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October 16, 2017

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Photo of the Week

Students at Heaton Elementary School enjoy an inspirational Champions of Tomorrow assembly

Video of the Week

Link to video of the week
Negotiation News Update

Dates to Know

October 24
School Choice Expo

October 25 at 5:30 p.m.
Board of Education

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. This week’s “60 Seconds” news update features the LGBT History Month resolution and Japanese internment speakers at McLane High School.

Black Student Union Members Attend Fresno State Conference

Black Student Union (BSU) club members totaling 205, and representing all seven comprehensive and five specialty high schools, participated in the African American Student Success Conference at Fresno State on October 4. The conference theme was "Reclaiming My Time," and was designed to provide African-American students the resources needed to attend Fresno State, get involved with African-American student clubs and organizations on campus, and to network with other students throughout the district. This was a tremendous turnout that would not have been possible without the dedication of the 12 high school BSU advisers who ensured their students would have the opportunity to participate in this college enrichment opportunity. Thank you to the district's partners at Fresno State's Outreach and Special Programs department, and specifically the African-American Initiative team for putting together this event for our Fresno-area students.

Free Museum Day October 28

The Greater Fresno Alliance of Museums and Educational Sites, a newly created organization of cultural and historical institutions in Fresno, Madera and Tulare counties, will offer free admission on Saturday, October 28 to celebrate its First Annual Free Museum Day. Initial plans call for 10 local sites to waive entrance fees during regular opening hours.

Alliance members have joined forces to raise awareness of the numerous educational and cultural destinations in the greater Fresno region, which include museums, education-focused galleries, outdoor exhibits, children's museums and planetariums.

More Information on Free Museum Day
Map of Museums Participating in Free Museum Day

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 Interim 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 October 11, 2017

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

• Thanked Murray and Francine Farber for donating $100,000 last year to support a play produced by Good Company Players for all fifth graders in the district and for providing another donation to cover the cost of this year's production.

• Thanked the Board of Education for passing a resolution proclaiming October 2017 LGBT History Month.  Fresno Unified firmly believes students and staff perform best in an environment where tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness are practiced and valued.  Monday, Nelson met with local LGBTQ leaders to share the district's LGBTQ outreach plan and gather feedback.  The outreach plan includes professional development for staff, additional supports for students and continued collaboration with community leaders to ensure all students have a safe and supportive educational environment.

• Shared that recently, seventh grade Scandinavian Middle School student Adrian Antunez died in a tragic accident.  Following his death, one of the most surprising gifts came from a Clovis police officer who pulled Scandinavian Vice Principal Summer Gaston-Gehris over as she drove to buy a gift card for Adrian's mom.  Instead of issuing a ticket, the officer provided a cash donation after hearing what Gaston-Gehris was going to do.   He then came back the following day with an envelope of $300 collected to by members of the Clovis Police Department. Fresno Police Department officers assigned to Scandinavian also raised money to provide a gift card to the family and Lifetouch photography created a photo package for the family.

• Thanked Big James Henderson, former weight lift champion, for bringing smiles and inspiring messaged to students at Heaton Elementary School. 

• Informed the public about the up-coming district-wide School Choice Expo, which showcases all school options and highlights career technical education (CTE) pathways at each high school.  The event is important for families who may be looking for a different school option for the 2018-19 school year.  The School Choice Expo is on Tuesday, October 24 from 5 -7 p.m. at Duncan Polytechnical High School.

View Full Board Meeting Recap

Employer of Choice

FAQs on Potential Teacher Strike

The district has updated frequently asked questions about a potential teacher strike.
Updated Frequently Asking Questions about a Potential Teacher Strike

Ericson Teacher Named Educator of the Week

Ericson Elementary School teacher Chad Hudson was named KSEE24's Educator of the Week on September 25. Chad, a teacher on special assignment, was recognized by students and parents as being funny and caring.

Wilson Teacher Wins Grant

Kristy Page, who teaches students with emotional disturbances at Wilson Elementary School, was recently awarded a $1,000 grant from The Foundation @ FCOE for her proposal, Teaching the Fourth R-Relationships. With this grant she will purchase a complete curriculum of Kimochis. Kimochis are stuffed animals that help children who have difficulty expressing emotions regulate themselves and teach proper self-awareness. While reading, writing, and “rithmetic” are all very important, it is the fourth R -- for relationships -- that helps students succeed in all areas of life. A reception for grant winners from throughout the county will be held Thursday, October 26.

School Buzz

Sunset Students Collect Money for Victims of Mexico Earthquake

Led by the Sunset Elementary School student council, Sunset students collected $1,227.71 in coins September 25-29 to help the victims of the Mexico City earthquake. Students presented a check on October 3 to El Despertar del Sueno Americano, an organization that is supporting the relief effort. Part of the students' inspiration to help came from their participation in the Edison High School region's first leadership conference on September 18. Along with training and regional collaboration, students were urged to return to their campuses and initiate a volunteer project.
Video of Sunset Students Presenting Check for Earthquake Victims

Heaton Reacts Strongly to Weight Lifter Assembly

Big James Henderson, a former world champion power lifter, provided an inspirational assembly for students at Heaton Elementary School on October 4 and demonstrated his strength by ripping phone books and bending skillets. His appearance was part of the Champions of Tomorrow program, which features pro athletes telling their life stories and encouraging students. The program is in partnership with the Fresno County Office of Education.
Video of Big James Henderson at Heaton Elementary School

Young People's Poet Laureate Visits Baird Middle School

​Fifth graders at Baird Middle School were treated to a visit from Margarita Engle, an award-winning author and the National Young People's Poet Laureate on October 2. Margarita shared personal experiences and insights into her ​​award-winning books, "The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom," "The Poet Slave of Cuba" and others. 

Phoenix Eighth-Graders Visit Fresno State

Eighth-graders from Phoenix Secondary Academy toured Fresno State on September 28. Students also got to meet with Fresno State students and learn about their majors.

McLane ArtVenture Hosts Speakers

Students in McLane High School's ArtVenture Academy heard the stories of Japanese-Americans who were sent to camps during World War II as part of a new thematic project, "Gaman: the 75th Anniversary of the Japanese Internment." In Japanese, gaman translates as "enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity." The October 10 speakers were Saburo and Marion Masada of Fresno. ArtVenture Academy will also host speakers on October 17 and 24. Students will take what they learn from the speakers and other sources and produce a 200-foot mural on 75 art panels depicting the timeline leading up to and including the incarceration, a sculpture/art performance installation, spoken word, video documentaries, and dramatic performances. The culminating event for the gaman project will be at ArtHop on December 7 (Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day).

The project, which students will work on this semester, comes under the broader, year-long theme for a district arts initiative, "Displacement: Leaving Home, Finding Home." During the second semester, students will focus their work on foster care youth, homeless youth, and refugees, reflecting the essential question, "What is the meaning of home?"
Video of Japanese-Americans Speaking on Internment Experiences

Kings Canyon Middle School is Redesignated as a School to Watch

Kings Canyon Middle School has been redesignated for another three years as part of the prestigious Schools to Watch – Taking Center Stage (STW-TCS) program. Kings Canyon was first designated as a School to Watch in 2014-15. The school is among 100 with the designation among the more than 1,300 middle schools in California. The redesignation followed a visit Oct. 5 by representatives from the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Schools and the California League of Middle Schools. They examined the school's programs for evidence of growth and commitment to student progress. Kings Canyon will be honored by California Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson in March and at the national level in Washington, D.C. in June.  

STW-TCS middle schools are high-performing model schools that demonstrate academic excellence, developmental responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, social equity, and organizational support. STW-TCS model schools host visitors from California and around the world who are looking for replicable practices to help them improve their middle grades schools and close the achievement gap.

Terronez Hosts Event to Honor Achievement and Good Character

Terronez Middle School hosted its first of three TAC (Terronez Awesome Character) Pack Bashes on October 13 to celebrate the hard work at the end of the quarter for the Terronez Timberwolves. The event honored all students achieving above a 2.0 GPA who exhibited good character, avoided chronic tardiness, had good attendance, and had taken care of library fines.

Fresno High Students Host Free Carnival for Region

Fresno High School students in leadership and Creativity, Action and Service, a component of the full IB diploma program, will host a free carnival for students in the Fresno High region at Ratcliffe Stadium from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, October 20. Students K-8 are invited to attend the carnival and stay for the football game, and are encouraged to wear school spirit wear. At the end of the carnival, students will be invited to join a parade featuring all of Fresno High's feeder schools. Football teams and cheerleaders from the region will also be recognized. 

Sunnyside Theater Group Presents "The Outsiders"

The Sunnyside Wildcat Playhouse is proud to present "The Outsiders" October 18-21 at the Sunnyside High theater at 7 p.m. Tickets $5 for students and $10 adults and available at the door.  "The Outsiders" novel, which launched the young adult genre, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Come on out and support the arts in Fresno Unified! 

"They grew up on the outside of society. They weren't looking for a fight. They were looking to belong." -- S.E. Hinton, "The Outsiders"

Inductees Named to Fresno High Wall of Champions

The Fresno High School Alumni Association held the 11th annual Wall of Champions Dinner on October 11, inducting Mike Long (football, 1972), Ed Hamlin (cross country, 1959), Bill Rodgers (football and track, 1951), Mike Urrizola (baseball, 1957), Chuck Cobb (track and field, football 1954), 1960 basketball team, Liz Miles (Olympic rower, 1973), Jeff Beaubier (track and field, 1957), Coach Bill Kendrick (football and tennis), Leonard Barry (tennis, 1960) and Ken Jensen (multi-sport, 1961).

Pyle Students and Families Learn about Growth Mindset

Pyle Elementary School students and family learned about the growth mindset concept through an interactive assembly on September 14 that featured Fun Works, a local company. The assembly featured students dancing, engaged in games, and watching their teachers have a great time.  In the evening, students were able to bring their families back to school to share the same experience.  Family members engaged in dancing, games, and fun with each other.   Families learned what growth mindset is and how they can encourage their children at home when they are trying to overcome something.

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