Community Newsletter -- First Edition           
We hope you enjoy "NUSD Spotlight," a community newsletter to keep you informed about District goals, actions, programs, and student achievement. The publication will be distributed quarterly -- in spring, summer, fall and winter. Thank you for your support of Natomas schools. 
                      NUSD SPOTLIGHT       Spring  2015   

Spring 2015 - In This Issue:
Natomas Unified Achievements
With only a few months left in the school year, now is a good time to review some of Natomas Unified's accomplishments in 2014-15:
  • Opened a new middle school, Natomas Gateways, on the campus of Natomas High School in August.
  • Won passage of Measure J, a $129 million facilities bond issue that garnered 72 percent of the vote in the November election.
  • Launched a sports program at Leroy Greene Academy and expanded sports at other middle schools as part of a longer-range plan that will offer sports at elementary schools as well.
  • Laid the groundwork for handling projected overcrowding in coming years, partly by requiring 6th graders to attend middle school next year.
  • Created the B. Teri Burns Health Clinic at Natomas High School. It initially will provide mostly vaccinations, but officials hope it will grow over time to offer basic health-care services to uninsured and underinsured NUSD students.
B. Teri Burns Health Clinic Opens
With high hopes for future expansion, the B. Teri Burns Health Clinic opened recently at Natomas High 
School. The facility is named after a 30-year Trustee who has pushed for more than two decades to expand student health care. Read story here

Deadline for Choosing 
A Middle School: March 20 
Fifth-graders ponder campus to attend
Fifth-grade students are gathering information to help them choose a middle school to attend next year that best meets their interests 
and needs. Field trips, Parent Visitation Days and presentations by middle school administrators to elementary schools have been carried out or are planned. Fifth-graders must make a decision by March 20 or they will be assigned to Natomas Middle, Leroy Greene Academy or Natomas Gateways school based on their location of residence. Read more here.
New Student Testing System:
Setting a Baseline for Future 
Titled 'Smarter Balanced Assessments'
Unlike past  years, students will answer questions via computer, not pencil and paper, and the focus will not be multiple choice questions.  In a math question, for example, students may be asked to drag and drop things from one place on the screen to another. 

The tests are meant to provide information about what students know and are able to do, and whether they are on track to succeed in college or career when they graduate from high school.

The Sacramento County Office of Education has published a "Family Guide to Understanding California's New Testing System," available here. It says this year's tests are likely to be more challenging to students initially than tests in years past. Don't compare results past and present, it says: "This year's results will set a new starting point for student achievement."

For more information, see Natomas Unified's webpage on the new testing system.
 Wanted: Your Ideas about NUSD Programs and Services 
Please tell us what you think of NUSD programs and services this year for students, staff and schools. Here's a brief survey to share your ideas for priorities in our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). That webpage also contains a presentation to the NUSD Board of 
Trustees on Feb. 25 that detailed our work during the current school year. If you have any questions about NUSD's goals and actions, detailed in our LCAP, contact Constituent and Customer Services at 916-561-5253.
Library Cards for All: Partnership Targets Hight and NMS
Call it a gift that keeps on giving.

Any student at H. Allen HIght and Natomas Middle schools who did not own a Sacramento Public Library Card is receiving one through a new partnership between Natomas Unified and the local library system. Library cards entitled students to check out up to 30 items, including books, magazines, DVDs and music CDs for a period of up to three weeks. Read about it here.

Raul -- 'Bright future ahead'

Raul is only 10, but he's already a success story -- and he has a plaque to prove it. The fifth-grader was Jefferson Elementary School's honoree in the District's "Every Student Succeeding" program this year for overcoming personal hardship and adjusting his attitude to achieve good things in class and in life. "Raul has now become a role model for those around him," Principal Danisha Keeler said. Read more here.
Katelen Fikes -- 'She's awesome'

Katelen Fikes said she feels fortunate to be teaching now, with new state standards, because she seems promise, flexibility and opportunity in emphasizing literacy, critical thinking, writing and analysis by students, and in teacher collaboration and data-driven instruction in which student-by-student test results help shape classroom priorities.
Read more
'Every 15 Minutes' Spotlights Danger of Drunk Driving  
Powerful. Emotional. Sobering. Inderkum High School's junior and senior students witnessed a simulated car crash that left two teenagers dead, one paralyzed, and another arrested for felony drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter. The tragedy, part of the "Every 15 Minutes" drill, was meant to demonstrate the devastating effects of drunken driving. Read the full story here.

Head in the Clouds?  Yes!                Dates to Remember

TV weather reporter Dave Bender, of KOVR Channel 13, met with 5th graders at American Lakes Elementary School to discuss everything from the temperature of lightning to the shape of rain -- one student even asked him if his forecasts always are right. Click here
to see what he said.

  • The deadline is Friday, March 20, for 5th graders to choose a middle school to attend next year. Those who do not submit a form will be assigned to a campus based on their location of residence. More information is available here.
  • Family Empowerment Summits to provide families with information needed to navigate the college admissions process will be held on Saturday, March 21, at Inderkum High School; and on Saturday, April 18, at Discovery High School. More information is available here or by calling 567-5516.
  • The second annual "Celebration of the Arts in Honor of Cesar Chavez" will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, March 27. The community event by Inderkum High's Parent-Teacher-Student Association will feature cultural arts performances, music, dance, poetry, fashion, art, and much more. Tickets can be purchased here.

Heron School Science Fair:  Tackling 'Deflategate' 
Heron School science project 

Nine-year-old Sienna wondered if the New England Patriots were getting a bum rap in a national controversy over accusations that the NFL team underinflated footballs in winning the AFC championship game. Was Mother Nature to blame? Sienna turned to science for an answer, testing how variations in temperature affected the air pressure in footballs. She displayed her project, titled "Deflategate," in the Heron School Science Fair. Sienna's research reached a conclusion about the Patriots' innocence or guilt. Read about it 
Download Natomas Unified's Free App 
Natomas Unified's free App provides key information about students and schools at the touch of a finger. Users can view lunch menus, cafeteria balances, job opportunities, staff directories, stories posted on NUSD and campus websites. Emergency alerts also can be sent through the device by school principals and district administrators. Parents also can obtain a password and log-in information to access personal student information about their child's grades,attendance or upcoming assignments. Download the Natomas Unified App from the Apple App Store or Google Play. For more information, click here.

Questions about NUSD Spotlight?
Call Jim Sanders  
Director of Communications
NUSD Vision: "All NUSD students graduate as college and   career  ready, productive, responsible, and engaged global citizens."