Can't see the images? View the webpage


February 26, 2018

  Community Zone banner
 facebook logo twitter logo flickr logo vimeo logo Instagram logo

Photo of the Week

The district held its elementary spelling bee on February 22 at Sunnyside High School’s theater.

Video of the Week

Link to video of the week
Bullard High School hosted a Black History Month program on February 23

Dates to Know

March 7 and 21 at 6 p.m.
Board of Education

March 10
African American Family Learning Conference

March 20
Aspiring Teacher Expo

March 26-April 2
Spring Break

April 14
Southeast Asian Parent Engagement Conference


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

Top Spellers from throughout the District Compete at Spelling Bee

Fifth-grader Jaime Jaurigue from Manchester GATE Elementary School was the champion of the district’s elementary spelling bee on February 22 at Sunnyside High School’s theater. This year’s event was the district’s largest yet, featuring 84 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from 30 schools. Jaime and runner-up Karan Mann, a fifth-grader from Storey Elementary School, will represent Fresno Unified at the Fresno County Spell-Off March 14 at Fresno State. Top three winners at the district spelling bee received trophies and gift cards from Barnes & Noble. All spellers received a book and a swag bag. Students from nearby Ayer and Greenberg elementary schools were in the audience to cheer on the spellers and add to the excitement.

Community partners were ABC30, the Fresno County Superintendent’s Office and The Fresno Bee. The spell master was Corin Hoggard from ABC30.

District Seeks Input on Naming New Southeast School

In an effort to accommodate enrollment growth in the Sunnyside High School region, Fresno Unified is prioritizing Measure X funds to build a new school at 5090 E. Church Ave. (between Willow and Peach avenues).  The new elementary school is targeted to open for the 2020-21 school year and the district is seeking a name for this new elementary school.  The district invites the community to submit names of individuals for consideration based on the guidelines stated in Board Policy (BP) 7310 below:
1. Individuals, living or deceased, who have made outstanding contributions to the county or community
2. Individuals, living or deceased, who have made contributions of state, national or worldwide significance
3. The geographic area in which the school or building is located

The Board of Education encourages the community to participate in the process of naming the new elementary school in southeast Fresno. The survey closes on Monday, March 19, and names will be provided to the board of education for consideration.
Southeast School Naming Survey in English
Southeast School Naming Survey in Hmong
Southeast School Naming Survey in Spanish

$900,000 in Scholarships Awarded at Black College Expo

Fresno Unified hosted the district’s first Black College Expo on February 13 at Fresno High School’s gym, a unique opportunity for juniors and seniors to meet one-one-one with many of the nation’s most prestigious historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). More than 400 students attended, with many of the 26 schools offering seniors a chance to apply and receive an immediate response on both admission and scholarships. By the end of the event, 249 offers of admission were made to students and more than $900,000 in scholarships awarded. As an added benefit to Fresno Unified students, college application fees were waived and the normal cost to attend -- $7 or $8 -- was covered by Fresno Unified. Representatives were also on hand from Clovis Community College, which has a transfer guarantee agreement with 35 HBCUs.

Fresno Unified Fifth Graders Learn History through Theater Production

All district fifth-graders had the opportunity to watch history come alive through a theater performance of “Founding Fathers…and Mothers,” performed by Good Company Players at Roosevelt High School February 6-9. The theater project was launched during the 2016-17 school year as a partnership with Laurie and Dan Pessano of the Good Company Players to create a professional theater arts experience for fifth-graders.  The production expands on the second goal of the district’s Any Given Child initiative to create a systematic process to provide access to professional arts experiences for all students. For many students, this was their first live theater experience. 
Laurie Pessano wrote "Founding Fathers...and Mothers," directly aligning it with the fifth grade California Social Studies Standards.  Through a partnership with the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, teachers are provided a lesson to prepare students for the production as well as follow up lessons to support integrating theater into their classroom. The project was made possible by a generous gift from Francine and Murray Farber. 

Sunnyside Region Hosts Elementary Basketball Tournament

The Sunnyside High School area hosted its second annual Sunnyside Region Elementary Basketball Tournament on February 10. The tournament organizer was Easterby Elementary School coach Randall Wallace, with assistance from Easterby coach Raul Rodriguez and Sunnyside coaches Corey Duckworth and Alex Walton. The Sunnyside basketball players helped officiate and run the snack bar. All participants received a T-shirt funded by the Regional Budget allotment. The scores of the boys and the girls games were combined for each school to determine the winner, which makes it a fun bonding event for the players. This year’s champion was Ayer Elementary School.

Watch “60 Seconds with Fresno Unified”

The latest edition of "60 Seconds with Fresno Unified" features alternatives to students walkouts, the naming of Roosevelt High School's theater for Audra McDonald and a survey to gather input on the naming of a new school planned for southeast Fresno.
"60 Seconds with Fresno Unified"

Superintendent Board Remarks from February 21, 2018

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

• Thanking Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer and the Fresno Police Department for their continued partnership in addressing social media threats.  Last week, after the horrific events in Florida, schools across the country experienced copycat threats on social media, including our own Edison and Sunnyside high schools. Local law enforcement worked throughout the night to ultimately determine that the threats were not credible.  They also ensured there were additional police officers monitoring our schools.  The district and the Fresno Police Department take these threats seriously and will continue this partnership to ensure our schools are safe.  Nelson also encouraged parents to monitor their child's social media activity and report anything suspicious.  He also encouraged parents to ensure their child's emergency cards are up-to-date and to sign up for Rapid Alert emergency text messages. Parents and guardians can register from their cell phones by texting "YES" to 76587.

• Congratulating our soccer and basketball teams' achievements for making it to the playoffs.  No. 8 Sunnyside defeated No. 5 Bullard in penalty kicks to advance to the Central Section Division 1 final against Clovis North.  Edison High's girls soccer team advanced to the Central Section Division II final against Tulare Western.  In basketball, Edison's boys will host Clovis North tomorrow, Edison will travel to Bakersfield on Thursday and Sunnyside beat Buchanan and will play Clovis West tomorrow.  In boys Division II No. 8 Roosevelt will travel to No. 1 SJM, No. 10 Fresno High beat Independence to play Hanford.  In Division II, No. 7.  Nelson congratulated all athletes for their hard work this season.

• Tonight's agenda includes an item to name Roosevelt High School theater after 1988 alumnus Audra McDonald. Ms. McDonald is a Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winning singer and actress. She has enriched the global arts community with her talent and skills and serves as a Broadway icon.  Audra McDonald even tweeted about this honor over the weekend.  The Roosevelt High School community and I are excited and in full support of honoring Ms. McDonald with the Board's approval tonight.

• Applauding the district expanding Dual Immersion programs for next school year.  On Monday, February 26, the district will hold a special press conference to share our newest schools in the community, including a new opportunity at Vang Pao Elementary.

• Recognizing Darryl Du'Chene, project manager for the Men's and Women's Alliance program.  Mr. Du'Chene will be inducted to the "Wall of Honor" at Fresno City College hosted by State Center Community College District and the African American Historical and Cultural Museum.

• Encouraging the public to provide their input in the naming of the district's new southeast elementary school.  The district is accepting suggestions for the naming of this new school located on 5090 E. Church.  Fresno Unified is prioritizing Measure X funds to build the new school which is targeted to open in time for the 2020/21 school year.  A survey has been created to collect community input and is available on our district website in multiple languages.

View Full Board Meeting Recap

Employer of Choice

District Will Host Aspiring Teacher Expo March 20

Fresno Unified will host an Aspiring Teacher Expo Tuesday, March 20 for participants who are interested in teaching.  Representatives from colleges and credential programs from throughout the Central Valley will be available to provide information about the various pathways to becoming a credentialed teacher. Participants will have the opportunity to start networking early and talk to Fresno Unified representatives about the district's Teacher Pipeline Programs. 

The expo is a must for those who are considering teaching as a profession.  Mark your calendar today! Pre-register using the link
Aspiring Teacher Expo Flyer

Roosevelt High Hires New Football Coach

Roosevelt High School has hired Vince Branstetter as the Rough Riders’ new head football coach.  Branstetter has more than 16 years of football coaching experience, most recently at Fresno City College where he served as quarterback coach and offensive coordinator.  Branstetter is a familiar face to Fresno Unified.  In 2014, he helped the Edison High School Tigers win a Valley Championship.  He was recruited out of high school in Anaheim as a tight end by Jeff Tedford, and played for coaches Jim Sweeney and Pat Hill at Fresno State.  Branstetter graduated from Fresno State with a degree in communicative disorders and earned a master’s degree in education from National University. 

Lawless Teacher is KSEE Educator of the Week

Bryant Major, a fifth grade teacher at Lawless Elementary School, was selected February 14 as KSEE’s Educator of the Week.
KSEE Educator of the Week Segment

Article Describes Wolters Teacher’s Kilimanjaro Climb

Wolters Elementary School teacher Nicki Hudson, who has the neuromuscular disease Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, was featured in a Quest Magazine article describing her climb to the top of Kilimanjaro in January 2016. She was part of a group that delivered supplies to an impoverished school in Africa.
Article on Nicki Hudson in Quest Magazine

Computech Science Teachers Celebrate 20 Years Together

Five Computech Middle School teachers have been teaching science together for more than 20 years. Lisa Poole, Janet Hubner, Greg West, Mark Kirste, and David Greenmyer (the new guy) have been teaching science and science-based electives together since the Clinton Administration. Lisa, Janet, and Greg have been together nearly since Computech opened.

School Buzz

Bullard High School Celebrates Black History Month

Bullard High School’s Black Student Union celebrated Black History Month with poetry readings, guest speakers and information about historically black colleges and universities during a morning program on campus February 23.  Students learned about the importance of Black History Month had the chance to learn more about University of California opportunities for minorities.

Kings Canyon Flu Crew Hard at Work

The Young Men's Alliance and Young Women’s Alliance students at Kings Canyon Middle School have taken on this​ year's deadly flu.  They sent a notice to all teachers and have been going into their classrooms to sanitize and de-bug common areas.  The students are wiping down phones, door knobs, desk tops and other commonly used items that can pass germs from student to student.  

Tenaya Students Launch Kindness Project

Tenaya Middle School leadership students created signs with positive messages to hold up and share with cars and families during drop off on February 16, kicking off a kindness initiative and the messages were very well received. 
ABC30 Segment on Tenaya Kindness Signs

Tehipite Middle School Buys New Uniforms with Donation

Tehipite Middle School was able to purchase new uniforms for six of its sports teams, protective gear and other essential equipment thanks to a $19,891.85 donation from the JJ Watt Foundation. Tehipite athletic director Sean Rodden made contact with the organization, sharing information about Tehipite’s hard-working students and the Tehipite community.

J.E. Young Takes Team-Building to New Heights

J.E. Young Academic Center staff spent the afternoon at Wonder Valley Ranch on February 16 engaged in team-building activities. Activities included climbing the rock wall and tackling the trapeze and zip line.  ​Staff came away with a sense of accomplishment in working as a group to complete challenging tasks and learning to communicate better.

Addicott Hosts Valentine’s Day Dance

Addicott Elementary School, which serves students who are medically fragile, hosted a Valentine’s Day Dance for the first time on February 14.  Students decorated cookies and staff  crowned a king and queen in a court.  Lighting was turned down low to provide students with a new sensory experience and create a dance ambiance.

Hoover Teams take First and Second in 2018 KidWind Challenge

Two teams from Hoover High School competed at CSU Maritime in the 2018 KidWind Challenge February 10, taking first and second in the high school division and qualifying for the national competition. The contest asks students to build a successful device that converts wind into electricity.  The Hoover teams will now move on to the National KidWind Challenge in Chicago in May.  "The Six" (Christian Rodriguez, Daniel Urena, Jason Rogers) placed first. "Just Keep Spinning" (Jaidyn Ramirez, Adriana Hernandez, Alicia Minasian) placed second and won the Judge’s Award.  These teams designed and built wind turbine structures in their Green Up and Go Physics class with teacher and coach Michael Zapata.  As part of the Eco-Tech Pathway at Hoover, Mr. Zapata aligned the project in his classroom to real world industry needs for clean energy and natural resource management.  Teams showcased their knowledge of wind power by presenting their hand-crafted wind turbine design and knowledge of wind energy to a panel of judges and then testing the energy output of their design in the CSU Maritime Wind Tunnel.

Starr Elementary to Receive the Virtues and Character Recognition Award

Starr Elementary School, along with selected elementary schools throughout Fresno County and beyond, was awarded the Virtues and Character Recognition Award for 2018. The award will be presented by the Bonner Center for Character Education and Citizenship on Friday, March 9. The school was recognized for fostering character development by providing a positive social environment, characterized by leadership; collegiality; a learning orientation among faculty; and ties among school, home and community.  This has been acknowledged through the work of the Kind Kids Club, student leadership team, and peer mediated instruction, among other things.  The Starr community prides itself on establishing positive relationships among all stakeholders and teaching students to give back to the community and view the world outside of their own perspective

Donate to the
Scholarship Fund
Volunteer Work for Fresno Unified

Fresno Unified School District
| Subscribe | Unsubscribe | Download PDF Reader