NUSD Spotlight
     Community Newsletter
      -- October 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 story suggestions. Thank you for your support of Natomas schools.
Great news for classroom technology!
Chromebook cart for every two teachers
is key part of new plan approved by Board 
Technology is a vital part of 21 st century learning, so Natomas Unified's Board of Trustees has approved additional investment over the next two years to enhance  student use of Chromebooks for critical thinking, research, problem solving, and innovative learning.

A key part of the new technology plan is to provide one classroom cart of Chromebooks for every two teachers, requiring purchase of about 2,400 new Chromebooks and ensuring that all schools have equal access. The plan also envisions a partnership with Comcast to subsidize home Internet access so that 1,000 students in need can further their education and complete assignments after school.

Other highlights include creating a computer coding program for students, expanding teacher training in computer use, implementing software to help teachers monitor student online activity, updating "digital citizenship" standards to discourage improper computer use, and replacing numerous aging computers used by students, teachers or staff. Read more here.
'Celebrating Our Students' in Technology
-- We've come a long way since 2012
(Third in a five-part series on key ways we serve students in partnership with families and stakeholders. In addition to "Technology, the segments are "Academics," "Careers," "Athletics" and "The Arts." All are featured on banners displayed on street poles and in our schools.)

Six years ago, NUSD had no district-wide wireless network and students shared a desktop computer with four monitors. Much has changed since then. All schools and classrooms have Internet wireless access now. Students have access to Chromebooks at all grade levels. Teachers are issued a MacBook Air laptop and an iPad.

There's a Digital Warehouse to identify needed academic improvements, and a portal where parents can get information about student grades, attendance and assignments. Technology has impacted Career Technical Education Pathways, and it has opened up new opportunities for learning - curriculum can be accessed instantly online, for example, from all over the world. For all those reasons, we're pleased to spotlight Technology in our "Celebrating Our Students" series. The future looks bright for NUSD.

For "Technology" highlights, click here.
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.
'Sneak peek' at coming NUSD attractions:
Public Safety & Building Trades pathways  
Public Safety Pathway Day 
spotlights plans for new program 
Fourteen-year-old Angel wants to be a firefighter someday, so he was one of the first to sign an interest sheet recently at Inderkum High School's Public Safety Pathway event.

Helicopter, motorcycle, K-9, SWAT, marine, mounted officer, and other police and fire units came to Inderkum so that students could talk with first responders before deciding whether to sign up for the school's upcoming Public Safety Pathway, set to launch next year.

Inderkum will operate one of Northern C alifornia's only academic pathways combining police and fire services. While building a solid foundation for public service careers, students also will focus on core academic subjects -- such as English, Science, Math and History.

"I think it's pretty cool," said Taylor, 17.

"I think it's a great idea," added Carley, 14.

"It's just upsetting that we're seniors and we won't get this," said Maryam, smiling. The 17-year-old will graduate before the pathway begins next fall. Read more about Public Safety Pathway Day here. Read details about the planned pathway here.
Trades Day lets students 
explore construction pathway  

Remember the old adage, "Build it and they will come"?

This was the exact opposite: Because they came, someday they may build.

Dozens of NUSD students attended Trades Day at Cal Expo on Friday, Sept. 28, giving them a chance to talk with professional builders and construction trades workers before deciding whether to enroll in a Building & Construction Trades academic pathway set to launch next year at Natomas High.

The four-hour event included excavators, bricklayers, plumbers, pipefitters, general contractors, electricians, welders, steelworkers and others, 52 companies in all, discussing career options with 1,800 Sacramento-area students. It was sponsored by the Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange Education Foundation.

"For every five people that are retiring in (construction and building trades), we only have one in the pipeline right now," said Jordan Blair, executive director of the foundation. "So there's going to be a huge shortage." In the Sacramento region alone, officials hope to recruit 5,000 people annually for the next five years to help fill the gap, Blair said. Read more about 'Trades Day' here. For details of NUSD's pathway plans, click here.
Applauding 'perfect' students at Heron School 
Best of the best -- perfection!

No wonder these Heron students are so happy -- they were honored by classmates at a school assembly Friday for getting perfect scores in Math or English Language Arts in the state's academic testing program,

Heron celebrated a dozen "perfect" students, more than doubling last year's total of five.

Two of the kids in the photo, Cailyn McNamara and Tanya Gadhia, earned perfect scores in BOTH Math and English Language Arts. ... Wow! ... Phenomenal job, Flyers. ... Keep soaring!
Hundreds attend NUSD College Fair 
One-stop shopping for seniors
-- college prep for all students

More than 650 students and parents turned out recently for NUSD's College Fair, held at Natomas High to give families an opportunity to speak directly to representatives of more than 50 colleges and universities.

Students said they appreciated and benefited from the Sept. 25 event, which enabled one-stop shopping by seniors and provided wide-ranging perspective to younger students.

Tyrone, 17, said it would be hard to call dozens of colleges individually. "If there's a central area for everything to be located, it's a lot easier to get information," he said.

"It gives me an image of what I want to do later on in life," said Briyon, 14.

"They ask you, 'What are your interests in school?' and someone will say, 'I like to dance,' and they say, 'We have a program for that.' You wouldn't have known until you talk to these people," said Talitha, a senior. "So I think this is great." Read more here.
Student & parent opportunities and info 
Secondary Showcase Night coming Oct. 16  
We want students to attend a campus that best suits their needs and interests, so we're holding a Secondary Showcase Night to explore options on Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 6-8 p.m. in the Natomas High School gym, 3301 Fong Ranch Rd.

Students and parents will learn about the unique academic programs and pathways at each secondary school, such as International Baccalaureate, AP Capstone, Broadcast Media, Digital Media, Engineering, Automotive, Arts, Hospitality, Business & Entrepreneurship, and Health, including Emergency Medical Technician. Two additional academic pathways are planned for next year: Public Safety and Building & Construction Trades.

Please mark your calendar now for Secondary Showcase Night on Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 6-8 p.m. at Natomas High. Questions? Contact the Student & Family Engagement Department at (916) 567-5828.
NUSD District Sub Fair
Looking for a part-time job that helps kids? 
Recruiting for numerous part-time positions, NUSD will hold a Substitute Employee Job Fair from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, in the district's Staff Development Center at 1931 Arena Blvd.

Participants should bring their resume and be prepared to interview on the spot.

Subs are sought for numerous certificated and classified positions, including teacher, instructional assistant, food service assistant, playground assistant, bus driver, custodian, clerk, and campus safety specialist. Hours range from 2.5 to 8 per day.

Questions? Call (916) 561-5299 or email NUSD's Human Resources Department at Candidates also can apply online at
Donating for scholarships won't cost a penny! 
Would you donate for student scholarships if it didn't cost you a penny?

The Natomas Schools Foundation, which has awarded $16,000 in college scholarships and 33 Chromebooks to deserving students over the past two years, is happy to announce a new way of contributing to this vital cause automatically and painlessly -- with no extra cost to you -- through your online Amazon purchases.

Here's more about this innovative program: 

AMAZON SMILE: This website operated by Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase price to a charitable organization. Simply start your shopping at and designate Natomas Schools Foundation as your charity of choice. Eligible merchandise you buy will not cost extra - and you will receive the same product choices and shopping features as on

Thank you very much for helping NUSD students.
Why were Secretary of State Alex Padilla
and Mayor Darrell Steinberg at LGA? 
Student voter registration drive

Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Mayor Darrell Steinberg and county schools chief Dave Gordon were joined at the podium by NUSD Supt. Chris Evans recently in a press conference at Leroy Greene Academy urging youth to register to vote.

LGA students Amarastarr Kight and Allissa Parks also spoke at the event, held on National Voter Registration Day, Sept. 25.

"I believe that voting is a privilege, and I feel we should be able to live up to it," Amarastarr said afterward.

"I feel that if we don't voice our own opinion, there will never be the change made that we want," Allissa added.

Dylan, 17, preregistered to vote at a table set up on LGA's quad. He said he is eager to cast a ballot once eligible. Why? "Because every vote counts," he said. Read more here.
How hot can Tigers get?

En fuego! ... Here's how HOT Inderkum's Tigers are in football: Last week they played Woodcreek High, which was undefeated on the year, ranked 18th in the Sacramento region, and had wreaked havoc on six straight opponents, outscoring them 301-75. ... Fast forward to last Friday night ... Inderkum scored, then scored, then scored again, racking up a third-quarter lead of 44-0 en route to a final tally of 51-7. The Tigers are a perfect 6-0 this year, none of the games even close. It doesn't get much better than this ...
American Lakes School
Promoting peace, one pinwheel at a time
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind - pinwheels for peace at American Lakes School.

Students of all grade levels created hundreds of tiny, colorful pinwheels in their classrooms, then "planted" them recently in lawn outside their school as spinning messages of hope.

Each artwork was adorned with peace signs or words symbolizing what peace means to the student who created it. The exercise honors International Day of Peace and a companion project, Pinwheels for Peace.

One pinwheel read, simply, "Love."

Another said, "Peace for the world."

A third read, "Peace is finding a house."

In launching Pinwheels for Peace at American Lakes last year, Principal Ann Veu said that while students may not stop war throughout the world, they can make a big difference in their own lives and at their school by making a commitment to be kinder, friendlier, and create a culture of caring -- one pinwheel at a time. Read more here.
Pumas get 'A Touch of Understanding' 
Session encourages empathy

Disability doesn't mean disabled. Fourth-graders at Paso Verde School learned that lesson by experiencing firsthand what it's like to be blind, unable to walk, or to face other bodily challenges.

"A Touch of Understanding," a local nonprofit group, spent several hours at Paso Verde urging students to hear, touch, hold, feel and experience what people with disabilities live with every day.

The students maneuvered wheelchairs. Walked with white canes. Traced letters in Braille. Listened to noises that tend to distract autistic kids. Asked questions of adults with disabilities. Saw prosthetic legs, hands, arms, and other assistive devices.

The program provided perspective: People with disabilities can do plenty, but they do some things a little differently than others do them. At its core was an anti-bullying message: we all deserve respect, we're all skillful, we're all capable, we're all valuable. "A Touch of Understanding," indeed. Read more here.

C SU Sacramento honors teacher Joel Schwieger 
and Keller Williams Realty for service to NUSD
NHS teacher runs
Joey's Food Locker 

Joel Schwieger said he couldn't run a food closet without his students at Natomas High, so he called some of them to the podium Sept. 21 as he received a "Better Together" award from CSU Sacramento.

The veteran teacher was honored for creating and operating Joey's Food Locker, which serves hundreds of families in need each month. After all he's done for others, it was terrific to see the spotlight shine on Schwieger. Well deserved. Click here to view a CSUS video about Joey's Food Locker and Schwieger's passion for and service to it.  
Keller Williams Realty brightens up holiday for many families 
Keller Williams Realty promised to donate 300 Thanksgiving turkeys to NUSD's Joey's Food Locker last year, but a strange thing happened: 400 turkeys showed up! 

More recently, the firm teamed with Rotary Club to donate 40 backpacks filled with school supplies.

For its generosity to NUSD families in need, KW was honored with a "Better Together" award from CSU Sacramento. Thank you, KW!
Please 'Like' us on Facebook
and follow us on Twitter 

Let's work together to educate your child. We urge parents to get to know our district. 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 serve you.
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.