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January 22, 2019

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Photo of the Week

Student working out
A student works out in the refurbished weight room at Duncan Polytechnical High School.

Video of the Week

video of the week
Faces of Fresno Unified: Rob Kuzminski

Dates to Know

January 30 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

"Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds"

The latest edition of "Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds" features nighttime certification programs at Duncan Polytechnical High School, LCAP meetings and the Excellence in Education Awards dinner.
"Fresno Unified in 60 Seconds" Video

Academic Decathlon Volunteer Judges Needed

students smiling at competition This year, Fresno Unified will be coordinating the process of acquiring volunteer judges for the Oral Interview & Speech competitions for the Fresno County Academic Decathlon 2019. The Academic Decathlon, coordinated by the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools and sponsored by local businesses, is one of the most prestigious and exciting scholastic competitions for high school students in Fresno County. This year's competition will be held at Fresno State University Saturday, January 26, and more than 200 volunteer judges are needed. Those interested in volunteering, please click on the link below to complete the registration process. 

Academic Decathlon Volunteer R​egistration ​ 
Questions: Department of Extended Learning, (559) 248-7560

Superintendent Board Remarks from January 16, 2019

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

• Highlighting that Monday, January 7 district students returned from a three-week break.  Rata High School, which serves students with developmental disabilities—many of whom are medically fragile, returned to a renovated campus, with remodeled classrooms and improved facilities. For more than a year, Rata students conducted classes at McLane High School.  The $5.2 million project included remodeling the existing building, adding two classrooms; adding two fully equipped nurse stations; providing new conference, laundry and support spaces; extending and widening the outdoor walking track; installing an outdoor shade area and installing new concrete walks for access to the play courts and exercise apparatus.

• Nelson also shared that on January 8, district leaders joined students and staff at McLane High School to celebrate the completion of their new quad area. The event kicked off with bagpipers and ended with McLane's drum line as students officially opened the new space at the center of campus. The new quad provides students with additional green space, larger walkways, new benches, gathering areas and overall improved landscaping. Measure X funded the project.

• Superintendent shared that on February 13, staff will bring forward another presentation on the Special Education Strategic Master Plan derived from the Council of the Great City Schools' report.  The district's plan addresses 14 recommendation areas outlined in the report under five focus areas:
1. Prioritize Universal Inclusion and Support;
2. Expand Student Learning Opportunities;
3. Build Skills and Competencies for Staff;
4. Engage and Empower Parents; and
5. Implement Systems for Continuous Improvement

In November, the board of education took action to allocate an additional $1 million in one-time funds to provide student technology, student curriculum, student equipment, staff technology and staff professional learning.

• Nelson also shared that, next Thursday, January 22, Fresno Unified will host its annual Teacher Hiring Fair in the McLane High School cafeteria from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.  While walk-ins are welcome, applicants are encouraged to visit the district website to complete an advanced application. Staff will conduct interviews and give intent-to-hire commitments to qualified candidates.

• Last, Superintendent highlighted that Fresno Unified's annual Excellence in Education event will take place on Monday, February 4 at the DoubleTree Hotel. The event will celebrate 50 of the district's top employees.  Colleagues who watch them in action every day and are witness of their remarkable efforts in the name of our 74,000 students have nominated these individuals.  I look forward to this night every year.  Tickets went on sale today. To learn more, visit

View Full Board Meeting Recap

School Buzz

Newly Renovated Rata High School to Host Open House

RATA buildingThe public is invited to tour the newly renovated Rata High School on Friday, February 8 at a special open house.  Tours, entertainment and food trucks will be available from noon to 3 p.m. Rata High School, which serves students with developmental disabilities, welcomed students back following the winter break after 18 months of renovations.
The $5.2 million project included remodeling the existing building and adding two classrooms; adding two fully equipped nurse stations; providing new conference, laundry and support spaces; extended and widening the outdoor walking track; installing new concrete walks for access to the play courts and exercise apparatus; adding a shade structure; modifying the bus loading/unloading areas; and improving fencing and gates for access security. Every classroom now has a fully accessible restroom and all doors were widened and automated to accommodate wheelchairs and other accessibility equipment.
Invitation to Rata Open House

Hoover High Hosts Career Fair

Hoover High School hosted a Career Fair on January 17 for local employers and post-secondary partners to showcase opportunities for students. This year, Hoover also highlighted its career pathway programs as a way to recruit students to join a pathway next school year.

Wawona Students Volunteer on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Students at Wawona School gathered on Martin Luther King Jr. Day January 21 for a "day on, not a day off" in honor of the civil rights leader. Students, staff and families tied fleece blankets and presented them to the Sheriff's Department, participated in campus beautification, wrote cards for veterans and created an MLK mural. A reading corner was available with books on Dr. King and other civil rights leaders. Wawona's Where Everyone Belongs (WEB) student leaders, staff and parents organized the projects.

Wawona, which offers a dual immersion program, is transitioning to a K-8 school but currently houses kindergarten, first, seventh and eighth grades.

Bitwise will Host Geek Night! Fundraiser for RSA

Roosevelt School of the Arts logoFriends of Roosevelt School of the Arts invites the community to an interactive community event Friday, February 1 at Bitwise Industries. During Geek Night!, students from Roosevelt School of the Arts will showcase their talents with performances and interactive activities, including teaching guests a dance number, to paint or sing karaoke. Free food and drinks will be provided and desserts will be available for purchase. 

Don't miss out on this one-of-a-kind fundraising family event in downtown at Bitwise, 700 Van Ness Ave., from 5-7 p.m.  Please stop by the FRSA information table and say hi!

Forkner holding Fundraiser at Pieology

The Forkner PTA is raising money through Pizza with a Purpose at Pielogy at Herndon Avenue and Highway 99 on Wednesday, January 30.
Forkner Pieology Fundraiser Flyer

Computech Presented "The Outsiders"

The cast of the OutsidersIn November, the Computech Theatre Company produced "The Outsiders" as its fall show.  

McLane Celebrates Completion of Quad

Students cutting red ribbon McLane High School and the McLane community  celebrated the completion of a new quad area on January 8, one of several improvement projects over the last few years on the campus. The quad area renovation features an enhanced campus gathering place with improved pedestrian circulation, new benches, low-water trees to replace older trees, new hardscape and concrete pathways with improved accessibility, and landscaping with better irrigation. The project was funded by Measure X, the local school bond passed by voters in 2016, and approved by the Fresno Unified Board of Education in June. The student-led ribbon-cutting ceremony included a speech by student body president Mayra Carrillo and a muffin for every student, welcoming them back from winter break.
Video of Ribbon Cutting for McLane Quad

Computech Advanced Theatre Students Learn Sword Stage Combat

Students holding swords Advanced Theatre students at Computech Middle School are building on their hand-to-hand stage combat knowledge by adding a sword. They are learning basic sword fighting for the stage and choreographing their own fights.

Easterby Students Complete Project to Help the Homeless and Learn Skills

Students filling up paper bags Fifth- and sixth-grade students in Eric Calderon-Phangrath's special day class at Easterby Elementary School chose to fight hunger in the downtown homeless population for their December project-based learning activity. Students created a collaborative PowerPoint using Microsoft Teams with slides focused on why, how, what and when.  As a class, the students presented their project proposal to their teacher, with the goal of persuading him of its value. They then worked collaboratively on a donation request letter, working in Microsoft Teams using the dictation feature to help them transcribe their ideas into printed text.  They took a class photo to attach to the letter. Students presented the letter to various businesses and community members and asked for community support.  With donations, the class was able to prepare 105 sack lunches that included, water, chips, cookies and a sandwich. They notified Poverello House, then with the help of parent volunteers passed out the lunches on December 14.  When they returned to class, students used FlipGrid to record a two-minute or less reflection about their overall experience. 

CART Parent Information Nights

CART logo The Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART) will hold two Parent Information Nights for potential students and their parents. This is a time for families to come to CART to learn about specific labs, and talk to teachers about their courses and to administration about the CART program in general. Both evenings will cover the same information and will run from 6-7 p.m. CART Parent Information Nights are January 23 and 31, 2019.​

Apply Now for CART
The window for current sophomores and juniors to apply to CART for the 2019-20 school year is now open. Students must apply before February 8, 2019 to be considered in the lottery process. The application can be found online at 

CART is already busy visiting each high school to share about CART and dates are set for each school to bring students to CART for a tour and more information. ​Questions: Tina Chandler at or at 248-7400.

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