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October 2, 2017

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Photo of the Week

Water Polo: Bullard vs. Edison

Video of the Week

Link to video of the week
1,009 boxes of donations get trucked to Houston hurricane victims

Dates to Know

October 11 at 5:30 p.m.
Board of Education

October 24
School Choice Expo

October 30

State of Education luncheon


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.

District Ships 1,009 Boxes of Donations to Houston School District

The district shipped out 1,009 boxes of donated school supplies, clothes and other items for the students and staff at Houston Independent School District on September 27 to help them recover from Hurricane Harvey. Papé Kenworth, which has a location in Fresno, generously offered to load up two trucks and ship all of the items for free to Houston.  DTL Transportation also stepped up and donated two trailers to hold all of the donated items.   
View Video on Donating to Hurricane Harvey Victims

CoderGirlz Clubs Travel to the Silicon Valley

About 120 middle and high school female students traveled to the Silicon Valley September 26 to learn more about careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Members of the CoderGirlz clubs from Edison and Sunnyside high schools and Computech, Fort Miller, Gaston, Kings Canyon and Tehipite middle schools visited Microsoft in Mountain View to meet with female technologists and learn how they can begin their journey towards a STEM-related career. After visiting Microsoft, they visited the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.

Participants in the district's CoderGirlz clubs have increased to about 250 students in 16 clubs on elementary, middle and high school campuses this school year.

School Expo Coming

Fresno Unified will coordinate and host a district-wide School Choice Expo again to showcase all school options and highlight career technical education (CTE) pathways at each high school.  The special event will take place at Duncan Polytechnical High School on Tuesday, October 24 from 5-7 p.m. Visit for more information.

Tickets Available 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

School Transfers Deadline is Dec. 1

Fresno Unified offers a wide variety of school choice options, including popular magnet schools and specialized programs.  For the 2018-19 school year, applications received before December 1, 2017 will have priority in the selection process.  Families may apply for the transfer to any district school by completing an application.  Learn more and print an application at , call (559) 248-7538, or drop in at the Transfers Office, 4120 N. First St. for more information.

New Edition of College and Career Readiness E-Newsletter Available

Read all about news and updates related to Fresno Unified career technical education in the September edition of the College and Career Readiness e-newsletter. To subscribe to the College and Career Readiness e-newsletter, text the message CCR to 42828.

College and Career Readiness E-Newsletter

Superintendent Board Remarks from September 27, 2017

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

• Thanking students, families and staff of Fresno Unified who jumped in to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  Together, more than 1,000 boxes full of school supplies, clothes and other donations were collected for students and families of the Houston Independent School District.  

• Thanking Papé Kenworth Trucking Company for their generosity.  When Fresno Unified put out a call for help in shipping the donations collected by school sites for Houston Independent School District and Hurricane Harvey relief, Papé Kenworth stepped up to arrange for two semi-trucks, which included trailers from DTL Transport, to bring the items to Houston at no cost to the district.  Nelson also shared a video of the donated items being loaded onto Papé Kenworth's trucks.

• Sharing the launching of the district's first Unified Sports League where students in special education play alongside varsity players.  The new league promotes inclusion and understanding through sports training and competitive experiences.  Here are pictures highlighting the first Unified Soccer games held at Hoover last week.

• Providing an update to negotiations with Fresno Teachers Association (FTA).  Yesterday, the district provided FASTA, our substitute teachers union, a revised proposal which included up to $500 per day for substitute teachers in the event of a teacher work stoppage. As educators, the district is committed to ensuring supports are available every day to the students we serve.  This "special pay" provides the Board of Education and the district the ability to recruit substitutes and fulfill its efforts to keep schools open, safe and functional for student learning in the event of a teacher strike.

Full Board Meeting Recap

Employer of Choice

Message to the Community from Superintendent Bob Nelson, September 28, 2017:

The Board and I are committed to ensuring our schools remain open and safe for our students, and that we reach a labor agreement with our teachers.

In support of that goal, I am extremely pleased to share that we have provided our Fresno Teachers Association (FTA) labor partners with an updated proposal.
The updated proposal includes:

• A 3.5% total ongoing salary increase all retroactive from July 1, 2016 (resulting in a 14.7% ongoing salary increase since 2013)
• New language that ensures health care premiums remain the same through 2019
• Cuts "out of pocket" maximum cost for employees by half
• A plan to reduce class size ratios and guidelines for grades 7-12
• Extra pay, grades 7-12 core courses of 37 or more students
• Eliminates combination classes in elementary schools
• Reduction in work year for Adult School teachers
• Reduces our reserve fund to 4.30%
• Equal, fair and consistent student discipline across the District

I am pleased that this offer addresses retroactive salary increase, health care premiums protections, classroom size reductions and elimination of combination classrooms at elementary schools – all areas that our teachers, students and parents prioritized.
I remain optimistic that a resolution can be met, especially in light of our recent proposal. However, in the event FTA still approves a strike, know that Fresno Unified will continue to meet our responsibility to provide all our students with a safe learning environment by keeping schools open.

Wednesday's announcement that Fresno Unified is offering $500 per day for substitute teachers in the event of a teacher work stoppage is simply part of that effort -- ensuring that if teachers strike, we can continue to serve our students. This compensation is in alignment with the approximately $485 it costs the District per teacher per day.

For your reference I have included a video link and fact sheet on negotiations. Please free to contact my office with any questions. To stay updated on negotiation news, our newest proposal and specifics around registering to be a substitute, please go to our website at

School Buzz

Sunnyside Photo Students Take Local Arts, Tech Field Trip

Photography students from Sunnyside High School visited Fresno's Mural District, Bitwise and the Fresno Art Museum on September 25. Tamela Ryatt's Digital Photography & Marketing classes were guided through the Mural District by mural artists Robert Amador and Mauro Carrera and urban art specialist Tracy Gordon Teran. As a follow-up to a mural project on campus, the students are looking at possible sites for a new project in the Mural District.

The visit to Bitwise included a tour and presentation, allowing students to meet possible future employers Meza Films, Bertz-Rosa Creative and Quik Labs. At the Fresno Art Museum, students listened to a presentation on standards for gallery and museum exhibitions and a tour. Students are working on a semester-long "Evolution of Photographic Processes" project. They will present their completed projects to a museum panel with the possibility of an exhibit in the spring

Hoover Alum Writes Book, Visits Alma Mater

Hoang Chi Truong Smith, class of 1979 at Hoover High School, returned to her alma mater on September 22 to talk about her book, "TigerFish: A Memoir of a South Vietnamese Colonel's Daughter and Her Coming of Age in America." Chi spoke with students in the library about her book, and will speak at the Arne Nixon Center at Fresno State on Friday, October 6.

Off the Front Repairs Bikes in Calwa

The Off the Front organization repaired 52 bikes with a team of 18 volunteers at the Calwa Bike Repair September 23. The non-profit Off the Front helps kids in impoverished areas with goal-setting so they can break away from the hindrances they may face. The group specifically targets education and obesity. 

Off the Front has been at Calwa since the fall of 2011, with 443 fourth grade students at Calwa Elementary School earning a bike through the program. The organization has repaired 402 bikes in the last six years at its annual bike repair event so that students can continue riding their bikes. ​(Off The Front is a cycling term for a rider who has broken away from the rest of the pack.)

Williams Starts Art Club

Williams Elementary ​School has started an art club on campus for fifth and sixth grade students. Students meet during morning and lunch recess to create art using different mediums every week. The first week they started simple, use color crayons, and then moved on to watercolors, with oil pastels to follow.  This idea all came about when a student shared his art portfolio with his teacher. 

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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