NUSD Spotlight
 Community Newsletter
  --  April 29,  2019  

Hope you enjoy this edition of "NUSD Spotlight," the district's community newsletter. Contact Director of Communications Jim Sanders, (916) 561-5267, if you have comments, concerns or story ideas. Thank you!
Invitational Field Day
Hundreds of special-needs students compete: Fun & games celebrate everyone as winners 
Much more than an athletic competition, Invitational Field Day brought hundreds of local students with special needs to Natomas High last Friday to promote abilities, not disabilities, and to send everyone a clear message that they're all winners.

Warm weather contributed to a feel-good, party-like atmosphere, with music blaring from loudspeakers.

The schedule of events included relay races, long jump, Frisbee toss, Hula Hoop, softball throw, (foam) javelin toss, buddy relay races, and bean bag toss. A wheelchair race and obstacle course was planned as well. Top finishers were honored -- but the focus was on participation and fun. Everybody walked away with a ribbon.

A heartwarming annual event, Invitational Field Day is designed to build bridges between students with special needs and more than 550 able-bodied Natomas High youth who volunteered to be their "buddies" for a day - pushing wheelchairs, cheering, escorting, or doing whatever necessary to help.

Tommy, 14, had a one-word answer when asked what he expected to get from today's competition: "Fun." Read more here.
EDITOR'S NOTE:  Length of a newsletter can cause stories at the bottom to be clipped from display. If that happens to this newsletter, click " View Entire Message " prompt at the bottom of the page. Thank you very much.
What motivates kids to love books? Maybe this --
their principal reading bedtime stories  in pajamas 
Treating Paso Verde's students like they're her own kids, Principal Tonja Jarrell dons pajamas for this video of her reading them a bedtime story, "What Do You Do With an Idea?"
This marks the first in a series of Paso Verde read-aloud videos designed to inspire students to explore, treasure, and delight in the written word as they search for knowledge throughout their lives. 
(Pssst, here's a secret: The sight of Mrs. Jarrell's red, purple, blue and yellow critter mask is reason enough alone to click on this brief video. And the moral of her story is plenty of food for thought, regardless your age: What do you do with an idea? Nurture it, Pumas, because someday you might change the world!)
Campus STEM Night 
OK, American Lakes students & families -- pick
a problem-solving challenge, any challenge ... 
STEM Night at American Lakes School

OK, American Lakes School students and families, pick a challenge, any challenge:
1) Create a free-standing structure using marshmallows and toothpicks
2) Build something for a small creature to live in using K'nex plastic connectors
3) Develop and implement a chain-link system using a ruler, construction paper, scissors and masking tape
Those were some of the options at American Lakes' STEM Night last week, where families were introduced to and challenged to try various classroom projects. Kids also demonstrated how they use coding block to move tiny robotic spheres, about the size of a baseball, and how they analyze specimens under a microscope, among other things.
American Lakes plans to increasingly challenge students of all ages with STEM projects - Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - that develop critical thinking, analyzing, collaboration and problem-solving skills. This brief video spotlights some of the fun at last week's campus event. We think you'll like it ...
Natomas 5k
Fun, sun, exercise & entertainment attract 
huge crowd to raise funds for NUSD students 
Thank you, Natomas!
Natomas 5k 'Run for Their Future'

Hundreds of runners and walkers turned out for Saturday's Natomas 5k, folks of all ages, from all corners of the district, to enjoy picture-perfect sunny skies and get a little exercise while helping to raise money for deserving youth.

Handling MC duties were Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby and Melissa May, a former TV journalist turned Inderkum High School broadcasting teacher. Festivities included a Zumba warm-up, music by the Natomas High School Marching B and, and appearances by special guests ranging from school mascots to Monique Ambers, former assistant coach of the Sacramento Monarchs women's pro basketball team.

Best of all, thousands of dollars were raised for the Natomas Schools Foundation to provide college scholarships and Chromebook computers to help kids pursue their dreams. Put simply, the community came through again -- volunteers, runners, sponsors and vendors who stepped up, answered the call, gave both time and money to benefit youth. You can't get much better than that ... Pretty darn cool!
Upcoming graduation dates, times and locations 
Leroy Greene Academy 8th Grade Commitment to Graduate  May 20 9:00 a.m. Multi-Purpose Room
Natomas Gateways Middle Promotion Ceremony May 22 10:00 a.m. Natomas High School (Paul Shimada Stadium)
Heron School Promotion Ceremony May 23 9:00 a.m. Quad
Natomas Middle  Promotion Ceremony May 23 3:00 p.m. Inderkum High School (David Tooker Field)
Discovery High School High School Graduation May 20 6:00 p.m. Quad
Natomas High School High School Graduation May 21 6:00 p.m. Paul Shimada Stadium
Inderkum High School High School Graduation May 22 6:00 p.m. David Tooker Field
Leroy Greene Academy High School Graduation May 23 6:00 p.m. Crest Theatre
Parents -- provide us input about your child's school
Your voice matters! Parent feedback is vital as NUSD schools plan their programs and services for next year. We want to hear from campus communities district-wide. Here are five good reasons to click on our brief, anonymous Parent Survey posted below:

1) Your child may benefit directly from results that impact his or her school
2) Takes only about five minutes to complete
3) Primarily multiple-choice questions
4) Focus is on your child's campus, not NUSD overall
5) Principals will get the results and her your input

Please - help us serve your student best by completing this short Parent Survey on key topics, including academics, climate, parent engagement, and college-career readiness: ... Thank you!
New immunization rules: What you need to know & do
The next school year will be here before we know it. Children cannot attend class unless they meet state immunization requirements, either by getting vaccinated or obtaining a medical exemption. Have your child see his or her doctor as soon as possible for any immunizations needed. 
Please be aware that there are new requirements for the upcoming school year. See this flyer for more information. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Lorenna Howe in Health Services or call (916) 567-5434.
Surprise! NUSD high schools get $21,128 gift
from surplus in Measure L campaign coffers
Here's why they're smiling so broadly: The oversized check they're holding totals $21,128 to benefit graduating seniors throughout NUSD. Each high school was given a portion recently and will decide how best to spend it, with possibilities ranging from senior trips to proms to Safe & Sober Grad Night.

Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby and her chief of staff, Karen Talamantes, led the check presentation at NUSD's Board meeting because the money represents surplus contributions to the Measure L school bond campaign committee that Ashby spearheaded last fall.

Measure L will fund vital school improvements and new facilities for 21st century learning as Natomas grows. And NUSD high schools now have a $21,128 infusion in the waning months of the school year, just when it's needed most by their graduating classes. .... No wonder there's so much joy in the photo below ...
Not all heroes wear capes
Natomas High's Adult Transition students honored for helping 16,000 people in need 
Over the past three years, students in the Adult Transition Program at Natomas High have donated countless hours to stock bag, and hand out many tons of groceries -- enough to feed 16,000 patrons of Joey's Food Locker.

Their mission is public service, not fortune or fame, but the spotlight beckoned (April 24) when our Board of Trustees presented certificates of appreciation to all 13 student volunteers.

Joey's Food Locker serves a dual purpose for the community: Besides providing a lifeline to families in need twice a month, the food locker gives adult students with special needs the opportunity to practice job skills ranging from customer service to checking expiration dates.

The goodwill it spreads is priceless ...
Inderkum's Kristina Alonso is on buses, billboards & light rail trains -- here's why 
Watch for Kristina Alonso's face on billboards, buses and light rail trains throughout Sacramento County. The Inderkum High School senior is part of a multimedia campaign, "Future Forward," to discourage youth from using and abusing marijuana.

Her commitment to teen safety goes far beyond advertisements, however. Kristina also is a leader of Inderkum's award-winning Friday Night Live program and she's the first Tiger student chosen for the California Youth Council, consisting of high school and college students dedicated to warning youth statewide about the dangers of distracted driving and alcohol, tobacco and drug use. Even in middle school, years ago, she was an activist for healthy youth lifestyles.

Kristina is a student leader in Inderkum's band program, too, and has a grade point average above 3.0. She plans to attend Sacramento State next year en route to a career as a high school Math teacher. What message would she like to send to Natomas teens through this Facebook post? "To just stay safe and know there are risks to everything you do," she said.
Substitute Appreciation Event
Unsung heroes - thank you for all that you do!
Unsung heroes - thank you!
Natomas Unified gave a very loud round of applause last Wednesday to its substitute staff of all types - teachers to custodians to bus drivers -- by holding an appreciation reception in its Staff Development Center.
Eighty-five substitute employees turned out, sitting at tables adorned with "Thank You" signs and dining on chicken wings, flatbread appetizers, cookies, and other culinary delights.
Gifts donated by local businesses were raffled off, including gift cards or prizes from Target, Subway, Dos Coyotes, The Poke Fix restaurant, Wild Ones Boutique, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and Suha Musallam photography.
Without someone willing to answer the district's call for help on short notice, sometimes at 6 a.m., NUSD schools could not function smoothly day-after-day throughout the school year. Please know, substitutes, that we never forget that.
'NextGen Computer Grant Program'
Natomas Schools Foundation awards Chromebook to American Lakes' Sofia Gutierrez
Fewer than one of every four applicants was selected as a winner, so American Lakes' 7th-grader Sofia Gutierrez has plenty to be proud about in winning a Chromebook from the Natomas Schools Foundation through its "NextGen Computer Grant Program."

Sofia was presented the Chromebook at American Lakes' Open House by Jon Lindo of New York Life, who is a member of the NSF board and sponsored the school in the foundation's Natomas 5k community run, enabling any Eagle student to run for free in the April 27 community event.

Sofia's entry in the Chromebook contest was evaluated on academic performance and potential, leadership potential, service to others, and a need for a computer to improve or maintain academic performance. Her application stood out -- as does her potential for a terrific future ... Congratulations, Sofia!
Maybe a life will be saved by what happened
at this Inderkum High safe-driving event ...
Who knows - maybe a life will be saved by what happened at Inderkum High ...

A massive spotlight was shined on the dangers of distracted driving while hundreds of Tiger students looked on, talked with advocates, or took turns pedaling a device while wearing special goggles simulating how difficult it is to drive safely while distracted.

The recent "Go Safely, California" lunchtime event was led by Inderkum's Friday Night Live chapter and by the California Office of Traffic Safety. Participants included Slamson, several Kings' dancers, the CHP, Sacramento police, Caltrans, state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Safety Center Inc., V101.1 FM, and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), among others.

Inderkum has been so active in promoting driving safety and discouraging use of drugs and alcohol that the Tigers' Friday Night Live (FNL) chapter was selected California Chapter of the Year in 2017-18 and adviser Eric Fong was named state FNL "Advisor of the Year" last fall. ... We're very proud of that legacy.
Open Houses Roundup
American Lakes, Two Rivers, Paso Verde,
H. Allen Hight and Witter Ranch schools 
With a simple click to the right, you'll see classrooms come to life with students, teachers, parents and schoolwork. This montage of photos was taken at Open Houses for American Lakes, H. Allen Hight, Paso Verde, Two Rivers and Witter Ranch Schools. 

(P.S. Raise your hand if you spot the wig-wearing skeleton sporting a lab coat in 7th grade science class.)
Heron 3rd-graders might know more about weather than you do...and that's 'snow' joke!
Think you know more about weather than a 3rd-grader?

Probably not, if the 3rd-grader attends Heron School and sat through a whirlwind - no pun intended - classroom presentation by Fox 40 meteorologist Adam Epstein recently that covered everything from funnel clouds to blizzards to lightning and thunder.

The kids are studying weather as part of California's Next Generation Science Standards. Epstein grabbed the subject with gusto and made it snap, crackle, pop, hail, rain and roar its way to life in a series of dramatic, skies-gone-wild video snippets.

Along the way, the 3rd-graders learned answers to:

1) How much hotter is lightning than the sun?
2) Why is thunder so loud?
3) Which is faster - light or sound?
4) At what temperatures does water freeze and boil?
5) What's a microburst?

And when it was over, the kids left for lunch under sunny skies and mild temperatures - that they appreciated more than ever. ...
Please 'Like' us on Facebook
and follow us on Twitter 

Let's work together. We urge parents and staff to stay up-to-date on district developments. We provide multiple opportunities to learn about NUSD successes, plans and events throughout the school year. 

Two key sources are Facebook -- we're listed as "Natomas Unified School District" -- and Twitter, under @NatomasUSD.  District and school websites also are a good source of information ranging from lunch menus to parent opportunities. Thanks for taking a look. We're honored to be your partner. 
NUSD Spotlight 
Brought to you by NUSD communications team of Jim Sanders, Lauren Schnitzler and Jeff McPhee. If you have questions, comments or story tips, please call (916) 561-5267.