NUSD Community Newsletter -- September Edition 

Hope you enjoy our first monthly edition of "NUSD Spotlight," a community newsletter to keep you informed of goals, actions, programs and student achievement. We launched it last spring as a quarterly publication, but we've decided to go monthly this year. Thank you for your support of Natomas schools.
What's New in Natomas Unified? Plenty!

Natomas Unified is back in the groove for 2015-16, with classes in full swing and Back to School Nights already held at each campus. The District is launching numerous new programs or services this year, including elementary school sports, a new elementary grades report card, facility improvement projects, and a new student information system for parents and students to view grades, attendance, assignments and other classroom information. Click on this link for a closer look at "What's New in NUSD."
All in the Numbers ...
Taking Common Core to Parents 

Math specialist Nick Freathy began a recent community meeting on Common Core state math standards by asking: What is 75% of 16?

Parents arrived at the answer in different ways: 
1) .75 x 16 = 12.
2) 16 ÷ 4 x 3 = 12
3) 75% is ¾ of 100%, so if 16 represents 100%, then the answer to the question must be ¾ of 16 = 12.

Freathy's point was that there are different ways of analyzing a math question, and state math standards now focus not only on reaching the correct answer but on how students tackle such problems. The ultimate goal is to teach student to be critical thinkers, not just memorize flash cards. Read the full story here.
Nick Freathy's final  parents'  meeting on Common Core math standards will focus on high school students. It will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, in the Natomas High School Library. 
NUSD Launches Elementary School Sports  

Flag football, volleyball for 4th, 5th graders

Ten-year-old Jamir signed up because he loves football and wants to be like his dad. John, 11, said he wants to support his school.  NUSD has launched a district-wide sports program that will pit 4th and 5th graders against each other in flag football and volleyball now, then basketball and soccer later this year. Sixth-graders can try out for teams with 7th and 8th graders, or they can play in a 6th grade intramural league that is being formed. Read more here. 
Teachers of the Year Honored By Board  
District Teacher of the Year is Lisa MacMillan. Site Teachers of the Year are Sandra Asimos, Linda Cravens, Kristin Cunningham, Eric Fong, Laura Harper, Mary Hawkins, Lauren Hayden, Janet Mann, Mahnaz Mohammadi, Nancy Searcy, Scott Taylor, and Rosa Torrres. NOTE -- The photo above corrects an earlier version of this newsletter in which the teachers pictured were recent retirees, not Teacher of the Year honorees. We're sorry for the error.
Winners Exemplify NUSD Goal of Committed, Collaborative, Caring and Exemplary Staff 

Heron 1st grade teacher Lisa MacMillan won top honors, but NUSD's Teacher of the Year contest also recognized winners at each school for their contributions to kids and to preparing them for college and career. Read what makes each of these teachers special by clicking here.

Preparing for College and Career 

NMS Student Pledge:
'Live the Panther Way' 

Shortly after the school year began, Natomas Middle School held a loud outdoor rally with music and dancing and banners signed by hundreds of students pledging to "Live the Panther Way." It marked a key step in enhancing the culture of NMS, setting expectations, and spotlighting the "Panther Way" as a commitment to excellence and to preparing for college or career. Read the full story here.
New 'Joey's Food Locker' to Help Hungry 

Staffed by Adult Transition Program        

California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross cut the ribbon this month for "Joey's Food Locker," a free food closet that will assist the hungry while teaching job skills to Adult Transition Program students who are overcoming mental or physical challenges. The food locker at Natomas HIgh School initially will be open once a month. Donation bins are located at each NUSD campus. Read more here. 
Kudos to NUSD Students 
Bee Prep Football Player of the Week  
Natomas High School's Terrance March won Bee Prep Football Player of the Week honors in September after rushing for 162 yards on offense and recording 14 tackles and three quarterback sacks on defense in a 42-24 victory over Valley HIgh School. Terrance also scored big points in his interview by The Bee, saying he enjoys chemistry and trigonometry, and that he can't take individual credit for his football stats. His teammates, he said, "put me in the position to make tackles, to score touchdowns. We do this together. It's all of us."
NUSD's New Student Board Member 
Jzov Stith-Gambles, Inderdum HIgh School senior, is an excellent student who has taken classes at American River College and has participated in activities ranging from Inderkum's tennis and track teams to its Friday Night Live Club and Heart for the Hungry, a Natomas nonprofit group. Jzov -- pronounced "Jo-vee" -- also has been active with Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby's Youth Advisory Council (YAC) and Parks Leadership Academy for Youth (PLAY).
Student Essay Sparks White House Reply 
Fernando Serratos, now 11, was a 3rd grader at H. Allen Hight Elementary School when he wrote a poem characterizing himself as a smart Mexican-American boy who will be U.S. president someday. Hight teacher Vanessa Dauterive later learned of the poem and sent it to President Obama, saying the president inspires students like Fernando to dream big. The White House replied last month with a letter signed by President Obama. "I'm confident that together, we can ensure ours is a nation where all things are possible for all people," the letter said, adding that the chain of events involving Fernando "reminds me who I'm here to serve." 
Eye-Catching Street Art from NUSD Students 
'King of the Jungle' artwork created by a group of Leroy Greene Academy students for Sacramento's "Chalk It Up" Festival over Labor Day weekend. 
Mural honoring National Hispanic Heritage Month, created in "The Book" public artwork at Del Paso Road, near North Natomas Library, by students from Inderkum and other Natomas schools. 
Family News from NUSD's Ed Center 
Portal Offers A New Way to Track your Child's Performance 

With live, up-to-date information about attendance and grades, NUSD's new Infinite Campus App and Portal provides students and their parents or guardians with a new tool for monitoring classroom performance.

Students in grades 6-12 began using the portal Sept. 16 from any smartphone or computer device -- except at Heron School, where it was not available to 6th grade students. Students can use their Google login information to access the Portal. Parents can ask students for their login information or obtain it from the front office of their child's school. The portal is meant to be used only by students and parents.

Elementary school students and their parents or guardians will have access to the Portal in the second semester. More information is available here.
Here's What you Need to Know About New Vaccination Law

Beginning next January, parents no longer will be exempted from immunizing their children on the basis that they hold a personal belief against legally required exemptions. The change is mandated by new legislation, Senate Bill 277, that was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in June.

If parents have a personal belief exemption on file with their child's school when the new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2016, the exemption will remain in effect until the child enrolls in the next grade span. Grade spans are defined as birth to pre-kindergarten, transition kindergarten-6th grade, and 7th-12th grades.

NUSD's letter to parents is available here.
Measure J Bond: More Money, Fewer Payments 

Trustees Approve Construction of new NCS STAR Academy
Voter approval of the Measure J school bond  measure in 2014 has led to two recent developments: A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled Oct. 5 for construction of a new Natomas Charter School STAR Academy, and the District's first sale of Measure J bonds has generated $69.3 million for facility improvements -- $2 million more than anticipated while taxpayers will pay the debt off in four fewer years than projected. The bond sale responds quickly to the lifting of the Natomas building moratorium and enables NUSD to take aim at some of its most urgent school facility needs while saving taxpayers money and cutting NUSD's bond-selling costs. Read more here.
Why Did NUSD Honor These 2 Incredible Women?

To launch National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Board of Trustees honored Sonia Mercado and Elena Quintero, two Hispanic women who have made major contributions to the school district and to the Natomas community as leaders, activists and volunteers. To learn more about their extraordinary contributions, click here. 
Lori Lewis: Her Job is to Conserve Energy 

To Lori Lewis, it's obvious: Less is more.

Natomas Unified's new Environmental Support Manager is responsible for promoting the message that less energy means more savings and more benefits to the District, environment, community, students and staff. She'll also show how it can be done.

Even little energy-saving measures can make a big difference when taken by large numbers of people, said Lewis, former energy manager for San Juan Unified School District. Comfort and safety of students and staff come first, absolutely, but that still leaves plenty of room for cutting water use, waste, gas and electricity, she said.

For the complete story, and for a list of ways to conserve in October, which is national Energy Awareness Month, click here. 

Edited By:
Jim Sanders
Director of Communications