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December 16, 2019

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Photo of the Week

Sunnyside High School library media teacher Eric Wheeler celebrates Sunnyside’s win at the FUeL eSports tournament December 7.

Video of the Week

Video of the week
Growing Health Leaders

Dates to Know

January 16 (see website for time)
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

Sunnyside Teacher Wins Milken Award

Katie McQuone receiving awardCongratulations to Katie McQuone, a teacher at Sunnyside High School who received a prestigious Milken Educator Award during a surprise announcement on December 10. Katie, teacher and coordinator in the Video Production Academy, had gathered with the rest of the school for an assembly in the gym when her name was announced. She was presented with a $25,000 check. She is among up to 40 recipients for 2019-20 and the only one so far this school year from California. Katie is a former Sunnyside video production student herself.
Video of Milken Award Winner

London Properties Donates 160 Bikes

London Properties of Fresno delivered 20 bicycles to fifth and sixth graders at Mayfair Elementary School on December 12, part of a larger project to donate 160 bikes to 20 students at each of eight elementary schools. Other schools receiving bikes are Birney, Heaton, Hidalgo, Homan, Rowell, Vang Pao and Wilson. The students were selected by teachers and staff based on a variety of criteria, such as improvement in behavior, grades and attendance. At Mayfair, students were also selected based on their essays, "How Would Winning a Bicycle Change My Life?" Some students wrote that they had never owned a bike before.
Bike Donation Video

Students Teach Community Leaders Coding for Hour of Code

Saori Jansen with two studentsIn celebration of Computer Science Education Week, students from Leavenworth Elementary School's CoderGirlz club assisted community and district leaders in learning how to write several lines of computer code on December 10 as Fresno Unified participated in the Hour of Code Week involving students in more than 180 countries. During the lesson, students sat side-by-side with leaders and used simple tutorials to showcase and teach skills related to computer science and the art of developing computer code. As part of Hour of Code Week, teachers from all grade levels across the district taught coding lessons.
Hour of Code at Leavenworth Video

Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds Video

The latest edition of Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds features Sunnyside High School's Katie McQuone winning a prestigious Milken Educator Award, the eSports League Championships, an Hour of Code event at Leavenworth Elementary School and free winter meals.
Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds Video

Superintendent Board Remarks from December 11, 2019

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

• Highlighting that Friday 13 is the official end of period 2 for this academic year, parents can expect a second report card in the second week of January 2020.

• Next, the superintendent reminded that the LCAP Goals Survey is available to provide feedback, and the community engagement workshops will happen in January and February. Meetings will take place in each region and all workshops will provide childcare, dinner and translation services. Plus, each adult participant will receive a free ticket to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo for their participation. Students, parent and community input is vital to our district determining where we will invest our dollars directly to improve students' outcomes. 

• The superintendent shared that on Tuesday we had a wonderful surprise at Sunnyside High School, The Milken Foundation selected teacher Katie McQuone to receive the Milken Award, which includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Katie has helped students to find their voices – and share them with the community. Katie leads the school's Video Production Academy, in which nearly 100 students learn digital and social media skills. Katie is a graduate of Sunnyside High School and of the California Partnership Academies program in which she teaches now. Congrats to Katie!

• Superintendent Nelson shared that this past Saturday, our 3rd annual FUeL eSports League Tournament was held at Hoover High School. Over 130 students from 13 schools participated in the League of Legends competition. Congratulations to Sunnyside, which took first place, Roosevelt which took second and Edison came in third place.

• Lastly, the superintendent acknowledged that this Friday is the last day of school before winter break and all of our students and staff will be getting a much-deserved break. However, even when school is out, we take care of our kids and our community. Check out this video regarding our free winter meals program happening between December 14 and January 5, 2020. Meals will be available for all youth ages 1 through 18. Youth do not need to be Fresno Unified students and there is no registration necessary. For a list of sites and times, check our website.

View Full Board Meeting Recap

School Buzz

Kirk Holds Ninth Annual Santa Letter Writing Project

Thanks to the generosity of nearly 400 community sponsors, every student received a gift during Kirk Elementary School's ninth annual Santa Letter Writing Project celebration on December 11. For many of the students, this may be their only holiday gift. The event, which began with six sponsors, now includes the support of teachers, former students, community members, church groups, Teens that Care, law firms and many others, who chose a student's letter to Santa and fulfilled one of their wishes. Students were invited to wear pajamas on the day of the celebration, and Santa was on hand for photos.

Cooper Donates to Food Pantry, Holds Color Run

Cooper Academy students and staff held a food drive for the fourth year in a row, with donations going to the Fresno City College Ram Pantry, selected through a vote by students. The Ram Pantry provides free food assistance for Fresno City College students. The school held a Color Run on December 13 for all students who donated.

Organizations Provide Thanksgiving Feasts to Rowell Families

Members of Fresno Association of realtors and food boxesAbout 20 members of the Fresno Association of Realtors and Fresno's Young Professional Network​ worked with Rowell Elementary School to donate 50 Thanksgiving food boxes to Rowell families on November 20. The boxes were loaded with stuffing, gravy mix, canned green beans, canned cranberry sauce, rolls, a pumpkin pie, a good-sized turkey and even a foil pan. Families were excited about the food boxes and expressed sincere thanks.

Holland Student Leaders Show Gratitude for Staff with Kindness Cafe

Students holding thank you sign next to food cart The student leadership group at Holland Elementary School made teachers and staff feel appreciated on December 5 with coffee, a muffin, and a heartfelt "thank you!" for their hard work. The Kindness Cafe is one of the special events planned and carried out by leadership students as they promote schoolwide kindness activities each month. The kindness campaign has already had a positive impact on campus, increasing caring and connectivity. ​

Edison Students Collect 1,000 Toys

Group of Edison students in front of truck Edison High School, through Youth Leadership Institute/Friday Night Live, collected 1,613 toys to benefit the children at the Poverello House.

Motorcycle Shop Provides Gifts to Anthony Students

In keeping with the holiday spirit, every student at Anthony Elementary received a toy donated by Mathews Harley-Davidson and its customers at a celebration December 13. A special drawing was also held, with more than 100 students selected to receive a new bicycle donated by the motorcycle shop and its customers. Mathews has generously adopted the school for the past several years, donating school supplies and holiday gifts. The dealership is thrilled to share the joy of the holidays with the Anthony Elementary community.

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