NUSD Spotlight
Community Newsletter
 -- November 2016  

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.
Supt's Message
 'The Next 5' -- Mapping NUSD's Future   
Strategic Plannning 
t o Serve Every School
 -- Your Input Needed 

Supt. Chris Evans has begun setting the stage for "The Next 5," a strategic planning effort to positively impact every school and family in NUSD.

In this brief video, Supt. Evans talks of how far the District has come the past five years and asks for your input in "The Next 5" process, encompassing everything from Vision and Goals to Curriculum, Assessment, Instruction and Culture.

The outcome of "The Next 5" will serve as a guiding light for NUSD's future. Please take a few minutes to listen to Supt. Evans -- then make your voice heard when input opportunities begin in January. Thank you very much.
What They're Learning Could Save Your Life
Natomas High Offers EMT Program

Your life may depend upon what students are learning in Natomas High's newest Career Technical Education class.

Twelfth-graders are studying Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) skills they can use to get a job responding to 9-1-1 calls about heart attacks, car crashes, violence, or any other kind of medical emergency.

When they turn 18, Nighthawks who pass the year-long class with flying colors can test for EMT certification leading to jobs in private ambulance companies, hospitals, fire departments, or with other health-care providers.
 
Students learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to restore breathing and blood circulation, for example. They learn how to use an Automated External Defibrillator for irregular heartbeat. They learn how to assess and stabilize patients in crisis, then safely load them onto gurneys for transport to a hospital.
 
Shelves in Natomas High's EMT classroom are loaded with gloves, goggles, gauze, mask, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and other medical equipment. An adjacent workroom contains mannequins, artificial ventilators, crutches, equipment for surgical spine immobilization, and other essentials for practicing hands-on skills.
 
"I want to be a surgeon, and taking this course in high school gives me an opportunity to be prepared to work with patients who have different types of symptoms and injuries," said India Pittman, 17.

Paramedic Cor Morton, who teaches the course, said that expertise in emergency response can help Nighthawk students even if their goal is a career outside the health profession: What employer does not want lifesaving skills on his or her staff? Read more here.
Which Middle or High School Campus
 Best Fits Your Child's Needs?
'Secondary Showcase Night'  Offers One-Stop Shopping
The key word is  choice.

Natomas Unified middle and high schools offer a variety of unique programs and academic pathways for students to consider when choosing a campus to attend. We want students to attend a secondary school that best fits their individual needs.

To spotlight the academic options and answer your questions, NUSD will hold a "Secondary Showcase Night" from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, in the District's Staff Development Center, 1931 Arena Blvd.

Officials from Inderkum High will be on hand to discuss the school's International Baccalaureate program and its Broadcasting and Media Arts course, for example, while Natomas High leaders will explain its Health Pathway -- including the new EMT class -- and its Engineering and Auto Technology programs.

Parents and students can wander from table to table, each representing a school, to hear about options such as band, music, drama, culinary arts, tutoring, sports and after-school programs. The goal is to showcase what makes each school special.

All parents of elementary and middle school parents are invited, but the Dec. 8 event was designed particularly for 5th- and 8th-graders who are trying to decide which middle or high school campus to attend next year. For more information, call Constitutent and Customer Services at 561-5253.
Spreading Holiday Cheer to Students in Need
Holiday Helper: NUSD Launches Toys, Food, Toiletries Drive 

Ple ase help parents struggling to make ends meet this holiday season.

NUSD has launched a toys, food and toiletries drive to assist families in need during the December holiday season.

New unwrapped toys, canned foods, and toiletry items -- such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant and dental floss -- can be   dropped off through Tuesday, Dec. 13, at any NUSD campus or at the Ed Center, 1901 Arena Blvd.

The gift items will be distributed from 4-5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, at Joey's Food Locker on Natomas High School's campus. If you know of a Natomas parent who is hard-pressed to provide their kids with a gift this holiday season, advise them to call 916-561-5287 for more information about distribution. The same number can be used if donors have questions. For a flyer about the charity drive, click here.
New Coats Made Thanksgiving Warmer for Foster Kids 
Dozens of NUSD foster youth received the gift of warmth this Thanksgiving, thanks to the generosity of staff and community residents.  About 90 new coats were purchased and donated. Photos show a few of the coats, plus boxes filled to the brim with others. Pictured are Amreek Singh and Rosa Rijo, who helped coordinate the drive. Great way to start the holiday season, no?
Tigers Blast Through Playoffs
to Vie for Section Championship 

Riding a 10-game win streak, the Inderkum Tigers will square off against Del Oro High School this Friday (Dec. 2) in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Championship.

Inderkum qualified for the section finale by beating Whitney High of Rocklin, Sacramento High, and Jesuit High in the Sac-Joaquin playoffs.

The Tigers were undefeated in league play and their overall record is 11-2. Kickoff for Friday's championship game is 7 p.m. at Sacramento State College. ... Go Tigers!
Talking Turkey to Kindergarteners 
Problem-solving?
 
Here's a challenge given to kindergarteners at Witter Ranch Elementary: Disguise this paper turkey, using items around your house, so nobody can find and eat it for Thanksgiving -- and, yes, your family can help. Later,
the kids wrote about their turkey's disguise, and read what they wrote to their class. Happy Th anksgiving, indeed!

Supt. Chris Evans stepped to the front of the room at an Ed Center luncheon this month to name Vince Caguin as this year's NUSD Administrator of the Year.

Click on the video to watch Supt. Evans' surprise announcement and the response by Caguin, who serves as Director of Nutrition Services and Warehousing.

Caguin is perhaps best known at NUSD for innovation in food services and emphasis on promoting healthy eating habits.

Nutrition Services wins Statewide Award 
Healthy eating habits, not just a good meal.

That's the push that helped NUSD's Nutrition Services Department capture a statewide Golden Seed Award recently from the California Farm to School Network for emphasizing fresh, locally grown food in its meals and offering hands-on nutrition education to students.

NUSD was the only Sacramento County school district selected for the Golden Seed Award, which went to five districts statewide.

NUSD began buying directly from California farms several years ago and has increased that practice significantly: About 90 percent of the District's fruits and vegetables now come from California farms, as do foods for creating at least one cafeteria entree item per week.

NUSD also has created partnerships in which six local farms help promote healthy eating habits and educate students about farming and nutrition. Read more here.
PREPARED TO SUCCEED @ NUSD 
Graduates Ashley Gonik,  James Derrick, Belen Flores

Read Belen's story here 
NUSD continued its campaign this month of spotlighting former graduates who have achieved success in college or career.

Recent examples were Belen Flores, associate director of the California Center for Civic Participation; James Derrick, a college graduate who now works as a head tennis professional for Peter Burwash International; and Ashley Gonik, who has a master's degree and is serving as a teaching assistant in Austria pending enrollment in a doctoral program.

"Prepared to Succeed @ NUSD" is part of the District's year-long Silver Anniversary celebration.
Round of Applause   
Teacher Mike Mitchell 

Using food to teach life skills 

It's often said that working a job puts food on the table, but for Mike Mitchell, the reverse is true as well: Food led to his job.

Now Mitchell uses food to teach about life.

As leader of Discovery High School's Culinary Arts program, Mitchell's focus is on meal preparation but his lessons encompass teamwork, planning, precision, time management, safety, hard work, and employer expectations.

"I try to teach them cooking skills, obviously, but beyond that I try to teach them about work ethic and what employers are going to be looking for," said Mitchell, a second-year teacher chosen as Discovery's Teacher of the Year.

Students who complete Mitchell's two-year program can apply many of the skills learned to higher education or to employment in the food-service industry, perhaps as a line cook at a local restaurant.

"Mike came to us from the public workplace, so he understands what employers are looking for when hiring candidates," said Asst. Supt. Keven MacDonald, who oversees Discovery High.  Read more here.
Bus
Driver Marcy Vaca

Heart is the key to working with kids
After many years driving kids to school, Marcy Vaca can sum up in a single word the   pivotal quality needed in a school bus driver: Heart.
  
 "You have to have a good heart because we're working with kids," said Vaca, known as "Miss  Marcy to her young passengers. "You can make their day or totally ruin it."
  
 Vaca realizes that she is the first NUSD employee that dozens of students see every morning and the last one they see each afternoon.  Her record is accident-free in nearly 11 years of driving for NUSD, she said, and she's determined to keep it that way.
  
 "I'm very religious, so every day I thank God and I ask him for a favor - to never, ever let me  hurt one of these kids," she said.

 Charmingly personable and unconventional, Vaca named her 78-passenger bus "Bob" for the simplest and most basic reason of all. "Because he looks like a Bob," she said, smiling. She also likes bugs, any type of bug -- lady bugs, ants, crickets, you name it. Kill a bug? Not Vaca.  "For me, being mean to kids or being mean to animals is not OK, it's being a bully, you know?"
 
 "I think our job is important because we transport the future," she said of school bus drivers. "A  lot of times I tell my kids, 'I don't know if I'm transporting the next president of the United  States.' Then I always say, 'Remember me (when you're president), OK?'"   Read more about  Vaca here.
Thank You, NUSD Adult Transition Program 
Joey's Food Locker video 
shows students helping others 

Since its opening in October 2015, Joey's Food Locker has grown to serve more than 170 people at its monthly grocery giveaways at Natomas High for local residents in need.

The program is run by NUSD Adult Transition Program students who are overcoming mental or physical challenges. See what makes Joey's Food Locker special by  clicking on this brief video, which was made to air on Sacramento community cable TV (Comcast  channels 15 and 16).

Heaping helping of turkey, trimmings and thankfulness 
Carrying on a Thanksgiving tradition, students in Joel Schwieger's Adult Transition Program for young adults overcoming mental or physical challenges prepared a turkey-and-trimmings holiday feast for dozens of peers and NUSD leaders Nov. 18.  Before a single fork was lifted, however, participants one-by-one recited something they are thankful for this year. The message? No matter who you are, or what your condition, there's always a reason to be grateful. ... A lesson for all of us, perhaps? ... Happy Holidays! 
A Closer Look at NUSD students of 'Vision' 
Last month, we announced that the Board of Trustees had honored more than 250 students for demonstrating outstanding qualities in community service, leadership, grades, art, personal responsibility, or any other quality that exemplifies NUSD's Vision. This month, we've created a brief video to highlight some of these kids and show why this annual awards program is special. As you watch it, keep in mind NUSD's Board-approved Vision, which is that, "All NUSD students graduate as college and career ready, productive, responsible, and engaged global citizens."
'Dia de los Muertos' celebration at LGA 
Festivities Spotlight Student Diversity 

Eye-catching student artwork, Latin music, painted faces, delicious food and campus entertainment combined to attract all ages to Leroy Greene Academy's "Dia de los Muertos" celebration on Nov. 3.  The annual festivities spotlight LGA's cultural diversity. Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday, acknowledged internationally, that honors family members and friends who have died.