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March 4, 2019

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Photo of the Week

Students standing in front of trucks
Duncan Polytechnical High School is preparing for a grand opening for new CTE facilities on March 21.

Video of the Week

video of the week
Read Across America with Superintendent Bob Nelson.

Dates to Know

March 6 and 20 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 News in 60 Seconds” Video

The latest edition of “Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds” features Read Across America, the annual elementary spelling bee and the board’s proclamation that March is Women’s History Month.
Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds” Video

Duncan will Celebrate new CTE Facilities

Students in auto shopJoin the district on Thursday, March 21 to celebrate the completion of Duncan Polytechnical High School's newest career technical​ education facility. See invitation below for more details.
CTE Facility Celebration Invitation 

Manchester Student Wins S-T-R-E-N-U-O-U-S Spelling Bee

Two spelling bee winnersManchester GATE Elementary School’s Jacob Hernandez won Fresno Unified’s annual elementary spelling bee on February 26, correctly spelling “strenuous.” The spelling bee continues to grow, with 31 schools participating this year, compared to 20 in 2015. Sixty-two spellers in grades 4-6 took the stage at the beautifully refurbished historic Royce Hall at Fresno High. Jacob and runner-up Marcos Vega Jr. from Addams Elementary School will represent Fresno Unified at the Fresno County Spell-Off March 19 at Fresno State. Jacob and Marcos won trophies and gift cards from Barnes & Noble. All spellers received a certificate, book and a swag bag.

Community partners were ABC30, the Fresno County Superintendent’s Office and The Fresno Bee. The spell master was Corin Hoggard from ABC30.
Spelling Bee Video

Baird, Design Science are Named California Distinguished Schools

Californi Distinguished school logoBaird Middle School and Design Science Middle College High School are among 162 middle and high schools named California Distinguished Schools by the California Department of Education. The program recognizes schools achieving exceptional student performance for two consecutive years or closing the achievement gap between two years. Distinguished School award winners offer not only excellent teaching, learning and collaboration, but highly successful school climate efforts.

District Middle Schools will Host Father’s Day Events

Eleven of the district’s middle schools will host Father’s Day events on Friday, March 8 to increase parent engagement, specifically of African American fathers, grandfathers, uncles and other significant male figures who impact the lives of African American students. Participating schools are ​Ahwahnee, Baird, Cooper, Fort Miller, Kings Canyon, Scandinavian, Sequoia, Tehipite, Terronez, Tioga and Wawona.

Guests at participating school sites this year will be warmly welcomed and reminded of the impact of a significant male figure in the life of a child. Community partner United Black Men will provide ambassadors at each participating site.​

The district hosted Father’s Day events last year at 18 elementary schools, encouraging more than 300 fathers and influential males within the district to be to be actively engaged in the lives of their children and our students. This helped raise awareness of the importance of their role and influence in their child’s life.

Questions: Community Education Specialist Jasmine Ellard at (559) 457-3790 or
Father’s Day Flyer

Deadline for Fresno Unified Scholarships is March 15

Scholarship winners

Applications for the Fresno Unified Scholarships are available online. Through the generosity of the community and Fresno Unified employees, the scholarships have supported the college dreams of hundreds of Fresno Unified students since the scholarship program began in 2009. Last year, the district awarded scholarships to 46 students totaling $61,000. The deadline to submit applications is Friday, March 15 to the Department of College and Career Readiness.

This is a great time for employees to consider supporting students through the Fresno Unified Scholarship Fund. One way of supporting the scholarships is to sign up for payroll deduction. Watch a video about this option here.

More Information about the Fresno Unified Scholarship Fund 

ACSA Golf Fundraiser coming in April

ACSA logoMark the calendar for Saturday, April 27. ACSA will once again hold a golf tournament at the Riverside Golf Course to raise money for Fresno Unified scholarships. Get that foursome ready! Last year, the tournament raised more than $4,000, with a goal this year of $6,000. Come join colleagues for a great day of golf that will once again feature the famous taco truck and raffle prizes. Don’t miss out on the fun while supporting Fresno Unified students!
Registration for ACSA Golf Tournament 

Judges Needed for Tournament of Technology

students working on laptopTake part in the exciting 12th annual Tournament of Technology! Tournament organizers are looking for judges to review epic robot battles, video games, movies, websites, and much more! It's easy and being a "techie" is not a requirement. 

Sign up now:
Be a live event judge. Come see the energy and enthusiasm on Saturday, April 6 at Hoover High School! 
Be an online judge. Review projects at your convenience from March 22-27.

Scholarships Available for Hispanic Students

AMAE logoIt’s that time of year again to encourage Hispanic students to apply for the $1,000 Association of Mexican American Educators Scholarships. Applications must be postmarked by March 22, 2019. The Día del Maestro Banquet is at 6 p.m. Friday, May 10 at the Golden Palace, 2625 W. Vassar Ave. (93705). Cost is $40 or $400 for a table of 10.
AMAE Application
AMAE Letter
AMAE Checklist 

Superintendent Board Remarks from February 27, 2019

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

• Highlighting that this week, we celebrated Read Across America in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. During this week, educators donned their funny Dr. Seuss outfits, hats, colored hair and even socks to help celebrate the joy of reading. Students, community leaders, college athletes, district staff, board members and others got together, all in an effort to bring reading to life for our elementary students.

• Nelson also shared that the Association of California School Administrators or – ACSA – Region IX recognized several top leaders from throughout the Central Valley at their annual awards banquet. This year, Fresno Unified had several administrators who were recognized. Congratulations to: Van Pao Principal – Yua Lee; Central Office Administrator – Holland Locker; Classified Leader from Operations – Alex Belanger; Adult Education Administrator – Raine Bumatay; Student Services – Amy Hardcastle

• Superintendent shared that this week we learned that two of our Fresno Unified schools have been named a 2019 California Distinguished School. Congratulations to Baird Middle School and Design Science Early College High School. They are among 162 middle and high schools throughout California who were given this distinction this year based on their academic performance and progress as well as their successful school climate. Both schools will be celebrated at a special awards ceremony in Anaheim this April.

• Nelson thanked our Board of Education for their recent investments in our high school weight rooms. Phase one, which included Duncan, Fresno High, and Edison are complete. Phase two is underway and over the next months, we expect our comprehensive high schools to be completed. To learn more about the investment and the impact its having on our campuses and our students you can watch this video.

• Last, Superintendent acknowledged and thanked board secretary, Jennifer Aguilar. This was  Jennifer’s last board meeting as she has taken a new position with our instructional team and will be supporting our Chief Academic Officer. Jennifer was presented a well-deserved going away gift.

View Full Board Meeting Recap

School Buzz

Design Science Senior is a semifinalist for Prestigious Scholarship

Design Science Middle College High School senior Andrew Garcia is a semifinalist for a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship. Recipients are awarded up to $40,000 annually for four years to attend some of the top colleges and universities in the country. It is one of the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships in the nation. Andrew is among 565 semifinalists, selected from 6,174 applicants. The foundation will announce winners in April. Last year, the foundation selected 106 semi-finalists for scholarships. Cooke College Scholars are selected based on exceptional academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, service to others and leadership.

Community Members Help Bullard Seniors with Interview Techniques

Bullard High School launched a seven-week project February 27 to help prepare seniors for job interviews. Community and business partners are volunteering to be on panels to conduct mock interviews with all 600 Bullard seniors as if they were applying for jobs or internships. A panel on February 28 included Mayor Lee Brand. Following the interviews, the volunteers provide feedback to better prepare students for the real world of work. The interviews are part of a Senior Resume Project with support from the Parent Teacher Student Association.

Jefferson Girls Basketball Team Inspired by Fresno State Players

Jefferson basketball team at Fresno StateA group of Jefferson Elementary School girls basketball players and Coach Patricia Miramontes attended the Fresno State women’s basketball game on February 9 at the Save Mart Center, where they learned more about offense and defense and all aspects of college basketball. Along with the game, the students enjoyed listening to the pep band and even won a free pizza to share. After the game, four of the girls attended an autograph session and met the team. Fresno State players encouraged the girls to keep playing and pursuing their passions. All of the students left the game feeling inspired.

Roosevelt Presents “Shrek! The Musical”

Shrek the Musical posterRoosevelt School of the Arts invites the district and community to enjoy "Shrek! The Musical." Students and senior citizens are $5; $10 for adults. Performances:

• March 8 at 7:30 p.m.
• March 9 at 2 p.m.
• March 9 at 7:30 p.m.
• March 10 at 2 p.m.​

Greenberg Holds Black History Month Program

Students dancing on stage Greenberg Elementary School held a Black History Month program on February 8 featuring dancing and student performances that highlighted key African Americans.

McLane Honors Students

Mclane student gets medal McLane High School honored students for academic achievement in the first semester on February 7 in the McLane gym.

Kratt Raises Nearly $400 for Animal Shelter

Dog in cage with Valentine cardKratt Elementary School students raised $385 for the Fresno Humane Animal Services through its Smooches 4 Pooches fund drive. Kratt’s donation will grow to $7,700 with donors’ matching funds. The students also made Valentine cards to place on animals’ cages.

Forkner Students “Walk” through California

Group of students in costumes

The Forkner Elementary School PTA hosted a Walk through California for fourth grade classes. Students dressed as vocabulary words and characters from the past for the February 15 event.

Patiño Holds Third Annual Toy Expo

The junior class of Phillip J. Patiño School of Entrepreneurship will hold its third annual Toy Expo on Thursday, March 21 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend and learn about an untold voice from history. 

Eaton Teachers Collaborate on Valentine’s Activities

Teacher and students working on Valentine cardsTransitional kindergarten teacher Diane Shamshoian and special day class VI preschool teacher Emily Yang collaborated in creating Valentine's Day activities for their classes at Eaton Elementary School. Students in both classes were divided into groups and participated in activity centers.​

Employer of Choice

ACSA Names Top Educators from Fresno Unified

The Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Fresno Consolidated Charter recognized several top leaders from throughout the Central Valley at its annual awards banquet February 25. Fresno Unified winners are:

• Elementary Principal: Yua Lee (Vang Pao Elementary School)
• Central Office Administrator: Holland Locker (School Leadership)
• Elementary Co-Administrator: Tracy Pennell (vice principal at Yokomi Elementary School)
• Classified Leader: Alex Belanger (Operations)
• Adult Education: Raine Bumatay
• Student Services: Amy Hardcastle (Prevention and Intervention)

They will represent Region IX as ACSA Administrators of the Year and move on to state-level competition. 

Special Ed Manager Honored with Central Valley Champions Awards

Nicole Evangelinos, a special education regional instructional manager, is the recipient of a Central Valley Champions Award from the Central Valley Regional Center. She will be honored March 14. The awards recognize people and organizations who stand out as role models of selfless service and dedicated advocacy in working with people with developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

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