NUSD Spotlight
Community Newsletter
 -- October 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.
Exemplifying NUSD 'Vision' 
College & career ready, productive, responsible and engaged citizens      

Think of Lorianne Talaba when you read Natomas Unified's Board-approved Vision statement. Think of Mariah Babrera Zernik. Or Isai Leon Casillas.

NUSD Trustees honored more than 250 students this month for exemplifying NUSD's Vision, which is, "All NUSD students graduate as college and career ready, productive, responsible, and engaged global citizens."

Winners were selected by their schools for demonstrating outstanding qualities in community service, leadership, grades, art, personal responsibility, or any other quality that exemplifies NUSD's Vision.

Put simply, these are student role models, kids of character, who clearly have made an impact on students and staff. Read more here.
NUSD to Partner with Care Group 

For Natomas Unified, it's a longtime dream come true: Provide the community with a health clinic staffed by a doctor, offering a variety of medical services, and willing to mentor students who are interested in health-care careers.

"Without question, it's taking that dream and making it real," said Carol Williams, an Executive Director in School Leadership and Support. "It's amazing."

NUSD's Board of Trustees recently approved a contract with a local health-care group, Health and Life Organization (HALO), to provide community care and student training in the District's existing B. Teri Burns Health Clinic at Natomas High School.

Opened more than a year ago by NUSD, the B. Teri Burns Health Clinic has been confined largely to issuing state-required vaccinations and health-related classes. Those services will continue with this partnership.

Physician services at the clinic are expected to begin next spring, assisting NUSD students and the community with medical needs ranging from checkups to preventive services to treatment of injury or illness. HALO currently operates five Sacramento health clinics. Read more here.
PREPARED TO SUCCEED @ NUSD 
'Silver Anniversary' Campaign

Read Katie's story here 
Spotlights Success Stories

As NUSD celebrates its nearly 25 years as a unified district, we have launched a campaign to spotlight former graduates who have achieved success in college or career.

Examples include Katie Coolidge, a business software analyst; Jesus Cedillo, a firefighter- paramedic; and Becky Fu, who has earned a BS degree from UC Davis and currently is a doctoral student in Stanford University's Genetics program.

Read their stories by clicking on the caption below their photo.

Read Becky's story here 
 Staff and community 
 join forces to make 
 Natomas 5K  a success

 About 400 staff and community members  turned out under sunny skies Oct. 1 for the  Natomas Schools Foundation's inaugural 5K "Run for Their Future."

 Final totals are not yet available, but  thousands of dollars were raised for schools  and students within NUSD boundaries. The  foundation is committed to  funding  scholarships, computer grants, and  other  benefits to local students, regardless  whether  they attend charter or non-charter schools.

 The 5K replaced the Duck Pluck  Festival this  year as the foundation's primary fundraiser.  For a good time, click on the video... :o) 


Mock Presidential Balloting: 
And the winner is .... 

Hillary Clinton!

The Democratic Party nominee was Inderkum High School students' clear choice to succeed President Barack Obama in mock balloting that was part of an integrated learning project by Broadcast Media and (IB) History students.

Both Inderkum classes studied issues surrounding this year's presidential election. History students then portrayed Clinton, Donald Trump and Green Party candidate Jill Stein in speeches for a video produced by Broadcast Media students. All Tigers were given the opportunity to watch the video, then ballots were cast: Clinton received about 61 percent of the vote; Stein, 25 percent; and Trump, 14 percent. 

No student volunteered to pose as Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson for the exercise, so his name was not on the mock ballot. The project urged all students, regardless of party, to register to vote when they become eligible.
Think fun, think exercise -- think safety  
Hundreds of Kids Celebrate
'Walk or Bike to School Day'

They walked, they biked, some traveled together, some traveled alone, but NUSD's celebration of "International Walk or Bike to School Day" at Two Rivers and H. Allen Hight elementary schools clearly was a big hut, cumulatively attracting hundreds of students.

Both campuses offered a walking "train: or "bus," meaning that students gathered at neighborhood parks and trekked together to school, supervised by adults volunteers.

"It's good exercise," said Lenaiya 6.

"It's fun," added Hunter, 7.

Dennis, 10, said he liked coming to school with friends.

With more kids on the street, however, the day was a perfect time to think about road safety. One careless move by a walker, bicyclist or motorist can lead to a crash causing permanent injury, so please review these safety tips distributed at the beginning of the school year.
   Supt's Message:

  Help Spread the Word About Biking, Driving Safety 
With winter approaching and Daylight Savings Time ending, we need your help to spread the word that it's vital for motorists to be extra cautious around bicyclists or pedestrians, and to drive slowly around school zones. We have had a series of accidents involving pedestrians and bikes -- many of them not near a school, but while students were on their way.

If you'll do your part by talking with neighbors, we'll do our part by reminding students about obeying traffic rules and sharing the road safely.

Read Supt. Evans' entire message here.
WANTED: Exemplary applicants for substitute jobs 
Grab your resume ...

NUSD seeks to fill numerous teacher and other substitute jobs, including  clerk, bus driver, custodian, maintenance specialist, and assistants for instruction, playgrounds and food service.

Interested? NUSD will hold a Substitute Employee Job Fair from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, at 1931 Arena Blvd. Bring your resume and be prepared for an interview on the spot. For additional information, click here
Click here to Learn Something New 

Yes, indeed, that headline is a link, taking you to NUSD's new Silver Anniversary webpage with information about our history, current programs, and some of our successful graduates. 

The new webpage helps fill in the gaps since March 1991, when 94.2% of local voters supported expanding the existing K-8 school district to one offering high school classes as well. In July 1992, the change became official. Since then, enrollment has risen from about 2,300 to more than 14,000 students.

We've come a long way in 25 years -- and we'll be spotlighting that in many ways, thanks to education partners who generously have donated for a year-long celebration. We want to give a special round of applause to the following "Platinum Star" and "Event Star" sponsors:

Angelique Ashby, Sacramento City Council member
Griff Davenport, DLR Group
Roman Munoz, Dannis Woliver Kelley
Brian Proteau, Arntz Builders Inc.
Jack Paddon, Williams and Paddon Architects+Planners Inc.
Scott Holbrook, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

To return to NUSD's new Silver Anniversary webpage, click here.
Eat a Persimmon, Win a Prize?

When was the last time you ate a persimmon? ... To many NUSD students, the answer is simple: Oct. 24!

To promote healthy eating, students and staff in school cafeterias throughout NUSD were encouraged  that day to sample a persimmon. 

The fruit was donated by Garibaldi Farms of Stockton in honor of National Farm to School Month. The photo above was taken at Two Rivers Elementary, where students participating in the edible fun -- called a "CRUNCH" activity -- received a sticker or pencil as a token prize.
Programs, notes and opportunities

Reaching Out to Parents and Guardians
 
Natomas Unified Energy Awareness 
 October is National Energy Awareness Month, so now is a good time to ask everyone to conserve  energy whenever possible. For a list of simple conservation measures that can be practiced  every day, click here. Please do your part to save energy and serve as a good conservation role  model for kids. Thank you. 
 
Environmental Services Program Success   
 
 NUSD created an Environmental Support Program last year to educate staff about how they can  conserve energy and why it's important to do so. Since then, staff cooperation and commitment has spoken volumes. We're excited to announce the reductions below:
 

 Decreased usage District-wide                  Equivalent to:

 Electricity -- 795,957 KWh                       Enough electricity to power Discovery High                                                              School for 3.5 years 
 Gas -- 10,313 therms                              1,402 tree seedlings grown for 10 years
 Water -- 1,257,200 cubic ft.                     14 Olympic-size swimming pools
 Food Waste -- 20 tons                             Renoving 7 passenger cars off the road
Round of Applause   
Teacher Cynthia Westbrook

'Kids amaze you every day' 

When Cynthia Westbrook began her career teaching 4th graders
in Room A-6 at  American Lakes Elementary School, Bill Clinton was president, the World Trade Center stood tall, and Apple had not yet introduced the iPod.

Nearly 16 years later, much has changed --  but not Westbrook. She remains in the same classroom, teaching the same grade level, with the same enthusiasm. In fact, she's American Lakes' reigning Teacher of the Year.

Westbrook is so attached to Room A-6, she jokes with kids in her classroom that when they come back to visit American Lakes many years from now, "I'll probably be here in a rocking chair."

Westbrook has created a model Green Team at American Lakes, consisting of more than 50 students committed to recycling and conservation. For several years, the team has recycled tons of paper and cardboard each year from classrooms. Last year, the kids pioneered a cafeteria food waste recycling program. Their efforts can qualify them for prizes and a field trip, but most of all, students participate because they truly care and want to make a difference, she said.

"It's heartfelt," Westbrook said of the Green Team's commitment. "It's something that makes them feel good when they're done."

Today's youth "are going to be the ones who have some genius and actually do something incredible to stop the way we're  headed," Westbrook said. "They're going to be the people that change the world and make it a better place."

Advice she would give a new teacher? "Kids amaze you every day," she said. "I get amazed almost every day by something a kid says or does or a struggle they have to get through. So prepare to be amazed." Read more here.
Classified Employee of the Year

Bet You Don't Know This About CJ Moua ... 

P erhaps you remember the friendly prank that Supt. Chris Evans pulled on IT special ist C. J. Moua last January, calling him into the Superintendent's Office on the pretext that a computer problem needed immediate fixing.

Surprise!

Evans informed the IT specialist that he had been named Natomas Unified's Classified Employee of the Year, which Moua later described as "jaw-dropping" news. "I was elated," Moua said. "I didn't know what to say. Wow!"

Who is this hard-working, third-year NUSD employee whose primary job is to keep laptops, desktop computers, phones, iPads and other technology equipment in good repair in the Ed Center and Staff Development Center?

Here are five things you probably don't know about Moua:

1)     He predicts the Chicago Cubs will win this year's World Series for the first time since 1908.

2)     A big sports fan, CJ's favorite teams are the Boston Red Sox in baseball, Denver Broncos in football, Detroit Pistons in basketball, and Chelsea FC in soccer.

3)     Personally, the sport he plays most these days is golf, but he's no stranger to football, soccer, and basketball. He also likes to fish.

4)    His favorite TV show all-time is "Married With Children" and his current favorites are "The Big Bang Theory" and "The Blacklist."

5)     CJ always has been curious about fixing things, but he hasn't always been good at it. His father used to warn family members that if they let CJ take apart a TV, radio, or any other electronic component, they'd never see it work again. Read more here.
Taking a Stand Against Bullying 
About 30 NUSD middle and high school students joined scores of other local youth at the Capitol Oct. 19 for a "Stand Up, Speak Out!" rally against bullying in all its forms, including social media. 

The goal was to shed light on the harmful effects of bullying, to show victims they're not alone, and to unite students against harassment. October is "National Bullying Prevention Month." 

Students attending today's Capitol rally took a pledge against bullying. ... They got an up-close-and-personal lesson in civics -- for a darn good cause.
Art of the Possible: Making
Creative Use  of Existing Space 
 
Creating 21st century learning spaces isn't always about constructing new buildings. Two Rivers Elementary recently opened its newly renovated library, which makes better use of existing space by adding:
1). Book shelves on wheels, so they can be moved easily to create more meeting space
2). Tables equipped with charging stations for laptop computers
3) Ceiling fans to push heat down in the winter and up in the summer
4), Lounge chairs and ottomans to make the library a more comfortable and inviting place for students to spend lots of spare time reading.
Nice!



Happy Harvest Festival Season 
Annual Celebration at Many Schools
Offers Games, Food & Family Fun 

Toss a ball into a tiny fish tank and win a goldfish. Get a colorful rub-off tattoo. Shoot basketballs. Knock over bowling pins. Buy cookies or cotton candy. Watch the principal compete in a watermelon-eating contest.

These were just a few of the attractions at Heron School's Harvest Festival, a fun-for-all ages event that brings families together and builds school spirit. Many NUSD schools hold similar events each October.