NUSD Spotlight
Community Newsletter
 -- Oct. 2,  2017  

Hope you enjoy this edition of "NUSD Spotlight," the district's 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.
Tops in the state at trying to save lives 
Tigers' Friday Night Live honors

Inderkum High was named California state champion recently in perhaps the most important student activity of all: Trying to save lives. 

The Tigers' Friday Night Live chapter won the state "Chapter of the Year" award for its advocacy last year against drunken driving, distracted driving, and teen use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco. Monique Peterson, this year's chapter president, was a key leader last year as well -- a vice president. 

The winning plaque presented to Inderkum read, "Through your exemplary teamwork and leadership, you have made a lasting impact on your peers and community." ...  We can't think of a better legacy than that.
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!
PATH TO COLLEGE & CAREER
(One  in a series of stories looking at ways in which NUSD strives to prepare students to be college and career ready, beginning in early grades. Part of keeping students on track to meeting standards is preparing them to hit the ground running from the very start.)
NUSD triples preschool program in past two years 
To help more kids get off to a great start in school, NUSD has tripled the size of its preschool program the past two years and can serve nearly 300 kids with three-hour daily classes led by credentialed teachers. 

Preschool classes expanded this year to Two Rivers and Witter Ranch elementary schools. Last year, they were launched at Natomas Park and H. Allen Hight elementary schools, supplementing similar classes at Jefferson and American Lakes schools.

What's a class like?  A random visit found Witter Ranch's preschoolers listening to their teacher read "Wally Wants a Hug" about a boa constrictor, practicing counting, learning the alphabet - "L" was the letter of the day -- 
singing songs, moving their bodies to rhythm, and playing with puzzles, Legos, building blocks and other educational toys. Here's the kicker: They did all that in ABOUT HALF AN HOUR! 

By year's end, preschoolers are expected to be able to write their name, count to 10, recognize letters of the alphabet, recognize various numbers, follow classroom routine, and accomplish other tasks necessary for them to hit the ground running and to succeed in kindergarten.

Preschool teacher Kelsey Taylor said growth in one year is tremendous. "You see where they start and where they end -- it's amazing," she said.  Read more here.

What difference can a tiny pinwheel make? 
It's only a tiny pinwheel -- what difference can it make?

A big difference, a profound difference, one heart at a time, hopes American Lakes School Principal Ann Veu.

Hundreds of colorful paper pinwheels lining the front of the school caught the eyes of campus passers-by on Sept. 21.

They were made by students to honor International Day of Peace, after classroom lessons about the meaning of peace -- not only world peace, but inner peace and conflict-free schools. 

All students want the same thing -- and it really starts with you," Principal Veu said. 

The pinwheels were simple but touching. ""Love, Peace, Joy," one read. "We are all equal in God's eyes," read another. "Color of skins do not matter" said a third.

Maybe Bob Dylan was right after all. The answer may be blowin' in the wind, indeed, at American Lakes. Read more here.
Reminder: Secondary Showcase Night
Entering middle or high school next year?
Natomas Unified wants students to attend a middle or high school that best fits their individual interest and  needs. The choice is theirs.

To showcase academic options and answer questions, NUSD will hold a Secondary Showcase Night, for students and parents from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Leroy Greene Academy, 2950 W. River Dr. The session is designed primarily for families with a current 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th grade student, but students in earlier grades and their parents are welcome to attend, too. 

At Secondary Showcase Night, parents and students can wander from table to table, each representing a middle or high school, to hear about options such as International Baccalaureate (IB), Advance Placement Capstone Diploma Program,
Engineering, Robotics, Automation, Visual Arts, Hospitality, Arts, Business and Entrepreneurship, Sports, and after-school programs. The goal is to showcase what makes each campus special. Read more here.   Questions? Call 567-5430.
Miguel and Maria Torres
Thanks for your random act of kindness ... 
You never know when a random act of kindness will strike -- Sept. 19 at our Ed Center, for example. 

Miguel and Maria Torres, owners of Dos Tacos y Mas catering service, served a free lunch of tacos, beans, rice, chips and soda to everyone in NUSD's administrative offices and Service Center -- nearly 100 people in all.

Why? ... MIguel said that his two sons have attended Natomas schools, and his wife and four other family members have worked for NUSD -- including a brother, Joaquin, who recently retired from Bannon Creek Elementary. "My family has been with the District for 20-something years," he said, his voice cracking with emotion. "The District has always been there for my family." 

Please know that we know, Miguel, that the reverse is true, too: Your family has always been there for NUSD kids. Thank you!
Please sign up now: Natomas 5K
less than two weeks away! 
 
We keep saying that NUSD is like a big family -- and events like this showcase that. The Natomas 5K "Run for Their Future" is organized by volunteers and brings the community together for fun, fitness, and a cause we can all be proud of -- college scholarships. Please join us Saturday, Oct. 14 -- (less than two weeks from now!) -- at Inderkum High.

We also are eagerly seeking volunteers, so if you can't run or walk a 5K, you can help this worthy cause for kids by helping with one of numerous tasks, ranging from assisting last-minute registration to passing out water to runners at a key checkpoint. The 5K will be over by 10 a.m., so not much time is required. Please consider lending a hand. Thanks! Register as a runner or a volunteer by clicking here.
College Fairs
Helping students pick a college to attend 
About 275 parents and students from throughout NUSD gathered at Inderkum High School on Sept. 19 for the district's annual College Fair, where representatives from more than 40 colleges and universities answered their questions about programs, scholarships, application requirements, and other matters.

Five days earlier, more than 100 NUSD juniors and seniors traveled to Grant Union High School for the "18th Annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities Recruitment Fair, organized by the United College Action Network Inc. (UCAN).
 DHS Hospitality Pathway
 Career training that tastes mighty good, too! 
It looked just like a real restaurant -- cloth napkins, written menus, servers, even decorative flowers on every table. But this was a test, only a trial run, in which Discovery High's new indoor cafe hosted NUSD Trustees and administrators Sept. 20 for a lunch of grilled salmon or chicken breast, cooked and served by students in the school's Hospitality Pathway. 
Afterward, the students got more compliments than the total calories in each slice of New York Lemon Cheesecake handed out for dessert. Well, almost ... 

Here's what Board President Lisa Kaplan wrote of the meal: "Delectable, scrumptious and absolutely outstanding! Keep up the great job!" Read more here.
Student & Parent Opportunities   
Nominate standout North Natomas kids 
for '50 Bikes for 50 Kids' giveaway    

NUSD staff and local residents, here's your chance to reward North Natomas kids who make that community better just by being themselves ... The "50 Bikes for 50 Kids" contest provides bicycles to North Natomas youth in the 5th through 12th grades who demonstrate outstanding character traits - respect, caring, fairness, trustworthiness, citizenship or responsibility. The North Natomas Transportation Management Association teams pairs winners with volunteers to assemble the bikes in a heartwarming community event. Please click here by Nov. 15 to sponsor a bike or nominate a deserving student who lives, works, or attends school in North Natomas. Nominators may suggest more than one child, however, separate applications must be filled out for each. Questions? Call Leah Barrett at NNTMA, (916) 419-9955.
Infinite Campus Parent Portal helps you track
grades, attendance & other classroom info   
 
The Infinite Campus Parent Portal is a great tool for parents to view their child's attendance, grades, and other important information. Parents also can update contact, mailing and other information.
 
Returning parents will continue to use the same username and password as last year. New parents will receive an email at the beginning of each week with a link that will lead them through steps to create an account, so please ensure that your school has your correct email address.
  
To learn more about the portal, visit our website here.
Which college to attend?
Check out Sacramento State

"Future Hornet Day" from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, is a good opportunity for students and families to tour the CSU Sacramento campus, visit its new residence hall, meet with academic departments, and obtain enrollment information. A Homecoming Festival will begin at 3 p.m. that day, followed by a football game in which the Hornets will take on Idaho State at 6 p.m. Details here.
Parent Training Sessions:
'Inclusion' coming Oct. 10  

Parents are partners with us in educating their student. So NUSD is offering workshop sessions throughout the year on NUSD programs and practices. The next session, titled "Inclusion," focuses on the simple idea that all students, including those with disabilities, deserve equal educational opportunities. It will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, in the NUSD Board Room, 1901 Arena Blvd. Future sessions will address Inclusion, Restorative Justice, Crisis Prevention Intervention, and transitions from elementary and high school. For dates, times and other information, click here.
Parent workshops
'How to Get to College'
session scheduled Oct. 18 

NUSD's Parent University will offer a free parents workshop, "How to Get to College," from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the Natomas Staff Development Center, 1931 Arena Blvd.

The 90-minute session will discuss college assessment tests, college admission requirements, and other aspects of college readiness.

The workshop is part of a monthly series, "A Roadmap to Higher Education," designed to help parents support their student's college and career success. Child care will be available for children 2 to 10 years old, free language translation will be provided, and free transportation will be offered to families that preregister. Click here for more information. 
 Helping, learning & having fun at F arm-to-Fork Fest 
Extending a helping hand ... 

Nutrition Services staff and some district students volunteered and performed community service Sept. 23 at Sacramento's Farm-to-Fork Festival. NUSD's contingent spread the word about our farm-to-school program and handed out tomatoes, peaches, and "sweet lunchbox peppers" grown by local farms.

NUSD is committed to buying locally grown fruits and vegetables, when feasible, for school cafeteria meals.

Participating in the Farm-to-Fork Festival was one of many ways that NUSD Nutrition Services works directly with students and the community throughout the year to encourage healthy eating habits. Participating students Saturday also got to learn from dozens of other farm-to-fork vendor booths at the festival. Awesome!
Crowning Tiger Royalty 
A peek at Inderkum's Homecoming

Homecoming always is special at Inderkum High, which carried on the tradition with gusto Sept. 22. The occasion was made even sweeter when the Tigers extended their season-long undefeated streak to five straight, which was raised to six last week ... (Natomas High will celebrate its Homecoming on Oct. 13 against Marysville High) ... Inderkum's festivities included a packed crowd, lively music, talented team, spirited cheerleading, and lots of smiles -- particularly on the faces of students crowned Homecoming royalty. Here's a peek at what Tiger fans saw that night ...
NUSD Spotlight
             Brought to you by:
             Jim Sanders
   Director of  Communications
             (916) 561-5267