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January 18, 2017

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Picture of the Week

Balderas Elementary School students sprinkle kindness on the street corner with encouraging signs.

Video of the Week

Link to video of the week
Baird Middle School opens its new academic building on January 9.

Dates to Know

January 24
LCAP Workshop 5:30 p.m.
Roosevelt High – Cafeteria

January 25
5:30 p.m. Board of Education

February 7
Excellence in Education Dinner


Welcome to Community Zone, an e-newsletter from the Fresno Unified School District featuring news of the district, schools and links to news in the media. Sign up to receive this newsletter every two weeks. Questions? Contact

Community News

Superintendent Hanson Announces Future Plans

Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson announced in December that he would honor his contract with the district through August 2017. He has held the position since 2005. Hanson, champion of academic reform, was appointed superintendent at a time when the district was struggling academically and financially and facing a possible state takeover. The superintendent played a critical role in driving the graduation rate from 69.2% to 83.8% and was also instrumental in developing a sound financial structure for the operation that has led to 12 consecutive balanced budgets. 

Community Invited to Idea Exchange Workshops

Fresno Unified is inviting the community, employees and parents to participate in discussions around the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).  Those interested in sharing ideas can attend the Community Idea Exchange workshops listed below. (Several workshops have already been held at other high schools.) The workshops include information on student outcomes, an update on programs and services funded in the district's LCAP, and a time for feedback on how future funding could be spent. Opinions offered at the workshops will help the Fresno Unified Board of Education determine how funds will be best spent to meet the needs of students.  Babysitting, light food, and translation services will be provided. 




January 24, 2017

5:30 p.m.

Roosevelt High – Cafeteria​

Hoover High Building Named in Janet Ryan’s Honor

Fresno Unified officials and community members gathered December 12 to rename Hoover High School’s newest academic building, opened in 2013, after retiring board member Janet Ryan. Ryan served on the Fresno Unified Board of Education for 12 years, is a longtime Hoover region community member and has volunteered on a number of boards and organizations in Fresno. The Board of Education voted at its October 26 meeting to rename the building the “Janet Martino Ryan Academic Building.”

District Recruits African-American Men to be Mentors

Fresno Unified hosted a Mentoring Matters community event at Fresno State University's Satellite Student Union on December 10 with the goal of recruiting 100 African-American men to mentor district youth.  The keynote speaker was Edison High School graduate Bruce Bowen, a three-time NBA champion who is now an ESPN analyst.

Picture This: Gallery Space for Student Art

The district has leased gallery space in one of downtown Fresno’s most high-profile exhibit venues, the M Street Arts Complex. The 731 square-foot Gallery One space will be used to exhibit works from a pilot arts project involving students of all ages from 14 classes at seven schools. Student exhibits will be part of ArtHop events on the First Thursday of the month throughout the school year. The gallery space will also be used for visual arts instruction and curating by teachers and guest artists. Schools involved in the pilot project this year are Aynesworth, Easterby and King elementary schools; Bullard TALENT K-8 School; Kings Canyon Middle School; and Edison and McLane high schools.

Student Support Services, Attendance/SARB have Moved

Two areas under the Department of Prevention & Intervention have moved. Student Support Services and Attendance/SARB are now located at Fresno Adult School, 2500 Stanislaus St., Fresno, CA 93721. Visit the DPI website for new phone numbers. The new fax number is (559) 457-6001.  

Scholarships and Cash Prizes Available for Students

Make a Difference scholarships are available for high school seniors working to improve their community through volunteering or mentoring, and who demonstrate kindness, compassion and leadership. The scholarships are sponsored by Maya Cinemas in partnership with the Fresno County Office of Education. The deadline is February 1.
Make a Difference Scholarship Flyer
Make a Difference Scholarship Application

Students are invited to enter the 2017 Ninth Circuit Civics Contest, with cash prizes for winning essays and videos. The theme of the contest is “Not to be Forgotten: Legal Lessons of the Japanese Internment.” Entries will be accepted beginning February 1, with a deadline of April 16.
Ninth Circuit Civics Contest Flyer

Superintendent Board Remarks from January 11, 2017

Superintendent Hanson welcomed everyone back from the holiday break and provided a brief report to the Board of Education including:

• Superintendent thanked the community for their kindness over the holidays as employees donated 300 coats for students in need; community members provided each of our 360 students at Kirk Elementary a wrapped gift; students and adults alike around our district gave their time at food banks, volunteering, donating and giving of their time for the students and families of our district. Thank you.

• Students returned to Baird Middle School on Monday to a new building. While there are still a few final touches being made, the new classrooms are home to outdoor life sciences and an agriculture garden area has been added.  Hanson shared a video showcasing the new classrooms.

• We’re weeks away from opening the new building at Bullard High School with 24 more classrooms. When combined with the new classrooms that opened this time last year at Bullard, 30 portable classrooms will have been replaced.  All made possible by Measure Q dollars approved by voters in 2010. The district looks forward to continuing these important facilities improvements with funds from the recently passed Measure X.

• Later this month the district will roll out a new emergency notification system. The text system is designed to quickly alert parents/guardians when safety issues have developed that require early dismissal or changes that will potentially disrupt the school day. Superintendent made a plea to parents and guardians to make sure their emergency cell phone numbers are updated in the system. More to follow on this new communication tool in the coming weeks.

• Superintendent Hanson spoke of a new partnership with CBS47, Fresno County Sheriff’s Department, Internet Crimes Children Task Force and EECU launching the CyberSafe Parent Program. Through a series of public service announcements (PSA) that will air on channel 47 and sister station KSEE 24 the program promotes safe and responsible use of the internet with online tips for parents.

• Hanson concluded by sharing that the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 9, serving school districts in Fresno, Merced, Madera and Mariposa counties, has selected finalists for Administrator of the Year awards on February 27. Fresno Unified finalists include Edith Navarro, principal at Kings Canyon Middle School; Miguel Arias, chief information officer; Paul Idsvoog, chief of Human Resources/Labor Relations; Yolanda Jimenez-Ruiz, administrator for adult education; Tammy Townsend, executive officer for State and Federal Programs; and Superintendent Michael Hanson, President’s Choice Award. Congratulations and best wishes to all the finalists. Board President Ashjian added that Superintendent Hanson is also being recognized by ACSA with their President’s Choice Award.

Full Board Recap for January 11, 2017

Employer of Choice

January 13, 2017 Negotiation News

District Offers Professional Development to Integrate Arts into Science Lessons

The district is offering professional development for teachers to help them integrate the arts into science to help make challenging text relatable for students, provide greater access to science concepts for all students, and infuse science instruction with rigorous yet fun approaches for both understanding and assessing Next Generation science standards and the arts. The focus is primarily on theater and visual arts for sixth through ninth grade science teachers. University credit is available to teachers who attend all three days of the training.

District Employees Contribute Coats for Homeless Students

Employees from the Education Center and various district departments collected more than 300 coats for the annual Great Winter Holiday Coat Challenge. Once again, the Special Education Department gathered the most coats -- 257-- and won the Golden Stapler for the sixth year in a row.  The coats will be given to students in need in the Project ACCESS program, which serves homeless students and students in foster care. More than 1,500 Fresno Unified students do not have a permanent place to call home.

Kings Canyon Science Teacher Wins Regional Award

Kings Canyon Middle School seventh grade science teacher Floridia Cheung was selected as Regional Educator of the Year by the California League of Middle Schools on December 6 at a banquet in Fresno.  Floridia will move on to the state level and compete in February against middle school educators selected from 11 regions throughout the state.  Floridia was selected over teachers from Clovis, Madera, Sanger, Kernville and Central unified school districts, and other surrounding areas. 

Kings Canyon Principal Edith Navarro wrote in the nomination for Cheung: “In 2010, Cheung left a successful career in architecture to accept a science position at Kings Canyon, establishing herself as an exemplary educator, a talented young leader in science instruction and a facilitator of rigorous learning for students.”

School Buzz

Addicott will Celebrate Renovations

Please join the staff, students, and families of Addicott School to celebrate the campus’ modernized facilities on Tuesday, January 24, beginning at 5:30 p.m.  RSVP to, or (559) 253-6640.
Invitation to Addicott Celebration

Students Serve their Community during the Holidays

During the holiday season, students from across the district gathered food, clothing and other items and volunteered in a variety of ways to help those in need in the community. Efforts included:

Birney Elementary School: The Philanthropy Club held its first Turkey Trot on November 17, raising money to purchase 10 Thanksgiving meals for families at Birney, and collected clothing in partnership with the Veterans Hospital. The Kool to be Kind Club collected canned food for families at Birney.
Bullard High School: A new student club at Bullard High School, The Drive, packed holiday meal boxes at the Community Food Bank for those in need on December 3.
Design Science High School: The Volunteer Club collected food donations at the Vons on Kings Canyon Road on November 19 and helped sort food at the Community Food Bank December 3.
Edison High School: Students and the Youth Leadership Institute distributed canned food to the southwest Fresno community on November 19.
Eaton Elementary School: The Kind Kids Club sponsored a food and sundries collection for the Poverello House December 5-15.
Fresno High School: Leadership students brought holiday cheer to Valley Children's Hospital on December 21, hosting a holiday bingo party and helping patients decorate cookies and gingerbread houses.   
Hamilton K-8 School: Aline Kaufmann’s fourth grade class donated items to create gift shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child through They included a class photo and note in each gift box. 
Lawless Elementary School: First-graders made cards for patients at Valley Children’s Hospital.
McCardle Elementary School: Leadership students sponsored a food drive through December 9. 


I Am Ready

The “I Am Ready” (social media hashtag: #FresnoReady) citywide movement encourages the entire community to work together to elevate the district towards a 100% graduation rate. This initiative motivates every citizen in Fresno to be a part of the academic success of our nearly 74,000 students. The effort comes on the heels of Fresno Unified’s strongest graduation rates in more than a decade.

In recent years, Fresno Unified graduated more than 80% of students on time, enrolled more than 5,000 of our high school students in Advanced Placement courses, and over 5,000 high school students in career technical education courses. Additionally, more than 85% of graduating seniors applied to an institution of higher learning. 

Nationally, the graduation rate for Hispanics was 76.3% during the 2014-2015 school year, but here in Fresno Unified, the graduation rate for our Hispanic students reached 82.3%. The district is also demonstrating stronger gains for African-American students. Nationally, the graduation rate for African-American students is 72.5%, but here in Fresno, it stands at 82.1%. We are very proud of our overall 84% graduation rate, but we anticipate that percentage to climb with the release of the new numbers.

Great things are indeed happening here, but we will only be able to reach a 100% graduation rate with the support of the entire community. There are a number of ways you can say “I Am Ready” to get involved to support our youth. No deed is too small when it comes to helping our youth and only with everyone’s effort will we reach our goal. Are you ready?

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