The U.S. Department of Education awarded $1.7 million to the University for “REACHABLE”—Reimagine Educating: American Civics and History Academies for Better Learning and Engagement. For the past two years, the U.S. Department of Education has selected one entity in the entire nation to receive the award for this new program.

“This is an affirmation of the university’s vision and ability to instill passion and appreciation for subjects like U.S. History and Civics that are important to our nation,” said Provost Lynnette Zelezny, who spearheaded pursuit of the award. “We are proud that Fresno State is once again leading the way toward educational excellence in the San Joaquin Valley and in the country.”

Dr. Michelle DenBeste, dean of the College of Social Sciences, will provide daily leadership to REACHABLE.

“We designed a program that fuses rigorous professional development for Fresno’s high school teachers with an inspiring summer experience for Fresno’s high school students,” said Dr. DenBeste.

The U.S. Department of Education award funds two academies: a Presidential Academy that provides intensive professional development for 250 teachers and a Congressional Academy that provides an inspiring experience for 500 students.

Both Academies include an immersion learning experience in Yosemite National Park, plus additional activities in a number of national parks, monuments and historic places. Sites include Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park, Angel Island National Historic Landmark, Fort Baker, the Presidio, Death Valley National Park, Manzanar National Historic Site and the César Chávez National Park. The project also takes advantage of the resources offered by California State parks such as Colonel Allensworth State Park that preserves Allensworth, the only California town founded, financed and governed by African Americans.

In addition to the Fresno Unified School District, the University is partnering with the California History-Social Science Project and the Fresno Historical Society, as well as bringing in national guest lecturers to ratchet up even more the high quality of the REACHABLE program to deliver effective and stimulating history and civics education.