NUSD Spotlight
 Community Newsletter
  -- October 15,  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.
'Celebrating Our Students' ceremony 
applauds hundreds of exceptional kids
'Celebrating Our Students'

Natomas Unified spells success, "R-o-n-a-n."

And "E-r-i-k-a."

Ronan, Erika, Savannah, Jahnavi, Olivia, Isabel, and the list goes on and on.

In a "Celebrating Our Students" ceremony at Inderkum High School, more than 400 kids of all ages were applauded last week  by the Board of Trustees for exemplifying one or more of five NUSD key areas: "Academics," "Technology," "Careers," "Athletics" and "The Arts."

Those five key ways that NUSD serves students and families are touted on banners hanging from street poles and displayed in our schools these days, but the success stories behind them are not as visible to passers-by, they're represented by hard-working kids making a difference at our schools every day.

We're proud of these exceptional youth and honored to celebrate them. Some may excel in academics, others in artistic pursuits, technology, or other skills. Some may stand out for their perseverance, determination, effort or other intangible qualities. All appear headed for bright futures. To read more about these kids and what makes them special, 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.
NUSD raises English and Math scores
in state student testing program, CAASPP
In both English and Math, the percentage of NUSD students in schools overseen by the School Leadership and Support (SLS) Department who met or exceeded state academic standards rose last year -- and two campuses scored double-digit increases, according to new data from California's academic testing program, CAASPP.

These schools increased their results by 8% in English and 2% in Math, higher than the statewide average of 1% in each subject.  Highlights for these schools include: 

● Elementary schools experienced the highest cumulative growth -- 9% in English and 3% in Math.
● Eleven of our 14 schools improved in English, and eight of our schools improved in Math (Paso Verde had no comparisons since it was in its first year of operation).
● Heron School and Natomas Park Elementary scored the highest increases among these schools. Both were up 16% in English. In Math, Heron rose 9%, Natomas Park 6%.
● Paso Verde School (PVS) opened strong in its very first year. PVS recorded the second-highest scores among these schools, with 57% of students meeting or exceeding state standards in English and 52% in Math.
● Natomas Middle School grew 6% in English and 2% in Math.
● Jefferson School grew 5% in English and 4% in Math.
● Other highlighted growth included H. Allen Hight's 9% gain in English, Natomas High School's 7% growth in English, and Two Rivers' 6% increase in English.

Unlike years prior, Natomas Charter School is not included in 2018 district CAASPP data. A school-initiated change to their student data reporting resulted in the state separating Natomas Charter's results from the rest of NUSD, so any year-to-year comparison of district data would not be an apples-to-apples comparison in 2018. Read more here.
NUSD's Eric Fong wins Friday Night Live
California 'Advisor of the Year' award  
Inderkum High School's Eric Fong has been named California's Friday Night Live "Advisor of the Year," singling him out among hundreds of peers statewide as a champion in fighting to save lives from drunken driving, distracted driving, or from use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco.

Fong's honor is the latest in a long list of accolades tied to Inderkum's FNL Club, which was selected California "Chapter of the Year" last year and has won top FNL honors in Sacramento County - the "C hapter Challenge" -- for four straight years.

Fong was nominated for "Advisor of the Year" by the Sacramento County Office of Education's FNL program. In the nomination letter, Melissa May, co-advisor to Inderkum's FNL Club, said that Fong "lives with his heart, character, and commitment" and that he "brings out the best in all of us."

Ashley Vinayak, a former student leader of Inderkum's FNL Club, said that "Mr. Fong taught me to step up to the plate and speak about issues that matter to me. He has been there for me, to support me, and has given me a chance to prove myself as a leader."

Well deserved, Eric Fong ... Congratulations! ... The nomination letter can be read here.
Lasers, light, sound, magnets & wind cars -- 
Heron Family Science Night a hit with all ages 
Science has no age limit, so Heron School invited parents and kids to learn together Oct. 3 about wonders of nature ranging from light to sound to lasers to magnetism. Welcome to Heron Family Science Night.

The school's multipurpose room was packed for the 90-minute event, featuring 17 interactive science stations and a grand finale that challenged families to design and build a wind car using index cards, straws, Lifesavers and tape.

Parent Cliff Hill said that students l earned a key lesson simply by seeing parents attend. "It sends a message to the kids that learning science, and education, is important."

"It's great for them," parent Janelle Arsich said of Heron students. "I think it opens up their minds to science, and different aspects of science, and it's fun and creative for them." Read more here

Student & parent opportunities and info 
Reminder: Tuesday
One-stop shopping for middle or high school 
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.
Help us choose: Wednesday
Input sought for History-Social Science books

Bet you know a good book when you see one.

Natomas Unified anticipates buying new History-Social Science textbooks for use in all grades next year, and we want your feedback about finalists under consideration. Your opinions will help guide decisions that can impact classrooms for years to come.

Please attend one of the following Information Nights, each from 6-7:30 p.m.:

* Wednesday, Oct. 17, in the Natomas High library, 3301 Fong Ranch Rd.
* Wednesday, Nov. 28, in the Inderkum High theater, 2500 New Market Dr.
* Wednesday, Dec. 5, in the Jefferson School library, 2001 Pebblewood Dr.
* Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Natomas Park Elementary library, 4700 Crest Dr.

Parents and guardians are welcome to come alone or bring their students to any of the sessions, where they can examine competing textbooks at three grade spans - K-5, 6-8, and High School. For more information, click here. Questions? Call (916) 567-5828. 
Reminder: Wednesday
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
Unusual challenge tests
Nighthawk agility, acuity
and problem-solving skills

Victory doesn't always go to the swiftest or strongest. Natomas High students proved that time and again Oct. 3.

Four-person teams of Nighthawks squared off throughout the day in the U.S. Army High School Challenge, requiring participants to test their teamwork and quick thinking as well as their fitness and agility. Emphasis was on problem-solving, collaboration and leadership.

Natomas USD: US Army High School Challenge

a scale of 1-to-10, Tyler said he would rate the challenge off the charts. "Honestly, if I gave it a ... rating, it would be like 12," he said. "It was awesome."

Justin participated because "I'm looking for a future job in the military and I wanted to check out what kinds of challenges they'd have us do."

Makayla and Sarahi joined other Nighthawk cheerleaders in competing. "I did it as a team-building activity, to make sure we're all connected as cheerleaders," Makayla said.

Check out the fun in this short video.
College and Career Readiness 
Workshop Thursday
Seniors can apply now for college financial aid

How can I support my student when applying for financial aid?

High school seniors can apply  now for  college financial aid -- and there are plenty of  resources to help.  "Cash for College" workshops are scheduled throughout the Sacramento area to assist 12th-graders in filling out applications for federal FAFSA and California Dream Act funds. Click here for a list of dates and times.

Two of the workshops will be held in NUSD: Thursday, Oct. 18 from 6-8 p.m. at Natomas High, 3301 Fong Ranch Road; and from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Inderkum High School, 2500 New Market Drive.
NUSD also has a new webpage detailing our college and career efforts.
For even more information, check out the NUSD Parent University video above, which focuses on applying for college financial aid.
10th-graders take PSAT college exam -- free! 
In keeping with our vision that all NUSD students graduate as ready for college or career, 10th-graders throughout the district were given the opportunity last week to take the Preliminary SAT at no cost to themselves. Most sophomores did so.

The PSAT is an important assessment that can contribute to future success by preparing  students for the SAT, commonly used in the college admissions process. 

The PSAT also can provide an early indication of reading, writing and math skills needed to succeed in college. Test results can help students qualify for a National Merit Award or other financial aid. NUSD offered the test during school hours so students could take it without work or other scheduling conflicts. We were pleased to offer this opportunity to the Class of 2021.
Why is Vince Caguin wearing Superman cape?
State Sen. Richard Pan honored our Food Services Director, Vince Caguin, at the Capitol last week as follow-up to his selection as an "Unsung Hero" of the Sacramento area in June. Besides a certificate of recognition, Caguin received a red Superman-like cape befitting any "hero."

Each summer, Caguin leads NUSD's free meals program that feeds hundreds of youth while classrooms and school cafeterias are closed. Beyond that, Caguin has made it his mission to teach students of all ages about nutrition and healthy eating

Last year, Caguin's Nutrition Services Department won a statewide award for using the expertise of its staff in a wide-ranging program that works directly with students in cooking instruction, cooking demonstrations, farm field trips, and other food-related educational events.

Congratulations on today's honor, Vince -- but please don't wear that cape too close to the oven ... :o)
NUSD 'Professional Development Day'
Learning at school isn't only for kids ... 
Teachers are learners, too.

That was crystal clear Monday, Oct 8, when no classes were held with students district-wide so that teachers, counselors and psychologists could gather together en masse for professional development at Inderkum High School.

Hundreds of employees attended the all-day training session, "Professional Development Day," to learn from each other with the goal of enhancing student college and career readiness. In that spirit, many teachers wore T-shirts from the college they attended.

Today's workshops can impact NUSD classrooms and students for years to come.

Separately, classified staff in numerous departments -- from Custodial to Transportation to Nutrition Services -- met at Discovery High for all-day training. Read more here.
Home Sweet Homecoming 
There's something very special about a high school football homecoming game, whether you're a teenager now or haven't been one for decades. Inderkum and Natomas High both broke out the pomp and circumstance to name new royalty last Friday, making their homecoming victories even more sweet.

Inderkum beat the Antelope Titans, 37-28, and Natomas High defeated the Florin Panthers, 28-0. ... Congratulations to all! ... (And hail to the new Kings -- and Queens!)

This 17-year-old is going places ... 
Remember the name: Mai Mai -- this 17-year-old is going places.

Last Friday night, she was named Inderkum's Homecoming Queen, indicating respect and popularity among classmates.

Two months ago, she was named Student Trustee on Natomas Unified's school board. Other accomplishments include:

1) Earning a 4.55 grade point average
2) Participating in the academically rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) program, recognized by top colleges and universities nationwide
3) Speaking three languages
4) Playing the flute and oboe in the school band
5) Participating in the National Honor Society
6) Helping to create a Model United Nations Club

Hats off to the Tigers' new queen -- (and tiaras, too.)
Students paint 'The Book'
to honor Hispanic Heritage 
To kick off National Hispanic Heritage Month, Natomas students recently painted a colorful mural on the public artwork known as "The Book" that greets motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians along Del Paso Road near Inderkum High School.

The mural was spearheaded by Inderkum's Sabor Latino Club, which is open to all students to promote community service and appreciation of Hispanic cultural heritage. Natomas Schools Foundation sponsored the painting.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual event honored nationwide but one that has special significance in Natomas because nearly one of every three NUSD students is Hispanic. The month of recognition extends from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and celebrates the history, culture and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Mexico, Central and South America, Spain, and the Caribbean. Read more here.
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.