NUSD Spotlight
Community Newsletter
-- May 14, 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
Hundreds of seniors eligible for UC & CSU
With graduation ceremonies approaching, Natomas High, Inderkum High and Leroy Greene Academy honored seniors who have taken all courses required for admission to a UC or CSU campus. That's no easy feat. Course requirements, known as a-g, include four years of English, two years of History/Social Science, two years of Laboratory Science, two years of a World Language, one year of Visual & Performing Arts, a college-prep elective, and three years of Mathematics. Read more below about the hundreds of NUSD seniors who met that challenge. 
All LGA graduates meet threshold

For the second year in a row, every graduating senior at Leroy Greene Academy has completed UC and CSU admission course requirements. ... Great job, Lions: 77 graduates, 77 eligible for college -- 100%. ... LGA's "Declaration Day" was May 4, when students and parents gathered to hear where graduates will attend college next year. ... Selections included UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, Loyola Marymount, University of Alaska, University of Nevada-Reno, Alabama State University, Southern Utah University, various other UCs, and numerous CSU campuses ... Will you join us for a standing ovation? 
Many dozens of Natomas High  
students applauded at campus rally

Dozens and dozens of Natomas High seniors were honored by classmates at a campus rally May 4 for passing all courses required for admission to a UC or CSU campus. Eighty-eight Nighthawks have cleared that hurdle and another 29 possibly could join them in coming days, meaning that at least 44% and up to 59% of the Class of 2018 will graduate as eligible for a four-year college. ... Universities that Nighthawks will attend next year include Massachusetts Institute of Technology, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Texas Tech, Pacific, Southern Oregon, Cal Poly Pomona, California College of the Arts, several other UCs and numerous CSU campuses. ... Congratulations, seniors!
Inderkum: 'College & Career
Success we  come!' 

Inderkum's giant banner read, "College & Career Success ... here we come!" One by one, college-bound Tiger seniors were applauded at a school assembly last week, then walked off the stage to sign that banner.

About 240 seniors -- 50% percent of Inderkum graduates -- have been accepted into a four-year college. An even larger percentage of seniors have completed coursework for UC or CSU admission, but that number is not yet final.

Tigers have been accepted by colleges nationwide, including California's four-year universities, Pepperdine, Creighton, Seton Hall, Howard, Dillard, Bethune-Cookman, Oregon, Alabama and Holy Names, to name a few. Awesome job, Tigers!
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!
U.S. News & World Report
LGA ranked among best U.S. high schools 
Leroy Greene Academy was recognized as one of the nation's best high schools last week in annual rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. 

For the second year in a row, every graduating senior at LGA has completed all coursework required for admission to UC or CSU.

In the national rankings, released May 9, Leroy Greene Academy earned a bronze, meaning it topped more than 70% of the 20,548 high schools evaluated. 

NP3 earned a silver and Natomas Charter a bronze. Overall student performance on assessment tests is taken into consideration, along with graduation rates, college readiness, and performance by disadvantaged students. Read more here.
Honoring bilingual students
After years of language study -- success! 
Recognizing years of hard work, NUSD honored hundreds of students who speak two or more languages at a huge banquet and awards ceremony May 8.

More than 100 graduating seniors were applauded for earning California's Seal of Biliteracy, requiring proficiency in English and at least one world language. Recipients received a trophy at the ceremony and soon will receive a medal and a special seal on their diploma. 

More than 200 other NUSD students, of all ages, received recognition as English Learners who have demonstrated proficiency in this second language for them. Hats off to all the award winners. Their ability to write and speak two or more languages will serve them well in college and career.
Supt.'s Message
Actions to support students with disabilities
"Every Student Can Learn and Succeed" is one of Natomas Unified's Core Beliefs. For a long time, students with an Individual Education Plan or IEP (more commonly known as students with disabilities) in Natomas were not as a group meeting key minimum state and federal requirements.

 In 2015, the Natomas Unified student group with disabilities met the requirement for Least Restrictive Environment for the first time under direction from the Board of Trustees and leadership from our Student Services and Support team, and hard-working site staff. 

While we are proud of our efforts, just meeting the requirement is not good enough for our students. In the past few months, we have taken a series of actions to improve support services for our students with disabilities. Some of these actions are happening now or will in the fall of 2018. Some of the actions will take longer. Read the full message from Supt. Chris Evans here
NUSD celebrates first graduation of 2018
 And so it begins! ...
NUSD's first graduation was celebrated May 12 when four students in the Adult Transition Program were honored by teachers, relatives & friends. Congratulations to Richard Tienter, Brianna Rubi, Odalys Vasquez & Harkamal Singh. The program at Natomas High serves special-need adult students, ages 18-22, who are together every weekday throughout the year and form special bonds of friendship.
Teacher Joel Schwieger hosted the graduation ceremony at his home and, in what has become a tradition, he gave the graduates a watch so they'll carry a piece of the program with them always and cherish the memories. We wish you well graduates. May today be the start of very big things to come.
Discovery High's new garden
sparks farm-to-fork possibilities

It's taking root, that dream.

Imagine Discovery High School running its own farm-to-fork operation, growing food in a large garden that was unveiled last week, then harvesting those fruits and vegetables for use in the new lunchtime salad bar and by cooks in the school's existing Culinary Arts program.

Each step of the way, students could learn valuable skills that could land them jobs -- at farms, nurseries or restaurants. Click here to read about today's garden ribbon-cutting and how it can lay the foundation for collaboration among Discovery students who like planting, those who like cooking -- and those who like eating. Read more here.

(One of many snapshots over the past two years about NUSD data or developments.)
(A series of short videos  highlighting how Natomas Unified
is enhancing facilities to create 21st-century learning opportunities.)
Paso Verde School   

Paso Verde School is a prime example of how NUSD is "Building Our Future." It's our newest campus and emphasizes STEAM instruction -- Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. Paso Verde serves Transitional Kindergarten through 5th grades and is progressing toward becoming an International Baccalaureate school for students through the 8th grade. Paso Verde was launched on an interim basis this year at an existing campus on Del Paso Road. The facility was refurbished and given new carpets, paint, and exterior finishes. New desks, chairs and Apple TVs were added. Access to wireless networks was enhanced. New phone and clock-bell-intercom systems were installed. Meanwhile, planning has begun to build a permanent home for Paso Verde over the next few years.
Two Rivers Elementary  

We want the Two Rivers library to be an inviting place for students to spend their spare time reading, researching and stretching their imagination. So we added cushioned chairs and couches. We gave it new paint, new wallpaper, and we created a large lounge area ... for reading out loud to entire classes. We installed special tables that have charging outlets for laptop computers and can be written upon as classes brainstorm, then can be wiped clean easily. There's an Apple TV for video presentations and the library's bookshelves have wheels, so they can be moved easily to create meeting and collaboration space. We're proud of how this project turned out.
Heron School 5th-graders
ace kindness campaign

Their certificate proves it - they're standouts in kindness. At Heron School, Jasmine Reese's 5th-graders have gone beyond simply opposing bullying to tackling a new frontier: spreading positivity.

They joined a "Choose Kind" online campaign that had them jot down any act of kindness they spotted by classmates, for example: "Niara helped me up after I fell while playing Capture the Flag" or "Maryn helped others put their computers away."

For each kindness, a marble was placed in a large classroom jar. The online campaign rewarded students with certificates for filling up one jar. Here's the kicker: Reese's 5th-graders have packed two kindness jars already and they're working on a third ... "Kinda" good, no?
Milestone for Natomas High's  
rigorous AP Capstone program 

Andrea is researching whether photography can help cure depression.

Chidinma is studying whether students prefer home-cooked meals or fast food - and why.

Daniel, who wants to be a rocket engineer someday, is researching whether space exploration should be done by government or private industry.

They are among a dozen students making history at Natomas High this year as the first Nighthawks to complete the school's AP Research class, the final step in the prestigious AP Capstone program launched last year.

To graduate with an AP Capstone Diploma, Natomas High students must pass two linchpin courses, AP Seminar and AP Research, plus four other AP academic classes of their choosing. The program allows teens to earn college credits while acquiring key skills for college and 21st century careers. Read more here.
Deferred Maintenance Plan
Enhancing safe & welcoming school facilities  
Natomas Unified's Board-approved goal of creating safe and welcoming learning environments includes maintaining, cleaning and repairing schools for the benefit of students, staff, visitors, and our community.

Natomas Unified has completed a long-term Deferred Maintenance Plan to help prevent the need for costly emergency repairs and the risk of system failures over the next 10 to 15 years.

The new plan was presented to the Board of Trustees recently and will help guide district action and budget planning through 2029-30. Its standards are designed to promote health, safety, system efficiency, and positive campus environments.

The plan takes a building-by-building look at NUSD facilities and, among other things, it projects a life cycle for major systems that can prompt action before wear-and-tear creates an urgent situation, such as failure of a school heating or air conditioning system.

All components of school facilities are examined, including electrical systems, flooring, paving, lighting, painting, roofing, plumbing, locks, grounds - including athletic fields and tracks - and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

By planning ahead, NUSD can better budget for maintenance priorities. The new Deferred Maintenance Plan provides a year-by-year and school-by-school breakdown of projected repair and upkeep needs, with cost estimates. Read more here.

Appreciation events this month


Here's the light breakfast of muffins, bagels & fruit that was provided May 9 to staff at all NUSD schools on California Day of the Teacher.


Please join us this in thanking teachers for working hard every day, to prepare kids for a bright future. Their impact is huge in NUSD.

"Classified School Employee Week" also occurs this month, from May 20-26. NUSD will host a breakfast parfait bar at each school on Monday, May 21, and will provide cookies around lunchtime.

In recognition of all staff, NUSD will offer a free farmers market at each school on Wednesday, May 16. Employees can "shop" from a selection of fruits and vegetables grown by local farmers. 

These events are tokens of appreciation for a job well done this year.
New principal for H. Allen Hight 
'I always try to consider what's best for kids'
Newly hired Principal Jason Manviller brings to H. Allen Hight Elementary School nearly 15 years of educational experience as a teacher and administrator in diversely different school districts ranging from Compton to South San Francisco to San Rafael.
Manviller's resume includes:
  • Three years of elementary school leadership experience, including the past two years as principal of a San Rafael elementary school
  • Ten years of elementary school teaching experience in grades 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6
  • Service as a Curriculum Specialist in Science, developing units of study, coordinating professional development, aligning instruction, and coaching teachers
  • Experience in facilitating teacher training for quality English Learner instruction
Manviller has Leading Edge certification in online and blended learning. He also has experience in education technology projects, for example, helping to provide current data linking school district funding to Local Control and Accountability (LCAP) goals. Read more here.
Trustees say goodbye to NUSD's 16 retirees 
NUSD's Board of Trustees honored this year's "Class of 2018" retirees last week, 16 employees totaling nearly 300 years of cumulative service to our students and schools. Their jobs range from teacher to custodian to campus safety specialist. 

Retirees were presented a trophy by the Board as a token of appreciation for all they have done for this district and local families. 

This year's retirees are Ruben Ballesteros, Gloria Beus, Sherlyn Bradley, Jeanette Broderick, Renee Carrington, Scott Davey, Kristi Dills, Susan England, Martin Jaime, Genevieve Kaio, Thanh Le, Leticia Lujan, Carrie Markel, Joaquin Torres, Kendall Vanderford and Chuck Yee.

We wish them health and happiness in the many years ahead.
Multicultural festival
Many students, races, cultures & languages
-- one big family at American Lakes School
There's something very special about hundreds of people from numerous races coming together as one school family to celebrate, appreciate and learn about each other's culture, food, music, art, and roots. Can't we all get along? Yes!

American Lakes School showed the way this month with a Multicultural Festival that featured Aztec, India, Polynesian and Mexican dancing, plus foods from around the world. 

The festival's centerpiece was an artwork in which colorful masks created by 6th-graders to reflect their own culture were displayed together, side by side, next to a sign with a simple but vital message for all passers-by: "In Diversity There is Beauty and There is Strength."

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