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April 21, 2017

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Picture of the Week

All 6,000 fifth-graders from across the district had the opportunity to attend a live performance of “Founding Fathers…And Mothers” at Roosevelt High School.

Video of the Week

Link to video of the week
Parent University Spring Parent Recognition Ceremony

Dates to Know

May 3
5:30 p.m. Board of Education

April 3-May 26
Standardized Testing Window Grades 3-8

April 19-June 2
Standardized Testing Window Grade 11


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

Fresno High Hosts Exclusive Holocaust Photo Exhibit

Fresno High School’s library began hosting "The Courage to Remember" on April 20, a memorial exhibition produced by the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. The exhibit will be up Friday, April 21 and April 24-28 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The exhibition features 200 exclusive photographic images on panels that cannot be seen anywhere else in world, offering unique insight into the Holocaust. The exhibit is divided into four distinct themes: Nazi Germany, 1933-1938; Moving Toward the "Final Solution," 1939-1941; Annihilation in Nazi-Occupied Europe, 1941-1945; and Liberation -- Building New Lives.

The exhibition is open to the community and school groups by appointment. For more information, contact Sue Navarro at (559) 457-2861 or

District will Recognize Scholarship Winners

The district will honor 49 Fresno Unified Scholarship winners at a banquet May 10 in what has become an annual tradition celebrating deserving seniors. The community is invited to attend the event, which will be held from 6-8 the Golden Palace Banquet Hall. Tickets are $40. Sponsorships are also available starting at $500. Call 457-3380 or email Scholarships are awarded through a fund established in 2009 made possible by generous donations from the community and district employees. A State of Education luncheon in the fall is the largest single fundraiser for the scholarships.

The district will award $61,000 in scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500. Recipients have overcome a number of roadblocks during their education journeys, including family tragedies, extreme poverty and language barriers.
To Give to the Scholarship Fund:

Meet our Scholarship Recipients

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 the next steps in becoming a tech entrepreneur! All students and families from throughout the district are welcome.

Superintendent Board Remarks from April 19, 2017

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

• Sharing details of this morning’s press event announcing the relaunch of the Law and Social Justice Pathway at Bullard High School. Nelson was joined by Board President Ashjian, Principal Carlos Castillo, students, staff and members of the law pathway advisory board as they shared news of new sustainable curriculum and experiences gauged for students in grades ninth through twelfth beginning next fall.  The program links students to careers directly after graduation as well as a number of college options locally and in California in the social justice arena.  Interim Superintendent shared a video to highlight the extensive work that has gone into the relaunch.

• This week, 6,000 Fresno Unified fifth graders are headed to Roosevelt High School to watch a theater production of “Founding Fathers… and Mothers,” an original production written, directed and cast by the Good Company Players.  This production brings U.S. history to life in conjunction with providing many of our students their first live theater experience. Interim Superintendent thanked Francine and Murray Farber for their support of Fresno Unified and the arts as once again, through their generous gift, students are enjoying this wonderful production.

• Nelson closed out his remarks by sharing that three Fresno Unified schools were named to the elite list of 2017 Gold Ribbon Schools by the California Department of Education --- Baird Middle School, Design Science High School and Edison High School. Recognition is given to middle and high schools in the state who demonstrate exemplary educational programs along with the implementation of rigorous academic content --leading to increases in academic outcomes. The three schools were among 275 secondary schools state-wide honored as Gold Ribbon Schools. Nelson congratulated the principals, teachers, students and their families noting that success of this nature takes the commitment and dedication from an entire community and this recognition is proof of that.

Full Board Meeting Recap

Employer of Choice

Educator of the Week: Michelle Maher

Calwa Elementary School preschool teacher Michelle Maher was selected April 17 as the KSEE24 Educator of the Week.
NBC24 Story on Educator of the Week Michelle Maher

School Buzz

Baird, Design Science and Edison Awarded Gold Ribbon Honors

Baird Middle School, Design Science Early College High School and Edison High School have been recognized by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson with Gold Ribbon School Awards. The awards recognize schools with significant improvements in state academic performance standards that have also created a positive, safe learning environment for all students on campus. The schools will be honored at the California School Recognition Program Awards Ceremony on May 17.

Schools Named to Honor Roll

Baird Middle School, Bullard TALENT K-8 School, Design Science Early College High School, Computech Middle School, Forkner Elementary School and Manchester GATE Elementary School have been named to the 2016 Honor Roll presented by the Educational Results Partnership and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence. The Honor Roll recognizes higher performing schools, particularly higher poverty schools that are closing the achievement gap and focus on science, technology, engineering and math proficiency.

Bullard TALENT Team Meets Fresno State Softball Players

The Bullard TALENT K-8 School softball team was the featured guest at Fresno State’s March 31 game. They met the Fresno State players on the field and stood with them for the national anthem. Later, they were introduced to the crowd while standing atop the dugout and recognized for their championship win last season. Eighth-grader Sariah Ayala was the guest public address announcer for one inning and introduced each Bulldog as they came to the plate. Thank you Fresno State softball for your support of Fresno Unified athletics!

Vang Pao Students Demonstrate How They are Leading Healthier Lives

As part of a $90,000 Healthy Eating Active Living grant Kaiser Permanente Fresno provided to Fresno Unified, students and staff at Vang Pao Elementary School have been learning how to improve their physical fitness by making healthier choices. On April 18, students demonstrated what they have learned as part of a revamped physical education curriculum that focuses on teamwork, strength training and lesson plans on managing diabetes and other chronic health conditions. Students demonstrated volleyball, pull-ups and planks.

Addicott will Hold Roll-a-Thon

Addicott Elementary School has launched its first Parent Faculty Club, and will hold a roll-a-thon on Thursday April 27, its first big event. The roll-a-thon is very much like a walk-a-thon, but students will be pushed in their wheelchairs. Students will roll their way to raise money for new tablets that will be used to build communication skills. The event will feature music, prizes, and balloons. The principal will dye her hair and kiss a farm animal if the school reaches its goal. 

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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