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November 13, 2017

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Photo of the Week

Fall Festival at Lori Ann Infant Program

Video of the Week

Link to video of the week
CTE Summit for Eighth-Graders

Dates to Know

November 15 at 5:30 p.m.
Board of Education


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

State of Education Luncheon Raises $35,000 for Scholarships

Thanks to the community's support, the 2017 State of Education luncheon on October 30 raised more than $35,000 for student scholarships -- $10,000 more than last year's event. More than 350 attended to hear Superintendent Bob Nelson speak for the first time to the broader community about his vision and goals for the district. Nelson, in collaboration with the Fresno Unified Board of Education, will focus on transparency, equity, accountability and connectivity.

The State of Education luncheon is the district's largest fundraiser for the Fresno Unified Scholarship Fund, which last spring awarded $61,000 in scholarships to 49 students. To contribute to the scholarship fund, go to
Highlights of the State of Education Video
Video of Scholarship Winner Lou Vang

Watch "60 Seconds with Fresno Unified"

Every week, the Fresno Unified's Communications Department produces "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 students getting free eye glasses at the Tzu-Chi vision mobile unit, CTE: Ticket to the Future and more.
60 Seconds with Fresno Unified

District Supports Expansion of See 2 Succeed Program

Fresno Unified has joined in partnership with Tzu-Chi Buddhist Foundation’s vision mobile unit, CalViva Health, and Fresno County Superintendent of Schools to provide comprehensive vision exams to all students referred and glasses for those who need them. Through the See 2 Succeed program, an optometrist conducts full eye exams on students and prescribes glasses for free. The program targets students who did not pass their school’s vision screening. At a press event November 8 at Del Mar Elementary School, organizers announced that the program has been expanded from eight schools to 18.

See 2 Succeed Video

Input Requested on District Calendars

Fresno Unified School District is requesting input on the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic calendars. Priorities of the academic calendars include maximizing student attendance to accomplish Fresno Unified's four district goals. Fresno Unified has received feedback from key district-wide advisory committees and bargaining unit representatives and is now seeking input from students, families, staff, and community members. The academic calendar survey is available online on the district website in English, Hmong, and Spanish. The survey will be posted Monday, October 30 through Friday, November 17. Feedback is very much appreciated.

District Holds Unified Soccer Showcase

The district's inaugural Unified Soccer program concluded the season with the Unified Showcase at McLane Stadium on October 25.  Participants included all of the district's comprehensive high schools -- Bullard, Edison, Fresno, Hoover, McLane, Roosevelt, and Sunnyside -- as well as Madera and Madera South high schools. The showcase featured games and an end-of-season celebration. 

Fresno Unified and Madera Unified launched Unified Soccer in September, a new and inclusive athletic addition that features varsity athletes playing alongside special education athletes.  Unified Soccer is dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. Unified Basketball will tip-off Wednesday, March 14.

Grow2Teach Program Accepting Applications

For classified employees, the time is now to launch a teaching career!   Fresno Unified's Grow2Teach program is now accepting applications.   This program is for district classified employees who have a passion to teach.  Whether the employee is working towards a bachelor's degree or pursuing a teaching credential, this program provides the support needed to become a successful teacherProspective teachers interested in hard-to-fill areas (special education, math, science and bilingual education) are strongly encouraged to apply.  The deadline for applications is Thursday, November 30.
Grow2Teach Fact Sheet

8th Graders Get Early Look at Career Pathways

In an ongoing effort to make students more aware of career technical education (CTE) options and career pathways, the district's College and Career Readiness Department held a new event, CTE: Ticket to the Future, on November 8.  Throughout the day, approximately 5,500 eighth-graders from all middle schools in Fresno Unified were transported to Valdez Hall at the Convention Center and rotated through exhibits showcasing student work in CTE programs.

The event is designed to increase eighth-graders' awareness of CTE pathways, programs and courses, giving students and staff a better understanding of career pathway options offered at all high schools. Exhibits included hands-on demonstrations, interactive displays, high school representatives, work vehicles, equipment, and more. Students spent approximately two hours viewing exhibits and learning about CTE opportunities before returning to their middle school campuses.

High Schools hold Athlete Signing Ceremonies

District high schools held athletic signing ceremonies November 8 to highlight athletes who are committing to colleges and universities. At Edison High School, left, three athletes signed with universities to play softball: Kristen Arias, San Jose State;  Kayla Bowen, New Mexico State; and Mackenzie Soper, Howard University. At Bullard High School, Christian Collins signed to play baseball at Fresno Pacific University and Kylee Jansen signed to play water polo at Cal State Northridge. At Sunnyside High School, Jose Lemus signed to play baseball at Fresno State.

Athletic Signing Video

Fresno Unified Introduces Saturday Academy

Fresno Unified has launched a Saturday Academy program to provide additional classroom opportunities for students. This program successfully kicked off in early October at 13 initial launch sites, with several hundred students from transitional kindergarten through high school grade participating. Saturday Academy offers a variety of sessions focusing on reading, math, science, art and other areas of interest. 

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.

Superintendent Board Remarks from November 8, 2017

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

• Last week, the State of Education luncheon raised more than $35,000 for the Fresno Unified Scholarship Fund.  The event featured one of last year's scholarship winners, Lou Vang, who is now studying to be a teacher at Fresno State.  Vang spoke about a teacher at King Elementary who spent extra time teaching her English and had a major impact on her life.  The two lost touch, but were reunited at the State of Education luncheon.  Her teacher, Thim Bounnhong-Sivilay, is now teaching at Storey Elementary.  The event featured for the first time student artists from McLane and Edison high schools who working on art pieces during the luncheon.  At the end of the event, the pieces were auctioned off to benefit the scholarship fund.

• His remarks focused on four major areas: transparency, equity, accountability and connectivity.  He believes these four areas will be the key to the success of the district's 74,000 students.  Superintendent Nelson then showed a video highlighting the State of Education event.

• Thanking CalViva Health, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino and Tzu-Chi Buddhist Foundation for their partnership in the See 2 Succeed program.  See 2 Succeed provides free eye exams by an optometrist, prescriptions and free glasses to students who haven't pass their vision screening.  Last year the mobile vision unit visited eight Fresno Unified schools.  This year, the program has expanded to visit 18 campuses.  Superintendent Nelson then showed a video from when the See 2 Succeed mobile vision unit visited Fremont Elementary School.

• Encouraging district employees to nominate their fellow outstanding employees for the Excellence in Education awards. It's a terrific opportunity to honor district employees for their dedication and skill in serving our 74,000 students.  The deadline for nominations is November 17.

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

This is School Psychology Awareness Week

School Psychology Awareness Week is November 13-17. Fresno Unified appreciates the outstanding work the district's psychologists do on behalf of students and staff. Every year, the California Association of School Psychologists awards the Nadine N. Lambert Outstanding School Psychologist award to a recipient in each region recognizing service to students, teachers, administrators, parents, community agencies and the profession.  For the past four years, the CVA-CASP board, which is comprised of current school psychologists from around the Central Valley, has voted on a Fresno Unified psychologist to represent the region.  All four psychologists were then selected by the CASP board as the award recipient for Region III: Kelly Hawkins, Alissa Vasquez, Timothy Conway, and Deeds Gill.

School Buzz

Sunnyside Region Schools Host Artwork at ArtHop

An exhibit by artists from Sunnyside High School, Kings Canyon Middle School and Aynesworth Elementary School was featured at ArtHop November 2 at the M Street Arts Complex. The show was "Only What We Could Carry/Let it Not Happen Again," honoring the Japanese-Americans who were incarcerated during World War II.

Sunnyside Hosts Trunk or Treat for Neighborhood

Sunnyside High School and Mountain View Community Church combined their Halloween events into one large celebration in the parking lot and gym on October 30, providing an extra special Trunk or Treat for the Sunnyside neighborhood.  The event was for children 12 and under and their families. Participants wore Halloween costumes and enjoyed candy, games, food, a bounce house, face painting, prizes and more.

Organizers from Sunnyside High were students in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. The AVID students have for many years provided a safe, fun Halloween event that was attended by hundreds of neighborhood children and their families. Mountain View Community Church meets in Sunnyside High's theater and has held a Trunk or Treat event every year.

Ahwahnee Names Basketball Court for Veteran Teacher

Ahwahnee Middle School has named its basketball court for Joe Padilla, who taught and coached at Ahwahnee for 30 years before retiring after the last school year. The school and community held a ceremony November 1. Padilla was a dedicated teacher and leader on campus who was supportive of all students and was a role model for teachers and students. When Ahwahnee celebrated its 50th anniversary, Mr. Padilla as the bridge between past, present and future. He remains a support to Ahwahnee by keeping score at basketball games.

Ahwahnee Basketball Court Naming Video

Bullard Law Pathway Students Meet with Law Professionals

Twelve professionals from a variety of law-related fields met with 31 students in Bullard High School's revamped Law and Social Justice Pathway on November 1 to answer questions and provide career information. This is the first law mentor luncheon since the school relaunched its more robust law pathway this school year.

Simonian Farms Donates Pumpkins to Calwa 

Thanks to Dennis Simonian and Simonian Farms, more than 700 pumpkins were donated to Calwa Elementary School students. There was nothing but smiling faces as each student was handed their pumpkin.

Ewing, Storey, hold Red Ribbon Week Activities

​Ewing and Storey elementary schools joined many other schools throughout the district in encouraging a drug-free life through Red Ribbon Week activities. At Ewing, students concluded activities with a carnival on October 27. The carnival featured blow up activities, games for children and adults, a haunted house and a costume contest. Entertainment included reptiles, face painting, music, and Punjabi and folklorico dancers.

At Storey, the week's activities culminated with guest speaker Brent Poppen on November 3. Poppen is a two-sport Paralympic athlete, author and motivational speaker. 

Bullard, Edison Host AP Celebrations

Bullard and Edison high schools hosted celebrations for students receiving qualifying scores on at least Advanced Placement (AP) exam in the past school year. Bullard held AP Honorary Knight on November 7, recognizing 75 current students with qualifying scores. Bullard had 224 students earn at least one qualifying score in the last school year. Bullard offers 37 sections of AP in 16 different courses.

On November 1, Edison honored 348 current students with qualifying scores at a celebration in the amphitheater. Edison had 514 students receive a qualifying score on at least one AP exam during the last school year. Edison offers 74 sections of AP in 23 different subjects.

AP classes provide college-level courses for students. At the end of courses, students have the option of taking AP tests administered by the College Board at high schools. Colleges may accept a score of 3 or better on an AP test as credit toward completing the corresponding course.

Students with Autism Honored for Art Work

Students with autism who are in special day classes at Ewing Elementary School were awarded first-place ribbons and a check for $5 for the art work they entered in The Big Fresno Fair at a special ceremony November 8. Each student in the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten class entered a puzzle piece on canvas; the first through third grade students entered a beach scene that had their own footprints on the canvas; and the fourth through sixth grade students entered tie dye T-shirts and a Ewing eagle made with triangles.

For the last two years, students with autism that are taught in special day classes at Ewing have entered art at the fair in the Special Division. Their artwork is displayed in the Junior Exhibits Building.

King Holds First Fathers Day Luncheon

King Elementary held its first Fathers Day Luncheon on November 3, coordinated by noon-time assistant Rene Logan. His vision is to involve fathers who have children who attend King Elementary to not only become mentors to their own children but to ultimately become mentors to children who may not have a positive male role model.  

Thirty-five men attended, including fathers, uncles, grandfathers and community leaders. Staff came together to support his vision by supplying a potluck style lunch. Principal Jesus Perez says that he hopes this will be a yearly event​. 

Forkner holding Chipotle Night

Forkner Elementary School will have a Chipotle Night on Thursday, November 16 from 4-8 p.m. at the Fig Garden location.  Please come and enjoy dinner out with your family.  Half of proceeds will go directly to Forkner Elementary to help pay for technology and the science program!  Please mention Forkner Elementary at the cashier!​

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