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September 20, 2021

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Photo of the Week

Photo of the week
Hidalgo Elementary School celebrates Mexican Independence with a Book Donation from the Mexican Consulate in Fresno

Video of the Week

Video of the Week
Faces of Fresno Unified: Jenna and Amanda Maldonado Video

Dates to Know

September 29
Board Meetings (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 to Open Free COVID-19 Vaccination/Testing Clinics at Six Schools

​The district will open COVID-19 vaccination and testing clinics at McLane, Patiño and Roosevelt high schools and Scandinavian, Tehipite and Terronez middle schools, with plans for additional sites. The free clinics will provide a convenient way for students 12 and older to be vaccinated, as well as district staff. Youth ages 12-17 must bring signed consent forms or be accompanied by their parent/guardian. Clinic partners are Immigrant Refugee Coalition, Pinnacle Training Systems, Fresno County Department of Public Health, UCSF COVID-19 Equity Project, Centro La Familia and African American Coalition.

More Information on Vaccination Clinics

State of Education Event

FUSD Scholarship logoDue to the increasing surge of COVID-19 in the community, the district has made the difficult decision to move the State of Education program to a virtual format this year. The State of Education event is the single largest fundraiser for the Fresno Unified Scholarship Fund. The district had hoped when it started planning months ago, that case rates would continue declining and vaccination rates would continue increasing. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. The district believes a large, indoor event is not in the best interest of the community at this time.
Fresno Unified will produce a virtual program that will be shared at 6 p.m. on October 18 through, social media channels and CMAC. The program will highlight scholarship winners from last spring, a message from Superintendent Bob Nelson and the generous sponsors of the event.

Leaders Featured in Podcast

FUSD Podcast logo

Hear what Fresno Unified leaders have to say in the Fresno Unified School District Family Leads podcast.
Listen to FUSD Podcasts on Apple Podcasts
Listen to FUSD Podcasts on Spotify

60 Seconds with Fresno Unified Video

The latest 60 Seconds with Fresno Unified video highlights the Mexican independence celebration at Hidalgo Elementary School, the Hearth Wall at Holland Elementary School and Duncan Polytechnical High School’s 9/11 ceremony.
Fresno Unified News in 60 Seconds Video

District Online Newspaper Available

Check out the September edition of Building Futures, the district’s digital newspaper. The newest edition features information on back to school, COVID guidelines, employee spotlights and more.
September Building Futures

Superintendent Board Remarks from September 15, 2021

Superintendent Bob Nelson

• Superintendent honored and recognized the start of Hispanic Heritage Month which started today. National Hispanic Heritage Month traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latinx Americans as we celebrate heritage rooted in all Latin American countries. Superintendent encouraged the Fresno Unified Family to take time this month to dig deeper into Hispanic and Latinx history and heritage.

• Superintendent focused the rest of his remarks on our current efforts battling the COVID-19 pandemic and its increased strain on our district. This pandemic has thrown us all for a loop time and time again, and unfortunately, we can be certain that it will continue to throw us for more loops before it is gone from our daily lives. With the continued uncertainty, our team has never stopped working to bring as much clarity, guidance, and leadership to our entire system. It hasn’t been perfect, and it won’t be perfect. Superintendent recognized that many staff are working so hard just to keep the day to day operations running. Superintendent reminds staff that we see you, we love you, we are thankful for you hanging on, and we are working so hard to lighten the load.

• Superintendent updated on some of the work that has been happening behind the scenes to support our students, staff, and families recently. First, we’ve worked incredibly hard to step up to the plate as stand-in health care professionals as we’ve been tasked from the federal, state and local levels with so many layers of mitigation to keep our staff and students safe in-person. From surveillance testing, to contact tracing, to quarantining and isolation, to vaccinations and more, we’ve tapped all resources we can find to step into these spaces where we are not, and never will be, the health experts. Currently, we’ve been focused on the following:

  -  Working with partners at Fresno City College and Fresno State University to potentially help support our testing needs with nursing students,
  -  Working with the state and California Department of Public Health on expanding our testing capacity through partnerships,
  -  Working to increase our supply and access of COVID-19 rapid tests,
  -  Working with CBOs, medical providers, and the county health department to bring more free vaccination and testing clinics to our school sites,
  -  Working to find support, human capacity, and resources to implement the vaccination or weekly testing mandate for our employees by October 15th,
  -  Gathering and verifying proof of vaccination from our fully vaccinated staff members,
  -  Developing, implementing, and improving our public-facing COVID-19 dashboard,
  -  Working on streamlined processes to ensure teachers are aware of quarantined students to provide instruction,
  -  In addition to PPE being available for all staff to order from the warehouse at any time, usually through your Office manager, Facilities has sent out additional PPE kits to every school site starting last week and continuing through this week – no orders needed
  -  Working on seating chart plans with sites and teachers to minimize mixing and increase the speed of effective contact tracing
  -  Working to increase the capacity of our COVID-19 Action Team to support sites contact tracing needs and modified quarantine support
  -  Partnering with our health providers and CBOs to bring even more vaccination and testing clinics to our sites to promote youth and staff vaccination,
  -  And much more – all in addition to the increased safety practices already implemented through ventilation, sanitizing, masking, decreased class sizes, etc.

• Second, we’ve been battling a substitute shortage along with all other school districts. We have not seen a huge rise in absences or quarantines of our staff members, but rather we have seen a large decrease in the number of active substitutes taking jobs every day to support those vacancies. To help increase our substitute pools and increase the activity of our substitutes we’ve been doing the following:
  -  We’ve launched and continued a large substitute hiring campaign for all classifications through television commercials, billboard, online, and social media,
  -  Our local media partners have done several stories to help us get the word out for the need for substitutes in all classifications,
  -  We’ve assigned all management staff, classified and certificated, to school sites to provide support in any areas needed as requested,
  -  All certificated staff who are not currently in classrooms have been working to cover unfilled vacancies in classrooms every day,
  -  All Climate and Culture site staff have been moved back to the classroom at eLearn Academy as we continue to increase staffing to accommodate the large influx of student enrollments,
  -  We negotiated and finalized an agreement with FASTA to increase our daily pay rate for substitute teachers to a total of $208.04 – the daily rate is now $163.04 plus an additional $45 per day to be prepared for potential simultaneous teaching
  -  Human Resources has provided a direct call/text line AND opened their doors for walk-ins every weekday from 1-3 p.m. to support all applicant questions and to help them through the application process
  -  Human Resources and departments across the district have personally called substitutes, retirees, and previous applicants to ask them to return and help our daily staffing needs,
  -  Provided an additional $200 in materials and supplies for teachers,
  -  Deployed all Parent University staff to school site support while CBO partners continue implementing parent learning cohorts,
  -  And much, much more.

• Superintendent shared these updates to be transparent with our entire Fresno Unified family on the work we are doing to address the very real needs in our system today. Superintendent acknowledged that we as district leadership can be hesitant to share things we are working on before they are 100% implemented for fear of things not panning out the way we plan or hope. What Superintendent mentioned might not all pan out exactly how we hope, but he wants to share with our teams, nonetheless.

View Full Board Meeting Recap

School Buzz

Duncan Hosts Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Health Services Building

Duncan Groundbreaking ceremony Duncan Polytechnical High School officially broke ground on September 17 for a new building that will house its Medical Academy of Science and Health (MASH) programs. The building will support students in the medical pathways of Nursing Services (certified nursing assistant), Rehabilitation Therapy and Pharmacy Technician. The medical building is expected to be completed by the fall of 2022.

Each of the pathways offers students the opportunity to go immediately into the work force and/or higher education after graduation. Students start the MASH academy in ninth grade and during their four years can earn industry recognized certifications in CPR, Blood Borne Pathogens, HIPAA and OSHA 10 for Healthcare leading up to their 12th grade pathway certification as a CNA, in rehabilitation therapy, or as a pharmacy technician.

High School Students Participate in Valley Heroes Parade

Heroes parade Students from several high schools participated in the Valley Heroes Parade at Woodward Park September 11, sponsored by Kiwanis Club of Fresno. The event honored those who lost their lives on 9/11 as well as local law enforcement, first responders and veterans. Participants were Edison High School (teacher Wendy Martin), McLane High School students (teacher Carlos Gonzales) and Sunnyside High School (teacher Kathy Pacheco). Kings Canyon Middle School athletic director David May delivered the decorated golf carts.

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