NUSD Spotlight
Community Newsletter
 -- March  2017  

Hope you enjoy this edition of "NUSD Spotlight," the district's monthly 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.
NUSD Silver Anniversary

Let's Celebrate! Free barbecue & fun Saturday 
Free barbecue burger or chicken lunch? ... Check!
Free student performances? ... Check!
Free bounce houses? Photo booth? Music? Balloons for the kids? ... Check, check, check, check!
Everything is in place for a whopping good time this Saturday (April 1) as Natomas Unified School District celebrates its 25th Anniversary with food, fun, music and memories from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Inderkum High School, 2500 New Market Dr.
The event marks NUSD's transition from a small elementary school district serving about 2,300 students in March 1991 to a unified district of 15,000 today that offers the full gamut of grades, from Transitional Kindergarten through high school.
NUSD has accomplished many memorable feats over the past two decades, including graduating thousands of 12th-graders to enter colleges or universities, building new campuses, developing unique career pathways at middle and high schools, creating an elementary school sports program, enhancing student support services, expanding music classes, and launching the rigorous International Baccalaureate and AP Capstone programs recognized by top universities nationwide.
Along the way, there have been countless board members, teachers, administrators, and other NUSD staff who have inspired students, served as role models, or impacted the Natomas community with leadership or service in support of preparing generations of youth for college and career.
Plenty to celebrate? Indeed.
See you Saturday at Inderkum High!
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.
Top Honors for Inderkum IB Standouts  
Mikaela Carrillo wins $10,000
as Top NorCal IB Student 

For getting straight A's throughout high school in the rigorous International Baccalaureate program, Mikaela Carrillo has won a $10,000 scholarship honoring her as Northern California's top junior or senior IB student.

 The award recognizes academic excellence, but the 17-year-old also has tutored young children at a low-income apartment complex, helped establish a volunteer program for elementary students, and played on Inderkum High's varsity soccer team. She wants to be a doctor someday.

 "She's one of those students we can be quite sure has the desire and ability to make the world a better place for all," said Jessica Downing, IB Diploma Programme Coordinator. Read more here.
Tyler Christensen to get free $416,000
Education at U.S. Air Force Academy 

Call it $416,000 of good news for Inderkum High's Tyler Christensen ... That's how much a college education costs at the U.S. Air Force Academy -- and Tyler was notified this month that he'll get it for free, in return for a commitment to serve as an Air Force officer. 

Tyler was chosen for the academy after a high school career in which he's set to graduate with an International Baccalaureate diploma, a 4.6 gpa, and a lengthy record of sports success and community service. Tyler is believed to be the only Tiger ever selected by the Air Force Academy.

 "In my family, there's always been a sense of patriotism and service to country," he said. Read more here.
Dream comes true for 5-year-old:
Mahdi aces 'SWAT Team tryout' swat

Five-year-old Mahdi Fabianke wrote to the Sacramento County SWAT team through his brother, Yusuf, explaining that he's a responsible boy -- in fact, he helped his Mom fight cancer and leukemia. He's also fast, strong, loves catching bad guys, and has a SWAT team helmet and costume, Mahdi said. Could he try out for the team? ... Yes!

The Sheriff's Department Special Enforcement Detail came to Natomas Park Elementary March 29, met Mahdi, interviewed him, ran him through a makeshift playground obstacle course, then welcomed him as an honorary member, giving him a T-shirt, cap, and commemorative coin.

"It's my son's dream," said Mahdi's mother, Mariam, whose illness is in remission. "His dream came true today."  Read more here .

Surprise Prom Proposal Plays Out on Live TV    
Joey Lopez pops out of a large cardboard
box to surprise girlfriend Tiamara "Mary" Craig with a proposal to the Inderkum High School prom -- and here's the kicker: He did in grand style, on live TV with the help of ABC 10 personality Mark S. Allen and a dozen red roses for ambiance. 
Mary, a cheerleader, thought she was headed for an interview about the squad's performance at a Sacramento Kings game the night before. Click here to see what happened next -- and the happy ending.
 Art Docent Program Spotlights Parent Participation 
Volunteers promote creativity
at Heron, Natomas Park Elementary 

"This world is but a canvas to our imagination." -- 
- Henry David Thoreau

Parent Lindsey Burns is making a classroom difference in a special way, leading once-a-month art discussions and hands-on activities that help young students explore their creativity and imagination.

Burns is a parent Art Docent at Heron School, one of two Natomas Unified campuses - Natomas Park Elementary is the other - offering the program in which volunteers receive online training and are provided access to age-appropriate class lessons and art projects to share with students.

"I think this is a great program for Heron and any other school that uses art docents," said Karlye Fitzhugh, the fourth-grade teacher  whose class benefits from Burns' leadership of a 90-minute segment each month.

"I think it just brings a little bit of enrichment to these children, a little bit of art and a hands-on activity," Fitzhugh. "I think it's awesome, too, that it's done by a parent volunteer, someone outside their teacher. I think it's a really cool experience for kids."

At one recent session, Burns discussed artistic features of lithographs featuring trains, such as dimension, color, light absorption and refraction. The fourth-graders then  created the image of a train using Lego-like blocks, traced its shape with a marking pen, then hand painted the image.

At Natomas Park Elementary, Lindsey Blair, a parent who heads up the school's docent program, said she thinks art is good for kids emotionally. "I just think it's good for the kids to do art. I know my kids enjoy it, so I thought, 'I can do this.'"  Read more here .

NUSD posts 'Safe Haven' posters at schools
NUSD has placed "Safe Haven" posters at all schools to remind and reassure Natomas families of our commitment that all students are safe and welcome in our schools. The poster features a logo depicting students of all races holding hands in unity.

The Board of Trustees passed a Safe Haven resolution last month, a time of uncertainty over federal immigration enforcement, but the action and logo also applies to students' ethnicity, race, religion, beliefs, socioeconomic status, and sex or gender identity.

NUSD is among the nation's most diverse school districts, and one of our Core Beliefs is that our diversity is a strength. All students have the right under the law and Board Policy to attend public school and enjoy access to equal education and program services.

The Safe Haven resolution also is consistent with existing Board-approved commitments to create safe and welcoming learning environments, to encourage parent participation, and to graduate all students as college and career ready.

Under the resolution, NUSD will support to the full extent allowed by law any student or family threatened by immigration or hate crimes based on their immigration status.

If federal immigration authorities request personal information or attempt to visit, enforce immigration laws or interrogate a student at any NUSD school, the resolution calls for the Superintendent to be notified and take necessary action to support students, families and staff.

When you spot the new Safe Haven poster at a school, please consider it a symbol that each student is a valuable member of our District family. NUSD is honored to serve them all, regardless of immigration status or other differences. Read more here.
Scholarships, Contests, Info & Opportunities 
The following are scholarships, contests, opportunities or informational items for  NUSD students or families:
  • NATOMAS RABBIT RUN --  Proceeds from the "Natomas Rabbit Run" on Sunday (April 2) will be used to benefit Joey's Food Locker, a nonprofit community service at Natomas High School that provides groceries to families in need. The "Natomas Rabbit Run" offers 5K and 10K fun run courses, both beginning at North Natomas Regional Park. The fun-for-all-ages event is spearheaded annually by The River Foundation, doing business as River Community Services, a nonprofit group devoted to feeding Natomas children and families. Registration is available online at $40 for the 5K, $50 for the 10K, and $30 for a a Kids Run. A 20% discount is available for registering four or more runners at the same time. The Rabbit Run also is looking for sponsors and volunteers. Details are available here.
  • NATOMAS SCHOOLS FOUNDATION CASH SCHOLARSHIP -- NUSD's graduating seniors or alumni now attending college or trade school can apply for cash scholarships offered by the Natomas Schools Foundation in denominations of $1,000 and $500. A total of $9,000 will be awarded. Applications must be submitted by April 14. Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher and, during the past two years, have served 50 hours or more in formal employment or volunteer service, which can include school clubs. A short essay is required about lessons learned from that service. Click here for more information and an application form.
  • RIB COOK OFF -- For a finger-lickin' good time at a bargain price, you can't top this Rib Cook Off fundraiser for Inderkum High School's athletic and music programs. The annual event by Guild Mortgage Co. is scheduled from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, at the company's office at 2250 Del Paso Rd. (It's a good idea to buy your ticket early because the event is likely to sell out.) See details here.
  • NEW STATE SCHOOL DASHBOARD -- Using data to improve student success is important. We have done that in Natomas for a number of years and more kids are graduating, meeting college eligibility requirements, and taking the free ACT test. Together, we're creating systems to make sure more students are on on track for college and careers.  A new California School Dashboard was released March 15. This new state tool will complement our own District Progress Report as well as the regular use of data by our teachers and staff to improve outcomes for all our students. The dashboard looks at current performance as well as progress over time for student achievement, attendance, graduation rates, suspensions, college and career readiness, and English Learner students.  It rates each on a five-point scale from highest to lowest performance (blue, green, orange, yellow, red). Read more here .
  •  PARENT UNIVERSITY WORKSHOPS -- NUSD's Parent University is offering one-hour workshops this spring on a variety of topics. Click here for details on workshops targeting college and career readiness. Click here for information about sessions dealing with parenting skills, such as time management or dealing with teens or preteens. Click here for details about workshops on mental health topics, including responding to anger and mentoring adolescents.
  • ESSAY CONTEST -- A $500 scholarship will be presented to the Sacramento County high school junior or senior who submits the winning entry in this year's "Operation Recognition" essay contest on the following theme: "Why You Cannot Be a Passive Patriot."  Entries must be submitted by April 21. The contest is sponsored through the Sacramento County Office of Education, with funding by SAFE Credit Union. Details are available here.
Want to see teens serving the community?
Love Your Community Club- Inderkum High School
Love Your Community Club- Inderkum High School
Last month we told you about "Love Your Community," a new Inderkum High School Club launched by students to do off-campus community service. Their first helping-hand project was to buy beanies and sweatshirts through an $1,800 donation by Grand Canyon University and hand them out to patrons in need at Joey's Food Locker. This brief video spotlights some of the good vibes sparked that day:
 Sobering Message from 'Every 15 Minutes' drill: 
 Make a poor decision and this could happen to you
It sure looked real, with Natomas High School athlete Jadon Johnson sprawled lifeless on the hood after smashing through the window of a car struck head-on by another vehicle. Jadon died instantly in the March 23 simulation, a program called "Every 15 Minutes," and driver Damani Richardson was pronounced brain dead at a local hospital. 

Tragedy played out in the other car as well: Nighthawk Edgardo Gutierrez was paralyzed for life, and driver Carlos Santos Loma was arrested on felony drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter charges. The message to teens watching the drill was clear: This could happen to you. Don't drive drunk and don't let someone who has been drinking give you a ride. Read the full story here :

Natomas High & Natomas Gateways Middle School 

 Learning, building, collaborating & public service 
Older students helping younger ones to use engineering skills in community service ... Everybody wins!

Kudos to Natomas High School engineering students who mentored 8th-graders from Natomas Gateways Middle School this month in designing and building wooden planter boxes for the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary. 

Along the way, the kids learned how to handle miter saws, drills and drivers. ... Education, engineering, friendship, fun and community service ... Nice!
Rachel Torres  leaving Cal Poly
with honors to be teacher
PREPARED TO SUCCEED @ NUSD -- Former Inderkum Tiger Rachel Torres is graduating from Cal Poly Pomona this year as winner of the school's prestigious President's Council Scholar award. She serves as council president of Cal Poly's College of Education and Integrative Studies. Her community service includes leading an annual elementary school cleanup project. Rachel teaches an after-school class for Kindergarten through 2nd grade students. She plans to become a Sacramento teacher someday. Inderkum helped set the stage for college success, she said. "Inderkum High School's environment was surrounded with college banners and filled with amazing people who told us we could do it!"  Read more here
Jacosa Ainu'u making sweet 
as Hawaii chorale director 

Jacosa Ainu'u is a long way from Natomas High School now, she's in Hawaii, working as a Brigham Young University chorale director, a private piano and voice instructor, and as an elementary school vocal director.  The former Nighthawk advises current students to set their sights high and work hard. "It doesn't matter where you come from, where you start, or what hurdles you have in your way. In this country, in this day, you have opportunities at your fingertips. You just have to be willing to do the work." Read more here  
Family fun at LGA Multicultural Night   

Celebrating our differences, Leroy Greene Academy's Multicultural Night on March 23 featured student artwork, student performances, and all kinds of food and artifacts from countries throughout the world. Italy was represented, as were Mexico, France, Australia, India, New Zealand, Guatemala, Sweden, and more. A large crowd of parents turned out to support LGA Lions of all sizes, shapes and colors. ... Many students, one team. ... The annual festival is consistent with NUSD's Board-approved Core Belief: "Our diversity is a strength."

Hundreds attend Health, Wellness & Resource Fair
Healthy kids make better learners, so NUSD was honored to offer a free Health, Wellness & Resource Fair March 14 at Jefferson Elementary School. Hundreds of people turned out.

Attractions included health and vision screenings, immunizations, NUSD enrollment information, community resource tables, student performances, and a free dinner of corned beef, mashed potatoes, carrots and more.

 Here's a sampling of the sights and smiles ...
Two NUSD students among region's top spellers
NUSD students Bailey McDaniel and Jeffrey Lenh were among 60 finalists who competed head-to-head March 1 in the California Central Valley Spelling Bee Championship -- and here's why that's so significant: More than 300,000 students in grades 4-8 were eligible for the contest, in 13 counties from Solano to Sacramento to Shasta.   Finalists represent the best of this region's top spellers.
Congratulations, Bailey, a 5th-grader at Two Rivers Elementary, and Jeffrey, an 8th-grader at Heron School.
 You make us proud.

Read Across America Day

'I truly love books, Sam I Am!'
Would you read them in a school?
Would you read them 'cuz they're cool?
Would you read them loud and fast?
Would you read them to a class?
Yes I'd read them, ALL I CAN --
I truly love books, Sam I Am!
NUSD Trustees Scott Dosick, Lisa Kaplan and Teri Burns were among book lovers reading to NUSD classes March 2 for "Read Across America Day," an annual celebration of reading held on Dr. Seuss' birthday. 
NUSD Spotlight
             Brought to you by:
             Jim Sanders
   Director of  Communications
             (916) 561-5267

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