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Growing Strong Learners: Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District

Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District is taking a multi-level approach to addressing the needs of their youngest English Learners.  Their first goal is to serve more students, and they’ve achieved this by expanding their Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program to include more 4 year-olds.  Secondly, they are working to engage parents through “Caregiver and Me” classes and the expansion of programs that build parent leadership in the district. Finally, data is collected and analyzed by Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) consisting of teachers and administrators.  These PLCs look at multiple measures of progress to ensure students are ready for Kindergarten.

Their goals include:

  • Expansion of TK to include more 4-year olds, thus creating more slots for 3-year olds in their Preschool program.
  • Engaging parents and families through “Caregiver and Me” classes.
  • Analyzing data through PLCs that look at multiple measures of progress to ensure Kindergarten readiness.

Snapshot of plans for year 2-3: Bilingual Outreach Aides will contact parents, inform them of classes and trainings, and encourage enrollment and attendance.  Staff will work to identify and implement a new, robust, research-based home visiting program that aligns with the Tulare County Office of Education’s home-based model.

Cutler Orosi grantee
Cutler Orosi grantee


Building Brilliant Futures for English Learners



The James B. McClatchy Foundation has awarded grants to school districts in the Central Valley since 2009 with the primary purpose of advancing the academic achievement of the Valley’s English Learners.  In 2017, JBMF (then the Central Valley Foundation) formed the English Learner Advisory Group in order to identify potential high impact grantmaking opportunities for English Learners in the Central Valley. One such opportunity was improving the quality of and increasing access to prekindergarten programs. As a result, the “Growing Strong Learners” initiative launched in 2018.   

The approach of the Growing Strong Learners initiative is asset-based, and prioritizes home language and culture, as well as English acquisition.  In this vein, JBMF supports school systems, programs, and partners as they leverage the strengths of the Valley’s diverse learners and their families. The initiative’s goal is that all Dual Language Learners in the Central Valley enter Kindergarten at the same level or beyond that of their native English-speaking peers and are supported by lasting structures that ensure they thrive throughout their educational journeys.

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