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May 29, 2018

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Photo of the Week

Audra McDonald talks with students May 26 during the dedication of the Roosevelt High School theater in her honor.

Video of the Week

Video of the week
Faces of Fresno Unified: April Hogue

Dates to Know

May 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

Watch the New “60 Seconds with Fresno Unified” Video

Watch the latest edition of “60 Seconds with Fresno Unified,” featuring Father’s Day events, Sports Day at Addicott Elementary School and Fresno High School region grad walks.
“60 Seconds with Fresno Unified” Video

Nine District Schools on Honor Roll

Forkner, Manchester GATE, McCardle and Starr elementary schools, Baird 5-8 School and Computech Middle School and Design Science Middle College and Edison high schools and Phillip J. Patiño School of Entrepreneurship have been named to the California Honor Roll presented by Educational Results Partnership (ERP) and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE). ERP selected the schools after an extensive analysis of student data and found to be clear leaders in getting students to grade level and beyond. ERP will present the schools with banners to display on campus and feature them on the ERP/CBEE website where educators and policy makers seek out high performing schools to replicate.

The Honor Roll recognizes public elementary, middle, and high schools that demonstrate consistently high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement over time, and reduction in achievement gaps. For high schools, Honor Roll recognition includes high college readiness in students. This year, the California Honor Roll recognized 1,798 higher performing schools distinguished for their academic achievement and for closing achievement gaps.

Fifth- and Sixth-Graders Compete at Innovation Day

Fifth and sixth grade student teams competed in Innovation Day at the Save Mart Center on May 14. Innovation Day is the culminating activity of the year-long hands-on science programs STEM 5 and Kids Invent! that teach STEM skills and the competencies of the Graduate Profile in support of the district's Goal 3: All students will demonstrate the character and competencies for workplace success. 

Students competed in teams of four to complete challenges for their grade level. Fifth grade teams built a stomp rocket that had to fly into an area 30 feet away. Sixth grade teams collaborated to build a motorized vehicle that could climb a ramp. Twenty-six out of 30 sixth grade teams completed the climbing challenge while 31 out of 35 fifth grade teams landed their rocket on target. 

One grade-level team from each region won a Spirit Award for best demonstrating the skills and competencies of the District's Graduate Profile as they worked to meet the challenge. The fifth grade winners were teams from Powers-Ginsburg, Manchester GATE, Heaton, Centennial, Ewing, Vang Pao, and Ayer elementary schools. The sixth grade winners included teams from Malloch, Manchester GATE, Roeding, Robinson, Ewing, Lane and Aynesworth elementary schools.

The College & Career Readiness Department and the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fresno State co-sponsored the annual event.

Fathers and Father Figures Honored

Father’s Day came early in the district as elementary schools honored fathers and father figures during Father’s Day events May 18. The district’s Office of African American Academic Acceleration sponsored the first-time event. The goal was to increase the engagement of fathers and father figures in their student’s school and classroom, which has a direct correlation to academic achievement.

District Recruiting Students for New Youth Activation Program

Fresno Unified is launching Youth Activation, a district-wide program created and led by district youth to empower students to stand up for their passions and beliefs to
create lasting change in the community. Youth Activators will focus on developing solutions for challenges facing the community. Student voices will provide unique perspectives to decision-making processes necessary for impacting community change and school improvement.

Youth Activation is looking for Fresno Unified high school students now to be part of this work this summer in preparation for the 2018-19 school year. If you know a passionate student, who has integrity and character and is strong in their beliefs while maintaining an upright and character and is strong in their beliefs while maintaining an upright lifestyle, nominate a Fresno Unified student NOW!  Accepting nominations through May 30, 2018.  Student interviews to take place June 1-7, 2018.

Nominate a student:​​

Character Counts Awards Honor Middle School Students

The district held the 12th annual Middle School Character Counts Awards Banquet on May 17 at Tornino’s Banquet Hall, honoring Students of Character and an Athlete Pursuing Victory with Honor from each middle school.
Learn about Character Counts Student Honorees

A Student of Character Award demonstrates the six pillars of character, stands out as a positive role model to their peers, exemplifies good citizenship, and has benefited from their experiences at school.

An Athlete Pursuing Victory with Honor has exemplary academic and athletic accomplishments, high standards, accomplishments, integrity and sportsmanship, and has benefited from participation in middle school athletics.

Students and Staff Participate in Manufacturing Summit

Students and staff from Sunnyside, Duncan Polytechnical and Edison high schools attended the fourth annual San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Summit May 17 at the Convention Center. Fresno Unified highlighted its career technical education pathways, programs and courses at a booth in an ongoing effort to encourage industry to get involved and build relevant experiences for students.  The all-day event included a keynote speaker, workshop sessions, networking and interview opportunities with local industry partners.

Showcase Highlights Hmong Culture, Language and History

High school and middle school students in the Hmong Heritage Speakers courses presented performances and highlighted what they have learned for their families and the community at the second annual Student Showcase May 12. The showcase featured students from Bullard, Duncan Polytechnical, Edison, Fresno, Hoover, McLane, Roosevelt and Sunnyside high schools and Computech and Gaston middle schools. 

Adult Transition Program holds Transition Resources Fair

Fresno Unified’s Adult Transition Program (ATP), which helps students with disabilities be as self-reliant as possible, held a Transition Resource Fair May 18 for its own students and students from similar Fresno County programs. The event featured a variety of organizations and agencies that provide resources and information to help students with disabilities be independent. The district’s ATP has hosted a resource fair for the past three years, but this was the first at Chukchansi Park for students throughout the county.

Students Compete in Beam Engineering Competition at Fresno State

Dozens of students from Edison, Fresno and Roosevelt high schools competed May 19 at Fresno State School of Engineering's High School RC Beam Competition. Student teams worked hard on their own time to research material compositions, design and build structural forms, mix and pour their own composition of cement, sand and gravel, cure their beam for over a month and test the strength of their cement form. 

Superintendent Board Remarks from May 23, 2018

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

• Staff will present the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and hold a public hearing tonight.  Dr. Nelson thanked Santino Danisi, the district’s entire State and Federal staff and Parent University for the unbelievable outreach to garner feedback from community stakeholders.  Staff held a record number of stakeholder meetings – more than 236 – engaging labor partners, staff, students, parents and community at large.  Dr. Nelson thanked all who attended the meetings and ensured their voices were heard.

• This past Monday, Dr. Nelson joined 50 dedicated Fresno Unified elementary teachers in celebrating the completion of the district’s first GATE Certification Cohort. Participants completed targeted professional learning program designed to build strategies to meet the needs of students needing academic acceleration.  Manchester GATE teachers and 23 teachers representing every region of the district completed the certification.

• Congratulating all involved in the Teacher Academy Saturday Program, which is a partnership with Project Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization.  It offered science-focused professional learning and supported students to compete in a recent STEM competition.  Fresno Unified had winners at the local and state levels and next month, two students are moving on to represent the Teacher Academy Saturday Program in the Educators Rising National Competition in Orlando, Florida.

• Last night, the district celebrated the successful completion of Leadership Cohort 12.  The 33 graduates are now among 316 leaders at Fresno Unified who have been a part of this unique leadership preparation program and make up the majority of our administrators at the site and district level.  This cohort journey was not easy with many balancing life, work, families and for some, very personal struggles.  Dr. Nelson congratulated the Cohort 12 graduates and their families.

• Inviting the public to join the district on Saturday, May 26 at 11 a.m. in the Roosevelt High School auditorium as we welcome back to Fresno one of our most famous Rough Rider alumnus, Audra McDonald.  McDonald has won a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards and an Emmy Award.  She also received the 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, as well as being named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.  The district is thrilled to be welcoming Audra back to Fresno and Roosevelt High School as we dedicate the theater in her honor.

View Full Board Meeting Recap

School Buzz

Fresno High Seniors Visit Wilson Elementary for Grad Walk

Fresno High School graduating seniors visited Wilson Elementary School May 21 for a grad walk, wearing caps and gowns and high-fiving their younger peers as the elementary students cheered them on. It was a great way to motivate, encourage, and
inspire Wilson students to do their best and strive to be college and career ready graduates themselves.

Meet Tenaya’s New Principal

Attention all future seventh and eighth grade students attending Tenaya Middle School in the fall:  Please come to meet and greet Tenaya’s new principal, Armen Torigian, on Thursday, May 31 from 5:30-6:45 in the quad. Food trucks will be on hand and the PTA will provide desserts.

Edison Showcases Projects from Green Energy and Technology Academy

Students in Edison High School’s Green Energy and Technology Academy shared their research and findings from the past academic year at the Spring Expo on May 25. Student projects include a working solar paneled cell phone charger, a battery-powered electric car, and a fully functional wind turbine.

Roosevelt Baseball Players Volunteer at Prom for Students with Special Needs

Instead of taking the night off after a big win, Roosevelt High School baseball players volunteered at the Evening to Treasure prom for students with special needs on May 18.

Special Day Class Students Operate Café

Throughout this past school year, students in special day classes at Jefferson Elementary School ran a “coffee shop” every other Friday. Principal Kali' Isom helped get the project going with materials and coffee. Fourth- through sixth-grade baristas made coffee, tea and Frappuccinos by reading customer orders and following recipe directions.  Special day class students from first through third grades joined their older peers to deliver the orders.  During the cafe time, students worked as a team to count money, make change and interact with staff on campus.  "We are seeing huge gains in our students' self-confidence,” said special day class teacher Meagan Gilmore.  The students decided to spend some of their profits on a field trip to the Chaffee Zoo. ​

Manchester GATE Student Excels at WordMasters Challenge

Callie Nelson, a third grade student in Karen Barretto’s class at Manchester GATE Elementary School had a perfect score in meet No. 3 in WordMasters Challenge, which builds vocabulary and critical thinking skills and encourages a love of language

Lincoln Students attend Special Education Kids Day

Special day class students in grades 1-6 from Lincoln Elementary School attended the Special Education Kids Day at the Fresno Fair Grounds on May 11, Lincoln’s first time to attend the event. Students spent a fun day outside of the classroom enjoying dozens of booths -- from animals to hospitals to law enforcement -- and getting to see and meet new people. Schneider Electric and the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools hosted the event.

Employer of Choice

Teacher Resident is Dean’s Scholar

Elizabeth Barba, who started Fresno Unified’s Teacher Residency May 21, was recently named a Dean’s Medalist for the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at Fresno State. She is fluent in English, Spanish and French. Barba and is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies and a minor in French while receiving a 3.56 GPA.

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

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