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Brewing Within Episode 5: a parent and teacher share their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic

Fresno parents and teachers were struggling to help their children and themselves deal with loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic

In "Brewing Within" episode 5, ONME News, Julia Dudley Najieb talks to a parent who resides in Fresno County where her son was transitioning from eighth grade to the ninth grade -- in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. She found some workable solutions, as well as roadblocks that were challenging.

Thereafter, Dudley Najieb talks with renowned teacher and coach Chris Finley, who felt pulled in different directions as a parent, teacher and coach. He describes the difficult experience he had to wade through, and the biggest upsets he felt could have been avoided if there was better communication.


Fresno County is located in the central portion of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 1,008,654. Within the county is California's fifth largest city, Fresno.

The area now known as Fresno County was the traditional homeland of Yokuts and Mono peoples, and was later settled by Spaniards during a search for suitable mission sites. In 1846, this area became part of the United States as a result of the Mexican War. Fresno County was formed in 1856 from parts of Mariposa, Merced and Tulare counties.


Fresno Unified School District, which is a part of the Fresno County Office of Education, has over 100 public schools serving 69,825 students as of the start of 2023 school year. This district's average testing ranking is 4/10, which is in the bottom 50% of public schools in California: Public Schools in Fresno Unified School District have an average math proficiency score of 30% (versus the California public school average of 40%), and reading proficiency score of 38% (versus the 51% statewide average) according to state stats. Fresno Unified School District, which is ranked #1251 of all 1,873 school districts in California (based off of combined math and reading proficiency testing data) for the 2018-2019 school year. However, the school district's graduation rate of 86% has increased from 79% over five school years.

Minority enrollment is 92% of the student body (majority Hispanic), which is more than the California public school average of 78% (majority Hispanic).

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