NUSD Spotlight
     Community Newsletter
     -- August 20,  2018  

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 suggestions. Thank you for your support of Natomas schools.
New year starts strong 
Back on the path to college & career 
Welcome back, students! 

Hello to books, bells, homework and problem-solving. 

Goodbye to sleeping in late on weekdays.

Off to a great start for 2018-19, NUSD is bigger than ever before, with about 15,500 students, up several hundred from last year. We expect the district to be better than ever before, too, for reasons that include:

1) Nearly 250 teachers participated in professional development this summer -- about 70 sessions were offered -- and the knowledge and insight gained should pay dividends in classrooms for many years to come.
2) We're reducing class sizes this year to a 24-to-1 target in grades K-3 to help get very young students off to a good start.
3) We've added Special Education teachers and social-emotional staff, a full-time safety specialist to each K-8 school, and a Transitional Kindergarten program at Heron School, giving the district a TK program at all K-5 and K-8 sites.

For more pictures and story about NUSD's  start of school, Aug. 8, click here.
Back to School Nights
Now it's your turn to come to school, parents 
Back to School nights are a great way to strengthen the bond between parents and schools in preparing students for college and career.

NUSD elementary and K-8 schools will hold Back to School Nights on Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 29 and 30. Middle and high schools will greet parents Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 4 and 5.

At Back to School Nights, parents can meet their child's teacher, tour classrooms, learn about curriculum, and get answers to any questions they have.

Each upcoming Back to School Night is from 6:30-8 p.m. Here's the schedule:

1) Bannon Creek, Jefferson, Natomas Park and Heron, Aug. 29.
2) Witter Ranch, Two Rivers, American Lakes, Paso Verde & H. Allen Hight, Aug. 30
3) Natomas High, Natomas Gateways Middle School and Discovery High, Sept. 4
4) Inderkum High, Natomas Middle School, Leroy Greene Academy, Sept. 5
EDITOR'S NOTE:  Length of a newsletter can cause stories at the bottom to be clipped from display. If that happens to this NUSD Spotlight, click " View Entire Message " prompt at the bottom of the page. Thank you very much.
Measure L placed on November ballot 
to enhance opportunities, handle growth
NUSD's Board of Trustees has voted to place Measure L , a facilities bond measure, on the Nov. 6 ballot to continue upgrading schools, classrooms and technology for 21st century learning and to accommodate rising enrollment as Natomas grows in the years ahead.
Proceeds of the $172 million bond would be used to benefit all district schools -- charter and non-charter -- through projects assisting college and career readiness, academic choice, technology access, safety and security, and campus construction, renovation, modernization and repair.
"This bond is an investment in our future," Superintendent Chris Evans said. "Our district Vision is that all students graduate as college and career ready, so we need to continue enhancing facilities and learning opportunities to accomplish that, even while enrollment grows."
Proceeds of the bonds potentially could be supplemented by state funds, while annually costing taxpayers no more than 6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. Proceeds could not be used for administrative salaries or pensions. Spending would be monitored by a citizens bond oversight committee and audited annually by independent experts. Projects would be consistent with NUSD's Board-approved Facilities Master Plan. For more information, click here.
Board ratifies new one-year teachers contract 
NUSD's Board of Trustees ratified a one-year contract with the Natomas Teachers Association at a brief public meeting Aug. 13.

The pact takes effect July 1, 2018. 

You can read details of the contract by clicking here.
'Hair' you go, Roxxy -- a Cheetah paw print!
The International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Roxxy Quintero's school encourages students to be risk-takers, caring and open-minded.
Roxxy, a 2nd-grader, clearly fits in. She cares about H. Allen Hight Elementary, she's open, she's a leader, and she doesn't wince at risk.
Put them together and what do you get?
A Cheetah paw haircut for the first day of school.
Awesome, Roxxy!
Innovative recruitment program
NUSD willing to invest now in caring, committed, exemplary and  diverse teachers of tomorrow 
For the second year, Natomas Unified is offering to invest in high-quality future teachers who reflect the diversity of our community and are willing to make a long-term commitment to our students. 

If you or someone you know meets that criteria, applications will be accepted through October 15th.

With California facing a teacher shortage, our Diverse Future Teacher Recruitment Program will provide financial incentives to help a limited number of future teachers earn their credential in return for serving our students for three years or more. Our primary focus is on NUSD graduates and current classified staff.

The goal is to develop a pipeline of new teachers who are committed to Natomas and have qualifications and life experiences that will benefit all student groups. We also want to make sure we have enough high-quality teachers in Math, Science, and other hard-to-fill positions. 

More information is available by clicking here or by calling (916) 567-5469. Thank you very much.
Have you seen these on street poles yet?
Colorful NUSD banners are hanging on Natomas street poles these days, and identical posters are displayed prominently in schools, greeting students every day at the start of this new school year.

They're large, vivid, hard to miss. ... Together, the artwork reflects NUSD's diversity, and separately, each reminds students of a vital way our schools serve them: "Academics," "Careers," "Technology," "Athletics" and "The Arts."

Student learning is our driving force, and the messages are consistent with our Board-approved Vision that, "All NUSD students graduate as college and career ready, productive, responsible, and engaged global citizens." 
Yes, Panthers, you can do it, too!

Love this Natomas Middle School tradition of using college pennants and floormats outside classrooms to remind students every day to work hard and think big. Dreams come true. College and career are attainable. That message was clear, pennant by pennant, room by room, on the very first day of school Aug. 8 ... Go Panthers!

LGA's entrepreneurial challenge 
Inspiration, tips & lessons learned from pros 
Here's how it all starts ... Leroy Greene Academy's 12th-graders work in teams all year to find a problem that many people face daily and to solve it by developing a product or service that's practical, marketable, and can turn a profit. The entrepreneurial challenge is ideal training for college and career -- but innovation doesn't always come from a book. 

LGA has developed a relationship with Startup Grind, a local network of professional founders, innovators, educators and investors who share personal stories and lessons learned. LGA seniors listen, question, challenge and grow in these face-to-face encounters. These photos were taken at a session Aug. 16. We can hardly wait to hear the Lions' project proposals ...
Thank you, Anthem United Homes! 
We have 150 reasons to be grateful to Anthem United Homes.

That's how many backpacks, filled with school supplies, were donated to NUSD by the local home builder in a brief ceremony shortly at the Ed Center this month. The backpacks will be given to students of all ages.

Erin Capagli, spokeswoman for the Anthem United team, said the company is committed to helping the communities it serves. It's currently building "Willow at Natomas Meadows" in North Natomas. Donating backpacks is particularly gratifying because they help set kids up for success, Capagli said.

This marks the second time Anthem United has stepped up bigtime for our kids. Last year, it donated 75 backpacks. Awesome! Read the full story here. 
Annual high school tradition
Sun rises on their senior year -- literally!
Traditions are a big part of the high school experience -- from proms to dances to rallies to sporting events. Treasured memories, years later. Add Senior Sunrise to that list. For many years, NUSD seniors have gathered with their classmates before dawn one morning to watch the sun rise at the start of the school year, symbolically launching their final year of high school.

As shown in this photo, Natomas High's 12th-graders got together Aug. 15 on the school football field. Inderkum's seniors gathered on campus Aug. 10, and Leroy Greene Academy will observe Senior Sunrise on Aug. 24. Shortly before graduation next spring, seniors at those schools will sit together again for a similar special event -- to watch the sun set. Symbolism rich in meaning, again ... Goodbye, congratulations, farewell. ... Sweet memories, indeed.
Student & parent opportunities and info 
Learn to track your child's grades,
attendance, homework & other info 

With the push of a button, you can track your student's grades, attendance, homework and other classroom information through a cellphone, laptop, or personal computer.

We'll show you how -- simply attend one of our three Parent Portal information nights, all from 6-8 p.m., on Thursday, Sept. 13, at Natomas Middle School, 3200 No. Park Drive; on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Natomas High School, 3301 Fong Ranch Dr.; or on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at Leroy Greene Academy, 2950 W. River Dr.

A few simple tips should have you using Natomas Unified's Parent Portal and Mobile App right away. The process is easy, the meetings are free, and we're happy to help. To register, go to or call (916)  473-0053. This two-hour meeting could benefit you and your student for years to come. We hope to see you there. Check out this flyer for more information.
NUSD student videographers:
Want to win $500 in film contest?

Students in 7th through 12th grades can win up to $500 in the statewide "Directing Change Program Student Film Contest" designed to prevent suicide, promote mental health, and reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental health.

The California Department of Education supports the program, which is sponsored by "Each Mind Matters: California's Mental Health Movement" and by the California Mental Health Services Authority as part of a collaborative statewide effort to promote mental well-being.

Participating students will create 60-second films about suicide prevention, mental health, and related cultural perspectives. Regional first, second and third-place winners will be selected in categories for prizes ranging from $250 to $500. Entrants compete in middle and high school divisions. Deadline for submission is March 1, 2019.

Schools associated with the regional winner in each category are eligible to receive $500 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities (subject to availability of funding).

For more information about contest rules, categories, entry submission, and for answers to frequently asked questions, visit the Directing Change website here.
Help NUSD students
and have some fun
in this golf tourney 
Here's a way to help kids while having fun golfing, exercising and making new friends ... 

Proceeds from the Natomas Chamber of Commerce's 13th Annual Natomas Scramble Golf Tournament on Sept. 20 will fund college scholarships for students attending NUSD high schools, charter and non-charter.

If you're a golfer, please take a look. Thanks! ... Registration forms can be printed out from this link 
Good luck,Tigers and Nighthawks! 
Cheers, whistles & marching bands return!
Opening Day is a big deal for NUSD football teams. 

Both the Tigers and Nighthawks gave fans plenty to cheer about Friday (Aug. 17), but the verdict was mixed: Inderkum High beat perennial powerhouse Elk Grove, 37-13, while Natomas High's Nighthawks lost narrowly to Marysville, 20-14.

(By the way, Inderkum began the night ranked 7th regionally by The Sacramento Bee. Go Tigers!)
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.