Education Lab

Education Buzz for Sunday, March 13

Education office gives backpacks to homeless kids

Two thousand backpacks will be provided to Fresno County students experiencing homelessness, according to the Fresno County Office of Education.

Feed the Children, a national organization, delivered the backpacks March 9.

The backpacks include essential supplies such as toothpaste, deodorant and body wash, children’s books and snacks.

The backpacks will be transferred from the Fresno Unified School District Warehouse to the Fresno County Office of Education, where they will be distributed to students in need through the Foster and Homeless Youth Education Services program.

Student nominated as volunteer

An eighth-grader at St. Anthony of Padua School has been nominated by her school for organizing a toy drive for another school.

Grace Baker was nominated for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for facilitating the toy drive in December for students at Martin Luther King Jr. school for the last four years, and for inspiring other students, parents and staff members to assist her in this service project.

She also received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, which included a letter of congratulations and thanks from President Barack Obama.

Roosevelt students win competition

Student entrepreneurs from Roosevelt High School in Fresno were recognized by Virtual Enterprise International, spokeswoman Rossana Weitekamp said.

The Roosevelt students took part in the Virtual Enterprise Trade Show in Oakland, Calif., on March 5, where they won the Sustainable Business Plan competition.

The students formed their own business – Every Drop Counts – at their high school as part of a Virtual Enterprise course that is taught at thousands of other high schools throughout the country, Wietekamp said.

The students competed against 1,300 student-entrepreneurs from California, New York, Illinois and Oregon, Wietekamp said. The students represented 72 virtual businesses formed in classrooms.

The Roosevelt High students also took first place in the business card portion of the competition.

Fresno State completes plan

Fresno State has developed its latest five-year plan to maximize student success at the university, Fresno State President Joseph Castro said.

The five-year strategic plan will serve as a guide to effectively implement bold and focused strategies to further the success of students, Castro said.

The plan identifies four priorities: enhance teaching and learning; invest in faculty and staff; improve physical technological infrastructure; engage with community partners.

The plan was developed by a committee that represents various constituencies such as students, faculty, staff and community members.

The entire plan is available on the Fresno State website.

Environmental ed goes digital

California teachers will have easier, digital access to the state’s Education and the Environment Initiative curriculum, according to a new partnership announced March 9.

As part of a new agreement with EdCaliber, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery says it is making it easier for teachers to gain access to the initiative’s free, 85-unit curriculum through the company’s new Lessoner digital platform.

Subscribed school districts in California can continue their free access to the initiative’s curriculum and materials online at

The initiative, approved by the State Board of Education in 2010, is a state-sponsored curriculum that brings education about the environment into the state’s K-12 schools.

Thousands of teachers statewide use it to support Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, according to CalRecycle.