NUSD Spotlight
Community Newsletter
 -- Feb. 15,  2018  

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.
Every LGA grad was eligible for college last year
Think of it as a career pathway leading to college - or vice versa.

Here's the bottom line: All 30 seniors who graduated last year from Leroy Greene Academy had completed a career pathway in either Visual Arts/Technology or Business/Entrepreneurship - and every single one of them had passed all academic requirements for UC and CSU, too. ... Thirty-for-thirty - 100%.

That's no coincidence: LGA requires students to complete a career pathway while preparing for college. The goal is to get teens ready for jobs of tomorrow by helping them become critical thinkers, innovators, problem solvers, collaborators, capable researchers, and college-ready young adults familiar with graphic design and modern technology.

Andrea Rodriguez, LGA's pathway director, said the program develops skill sets that can be used in almost any 21st century career. "We're teaching innovation," she said. "I think we're preparing kids for the world of tomorrow."

Other NUSD high schools offer college or career pathways -- from International Baccalaureate (IB) to Engineering, Health or Culinary Arts -- but LGA is the only campus to require participation. The results at LGA have been impressive.

Tiffanie Nguyen, 17, said the art pathway's projects have brought LGA students together for collaborative learning - and she appreciates and has benefited from that.

Senior Kimberly Jackson Maxies said she's learned a lot in the business pathway. "Critical thinking and learning to work with people and connect with people - I know that I'll be able to use that in the real world," she said. For details about how the program works, click here.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Length of a newsletter can cause stories at the bottom to be clipped from display. If that happens, click "View Entire Message" prompt at the bottom of this page. Thanks!
 Sabrina Neves wins statewide IB service award 
Inderkum sophomore Sabrina Neves is the statewide winner of an IB community service award given to only one Middle Years Programme (MYP) student each year.

The 15-year-old says that community service always has been important to her family. She volunteers in a local tree-planting project, assists the Sacramento Food Bank, and last Christmas her family sold dozens and dozens of tamales to raise $700 for presents to children in need. Sabrina also participates in Inderkum community-service clubs.

The IB award, from the California Association of IB World Schools, comes with a $250 prize for Sabrina and an equal sum for her school. Fittingly, Sabrina wears a necklace reading: "One person can make a difference and that person is you." Click here to see how Principal Dan Motherspaw sprang the news by surprising Sabrina in class. 
College letters of intent

Dreams come true for NUSD sports stars 
National recruit Isaah Crocker 
and 6 other Tigers college-bound

For Inderkum High School, it was an amazing day -- Wednesday, Feb. 7. Seven Tigers signed college letters of intent, including Isaah Crocker, a prized football recruit nationally.

He's headed to the University of Oregon. Other Tigers honored were Leevi Lafaele, University of Wyoming; Davion Ross, Sacramento State; Victor Matteucci, Western Oregon University; Alex Ceballos, Grays Harbor College; Desire Neal, Dillard University, and Haley Carlton, Occidental College.

Friends, family, and classmates looked on as all were celebrated in a lunchtime signing ceremony at Inderkum. For those who could not attend, we're bringing the highlights to you. Simply click on the video to hear what honorees told the crowd.

Wrestler Juliana Castro --
from Nighthawk to Riverhawk

Natomas High's Juliana Castro accepted an academic scholarship this month to attend and wrestle for Umpqua College in Oregon.

Both schools have hawks for their mascot, so Castro will go from Nighthawk to Riverhawk.

 She's a Natomas High honor roll student, a two-time league champion in her weight class, and a wrestling team captain this year. She plans a career in nursing. 

"She's a hard worker, great at technique, she has a good attitude toward wrestling, and she's always had the drive to be successful," said Jeremy Arsich, Nighthawk wrestling coach. Congrats, Juliana! Read more here
  African American History Month
American Lakes honors MLK & Rosa Parks
. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ... Clearly, that's not going to happen at American Lakes School, where 6th-graders kicked off African American History Month Feb. 2 by saying plenty of things that definitely matter about the civil  rights legacy of Dr. King and Rosa Parks.

 Click on the video to check out their inspirational message to all of us.
Divisional winners named
Congrats to all Classified Employees of the Year!
Norma Tapia was applauded as winner of District "Classified Employee of the Year" in the last edition of this newsletter after Supt. Chris Evans surprised her with a bouquet of flowers at American Lakes School, where she works with preschool children as a Child Development Assistant (Bilingual.)

Since then, NUSD has announced six divisional winners in NUSD's annnual "Classified Employee of the Year" contest to honor employees who make a big difference every day in serving students and supporting schools. The following exemplary staff were recognized and celebrated at Tuesday's Board meeting:

1) Child Nutrition -- Katherine Hart, Inderkum High School's Food Services Team Leader
2) Maintenance, Operations and Facilities -- Nick Carter, custodian, Two Rivers Elementary
3) Office and Technical -- Jennifer Mellor, a Facilities and Planning Technician I in the Facilities and Strategic Planning Department
4) Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance -- Ana Diaz, Instructional Assistant II, Natomas Middle School
5) Support Services and Security -- Lisa Richardson, Campus Safety Specialist I, Natomas Middle School
6) Transportation -- Mark Sidener, Trip Coordinator/Bus Driver, Transportation Department

Please join us in thanking these classified employees for their committed service to NUSD students, families, staff and schools. 

Alex Spear: S cientist with 3 graduate degrees 
A working scientist now with three graduate degrees, Alex Spear is a former Natomas Unified student whose non-traditional path to college and career is a reminder that where there's a dream and the will to achieve it, there's a way.

Dr. Spear, son of "N Magazine" Publisher Dennis Spear, waited years before enrolling in college but advises teens to take a different path and make higher education a priority. "A degree speaks to employers that you were able to start something, get it done, and that you have at least a basic level of education."

For would-be scientists, the most important thing is curiousity -- you need to keep asking the question "why," he said. "All you have to do to get into science is to continue down that path -- and remember that whatever you think you learn, there's way more you don't know." Read more about Dr. Spear here.
Student & Parent Opportunities & Info   
Cesar Chavez Youth Leadership Conference March 10 
Mark your calendar now! The Cesar Chavez Youth Leadership Conference and Celebration, a college and career readiness and motivational event, will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 10 at the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) Pavilion.

An annual event, the free conference is designed for middle school, high school, and community college students, as well as for their parents or guardians. Workshops will be held on college admission, financial aid, scholarships, health and STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Other attractions include cultural entertainment, music, performances, a college resource fair, and UC Davis campus tours. For more information, click here.
Helping NUSD students by answering a few questions ... 
Facebook Join My List Logo
To serve you best, we need your input. Please take a few minutes to provide feedback about NUSD programs and services to benefit students.
 Last year, we engaged in a significant strategic planning process that resulted in a five-year district plan, called "The Next 5," and a three-year Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP. We'd appreciate your taking 10-15 minutes to share your input and help us continue making progress in preparing students for college and career. To begin our survey,  simply click here . Thank you very much! 
$500 Top Prize in Essay Contest Honoring Military Vets 
Know a high school junior or senior who could use a $500 scholarship?

That's the top prize in a 400- to 500-word essay contest by the Sacramento County Office of Education to honor local military veterans. The theme is, "How a Veteran's Courage Contributes to My Freedom." 

The competition is open to 11 th - and 12 th -graders attending public high schools in Sacramento County.  Essays will be judged on how well contestants understand, develop, and present the theme. Scores will be based on knowledge of the theme, clarity of ideas, theme development, and spelling, structure, and grammar. Entries are due by April 17.

SCOE is offering the essay contest in conjunction with Operation Recognition, a program of the Sacramento County Board of Education that honors local veterans who left high school to serve in the U.S military during World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War.
Prize money for the essay contest will be provided by SAFE Credit Union.

For more information about the contest, click here.

Featured Parent University video
Monitor your child's academic progress at any time 
gives parents the opportunity to check out their child's academic progress at any time, from anywhere, through our Infinite Campus Parent Portal.

 Attendance is available, along with grades, test scores and assignments. Messages can be sent to parents from a teacher or school as well.

More information is available in the video, at right. It is one of many offered through NUSD's Parent University to address Frequently Asked Questions on a variety of key subjects covering all levels of K-12 education: Early Learning, Elementary School, Middle School and High School. Titles include:
  • Why should my student attend Prekindergarten (Pre-K) or Transitional Kindergarten (TK)?
  • Why does attendance matter?
  • Why is reading at grade level by 3rd grade so important?
  • What kind of technology is used in the classroom?
  • How do I select the best middle school for my student?
  • How do I support my English language learner at home?
  • Is your student on track to complete all college entrance requirements?
  • How can I support my student when applying for financial aid?
To view these videos or select from many more, click here. We plan to feature one of the Parent University videos in each "Spotlight" community newsletter through the end of this school year.
'Two-fer' by Nighthawk lady
wrestlers: 2nd straight title

Natomas High kept its string alive recently as the only school ever to win a Golden Empire League team championship in ladies wrestling ... Here's the catch: GEL only began awarding a ladies team title last year. Prior to that, girls wrestled against boys.
Natomas High's two consecutive titles are history-making, however, and here's something else that's pretty amazing: Five Nighthawk lady wrestlers won individual GEL titles -- and four of them are first-year wrestlers. Congratulations to those rookies: Raquel Young, Leilani Sanchez, Desiree Hardy, Renee Young, and to the veteran who took home a gold, Juliana Castro.
Welcome to school, parents
They came, saw, talked, looked, listened, watched, smiled, read, asked questions, shook hands -- and, hopefully, when the hundreds of people who turned out for Open Houses at Inderkum, Natomas High and Natomas Gateways Middle School returned home recently, they knew a lot more about their children's teachers, school clubs, and classroom projects. These photos capture some of the sights, including students promoting Natomas High's Emergency Medical Technician Class, at right. Click here for a photo collage. Click here for a schedule of other Open Houses.

NUSD Spotlight 
             Brought to you by:
             Jim Sanders
   Director of  Communications
             (916) 561-5267