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September 18, 2017

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Picture of the Week

The district and the Fresno Police Department have launched weekly mentoring lunches at schools in southwest Fresno.

Video of the Week

Link to video of the week
Suicide Prevention Week Video

Dates to Know

September 27 at 5:30 p.m.
Board of Education

October 30
State of Education Luncheon
DoubleTree Hotel


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

Watch "60 Seconds with Fresno Unified"

The Fresno Unified's Communications Department has recently introduced "60 Seconds with Fresno Unified" -- a weekly update on current events in the district.  We hope you'll take a few seconds to watch this short video each week to make sure you're in the know. The video will be released every Thursday.

60 seconds video

Bob Nelson Named Superintendent

The Fresno Unified Board of Education voted unanimously September 13 to approve Bob Nelson as superintendent of the state's fourth largest school district. Nelson, who has been serving as interim superintendent since February, was congratulated by family, friends and colleagues in the audience with a standing ovation following the announcement. Nelson started with Fresno Unified in 1991 as a teacher at Burroughs Elementary School and was the only finalist the board selected August 12 following two days of interviews. Nelson, 48, has served as a teacher, school administrator, Human Resources administrator and chief of staff in the district. Nelson left the district in 2012 to become superintendent of the Chawanakee Unified School District in Madera County. He returned to Fresno Unified in 2015 as chief of staff.

Nelson is married and has seven children, ranging in age from 23 months to 21 years. Nelson and his wife, Tiffany, have served for many years as foster parents, and four of their children are adopted.

District Opens Dream Resource Center

District officials and students joined community leaders on September 13 to open the Fresno Unified Dream Resource Center to assist young people with renewing applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The center, housed at Manchester Center, is believed to be the first of its kind in the K-12 system.

Along with DACA renewal assistance, the center will also offer citizenship and English as a second language courses and naturalization applications, and be a hub for dissemination of accurate information, a training facility and office space for the professionals who will be assisting young people in the DACA program, and house services and support. 
Fresno Unified’s Dream Resource Center Opens (video)
Dream Resource Center PSA in Spanish (video)
Dream Resource Center PSA in English (video)

Board Liaisons Ready to Assist

Board member liaisons have been hired to assist constituents in four areas of the Fresno Unified School District. Following board approval during the 2017-18 budget process, liaisons may be hired at the discretion of board members.

The liaisons' duties include administrative and clerical support for board members and assisting with scheduling and communications. The new liaisons are:

• Area 1 (Lindsay Cal Johnson): Cherella Nicholson, (559) 259-5785
• Area 2 (Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas): Brandalyn Hastings, (559) 269-3607
• Area 5 (Carol Mills): Michele Rodriguez, (559) 269-1504
• Area 7 (Brooke Ashjian): Michelle Asadoorian, (559) 269-3959

More Information on Board Liaisons

Save the Date for State of Education Luncheon

Fresno Unified will host its annual State of Education luncheon on October 30, the district's largest single event to raise money for the Fresno Unified Scholarship Fund. The luncheon will feature Superintendent Bob Nelson as the keynote speaker and will be the first opportunity for the broader community to get to know Nelson and learn more about his goals for the district. The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel across from the convention center. Sponsorship information is available at (559) 457-3733.
Ticket Information for State of Education

Students Broadcast Sporting Events

Students from Bullard, Hoover, Sunnyside and Roosevelt high schools are acquiring valuable video production skills doing live broadcasts of fall sporting events. The students and their video production teachers have partnered with the Fresno-based non-profit organization Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) to broadcast 12 games, including football, boys water polo and girls volleyball. The events are broadcast live on CMAC's Education Channel, Comcast XFINITY channel 94 and AT&T U-verse channel 99, and streamed online at
Broadcast Schedule

Students Can Get Vaccinations and Physicals at Mobile Health Unit

To help support the health of students, Fresno Unified is offering immunizations and physical exams from the mobile health unit at high schools throughout the district. Parents can call (559) 457-3294 to schedule a physical. No appointment is necessary for immunizations. There is no cost to students who qualify. Parents need to bring their child's immunization record and medical card.

Mobile Health Unit Schedule

Tuesday (8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Wednesday (8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Fresno High School
9/5, 10/3, 10/31, 12/5, 1/9, 2/6, 3/6, 4/3, 5/1

Edison High School
9/6, 10/4, 12/6, 1/10, 2/7, 3/7, 4/4, 5/2

Bullard High School
9/12, 10/10, 11/7, 12/12, 1/16, 2/13, 3/13, 4/10, 5/8

Hoover High School
9/13, 10/11, 11/18, 12/13, 1/17, 2/14, 3/14, 4/11, 5/9

Sunnyside High School
9/19, 10/17, 11/14, 1/23, 2/20, 3/20, 4/17, 5/15

Roosevelt High School
9/20, 10/18, 11/15, 1/24, 2/21, 3/21, 4/18, 5/16

McLane High School
9/26, 10/24, 11/28, 1/30, 2/27, 4/24, 5/22

Duncan Polytechnical High School
9/27, 10/25, 11/29, 1/31, 2/28, 4/25, 5/23

Para Academy Offers Program for Future Teachers

Becoming an excellent teacher takes time and Para Academy is the program to help jumpstart your career.  The program offers K-12 teacher preparation through applicable and engaging professional learning alongside your undergraduate program. 

Program Supports
• Monthly professional learning
• Cohort model of learning
CBEST/CSET Test Preparation
• Stipend upon successful completion of courses

• Enrolled or eligible to enroll in a community college/university
• Progressing toward earning a bachelor's degree


Superintendent Board Remarks from September 13, 2017

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

• Appreciating the community's willingness to engage with the district and reminded everyone in attendance that we all must come together in a positive manner to show civility and mutual respect for everyone in the room.  As a community, many have been embarrassed by the adult behavior in the board room and we should all remember that we are examples for the children in our district.  Providing a safe place starts with all of us.

• Thanked the Galicia family for greeting attendees at tonight's meeting.  Mrs. Pamela Galicia teaches music at Jackson and Winchell and were here in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

• Reminded everyone that September 10-16 is Suicide Prevention Week.  In California suicide is the third leading cause of death for ages 10-24.  Each one of us can play a role in providing a caring and safe environment for our students and colleagues. For many of our most vulnerable youth, you may be the first and only line of defense.  Encouraged everyone to take time to engage and connect with students.  Nelson then shared a video highlighting the work being done by our school site mental health teams to provide support and create awareness of suicide.

• Thanked his family, colleagues, and the countless leaders who have served as role models throughout his career.  It is because of that guidance, support and love that he sits here tonight as Fresno Unified's Superintendent.  He believes he is here for a reason -- to get the district back in a space where civility and students are the focus.

Full Board Meeting Recap

Employer of Choice

Statement from Superintendent Bob Nelson on FTA Negotiations

Fresno Unified and FTA are in the final stages of the negotiation process. We have just concluded mediation and yesterday, we were certified for the next step -- fact-finding. Soon, a date will be established and each side will present evidence to a state appointed bargaining panel as part of a fact-finding hearing. The chair of the bargaining panel then prepares recommendations on a settlement based on the fact-finding presentations, which in all honesty could take three to four weeks after our presentations. Upon receiving that feedback, both parties must consider the fact-finding report in good faith and continue to negotiate using the report as guidance in finding a settlement. If attempts to settle after that process are unsuccessful, only then can the district implement its last, best and final offer. Likewise, only then can a union legally go on strike. Therefore, any legal strike cannot occur until after these procedures have been followed.

I remain optimistic that the fact-finding process will provide both parties the opportunity to come together and reach a collaborative agreement.

School Buzz

Duncan Holds 9/11 Ceremony

Duncan Polytechnical High School held a ceremony on September 11 (Patriots Day) to honor local veterans, police officers, and firefighters. The school hosted members of the community who have served and protected their country, whether it is through the military or police and fire departments. The ceremony featured the school's Air Force Junior ROTC color guard and cadets, as well as leadership students lining the main hall holding American flags.

Cooper Students Help Clean up Coast

About 50 Cooper Academy students, staff and families demonstrated their passion for the environment by participating in the International Coastal Cleanup on September 16 at Zumdowski Beach in Monterey County. They joined participants from more than 112 countries worldwide to clean the coastlines and rivers around the world. In 2016, nearly one million people worldwide participated in the cleanup, collecting more than 18 million pounds of trash.  

The Cooper Academy Eco Warriors and HERO club organized the trip.  Last year, the Eco Warriors cleaned up watershed debris at Millerton Lake and Woodward Park. Teacher Tammy Rinkenberger is the adviser for the Eco Warriors and guidance counselor Mike Yates is the adviser for HERO.

Williams Hosts Football and Saturday Sports

Williams Elementary School had a fun Saturday morning for the entire community!  On September 9, Williams hosted Saturday Sports and the first Jr. Bills game of the season. Every Neighborhood and Campus Bible churches have partnered with the Jr. Bills football team to host Saturday Sports along with the football games.  Saturday Sports provides the little ones with fun activities, such as painting and bracelet making, during the Jr. Bills game.  This is a great partnership that has attracted spectators from the Williams community and surrounding neighborhoods.​

Fresno High Honors Hometown Heroes at Football Game

Fresno High School leadership students and football teams hosted a Hometown Heroes Football Game September 8 to honor alumni and other community members who are first responders or current or past members of the military. Hometown Heroes were introduced and recognized for their area and years of service. Heroes not able to attend were also announced as well as those who have passed on.

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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