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Professional Development Center opens at Fremont School District Office

By Miriam G. Mazliach

May 28, 2013

With a brisk snip from an exaggerated pair of scissors, the festive ribbon was cut on May 6, officially opening up the Fremont Bank Foundation Professional Development Center at the Fremont Unified School District Office. Work had begun in November, according to Hattie Hyman Hughes, Executive Vice President, Nonprofit Group, and President, Fremont Bank Foundation. “It’s amazing and happened rather quickly. It’s beautiful and inviting. We’re interested in facilities where people are coming together to share ideas -- teachers, parents and students.”

The new video/T.V. production and training center for professional development was made possible through a $277,000 grant from the Fremont Bank Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Fremont Bank. Superintendent Dr. James Morris detailed that the funds were allocated accordingly: Construction: $150,000; Furniture: $30,000; Technology: $27,500; and Equipment/TV studio: $69,500.

This unique facility will provide significant training opportunities for the district’s teachers, administrators and staff. The center, with its accessible technology and ongoing educational opportunities, will also be a resource for parents, students and the community as a whole.

Besides professional development, the facility houses a state-of-the-art television studio. On Mondays, at 7 p.m., FUSD produces and airs “Community Conversations” on Comcast Channel 26, which highlights school news and issues from around the district of interest to the community.

David Thornley of FUSD’s Instructional Technology Department stated, “In this era of technology, this center is a training model; it’s the first time we have training available in one location with state of the art equipment. Dr. Morris recognized the importance of a facility for training with open, flexible learning space. This is an opportunity for teachers, staff, and students to have constructive learning in person and also online.”

President of Fremont’s Board of Education, Larry Sweeney said, “It [the Center] will be a point of pride. Thanks to the generosity of Fremont Bank and the Hyman Family. You [Hattie Hyman Hughes] are the epitome of what a community partner should be, by giving back.”

Dr. Morris had recently stated that creating such a center had been a district priority; but with the economic uncertainty, it had been delayed until Fremont Bank Foundation gifted the district with the funds to bring the project to fruition.

“Dr. James Morris and Fremont Bank worked well together to have this happen,” said Hattie Hyman Hughes. “We [Fremont Bank Foundation] provided the financing, but Dr. Morris provided the dream.”

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