Fresno Unified gets $500,000 grant

A new $500,000 grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation will help Fresno Unified find new ways to improve children’s health and academic success.

The district was one of three organizations awarded grants donated by the foundation this month. San Jose-based Franklin-McKinley School District and the Oakland Public Education Fund will also receive money.

Deanna Mathies, Fresno Unified’s manager for early learning, said the district is using the money through a partnership with Head Start, Central Valley Children’s Services Network and Exceptional Parents Unlimited.

Together, the organizations will try new teacher training methods and work with parents and grandparents to increase their engagement in their children’s learning. The money will also go toward expanding children’s access to health and development screenings while they’re young.

Mathies said the goal is to find what works best, and then expand it across Fresno Unified schools.