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February 18, 2020

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Photo of the Week

Students playing stringed instruments at Sunnyside High
Regional Strings Day at Sunnyside High School February 11.

Video of the Week

Video of the week
Faces of Fresno Unified: Jane Wagner

Dates to Know

February 26 (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

District Celebrates Excellence in Education

The five winners of Excellence in Education

During a lively celebration February 4, more than 600 guests gathered to honor the district's 46 Excellence in Education finalists at the Hoover High School Event Center. Five outstanding educators were announced as the top winners:

• Classified category – Annette Montague, executive assistant for School Leadership (video about Annette Montague)
• Certificated category, elementary – Ivette Jauregui, Leavenworth Elementary School teacher (video about Ivette Jauregui)
• Certificated category, middle school – Christine Felder, Sequoia Middle School teacher (video about Christine Felder)
• Certificated category, high school – Benjamin Akioyame, Hoover High School teacher (video about Benjamin Akioyame)
• Administrator category – Rebecca Wheeler, Hoover High School principal (video about Rebecca Wheeler)

Annette, Ivette and Rebecca will move on to the Fresno County Educator of the Year awards process. Winners are announced in November.
Finalists were nominated by their peers for their exemplary work for students and the district.  The finalists included teachers, health assistants, principals, office assistants and campus safety assistants doing a wide variety of work. But all shared a love for their jobs and a desire to connect with students and families and make a difference in their community. They sought new ways to help Fresno Unified students succeed at school and in life. The top educators were highly valued by their colleagues for their skills in working with colleagues, families and the community.

Excellence in Education Video
Photos of all Finalists

Kratt Student Wins Spelling Bee

Spelling Bee winner holds large check Luke Moore from Kratt Elementary School won the district's elementary spelling bee February 5, held at Fresno High School's Royce Hall. The winning word was "mandible." This year, 28 schools participated, featuring more than 50 spellers in grades 4-6. Luke and runner-up Amayah Nutt from Thomas Elementary School will represent Fresno Unified at the Fresno County Spell-Off March 17 at Fresno State. Luke, Callie Nelson from Manchester GATE Elementary School placed third.

Community partners were ABC30, the Fresno County Superintendent's Office and The Fresno Bee. The spell master was Corin Hoggard from ABC30.

Online registration is now available

Parents and guardians of new Fresno Unified students in grades K-6 can now register students online. Parents/guardians can enter student information and securely upload documents, when and where it is most convenient for them. Registration information is sent to the school the student will attend, based on their address. Online registration is available in English, Spanish, and Hmong.

​Parents/guardians can register students by visiting the Parents section of the district website at, and choosing 'How to Enroll.'  Online enrollment for preschool and transitional kindergarten will be available in an upcoming ATLAS release, followed by online enrollment for grades 7-12. Paper forms will still be available for parents without computer or internet access. 

Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds Video

The latest edition of 60 Seconds with Fresno Unified features Strings Day at Sunnyside High School, tree planting at Yosemite Middle School and attendance awards.
Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds Video

Mock Interview Evaluators Sought

Duncan Polytechnical High School invites volunteers to be mock interview evaluators for Duncan’s annual 9-10th Grade Portfolio Day on March 5. Training is included.
Mock Interview Evaluator Flyer

Workforce Internship Program Information

Fresno Unified has received K-12 Strong Workforce Program funding that enables the district to pay juniors and seniors as interns in advanced manufacturing or health-related facilities. Help Fresno Unified build a stronger workforce for the Central Valley!
Workforce Internship Program Flyer

Community Engagement Opportunities on Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP)

Parents and staff looking at chartThe community is invited to attend the upcoming Community Engagement Workshops that will be hosted throughout the district, regionally. The workshops provide an opportunity for various stakeholders, including the community, parents, staff and students, to offer feedback to inform the planning of the district's Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). The LCAP is a plan that describes the district's overall vision for student success and includes investment actions aimed at improving performance.

These Community Engagement Workshops are not possible without support from the community. An exciting change this year includes a free Chaffee Zoo admission ticket for each adult in attendance. Dinner, babysitting and translation services will be provided.

Another option for stakeholders to provide input is by taking the LCAP survey by accessing the link below. Input from prior year surveys have been helpful to inform investment priorities.
Take the LCAP Survey!
Flyer on LCAP Workshops

Superintendent Board Remarks from February 12, 2020

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

• Highlighting that students across the district are celebrating African American History Month. Celebrations started last week with Gaston’s sixth annual Black History Month program at the historic Warnor’s Theater. Special recognition to the Edison region BSU and students, Lisa Nichols and all the team for putting on another amazing show celebrating our African American community.

• Next, Superintendent shared that last week the district celebrated its annual Excellence in Education awards banquet at the Hoover High School Event Center. Congratulations to the 46 finalist who were honored, especially to our five winners this year:

  o Annette Montague, Classified Employee of the Year
  o Benjamin Akioyame, High School Educator of the Year
  o Christine Felder, Middle School Educator of the Year
  o Ivette Jauregui, Elementary School Educator of the Year
  o Rebecca Wheeler, Administrator of the Year

Make sure you congratulate our winners and finalists when you see them -- they are rock stars!

• Superintendent shared that all households should have received their March 3 ballots and we want to remind you how important it is to vote. Voters will be making several important local decisions, including our district’s school facilities bond measure, Measure M. This past week you should have received your February issue of our district newspaper, Building Futures, which has all the information you need to make an informed decision on Measure M. More than two-thirds of our schools were built before 1970, and Measure M will generate local funding for modernizations and improvements to continue providing a quality learning environment for our students and teachers. You can find the Measure M fact sheet and project list on our district’s website homepage.

• Next, Superintendent Nelson congratulated Sunnyside High School for receiving CollegeBoard’s Advanced Placement Female Diversity Award in Computer Science Principles. Out of 20,000 institutions offering AP courses, Sunnyside is recognized as just one of 639 to receive this award. Great job to our Sunnyside teams who are working hard to engage more young women in computer science, preparing them for in-demand, high-paying jobs after graduation.

• Superintendent recognized teams and school sites for a fantastic Federal Program Monitoring review over the last couple of weeks. The two-week onsite visit resulted in zero school findings, zero compensatory education findings, and just nine program area findings – all of which we plan to have resolved or planned with CDE well before the 45-day timeframe required. At the exit meeting, the lead reviewer commented that the quality of work provided by the team resulted in, “one of the best reviews completed during his 19 years of service.”

• Superintendent Nelson acknowledged that this week we opened our Climate and Culture surveys. Fresno Unified is surveying parents, staff, and students in grades 4-12 on a range of school climate and culture indicators that have been found to impact student achievement. Paper-to-pen versions of the parent Climate and Culture survey will be sent home with students on the week of February 10. The parent survey is an opportunity for you to tell us about your experience with your child’s school. Your opinions are important to us and will allow us to better support your children. We ask that surveys be submitted by Friday, February 28.

• Superintendent asked to remind students that the Fresno Unified Scholarship Fund is currently receiving applications. The application can be found on our website and all applications must be submitted with letters of recommendation and transcripts by Friday, February 28. Students can apply online or talk to their high school counselor for more information.

• Superintendent shared that there are still three more opportunities to join our LCAP community meetings. The next LCAP meeting is Fresno High on February 13, Roosevelt on February 19, and ending at Sunnyside on February 20.

• Superintendent ended his remarks with a video highlighting our 2020 elementary spelling bee. Congratulations to our winners who will head on to the Fresno County Spell-Off on March 17

View Full Board Meeting Recap

Employer of Choice

Sandra Toscano Recognized by Reyes Scholarship Fund

Sandra Toscano Sandra Toscano, assistant superintendent for English Learner Services, will receive the Gusmaro and Benarda Reyes 2020 Legacy Award at the fourth annual Reyes Scholarship Dinner on Saturday, March 7, 2020. The Gusmaro & Bernarda P. Reyes Scholarship is named after the parents of eight children who attended and graduated from Roosevelt High School and awards scholarships to incoming college freshmen based on academic strength and financial need. Dinner proceeds will benefit Roosevelt High School graduating seniors and also support mentoring and leadership workshops.
Link to Flyer for Ticket Information​

School Buzz

Cooper Academy Cooking Club Makes Valentines Lunch for School Staff

Staff getting food As a way to say thank you for all they do for students, the Cooper Academy Cooking Club made lunch for the staff on Valentine’s Day. The menu included asada tacos, lemon pepper chicken and quesadillas.

Edison High Hosts AP Rush Day for Eighth Graders

Edison High Hosts AP Rush day for 8th Graders Edison High School hosted the second annual eighth grade AP Rush Day on February 7, geared towards increasing equity and access for African American students. A mentoring program, BSU Love of Learning, was established with this program.

Hoover Football Team will hold Mattress Fundraiser

The Hoover High School football team will hold a mattress sale fundraiser in the Event Center on Saturday, March 14 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Through a fundraising company, 27 mattress styles will be available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Hoover football team.
Hoover Mattress Fundraiser Flyer

Gaston Puts on Black History Show

Students reenacting the Green Book Gaston Middle School's Black Student Union (BSU) hosted its sixth annual Black History Program on February 3 at Warnor's Theatre to kick off Black History Month activities. Students from the BSU collaborated with peers from choir, drama, band, the art club, the after-school program, leadership, speech and debate, as well as King and Kirk elementary schools, Computech Middle School and Edison High School to plan cultural events for February.

The event featured a performance of the Black National Anthem, a reenactment of the Green Book, and a "Color Purple" tribute to Motown Music. One of the goals of the BSU is to educate others on the heritage of African Americans through culturally rich activities and experiences on campus.

Sunnyside Cross Country Champ Commits to Fresno Pacific

Jessica Valles with coach Sunnyside High School's Jessica Valles committed to Fresno Pacific University in a signing ceremony February 5. Jessica is a three-time cross country Valley champion and placed eighth in the state.

Tree Fresno Donates Trees to Yosemite Middle School

Yosemite Middle School students planted about a dozen trees, donated by Tree Fresno, on February 8. Students will care for the trees. Over the past year, the school has lost several trees due to weather and vandalism. Teacher Ted Januse reached out to Tree Fresno to work together and create a “greener” environment and some shady areas for students.

Bullard Hosts Unsung Heroes Photo Display for Black History Month

Unsung Heroes Bullard High School is partnering with Unsung Heroes to host a display in the library of hundreds of photos celebrating African Americans who served in the military. Beginning February 11, the exhibit will be up through February, Black History Month. Unsung Heroes is a non-profit inter-generational project that collects and preserves stories of African Americans' military experiences.

Edison High Students Help Organize Youth Summit

Edison students in front of school bus Edison High School teachers Carissa Aflague and Abraham Perez took a group students to the Fresno County Youth Summit at Reedley College, which focused on relationships, mental health, college preparedness, and student voice. Students Amelia Merida, Yamileth Partida, Stacey Manangan, Michelle Yang and Lizbeth Jimenez were part of the organizational committee for the summit. 

Sunnyside will Host World Languages Fair

Sunnyside High School will host the 24th World Languages Fair on March 28. All world languages students and teachers are welcome. The event is presented by the Central Valley World Language Association.
World Languages Fair Flyer

Rata High School and Rata Adult Program Fundraiser Dinner

The first Rata High School and Rata Adult Program fundraiser dinner will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 3 at the Dante Club. Come out for an evening of fun! Tickets are $30 before January 31 and $40 after. The event will feature a silent auction, dessert auction and raffle. Questions: Tenishia Sharp, (559) 451-4585

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