Can't see the images? View the webpage


April 8, 2019

  Community Zone banner
 facebook logo twitter logo flickr logo vimeo logo Instagram logo

students peeling tangerines
Students at Rowell Elementary School try out fruits and vegetables at a food tasting March 25 as part of National Nutrition Month.

Video of the Week

Watch video of the week
Faces of Fresno Unified: Tanya Desmond

Dates to Know

April 10 at 6:15 p.m.
Board of Education
April 15-22
Spring Break


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 a drum circle at Kirk Elementary School, Easterby Elementary School Principal Pam Taylor selected as finalist for the county Educator of the Year awards, Reading Heart book drive, and Tournament of Technology.
“Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds” Video 

District Highlights Dual Language Programs at Parent Conference

Parents raising hands in classroom Fresno Unified hosted the seventh annual Dual Language Immersion Parent Conference on March 30 at Ewing Elementary School, featuring keynote speaker Judge Ana de Alba, Fresno County Superior Court. The conference also offered a variety of workshops for parents targeting a range of grades, as well as activities for students. The theme of the conference this year was “Celebrating our Bilingual and Biliterate Children.”

Fresno Unified offers dual language immersion 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.

Kings Canyon, Scandinavian and Sequoia Win Character Awards

Students from the three schools were honored with Character recognition awards

Kings Canyon, Scandinavian and Sequoia middle schools were honored April 5 with Virtues and Character Recognition Awards, given by the Bonner Center for Character Education and Citizenship at Fresno State University. The awards were announced during the annual Conference on Character and Civic Education at the Fresno Convention Center Exhibit Hall. During site visits, Bonner teams look for intentional judgement on behalf of the school to:

• Promote core ethical values as the basis of good character.  Each winning school has agreed on the core ethical values it wishes to promote, and each has defined those values in terms of behaviors that can be observed.
• Foster a proactive, and comprehensive approach to its core values in all phases of school life.  Each winning school ensures a clean and secure learning environment. Each promotes positive social development and group cohesion, and each promotes and models fairness, equity, caring and respect for others.
• Provide students with opportunities to contribute in meaningful ways to the school, to others and to the community.

Fresno Unified Hosts 12th Annual Middle School Tournament of Technology

Sequoia Middle School is the Grand Champions at Tournament of Technology

More than 500 Fresno Unified students squared off in technology-based competitions as part of the 12th annual Middle School Tournament of Technology on April 6 at Hoover High School, the largest contest of its kind in the state. The Division 1 champion was Sequoia Middle School, with Kings Canyon Middle School placing second. In Division 2, the champion was Tioga Middle School, with Baird Middle School placing second. Students competed in 14 events in three categories: Robotics, Video Productions and Design. This year, for the first time, Tournament of Tech featured a Minecraft for Education competition. The goal of the competition is to engage students with a variety of innovative technologies to help develop collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity skills.

Students prepared for months, using design software and 3D printers to build bridges and racecars, video editing software to produce public service announcements and “blockbuster” trailers and Mindstorm Robot Kits to build robots that can navigate mazes and battle other robots.

District Hosts First Middle School Relay Swim Meet

Students swimming in pool Congrats to Fresno Unified’s aquatics program for hosting the district’s first middle school relay swim meet March 23 at Edison High School. The hugely successful meet featured 250 swimmers from six districts. Teams competed in traditional relays as well as fun events, such as a T-shirt swap relay and a sprint relay with giant soccer balls. Computech Middle School swim coaches Andrew Bernyk and Ed Vinson were the organizers.

Athletic Highlights from Winter Sports

Students playing soccer Athletes from across the district excelled during winter sports. Check out the many highlights!
Athletic Highlights from Winter Sports

District Holds Fun Event at Parc Grove Apartments

Several Fresno Unified departments, along with Heaton Elementary School staff and Fresno Housing Authority at Parc Grove, came together with local community group Every Neighborhood Partnership for the past several months with the goal of re-connecting with Parc Grove families.

This coalition of stakeholders hosted a kick-off engagement Family Fun & Literacy Night on March 27 in the Parc Grove Commons Clubhouse. The event featured literacy booths with make-and-take activities and read-alouds with Heaton staff and volunteers, while Krazy Karen of Funworks provided a variety of fun and engaging activities for guests. A special thank you to Superintendent Bob Nelson for his contributions to this event.

Superintendent Board Remarks from April 3, 2019

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

• Highlighting that last week, high schools were administering the SAT, while students in all grade levels are in the midst of the California Science Test and Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, or SBAC testing.

• Nelson also shared that early learning registration for the 2019-20 school year is now open. Research shows that children who participate in high quality early learning programs are better prepared for kindergarten and beyond. Fresno Unified offers a pre-school/pre-kindergarten program for children during the year at most elementary sites. Classes are available in the morning and afternoon. Registration packets are available on all of our elementary school websites. Once the forms have been completed, parents or guardians can make an appointment with early learning registration team. Superintendent shared a short video featuring insight from a few of our early learning parents.  

• Superintendent shared that this weekend is the district’s 12th Annual Middle School Tournament of Technology. More than 500 students will compete in technology-based competitions, the largest of its kind in the state. Students compete in 14 categories -- Robotics, Video Productions and Design. Favorites include 3D Printer Racecar, 3D Printer Bridge-Builder, Blockbuster Video Trailer and BattleBots.

• Last, the superintendent acknowledged that April is National Autism Awareness month and schools around the district are holding special events to bring awareness and promote inclusion. From providing parents newsletters, resources and classroom instruction to hosting assemblies, dances, coffee hours and special meals to wearing blue and hosting sensory recesses and more. Autism Awareness Month provides the opportunity to teach our students and staff about autism to further build positive, accepting environments for all.

View Full Board Meeting Recap

School Buzz

Kirk Students Form Drum Circle

Students playing drums Kirk Elementary School students and community members played the djembe drums in a drum circle with family members and others joining them with drums and percussion instruments on April 3. The playing of djembe drums has traditionally signified a gathering of people in peace. Drum circles have become a popular form of music therapy. Two experienced drummers from the community played alongside the students.

Sixth grade teacher LaKeysha Mattis and kindergarten teacher LaTrenda Williams organized the drum circle as a way to connect students and the community in a fun, peaceful activity. All students were welcome, but teachers specifically invited students who were struggling and could find a therapeutic outlet through the drumming. The school plans to have drum circles the first two Wednesdays of May and June as well.
Video of Drum Circle at Kirk 

Sunnyside High Photography Students Unveil Guerrilla Art Project

Mural at SunnysideMore than 100 Sunnyside High School photography students pasted 425 black and white photos of Sunnyside region faces around campus on April 6, surprising students when they arrived April 8. The images include students, faculty and staff from Sunnyside High, as well as from region elementary and middle schools. While this is the third year of the guerilla art project, for the first time the students have partnered with the Inside Out Project, an international mural movement.

On Saturday, prior to students pasting the photos around campus, a cellist and vocalist performed John Lennon’s “Imagine,” setting the tone for students as they unveiled their creations. Students invested more than 1,500 hours taking photos, training in mural pasting and executing the mural itself.  The mural covers approximately 5,000 square feet of wall and staircase space, and in keeping with this year’s student-driven theme, “We Are Family,” the word “family” is featured among the photos in the myriad languages of the region, including English, Spanish, Punjabi, Hmong, and more.
Video of Mural Project at Sunnyside High School

Roosevelt Hosts Steve’s Scholars from Tehipite

Students sitting at luncheon Tehipite Middle School eighth-graders in the Steve’s Scholars program shadowed students at Roosevelt High School on April 4 to help them get ready for the transition to high school. Students also attended a luncheon with Steve’s Scholars donors Francine and Murray Farber. Roosevelt Principal Michael Allen and Mrs. Farber spoke at the luncheon.

McTeacher's Night to Support Lori Ann Infant Program April 11

A fundraiser will be held at McDonald's at 4176 E. Dakota Ave. from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, April 11. The fundraiser will benefit the Lori Ann Infant Program (LAIP), an Early Start program serving infants and toddlers with developmental needs within Fresno Unified. ​ The fundraiser will include a bike raffle, face painting, games and activities.  Cookies can be pre-ordered and some will get free Happy Meals. Questions: LAIP at (559) 248-7236.
Flyer about LAIP Fundraiser at McDonalds
More Information about LAIP Fundraiser 

Addams Walks/Runs More than 220 Miles

Students runningAddams Elementary School launched its first Walk/Run Club on April 2.  The Walk/Run Club is a school wide engagement that promotes a healthy lifestyle for students, parents and staff. More than 300 students, parents and staff came out to participate on the first day and over 220 miles were completed. 

Fresno State Women’s Volleyball Hosts Centennial Students

Volleyball team group picture

The Fresno State women’s volleyball team hosted 25 students and five chaperones from Centennial Elementary School on March 30. The students watched a scrimmage match between Fresno State and Fresno Pacific University and participated in a volleyball skills clinic put on by Fresno State. Thanks to Irasema Amaya, Cherry Khem, Rosalinda De LaFuente, Carmen Nunez, and James Haynes for spending Saturday afternoon with the students.

Edison High Hosts AP Celebration

Students holding certificates

During a March 28 celebration, Edison High School honored 369 current students who were among those receiving qualifying scores on the Advanced Placement (AP) exams given in May 2018.  Of those 369 students, 84 earned a 5 – the highest possible score – on at least one AP exam. Nearly 50% of students earned a qualifying score last year, with 1,103 students taking one or more exams.

A number of students passing the test were from Edison’s AP Spanish program. The majority of those students will be first generation college-goers, achieving a significant milestone in their families.

The school celebrated students’ success as it gears up for the new round of AP tests coming this spring. Edison anticipates that 1,170 students will take more than 2,100 AP exams. Edison offers 23 AP courses.

Ericson will Host Art Show

As part of an on-going partnership between the transitional kindergarten (TK) class at Ericson Elementary School and the autism program, students will exhibit art together at Art Hop on Thursday, April 11, in conjunction with the school’s open house. Students in TK have been studying the great artists, practicing their techniques and creating works inspired by the artists as part of the core TK curriculum.  The show is 5:50-6:30 p.m. in Room 33.

Computech Student Cast in Local Horror Film

Camp Terror movie posterComputech Middle School eighth-grader Emma Henson has been cast in a local horror film, "Camp Terror," shooting in the valley. She has been active in The Computech Theatre Company for two years, studying acting and directing. In the film, she plays the younger version of the main character. This is professional work and she is paid for her time. The production company released several promotion shots featuring Emma. In addition to acting, Emma is directing the Computech Theatre Company's spring show, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

Hoover Softball Team Raises Money for Diabetes

Softball team releases balloonsThe Hoover High School softball team raised money and brought awareness of diabetes on March 26 in the game against Roosevelt High School.

Patiño Students help with Trout Release

Student holds bag of baby troutStudents from the FARMS (Center for Land Based Learning) program at Patiño School of Entrepreneurship took a field trip in February to Peterson Organic Farms and the Kings River North Riverside access point.  The students learned about organic farming practices and assisted with the Kings River Conservation District and Kings River Conservancy (KRC) trout release to plant and repopulate the Kings River.  Students had the opportunity to meet local leadership and watch the KRC video about education and the role of the river.

Officer Joins in Wilson Jog-a-Thon

Officer Isaak runs with studentsWilson Elementary School held its annual school jog-a-thon on March 26. Officer Jonathan Isaak came to run some laps with the students!

Stagecraft Students Build Props

Students working on craftsComputech Middle School students are studying prop building in their stagecraft class. Students were challenged to build a non-perishable food item to be added to the school’s theater props stock. Students had to come up with a time and place where the prop existed and researched the prop's history and how to build it. The prop had to tell a story on its own, such as who owns it and where did it come from? Students came up with a supply list and then worked collaboratively on building the props.

Employer of Choice

Easterby Principal is County Educator of the Year Finalist

Pam TaylorCongratulations to Easterby Elementary School Principal Pam Taylor, Fresno Unified’s administrative Excellence in Education winner who has been selected as a finalist for the Fresno County Educator of the Year awards. County judges will visit Pam’s school and conduct interviews. The county will announced winners at a November 21 gala at the Saroyan Theatre.

Instructional Superintendent Honored by Association

Katie RussellInstructional superintendent Katie Russell was recognized by the California Association of African-American Superintendents and Administrators (CAAASA) and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) for her significant contributions as an educational leader. Katie received the award on March 15 in Sacramento at the CAAASA’s annual Statewide Professional Development Summit, a gathering of educators, elected officials and leaders in educational policy, practice and service from throughout the country. 

Kings Canyon Health Aide Helps in Emergency

Kings Canyon Middle School staff, including health assistant Monica Howard, sprang into action on March 18 and was able to help a family having a medical emergency. The family was driving their sick child to the hospital but decided to stop at Kings Canyon when they saw a police car parked in front. Monica provided emergency care to the child as 911 was called and the student had a positive outcome.

Safety Manager Honored by Fresno EOC

Armand ChavezArmand Chavez, the district’s safety manager, was honored March 22 at the Safe Partner Partner Recognition Breakfast with an outstanding community partner award. The recognition came from Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission Sanctuary and Support Services.

Donate to the
Scholarship Fund
Volunteer Work for Fresno Unified

Fresno Unified School District
| Subscribe | Unsubscribe | Download PDF Reader