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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, they 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.

Ethnic Studies is a “critical and interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity with a focus on the
experiences and perspectives of people of color within and beyond the United States.” As a separate discipline from
History, Ethnic Studies specifically analyzes “the ways in which race and racism have been, and continue to be,
powerful social, cultural, and political forces and their connections to other axes of stratification, including gender, class,
sexuality, and legal status.”

The role of ethnic studies is to change the curriculum to promote critical thinking regarding the intersection
between systems, social and ethnic minorities status so that material is substantially inclusive of all students and the
achievements, experiences, and perspectives of the individuals and people of color in history that have often been
hidden behind Eurocentric curricula in K-12 education

In 2010, the National Education Association (NEA) published The Academic and Social Value of Ethnic
Studies, which reported ethnic studies has a positive impact on students of color.
Results showed that ethnic studies benefited students in observable ways: they became more academically engaged,
increased educational outcomes on academic tests, improved graduation rates, and developed a sense of self-efficacy
and personal empowerment

Fresno Unified is a place where: Diversity is valued, Educational excellence and equity are expected, Individual responsibility
and participation by all is required, collaborative adult relationships are essential, and, parents, students and the
community as a whole are vital partners.” Fresno Unified School District is committed to providing excellent educational opportunities to all of our
students, without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, income, sexual orientation, or disability, and is guided by
the core values of equity, inclusiveness, and universally high expectations.

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