Fresno Pacific University and Chawanakee Unified School District in Madera County have signed a partnership to provide a smooth pathway for district students from Minarets High School, Minarets Charter High School and Chawanakee Academy Charter to be admitted to the university.

“We are very excited about this opportunity for our students, our community and our school district,” said Minarets Principal Mark Fowler at the signing ceremony January 26, 2023, at the high school.

The partnership, in the form of a memo of understanding (MOU), guarantees admission at FPU and a minimum financial aid package to qualified Minarets students. The university is also planning events at Minarets, Minarets Charter and Chawanakee Academy Charter, including financial aid workshops to students and their families and on-the-spot admissions days where students can complete the steps needed to attend FPU.

Another feature of the agreement could be a continuing benefit for the future of Chawanakee Unified School District and its growing community. A teacher pipeline program will support Chawanakee students interested in becoming teachers by bringing those students to FPU for programs that lead to credentials and degrees in education, such as liberal studies credentials for elementary school teachers and single-subject credentials for middle- and high-school teachers. The university also has a comprehensive selection of master’s degrees and specialized credentials in areas including administration, counseling/school psychology and special education.

“Once they graduate from FPU, some of those students could come right back to Minarets or other schools in the Chawanakee Unified School District system,” said Jon Endicott, vice president for enrollment management and student services at FPU. “The State of California is projecting a shortage of teachers, and Minarets itself is growing.”

This is the second such agreement FPU has made recently. The first being Chaffey Joint Union High School District in Ontario, CA, which signed an MOU in October. These agreements are part of the future for FPU, according to André Stephens, Ph.D., president. “Such actions such speak directly to our desire to provide as many qualified students as possible with the professional, personal and spiritual benefits of a Fresno Pacific education.”   

About Minarets/Minarets Charter High School

Minarets High School and Charter High School enroll about 457 students in grades 9-12 at its campus at 45077 Road 200, O’Neals, CA, and more through its charter program, both part of Chawanakee Unified School District. Minarets students engage in a challenging academic experience driven by professional-level technology, project-based instruction and college and career readiness. Minarets is a community where professionalism, academic rigor and social success are the foundation for learning. More about the Chawanakee Unified School District and Chawanakee Academy Charter.

About FPU

Fresno Pacific University is the only accredited Christian university founded in the Central Valley, offering undergraduate, graduate and seminary programs to more than 3,000 traditional and adult students on five campuses and online. The university also reaches about 8,000 students through professional development studies. FPU is a Hispanic Serving Institution, with a Hispanic student population of 56 percent. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, FPU ranks in the top tier among western universities—master’s category by U.S. News & World Report. Both U.S. News and Washington Monthly include FPU on their “Best Value” and “Best Bang for the Buck” lists, U.S. News places it at number 3 in its category for student social mobility and Money has ranked it at number 11 among 50 Best Colleges for Transfer Students. More about Fresno Pacific University.

Photo from left: Stefanie Camacho, interim counselor at MHS; Claudia vanDenBurgh, school counselor; Stephanie Melvin, school counselor; Mark Fowler, Minarets/Charter High School principal; André Stephens, Ph.D., president of FPU; and Jessica Fairbanks, director of human resources for the Chawanakee Unified School District.




Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations