NUSD Spotlight
Community Newsletter
 -- Sept. 5,  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.
'I felt I could be a voice for my peers' 
Natomas High's Jadon Johnson
sworn in as Student Trustee 

NUSD's new student Trustee made headlines last year for dying -- well, figuratively. ... Jadon Johnson was a victim in last year's "Every 15 Minutes" simulation of a fatal drunken driving crash. At the time, he was warning classmates about the perils of driving impaired. Now, he's helping them in a different way.

Jadon was sworn onto the Board of Trustees Aug. 23 to cast preferential votes that symbolize student opinion. "I just felt, I'm like an older brother to some of my friends, they come to me for advice," he said. "I felt I could be a voice for my peers and their ideas." A senior, football standout and track athlete at Natomas High, Jadon is taking three Advanced Placement (AP) classes this year and plans to major in kinesiology in college. Read more here.
Leroy Greene Academy teacher
paints huge midtown Prince mural
Sacramento has its own "Prince of Hearts" now, thanks to Rachel Cate.

The Leroy Greene Academy artist and teacher spray-painted a massive, eye-catching mural of the musical icon Prince performing, collar open, jamming on an electric guitar inside a larger-than-life playing card on a building at 20th and O streets in midtown.

"It's my tribute to Prince and all the work he did through the years to provide the playlist to so many lives," Cate said.

Cate envisioned her public artwork as a remembrance of Prince honoring the first anniversary of his death. The rock 'n' roll Hall of Famer died from an accidental drug overdose on April 21, 2016. He was 57. The mural took her nine to 12 hours a day, for five days, to finish. She spent about $2,000.

Cate, who has taught art, graphic design and photography at LGA, completed an Oak Park mural of her musical hero in April 2017. She put the finishing touches on her midtown Prince of Hearts several months later - in mid-July.  Read more here.
Every student, every day, every class, on time
- September is Attendance Awareness Month
September is Attendance Awareness Month, a good time to reflect on the harm done by cutting class or skipping school just a couple times per month:

 1) Children chronically absent in Kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade
2) By 6th grade, chronic absence is a proven early warning sign for students at risk for dropping out of school
3) By 9th grade, good attendance can predict graduation rates even better than 8th grade test scores.
 Please help us spread the word: Every student, every class, every day, on time. Read more here.
Derek Dykstra
County honors NUSD 'Teacher of the Year'
Inderkum High math instructor Derek Dykstra was honored recently by the Sacramento County Office of Education as NUSD's Teacher of the Year and one of the region's finest instructors.

Dykstra was nominated for the NUSD honor for extraordinary service, including teaching the highest levels of Math, overseeing Inderkum's Link Crew orientation and mentoring program for freshmen, serving as assistant coach of boys Varsity Soccer, helping with a new-teacher induction program, co-chairing the school's Math Department, and announcing Tiger football games.

"His dedication to this campus, its student body and co-workers is without compare," his nomination read. ... Thank you, Derek Dykstra, for all you do for Natomas students and families. Click here to read more about NUSD's Teacher of the Year.
Heron's Rylei Trujillo a big hit in fast-pitch softball  
Rylei Trujillo doesn't just play girls softball - she lives it, breathes it, studies it, practices it endlessly, and competes in tournaments nearly every weekend.

With passion like that, it's no surprise, perhaps, that the Heron School 7th-grader was selected for and played recently in the USA Softball All American Games in Oklahoma City, Okla. The fast-pitch tourney was a showcase for the nation's best youth players.

"To get there, it felt like a dream come true," said Rylei, 12, who pitches or plays shortstop, third base or outfield.

Softball has taught her valuable skills she can use at home and school: Teamwork, communication, discipline, focus, preparation and "coachability," Rylei said.  Read more here.
'Roadmap to Higher Education'
offers college readiness tips 

NUSD's Parent University is offering a free workshop series, titled "A Roadmap to Higher Education," covering topics ranging from college readiness to admission requirements, costs, and financial aid.

Let's work together to secure a bright future for your child. The first session, titled, "College Readiness: Understanding Higher Education," will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, in the Natomas Staff Development Center, 1931 Arena Blvd.

At all three sessions -- the others are Oct. 18 and Nov. 7 -- free 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. 
'Historically Black Colleges & Universities'
plan 18th annual recruitment fair Sept. 14

High school juniors and seniors can speak to dozens of recruiters at the "Historically Black Colleges and Universities Recruitment Fair" to be held from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Sept. 14, at Grant Union High School, 1400 Grand Ave., Sacramento.
All participating students should bring their transcript, and seniors should bring their SAT/ACT test scores, if available. Qualified applicants can receive on-the-spot admissions and scholarships. Application fee waivers also will be available. Online registration is available at For more information, click here.
To help kids learn & succeed 
Early  Release Staff Development:
Five days planned - first is Sept. 12  

To help your student learn and succeed, Natomas Unified teachers come together throughout the year to learn, practice and collaborate on improving instruction. This year, five Staff Development Early Release Days will take place, on September 12, October 24, December 12, February 6, and March 27. Because bell schedules differ, your child's school is notifying you of dismissal times on those days through principals' weekly phone calls, newsletters, and/or other school site communication. NUSD's Student Calendar, available on our district website, has been adjusted to reflect this staff development time. Shared teacher learning is consistent with district goals of increasing academic success and training and retaining high-quality staff. For more information, please contact your school's principal.
What advice would you give a 1st-grader? 
What advice would you give to your child entering 1st grade?

An NUSD teacher asked parents to surprise her class by writing their 1st-grader a short note for display at Back to School Night. The kids discovered the notes on their desks the following day. Advice by parents was heartwarming. Here's a sampling:

1) "Have fun at school. You have a great teacher. Listen to her and learn. Make me proud and make a lot of friends. I love you!"
2) "Enjoy your first grade, have tons of fun, make friends. We are always proud of you!"
3) "I want you to listen to your teacher because she will always tell you the right things. I hope you can find books that you will like reading. Remember that you are always your own number one. You will always succeed in anything you try."
3) "You are such an amazing little person. Keep doing a great job in school. You are my super hero."
Reminder: Oct. 14 

Have fun, help kids
at Natomas 5K run/walk

Have fun, get exercise, and help kids -- a winning formula for everyone!

An Oct. 14 community 5K in Natomas is named " Run For Their Future" for good reason. Proceeds from this Natomas Schools Foundation event provide scholarships and laptop computers to help deserving students further their education.

Last year, the nonprofit foundation awarded $9,000 in scholarships and 15 Chromebooks to students living within NUSD boundaries. Please consider running or walking this 5K fundraiser, which begins at Inderkum High School and loops around North Natomas Regional Park beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14.

You can save money by registering now because early bird rates are in effect. Click here to register as a runner or sponsor. Thank you very much.
Parents Learn to Track
Student Information

Dozens of parents and guardians learned how to track their child's classroom attendance, grades, and other personal information recently by attending a district workshop held at Natomas Middle School. Participants received tips on using Infinite Campus and the district's Parent Portal. The session was spearheaded by NUSD's  Parent University and the Research and Data Department. 

Nighthawks & Tigers: Unbeaten!

Off to roaring starts ... Both Inderkum and Natomas High are undefeated after two games apiece this year. Inderkum is ranked 4th in The Sacramento Bee's regional Top 20, which mentions Natomas High as "on the bubble" for that list. The Nighthawks are led by a new coach, Don DeRosa, who promises a new era of Nighthawk fooball. Both teams play Friday night -- Inderkum travels to American Canyon and Natomas High hosts Mira Loma . .. Go Tigers! ... Go Hawks!
NUSD Spotlight
             Brought to you by:
             Jim Sanders
   Director of  Communications
             (916) 561-5267