NUSD Spotlight
 Community Newsletter
  -- February 12,  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!
Rising national singing & acting star Jay Ulloa 
is exemplary student, too, at Inderkum High 
A 17-year-old Inderkum High School student has more than a quarter-million Instagram followers, his Latin pop songs can be found on all major streaming platforms, he's a heart-throb actor on a major YouTube TV series, and his voice recently was likened to Justin Bieber's in a Sacramento Bee story.

Google Jay Ulloa's name and 1.5 million results pop up.

Check him out on YouTube.
Check him out on Spotify.
Check him out on Google Play or iHeartRadio.

Ulloa clearly is an up-and-coming Latin teen star, but there's a lot more to him than that: He's an outstanding student in Inderkum's California Early College Academy (CECA), which allows students to earn college credits while attending high school. He's a varsity Tiger soccer player and swimmer. And he's determined to attend college, perhaps to study robotics engineering.

Ulloa said he wants to be the first member of his family to get a college education, adding, "I want to set that bar for my little brothers, as something they can look up to -- and (they can) go to college as well." Inderkum's teachers have prepared him well, he said, adding "I'm super ready for college." Read more about Ulloa 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.
Our new 'Classified Employee of the Year' is ...
Linda Benuto, Human Resources Technician  
Linda Benuto - NUSD Classified Employee of the Year 2019

Benuto is known for reaching out to others, but instead, the tables turned and the spotlight shined on her today as Supt. Chris Evans surprised her with news that she's NUSD's new Classified Employee of the Year.

Benuto's eyes filled with tears as Evans presented her with a bouquet of flowers at the Ed Center, where she works as a Human Resources Technician. I'm so excited," she said later. "I don't think I'll ever forget this - it's amazing."

One of Benuto's key responsibilities is to recruit and assign substitute employees for NUSD. Nomination documents said she "works diligently and constantly on ensuring that all substitute needs are met. This impacts every department, program, staff and student in the district."

Benuto is "constantly working to problem-solve and meet the needs of everyone," the nomination added. "She is always kind and, while under high amounts of stress, still treats everyone with respect." 
Read more  here .
District and classified leaders announce multi-year tentative labor agreement 
Natomas Unified and classified leaders jointly announced recently that they had reached agreement on a multi-year contract that was negotiated in a spirit of collaboration and partnership.
The tentative contract will benefit both the staff and district, the joint announcement said. It encompasses salaries, benefits, and language regarding discipline, transfer, and grievances. The contract covers reopeners to the current 2018-19 CSEA contract, plus an additional three years, extending through June 2022. 
The tentative agreement will become official once both sides hold ratification votes. Contract details are available here.
American Lakes honors MLK and Rosa Parks
in kickoff to African American History  Month 
Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks

Sixth-graders at American Lakes School paid tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks in this moving performance that speaks of justice, equality and courage. 

Their words are timeless and show that Dr. King's dream lives on in the hearts and minds of our youth.

For a jolt of inspiration as NUSD celebrates African American History Month, click on this video.
Job Fair for certificated staff next month 
NUSD will hold a Job Fair next month to recruit staff for numerous certificated positions, ranging from teacher to psychologist to speech language pathologist.

The event is scheduled from 2:30-5 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, in NUSD's Staff Development Center at 1931 Arena Blvd. Applicants should bring their resumes and be ready to interview on the spot.

Teaching positions that NUSD is seeking candidates for include Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, Elementary, Single Subject, Special Education, World Language, and Career Technical Education. Substitute teachers also are sought. For more information, click here
Heron's spotlight on Kindness, then Unity 
Kindness Week
Creating a culture of caring and empathy

Fourth-grader Graciela wrote a note complimenting her "best friend ever."  

Nine-year-old Wil held the door open for others and helped classmates with Math.

"I gave my teacher an apple, and I gave some flowers to the office staff," said Cloe, 9.

Among 2nd-graders, answers included smiling at 25 people, hugging a friend and giving high-fives.

From Monday through Friday recently, Heron School students participated in "Kindness Week."

"They get excited about it," Principal Amy Whitten said. "I think it's contagious -- kindness is contagious. They know we're focusing on this, so they recognize it, they see it, and they're excited to share it." ... Read more here .
Heron United 
Different abilities, but all one Flyer family 
Simple yet eloquent, this hand-written poster held by three Heron School students today: "Treat others like you want to be treated."

"We All Have Talents," read another student poster.

"We all belong."

"Acceptance Begins with a Smile."

The kids were participating in Heron's United Walk last Friday, marking the climax of a weeklong slate of activities encouraging students to make new friends, reach out to peers with disabilities, appreciate differences, tolerate, emphathize, listen, understand, care, advocate, support.

Heron Flyers of all ages, grades, cultures, ethnicities and abilities gathered to walk together, in solidarity and friendship, practicing the inclusion they had discussed in class all week. Impressive.

Principal Amy Whitten called the unity walk one of her favorite activities of the year. Asked what words came to mind as she watched it unfold, she smiled: "Community, love and respect." Read more here.
Student & parent opportunities and info 
B. Teri Burns Health Clinic 
expands hours to full-time 

The B. Teri Burns Health Clinic at Natomas High School has expanded its hours to full-time, enhancing health-care opportunities in the community.

Open weekdays, the clinic now sees patients a half-hour earlier than it did in the past, and it closes an hour later. Specific hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for the lunch hour, when doors are closed.

The B. Teri Burns Clinic is a partnership of NUSD and a local health-care group, Health and Life Organization (HALO). Its serv ices range from preventive care to family care, general medical care, diabetic management, well-baby exams, and other medical assistance. It accepts Medi-Cal and most private insurance. It also can provide services on a sliding scale, based on income.

For appointments or other information, call the B. Teri Burns facility at (916) 642-1867, ext. 4351. The clinic is located near Natomas High's tennis courts at 3301 Fong Ranch Road.
Annual District Survey: Please help us serve you better
Please take a few minutes to help us out ...

We're committed to continuous improvement, so we need your feedback about our programs and services meant to benefit your child and others. Tell us what you think in our brief, largely multiple-choice survey, intended specifically for parents at non-charter schools because charters conduct their own outreach.

Your input will be used to measure progress toward meeting our three-year Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP, which includes our goals, actions and budget priorities for next year. We want to hear from families in all parts of the district as we strive to continue making progress in preparing  students for college and career. Thank you! ... Survey here.
Reminder: Early Bird Registration extended for 5K 
Early Bird Registration for the Natomas 5K has been extended to Feb. 28, so you can save money by signing up now at

This nonprofit community event, which raises money for college scholarships and student Chromebook grants, will be held April 27th at Inderkum High.

The Natomas Schools Foundation organizes this annual 5K to bring the community together for fun, exercise, and to raise funds for the benefit of students in all NUSD schools, charter and non-charter. Hundreds of runners and walkers participated last year. The foundation also is looking for sponsors. For more information, click here
Mark Your Calendar: Health, Wellness & Resource Fair

The Health, Wellness, and Resource Fair will take place from 3-6 p.m. Friday, March 22, at Natomas High School. The event is designed to be an engaging, interactive opportunity for families to become more informed about health and wellness. Families will have the opportunity to learn about district and community resources that can support their family and students.

This event will include information about free or low-cost resources in the Natomas area, educational activities, a free BBQ, a free farmers market, vision, hearing and developmental screenings, immunizations, enrollment information, and much more. Detailed information will be coming soon.
'National School Counseling Week'
Spotlight shines on NUSD's counselors
National School Counseling Week, from Feb. 4-8, was a great time to honor campus advisers who do so much to keep our students on track for college and career.

NUSD counselors were VIPs Feb. 6 at a district luncheon, with food cooked and served by students in the Hospitality Pathway at Discovery High.

Counselors have been instrumental in numerous NUSD accomplishments in recent years, including:

1) Our graduation rate has risen by more than 10% over the past seven years to be the highest in Sacramento County
2) Our high school dropout rate has fallen
3) Our college eligibility rate, or "a-to-g" rate, has nearly doubled since 2010 - increasing by 33 percentage points

Thank you, counselors, for your dedicated service to Natomas families. You truly make a difference in our schools, in students' lives, and in college and career readiness.
Here's what kids are saying about video instructor Charles King of Heron School ...

Heron School video instructor Charles King is having a major impact on students, a very positive one, judging from interviews conducted by the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium as part of a series spotlighting video instructors throughout Sacramento County. Check out what Heron's Flyers are saying about Mr. King by clicking on this video ... 
Nighthawk athletes 'Caw'-not be stopped
Christo Cervantes reaches 100-career goal threshold

Hollywood can't write a better dream-come-true script than this:

Imagine yourself as a high school soccer star, a school record-holder, and you finally reach the super-elite threshold of 100 career goals scored in the final minutes of your final home game of your final year as a prep.

Better yet, that goal wins the game, 1-0.

Better yet, that game keeps your team undefeated in league play, 7-0.

Better yet, that magic occurs on Senior Night, a date set aside for your school to honor you and all 12th-grade teammates for thrills produced through the years.

For Christo Cervantes of Natomas High, that's exactly what happened recently: His goal 70 minutes into the game beat Valley High, 1-0, and etched his name deeper into Nighthawk soccer lore. To put Christo's career feat into perspective, 100 goals scored is an average of more than one per game, every year, from his freshman through senior years. It's "super rare," his coach said. ... Wow!
Wrestling Team wins dual meet league championship

The long wait makes this achievement even sweeter ... 

The last time Natomas High's Wrestling Team won its league championship, Barack Obama was serving his first term as president and current Nighthawk seniors were in elementary school.

Fast forward seven years ... 

Natomas High wrote a new chapter recently by capturing the Greater Sacramento League wrestling banner with a dual-meet record of 4-1. The photo marks a happy ending to years of sweat and struggle. ... (And by the way, not a single Nighthawk girl lost a league match this year!) 

Here's to gritty determination, Nighthawks, and to never-say-die competitive spirit.
Six lady Nighthawks are league weight-division champs  
The news just keeps getting better for Natomas High's wrestling team ...

Six lady Nighthawks competed in the Greater Sacramento League's championship tournament recently -- and every single one captured a weight-division championship and all-league honors. They are Renee and Monique Young, Leilani Sanchez, Stephanie Gandara, Desiree Hardy and Kaira Turner. The tourney continued the Lady Nighthawks' record of never losing a league match this year.

Natomas High's boys wrestling team finished second in the tournament, after previously capturing the GSL dual-meet championship with a 4-1 record. Three Nighthawk boys won weight-division titles at the tourney, ensuring them all-league honors. They are Vincent Vue, Brent Opp, and Hilario Ruiz. Three others placed second in their weight divisions: Adrian Zamora, Justin McDaniel and Josue Andrade Romero.
Inderkum's Poetry Out Loud winner, Naomi Dillard, qualifies to compete for state honors
And the winner of Sacramento County's Poetry Out Loud competition is ....

Inderkum High School senior Naomi Dillard!

Naomi topped school winners from 11 other campuses in a showdown last week at Rosemont High School, where she recited two poems: "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou and "Invictus" by William Ernest Henry. She will compete now for state honors, with the chance of advancing to the national championship in Washington, D.C.

Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. Entrants are judged on physical presence, voice, articulation, accuracy, evidence of understanding, dramatic appropriateness, and overall performance. 

Naomi is a Tiger star in numerous other ways as well: She has a grade point average near 4.0 in college-prep classes, including some IB courses. She has served two years as captain of Inderkum's ladies basketball team, She also has an impressive record of school and community involvement, including leading campus tours for incoming freshmen, organizing a campus blood drive, and assisting homeless and foster youth. Naomi has expressed interest in a medical career -- and her future clearly is bright. Congratulations on this new honor, Naomi!
Dreams come true
Four Tiger sports stars sign scholarships
With the stroke of a pen, dreams came true Feb. 6 for Inderkum High School athletes Isaiah Ward, Brandon Knott, Celeste Salas and Ashley Carbah, who signed scholarships to play for college teams next year.

Football players Ward and Knott, both members of the Sacramento Bee All-Metro and Cal-Hi Sports All-State teams, will play for Dixie State University and Sacramento State University, respectively.

Softball teammates at Inderkum, Carbah is headed to Marymount California University next year, and Salas to Dominican University.

The signings represent success not only in sports but in the classroom -- all four Tigers have grade point averages above 3.0. They were honored with lunchtime receptions at Inderkum. Read more here.
Parent Technology Night
Parents learn how to track grades online 
During Parent Technology Night, held Jan. 29 at Bannon Creek School, we showed parents how to keep track of their child's grades, attendance and assignments at any time, with the push of a button, through NUSD's Parent Portal.

This photo shows Jennifer Arnett speaking to the crowd during the hour-long session, which also covered online safety practices and Google Classroom, through which students can receive and complete schoolwork. Let's work together to keep kids on track for college and career.
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.