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Fresno Unified School District expects students to progress through each grade level within one school year. To accomplish this, instruction should accommodate a variety of ways that students learn and include strategies for addressing academic deficiencies when needed.


Students shall progress through the grade levels by demonstrating growth in learning and meeting grade-level standards of expected student achievement.


The Board recognizes that very few children benefit from being retained during the elementary and middle grades. As early as possible in the school year, the Superintendent or designee shall identify students who are at risk of being retained.

Retention Procedures

When a student is identified as being at risk of retention, the Superintendent or designee shall notify the student’s parents/guardians as early in the school year as practicable. The decision to promote or retain a student may be appealed.

How to Appeal

  1. Parents/Guardians submit an Appeal form by clicking on a button below.
  2. The District will schedule a consultation within 30 days of receiving the Appeal form.
  3. For more information contact Karen.Furlow@fresnounified.org or call 559-457-3496.

Frequently Asked Questions

Each student is unique, and each request will be individually reviewed.  However, research summarized by the California Department of Education (FAQs Pupil Promotion & Retention – Pupil Promotion & Retention), indicates that retention does not produce higher achievement and is one of the most powerful predictors of high school dropout.

Yes, a school can retain or promote a student without parent or guardian approval. However, the district Promotion Retention policy approved by the district’s school board must provide an appeal process for parents who disagree with a principal’s decision for their student.

A parent has a right to appeal the decision to promote or retain a child. State law requires districts to have a promotion and retention criteria for students. The District’s policy provides identification of students who should be retained and who are at risk of being retained in their current grade based on grades and other indicators of academic achievement.

Any special education student who is recommended for retention must have an IEP meeting prior to the final decision to retain. In the case of students, who are in the referral or assessment process, the teacher in consultation with the site administrator and student study team should make the promotion/retention decision.

The state does not require school districts to have student promotion and retention criteria beyond the last year of middle school to the first year of high school.

No student should be retained more than once during the primary grades and once during the intermediate grades, and/or once during the middle school grades.

To appeal a decision, the appealing party shall submit a written request to the Superintendent or designee specifying the reasons why the school’s decision should be overruled. Complete an Appeal form here.  Then click the “Submit” tab.  The appeal must be initiated within 10 school days of the determination of retention or promotion.

Within 30 school days of receiving the request, the Superintendent or designee shall determine whether or not to overrule the teacher’s decision. Prior to making this determination, the

Superintendent or designee may meet with the appealing party and the teacher. If the Superintendent or designee determines that the appealing party has overwhelmingly proven that the teacher’s decision should be overruled, he/she shall overrule the teacher’s decision.

The decision of the Superintendent or designee shall be final. If the decision of the Board is unfavorable to the appealing party, they shall have the right to submit a written statement of objection, which shall become part of the student’s record.

The district will schedule a personalize consultation within 30 days of receiving a written request to review and discuss all learning recovery options, including access to retake prior semester courses where the student received the deficient grades and other interventions and supports.

Parents/Guardians will be notified of the retention decision within 10 days of the consultation.

How Parents Can Help

Retention may not help a child learn. But in order to succeed, your child might need different instruction, not the same thing again that did not work the first time.  Parents and teachers can work together to help children succeed.  By catching the problem early, there are greater chances for success.

It is important to know what assignments your child has and which type of work is difficult for him or her to understand and complete. Ask what is being done to help your child and what you can do at home to be helpful.

Ask your child about homework each day.  Help them to find a quiet time and place to study.  Check to see if your child can explain the assignment to you or read the directions.  Make sure your child understands that you think schoolwork is important.

Be sure your child attends school on time every day, eats balanced meals, gets enough sleep, and receives good medical care.  Children need to be alert and healthy to succeed in school.

Grade retention may appear to be the simple answer to a child’s learning problems, but more effective alternatives are available. It can be frustrating to know your child is not succeeding at school.  It can make a parent feel frustrated. Before considering retention, parents can get help from other professionals at school.  These people offer ideas for parents and teachers about how to change instruction.  They also provide testing to find out if a child needs other services such as tutoring or special education and may have some different learning materials that will work with your child.  Contact the principal at your school site for more information.

The following are examples of research-based alternatives to grade retention that parents can initiate:

  • Frequent parent-teacher communication about student progress
  • Parent-teacher collaboration to provide academic practice opportunities at home
  • Creating home environments that help students complete their homework
  • Parent supervision of homework completion
  • Parent involvement in school-wide and classroom­ based interventions
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