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December 17, 2018

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Photo of the Week

King elementary students and staff with Santa
Community and staff provided gifts at King Elementary School on December 7.

Video of the Week

video of the week
Special sendoff for Officer Conrado Martin at Cooper Academy.

Dates to Know

January 16 check website for time
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 "60 Seconds with Fresno Unified"

Watch the latest edition of "60 Seconds with Fresno Unified," featuring Kings Canyon Middle School's fourth annual Career Day, Teacher Signing Day, gifts for King Elementary School students and the swearing in of new board members.
60 Seconds with Fresno Unified Video

District Celebrates Student Teachers with Signing Day

Student holding signed documentThe district celebrated 40 student teachers at its first Teacher Signing Day December 11, modeled after a signing day for student athletes committing to colleges. School site mentors, principals and the Teacher Development Department selected the student teachers recognized, committing to them that they would be hired at a district school. The district designed the Teacher Signing Day to honor exemplary student teachers for choosing Fresno Unified and recognize their hard work. Along with the signing ceremony, held in Bullard High School's lecture hall, the district provided the student teachers with an overview and timeline for the hiring process. The student teachers have the opportunity to substitute teach until they are hired at a school.  

Student Work Permit Information

Fresno Unified students needing to pick up and get work permits processed over winter break can do so at the College and Career Readiness Office at 4120 N. First St., Fresno, Ca 93726. The office is open from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Friday from Monday, December 17-Friday, January 4. All district offices will be closed on December 24, 25 and January 1 and will not be able to process work permits on those days. Questions: College & Career Readiness Office at (559) 248-7465 or (559) 248-7531. 

Students Compete in New Online Gaming League Tournament

student winners holding trophy and prizesFollowing the inaugural season of an online eSports league for district high school students, the top teams from each school competed for the league championship December 1. Edison High School's Team 1 won the Division I title and Edison High School's Team 3 won the Division II title. The Fresno Unified eSports League (FUeL) attracted nearly 130 players from the district's 12 high schools during the fall season. They competed in the Rocket League, a soccer-with-cars game that features three-person teams. eSports is a new way for the district to involve all types of students in an extracurricular activity that engages them in school, with staff and with fellow students, and promotes school spirit.

eSports is a booming industry with numerous job opportunities beyond being a player, including game design, coding, testing, sales and marketing, production, streaming and management. More than 200 colleges and universities are actively recruiting and providing scholarships for eSports players. The University of California system offers $9 million in eSports scholarships.  

eSports video

Superintendent Board Remarks from December 12, 2018

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

• Highlights from the district's first student-teacher signing day. District leaders, instructional coaches, master teachers, site leaders and others joined student teachers as they signed their letter of intent and began their journey of having their own classroom. Now they will have an opportunity to substitute teach until they area formally picked up to lead their own classrooms. Superintendent shared pictures of the event as part of his presentation.

• Nelson also shared that the installation of gym equipment at three of the district's high schools (Duncan, Fresno High and Edison) is nearing completion. Duncan received Powerlift racks with flooring, new paint and rubber coated dumbbells. Other weight and fitness equipment will arrive after the first of the year.  Superintendent highlighted that the board will consider tonight phase two of the plan that will address gym equipment at our remaining high schools.

• Superintendent shared that once again the district has partnered with Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission to provide free meals during winter break. Sites, times and locations will be announced this Friday and a complete list will be available on the district website at

• Superintendent highlighted the heartwarming farewell that Copper Academy put together today for Officer Conrado Martin who is leaving to take on a new role within the Fresno Police Department.  The video highlights the importance of building relationships and the impact it can have on our adults as well as our students.

View Full Board Meeting Recap

School Buzz

Gaston P.E. Staff Wins State Award

Gaston logoGaston Middle School's Physical Education Department has been selected to receive the Physical Education Program of the Year Award from the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD). The P.E. staff will be recognized for outstanding professional contributions and achievements during the CAHPERD State Conference Friday, February 22 in Garden Grove. 

Edison Student Wins Hispanic Heritage Award

Bryan Banuelos with award Bryan Banuelos, a senior at Edison High School, has won a Hispanic Heritage Youth Award. The program rewards achievements and identifies, inspires, prepares, and positions Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce in meeting America's priorities going forward. Bryan is a Bronze Award recipient for the Technology & Engineering category in the Northern California region. He was presented with the award at a ceremony November 28 at Stanford University. Bryan is the son of Edison teacher Elia Banuelos.

Schools Donate to Help those in Need at the Holidays

Aynesworth students collecting cansThroughout the district, students and staff collected food and clothing and volunteered in other ways to help those in need and make their holidays brighter. Schools helping included:

Fremont Elementary School: Opened a food pantry in partnership with the Central California Food Bank. The last food distribution before the winter break was December 14, with student council officers and class representatives bagging the food the day before. Students and staff distributed bags of food based on the number of individuals in a household. The food items were delivered to the school thanks to a grant sponsorship from the Central California Food Bank. This was the school's third food distribution.
Sequoia Middle School: Destination Imagination students will deliver 180 personal hygiene kits to homeless teens and adults December 17. Students collected items and secured donations from local businesses. The students decorated bags for the items with inspirational messages of hope. Students also delivered kits to the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission Youth Sanctuary shelter office on December 14. Destination Imagination is a project-based extracurricular activity designed to build communication skills, creativity, critical thinking and teamwork.
Aynesworth Elementary School: Held its first food drive and donated the food on December 12.
Kings Canyon Middle School: Kings Canyon students were given the option of bringing a can food item to school and turning it in to their P.E. teacher instead of dressing out. Students collected more than 2,100 cans with teachers donating more than 20 turkeys and hams to help neighboring families have a holiday meal. 
Manchester GATE Elementary School: Students in the Kiwanis Kids service club organized a school-wide service project, bringing gifts and collecting money for five families who have to spend their holidays at Valley Children's Hospital.

Phoenix Secondary hosts Holiday Luncheon and Awards Ceremony

Students getting foodPhoenix Secondary Academy students, parents and staff gathered for a holiday luncheon on December 14 that included the presentation of academic and athletic awards for the first semester. Sweat Pea's Catering, a community partner, provided a full holiday meal.

Santa Brings Toys to King Students

King elementary student happily holidng stuffed animalSanta arrived early at King Elementary School, bringing gifts to students on December 7. The gifts were donated by King staff, Memorial High School and St. Anthony's Catholic School.  This is the eighth year for this event.

Sunnyside Hosts Holiday Meal and Toy Giveaway

Two hundred southeast Fresno families gathered at Sunnyside High School for the fourth annual holiday meal on December 15. The event included a gift for every student in the family, a portrait and traditional turkey dinner to take home. Community partners Fresno Police Department, Walmart, All Access Tires, Cornerstone Church, Fresno Unified, Q 97 and La Buena made the event possible through donations.

Motorcycle Dealership Provides Toys for Anthony Elementary

Student surprised at giftAnthony Elementary School students received a toy from Santa (Mathews Harley-Davidson) on December 14 as part of an annual celebration provided by the dealership and its customers. A special drawing was also held, with more than 100 students selected to receive a new bicycle donated by the motorcycle shop and customers. Mathews has generously adopted the school for the past several years, donating school supplies and holiday gifts.

Kirk Holds Eighth Annual Santa Letter Writing Contest

Happy student holding giftThanks to the generosity of nearly 400 community sponsors, every student at Kirk Elementary School received a gift during the school's eighth annual Santa Letter Writing Contest celebrations on December 12 and 13.  The event, which began with six sponsors, now includes the support of teachers, former students, community members, church groups, Teens that Care, law firms and many others, who choose a student's letter to Santa and fulfill one of their wishes. Students' requests range from shoes to coloring books to warm blankets. The celebration included a presentation for the winners of the Santa Letter Writing Contest. The students were invited to wear pajamas that day, and Santa was on hand for photos.

Video of Gifts at Kirk Elementary

Kings Canyon Middle School Hosts Fourth Annual Career Day

Students looking at x-ray with technicianKings Canyon Middle School's fourth annual Career Day on December 7 featured more than 40 professionals from a variety of careers. Guests included several former Kings Canyon students, including a hospital chief financial officer, a city of Fresno management analyst, and a PBS television producer. Other guests included police Chief Jerry Dyer, professional boxer Smokin Joe Louie Lopez, recent U.S. congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng and business owner Teddy Fonseca. Guests discussed their careers, including required education and skills, as well as soft skills students can work on now to be successful.

Slater Holds Breakfast with Santa Event

Slater staff wearing santa hats

Slater Elementary School held its annual Breakfast with Santa on December 8.  The Fresno County Probation Department sponsored breakfast for all participants and their families and donated gifts for students.  In addition, Hope Church of the Nazarene donated an additional 40 gifts.  Both the Fresno County Probation Department and Hope Church sent volunteers to set up, clean up and serve during the event.  In addition to Santa and ACE, a probation K-9 officer, entertained at the event.  The smiles on Slater students as they left Saturday morning was priceless.  

Roosevelt Public Service Pathway Hosts Community Partners

Roosevelt students with military members

Roosevelt High School's Public Service Pathway held its first Breakfast with Blue December 5 to recognize the public service sector and celebrate its work and collaboration with students. Students were able to connect with seven different industry partners, including the Sheriff's Department, Fire Department, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Street Saints.

Students Tour Cal Poly

Students on Cal Poly campuseStudents from Cambridge and DeWolf high schools and J.E. Young Academic Center had the opportunity to tour Cal Poly recently, learning about various fields of study and opportunities. They enjoyed lunch on campus at 805 Café. 

Olmos Recognizes English Proficiency

students and parents holding certificates

Olmos Elementary School held an awards ceremony November 15 followed by a family breakfast to honor the more than 80 English learner students who met the requirements to redesignate as Fluent English Proficient this fall. Staff served the students and parents breakfast and thanked them for all of their hard work and determination.

Employer of Choice

Fourteen Teachers are National Board Certified

National BoardStarting in 2015, Fresno Unified developed a support program for teachers who wished to pursue National Board Certification, one of the highest marks of teaching accomplishment.  Since the start of the program, 21 teachers have successfully achieved certification. The district is proud to recognize this year's newest recipients: Brinkley Abercrombie, Jon Bath, Joshua Elsasser, Lydia Gonzalez, Janet Hubner, Charlene Lee, Kelly Lightner, Celia Paz, Willow Reed, Janina Schultz, Tamara Smith, Martha Soto, Maria Tafolla, and Alex Volkov. Congratulations on this outstanding achievement. ​​

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