NUSD Spotlight
 Community Newsletter
  -- January 14,  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 suggestions. Thank you for your support of Natomas schools.
Nearly 1,000 meals served
Winter Break Feeding sets district record 
The most successful Winter Break Feeding Program in NUSD history ended Jan. 4 with 992 meals served over the two-week holiday recess. For the first time, hot entrees were available each day.

The program's finale was a BBQ lunch of beef hamburgers, turkey hot dogs, green salad, oranges, and milk served at Natomas Park Elementary. Identical entrees were offered at three other NUSD schools, but the BBQ and a party-like atmosphere -- with games and music -- were unique to Natomas Park, where dozens of kids turned out and one used chalk to draw hearts on the sidewalk and write, "Best Party Ever!"

The Winter Break Feeding Program was launched three years ago to provide free lunches to any child at risk of going hungry while schools are closed for the holidays. Meals were available at American Lakes, Jefferson, Witter Ranch, and Natomas Park schools. The 992 meals served during the recent break exceeded last year's record by about 5 percent. ... Great way to start 2019! ... 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 newsletter, click " View Entire Message " prompt at the bottom of the page. Thank you very much.
Jaguar pride and joy ...  
Have you checked out Jefferson's 'new' campus? 
Jefferson School Principal Danisha Keeler said her campus community is very excited these days - and for good reason.

"It's beautiful," she said simply.

Ms. Keeler was talking about the school's multimillion-dollar renovation project, the final chapter of which ended recently when the main office and library were reopened to students, staff and parents.

Most Jaguar students moved into refurbished classrooms in August, equipped with movable furniture for collaborative studies and Apple TVs to expand learning opportunities. The improvements marked an exciting new chapter for a school that is in the process of converting from an elementary to a K-8 campus, with 7th grade added this year and 8th grade for 2019-20.

Jefferson also received new roofing, heating, air conditioning, paint, phone, safety features, and clock/bell/intercom systems. Its internet capacity was upgraded, enhancing online speed and connectivity. Modernization of the library and main office put an exclamation mark on months of work.

'It makes a huge difference," Principal Keeler said. "I think the kids, the families, our community,  they love what they see." Read more here.
Measure L facilities bond
Volunteers sought for key oversight panel 
WANTED: Volunteers for a vital public service that does not require a substantial time commitment.

NUSD is seeking district residents to serve on a Measure L Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee to review and report on future expenditures of the newly approved facilities bond. Oversight by taxpayers is crucial because it ensures that bond funds are spent properly, for purposes adopted by NUSD voters on projects approved by the Board of Trustees.

Oversight committee meetings, held quarterly, are generally expected to take less than an hour. District employees, officials, vendors, contractors or consultants are not eligible to join the panel. Members serve two-year terms. Questions? Call Jen Mellor at (916) 567-5468. Applications are available here.
New basketball team launched
Competitive sports at Discovery High? ... Yes!
Do Bulldogs play basketball? They do now!

For the first time in nearly a decade, Discovery High launched a competitive sports team Jan. 11 meant to bring students together in a spirit of teamwork, collaboration, achievement, friendship, school spirit -- and victory.

When the on-court sprinting, leaping, sweating and jump-shooting ended, Discovery High walked away with big smiles and massive bragging rights in its season debut, beating a San Juan Unified school, 48-32. The Bulldogs are part of the Sacramento Athletic League for alternative or charter schools. It features a 10-game regular season plus playoffs.

 Offering sports at Discovery High is consistent with NUSD's Board-approved Goal to, "Create safe and welcoming learning environments where students attend and are connected to their schools." Judging from last week's battle, competing as a team is a whole lot of good old-fashioned fun, too ... Go Bulldogs!
Student & parent opportunities and info 
NUSD play groups forming next week for learning & fun
Parents and young children up to age 5 are invited to NUSD play groups forming next week to provide a free opportunity to learn new things and meet new friends.

The play groups will incorporate music, movement, literacy and learning activities. Three groups are planned, each meeting twice a week into March. Families are welcome to attend as many sessions as they'd like. Times, dates, and locations are:

1) Jan. 22-March 21, Natomas Park Elementary School, 4700 Crest Dr., on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-10:30 a.m.
2) Jan. 23-March 20, American Lakes School, 2800 Stonecreek Dr., on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:30-3 p.m.
3) Jan. 23-March 22,  Witter Ranch Elementary School, 3790 Poppy Hill Way, on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9-10:30 a.m.

Check out the flyer here, in English and Spanish. For more information, call (916) 567-5519.
Input sought on History-Social Science books -- Jan. 23
Natomas Unified anticipates buying new History-Social Science textbooks for use in all grade levels, and the district wants your feedback about finalists under consideration. The fourth and final Information Night will be held Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Natomas Park Elementary School library, 4700 Crest Dr. For more information, click here.
GATE Parent Information Night -- Jan. 24
Here's an opportunity to learn about the characteristics of gifted learners and what Natomas Unified is doing to serve them: A GATE Parent Information Night will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, in the NUSD Staff Development Center, 1931 Arena Blvd.  
The session will be titled, "Who I Am, Impacts How I Learn!" It will feature national presenters and authors Dina Brulles and Karen Brown from Gifted Education Consultants. Online registration is available here. Walk-in registration based on space availability. Questions? Call (916) 597-5084. Spanish translation will be available -- and other languages upon request. More information is available here.
Parent Technology Night - Jan. 29
Want to know how to navigate Google Classroom and check your student's grades on NUSD's Parent Portal? You're invited to attend the district's free Parent Technology Night from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Bannon Creek School, 2775 Millcreek Drive.
You might be surprised by how much you can learn about NUSD technology tools in one hour. And the information is important as your child progresses toward college and career. Google Classroom, for example, is an online program through which your child can receive and complete classwork. NUSD's Parent Portal, in addition to grades, tracks each student's attendance, assignments, and other classroom information. Participants in Parent Technology Night also will discuss online safety practices per Common Sense Media. More information is available here.
Know someone who wants to attend Natomas Unified? 
Do you know a family member, friend, or acquaintance who wants to attend an NUSD school next year?

Enrollment is now open for any NUSD school for the 2019-20 school year. Parents and guardians can enroll their students online at Requests to transfer from one NUSD school to another next year also are being accepted. Charter schools within NUSD boundaries oversee their own enrollment.

For details on how to enroll, click here.
Boost deserving kids at no extra cost to you!
Holiday shopping season is a perfect time to remind NUSD families that there's a simple way to contribute to college scholarships and Chromebook computers for deserving students through the Natomas Schools Foundation -- at no cost to you!

AMAZON SMILE : This e-commerce website operated by Amazon will donate a half-percent of your purchase price to a charitable organization. Simply start your shopping at and designate Natomas Schools Foundation as your charity of choice. Eligible merchandise you buy will not cost extra - and you will receive the same product choices and shopping features as on Amazon-dot-com.

The Natomas Schools Foundation is an all-volunteer, nonprofit charity organized solely for the purpose of helping students within NUSD boundaries. Not a penny of its money is spent on salaries or administration. Over the past two years, the foundation has awarded $16,000 in scholarships and 33 Chromebooks to deserving students.

We appreciate your considering this worthy cause.
Nine Tigers earn All-Metro Football Honors
Nine Inderkum Tigers earned spots on the Sacramento Bee's prestigious All-Metro Football Team announced this month.
First-team honorees were running back Raymond Brown, offensive lineman Brandon Knott, all-purpose offensive player Aaron Espero, and linebacker Isaiah Ward.  
Selected to the second team were defensive lineman Devon Williams and linebacker Logan Benoit.
Three Tigers were chosen as honorable mentions: offensive lineman Joel Contreras, defensive lineman Cedric Gillespie, and defensive secondary player Savion Pressley.  
The individual honors cap a season in which Inderkum went undefeated in league play and ended the season ranked 6th regionally.
Nighthawk senior featured in 'Good Day Sacramento'
news story on how Workability led to his Raley's job 
Workability Program
Workability Program
Natomas High School senior Nick Rodriguez was featured in this "Good Day Sacramento" TV news story on Workability, a program through which the state pays for students to learn workplace skills and to obtain 70 hours of work experience for a local employer. Afterward, the employer has the option of hiring Workability students onto their staff.
Nick Rodriguez, for example, was fortunate to be offered employment by Raley's on Del Paso Road after completing his 70 hours of Workability job experience. He subsequently has been promoted to cashier. NUSD's Workability coordinators always are looking for additional local business partners for the program. Interested employers should call Jody Beckwith at (916) 275-0099.
Taking you behind the scenes of Melissa May's Broadcast Media pathway at Inderkum High 
SEVA Studios Profile: Inderkum High School
SEVA Studios Profile: Inderkum High School
Here's a great way to check out some of the terrific things happening in NUSD's Broadcast Media Pathway at Inderkum High School...

This spotlight video on teacher Melissa May's Tiger program, designed to prepare students for potential careers in broadcasting or video production, kicks off a series by the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium on student video studios countywide.
Two Rivers' wave of 'Pennies for Paradise'
Jennie Tammar, a 1st-grade teacher at Two Rivers Elementary, got the ball rolling by asking kids and their parents to consider donating spare coins to help Butte County teachers whose classrooms were devastated by the recent Camp Fire.

What happened next brought tears to Ms. Tammar's eyes -- literally, she said. Classrooms throughout the school began displaying makeshift "Pennies for Paradise" jars or cans or buckets. And the coins poured in, a veritable flood of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters -- paper money, too, even some pesos and euros.

The drive was supposed to end Dec. 14 -- but the money kept coming, so Ms. Tammar extended it until Winter Recess, Dec. 21. Two Rivers ultimately collected $1,717 in just three weeks. Compassion matters, Two Rivers, particularly during the holidays. Every little bit helps. Kindness is priceless. Thanks for reminding us of that, Otters.
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.