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May 20, 2019

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Photo of the Week

Students painting mural
Burroughs Elementary School families and others from the neighborhood assist with the completion of a community mural May 11, facilitated by the Arne Nixon Center at Fresno State.

Video of the Week

Watch video of the week
Faces of Fresno Unified: Wendy Shrestha

Dates to Know

May 29 (6:30 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

General Ed Students Mentor Students with Disabilities on how to Play an Instrument

High school student helps special education student play cello Through the United Sound initiative, general education students at four high schools are working with students in special education to help them learn an instrument. The students in special education will perform with the full ensembles from their high schools at spring concerts. After a highly successful pilot year with Fresno, Hoover, McLane and Sunnyside high schools, all seven of the district’s comprehensive high schools will implement the program in 2019-20, making Fresno Unified the first in the country to have districtwide participation. Representatives from United Sound expect Fresno Unified to be nationwide model. The district is using a Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant to implement United Sound.

Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds

The latest edition of Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds features a community mural project near Burroughs Elementary School, Fresno Unified Scholarship recipients, special education budget input meetings and survey.
Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds Video

District Newspaper for May Available

The latest edition of Building Futures, the district newspaper, is available online, featuring Steve’s Scholars, a message from the superintendent, Q and A’s with employees and a variety of other news.
Building Futures Newspaper Online

Superintendent Board Remarks from May 15, 2019

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

• Highlighting that we are 16 days away of the end of the school year. SBAC testing, scholarship banquets, College Signing Days and end of the year carnivals are all indicators that the school year is nearly over.  It is a time to reflect on all our efforts during this past year and to make time in these last weeks during all the activities to take a deep breath and acknowledge the incredible work you do on behalf of the youth of our district.

• Nelson also shared that Thursday, May 16 the district will hold its annual CTE Summit at Duncan Polytechnical High School. Students from around the district will provide live demonstrations highlighting a number of CTE pathways. The summit  bring education  and industry leaders, along with parents, students and members  of the community, together to collaborate and provide feedback around our current CTE offerings-ensuring we meet the need of students and local employers.

• Superintendent shared that Friday, May 17 we will celebrate the completion of facility improvements at Roosevelt High School. The event will start with an official opening plunge by several district and city leaders.  The new facilities are a great addition to campus and will be part of the ongoing Green Space-Blue Space partnership with the city of Fresno.

• Next, Superintendent shared that next week, May 19-25, is Classified School Employees Week. While classified staff may not be in front of the classroom, our classified staff represents thousands of caring adults who are absolutely making an impact on the more than 74,000 students we serve. Our classified employees include bus drivers, food service workers, maintenance and trades staff, office personal, gardeners, custodians, paraeducators and more. Thank you for what you do to not only support our students, but the countless adults that support our sites and district departments as well. 

•  Nelson recognized that May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, raising awareness of issues surrounding people throughout our country, particularly children with mental health concerns. While often seen like a taboo subject matter, mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and a focus on prevention and early intervention efforts greatly reduces the numbers of children experiencing serious mental health conditions. Mental health issues are a serious problem facing our community and we are bless to have countless district professional dedicated and committed to this work.

• Lastly, Superintendent shared that the special education department hosted two community meetings to share their proposed budget plans with staff, parents and the community. Assistant Superintendent Brian Beck presented the proposed budget and provided opportunity for stakeholder feedback.  One tool for such feedback includes an online survey that can be found on the district website. The survey is available in English, Spanish and Hmong through next Wednesday as staff and board prepare to discuss and adopt the district’s budget on June 12. Here is a short video highlighting some of that community outreach.

View Full Board Meeting Recap

School Buzz

Edison History Day Team is State Champion

Edison history students Two History Day teams from Edison High School advanced to the finals during the National History Day -- California competition May 10-12 in Rocklin. The theme was Triumph and Tragedy in History. Both groups were in the Senior Division Group Performance category where they perform a live action 10-minute original skit based on their research.

The team of Madeleine Fischer, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Anthony Jorge and Kacey Pitcher won the state championship, qualifying for the national competition at the University of Maryland June 9-13. Their project is “A Life and A Legacy:  The Harvey Milk Story.”

The other team to reach the finals was Tyler Mrkaich, Emma Pitcher, and Austin Kern for "Out of the Tragedy of Death There Emerges Triumphant Life" (about transplantation of organs). Tyler received the Marvin Awbrey Longevity Award for having competed for six or more years and having a project at the state competition.

Rowell Elementary Playground Paint Day with U.C. CalFresh Nutrition

Students painting stencils Rowell Elementary School hosted a community stencil project in partnership with University of California Nutrition on April 27. Students, parents, and teachers participated in this exciting event, painting stencils on various areas of the school grounds to promote healthy eating and physical activity. 

Edison Hosts Signing Day Ceremony for Runner

Bryan BanuelosEdison High School celebrated senior Bryan Banuelos’ commitment to run cross country and track as a student athlete for Fresno Pacific University with a signing day May 9. Bryan set school records in several cross country and track and field events at Edison, and was also an accomplished athlete in soccer.

Edison Engineering Students Excel at Showcase

Students showing engineering project A team of engineering students from Edison High School did an outstanding job at the Senior Defense Showcase at Fresno State on May 2, coached by engineering teacher Xiong Cha. The showcase provided students from throughout the valley the chance to have their engineering/construction management projects judged by a panel.

Computech Principal Wins Award for Debate Program

Brad Berrett Brad Berrett, principal at Computech Middle School, has been selected as the National Speech & Debate Association’s 2018-19 National Middle School Administrator of the Year, singled out among all the principals across the U.S. at schools with forensics programs. Principal Berrett's dedication to speech and debate was evident when he was vice principal at Edison High School and continues at Computech. Principal Berrett believes strongly in opportunities for students and encourages involvement for all students. Computech is one of three middle schools with a forensics program in Fresno Unified. This award annually honors administrators who have succeeded in providing high-quality opportunities for students in speech and debate programming as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession. Principal Berrett will be recognized Thursday, June 20 during the 2019 National Tournament.

Rowell Teacher is Educator of the Week

Jaime Romero

Jaime Romero, a third grade teacher at Rowell Elementary School, was honored as NBC24’s Educator of the Week recently.
Educator of the Week Feature on Jaime Romero

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