NUSD Spotlight
 Community Newsletter
  -- March 25,  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!
Health, Wellness & Resource Fair
Free food, fun and entertainment headline
NUSD event to promote health & wellness
Good health can make a big difference in student learning, which is one reason why NUSD helped launch a health-care clinic at Natomas High several years ago and why the district organized a Health, Wellness and Resource Fair for local students and families last Friday.
Dark clouds didn't stop several hundred people from attending the health fair at Natomas High. Attractions included a free BBQ meal, free farmers market, free vision and hearing screenings, free information about community resources, free kids' activities, and entertainment by the Bannon Creek cheerleaders and Ballet Folklorico.
The idea was to serve families by providing valuable health-related resources, outside the classroom, in a festive setting that everyone could enjoy. We hope participants had as much fun as we did ... Let's do it again next year!
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.
NUSD's  Linda Benuto honored by selection 
as county ' Classified Employee of the Year' 
When she got the good news in a voicemail, Linda Benuto was so stunned that she listened to it twice to make sure she heard it right -- yep, she's Sacramento County's "Classified Employee of the Year" for office and technical staff.

Benuto now qualifies for consideration in the state "Classified Employee of the Year" competition. "I feel like I'm on 'American Idol' and I just got the ticket to go to Hollywood," she quipped. "Even if I'm not chosen, it's a beautiful experience."

At NUSD, Benuto is known for reaching out to others. One of her key responsibilities is to recruit and assign substitute employees. Nomination documents used to select Benuto in January as district Classified Employee of the Year 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 about her here.
After once-in-a-lifetime softball season debut 
Nighthawk shortstop captures national award 
Jordan Schrimscher opened the Natomas High School softball season with a once-in-a-lifetime kind of four-game performance that netted her National Player of the Week honors for western states.

Jordan, a junior shortstop, got hits in 11 of 12 official at-bats to start the season, including four triples and 12 runs scored. She reached base safely in 14 of 15 plate appearances. Against Leroy Greene Academy, she was 5-for-5, with four runs scored, a triple, and two runs batted in. Against Aspire Langston Hughes Academy, she was 3-for-3, with three triples, four runs scored, and two RBI. Jordan also picked up a win by pitching in relief against Florin High, tossing two innings of shutout ball with three strikeouts. ... Holy Toledo!

Jordan was selected for national honors by MaxPreps sports service in partnership with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). She was chosen for the week March 4-10 from a western region stretching from Wyoming and Montana to the West Coast, plus Alaska and Hawaii. ...To put this in perspective, "Player of the Week" for a league, section or state is terrific -- but national honors? Wow! ... Click here for the official announcement.
"Pennies for Patients"
Paso Verde School staff get 'pied' as school 
raises funds for leukemia research & services  
Fighting leukemia -- one pie at a time.
How sweet it is!
Paso Verde School celebrated raising $4,537 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Pennies for Patients" drive with a huge pie-in-the-face extravaganza recently in which hundreds of kids slathered a teacher of their choice with a small mountain of whipped cream.
All Pumas who raised more than $5 qualified for a fun-loving, pie-shoving memory that they probably will treasure forever. And any student who raised more than $25 got a huge strip of duct tape to help fasten Bret Wilson, a 6th-grade teacher, to an exterior wall like a classroom poster. (He may still be hanging there!)
Shining star of the day was Julian Esparza, 10, who personified "Pennies for Patients" at Paso Verde and inspired classmates to work so hard on fundraising. Julian once suffered from leukemia himself, but the disease is in remission now.
How sweet it is, indeed.
Coyotes chip in $2,200 to aid good cause 
You won't find it on a report card, but there's great value in students reaching out and doing what they can to make the world a better place -- to empathize, care, sacrifice, take action, assist a good cause.

Students of all ages at Natomas Park Elementary School did that recently by raising $2,200 for "Pennies for Patients" to benefit leukemia research and patient services.

Top fundraisers were Steve Chiginsky's 5th-graders, Stephanie Stoll's 1st-graders, and the Coyote Student Council. Each raised more than $300 to earn a gold pennant. Jody Howes' 1st-graders won a bronze prize by collecting more than $100.
Thank you, Coyotes, for your kindness in stepping up and helping out.
Plenty to celebrate in our college-going data 
Now accepting applications for NSF Scholarship Program
Natomas Schools Foundation will accept applications through April 12 for monetary scholarships to help defray expenses at an accredited four-year college, two-year college, or trade school.

Multiple winners will be chosen for awards of $1,000 and $500.

The NSF scholarship competition is meant to identify local students who face bright futures in college and career, but it's not aimed solely at the highest grade-earners. More information and an application are available here.
Reminder: Nine Open Houses over Next Two Weeks!
Thursday, March 28 Discovery High 
Inderkum High  
6-7:30 p.m.
School sites/Classrooms
Tuesday, April 2 Natomas Gateways Middle 
Natomas High
Natomas Middle 
6-7:30 p.m.
School sites/Classrooms
Wednesday, April 3 Bannon Creek School
Jefferson School
Natomas Park Elementary
Heron School 
6-7:30 p,m.
School sites/Classrooms
Thursday, April 11 American Lakes School
H. Allen Hight Elementary
Paso Verde School
Two Rivers Elementary
Witter Ranch Elementary
6-7:30 p.m.
School sites/Classrooms
Thursday, May 9
Leroy Greene Academy
(Spring Exhibition Night) 
5-7:30 p.m.
Register to run or sponsor a school for Natomas 5K
The Natomas Schools Foundation has a dream: Bring the community together for a few hours of fun and exercise on a Saturday morning while raising funds for college scholarships to help deserving local kids. Happens April 27th at Inderkum High -- and all ages will enjoy this! Please register now at

For businesses or generous individuals, the Natomas 5K also offers an opportunity to sponsor a school's entire student body, meaning all kids can run for free. Cost is $1,500 and sponsors will receive promotional recognition that spreads goodwill throughout Natomas. Sponsorship is a heartwarming gift, particularly to students in need. Potential sponsors should contact Monty Maxwell at (916) 769-2383 or More information is available at Thank you!
Multicultural Week 
Natomas Middle School staff and families  
celebrate cultural diversity as NUSD strength
Celebrating student differences as an NUSD strength, Natomas Middle School's Multicultural Week showcased dances, music, foods and artwork from a variety of countries worldwide.

Held last week, the festive event included dancing exhibitions, a talent show, and a rousing finale last Friday that brought dozens of students, staff and parents together -- some dressed in cultural garb -- to honor each other's family history and traditions. 

Natomas Middle School's Multicultural Week included academic research by Panther 8th-graders on cultures around the globe. The week's theme was consistent with NUSD's Core Belief that, "Our diversity is a strength." 

United we stand -- proudly!
Career Technical Education video series 
Want a career in Digital Media or Engineering?
Check out these NUSD academic pathways
Digital Media
In an increasingly digital world, Natomas High School's Digital Media Pathway teaches valuable skills for college, career, or other life paths. Students learn about computer graphics, digital photography, graphic design, digital filmmaking, media arts, photography, and digital photo illustration. They gain hands-on experience working with professional equipment. This Career Technical Education program complements students' education while they continue preparing for college by taking core academic classes, such as English, Math, Science and History. Here's what students say they're gaining from this opportunity ...

A graduate of last year's Engineering Pathway at Natomas High was accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the nation's top-ranked universities. Preparing students for college and career is a key goal of this NUSD pathway. Instruction is a blend of science and technology focused on the design, building, and use of engines, machines, and structures. Students work in a state-of-the-art facility to apply the design process, gain proficiency in teamwork and communication, and develop critical thinking, organizational, and problem-solving skills. Here's what some participating students say of the Engineering Pathway ...
Natomas Unified's 'Teacher of the Year' 
honored at  Sacramento Kings game 
NUSD's 'Teacher of the Year' Stephanie Schulzkump was honored at a Sacramento Kings game last Saturday along with other winners from districts countywide.

The top teachers were recognized on the court. They shook hands with Dave Gordon, county education superintendent, while thousands applauded in appreciation. 

Congratulations Stephanie!
Poetry Out Loud Contest 2019
Inderkum High's Naomi Dillard captivates crowd
We recently announced that Inderkum High senior Naomi Dillard topped 11 other finalists to win Sacramento County's Poetry Out Loud contest, which encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

Participants are judged on physical presence, voice, articulation, accuracy, evidence of understanding, dramatic appropriateness, and overall performance. Here's a video clip of Naomi performing "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou in the county finals. It's easy to see why she stood out ... 
Nighthawk 'All About You' course
This PE class is not very physical, it's mental 
-- because minds respond to workouts, too!
Natomas High offers a physical education class that's mostly mental because, after all, the mind responds to workouts, too.

Participating students may not gain speed, muscles or agility, but the benefits are just as important - maybe even more so -- in living a long, healthy life.

Named "All About You," the class focuses on the inner self, calmness, relaxation, and stress relief through breathing techniques, stretching and mindfulness that can improve students' mental health and brighten their attitudes in school and at home.

"It helps me be relaxed, concentrate on school and be positive," said Lizbeth, a 16-year-old sophomore.

Yoga is the focus on some days, while other days spotlight Zumba or Pilates. They combine to form a curriculum of self-awareness and inner peace. Read more here.
NUSD Job Fair attracts nearly 125 applicants
for teaching and other certificated positions
A good teacher can make a difference in a child's life forever, so the impact of NUSD's Certificated Employee Job Fair this week may be felt in our classrooms and community for many years to come.

The fair attracted 124 candidates for teaching or other certificated positions, such as psychologist or speech language pathologist. About a dozen applicants were seeking substitute positions. Numerous Job Fair participants will be invited back for follow-up and potential employment.

We're grateful to everyone who stepped forward, willing to join our team and serve our students. Thank you very much!
Joey's Food Locker
Cub Scouts reach out to families in need
Thank you, Cub Scout Pack 402.

To help those less fortunate than themselves, this North Natomas group of youngsters donated more than 700 canned goods and other food items to Joey's Food Locker recently for distribution to families in need.

Dozens of local residents will benefit from the efforts of these kids, no older than 5th grade. They collected the food from their parents, neighbors, several businesses, and from collection boxes placed at most North Natomas schools.

"It feels good because I'm helping other people," said Xander, 8.

Alex, who is "almost 10," said that reaching out to Joey's Food Locker reminds him that his family is fortunate to have food - and that not everybody does, so it's "very important to help people."

"Treat others like you want to be treated," said Ethan, 8, when asked what message he'll take away. Read more here.
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.