NUSD Spotlight
 Community Newsletter
  --  April 8,  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!
Inderkum High senior
Leia Getahoun's indescribably happy news:
C heck out her sheer joy as dream comes true 
Sheer joy! ... What you're seeing below is a dream come true before your very eyes -- and Leia Getahoun's thrilling, passionate reaction to the indescribably happy news that she's been accepted into one of the nation's top-ranked universities for enrollment this fall. The moment was electric.

Minutes after Leia received a thumbs-up from UC Berkeley, she rushed to Inderkum High's Open House and broke the news to Tiger staffer Jameel Pugh and members of their student College and Career Readiness (CCR) team, which creates podcasts from interviews with college officials to help classmates chart a bright future.

For years, Leia has been pushing hard academically for UCB's thumbs-up. She's Inderkum's student body president, a driving force on the CCR team, and she'll graduate Summa Cum Laude next month with a grade point average above 4.0. While enrolled at Inderkum, she has completed various American River College classes through the California Early College Academy (CECA) program. She's a member of the National Honor Society and Black Student Union. ... Soon, Leia will be a Cal Bear, too. ... No wonder she's so happy ...
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.
Cuteness Overload!
NUSD's first 'graduating class' of this year  
takes aim at a bright future -- in Kindergarten!
Natomas Unified's first graduating class of 2019 walked across the stage recently, 42 little guys and gals who completed an eight-week Play Group program designed to give them a leg up on Kindergarten.

How best to show assembled family and friends what you've learned? Some of the kids performed the "Hokey Pokey," while others joined them later for a rousing rendition of the "Baby Shark" song incorporating music, movement, rhythm, and a catchy hook that ends nearly every line with "doo doo doo doo doo doo" sung super fast.

Fun was the order of this day - like every other day in Play Groups, funded in part by First 5 Sacramento. Very young kids, ages 0-5, were exposed to literacy and learning, three hours a week, at Natomas Park, Witter Ranch and American Lakes schools.

Each "graduate" was called onto the Witter Ranch Elementary School stage to receive a certificate that exclaimed, "You Did It!" Parents excitedly snapped photos for relatives, posterity, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, not necessarily in that order.

Each certificate featured the "Cat in the Hat" character of Dr. Seuss, beloved children's author whose famous rhymes include this one: "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

Fitting, indeed.
'Standing Ovation' series
Nighthawk impact felt far beyond campus ... 

Kindness Week at Two Rivers
Homework? Reach out, help, make friends
Two Rivers Elementary rolled out the red carpet to all students last week, formally launching Kindness Week in which each day featured an activity stressing the importance of reaching out to others.

On one day, for example, students wrote something nice about a classmate on the back of post-it notes for display in classrooms. On another day, they made a special effort to thank custodians, secretaries, the librarian and other classified staff.

All week long, students participated in "Kindness Bingo"  offering them a Popsicle party if they completed all tasks on a rectangular bingo card, such as, "Write a note to a friend," and "Invite someone new to sit with you," and "Hold the door open for someone." ... Way to go, Otters!
Stingers up! ... Sacramento State lands 
Nighthawk soccer star Christo Cervantes
Natomas High School's top soccer scorer of all time accepted a scholarship to play for Sacramento State next year. 

Congratulations, Christo Cervantes!

Christo scored 113 goals in his four-year Nighthawk career, an amazing total, averaging more than one goal a game from his freshman through senior years.

Natomas High held a brief lunchtime signing ceremony recently to honor Christo.

His mother, Carmen Maribel Marentes, said she's very proud of her son's soccer abilities but equally proud of his academic accomplishments at Natomas High.

A high-achieving student with excellent attendance, Christo plans to major in Business Entrepreneurship at Sacramento State, with an eye toward launching a business someday.
Heron Career Day
Preparing for future by grilling the present:
Flyers learn of careers from current workers 
Preparing for college and career, perhaps nothing is more valuable to kids than to listen, ask questions, and be inspired by someone in the profession they dream of joining someday.

So Heron School held a Career Day for all students, Transitional Kindergarten through 8th grades. Speakers included a police lieutenant, pediatrician, paramedic, electrician, computer administrator, lobbyist, certified public accountant, business owner, marketing specialist, housing director, occupational therapist, and many more.

One very special presentation was to Kindergarteners, with attorney Rosemarie Ruggieri conducting a mock mini-trial of a woman accused of stealing candy. Ruggieri prompted the kids with trial questions to ask. At one point, nearly the entire class raised their hands to indicate they thought the woman was guilty. Then came a plot twist: Turned out the suspect is allergic to chocolate and never eats candy. ... Lessons learned? Indeed. ... Not only about court jobs but about justice, too!
Don't delay! NSF Scholarship Applications Due Friday
If you're a graduating NUSD senior or lived and attended high school within district boundaries in the past, applying for a Natomas Schools Foundation scholarship could win you a scholarship to help defray expenses at a college or trade school. Entries are due by this Friday (April 12).

Multiple winners will be chosen for awards of $1,000 and $500.

The NSF scholarship competition is meant to identify local students who face bright futures in college and career, but it's not aimed solely at the highest grade-earners. More information and an application are available here.
One night, 90 minutes, five open houses Thursday! 
Thursday, April 11 American Lakes School
H. Allen Hight Elementary
Paso Verde School
Two Rivers Elementary
Witter Ranch Elementary
6-7:30 p.m.
School sites/Classroom
Thursday, May 9 Leroy Greene Academy
(Spring Exhibition Night)
5-7:30 p.m.

T-minus 19 days until the Natomas 5k! See you there? 
Today is April 8, so the countdown begins for the Natomas 5K on April 27 ... Sign up now to help the Natomas Schools Foundation raise money for scholarships, Chromebooks and teacher grants to help local kids. This is people-helping-people at its best! 

1) Register to run by clicking here.  
2) Volunteer to help on race day by clicking here
3)  Donate money for scholarships by clicking here

If Inderkum High had a Hall of Fame
this soon-to-be doctor would be in it
If Inderkum High had an academic Hall of Fame, New Latthivongskorn would certainly be in it.

He'll graduate with a medical doctor degree from UC San Francisco in May, after obtaining a bachelor's degree in molecular and cellular biology at UC Berkeley, and a master's degree in public health at Harvard University.

Preparing to be a physician, New plans to focus on family medicine as his new career. He returned to Inderkum to speak at a UC outreach event recently and was treated like a rock star by some current Tigers.

New said his years at Inderkum -- he graduated in 2008 -- helped chart his course for a bright future. "I think I learned a lot about study skills," he said. "My academic foundation was set real well here."

Speaking to hundreds of current Tigers, New hammered home three key messages. Read them here.
"NextGen Computer Grant Program"
Natomas Schools Foundation begins awarding Chromebooks to deserving NUSD students 
Inderkum High students Fajar Akhter and Javen Dosanjh were awarded Chromebooks by Natomas Schools Foundation officials to further their success in school and in their personal lives.

The Chromebooks, presented at Inderkum's Open House, were the first of 15 computers the nonprofit foundation is giving away to deserving students living within NUSD boundaries.

More than 60 students applied for Chromebooks through the foundation's "NextGen Computer Grant Program." Entries were evaluated based on academic performance and potential, leadership potential, service to others, and a need for a computer to improve or maintain academic performance.

NSF raises much of its money through the Natomas 5K, a community event scheduled for April 27 at Inderkum High. Runners and walkers can register at All money raised by the foundation is used to benefit students. Donations can be made online by clicking here.
Here is foundation President Sonia Mercado delivering a Chromebook to Jada Foster at Natomas High School's Open House last week. 

Congrats Jada!
Let the good times roll! Three Heron School students own brand-new Chromebooks, thanks to the Natomas Schools Foundation.

Trinity Aguilar, Amari Kiburi and Allyson Sizemore, left to right, are shown below holding their prizes from the foundation's "NextGen Computer Grant Program."
It's April and you know what that means ... NUSD Open Houses are in full swing!
Inderkum High & Discovery High schools
Here's the challenge: Show me in 90 seconds why kids love this school, what special things it has to offer, how it challenges them, nurtures them, provides a safe and welcoming learning environment.

OK, Inderkum and Discovery high schools, it's your turn ... On your mark, get set, go! ... Lift the curtain on highlights of your open houses ...
Natomas High, Natomas Gateways, & Natomas Middle
Here are some of the reasons we're proud of our schools! 

Click on this video for a whirlwind, 90-second tour of attractions at Open Houses last week for Natomas High, Natomas Gateways Middle, and Natomas Middle schools.

Heron, Natomas Park, Bannon Creek, & Jefferson
We're all in this together -- teachers, parents and students. 

This br ief video celebrates good things happening in NUSD classrooms and schools. Creative learning. Student achievement. Program opportunities. Please take a look.

The photos were taken at Open Houses last week at Heron, Natomas Park, Jefferson and Bannon Creek schools. ... (P.S. You get extra credit if you can identify the type of lizard photographed in a Bannon Creek classroom.) ...
NUSD 'On Track to College Letters' sent 
NUSD continued its efforts to promote college and career readiness by mailing an "On Track to College" letter recently to every 9th, 10th and 11th-grade student at Inderkum High School, Leroy Greene Academy, and Natomas High School.

This six-page letter provides a wealth of information to families based on each student's completed courses, final grades, and college exam scores. If a student has fallen behind, this letter will identify options to get back on track, such as registering for summer school to recover credits.

Our "On Track to College" letter provides students and their families information about progress toward graduation, completion of a-g course requirements necessary for college admission, competitiveness for California colleges and universities, and recommendations for how to stay on track to be successful in college. We're proud to help prepare students for a bright future.
Here's how the ball bounces at Natomas High... 
New Boys Volleyball team added to sports slate 
Natomas High School has added a new sports team this spring -- boys volleyball. This marks the third addition to NUSD's athletic opportunities since classes began last August: Inderkum High fielded a water polo team and Discovery High competed in basketball.

Expanding our sports program creates additional chances for students to earn athletic scholarships and make new friends, consistent with NUSD's Board-approved Goal to, "Create safe and welcoming learning environments where students attend and are connected to their schools."
Besides, it's a whole lot of fun.
Beats teams from U.S., Canada, Brazil
Heron's  Taylor Arsich takes home a gold
in Vegas international gymnastics showdown 
Practice makes perfect? Taylor Arsich must think so. The Heron School 5th-grader has practiced gymnastics 12 to 16 hours a week for about four years. All that work paid off big-time recently when Taylor and her partner, Liana Chekrygin, captured an age-group gold medal in acrobatic gymnastics at the prestigious Vegas Acro Cup invitational competition involving countries from all over the world.

Acrobatic gymnastics requires partners to synchronize in a floor routine of acrobatic moves, dance and tumbling, set to music. Taylor and Liana "took home the gold" by beating four teams from the United States, three teams from Canada, and one from Brazil. Though not in her division, gymnasts from Germany, Japan, Russia, China, and other nations also participated in the three-day competition, which included a World Cup event each day.

Taylor, who is the daughter of Natomas High Athletic Director Jeremy Arsich, was bowled over by the international flair of the Vegas Acro Cup and quipped to him about the pool of elite athletes from all over the globe -- "I feel like I'm at the Olympics." ... (We'll remember those words, Taylor, we're documenting them here -- because someday you may be.)
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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.