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April 16, 2018

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Photo of the Week

Elementary students competed in track and field at Bullard High School on April 6.

Video of the Week

Link to video of the week
Faces of Fresno Unified: Erica Hasenbeck

Dates to Know

April 19
CTE Summit

April 25 at 6 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

Watch the New “60 Seconds with Fresno Unified” Video

Watch the latest edition of “60 Seconds with Fresno Unified,” featuring Sunnyside High’s guerrilla art project, Patiño School of Entrepreneurship adding a freshman class 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, and the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools will highlight CTE plans followed by group discussions with CTE decision-makers on future plans, needs and program supports.
CTE Summit Information

Students from Across District Win Cesar Chavez Essay Contest

As part of the Cesar E. Chavez Day of Service and Learning March 22, essay winners were announced and read portions of their essays. Essay winners are:

• Middle school – first place, Kaylee Gudino of Kings Canyon Middle School (teacher Laura Matthews); second place, Karina Jimenez of Hamilton Middle School (teacher  Jamie Potasi; third place, Evonne Martinez of Tioga Middle School (teacher Joseph Bushong)
• High school – first place, Isabelle Cooper of Design Science Middle High School (teacher Cheryl Catanzrite); second place, Alexis Cruz of Design Science (teacher Gabriel Villasenor); third place, Teresa Botts of Bullard High School (teacher Rosa Gamez)
• Adult school – first place, Skylar Nunes (teacher Luz Newell); second place, Shoyeu Yang (teacher Martha Turnipseed); third place, Akasha Barker (teacher Elisa Musso)

CART Summer Program Available for Grades 3-7

All incoming third through seventh grade Fresno Unified students are eligible to attend the Center for Advanced Research and Technology's (CART) Summer Academy program for FREE! Students will have the opportunity to experience CART's project-based learning environment during the week of June 11 through June 15 from 8-11:30 a.m. Students can select from a variety of classes, including Movie Magic, Optical Illusions, CyberPatriot, Robotics, and Builder's Workshop. 

Registration materials will be available in all Fresno Unified elementary school offices. 
No transportation provided. Space is limited, sign up early!
Questions: Rachel Kuhtz at
CART Summer Program Flyer
CART Summer Program Registration Form

Schools Participating in Book-Collecting Contest

Fresno Unified schools are in the midst of a Read Cycle Book Drive to collect new and gently used books in partnership with Reading Heart. 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 schools that collects the most books will get a free Menchie's Frozen Yogurt party and a Q97.1 school party! The book drive ends Thursday, April 19.  Meathead Movers will then come pick up the boxes. Donate and help provide books to children in the Fresno community!​
Reading Heart Flyer for Parents

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.

Nominate a Principal to Throw the First Pitch at Fresno State Game

In honor of School Principal’s Day, Fresno State athletics is inviting the community to nominate a principal who has had an impact on the Valley to be honored before the May 1 Fresno State baseball game and throw the first pitch. 
Nomination Form for Principal to Throw the First Pitch

Fresno State is also offering four free tickets to the May 1 game for elementary and middle school principals. The game, against Pepperdine University, starts at 6 p.m. at Bob Bennett Stadium with gates open at 5 p.m. Due to NCAA rules, the tickets are not available to high school principals. For tickets, contact Parking is free for all fans and tailgating space is available before the game.
In addition, all school district employees get in FREE with a valid ID. Bulldog baseball is encouraging as many employees as possible to come to the May 1 game to celebrate the valuable work of principals.

Adult Transition Students Learn Job Skills

Students in Fresno Unified’s Adult Transition Program at Fairmont are learning workplace skills through the WorkAbility Program. The program offers pre-employment training, employment placement and help with resumes and job related skills. WorkAbility has business partnerships with CVS, Walgreens, Fallas, Rite Aid, Fresno Ag, and many others. The mission of WorkAbility is to promote the involvement of students, fami​lies, educators, employers and other agencies to help students with developmental challenges transition to employment, lifelong learning and a quality adult life.

Superintendent Board Remarks from April 11, 2018

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

• Congratulating Forkner and Manchester GATE elementary schools for being named to the California Department of Education’s 2018 list of Distinguished Schools.  Their outstanding educational programs and practices help Fresno Unified students realize their potential on their path to academic success.  Teachers, administrators and staff work in partnership with their families to create a supportive environment where each student can string to be college and career ready.  On May 9, school assemblies will be held to celebrate these significant accomplishments.  Congratulations were also given to Dailey Charter, a school chartered by the Fresno Unified School District.

• Congratulating the district administrators recognized by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region IX, which include instructional superintendent Misty Her, Tamara Neely, a director of professional development, Cambridge High principal Pete Pulos, Ahwahnee Middle School principal Jose Guzman and College and Career Readiness executive officer Sally Fowler.  Last week, we learned the statewide ACSA team selected Tamara Neely as the Classified Leader of the Year. Congrats, Tamara!

• Sharing we just received word that Fresno Unified has a finalist in each category for the Fresno County Educator of the Year awards.  They include Del Mar Elementary home school liaison Myra Ramirez, Gaston Middle School P.E. teacher Minith (Adam) Real and principal of Anthony Elementary School Joy Nunes.  Congrats on this outstanding achievement!

• Encouraging students, families, businesses, educators and community leaders to attend the second annual CTE Summit at Duncan Polytechnical High School on Thursday, April 19, 2018.  There will be tours of Duncan, student demonstrations of CTE programs in nursing, construction, welding, manufacturing and automotive. We also hope to gain important community feedback on our current programs to help us expand opportunities down the road for our students.

• Pointing out the new posters on the walls in the board room, which replace the six pillars of character that were there since the mid-‘90s. We felt it was time to update and highlight how our board-approved Graduate Profile works in conjunction with a student’s social emotional learning.  Nelson then shared a clip from a video highlighting the importance of this vision, which speaks to the shift in culture at Fresno Unified and how that relates to our Graduate Profile.  The profile outlines what we expect of our graduates today as they exit our district, as well as those beginning their journey through elementary and middle school.  A Fresno Unified graduate will be: a responsible and ethical decision maker, a creative and adaptive learner, a skilled communicator and collaborator, an adaptable and productive problem solver and a digitally literate citizen.  It is crucial to note that this focus on social emotional development is being included in training for leaders in Fresno Unified, as well.

• Results came out earlier this week from the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP. The results are encouraging.  In addition to providing the board with details, Nelson is in the process of reaching out to our labor partners and setting up time to walk through the results with them, as well.

View Full Board Meeting Recap

School Buzz

Forkner, Manchester GATE Selected as Distinguished Schools

Forkner and Manchester GATE elementary schools have been named 2018 California Distinguished Schools by the California Department of Education. Distinguished Schools are honored for making exceptional gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education for all students.  

Fresno High 10th Graders Showcase Personal Projects

As part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme, all sophomores at Fresno High School have undertaken a personal project that demonstrates their learning of the past two years in the IB Programme. On April 9, a sampling of the students’ personal projects were displayed for the public at The Personal Project Showcase in Warrior Park. The showcase gave students an opportunity to discuss their projects and what they learned in the process. These long-term projects combine classroom learning and personal experiences to promote the value of being a life-long learner. Students are encouraged to explore a variety of interests for their projects and have created performances, art exhibits, scientific explorations, carpentry projects and more.

The IB Middle Years Programme emphasizes intellectual challenge and encourages connections between studies in traditional subjects and the real world. The curriculum also fosters intercultural understanding and global engagement.

Duncan and Edison Robotics Teams Qualify for World Championships

The FIRST Robotics teams from Duncan Polytechnical and Edison high schools are advancing to the FIRST Championship global competition in Houston April 18-21, the first time both schools have qualified. The Duncan Dynamics 3970 team, along with alliance partners Madtown Robotics from Madera and Citrus Circuits from Davis, placed first at the 2018 Sacramento regional competition. Edison’s Mindcraft 3495 team was invited based on its performance at the Las Vegas regional competition and winning the Outstanding Engineering Award at the Central Valley regional competition.

Sunnyside High Art Students Unveil Guerrilla Art Project

Sunnyside High School Digital Photography and Marketing students surprised their fellow students with a guerrilla art project when they arrived at school on April 9. Over the prior weekend, students attached more than 5,000 square feet of images onto campus walls.  Last year’s project depicted student diversity.  This year, the theme was “we are all one,” a celebration of unity despite differences.  More than 500 tiled prints were pasted together with 100 gallons of wheat paste that student volunteers cooked on campus.  More than 100 students worked on the project. 
Video of Sunnyside Guerrilla Art

Hoover Wind Turbine Team Headed to Windy City

A team from Hoover High School will travel to Chicago for the KidWind Challenge National Competition May 7-11. Six 10th- and 11th-grade Eco-Technology Pathway and physics students will showcase their knowledge of physics and wind power by presenting their handcrafted wind turbine design and testing the energy output of their design. The students qualified for the national competition by winning the local competition at CSU Maritime in February. The Six team is made up of 10th-graders Christian Rodriguez, Daniel Urena and Jason Rogers and the Just Keep Spinning team is made up of 11th-graders Jaidyn Ramirez and Adriana Hernandez and 10th grader Alicia Minasian. Their teacher is Miguel Zapata.

Bullard Student-Athletes Sign Letters of Intent

Five student-athletes from Bullard High School signed letters of intent April 11 to play college-level sports:
• Shay Gibbons: Basketball at Menlo College
• Kyra Ivy: Basketball at San Diego Christian College
• Arianna Castillo: Softball at University of Rhode Island
• Courtney Beckwith: Softball at Vanguard University
• Jay Luevano: Baseball at William Jessup University

Jefferson Elementary Students Get New Shoes

More than 500 students at Jefferson Elementary School received brand new shoes on April 12, thanks to the Shoes that Fit program. Every student from transitional kindergarten through sixth grade were sized for shoes a few weeks ago. The shoes began arriving last week and were stored in the cafeteria in preparation for the big day. Classes rotated through the cafeteria to take off their old shoes and put on their brand new ones, with the help of volunteers from Shoes that Fit. This is the first time Shoes that Fit has sponsored Jefferson.

Gaston Invites Mentors to Muffins with Moms

In partnership with the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools and community partner Keshia Thomas, Gaston Middle School is looking for women leaders to be mentors to students who may not have a mother figure in their lives. Interested women are invited to attend Muffins with Moms on Tuesday, April 17 from 8-9:30 a.m., featuring guest speaker Angie Barfield, coordinator with Student Intervention and Prevention for Fresno County Superintendent of Schools.

The theme for the event is “Building Bridges for the Future” with a focus on four important values: loyalty, observing, value of self and others and excellence. Gaston Middle School is also seeking donations of muffins, juice and water for the event.

Wishon Hosts NFL Player/Edison Alum

Robert Golden, NFL safety/defensive back for the Kansas City Chiefs and an Edison High School graduate, visited fifth- and sixth-graders at Wishon Elementary School April 11. Wishon Principal Annarita Howell had connected with Golden on Twitter when he played for her favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he had promised to visit.

Employer of Choice

Superintendent Nelson Named to Linked Learning Panel

Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson has been named to the Council of Superintendents for Linked Learning Alliance in California. He was among 15 superintendents named to advance Linked Learning for K-12 students through work that supports and sustains district and county office capacity and coordination of Linked Learning, and reflects the roles of administrators, teachers, and support personnel in promoting student success through preparation for college, career, and civic life.

McLane High School Selects New Football Coach

McLane High School has hired JD Burnett as its new football coach. Coach Burnett previously served as the head coach at Yosemite and Kerman high schools. Coach Burnett has a history of improving struggling programs, compiling 18 wins at Yosemite the past two seasons and 14 wins at Kerman in the two seasons prior.

Professional Learning Director Wins State ACSA Award

Tamara Neely, director of classified professional learning for Fresno Unified, learned in late March that she was selected as the Classified Leader of the Year by a statewide team from the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). Tamara will be honored and recognized November 9 at ACSA’s 2018 Leadership Summit in San Diego. 

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