NUSD Spotlight
Community Newsletter
 -- August 21,  2017  

Hope you enjoy this edition of "NUSD Spotlight," the district's community newsletter. Contact Director of Communications Jim Sanders, 561-5267, if you have comments, concerns or story suggestions. Thank you for your support of Natomas schools.
It's Great to See You Again, Students! 
Back to Business at NUSD

They'rrrrre back! ... And we're happy to see them. Schools sprang to life throughout Natomas Unified Aug. 9 as thousands of students picked up their backpacks, ended their summer recess, and got back to the business of preparing for college and career. NUSD has implemented new English Language Arts textbooks this year, provided more than 3,600 hours of professional development for hundreds of teachers, enhanced alignment of its instructional system with state content standards, and is using its newly adopted "The Next 5" Strategic Plan as a five-year compass. 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 NUSD Spotlight, click " View Entire Message " prompt at the bottom of the page. Thank you very much.
 Back to School Nights

 Rolling out the welcome mat for 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 held Back to School Nights the week of Aug. 14-18. Similar events will be held in coming days for middle and high schools.

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: Natomas Middle and Natomas Gateways Middle schools, Thursday, Aug. 24; Inderkum and Natomas high schools, Wednesday, Aug. 30; Discovery High and Leroy Greene Academy, Wednesday, Sept. 6.
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 at an information night from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, August 31, in Natomas Middle School (Room 204).

A few simple tips should have you using Natomas Unified's Parent Portal and Mobile App right away. The process is easy, the meeting is free, and we're happy to help. To register, go to or call (916)  473-0053. This one-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.
After-hours, weekend & holiday answering service
for urgent or emergency concerns that can't wait 

We now have an after-hours, weekend, and holiday answering service for urgent or emergency concerns that cannot wait until the next business day, such as broken water pipes, sounding alarms, or suspicious activity. The service can be reached at (916) 561-5253. Urgent matters will be passed to a staff member for follow-up. Non-urgent calls will be run through our normal Constituent and Customer Services (CCS) process for follow-up during normal business hours.
'The Next 5' 

Check out our new 5-year strategic plan --
written from staff & community feedback 
You probably have received NUSD's "The Next 5" Strategic Plan in the mail. If not, please check it out by clicking here.

The plan charts a five-year course for the District, identifying 28 strategic directions to enhance student success. Examples include adding Civics instruction to the District's Goals, examining ways to further expand art and world language in schools -- and a whole lot more.

 "The Next 5" truly was a community effort, with more than 200,000 suggestions, comments or perceptions gathered from parents, students, staff and stakeholders. Thank you for your help, Natomas. We urge you to take a look.
'Making a Difference' in facilities 
School bonds spent to enhance
21st century learning & safety
We're keeping the promises made to Natomas Unified families. 
The Measure J school bond, approved by voters in November 2014, vowed that funds would be used in a variety of ways to expand, repair and enhance facilities, including upgrading classrooms for 21st century learning and college or career readiness, increased student safety and security, and preparing for growth by constructing schools.
Since then, we've built new two-story classroom buildings at Natomas Park and Bannon Creek schools, opened new campuses at Natomas Charter School and Westlake Charter School, created a new Hospitality and Culinary Arts classroom and dining area at Discovery High, renovated the Two Rivers Elementary School library, converted Leroy Greene Academy's library into a "Center of Innovation" for brainstorming and collaboration, and we're nearly finished constructing six classrooms and three labs to benefit Heron School's strong science program. These are just a few of many facility projects.
We're spotlighting some of our key projects in "Making a Difference," a series of stories and photo packages available on our website, app, and Facebook and Twitter pages. Check them out by clicking on the links below.
Amazon donates $10,000 to two NUSD schools
It hasn't even opened in Natomas yet, but already it's a good neighbor.
Amazon donated $10,000 to Natomas Unified School District this month to support STEM instruction -- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math -- at Natomas High and Natomas Gateways Middle schools.
The gift came during a tour by NUSD officials and community leaders of Amazon's enormous distribution facility -- or "fulfillment center" -- on West Elkhorn Boulevard. The facility is 855,000 square feet and will employ 1,500 workers.
Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna applauded Amazon's distribution facility as an economic boon to the area. It is expected to handle 500,000 to 1 million packages a day, perhaps more, Amazon officials said. Construction took 7,400 tons of steel, 3 million pounds of rebar, and enough interior concrete to create a 3-foot wide sidewalk extending 490 miles. It has four floors, but the bottom floor alone will fit more than 400 single-story houses of 2,000 square feet apiece. Read more here.
Mark Your Calendar: Oct. 14 

Have fun, help kids
at Natomas 5K run/walk

Have fun, get exercise, and help kids -- a winning formula for everyone!

An Oct. 14 community 5K in Natomas is named " Run For Their Future" for good reason. Proceeds from this Natomas Schools Foundation event provide scholarships and laptop computers to help deserving students further their education.

Last year, the nonprofit foundation awarded $9,000 in scholarships and 15 Chromebooks to students living within NUSD boundaries. Please consider running or walking this 5K fundraiser, which begins at Inderkum High School and loops around North Natomas Regional Park beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14.

You can save money by registering now because early bird rates are in effect. Click here to register as a runner or sponsor. Thank you very much.
Giving back to Inderkum High School 

They call it giving back to their school. Inderkum High School seniors Chris Roberts and Alejandro Avila, both IB students, put the finishing touches Aug. 13 on campus projects that help them meet Eagle Scout service requirements. Chris replaced an entire deck of 2-by-12 foot wooden planks on the varsity baseball backstop, painted it, and revitalized a dirt path that ran alongside it. Alejandro sanded, built, stained and installed four 6-foot wooden benches outside the cafeteria. "I feel like Inderkum has made me what I am today, so I want to give back as much as possible," Chris said. "It's a good feeling knowing you did something good for your community." Read more here.
Four NUSD Schools

Statewide honor for promoting positive behavior   
Congratulations to Jefferson, Two Rivers, Witter Ranch and Natomas Park elementary schools, which earned statewide recognition recently for implementing systems encouraging positive student behavior. Put simply, the idea is to teach behavioral expectations and reward students who follow them, not simply to respond to misbehavior. The technical term is PBIS -- Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports. NUSD's four schools won recognition by the California PBIS Coalition for faithful implementation. It's terrific to be recognized for working to create welcoming learning environments and campus cultures of success.
Anthem United Homes
donates 75 backpacks 

Just in time for the new school year, Anthem United Homes donated 75 backpacks filled with paper, markers, binders, and other school supplies. "We like to give back to the communities we build homes in," said Matt Gustus, Director of Operations for the firm. NUSD official Amreek Singh said the gift will benefit some of the district's most vulnerable students. Simply by caring enough to help, Anthem United sent a powerful message, Singh said. "Our parents and families see that there are many people in our community who care about them and want them to succeed." Read more here.
Jobs for special-needs students

Natomas business partners sought
for district's WorkAbility program

NUSD's WorkAbility program places special-needs students with local businesses for 70 hours of work experience funded by a California Department of Education grant. For some students, these jobs lead to permanent employment and high hopes for the future.

Students 16 and older get on-the-job experience after taking a series of six classes covering key employment issues, including transportation, attire, workday planning, and preparing for job interviews. The program currently serves Natomas, Inderkum and Discovery high schools. Expansion to Leroy Greene Academy is planned.

Participating WorkAbility businesses include Raley's, Bel-Air, Rite Aid Pharmacy, Round Table Pizza, Comic Command Center, Target Excellence, Marshalls, Keller Williams Realty, CVS Pharmacy, NUSD Nutrition Services, Mountain Mike's Pizza, Federico Beauty Institute, and Waffle Experience.

More businesses are needed for the WorkAbility program. If you know of an employer willing to provide real-world job experience to a teenage special-need student - with the state Department of Education funding workers compensation insurance and 70 hours of pay - please contact Workability Job Developer Jody Beckwith at 275-0099.
NUSD Spotlight
             Brought to you by:
             Jim Sanders
   Director of  Communications
             (916) 561-5267