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August 12, 2019

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Photo of the Week

New teachers smiling
New teachers attend a new teacher conference on August 4.

Video of the Week

Watch video of the week
Faces of Fresno Unified: Bill Lowrey

Dates to Know

August 12
Start of 2019-20 School Year

October 14
State of Education

August 21  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

The first Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds for the 2019-20 school year highlights professional learning for staff, immunization clinics and to use caution when driving around schools.
Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds video 

District Newspaper for August Available

The latest edition of Building Futures, the district newspaper, is available online, featuring back to school news and tips, the new principals, a message from the superintendent and a variety of other news.
Building Futures Newspaper Online 

Superintendent Board Remarks from August 7, 2019

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

• Highlighting that the school year as unofficially started with teachers and many school site staff returning to campus to begin professional learning. We are setting the tone for a successful new school year, focusing on high expectations for academic learning, helping build positive mindsets for our youth, and modeling the art of resiliency. These are not simple tasks and I am extremely grateful for all the work that was done during the summer to ensure we’re addressing the challenges facing our community, our schools and the families we serve.

• Nelson also shared that racial tensions sparked at the end of last school year with a social media that went viral. The video by a young high school student forced us all to recognize there is much more to be done, even for adults, if we are to understand oppression, hate, and mistreatment. This can be said for every nationality and cultures represented in our great city. As a result:

• A new Bullard African American Parent Advisory Board was launched.

• Members of our district restorative team conducted more than a dozen restorative sessions.

• The students at the forefront of this provided valuable learning to other students.

• Principal Alvarado has been sitting down with student groups to conduct similar meetings as students engage in larger conversations about the cultural change they would like to see on campus.

• Students, parents and the Bullard leadership team have share what are they doing to move forward with their message of “Better Together”

• Bullard leadership students are kicking off the school year with an awareness campaign focused on kindness and treating one another with respect and compassion.

• Next, Superintendent shared that for all the hurt this event created, it has provided an unforeseen opportunity for both student and adult learning and we are taking full advantage of the opportunity to educate. Each one of us in this community has the power to positively impact our youth but we need to remember to move toward difficult conversations and challenges instead of looking away from them.

• Nelson also shared the recent SBAC assessments results. We had four years of academic growth both in English language arts and math: 10.5% growth in ELA and 11.7% growth in math. While we remain behind the state, the positive and steady trajectory reinforces that we are moving the needle and doing the right work on behalf of our kids.

• Next, Superintendent congratulated Parent University, which will be celebrating its 10th year anniversary Friday, August 9 with a special family event at the Chukchansi Park. Parent U has served more than 52,000 Fresno Unified families over the past decade, helping parents understand the dynamics of the education system and how to advocate for their students.

• Lastly, Superintendent shared that this summer, many of Fresno Unified employees were hard at work providing for our students. Thank you all that made summer learning possible – from our traditional summer school programs to opening libraries to those engaged in our African American literacy program. Thank you to our employees preparing and serving approximately 188,000 free meals. Staff also worked and supported our partnership with the City of Fresno as we again opened and maintained six high school pools. Throughout the summer, crews have been busy with a long list of summer projects, including construction modernization projects:

• McLane pool is underway, and the new turf football field is nearly complete

• Slater Elementary has new kindergarten and two classroom buildings, the final site improvements in a 1 ½ year project that also includes a new campus entrance, new play courts and renovated field areas.

• Design Science Middle College High School has relocated to classrooms on the Fresno City College campus.

• A new Phoenix Secondary campus is underway and should be ready in early 2020.

• Superintendent then directed audience to the screen to show a video highlighting some of the valuable summer work that took place while we were away.

View Full Board Meeting Recap

Employer of Choice

Adult School Principal Wins Award

Raine Bumatay Raine Bumatay, principal of Fresno Adult School, will be honored during the Marjaree Mason Center’s Top Ten Professional Women & Leading Business Awards on October 15. The awards recognize women who serve as role models, give back to their communities and are making strides in their profession.
Information on Marjaree Mason Awards

School Buzz

Kirk Students Kick Off Year with Backpack Donations

More than 200 students at Kirk Elementary School started the new school year with backpacks full of school supplies, thanks to 2WHISTLES -- 2 Work Hard Intelligently Striving To Lead Everlasting Success. The backpacks were delivered on August 3. Students also received a free kids meal to the Old Spaghetti Factory. 2WHISTLES chose Kirk Elementary because its founder, Ellis Parley Jr., attended the school and his grandmother owns a home in the neighborhood. Mr. Parley wanted to give back to the community and school that he comes from.

Recent Edison Graduates Help Younger Peers with College Dreams

Edison High School’s class of 2018 has organized a First-Gen Inspire Conference for 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday, August 17 for current first-gen Edison students. The conference will focus on applying to college and how to be successful in college. The free event will include workshops presented by Edison alumni, many in Spanish, on financial aid, DACA and more. Parents are encouraged to attend as well.
More Information on First-Gen Inspire Conference

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