NUSD Spotlight
Community Newsletter
-- March 12, 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 suggestions. Thank you for your support of Natomas schools.
Attend college at Discovery High School? 
NUSD & ARC Partner on English Writing Class 
Elio is attending college at Discovery High School.

(Yes, you read that right -- college credits at NUSD's alternative high school!)

Sarah, Arreon and 12 other students also are participating in DiscoverARC, a dual enrollment partnership launched recently by NUSD and American River College.

The program began by offering English Writing 362, an ARC writing class that meets once a week at Discovery High. It hopes to add a college reading course or one that focuses on college survival skills.

Elio, 17, said he came to Discovery High because his grades were sagging elsewhere. Now he not only can catch up to seniors at other campuses, he can get ahead of many of them by earning college credit in the ARC class.

"I took this course because I feel it will help me have a better understanding of what college is and what basically awaits me in the future," Elio said.

Discovery teacher Mike McKibbon and counselor Laurelle Mathison teamed with ARC officials to create the program. McKibbon said DiscoverARC is a bridge that helps many students, like Elio, understand that they're capable of succeeding in college even if they struggled academically in years past.

"They're really smart kids, and they want a successful life like you or I," McKibbon said of Discovery students. "The ultimate goal is that when they graduate from Discovery they'll be totally ready to continue at ARC."

DiscoverARC's expenses are split between NUSD and ARC, allowing students to attend the 14-week college writing class for free. They're provided tutoring and mentoring by McKibbon, as necessary, and the chance to attend a weekly study session at Discovery by Gus Perez, ARC instructional assistant. Read more 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!
Student Calendar adopted for 2018-19
so staff and families can plan ahead 

Natomas Unified's student calendar for 2018-19 was approved Feb. 28 by the Board of Trustees, giving families and staff an opportunity to plan ahead for vacations, child care, and other personal obligations next year.

Key dates include:
● First day of school, August 8, 2018
● Last day of school, May 23, 2019
● Winter recess, Dec. 21, 2018 through Jan. 4, 2019
● Spring Recess , April 15-19, 2019

The calendar is posted on the district website, If you have questions, please call Constituent and Customer Services at (916) 561-5253. Click here to see the calendar.
We call it "Building Our Future," an up-close and personal look at how NUSD is enhancing facilities to create new 21st century learning opportunities. Through the end of this school year, we will feature a brief video every week on NUSD's Facebook and Twitter pages, and in every edition of this newsletter, to spotlight a completed facility project that will benefit students for many years to come.
At Bannon Creek School, we've improved the look, feel and learning opportunities by adding a two-story, 16-classroom building. It came with new furniture, including whiteboards, movable video screens, and desks that can be reconfigured easily for cooperative learning. The project helps set the stage for Bannon Creek's conversion to offer both elementary and middle school over the next few years. Please check out the short video. Thanks!
'Read Across America Day'
Oh,the good that was done -
reading books just for fun!
NUSD Trustee Lisa Kaplan helped spread the joy to Jefferson School students on "Read Across America Day," an annual event on Dr. Seuss' birthday, March 2, to promote and celebrate reading to kids throughout the country. Elementary schools throughout NUSD organized reading activities that day.
Dr. Seuss would have been very pleased, judging from the importance he placed on reading, reflected in these quotes by the world-famous author of "The Cat in the Hat" and  other whimsical children's books:
1) You are NEVER too OLD, too WACKY, too WILD, to pick up a BOOK and READ to a child."
2) "You can find MAGIC                                    
wherever you LOOK.
Sit back and RELAX,
all you need is a BOOK."
3) "The more that you READ,
the more things you will KNOW.
The more that you LEARN,
the more places you'll GO."
NUSD Social-Emotional Supports
Providing a safety net for kids who need help 
The Board of Trustees, at its Feb. 28 meeting, heard a presentation about Social-Emotional Supports in our district. Here's an overview of NUSD's program.

Almost a decade ago, like all California school Districts, NUSD received funding to support student Mental Health services.  The money, meant for students, was largely untouched.  It needed a vision, leadership, and additional staff to serve our kids.

NUSD has created a system over the past five years to identify students with social-emotional needs as quickly as possible, assess their needs, and provide whatever level of therapy and support is needed. This K-12 continuum - which serves all students, not just those in Special Education - won a statewide award for best practices last year.

Data presented to the Board of Trustees Feb. 28 showed that NUSD is doing a better job than ever at identifying and assisting children in need. Over the past four years, the number of students receiving therapy has risen each year. Cumulatively, the total has more than tripled.

In addition to this therapeutic assistance for individuals in need, NUSD schools have implemented campus-wide programs to help all students understand and manage emotions, show empathy for others, maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions. These programs designed to enhance school cultures and improve behavior among all students include Responsive Classroom, Improve Your Tomorrow, Restorative Justice, and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports

"Every child matters," Asst. Supt. Carol Swanson said. "Through caring and committed staff, we are working to create a culture where every student succeeds, regardless of their story." To read about components of the program, click here
Math contest winners

And the answer is ... 6.5 billion spaghetti noodles!
In the 1998 movie 'Patch Adams," there's a scene of two people floating in a swimming pool filled with spaghetti noodles. Here was the challenge posed to Sacramento's top math students: With only a photo of that scene, not knowing the pool's dimensions, can you calculate the number of noodles used?

Heron School's Greg Moore and Malia Murray captured first place among 8th-graders in the regional contest with their calculation of 6,468,181,894 spaghetti noodles - roughly 6.5 billion, rounded off.

Along the way, Greg and Malia estimated the pool's height, radius and diameter, the area of the pool's base, the volume of the pool, and the volume of a spaghetti noodle, among other factors. Their work was part detective, part researcher, part mathematician. Principal Amy Whitten couldn't be prouder.

The contest was sponsored by the Sacramento Area Mathematics Educators, the Sacramento State Mathematics Project, and the California Mathematics Council. Read more here.
Derek Dykstra
Scoring points at Sacramento Kings game
CLASS ACT  -- NUSD Teacher of the Year Derek Dykstra, an Inderkum High math instructor, was honored March 3 at a Sacramento Kings game along with similar award winners from other Sacramento County school districts and countywide. Thousands cheered as education took center court at the game between the Kings and Jazz. 
Helping others by eating a vegetable themselves  
Why would Two Rivers students eat a vegetable so others can brush their own teeth?

The answer lies in "Dig In At Dino Day," a festive event in which the organizer, NUSD's Nutrition Services Department,  promised that a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss would be donated to Joey's Food Locker for every Two Rivers student who sampled dino kale on Thursday, March 1.

An impressive 453 students stepped to the plate that day, meaning that hundreds of needy families will benefit. The goal of "Dig In At Dino Day" was to introduce kids to a healthy eating option through a fun challenge that would help the Natomas community.

NUSD also served 311 beef or fish taco lunches at Two Rivers that day, with food bought from California farms.

Thank you, Access Dental and Fiery Ginger Farms, for helping make the event a big success.
Adding to the fun, Two Rivers students made smoothies by using a specially equipped bike, and they received their choice of vegetable in a free farmers market ... A good time was had by all.

Hundreds of 11th-graders take ACT college test 
More than 700 of our 11th-graders took the ACT college admissions test on Tuesday, Feb. 27, taking NUSD up on our offer to pick up the tab and provide testing during the school day so all can participate. 

We also offered free online preparation for weeks beforehand. 

We want all students to be college and career ready when they graduate -- and taking the ACT can help pave the way for a successful future because many colleges and universities use the test to make admissions decisions. It's our pleasure to provide this opportunity.
Natomas Schools Foundation
Apply now for scholarships or Chromebooks 
The Natomas Schools Foundation, a nonprofit group that supports NUSD students, is offering separate programs this year to award scholarships for college and Chromebooks to students in grades 5-12. Information on both programs is provided below:

Scholarships - A total of $6,000 in scholarships -- in denominations of $1,000 and $500 - will be awarded to deserving high school seniors or former NUSD students who plan to further their education in college or trade school. Entries are due April 13 and winners will be announced in May. For contest criteria and an application, click here.

Chromebooks - Laptops are a vital part of 21st century learning -- and not all students can afford to have one of their own. The Natomas Schools Foundation can help. It's giving away 18 Chromebooks to deserving youth in grades 5-12. Apply now! Info and application are available here.
Student & Parent Opportunities and Info 
Easier than Ever to Access NUSD Info

Get Connected!

Check out our new link atop our home page, where parents/guardians can CONNECT to information about our district, schools, and your own children using either the Infinite Campus Portal or NUSD App.

 We're making it easier than ever to get connected with these tools.  Parents can also reset their password online, without visiting a school office using our new help tool. Now is also a great time to make sure that we have your correct phone number and email address so we can send you important information or contact you in case of an emergency at your child's school.  So use the new green CONNECT button and get connected with NUSD. 
Help us plan for the future by taking this survey  

For weeks, we've been gathering information from parents, staff and the community about our programs and services to benefit students. Our survey will close Friday, so please take a few minutes today, if possible, to help us out by sharing your thoughts. We want to hear from all parts of the district. 

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.

Please take 10-15 minutes to provide feedback as we strive for continuous improvement in preparing students for college and career. To begin our survey, click here Thank you very much.
What can college freshmen expect?

To help prepare families for college success, Parent University will hold a free, one-hour workshop discussing what freshmen can expect in their first year at college and how they can get involved on campus.

The session will be held from 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, at the NUSD Staff Development Center, 1931 Arena Blvd. Parents and students are welcome. Child care will be available for ages 2-10, and transportation will be available for families that pre-register. Spanish translation and other languages will be available upon request. For more information, click here.
WorkAbility success story 
All Alex Olvera needed was a chance ...
Alex Olvera of Inderkum High was one of only five California students chosen by CVS this year for its "Award of Excellence," presented to students with disabilities who display exceptional attitude and service while gaining work experience at one of the firm's pharmacies.

Alex was presented with a $200 check and a $50 CVS gift card at an awards ceremony March 5 at the CVS on Club Center Drive. Alex and CVS were brought together by NUSD's WorkAbility program.

Store manager Scot Coveyou said he was so impressed with Alex's work ethic, customer service, motivation, and eagerness to learn that he wrote February 21 on his bulletin board well in advance. That's when Alex would turn 18 and become eligible for hiring by CVS. "That's how much we liked him," Coveyou said.
Joey's Food Locker gets big boost
from some of its smallest donors

S mall hands can make a giant difference - just ask Joey's Food Locker.

The community food closet at Natomas High received one of its largest-ever donations March 10 from some of its smallest-ever donors: Cub Scouts Pack 402, consisting of North Natomas youth no older than 5th grade, contributed 610 canned or packaged food items from a community drive the group organized.

Carter, 9, said that helping others makes him feel happy, too.

"I wanted to do this because it's very nice to help people," added Jed, 9.

Alex, 8, said he felt proud of himself. "I know I'm doing something good," he said. Read more here.
Featured Parent University video
'Using Instructional Technology in the Classroom'
Did you know that NUSD has more than 7,000 Chromebooks available to enhance student learning? And laptops are not the only technology used in classrooms -- iPads and Apple TVs are bringing lessons to life in new and exciting ways.

Technology enables students to check on their homework or test scores, even ask their teacher a question, wherever the Internet is available. This video explores NUSD's classroom technology and the learning opportunities they provide. It also discusses available resources to help students make wise online decisions. Please check it out.
To help answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on a wide range of other subjects, Parent University has prepared and posted numerous other videos on its website, including:
  • 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 any of these videos, or select from many more, click here. Each "Spotlight" community newsletter will feature one Parent University video through the end of this school year.

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