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April 7, 2017

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Picture of the Week

The district is piloting a healthy pizza with students in the after-school program at Tioga Middle School.

Video of the Week

Link to video of the week
Tournament of Technology

Dates to Know

April 10-17
Spring Break

April 19
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

Giving to the Fresno Unified Scholarship Fund Changes Lives

A donation to the Fresno Unified Scholarship Fund can open up a whole new world of opportunities for deserving high school seniors. The district’s ability to provide these scholarship awards starts with generous gifts from employees and the community.
There are several ways to donate to the scholarship fund:

Donate by payroll deduction: Fresno Unified employees can contribute to the fund either through monthly payroll deduction or with one-time donations.  Complete the online Voluntary Payroll Deduction Form.
Donate online: Donations can also be made on-line through PayPal or a debit or credit card on the Central Valley Community Foundation website.
Donate by mail: To support the scholarship fund, make checks payable to Central Valley Foundation and write FUSD Scholarship Fund on the memo line. Then mail donations to:
Central Valley Community Foundation
5260 N. Palm Ave., Suite 122
Fresno, CA 93704

Meet our Scholarship Recipients

Cesar Chavez Essay Contest Winners Announced

Winners of the Cesar Chavez Essay contest, announced at the annual celebration March 23, are:

• Fresno Adult School -- First, Bri Rodriguez, second, Naseem Saeed, third, Javier Padilla, and honorable mention, Mario Rodriguez
• High school -- First, Maite Garcia (Edison High School), second, Britany Juarez (Roosevelt High School); and third, Ricky Ortiz (Sunnyside High School)
• Middle school – First, Kaylee Gudino (Kings Canyon Middle School), second, Elizabeth Gaspar (Gaston Middle School) and third, Emma Longoria (Tioga Middle School)

Highlights of Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning

Students and Families Encouraged to Attend Patiño Expo

The Philip J. Patiño School of Entrepreneurship will host an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Expo from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, April 24. Colleges and universities will be on hand to share their programs in entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and computer science. Additionally, local professional and technical programs will share course offerings open to students. This is more than a college fair -- this is an opportunity for students to realize their futures. Come and learn about next steps in becoming a tech entrepreneur! All students and families from throughout the district are welcome.

Calling all Golfers

Golfers from the community are invited to participate in a golf tournament Saturday, April 22 at Riverside Golf Course to benefit the Fresno Unified Scholarship Fund. The tournament is put on by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Fresno Consolidated charter.
ACSA Poster on Golf Tournament

Superintendent Board Remarks from April 5, 2017

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

• Providing a reminder that spring break starts Monday, April 11 with classes resuming on Tuesday, April 18.  While district offices will be open with the exception of Friday the 14th, schools will be closed all week.  Nelson encouraged district families and staff to relax, reenergize and spend time with family and friends as the weeks following break would be busy.

• Interim superintendent spoke of last weekend’s 10th Annual Tournament of Technology and thanked Kurt Madden, the IT Team and district staff who spent months preparing. It was student learning at its best as teams competed in a number of categories including creating websites, building robots, video games, videos and 3D cars among others.

• Last night Parent University held its spring parent recognition ceremony celebrating 520 parents. These parents, committed to supporting their student’s academic achievement, have been engaged in adult learning opportunities including modules around Local Control Funding Formula, transition to middle school and high school, science, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as a Residents Academy with the Fresno Police Department, among other modules. With last night’s celebration, nearly 30,000 parents have been served through Parent University.  Nelson thanked Zuleika Murillo and the entire Parent University team for their tremendous outreach in providing district parents the necessary tools to best support their children. Interim superintendent then shared a video from last night’s event.

• Nelson previewed some of tonight’s strategic budget preparation from the Department of Prevention and Intervention (DPI) noting that the department oversees, implements and supports restorative practices (RP). RP is practiced at four of our comprehensive high school regions -- McLane, Sunnyside, Edison and Fresno High.  While the success around restorative practice is growing, many in our community still struggle at times to understand its primary focus and goals.  In preparation of tonight’s budget presentation, Nelson shared a video that spoke to the core principles of restorative practices.

Full Board Meeting Recap

Employer of Choice

Manchester Teacher is Educator of the Week

Manchester GATE Elementary School sixth grade teacher Susan Milos was selected April 3 as the KSEE24 Educator of the Week.
NBC24 Story on Educator of the Week Susan Milos

School Buzz

Ahwahnee Wins Inaugural Pentathlon

Congratulations to the 12 middle schools and 125 students participating in the inaugural Academic Pentathlon on March 21 and 25 at Tioga Middle School.  The students were tested in Literature (with an essay), Social Science, Science and Fine Art, with the theme of World War II.  The top five winning teams for the inaugural event are:

















Kings Canyon


Edison High School Academic Decathlon Team takes Home Second from State

The Edison Academic Decathlon team finished second in Division 2 at the California Academic Decathlon March 25-26.  Edison finished 16th overall, the Valley’s top finisher. Team members Martha Salazar, Azure Lopez, Victoria Espitia, and Sumanjit Gill contributed to the team’s success, as did team medalists:

• Xitlali Pacheco -- Silver medal in Speech
• Marcus Tan -- Gold medal in Social Science and Silver medal in Essay
• Riley Budd-- Bronze medal in Interview and Silver medals in Math and Art
• Daniel Clark -- Gold medals in Essay and Art, and a Bronze medal in Science
• Andrew Garcia -- Gold medal in Music and Bronze medals in Language & Literature, Economics, and Science 

Special congratulations to Andrew for being the top varsity student in the state's Division 2.

High Schools Celebrate Excellence in Athletics

High schools throughout the district are honoring top teams and individual student-athletes for accomplishments during the winter season.
Winter Athletic Highlights by High School

Elementary Tournament Features 246 Wrestlers

The district held the elementary wrestling tournament April 1, featuring 14 schools and 246 competitors. The top five teams were Manchester GATE Elementary, 258.5 (back-to-back champs); Lawless Elementary School, 177.5; Kirk Elementary School, 165; Winchell Elementary School, 146.5; and King Elementary School, 143.
Complete Results from Elementary Wrestling Tournament

Bullard and Fresno Cheer Teams Place at Nationals

High school cheer teams from Bullard and Fresno high schools placed fifth in their divisions at the United Spirit Association Nationals March 25-26, which hosts the top teams in the country. Fresno High competed in the Co-Ed Non-Tumbling Division, and Bullard High School competed in the Large Varsity Novice Division. It was Fresno High’s first trophy at Nationals (and only its second time ever qualifying for Nationals), while Bullard continued its track record of excellence at Nationals. This is the first time Fresno Unified has had two top teams at the USA Nationals.

Fresno Unified Hosts 10th Annual Middle School Tournament of Technology

A record 640 Fresno Unified students squared off in technology-based competitions as part of the 10th annual Middle School Tournament of Technology on April 1 at Rutherford B. Gaston Sr. Middle School, the largest contest of its kind in the state. Students competed in 14 events in three categories: Robotics, Video Productions and Design.

Division 1 Winners:
First -- Computech Middle School
Second -- Sequoia Middle School
Third -- Kings Canyon Middle School

Division 2 Winners:
First -- Terronez Middle School
Second -- Scandinavian Middle School
Third -- Baird Middle School

Tournament Photos
Tournament Video

Fresno High 10th-Graders Showcase Personal Projects

As part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme, all 10th-grade students at Fresno High School showcased a personal project on March 29 at Warrior Park. The long-term projects were designed to consolidate classroom learning with personal experiences in an effort to promote life-long learners. Student projects include a self-sustaining hydroponic garden, an original choreographed dance and a CD with a collection of original songs. Two students did separate projects on feeding the homeless, captured on video. One project led to a reunion between a sister and a long-lost brother.

McLane High School Hosts Award-Winning Poet

McLane High School’s ArtVenture Academy hosted award-winning poet and writer Jimmy Santiago Baca April 6. He conducted workshops with students and toured classrooms to see student artists painting and assembling art based on Baca’s writing. Baca learned to read and write and turned his life around while serving a five-year prison sentence in the 1970s. Baca’s memoir, “A Place to Stand,” is the inspiration for a year-long art and literature project at McLane.

Baca’s visit included a workshop with forensics/spoken word students, who are writing a hip opera on Baca’s life. Baca also visited ArtHop at the M Street Arts Complex, where students presented art and spoken word based on their reflections on Baca’s memoir and Baca read some of his poetry.

Gaston Middle School Unveils Community Garden

Rutherford B. Gaston Sr. Middle School unveiled a community garden on April 6 featuring seasonal fruits and vegetables.  Students launched the garden as a solution to making the Gaston community healthier as part of project-based learning. Students came up with the garden partly in response to the lack of grocery stores in the Gaston neighborhood, limiting access to healthy fruits and vegetables.
Every student and department on campus has contributed to the project since the beginning of the school year. The career technical education class designed the garden, art students painted the boxes holding the plants, science students analyzed the best soil for the garden and much more.  Students and staff plan to share the healthy produce with the community and the elementary schools that feed into Gaston Middle School.
Kaiser Permanente Fresno also hosted a health fair in partnership with the student Health Advisory Club.  Gaston Middle School’s band also performed.

Student Displays Selflessness at Sequoia Middle School

Sequoia Middle School employees with the help of School Neighborhood Resource Officer Katrina Lloyd gave away two bicycles to students at the end of the third quarter, donated by Walmart.  For a chance to win one of the bikes, students had to qualify based on grades, attendance and behavior.  Matthew Sarim was excited when he learned he was one of the winners, but staff soon learned he didn’t want to keep the bike for himself.  Instead, he explained that he already had a bike at home but one of his friends did not.  He asked if he could donate the bike to his classmate, Robert Gonzalez.
“I was touched by the unselfishness displayed by Matthew, who could have very easily just kept the bike as a second bike,” said Principal Matt Ward.

Fresno High Celebrates High GPAs with Barbecue

Fresno High School celebrated the academic success of its students with a GPA Heroes BBQ on March 28.  Every semester, students with a 3.0 or higher, with no F’s, receive a barbecued hotdog lunch.  This year, the school also gave the students a GPA Heroes shirt. 

Edison High School Holds Health and Wellness Expo

Ninth graders enrolled in Edison High School’s biomedical and technology pathway have been working for several months on community based health and nutrition projects.  On April 4, they presented the culmination of their efforts in front of their peers, teachers and family members at a Health and Wellness Expo. Projects included how sugar affects the brain, the importance of upper body strength, childhood obesity and much more.

Greenberg, Ericson Launch April Autism Activities

Greenberg and Ericson elementary schools will highlight autism awareness throughout April -- National Autism Awareness Month -- with special events for students with autism and their families. At Greenberg, the school kicked off activities April 4 with an assembly where students shared facts about autism and released balloons. On April 7, the school will hold a dance. Friday activities will resume following the spring break with Special Olympics track and field events on April 21. On April 28 the school will conclude with its fifth annual Autism Awareness Breakfast, with staff serving breakfast to parents and students and celebrating accomplishments.  
At Ericson, autism awareness activities were launched on April 3 with a rally for the entire school.  More than 900 students packed the auditorium to participate in activities that taught students about autism and how many cope with the disorder.  Everyone was encouraged to wear blue to “light it up blue” for autism awareness.  A kindergarten student who has autism announced facts about autism every morning on the intercom throughout the week. 

CART is Career Skills Grand Champion

CART was named Grand Champion of the ROP Career Skills Challenge on March 30, the fifth consecutive year winning the top award. CART could not have won without its Fresno Unified participants and medal winners:

• Kevin Diaz-Perez: Sunnyside, Personal Finance (third)
• Raudel Ulloa: McLane, Robotics (first)
• Chris Woodward: Bullard, Robotics (first)
• Dannan Vazquez: Bullard, Timed Typing (second)

Duncan Student, Roosevelt Teacher Honored for Global Enterprise

Christina Dominguez, a senior at Duncan Polytechnical High School, and Linda Jean Voth, a business teacher at Roosevelt High School, were honored in New York on March 23 at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) 2017 Global Showcase. Christina was named a Global Enterprising Student of 2017 for a business plan for her company, Tie It On Bow Ties. Linda Jean was named a Global Enterprising Teacher 2017 for her positive impact on students, expertise in entrepreneurship, collaboration with students, parents and the community and innovative lesson plans. Christina was among 29 students and Linda Jean among 19 teachers from around the world to win the awards.
TV Coverage from New York of Christina’s Business

Tehipite Students Learn Financial Responsibility from Reading

Volunteers from Citi Bank read with about 150 Tehipite Middle School students in small groups, then lead discussions and connected what they read to financial responsibility on April 5.  This year, students read Chapter 1 from “The Mighty Miss Malone” by Christopher Paul Curtis, about a young girl during the Great Depression. Each of the students got to take home a book. The event was sponsored by Citi Bank, First Book and Tehipite supporters Francine and Murray Farber.  

Cooper Academy Students Help Clean Up Millerton Lake

Thirty-five students from Cooper Academy headed to Millerton Lake April 1 for a watershed service learning project. Seventh-graders have been studying global plastic pollution and were charged with planning an action project.  Students Hope Alfaro, Matthew Flood and Alicia Trejo chose to do their project at Millerton, and joined with Cooper’s Eco-Warriors Club for the clean-up. Fresno River Sports sponsored the project, providing tools for the clean-up and equipment and instruction for paddling and kayaking on the lake. The students hope to raise awareness about global plastic pollution through the data they collected during the clean-up.

District Schools Team with East Fresno Kiwanis for Service Day

K-Kids Clubs from Hidalgo and Leavenworth elementary schools and Key Clubs from Fresno, Bullard, Hoover High and Edison high schools gathered with East Fresno Kiwanis on April 1 to clean up and decorate the Art of Life Garden at Woodward Park as part of the global Kiwanis One Day service effort.

Roosevelt Virtual Enterprise Students Excel at Competition

Roosevelt High School’s virtual enterprise students placed in six out of eight competitions at the International Bay Area Virtual Enterprise Trade Fair and Competition in Oakland March 27. Seventy schools competed from around the nation.  Roosevelt's team won in the following categories:

• Gold Sustainable Business Plan 
• Gold Video Commercial 
• Silver Financial Challenge 
• Bronze Human Resources Challenge
• Bronze Marketing Plan
• Bronze Wow Factor​ (Best Booth at the trade fair)

Edison Student-Athlete Signs with Pomona-Pitzer for Football

Edison High School’s Jake Hanson has signed with Pomona-Pitzer College to play football. Jake was selected to the Fresno Bee’s All-Valley team, was on the County Metro Athletic Conference First Team All Defense and is a three-star rated linebacker.

Roosevelt Tackles Plastic Pollution

Roosevelt High School teachers are continuing to raise student awareness with school wide plastic-reduction projects. The latest effort combines recycling with art. Roosevelt School of the Arts 3D Design students learned in February how to upcycle plastic bags into plastic yarn – plarn. They then learned the basics of basket making and weaving. Some of the baskets were displayed through March for the Youth Art Month ArtHop show at local art gallery Corridor 2122.

The pollution projects follow Roosevelt’s selection out of over 200 applicants for a staff team to attend a Plastic Pollution Summit last October at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Campus-wide plastic project includes several efforts, including installing more refillable water stations on campus.

I Am Ready

I Am Ready Poster

Download Large 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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