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June 15, 2020

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Photo of the Week

Student in graduation cap holding sign
Edison High School Senior Celebration June 3.

Video of the Week

Video of the week
Tribute to Retirees

Dates to Know

Board Meeting June 17 (see website for time) Via Live Streaming
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

Building Futures Available Online

The June edition of the district's online newspaper, Building Futures, is now available, featuring bios on scholarship winners and Steve's Scholars, information on virtual learning and other news.
June Building Futures Newspaper

Schools hold Senior Celebrations

A student in graduation cap and gown holding a diplomaVirtual celebrations for all of the district's high school programs began May 21 and concluded on June 3. Each celebration recognized all seniors and include student and staff videos; messages from the board of education, superintendent and principal; and certification of graduates. Graduates were also celebrated – using social distancing – during senior checkout days. The district still plans to hold physical graduations when it is safe to do so.

Summer Learning Camps Start June 15

Virtual Celebrations

Virtual Summer Camps, available to all students, beginning June 15. Staff worked hard to transform the district’s summer learning options to provide as much access and support to families as possible. No registration is required.
More Information on Summer Camps

Parent University Offers Online Learning for Parents

The district's Parent University will conclude a series of virtual learning classes for parents on June 17 with an online class on Positive Discipline. Previous classes focused on how to access ATLAS and basic computer literacy. The classes support parents' increased need to access technology and support their students with virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Link to Sign Up for Parent University Classes

District Announces Summer Meals Schedule

​ The district began its free summer meals program on June 8. The hours for summer meal pickup have changed, as did some locations, from the district's free meals program it provided during school closures. Summer meals are served 8-9:30 a.m. Breakfast and lunch is provided at the same time. The district will distribute summer meals through August 14.

Meal distribution site changes to accommodate planned facility improvement projects (starting June 8):

• Cooper Academy will close, Slater Elementary School will open
• Ahwahnee Middle School will close, Hoover High School will open
• Leavenworth Elementary School will close, Lane Elementary School will open
• Computech Middle School will close, Edison High School will open
• Scandinavian Middle School will close (Duncan Polytechnical High School nearby will remain open)

News Conference on Free Summer Lunches and Parent Survey on Reopening on Schools

List of Summer Meal Distribution Sites

Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds Video

The latest edition of 60 Seconds with Fresno Unified features the parent survey on the reopening of schools, planning for sports and extracurricular activities, and the start of free summer meals.

60 Seconds with Fresno Unified

Innovation Day Winners Announced

Innovation Day logoThis year's COVID-19 version of Innovation Day – Innovation Day @ Home – challenged students to create a Sphere Run using household items. Winners are:

Fifth Grade Winners

First: Marcus Laura - Williams Elementary School (Video)
Second: Madeline Spencer - Manchester GATE Elementary School (Video)
Tied third: Melissa Estrada - Anthony Elementary School (Video Pt. 1) (Video Pt. 2)
Tied third: Kasley Huitron - Anthony Elementary School (Video)

Sixth Grade Winners
First: Annahbella Thao - Balderas Elementary School (Video)
Second: Ashley Guerra - Balderas Elementary School (Video)
Third: Diana Rodriguez - Calwa Elementary School (Video)

Innovation Day is supported by College and Career Readiness (CCR) Department, in partnership with the Lyles Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Fresno State. Students showcased their creativity and innovation skills learned in the STEM 5 and Kids Invent! programs this school year. The entries were judged on verbal presentation, design creativity, and innovation of materials. Third-place winners will receive a $50 Amazon gift card, second-place winners a $100 Amazon gift card, and the grand prize winner for each grade will receive a Chromebook. All prizes are courtesy of the Lyles Center.

Teachers Learn how to Take Students on Virtual Field Trips

Images of places on display screensMolly Mcmains, an EdTech teacher on special assignment, Roosevelt High School teacher Chelsea Bonilla and Easterby Elementary School teacher Andrew Simpson recently facilitated "Distance Learning: Let's Travel with Our Students on Digital and Virtual Field Trips." The session provided another tool for teachers as they develop skills for engaging students with distance learning. The session was part of a series of courses provided through the district's Distance Learning Support for Educators, supported by Molly, Matthew Schwartz, Gina Perez, Brian Dvorak, Julie Her-Moua, Ryan Coe and Phil Neufeld.

Access the virtual field trip session, the supportive breakouts with Chelsea and Andrew and all recorded webinars for distance learning here:

Sunnyside Wins Esports Championship Tournament

Fresno Unified eSports League logoSunnyside High School won the Fresno Unified eSports League Tournament -- COVID-19 Edition, which concluded June 3. More than 100 students competed over three days in virtual five-member teams. Edison High School placed second and Design Science Middle College High School placed third.

Along with Sunnyside, Edison and Design Science, teams competed from Cambridge High School, DeWolf High School, Duncan Polytechnical High School, Fresno High School, Hoover High School, J.E. Young Academic Center, Patiño School of Entrepreneurship, Roosevelt High School, and Center for Advanced Research and Technology.

Esports is a booming industry with numerous job opportunities beyond being a player, including game design, coding, testing, sales and marketing, production, streaming and management. More than 200 colleges and universities are actively recruiting and providing scholarships for esports players.

Superintendent Board Remarks from June 10, 2020

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

• Asking parents to take the Parent Survey on Reopening of Schools. The deadline is June 11, 2020. We want to capture the most voices from our parent as feasible. Around 10,000 surveys have been completed and thanks to all of you for your input and help as we make decision about our next school year. To complete the survey in English, Spanish, or Hmong please head to and click the main slide that says Parent Survey.

• Next, the Superintendent shared that we are currently working diligently on our plans to reopen schools in August. We are taking into account the responses from our parents, sending out a staff survey very soon, having cross-functional teams working through options and increased health and safety measures, and there is constant conversations amongst district leadership and our Board of Education. We will finalize input from parents and staff over the next week and are planning to come to the Board next week with our recommendations for school reopening and the return of our sport programs.

• Superintendent Nelson stated that Summer Academies started on Tuesday, June 9th and on Monday, June 15th our Summer Camps begin. Thank you everyone who has worked so hard to transform our summer learning options to provide as much access and support to our families as possible this summer.  Summer Camps are available to ANYONE and you can find more information on the options for your students at by clicking on the main slide that says Virtual Summer Camps. No registration is required, and you will be able to access the virtual Summer Camp content through that same webpage starting on Monday, June 15th.

• Superintendent thanked all our retirees this year. Your service has been integral to our district's progress and it is tough to see you go. We are mourning that we could not hold our annual retirement celebration, but we will be posting a recognition video for our retires very soon on our website and social media. Thank you again for your service and I wish you nothing but the best in your next chapter.

• Superintendent Nelson shared that with nearly 60,000 laptops, tablets, and hotspots now at home with our students, a new Family Technology Support Center is available to support families with their district-issued technology. The support center helps with the use of student services, the ATLAS Parent Portal, password resets, device replacements, and related student technology questions. Families can also replace a lost, stolen, or broken device by contacting the center and making an appointment to replace the device. The center provides support through both phone and email. Support is available in English, Spanish, and Hmong, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, including summer. Families can reach the Family Technology Support Center by calling 559-457-3939.

• Next, Superintendent shared that this year's COVID-19 version of Innovation Day – Innovation Day @ Home – was completed just last week. This year students were challenged to create a Sphere Run using household items. For 5th grade: Marcus Laura from Williams took home first place, Madeline Spencer from Manchester GATE took second, and Melissa Estrada and Kasley Huitron from Anthony both tied for third place. For 6th grade; Annahbella Thao from Balderas took first place, Ashley Guerra also from Balderas took second place and Diana Rodriguez from Calwa came in 3rd place. Innovation Day is supported by the College and Career Readiness Department, in partnership with the Lyles Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Fresno State.

• Superintendent share that Fresno Unified eSports League just completed its season last week. Sunnyside High School won the Fresno Unified eSports League Tournament – COVID-19 Edition. More than 100 students competed over three days in virtual five-member teams. Edison High School placed second and Design Science Middle College High School placed third. Congratulations to Sunnyside, Edison, and Design Science and thank you to all of the students and staff who participated.

• Last, Superintendent Nelson spoke to an issue our community has been grappling with -- the issue of police on our school campuses. We have heard our community and have had tough conversations internally as well. I will tell you that I don't believe that either eliminating our contracts with police OR continuing with business as usual is acceptable nor will it solve our problems. And yes, there are problems. We have looked at the data and it is clear that our black youth are disproportionately involved with our SNROs and SROs on campuses, which in turn disproportionately negatively affects our black youth. But this is not solely the responsibility or the fault of our police – we MUST take responsibility as a system that works in conjunction with the police on our campuses. When we look at the disproportionate disciplinary actions taken against our black youth, unfortunately it aligns with suspension and expulsion data. Getting rid of our police contracts – which allow police to be present and swiftly act to protect students and staff, secure our campuses during lockdowns, mitigate school threats, and much more – will not take those disproportionate outcomes away. Instead, I believe as a system we need to lean into these incredibly difficult conversations and make system changes together with our teams, our police department, and our community organizations.  It is in collaboration that we can work towards better solutions and relationships rather than through division. We must collaborate to make lasting, long-term change on behalf of our students and families. Bisecting our relationship will not lead to lasting change and it is my job as your superintendent to push these conversations and systemic changes for and on behalf of our kids. Expect our upcoming proposals to include opportunities to work collectively and collaboratively with our teams, our police department and our communication as well as ensuring we gather more specific and frequent data regarding our police activity on campuses in order review, learn, and act together. This conversation will continue explicitly and intentionally in the long-term because we cannot walk by what must be fixed, and we cannot fix it alone.

Full Board Meeting Recap

School Buzz

Kratt's Got Talent

Bitmoji collage poster of Kratt elementary

Kratt Elementary School finished the school year strong:

• Held a virtual talent show, "Kratt's Got Talent."
• To say goodbye and wish the community a great summer, staff made a Bitmoji collage poster
• At its last teacher meeting, teachers shared successes and challenges of  distance learning
• Fourth grade teacher Alicia Lopes received a $1,000 grant to buy materials/supplies for her students during this time.  She has delivered gift bags to each student full of books, pencils, art supplies, snacks, etc.

Bullard and Edison Students Earn Spots in National Speech and Debate Tournament

Students holding signsStudents from Bullard and Edison high schools are competing virtually June 14-18 in the National Speech and Debate Tournament. They earned spots to compete against teams from across the nation. The students from Bullard are Christian Juvet, Donavyn Martinez, Shelwin Sunga, Max Salazar and Cameron Flowers and the coaches are Hunter Toews and Ludmilla Volkov-Smith. The students from Edison are Natalie Wiehl, Kimiya Atta, Nick Doris and Emma Pitcher and coaches are Nicole Jennison and Daniel Moreno.

Duncan Seniors Awarded with Manufacturing Scholarships and Internships

Duncan logoCongratulations to the 10 Duncan IDATA seniors selected for the Workforce Connection Manufacturing Internship Program in partnership with Fresno City College, Reedley College, and the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance. Each student is to be awarded full-ride career technical education scholarships to help pay for tuition, health fees, books, supplies, and over 200 hours of paid summer internships at local automotive and manufacturing facilities. Duncan is very #DuncanProud of these students and excited for what their future holds.​
Duncan Students Selected for Internship Program

Tenaya Orchestra holds Virtual Concert

Tenaya Middle School's orchestra held a virtual concert. Music teacher Melody Drumm created links to the performances.

• Pomp and Circumstance
• Don't Stop Believin'
• Immortal Gladiator

Google Drive Link

Tioga Rewards Students

Group of teachersTeachers from Tioga Middle School drove to more than 40 students' homes to drop off award baskets for those who went above and beyond at school and during distance learning. These students went the extra mile to make sure they mastered all of their content areas for seventh grade on the Summit Learning Platform.

Broadway Star Joins Edison Theater Class

Renee RappBroadway star Renee Rapp joined the May 22 virtual meeting of an Edison High School theater class taught by Bianca Ankrum. Renee plays Regina George in "Mean Girls." She provided great career and performance advice on landing agents and parts.

RSA Holds Virtual Concert

Speechless Kaleb YangRoosevelt School of the Arts held a virtual Senior Spotlight concert on YouTube May 28. Music teacher Richard Woods hosted the "Canyon Coaster" themed show.
RSA Senior Spotlight Virtual Concert

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