NUSD Spotlight
Community Newsletter
-- May 1, 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
Field Day 2018
Heartwarming Natomas High sports contest
-- everybody is special and nobody loses 
Everybody went home with a medal, which sent a simple message: They're all winners.

Nearly 400 special-needs students from Natomas Unified, Twin Rivers, Center and Woodland Unified school districts gathered Friday (April 27) for a friendly, no pressure, all-in-fun athletic competition on the Natomas High School football field.

Adding to the camaraderie, special-needs students were paired with able-bodied Nighthawk
"buddy" volunteers who cheered the athletes on, pushed wheelchairs, and did whatever necessary to make the day special. And it was.

The spotlight was on talents, gifts, joy and abilities, not disabilities. People helping people. Making new friends. Building bridges. Some things about an NUSD school year you never forget. This was one of them. Check it out by clicking on the video at right.

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!
NUSD's new Teacher of the Year is ...
Supt. Chris Evans surprised Stephanie Schulzkump with the good news that she's NUSD's Teacher of the Year by presenting her a bouquet of flowers in her 6th-grade classroom at Jefferson School last week.

Schulzkump was nominated by a colleague, who praised her for having high expectations for students, encouraging top performance, providing well-planned lessons, serving as a trusted mentor to new teachers, and being knowledgeable about instructional strategies and technology.

"I'm overwhelmed," said Schulzkump, a four-year NUSD employee and 21-year veteran of education. "Extremely honored. I feel very blessed to do what I do every day - and it's because of these kids and the growth we're seeing."

As NUSD's top teacher this year, Schulzkump will be considered for countywide honors as well. You can check out the video to see how Supt. Evans sprung the news to Schulzump, and you can read more about the exemplary teacher here
 Is that really Dusty Baker at Heron?...Yes!
Baker, former Major League Baseball star and S.F. Giants manager, was interviewed by Heron School 7th-grader Jonathan Carr April 20 in the first live interview taped from the school's new video production studio.

Baker, a longtime friend of Heron teacher Tony Thomas, later signed autographs for the videographers and student spectators. The full 30-minute interview is available on Heron's website here, but a brief snippet is available at right. Clearly a home run! 
Natomas High's Nighthawk 'Class of 2018' 
garners more than 120 college acceptances
Natomas High's graduating seniors have received more than 120 four-year college or university acceptances this year from 38 campuses, ranging from Massachusetts Institute of Technology to UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Cal Poly, Azusa Pacific, Southern Oregon, Northern Arizona, Occidental College, Holy Names University, Sacramento State, and CSU campuses throughout California, to name a few.

Some seniors received more than one acceptance - Daniel Ledesma of the Engineering Pathway and AP Capstone program, for example, was given thumbs up by MIT, UCLA and UC Irvine. Congratulations, Nighthawks, for a job well done.
UCD Chancellor to Nighthawks: We want you
UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May brought a message of hope and inspiration to Natomas High School students April 19 that can be summed up in three words: We want you.

"Let's make a deal," May told hundreds of Nighthawks in a morning assembly. "You do your job by working hard, pushing yourself to take challenging classes, and finding opportunities to grow and lead, and we'll do ours. We'll do all we can to make sure a UC education is affordable and attainable for you."

May was the keynote speaker at a four-hour event titled, "Achieve UC," designed to assure students that an education at UCD or any UC campus is invaluable and that scholarships or financial aid can ease the cost.

"A college degree is a game-changer that will give you so many options," May said. "And believe me, it's much better when you can choose a career that comes from the heart, rather than being stuck in a job that just feels like a day-to-day grind. A college degree helps put the future in your own hands, especially one from a UC school." Read the full story here.
Reminder about new program
NUSD to launch 'On Track to College' letter
NUSD is continuing its efforts to promote college and career readiness this spring with a new tool for students and families to monitor students' progress and identify possible colleges to attend. This week, all 10th and 11th grade students at Inderkum High School, Leroy Greene Academy, and Natomas High School will receive the new, personalized "On Track to College" letter for the first time.  
The six-page letter provides a wealth of information to families based on each student's achievement, grades, and courses. If a student is off track, the letter will identify options to get back on track, such as registering for summer school to recover credits. These letters will provide our students and their families information about progress toward graduation, completion of a-g course requirements necessary for college admission, competitiveness for California colleges and universities, and recommendations for how to stay on track to be successful in college.
Beginning next fall, our new "On Track to College" letter will be sent home to families, once in the fall to students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades, then in the spring to students in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades.  

These new "On Track to College" letters are just one more resource in NUSD to help students get on track or stay on track for success after high school. The goal is to continue progress that, over the past few years, has seen NUSD's a-g rate used by colleges to determine student readiness climb to the highest in Sacramento County while our graduation rate has continued to remain above 90%, well above the state average. Read more here.
(A series of short videos  highlighting how Natomas Unified
is enhancing facilities to create 21st-century learning opportunities.)
Leroy Greene Academy 

The "Center for Innovation" at Leroy Greene Academy is an example of renovating existing space into something special, a flexible, comfortable and collaborative learning facility. Technology was enhanced. Conference rooms were created. Desks were configured to fit together easily for small group discussion. Couches were added to provide comfort as teams of students brainstorm. Walls were designed to be written upon during class discussion, then easily wiped clean. This modern-day learning space complements the school's Business Entrepreneurship Pathway.
Natomas Charter's Star Academy  

Natomas Charter School's Star Academy opened in its new location last year as the first new school built since the local building moratorium was lifted. It features a computer lab, art room, library, collaborative workspaces, tables that fit together easily for group learning, and flexible seating options to enhance student comfort. The school serves hundreds of students from Transitional Kindergarten through 5th grade. Completion of the new Star Academy allowed its students to relocate from a commercial building on East Commerce Way to a 59,000-square-foot campus on nearly nine acres in North Natomas. The project was a key part of our facilities master plan.
Isabel Gatdula is top NorCal student
in IB's Middle Years Programme 
Isabel Gatdula is an energetic Inderkum High School 10th-grader whose role model Elena Quintero, a longtime community volunteer, inspired her with these words: "Find something that you love and are passionate about and go teach others about it."
That advice stuck with Isabel, and her love of the outdoors has inspired her to consider a career encouraging people to take care of nature's wonders.
I'm someone who enjoys hiking and camping, and I'm interested in the environmental issues we face today," Isabel said. "I'd like to be an educator, or a consultant, maybe an attorney. I want to do research and educate people."
A dedicated student, Isabel was selected this year as Northern California's top student in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme, which offers accelerated classes to prepare 9th- and 10th-graders for the rigors of IB's Diploma Program. Her weighted grade point average is well above 4.0.

Future goals? Isabel said she would feel successful in life if she completed college and worked in a job she felt passionate about. She'd like to have a family someday. And she wants her life to make a difference -- she wants to leave something behind to improve the lives of others. Read more here.
Pedal to the metal for comfort and safety 
Shoulder straps, air conditioning, backup cameras --
there's plenty to like about NUSD's 5 new school buses
Investing in students from curb to classroom, NUSD has bought and begun using five new school buses containing top-notch safety and comfort equipment, including:
* Efficient air conditioning systems
* Backup cameras so that drivers can see what's behind them when they shift the vehicle into reverse
Lap belts and shoulder straps for all passengers and, on buses used to transport very young children, additional safety restraints like those found on car seats in family vehicles
* Variable seating that allows any or all traditional bench seats to be removed, as necessary, to accommodate wheelchairs
The new buses also come with Wi-Fi capability, but it will be activated only if a filter is in place to prevent access to inappropriate content. No decision has been made to install a filter and no timeline has been set.
The new buses are meant to improve the existing fleet without expanding the scope of NUSD's busing program. Read the full story here .
Student & Parent Opportunities and Info 
  Free program to prepare your child for kindergarten 
NUSD is offering a free, four-week program at Two Rivers Elementary School this summer to prepare young children for Kindergarten.

The program will be held from 8 a.m. to noon, Mondays through Fridays, from June 4-29. Two Rivers Elementary is located at 3201 W. River Dr., Sacramento.

Priority will be given to children who have never attended preschool and will be starting Kindergarten or Transitional Kindergarten in August. 

Applications are available at any NUSD elementary school site or online at (click "Schools," then "Early Learning." A flyer is available here. for more information, call (916) 567-5516.
Please help us by filling out this brief Parent Survey  
Already preparing for next year, NUSD needs your feedback about your children's school and its academics, school climate, and parent engagement. Please help us by completing our anonymous, multiple-choice Parent/Family Survey, which takes only a few minutes.

This survey is offered only once a year and focuses specifically on your children's experience at school, not on broader district goals or services. We're making it easier than ever to complete the survey. You can access it online by clicking on the link below, or you can fill out a printed copy sent home from school. It can be returned to school offices, by mail, or email. Your opinions are important to us. Thanks for helping us better serve students. To begin,  simply click here.
Ages and Stages Questionnaire

NUSD is offering parents a simple and free developmental screening tool, the Ages and Stages Questionnaire, for children up to 5 years old.

The questionnaire provides a quick check of a child's development and an opportunity to learn about developmental milestones in five areas: Communication Skills, Gross Motor Skills, Fine Motor Skills, Problem-Solving Skills and Personal-Social Skills.

Free copies are available by calling NUSD's Early Learning Office at (916) 567-5516. More information is available here.
Missed Open House at your child's school? 
Don't worry, parents -- we've got your back 
We're bringing the fun to you from the April 18 Open Houses at Jefferson, Bannon Creek, Natomas Park and Heron schools. These events were terrific opportunities to become familiar with your child's teacher and school. They're consistent with our Board-approved goal to, "Engage parents and families to support student success in school." We're honored to serve the Natomas community and we encourage you to join us in preparing your child for college, career, and a bright future.
Perhaps Dr. Seuss said it best: "There are so many things you can learn about, but you'll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut."   Don't worry, parents, we've got your back. 

To make sure you don't miss out, we held open houses April 19 at American Lakes, Two Rivers, Witter Ranch, Paso Verde, and H. Allen Hight schools. So take Dr. Seuss' advice, open your eyes wide, click here -- and enjoy.
Heron 1st-graders
Turning classroom frustration into video award
First-graders at Heron School have turned a classroom frustration into a first-place, countywide video award. Andrea Naten said some of her 1st-graders were upset with each other for wasting too much paper during "quiet time" activities each day. So the class created a don't-waste-paper video, brainstorming ways to solve the problem by squeezing more use from each sheet. The result is this video, which captured top prize recently in the K-3 Creative Expression category of the Student Educational Video Awards Contest.
Pass me a fork and a spoon, please ... 
Inspired by the TV show "Chopped," Discovery High's Culinary Arts program held a cooking contest last week in which two-person teams created on-the-spot meals from four "mystery" ingredients - shitake mushrooms, Lacinato kale, Cannellini beans and New York steak. They could add other components, as desired. 

Four teams competed in the event and, after the mystery ingredients were unveiled, they had up to seven minutes to decide what dish to cook. Winners Diego Whiteside and Savannah Paton walked away with bragging rights and a gift certificate from In-n-Out Burger after whipping up a delicious stir-fry over rice, served with salad. The contest was held in Discovery High's renovated teaching kitchen and its new indoor cafe. The school's cooking program is part of NUSD's Hospitality Pathway, designed to prepare students for jobs in restaurants or other food establishments.
Featured Parent University video
How is technology enhancing my child's education?
NUSD is using thousands of technology devices -- laptops, iPads, Apple TVs, Chromebooks -- to help teachers deliver engaging lesson plans, to help students complete schoolwork, and to help transform classrooms into 21st-century learning environments. To learn more about how technology is used to benefit your child's education, check this video out. 

NUSD's Parent University has created and posted brief videos on its website to help answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on a wide range of other subjects at all levels of K-12 education.  To view any of these videos, click here . Each of our newsletters 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