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March 26, 2018

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Photo of the Week

The district Middle School Band Festival was March 15 at Roosevelt High School.

Video of the Week

Link to video of the week
Tournament of Technology March 17

Dates to Know

March 26-April 2
Spring Break

April 11 at 6 p.m.
Board of Education

April 14
Southeast Asian Parent Engagement Conference

April 19
CTE Summit at Duncan Polytechnical High School


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 latest edition of “60 Seconds with Fresno Unified” features the Aspiring Teacher Expo, Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning and more.
 “60 Seconds with Fresno Unified”

CTE Summit will Bring Together Education and Industry Leaders

The district will hold its second annual Career Technical Education Summit on Thursday, April 19 at Duncan Polytechnical High School, bringing together education and industry leaders with students and parents. The community is invited to attend the CTE Summit, which will be held in conjunction with Duncan’s open house at 4 p.m. The summit will follow from 5-7:30 p.m. The open house will include tours and CTE demonstrations in nursing, therapy and rehabilitation services, construction, welding, manufacturing and automotive. For the summit program, Fresno Unified, Fresno City College, the Fresno County Office of the Superintendent will highlight CTE plans followed by group discussions with CTE decision-makers on future plans, needs and program supports.
CTE Summit Information

Middle School Techies Show Off Their Skills at Tournament of Technology

More than 600 Fresno Unified students squared off in technology-based competitions as part of the 11th annual Middle School Tournament of Technology on March 17 at Roosevelt High School, the largest contest of its kind in the state. Students competed in 14 events in three categories: Robotics, Video Productions and Design. In Division 1, Kings Canyon Middle School placed first, Sequoia Middle School placed second and Computech Middle School placed third. In Division 2, Tioga Middle School placed first, Scandinavian Middle School placed second and Ahwahnee Middle School placed third. The goal of the competition was to engage students with a variety of innovative technologies to help develop collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity skills. Students prepared for months, using design software and 3D printers to build bridges and racecars, video editing software to produce public service announcements and “blockbuster” trailers and Mindstorm Robot Kits to build robots that can navigate mazes and battle other robots.

District Students Medal at CART ROP Career Skills Challenge

Congratulations to the CART ROP Career Skills Challenge team members from Fresno Unified High Schools.  Fresno Unified medalists were Jonathan Molthen from Bullard High School, second in Biology Skills; Sosoumvannak Hok from Sunnyside High School, third in Web Page Design; and Krysta Haynes, Edison High School, second in Anatomy.

Native Youth Summit Coming to Fresno City College

All students in grades 7-12 are invited to the Native Youth Summit 2018 on Friday, April 6 from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Fresno City College. The theme is “7th Generation Strong: Embracing native youth activism in the age of Standing Rock.” The focus is native youth but all youth are invited.
More Information about Native Youth Summit​

Students Participate in Walkout Alternative Activities

Students across Fresno Unified made their voices heard during constructive activities on the March 14 National School Walkout. The National School Walkout movement was in response to students’ concerns about gun violence in schools and was held at campuses across the nation one month following the shootings in Parkland, Fla. In Fresno Unified, activities were held at campuses throughout the district, including Bullard, Duncan Polytechnical, Edison, Fresno, Hoover, McLane, Roosevelt, and Sunnyside high schools and Cooper Academy and Computech middle schools. District officials worked closely with schools and students to ensure students had an opportunity to voice their concerns and show support for Parkland students, while remaining safe on campus.

Students Give Back to their Community

Students from the African American Student Leadership Academy cohorts 2021 and 2022 participated in their annual Serve Saturday event on March 3. Fifty-one students spent the morning at the Community Food Bank sorting and packing food in support of the many programs the Food Bank manages. An impromptu math lesson led students to discover that they sorted and packed approximately 104,000 individual Capri Sun packs to be distributed throughout the counties served by the food bank. The day ended with students visiting the African American Culture and Heritage Museum in downtown Fresno, where they connected to local African American leaders, and listened to Black Student Union adviser Tobaise Brookins deliver a strong and pointed message challenging students to commit to the mantra "I will do, what I can, with EXCELLENCE." Overall, the event was a tremendous success, and afforded these students the opportunity to actively engage in serving the needs of their community. ​

Elementary Schools Invited to Participate in Book-Collecting Contest

Fresno Unified is partnering with Reading Heart for the Read Cycle Book Drive.  Schools are invited to donate new and gently used books. The elementary school that collects the most books will get a FREE Menchie's Frozen Yogurt party (up to 1,000 students).  The middle and high school that collects the most books will get a FREE Menchie's Frozen Yogurt party AND a Q97.1 school party! Purchasing will be dropping off boxes to school sites during the spring break.  The book drive will take place from April 9-19.  Meathead Movers will then come pick up the boxes.  Please print and distribute the attached flyers.​ Donate and help provide books to children in the Fresno community!​
Reading Heart Flyer for Parents
Reading Heart Flyer for Schools

Evening Microsoft Word and Excel Classes Offered at Fresno Adult School

Beginning Tuesday, April 3, Fresno Adult School will offer evening classes in Microsoft Word and Excel.  Classes are designed for those new to word processing or spreadsheets as well as those who would like to strengthen skills they already have. Classes will be held at the Cesar Chavez Adult Education Center, 2500 Stanislaus Ave., where Blackstone ends at Divisadero downtown.

Classes are free to district employees.  There is a $60 charge per exam to receive Microsoft certification. Register for classes by calling 457-6002 or in person at Cesar Chavez Adult Education Center CTE desk, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Microsoft Word 2016: Monday and Wednesday, 5:30-7:50 p.m. April 4 through June 7
Microsoft Excel 2016: Tuesday and Thursday, 5:30-7:50 p.m. April 3 through June 8

Student Applications for After School Program Available

Student applications for the 2018-19 Extended Learning Programs became available Friday, March 23. The daily schedule includes academic and literacy support, assisting students with homework, or reviewing and re-teaching state standards in language arts, and mathematics. All students from each of the listed 29 school sites, from kindergarten through eighth grade, are eligible to enroll. Programs operate school days only, from the end of the school day until 6 p.m. Capacity is limited and enrollment is determined through a lottery system. Students not selected are placed on a waiting list. Applications will be available at school sites and accepted until Friday, April 20. Questions: Extended Learning website or call (559) 248-7464.

Chinese Language Program Available

STARTALK, an NSA funded program, provides Fresno area youth opportunities to learn languages of critical importance to our national security.  Fresno STARTALK provides a three-week, half-day program of a fun and engaging Chinese language immersion experience to students in grades 5-8.  Early admission and regular admission are offered, but parents are encouraged to apply as early.

Early Registration and Acceptance Deadline: Monday, April 16, 2018, notified by 4/23/2018
Regular Registration and Acceptance Deadline: Friday, May 11, 2018, notified by 5/18/2018
Program Dates: June 11-29, 2018
Location: Fresno State Campus (TBA: actual building and room location)
Time: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  
One-Day Field Trip: San Francisco Asian Art Museum and Chinatown. Tentative Date: 6/29/2018
Cost: application is free. $30 administrative fees upon enrolling in the program.
Questions: Li Mann, program director, Department of Linguistics, Fresno State;; (559) 725-1747 (texting okay)

Superintendent Board Remarks from March 21, 2018

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

• Recognizing Mattie Thomas of CSEA is going to be honored as Woman of the Year in District 5.  She is a force for all that is good and we’re thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with her.

• Commending students and staff for their collaboration around last Wednesday’s National School Walkout.  With guidance from our communications team, site leaders, campus culture directors and student groups worked together to plan alternatives to walkouts that kept students on campus and safe while still ensuring their voices were heard. From moments of silence to classroom discussions to open forums in the quad, the activities were meaningful and allowed students to express their thoughts and emotions.  Nelson then showed a video recapping some of the students’ events.

• Congratulating the students who competed in last Saturday’s 11th annual Tournament of Technology at Roosevelt High School.  More than 600 middle school students competed in 14 events in three categories: robotics, video productions and design.  Each event also had an online competition that took place a week before the tournament in categories like design, website development, computer programming and video advertisements, public service announcements and movie trailers.  Nelson congratulated Division 1 winners Kings Canyon Middle School (1st), Sequoia Middle School (2nd) and Computech Middle School (3rd) and Division 2 winners Tioga Middle School (1st), Scandinavian Middle School (2nd) and Ahwahnee Middle School (3rd).  He especially thanked Kurt Madden and the IT team for making this event happen.  Nelson then played a video from this year’s event.

• Addressing concerns relating to the district’s current dress code policy, specifically related to “distracting” hairstyles. The district has taken action and initiated a review of the dress code policy.  Schools have been directed to suspend enforcement of hair-related provisions and a cross-departmental team has been designated to review the policy so it’s consistent with our goals on diversity, equity and inclusion.  Students will also be include to assist in the review and revision of the existing dress code to ensure the district addresses concerns relative to today’s student.  Nelson hopes this effort will eliminate any additional challenges for students, families, staff and will allow everyone to refocus on what is most important – preparing college and career ready graduates.

• Highlighting that Wednesday is World Down Syndrome Day.  Today being the 21st day of the third month signifies the uniqueness of the triplication of the 21st chromosome with causes Down syndrome.  Nelson asked that we all do our part to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.

• This week the district began the last quarter of the school year.  Nelson is encouraging staff and students to take time next week to relax and unwind during spring break.  Take time to unplug and reenergize for a strong finish to the school year.

View Full Board Meeting Recap

School Buzz

Yokomi will hold Annual Japanese Spring Festival Event

Yokomi Elementary School will hold its 13th annual Haru Matsuri/ArtHop on Thursday, April 5 from 5-6:45 p.m. The Japanese spring festival honors the school’s namesake, Akira Yokomi, a Japanese American. The event will feature Asian-inspired student artwork from all grades and students will recite poetry. Original watercolor notecards will be available for purchase.

Kings Canyon Students Explore Climate Change

General education and special education students at Kings Canyon Middle School are working together to create articles about the environment and how climate change is effecting Yosemite National Park. They have been researching effects of climate change on trees and bark beetles and how they are destroying the trees due to the drought. To see firsthand what is happening, 100 general and special education students will travel to Yosemite National Park and share their findings after their trip.

Young Women’s Alliance at Sequoia Hosts Vang Pao Kindergarten Students

Young Women’s Alliance (YWA) students from Sequoia Middle School hosted a storytelling performance on March 14 for kindergarten students from Vang Pao Elementary School. In the weeks prior to the storytelling, teacher librarian Bridget Beal and library technician Marti Gutierrez helped the YWA students sew, color, and paint settings for their storytelling of “The Three Little Pigs.”   The YWA girls received positive feedback from their younger peers’ smiling faces.  After the storytelling, the kindergartners received a treat and toured the Sequoia campus.  The YWA students are taught by Megan Parrish and Esmeralda Ruiz and the kindergarten teachers are Chee Vang and Gao Mou. 

Sunnyside Students in Personal Management Class Tour Fresno City College

Sunnyside High School seniors enrolled in the Personal Management class toured Fresno City College March 1. Students and teachers rode the city bus to the campus to experience one possible mode of transportation as they transition to college. Students toured the campus with college students and learned about the different programs offered and what their schedules would look like when they enroll. Students also located the DSP&S building and met with a counselor to learn more about services provided. They had time to explore on their own and mingle with other college students to ask questions.

Sunnyside Students Excel at Innovation Camp

Multimedia & Marketing Pathway students from Sunnyside High School competed in the Junior Achievement Camp for Innovation, where they earned first, second and third place prizes. During this one-day, project-based, intensive learning experience, students engaged in and applied entrepreneurial and collaborative 21st century learning by solving challenges within the community.  

Sunnyside Drama Students Win Big at CUSD Theatre Festival

The Sunnyside High School drama students participated in the Clovis Unified Theatre Festival on February 22 at Clovis North High School, winning Best Scene and Best Monologues and tied Clovis North in the Improvisation Team category. 

Fresno State President Visits McLane Union Bank Students

President Joseph Castro of Fresno State visited the Union Bank student bankers in the Academy of Finance & Entrepreneurship at McLane High School on March 13. Dr. Castro shared life stories with the students, and expressed to them the importance of student voice in leadership.

Greenberg Connects with Students

Relationships have been a focal point of the Greenberg Elementary School’s staff this year. Recently, teachers participated in a 2x10 relationship building activity introduced through Restorative Practices. For 10 days, teachers selected one student to connect with for two additional minutes each day. At the end of the 10 days, teachers invited their student to an after school ice cream party, another opportunity for connecting.

Sequoia Student Places First at History Day

Sequoia Middle School’s Naly Lor took first place in the historical essay competition at the Fresno County History Day competition March 10 with her essay about the Hmong involvement in the “Secret War.” She moves on to the state competition in Sacramento. In addition, Julissa Lopez placed third for her essay on DACA.  Sequoia’s team of 11 students are led by teacher Alfredo DeLeon.

Roosevelt Student Speaks on CTE before Assembly Subcommittee

Roosevelt High School senior Hazel Tcha attended the Joint Hearing Assembly Education and Budget Subcommittee #2 on February 21 to speak on the importance of career technical education programs, specifically the Health Academy and certified nursing assistant program. 

Computech Students Earn Industry Recognized Certifications

Computech CTE teachers Edward Vinson and Taylor Vixthum administered CTE Certification Exams to Computech students on March 9, with 17 students earning certification for Engineering Technology. The Engineering Technology exam covered safety practices, elements of solving an engineering design problem, applying the engineering design process, document the engineering design process, communicate with a diverse audience using appropriate techniques, and career opportunities in engineering. Student who did not pass on the first attempt will have an additional opportunity to take this exam during quarter 4, and can use the results of the first attempt to focus on what more they need to learn or experience. Students who passed will have the opportunity to attempt the next level exam for additional certification. Teachers administered more than 300 exams in this first testing session, with outstanding results.  

Hamilton Student Wins Second Place in Chavez Essay Contest

Karina Jimenez, a student at Hamilton K-8 School, won second place in the Cesar Chavez writing project, selected from among 108 middle school essays district wide. She will receive a cash award, as well as be honored at the Cesar Chavez Day Program on Thursday, March 22 at the Saroyan Theatre.  She will also be videotaped reading parts of her essay.

Roosevelt Students Rebuild Worm Farm

The Roosevelt High Ecology Club traveled to the Fresno Discovery Center after school on March 6 for a community service project aimed at increasing hands-on exploration for school age children.  Club members volunteered two hours on a beautiful spring-like afternoon to rebuild the center's worm farm.​  Volunteers took turns shoveling, sifting, turning and hauling soil to refill the recently repainted worm farm.  The worm farm was filled with organic soil created in onsite compost piles.​​  All participants left with smiles and a strong sense of accomplishment in continually working to fulfill their mission of making their campus, community and country a more beautiful and sustainable place.
More about Roosevelt Students Rebuilding Worm Farm

Hamilton Choir Receives Excellent Rating

The Hamilton K-8 School concert choir attended the California Music Educator Association choir festival in Selma on March 7, the choir’s first judged festival, and received an Excellent rating. Hamilton was among 35 choirs attending from the throughout the Central Valley.

RSA Students Behind the Scenes

It's not widely known, but Roosevelt School of the Arts students design and make the set for the shows (build, paint, load-in, etc.); design and either make or procure the costumes for both the main cast, understudy cast, and ensemble; work as the costume and make-up crew at EVERY show; crew backstage at EVERY show; and work as House Crew at EVERY show.  In every way, RSA teachers give these students the experience of how theater works in the real world.  Most folks who come to see RSA shows don't realize how student-led they really are.​

Hamilton Receives Grant for Mental Health

Students and teachers at Hamilton K-8 School will have greater access to mental health counseling and other trauma informed support services thanks to a $98,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente’s Family Foundation Counseling Services. Nearly 300 middle school students at Hamilton are expected to receive services from the grant. The grant will provide counseling and other support services to students dealing with trauma and provide teachers and other school staff with the tools and resources they need to help students cope.

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