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June 16, 2017

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Picture of the Week

Hoover graduates
Hoover High School Graduation

Video of the Week

Link to video of the week
Graduation 2017

Dates to Know

August 9
5:30 p.m. Board of Education

August 14
2017-18 School Year Starts


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 Unified Board of Education Outlines New Program Investments

press conferenceFresno Unified School District leaders discussed new items included in the 2017-18 budget that will improve academic success for students in a news conference June 15. Fresno Unified officials and school board trustees discussed the budget adoption that includes a number of new and expanded programs and initiatives slated for the coming school year. Budget investments approved at the board meeting June 14 included:

• Expanded library tutoring at all elementary schools
• Health services at all school sites
• Devoting $1 million to close the achievement gap for African-American students
• Launching dual immersion Hmong curriculum
• Funding an all compressed natural gas bus fleet
• Launching the district’s first-ever online school

These new and expanded student programs align with the board’s core beliefs and commitments and support improving student outcomes for the new school year.
Press Conference Highlighting Budget Investments for 2017-18

Fresno Unified and EOC Launch Free Summer Lunch Sites

students eating lunchFresno Unified and the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission are working to ensure students maintain good nutrition throughout the summer months.  Free meals will be available to all children ages one through 18 at more than 45 locations throughout the city.  No registration, application or demonstration of financial need is required but meals must be eaten on site.   The free meals will be offered June 12 through August 11.

"Last summer, Fresno Unified served more than 200,000 meals to students.  We know the need is there for our families and we’re committed to doing our part to provide free, nutritious meals for students in summer school and neighborhood children,” said Interim Superintendent Bob Nelson.
Schedule of Meal Locations

Fresno Unified and the City of Fresno Will Open Pools for Community Swimming

Beginning Monday, June 12, high school pools will be open for community swimming and swim lessons through a partnership with the city of Fresno. The pools will be open through Saturday, August 6.
Information on Community Swimming and Swim Lessons at High School Pools
Map of Pool Locations

Student Work Permits Available

Fresno Unified student work permits are available between June 9 and August 10 from College and Career Readiness. See information below for specific dates, times, and location to obtain a work permit. Students must have an offer of employment, a minimum 2.0 GPA, completed paperwork (Form B1-1), social security number and ID before a work permit can be issued.  Students attending summer school must abide by California work guidelines.  A summer work permit expires one week after school resumes in August.  Questions: College and Career Readiness at (559) 248-7465.
Form B1-1
Summer Work Permit Information

CTE Newsletter Available

College and Career Readiness has recently launched the first edition of the Career Technical Education Newsletter featuring stories on the CTE Summit, summer experiences for students and teachers, CTE advisory committees and more. Please click the link to view and subscribe to stay connected:

For more information or to have events featured in future editions, please email

Retirees: Want to Continue Helping Students?

If retiring teachers or administrators are interested in continuing to work with elementary students in a fun and engaging environment, one of the district’s industry partners is looking to hire. Bricks 4 Kidz is looking for experienced teachers to hire for the next school year. Bricks 4 Kidz is a hands-on engineering company that supports the district’s career technical education continuum by providing third-graders with engineering lessons. Instructors can choose their schedules -- morning or afternoon -- and the number of days they wish to work. Those looking for a part-time job during retirement and want to continue to prepare career ready graduates from Fresno Unified, contact Dave Bower by phone at (559) 285-1725 or email at
Retiree Flyer with More Information on Bricks 4 Kidz
Bricks 4 Kidz Website

Superintendent Board Remarks from June 14, 2017

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

• Interim Superintendent Bob Nelson provided a brief report to the Fresno Unified Board of Education including: Thanking all retirees who were honored at the Fresno Unified Retirement Dinner.  Of the retirees who attended, there were more than 1,660 years of school district experience combined with about one dozen individuals working close to or more than 40 years for Fresno Unified.  Nelson thanked all that gave their time and talents to the children of Fresno Unified and asked that everyone applaud their achievements.

• Pointing out Jeff Friesen who is retiring after 28 years with Fresno Unified and is the Executive Director of Maintenance Operations, Cyndy Quintana, who is retiring after 27 years with Fresno Unified in the Human Resources department as well as Dave Calhoun, Tammy Townsend and Jorge Aguilar. Nelson thanked all of them for their dedication and years of service.

• Recognizing McLane’s ArtVenture program for producing the documentary “Ground Water Zero” during the 2015/16 school year which won them an Award of Merit from the National Academy of Television and Sciences (NATAS).  He called up Kim Stephens, co-anchor of Great Day on KMPH Fox 26 who is the local representative for the San Francisco/Northern California Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, to present the award to McLane ArtVenture students and congratulated all involved in the production.

• Recognizing Fresno High graduate Nataly Romero Robledo, who successfully completed high school with a 4.0 GPA and will be attending UC-Berkeley in the fall.  Nataly has overcome significant obstacles in her life including being homeless and an unaccompanied minor.  She was recently on the cover of the Sacramento Bee and will be the front page story of the Council of the Great City Schools’ monthly newsletter Urban Educator. He thanked the Sacramento Bee for publishing her story and her recently started GoFundMe account to help pay her tuition to college.

• Congratulating all Class of 2017 graduates and showed a video recapping all of the ceremonies.

Full Board Meeting Recap

Employer of Choice

Ewing Teacher is Recognized

Alma RenteriaAlma Renteria, a teacher at Ewing Elementary School, was one of six California teachers recognized as part of the #graciasmaestros from the California Lottery Initiative.
Video about Alma Renteria Being Recognized

School Buzz

Ahwahnee Middle School Receives Spirit of Abraham Award

Ahwahnee Middle School officials receiving awardThe Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno selected Ahwahnee Middle School to receive the Spirit of Abraham Award for significantly contributing to the enhanced understanding of Islam and Muslims, as well as promote a harmonious relationship between different groups of people.  The award, presented June 2, is given annual to an organization and an individual.  Previous winners include Police Chief Jerry Dyer, Fresno Bee and the Japanese American Citizens League.

Schools Celebrate Gold Ribbon Designation

Following their designation earlier this spring as Gold Ribbon Schools, Design Science Early College High School celebrated May 12, Baird Middle School celebrated June 5, and staff at Edison High School highlighted the honor on June 8. Gold Ribbon Schools were announced by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.  The designation goes to schools with significant improvement in state academic performance standards that have also created positive, safe learning environments.
Interim Superintendent Bob Nelson Sings to Baird Students

Sunnyside Student Wins Theater Scholarship

Sunnyside High School junior Alex Serrano won an Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Training Scholarship provided through the American Theatre Wing.  The scholarship supports theater education opportunities for underserved young people and under-resourced public schools around the United States.  Its mission is to nurture the next generation of theater makers.  Alex is currently training in NYC for a month at the New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts on a $5,000 scholarship. 

I Am Ready

I Am Ready Poster

View All Posters

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 85.6%. 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 80.6%. We are very proud of our overall 85% 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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