FACES of Fresno Unified FALL 2023 Magazine Template_FALL EDITION #4 11.15.23 final | Page 4

Fresno Unified is focused on literacy through its new Every Child is a Reader campaign , which aims to have all students reading by grade level by the end of first grade .

Teachers like Thomas Elementary School ’ s Tamika Tatum are crucial pieces of the plan .
“ This is the very beginning . So initially it ’ s figuring out what are the important things that make literacy instruction great . It starts with good teaching first , assessing your students , knowing where they are so that you ’ re able to fill in those gaps ,” Tatum said .
Tatum was raised by educators and has been teaching for 11 years , starting off with sixth grade , and now teaching first . She says the best thing about her role is getting to know the students and seeing their individual personalities blossom .
When she interacts with her class , her patience and kindness shine through , and she ’ s excited to play a part in meeting literacy goals .
The district is investing $ 20 million per year for the next five years into its concerted literacy efforts , specifically targeting
4 FACES preschool through first graders . It is also spending $ 2.1 million on 15 additional literacy coaches to support early literacy and $ 1.7 million on additional high school teachers to support smaller class sizes in literacy .
Last year , a Literacy Task Force was formed that brought together educators ( including Tatum ), community members and parents . They brainstormed ideas and discussed specifically what the district needed to improve .
Tatum said they created three pillars to guide their conversations around literacy .
Pillar one focuses on high quality instruction , professional learning for all educational partners and aligned assessments . Pillar two focuses on a multi-tiered system of support using high quality tutorials and extended learning opportunities . Pillar three focuses on home literacy routines , providing high-interest resources for families and collective ownership through partnerships .
“ We know that it has to be a partnership . It ’ s a village . It has to be a partnership with our parents , our community and educators in order to help our students be successful ,” Tatum said . Instructional leaders are working with each region on individualized literacy plans , which will be rolled out this year .
“ Every community , every school is different , and the needs are different . As educators , our goal has always been around doing whatever we can to make sure our students are successful when they leave us and go to the next grade ,” Tatum said .
She said the efforts will be very data driven . As a child moves through school , their assessments will be handed off to the next teacher , so they know right away if
Kyree Maddox , left , and Emery Vang work on their reading skills in Tamika Tatum ’ s first grade class at Thomas Elementary School