunter is currently in the works of partnering with TK teachers from Twin Rivers School District and Central Unified School District to clone the site for their students. He also received video content from teachers in Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District in northern California.