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February 24, 2017

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Picture of the Week

Bullard High School opened a new academic building on February 14.

Video of the Week

Link to video of the week
The district will join with community health partners in opening six new school-based health centers.

Dates to Know

March 8 and 22
5:30 p.m. Board of Education

April 10-17
Spring Break


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

Design Science High School will Move to Fresno City College

Plans are in the works to relocate Design Science Early College High School to a permanent facility at Fresno City College, expanding the district’s partnership with the State Center Community College District. The Fresno Unified Board of Education on February 8 approved allocating $6 million as the district’s contribution for future construction of a new Design Science facility. The school has been housed in temporary buildings east of the college across Blackstone Avenue on Cambridge Avenue.

Design Science is one of the district’s specialty high schools, providing students an opportunity to concurrently enroll in Fresno City College and graduate from high school as college sophomores.

Design Science, which opened its doors in 2005, is no longer the district’s best kept secret, with many already on a waiting list for the 2017-18 school year. The school, with an enrollment of 237, has a 100% graduation rate, with 94% of graduating seniors offered admission to a four-year university last school year. Eighty-six percent of students last year were first-generation college students.

Health and Wellness Centers Planned at Six Schools

The district has taken a significant step to improve the health of its students and families, and support student attendance. Community health clinics will be built at six schools -- all in regions of the city where residents have the least access to health care -- following a vote by the Fresno Unified Board of Education on February 8.

Health centers will be built at:

• Addams Elementary School
• Bakman Elementary School
• Sequoia Middle School
• Tehipite Middle School
• Duncan Polytechnical High School
• Sunnyside high School

The clinics will be modeled after Gaston Middle School’s Health and Wellness Center in southwest Fresno, which opened with the school in 2014. The board has selected Clinica Sierra Vista to operate the health centers. Clinica is partnering with Valley Children’s Healthcare to provide health center facilities and equipment. Other partners in the planning process have included Kaiser Permanent Fresno with a $99,371 grant through the California School Based Health Alliance, the Fresno County Department of Health, St. Agnes Medical Center and Community Medical Centers.

The centers will provide primary care and treatment, physicals, case management, immunizations, vision care, mental/behavioral care, lab services, referrals for dental care, drug and alcohol counseling, health education and transportation to the main clinic.

Superintendent Board Remarks from February 8, 2017

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

• Sharing that applications are currently available on the district website for graduating seniors interested in applying for financial assistance from the Fresno Unified Scholarship Fund. Applications can be found on the district website under both the “student” and the “community” tabs.  Nelson pointed out that the application deadline is a little more than three weeks away -- Thursday, March 16.

• Interim superintendent reminded those in attendance that the scholarship fund was created back in 2009, when Fresno Unified employees wanted a way to help students realize their dreams of getting a college education. Thanks to community members and our own Fresno Unified family, the district has raised over $300,000 and awarded 181 college-bound seniors. Nelson shared a video to showcase the impact these scholarships have had on previous recipients. Interim superintendent encouraged those interested in making a worthwhile donation to the Fresno Unified Scholarship Fund or setting up a voluntary district payroll deduction, to visit the district website to learn more.

• Nelson indicated that an exciting announcement was on the horizon around the law pathway at Bullard High School.  Administration has been working diligently alongside a group of well-respected law professionals to re-establish a sustainable law pathway for students, creating a direct path for employment in the legal field. More to follow.

• Finally, this week marks the beginning of playoffs for our soccer, basketball and wrestling athletes.  Nelson congratulated all the teams who have reached the pinnacle of their seasons with appearances in the valley playoffs.  The complete list of this week’s playoff schedule is available on the district’s home page. Best of luck to all our district coaches and their teams. 

Full Board Meeting Recap

Employer of Choice

Figarden Teacher is Educator of the Week

Jennifer Crackel, a second grade teacher at Figarden Elementary School, was featured February 13 as KSEE24’s Educator of the Week. She was nominated by office manager Brooke Lindsey.
Video: Educator of the Week on KSEE24 segment

Fresno High Principal Wins Library Award

Fresno High principal Elisa Torres-Messing was awarded the California School Librarian's Administrator of the Year award in Napa on February 3. The purpose of this award is to honor administrators with direct responsibility for a school or group of schools who have made influential, unique and sustained contributions to effective school library programs, furthering the integral role of the library media programs in elementary and/or secondary schools.

School Buzz

Kirk, MLK Schools Honor Black History Month

Kirk Elementary School held a Black History Month program February 23 featuring choral and dance performances and poetry reading. Nearly 75 students ranging from preschool through sixth grade prepared for more than a month for the program, which included a praise dance, Rosa Parks skit and dramatic speeches. Students decorated the cafeteria to pay tribute to African American history and notable figures who have had a positive impact on the nation. The program was directed by kindergarten teacher Latrenda Williams. 

At Martin Luther King Elementary School, students and staff performed in an evening event February 23 that featured District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp leading the flag salute. The event included a bike giveaway, thanks to donations from the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Department, Chief Dyer Foundation and other law enforcement organizations.

Bullard Girls Reach D1 Valley Championship

Come out and support the Bullard High School Lady Knights as they attempt to win the program's fourth Valley championship. The game is Saturday, February 25 at Clovis North High School (the field is on the north end off Willow Avenue). Gates open at 11:30 a.m., players are introduced at 12:50 p.m. and kick off is at 1 p.m. Adult tickets are $7 and students are $5.

Students Honored for Advanced Placement Success

Bullard High School celebrated student success with a brand new event February 23 at Pardini’s to honor the 89 students who earned a qualifying score on an Advanced Placement test.   The dinner event included a special video featuring testimonials from students.  Teachers also rewarded students with certificates and T-shirts.  The goal was to bring more awareness of Advanced Placement tests and reward students for their hard work.

Lowell Offers Picasso-inspired Art Show

Kindergarten students at Lowell Elementary School will put on a Picasso-inspired art show February 24 at 1:20 p.m. as culmination of their study of art and literature. Students have been learning about a variety of artists, their lives and artistic styles. Students have also explored literature that incorporates the arts as a way of supporting the concept that art can readily be found in daily life.

Wrestlers Qualify for Masters Tournament

Congratulations to the Fresno Unified wrestlers who qualified for the 2017 Masters Wrestling Tournament. They wrestle Saturday, February 25 at Clovis High in hopes of placing high enough to make it the C.I.F. State Wrestling Tournament.
122- Mikey Ortega (Bullard)
128- Dawson Sihavong (Bullard)
140- Elijah Neal (McLane)
147- Julian Beltran (Bullard)
197- Tommy Slatic (Bullard)
197- Kwabena Wilson (Edison)
222- Jasman Sandhu (Bullard)
287- Patrick Slatic (Bullard)

Tioga Hosts Sixth Annual Cheer Competition

Tioga Middle School's after school program hosted the sixth annual Tioga Cheer Competition February 17. The event featured three elementary schools and 11 middle schools. The Hoover High School cheer squad was the guest performer. Results:

Large Schools Division
First -- Ahwahnee Middle School
Second -- Tioga Middle School
Third -- Kings Canyon Middle School

Small Schools Division

First -- Tehipite Middle School
Second -- Cooper Academy
Third – Martin Luther King Middle School (Madera)

RSA Presents “Little Shop of Horrors”

Roosevelt School of the Arts will present “Little Shop of Horrors,” with 7:30 p.m. performances on February 24-25 and March 3-4 and 2 p.m. performances February 26 and March 4-5. This affectionate spoof of 1950's sci-fi movies was written by the song writing team of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. The show is a fun-filled story with great music, singing, dancing, suspense, laughter and drama. Students and senior citizens are $5 and adults are $10.

Roosevelt Ecology Club Spruces up Huntington Boulevard

Several members of Roosevelt High School’s Ecology Club volunteered after school February 15 to help clean up nearby Huntington Boulevard, one​​ of Fresno's most iconic residential streets. This effort was part of the club's mission to beautify the community and raise awareness about plastic pollution.  The group collected more than 50 pounds of garbage along Huntington Boulevard that would have ended up in storm drains.  One student wondered out lo​​ud, "What can we do to get people to make less garbage?"  Change starts with awareness.​​​ Awareness leads to action. Action leads to results.

McLane Senior Recognized at Daughters of the American Revolution Tea

McLane High School senior Amy Moua was among 32 students recognized with a Good Citizens Award February 11 at the Daughters of the American Revolution recognition tea. She received a certificate, pin, and $50 scholarship. The tea was held at Trinity Church.

Duncan Students Win at Skills Contest

Duncan Polytechnical High School students participated in the annual Skills USA preliminary competition in Paso Robles on February 4-5​, with teams winning a gold medal as well as medals in carpentry and criminal justice. Medal winners will advance to the state competition in San Diego later this spring.


I Am Ready

I Am Ready Poster

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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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