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March 25, 2019

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Photo of the Week

Ribbon cutting ceremony at Duncan High
Duncan Polytechnical High School held an open house March 21 to celebrate new CTE facilities.

Video of the Week

Watch video of the week
Ericson Elementary School will hold an art show April 11.

Dates to Know

April 3 (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 the new garden at Kirk Elementary School, the Dual Language Immersion Student Showcase, the Warrior Rack at Fresno High School, and Duncan Polytechnical High School’s CTE facilities open house.
“Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds” Video 

Alternative Education Students Visit CSU Monterey

Students at CSU Monterey

Forty-one alternative education students from Cambridge, DeWolf and J.E. Young high schools took a tour recently of CSU Monterey, led by CSU Monterey students. The students had the opportunity to learn more about higher education possibilities and enjoyed lunch on campus.

Elementary Students Compete in First Holland Locker Memorial Tournaments

Boys and girls basketball players champions

Elementary student-athletes from throughout the district competed hard during the third quarter. Manchester GATE Elementary School won the first Holland Locker Memorial Elementary Boys Basketball Championships, followed by Storey, Heaton, Balderas, Williams, Viking, Bakman and Forkner elementary schools. The tournament was February 23.

On March 2, Manchester GATE also won the Holland Locker Memorial Elementary Girls Basketball Championships, followed by Powers-Ginsburg, Easterby, Thomas, Yokomi, Wishon, Del Mar and Ewing elementary schools.

Dual Language Students Showcase Skills

Student working on project in Spanish The district held a Dual Language Immersion Student Showcase on March 20 at Yosemite Middle School, an opportunity for students from the district’s dual language immersion programs to highlight what they have learned. The showcase included poetry reading, science experiments and history and Spanish literacy projects.

Fresno Unified offers dual language programs in Spanish at Burroughs, Calwa, Centennial, Ewing, Jackson, Lane, Leavenworth, Roeding, Rowell and Sunset elementary schools; Wawona School (kindergarten and first grades); Yosemite Middle School; and McLane High School. It also offers a Hmong dual language immersion program at Vang Pao Elementary School.

Superintendent Board Remarks from March 20, 2019

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

• Highlighting that for the last several days he was able to participate in the Council of the Great City Schools Legislative Session held in Washington, D.C.  The weekend was inspiring and reaffirming being in D.C. and serving as a voice for the youth of the Central Valley.

• Nelson also shared that this week, March 17-23, marks National Safe Place Week where we celebrate and recognize local businesses, community organizations, youth service agencies, and volunteers that are part of the Safe Place program. Fresno Unified partners with Fresno EOC Sanctuary and Support Services to provide Safe Places at more than 106 school sites and facilities. Fresno EOC’s Sanctuary Youth Shelter is an emergency shelter for runaway, homeless or at-risk youth ages 12-18. Our local Safe Place Sanctuary is the only self-referral emergency shelter for youth of this age group within 15,000 square mile radius. Later this week, our Emergency Crisis Management Response Manager, Armand Chavez will be recognized by the Fresno EOC’s Safe Place and Sanctuary Support Services.

• Superintendent shared that this past Saturday, Parent University hosted its African American Parent Athlete Symposium at Gaston Middle School. Parents from around the district participated in learning sessions focused on student pursuing athletics beyond high school. The event keynote speaker was Robert Golden, former Edison football standout and former safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here you can see a video about the inspiring event.

• Last, Superintendent acknowledged Instructional Superintendent Katie Russell. Next week, the California Association of African American Superintendents and Administrators (CAAASA) will recognize Katie for her positive impact on the students of California and specifically, the students of Fresno Unified, Congratulations Katie!

View Full Board Meeting Recap

School Buzz

Kirk Creates a Garden with Help from Home Depot

students gardeningStudents at Kirk Elementary School planted a garden of vegetables and flowers on March 18 that will support learning and provide fresh produce for Kirk families. The Home Depot in Clovis not only donated materials for the raised garden beds, but sent a crew of employees to build the garden bed structures. Students filled the structures with soil and planted various plants.
Through integrated lessons, student will learn math, science, and English language arts skills as they work in the garden. The garden will not only be academically beneficial, it will also teach students social skills, improve their campus and contribute to healthy eating.

Manchester GATE Student Places Third at County Spell-Off

Jacob HernandezJacob Hernandez, a sixth-grader at Manchester GATE Elementary School, placed third among elementary students at the Fresno County Spell Off March 19 at Fresno State University. He will move on to the state spelling bee as an alternate May 11 in Stockton.

Sequoia Young Women’s Alliance Hosts Vang Pao Students

Sequoia and Vang Pao students

With help from the staff in the Sequoia Middle School library, the Young Women’s Alliance eighth grade students spent a couple of weeks preparing to host a visit from three Vang Pao Elementary School kindergarten classes.  In the library, the students drew and painted background settings and made paper and felt puppets and pigs' houses for a puppet show.  ​On the day of the event, March 7, the Sequoia students led the kindergarten students through three activities: a puppet show, going on a campus tour and playing red light/green light.  Everyone had a good time.  The kindergarteners politely walked off campus saying thank you after receiving a snack.  It was exciting to meet future Lumberjacks!  

Kratt Students Read Books, Tape Teacher to Wall

Kratt Principal taped to wallAs part of a school-wide focus on reading during Read Across America week, students read February 25 through March 1 to complete a book mark of 10 books/chapters.  For every bookmark completed, a student earned a piece of duct tape to tape the principal, Kacey Sanom, to the wall on March 22.

Duncan Kindness Club Celebrates World Down Syndrome Day

Duncan students holding cards

The Kindness Club at Duncan Polytechnical High School decorated fun sock designs, participated in meaningful conversation, and watched videos celebrating World Down Syndrome Day on March 21. The Kindness Club is working for love and acceptance for all. To have a day to celebrate those with Down Syndrome was eye opening and exciting!

Fresno High Marching Band and Color Guard will hold Concert in the Park

Fresno High’s marching band and color guard will host the annual Concert at Sunset at 4 p.m. Friday, April 12 at Warrior Park. The concert will feature performances from Fresno High, Cooper Academy, Fort Miller Middle School and Hamilton K-8 School. The event, sponsored by the Warriors Booster Club, will include vendors, food booths, a silent auction and games.  If interested in having a booth, contact Vickie at (559) 477-9468.

Edison Takes Home Awards from History Day Competition

Edison High School excelled at the Fresno County History Day competition March 9 at Fresno Pacific University. Co-champions moving on to the state competition (three move on from each category): Group Documentary for Adam Walsh, Daniela Munoz and Bryan Garces; Group Documentary for Rosalind Franklin,  Alejandra Lopez, Nate Martin and Carmen Maldonado;  Group Exhibit for Harvey Milk, Claire Hall, Gabriel Camarillo and Evan Marez;  Group Performance for Harvey Milk,  Madeleine Fischer, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Kacey Pitcher and Anthony Jorge; and Group Performance for organ transplantation, Tyler Mrkaich, Emma Pitcher and Austin Kern.

Other medalists were: Third, Group Documentary about the bombing of Japan, Jacob Plumb and Sean Touchstone; third, Group Exhibit for the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Mason Freeny, Miran Janigian, Joshua Nourian and Patrick Berry; second, Group Website for the Salem Witch Trials, Elena Guerrero and Galilea De La Mora; second, Historical Paper for Alan Turing, Alia Lescoulie; and second, Individual Website for The Treaty of Versailles, Mariah Tellez.

In junior categories: co-champion, Individual Performance for the Day the Music Died, Kyle Mrkaich from Bullard TALENT K-8 School; co-champion in Group Performance for Tragedies to Triumph: The Notorious RBG, Penelope Freeman, Saiya Sidhu and Rubi Perez from Manchester GATE Elementary School; third, Group Poster for the Arab-Israeli wars, Layal Zowidi and Amberly Gomez from Manchester.

Employer of Choice

Wawona Teacher is Educator of the Week

Teacher Gabriela Montes with students with a large check

Gabriela Montes, a third-year teacher at Wawona School, was featured as the Educator of the Week by NBC24.
Video of Educator of the Week

Kirk Teacher is Educator of the Week

Ivana Ford-Neal with students holding big check Ivana Ford-Neal, a teacher at Kirk Elementary School was featured as the Educator of the Week by NBC24 on March 21.
Video of Educator of the Week

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