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May 14, 2018

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Photo of the Week

Balderas Elementary School celebrates Cinco de Mayo on May 4.

Video of the Week

Video of the week
Faces of Fresno Unified: Renee Nealy

Dates to Know

May 23 and 30 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

Fresno Unified Scholarship Recipients Honored at Banquet

Fresno Unified honored 46 Fresno Unified Scholarship recipients at a special awards dinner May 8 at the Golden Palace Banquet Hall. The district award $61,000 in scholarships -- ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 -- from a fund established in 2009. The scholarships are made possible by generous donations from the community and district employees, with the State of Education luncheon in the fall the largest single fundraiser for the scholarships. Recipients over came numerous roadblocks during their education journey, including family tragedies, extreme poverty and language barriers.
Video of Fresno Unified Scholarship Awards
Slideshow of Fresno Unified Scholarship Recipients

Watch the New “60 Seconds with Fresno Unified” Video

Watch the latest edition of “60 Seconds with Fresno Unified,” featuring this year’s Fresno Unified Scholarship awards, Balderas Elementary School’s Cinco de Mayo celebration and Teacher Appreciation Week.
“60 Seconds with Fresno Unified” Video

New School will be Named for Poet

The district’s next new elementary school will be named for award-winning poet Juan Felipe Herrera, a former Fresno State professor and the nation’s Poet Laureate from 2015-2017. The board approved the naming May 9. The school will open in August 2020 in southeast Fresno, on Church Avenue between Peach and Willow avenues. It will be built with Measure X funds, the $225 million school bond measure voter overwhelmingly passed in November 2016.

District Holds First Competitive Sport Cheer Events

Congratulations to the schools who participated in the district’s first competitive sport cheer season.  With six out of the seven comprehensive high schools and approximately 120 female athletes participating, this new sport will continue to grow in the years to come.  The Athletic Department is extremely proud of all the student-athletes, coaches, and staff members who had a hand in making this a reality.  The first season included a dual scrimmage and two dual matches at six of the seven comprehensive high schools April 13, 20 and 27. 

To develop thriving a competitive sport cheer programs at all schools, the district goals were to:

• Provide a safe, caring, inspirational environment where athletes and coaches learn skills and have fun 
• Collaborate amongst schools and coaches to grow together 
• Accommodate all schools so they can participate at a level at which they will have the opportunity to succeed 

Video about Competitive Sport Cheer

District Honors Teachers during Teacher/Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week

The Board of Education adopted a resolution proclaiming May 7-11, 2018 as Teacher/Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week. Fresno Unified teachers and substitute teachers work collaboratively with the board of education, superintendent, administrators and staff in support of the district's goals and core beliefs in increasing student achievement and preparing career ready graduates.
Video of Students Showing Appreciation for their Teachers

High School Students Honored by Junior League

The Junior League of Fresno honored 21 students at the 37th annual Senior Girl Athlete Banquet on April 23. Recipients are students who work hard in the classroom and on the playing field, and who volunteered in their communities. Recipients received a medal and a $500 scholarship. 

• Kylee Johnson, Bullard High School
• Kristen Arias, Edison High School
• Izahbella Lopez, Fresno High School
• Mackenzie Rivera, Hoover High School
• Samaya Thahane, McLane High School
• Ashley Herr, Roosevelt High School
• Lauryn Somally Ok, Sunnyside High School

Students Excel at First Hmong Academic Decathlon

Fresno Unified high school students participated in the first Hmong Academic Decathlon April 28 and placed first, second, and/or third place in nine out of 10 competition categories. Held at Fresno City College, the event was organized by the Southeast Asian Taskforce in collaboration with high school Hmong language teachers.
Results and More Information on Hmong Academic Decathlon

Superintendent Board Remarks from May 9, 2018

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

• Thanking the district’s more than 4,000 teachers and substitute teachers who play such a pivotal role in educating our youth.  This week is Teacher Appreciation Week and yesterday was Teacher Appreciation Day and the contributions our teachers make to our community cannot be measured.  You truly do shape our world for the good.

• Recognizing National School Nurses Day.  Fresno Unified is proud and grateful for the work of our 57 credentialed school nurses who work alongside our licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) and health assistants daily to serve our students and their families.  We’re committed to expanding school-based health centers and providing health services staff at all schools as well as adding 10 credentialed school nurse positions next school year.  Our health services staff are committed to both preventing and treating illnesses so students can stay healthy and in school.

• Congratulating six Fresno Unified teachers and one site administrator for attaining one of the highest accomplishments an educator can achieve – National Board Certification.  Congratulations to Janet Hatch from Thomas Elementary, Megan Bremer from Forkner Elementary, Janna Kam from Anthony Elementary, Mahkefa Brown from Centennial Elementary, Luz Todd from Ewing Elementary. National Board is the most respected professional certification available in education and provides numerous benefits to teachers, students and schools.  Thank you to these seven rock stars for the personal commitment it took to achieve this milestone! Your student and colleagues will forever benefit from this accomplishment.

• Congratulating the first graduating class of Steve’s Scholars.  The special ceremony took place at Tehipite Middle School with Francine and Murray Farber and their general family.  Six years ago, the Farber’s launches Steve’s Scholars, providing each eligible graduate $1,000 for the first two years of college.  Participating students begin their journey as 7th graders at Tehipite Middle School and must maintain a 3.5 GPA, a 95% attendance rate and engage in ongoing community service projects.  This year, 26 Steve’s Scholars students were awarded college scholarships to help jump start their post-secondary education.  Thank you to the Farbers for providing resources and honestly, your time to Tehipite Middle School students.

• Acknowledging the 46 deserving seniors who were awarded with scholarships during last night’s Fresno Unified Scholarship Awards Banquet.  $61,000 in scholarships were awarded to students who all shared personal stories of achievement despite adversity.  Each scholarship recipient evoked pride amongst all of those in the room last night.  Nelson congratulates the district’s scholarship recipients and thanks many in the greater community who continue to support the Fresno Unified Scholarship Fund.  There are so many deserving students who need our support as we work to increase the number of available scholarship opportunities down the road.  Consider providing a donation for future graduates like those who were awarded last night.  Nelson then shared a recap of last night’s celebration.

• Congratulating student board member Mackenzie Rivera who was recognized this week with the North Yosemite League CIF Athlete Award.

View Full Board Meeting Recap

School Buzz

Edison Students Capture Top Congressional Art Awards

Edison High School sophomore Emilie Haskell won first place in the Congressional Art Competition for the 16th District.  ​Congressman Jim Costa presented her with a certificate on May 4, as well as two round trip tickets to Washington, D.C.  Her artwork will be displayed for a year at the Capitol, representing the 16th District of California. Anna Titterington, a junior from Edison, placed third and will have her art work displayed in Congressman Costa's Fresno office for a year.

Distinguished Schools Celebrated

Forkner and Manchester GATE elementary schools held celebrations May 9 in honor of their Distinguished Schools designation from the California Department of Education.

Hoover "Winders" Compete in Chicago

Six Hoover High School students competed May 9-10 in Chicago at the National KidWind Challenge, a wind power turbine design and knowledge contest. They were accompanied by teacher Miguel Zapata and College and Career Readiness coordinator Melissa Rodriguez. The students won the state KidWind competition to qualify for Chicago. Hoover’s Just Keep Spinning Team won the 2018 Judges Award in Chicago, honoring the team that has “overall knowledge and presence communicating their construction process, turbine elements and technical details with charisma that leaves a lasting impression on the judging panel.”

Roosevelt High will Host Gator Olympics

Jackson Elementary School students in grades 3-6 will compete in various Olympic-style fun events at the third annual Gator Olympics at Roosevelt High School on Friday, May 25, with medals awarded to the top two finishers. The event is hosted by Roosevelt P.E. teacher Mark Gradoville and his cross-age P.E. students and is a culminating activity for students in the Teachers Academy careers in education pathway. The students have spent the past year learning how to create lesson plans, then actually leading P.E. lessons at Jackson Elementary.

Coach Gradoville thanks Educational Employees Credit Union, Me-N-Ed’s Pizza, Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling, and the entire administration and teaching staff at Jackson Elementary for supporting this event and promoting the values of competition, exercise, and the education of the whole student through the cross-age P.E. program. This event continues the ongoing partnership Teacher Academy at Roosevelt and the awesome staff and students at Jackson Elementary.

Edison Students will Attend Latina Action Day

Students from Edison High School will attend Latina Action Day in Sacramento on May 23, sponsored by Youth Leadership Institute and the office of Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula.  This year, Edison was selected to bring 14 Latinas, the largest group in the Valley, for the work they have been doing in their schools and community.  Four from Edison’s group will be presenting to a forum of young people around the state regarding issues impacting young Latinas.

High Schools Hold Senior Signing Events to Honor Commitment to College

High schools across the district held special senior signing events to highlight students’ commitment to college:

- Bullard High School: May 4; Senior Signing Wall
- Cambridge High School: May 7; signing ceremony
- Edison High School: May 1; signing ceremony with lunch
- Design Science Middle College High School: April 30; signing ceremony; recognition of four students who also earned their associate degree from Fresno City College
- Duncan Polytechnical High School: May 1; signing ceremony and barbecue
- Fresno High School: May 1; signing ceremony with lunch; speaker was Fresno State president Joseph Castro
Video of Senior Signing Day at Duncan

Pilot Volunteers at Anthony Elementary through Adopt-A-Pilot

Anthony Elementary School fifth-graders are learning from a Southwest Airlines pilot, Darin Lierly, through the airline’s Adopt-a-Pilot Program. Mr. Lierly visits on Fridays, presenting aviation-themed activities related to geography, math, writing and other core subjects to introduce students to a career as a pilot.  He also guides them in researching other careers and developing life skills such as fearlessness, leadership, imagination, gratitude, honesty and tenacity through a series of weekly lessons.

Athletes Visit King Elementary

King Elementary School hosted football greats AJ Greeley (New Mexico State) and Tyler Horton (Boise State), as well as Johnny Sears (Toronto Argonauts) on May 9, 2018. These men, who are all from the Fresno area, came to share their experiences and talked about perseverance.

Roosevelt Ecology Club Volunteers to Clean Tortoise Habitat

Volunteers from the Roosevelt High School Ecology Club served their community for 2½ hours after school May 8 at the Fresno Discovery Center.  Eager participants cleaned the tortoise desert habitat of weeds, fallen branches, broken cactus pieces, and other debris to increase mobility for the three resident tortoises and improve viewing for visitors.  A half dozen volunteers collected and composted more than 10 trash cans full of winter debris and spring weeds.  The service project is part o​​f the Ecology Club's partnership with the hands-on science learning center and fits with its mission to make the community a more beautiful and sustainable place

Bullard Jazz Bands Excel in Reno

The Bullard High School jazz bands traveled to Reno April 28 for the prestigious Reno Jazz Festival, with all groups receiving Excellent ratings from the judges.  The Bullard A Band receive a unanimous Superior rating, the first time ever.  Also, several of the musicians received an Outstanding Musician Award.

McLane Will Exhibit at Japanese Christian Church

McLane's ArtVenture Academy opened a new exhibit about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II on May 5 at the United Japanese Christian Church fellowship hall in Clovis. The show will run through June 7.

Employer of Choice

Vote for Edison Teacher for All-Start Teacher Award

Edison High School chemistry teacher Jennifer Click is one five finalists for the NBC Sports Bay Area 2018 All-Star Teacher. A film crew from NBC Sports film her in her classroom and conducted interviews with students and staff. The three-minute video is posted online and voting is ongoing through June 1. On June 21, Jennifer will attend a Giants baseball game and the winner will be announced on the field. The winner will receive $20,000 for their school.
Vote for Edison Teacher Jennifer Click Here

Pyle Library Tech is Educator of the Week

Chelsea Parker, library technician at Pyle Elementary School, was selected as KSEE 24’s Education of the Week on May 8.
Segment on Educator of the Week

Team McLane Sports New Jerseys

McLane staff is looking good wearing their new McLane team jerseys.

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