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February 10, 2017

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Picture of the Week

Five top Excellence in Education winners are named February 7.

Video of the Week

Link to video of the week
Design Science Early College High School

Dates to Know

February 13 and 20
School Holidays

February 22
5:30 p.m. Board of Education


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

Community News

Exemplary Educators Announced at Awards Dinner

During a festive, inspiring evening February 7, 630 guests gathered to celebrate and honor the district’s 49 Excellence in Education finalists. Five outstanding educators were announced as the top winners:

• Classified category – Tianna Gonzales, office manager at Turner Elementary School
• Certificated category, elementary – Judith Sanchez, Aynesworth Elementary School
• Certificated category, middle school – Stephen Ruiz, Ahwahnee Middle School
• Certificated category, high school – Fabiola Perez, Edison High School
• Administrator category – Teresa Morales-Young, teacher development

Tianna Gonzales, Teresa Morales-Young and Fabiola Perez will move on to the Fresno County Educator of the Year awards.
Video: Excellence in Education Winners’ Speeches
Video: Highlights of Excellence in Education Event

Students Paired with Local Employers for First Job Shadow Day

High students had the chance to spend several hours at a job site matched with their interests as part of Fresno Unified’s first Job Shadow Day on February 2. The district’s Career Readiness Department arranged job shadowing with 11 industry partners throughout Fresno. Students from all of the district’s comprehensive and alternative education high schools participated.

Job shadowing is a career exploration activity that offers students an opportunity to spend time with an industry professional in the student’s career field of interest. Throughout the day, students participated in tours, sat alongside employees working in various positions, attended meetings, and learned about state-of-the-art equipment and production processes.  Students enjoyed lunch with their host and were able to ask questions about future education and training requirements, employment requirements, and skills necessary to enter their career field of interest. The 11 businesses hosted more than 100 students and covered nine of the 15 industry sectors in California.

District Launches new Rapid Alert System to Notify Parents of Emergencies

The district officially launched a new emergency notification system, Rapid Alert, February 8 with a test alert for parents and district employees on the new text notification plan. The message had easy to follow instructions on how to "opt in." It is important for parents/guardians and district employees to have the correct emergency mobile phone on file for the notification system to work.

Parents/guardians who did not receive this test message should contact their school and confirm they have an updated mobile phone listed under the emergency contact.

Rapid Alert notifications will only be used to notify parents and staff in the event of a safety incident that will 1) disrupt the school day or 2) cause an early release. While the district’s phone message system will still be used, Rapid Alert allows the district to communicate and take action quickly. Sample of a Rapid Alert commercial is here.

Sign up for Career Technical Education Newsletter Coming Soon

Coming soon!  Fresno Unified College and Career Readiness extends an invitation to subscribe to a new CTE e-newsletter.  The monthly newsletter is for teachers, students, parents, and industry partners and will highlight student and teacher experiences, industry news on internships and job opportunities, and other important dates and information.  Please subscribe to this newsletter by texting 'CCR' to 42828.  Subscribers will receive a response to add their email address, and can unsubscribe at any time.

February Edition of District Newspaper Available

The latest edition of the district’s newspaper, Building Futures, is now available highlighting news of the district, schools, staff and students, including highlights of first semester athletics.

Superintendent Board Remarks from February 8, 2017

Acting Superintendent Bob Nelson provided a brief report to the Fresno Unified Board of Education including:

• Welcomed Dr. Carole Goldsmith, president of Fresno City College. She joined a few of the district’s staff members in a presentation about a unique partnership to relocate Design Science High School into permanent facilities built on the Fresno City College campus.  Currently, Design Science students are housed in portable classrooms on Cambridge Avenue just east of Blackstone. 

• Shared there would be a presentation about adding school-based health and wellness clinics to school campuses.  In advance of tonight’s meeting, trustees have received materials and participated in question-and-answer sessions on this topic.  The district is now looking to partner with Clinica Sierra Vista and Valley Children’s Healthcare to expand centers to six school sites.  The plan is in two phases.  The first phase includes funding from Valley Children’s Healthcare for the buildings, Clinica Sierra Vista providing the services, and Fresno Unified providing nursing and case-management services.  Prior to the second phase of expansion, the district will revisit the plan with the board.    

• The district’s new emergency notification system, Rapid Alert, was launched today with a text message inviting parents, guardians, and staff to opt in.  We hope everyone who received the Rapid Alert text responded by opting In.  For staff who did not receive the test alert, an email was sent this afternoon with instructions for registering.  While we hope we don’t have to utilize this technology very often, it’s good to know we have it and can reach parents and staff quickly in the event of an emergency.

• Finally, last night the district hosted our annual Excellence in Education awards banquet at the Golden Palace Banquet Hall, and it was a full house as we celebrated 49 remarkable employees.  Of the 49 finalists, five employees won the district’s crystal award, and I want to offer special congratulations to:  Classified category -- Office manager from Turner Elementary Tianna Gonzales; elementary certificated – Aynesworth teacher Judith Sanchez; middle school certificated -- Ahwahnee history teacher Stephen Ruiz; high school certificated -- Edison campus culture director Fabiola Perez; administrator -- teacher development administrator Teresa Morales-Young.  Three of these crystal award winners, Tianna, Fabiola, and Teresa, will go on to represent Fresno Unified at the Fresno County Office of Education event next fall.  Nelson shared a video from the evening. 

Full Board Meeting Recap

Employer of Choice

Negotiation News

The Fresno Unified School District and Fresno Teachers Association (FTA) met for a bargaining session on Jan. 31. The parties discussed their respective cost estimates regarding FTA’s proposals. The parties agreed to exchange additional information to come to an agreement on the costs of FTA’s proposal.
View Entire Negotiation News

Sunnyside Swim Coach Receives CIF Award

Sunnyside High School swim coach and teacher Karyn Klatt has been selected as one of 13 recipients for the prestigious statewide CIF Model Coach Award. Sunnyside athletic director Sue Farmer, teachers and other administrators said this about Karyn as cited by the CIF: “Klatt has been coaching swimming for 30 years and exemplifies everything that is right, good and wonderful about educators today. She is a teacher in the truest sense of the word. She teachers her student-athletes not only how to swim, but she constantly stresses and teaches them how to be good human beings and citizens. She provides her swimmers a place where they can come to feel valued and accomplished, and that they matter in this world.

“She has high expectations for her student-athletes, supporting them in the pool, classroom and community. She is inclusive of all who are interested in participating on her swim teams, supporting all team members from the most talented to the beginner. Additionally, she shares her knowledge generously with other coaches as they look to her for guidance and advice.”

Lawless Teacher is Educator of the Week

Sharon Nersesian, a transitional kindergarten teacher at Lawless Elementary School, was named KSEE 24’s Educator of the Week January 30.
KSEE 24 Story on Sharon Nersesian

School Buzz

Storey Student is Spellbound

Sharleen Her, a fifth-grader at Storey Elementary School, won the Fresno Unified spelling bee February 7 at Sunnyside High School’s theater with the correct spelling of “malleable.”  Sharleen and second-place finisher Sonia Hugues from Fremont Elementary School will move on to the Fresno County Spell-Off March 15 at Fresno State’s Satellite Student Union. The district spelling bee featured 57 spellers in grades 4-6 from 19 schools.

Bullard Students Encourage Younger Peers to Explore Pathways

Bullard High School students from the school’s three career pathway programs attended middle school transition rallies over the past two weeks as part of an effort to build excitement and interest in the Linked Learning opportunities the incoming freshman students will have at Bullard. Pathway students showed off a little of what makes each pathway unique and demonstrated the wide array of options available.​

Terronez Buzzing about Soccer Title, Staff gets Hair Cuts

As the Terronez Middle School boys soccer team headed to the league Division I playoffs, a deal was struck that if the team brought home the championship trophy, administrators and teachers would get buzz cuts. On December 14, the team won the league middle school boys soccer title, its first in school history.  Barbers were on hand at Terronez on January 27 during lunch to give buzz cuts to six members of the Terronez staff.

Steve’s Scholars Visit the Museum of Tolerance

Forty-eight students in the Steve's Scholars program at Tehipite Middle School visited the Museum of Tolerance (MOT) in Los Angeles on January 27.  The trip was funded by a grant from the Isnardi Foundation to support the program's goal of exposing students to cultural arts activities and broadening their horizons. The MOT is dedicated to challenging visitors to understand the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts.  Visitors became witnesses to history and explored the dynamics of bigotry and discrimination that are still embedded in society today. Students experienced interactive exhibits that engaged their hearts and minds, while challenging them to assume personal responsibility for positive change.

Student Elizabeth Martinez said, "I liked how it told everybody's point of view and explained their life stories. I received a card of a child when I entered the museum. We were able to scan the cards in a computer to read information about this child's life in the Holocaust. My child died in one of the camps.  It makes me sad because she wasn't able to live a full life."

Bullard Student Nominated for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Award

Peyton Langlo, a junior at Bullard High School, has been nominated for Student of the Year by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).  Peyton's goal is to spread awareness and raise money for research and a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's Disease, and myeloma.  
Additional Information about Peyton’s Fundraising

Patiño Student is Chamber Student Entrepreneur of the Year

Danhya Jimenez, a student at Patiño School of Entrepreneurship, was honored at the Valley Business Awards Luncheon February 9 by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce as the High School Entrepreneur of the Year. Danhya and six other students created Alleviate, a self-help anti-bullying app that won the Best Social Innovation Award at the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge at San Jose State University late last year.

Bullard Soccer Player Signs with Fresno Pacific

Bullard High School senior Alexis Macias officially committed to play soccer for Fresno Pacific University on National Signing Day February 1.


I Am Ready

the Farbers poster

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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