Finally it’s here – welcome back, students!
Backpacks, bicycles, moms, dads, smiles, greetings, banners, family photos – Natomas Unified’s first day of school was filled with excitement, emotion, happy reunions with friends, and some sad goodbyes to parents today, officially marking the end of summer vacation for thousands of students district-wide.
At H. Allen Hight Elementary School, a simple, hand-written message greeted students outside the campus, “Have a great day!”
At American Lakes School, posters reminded students of three key standards: “Show respect. Make good decisions. Solve problems.”
Hello to books, bells, homework and problem-solving.
Goodbye to sleeping in late on weekdays.
Natomas Unified continues to grow since the lifting of the community’s building moratorium several years ago. The district expects several hundred new students this year.
NUSD begins 2018-19 on a high note academically, with preliminary state data showing that NUSD students increased their test scores in both English and Math last year. NUSD also is tops countywide in the percentage of graduates completing college entrance requirements for UC and CSU campuses.
For Jefferson, Bannon and American Lakes schools, this year marks the second in a three-year process to create more intimate learning environments by converting them to K-8 (Kindergarten-8th grade). Sixth grade was added to them last year, 7th grade was added this year, and 8th grade is planned for next year.
Ultimately, the goal of converting South Natomas’ three formerly elementary schools to K-8 is to enable students to nurture relationships with students and staff from their earliest grades until high school
Other positive changes made by NUSD this year to support 21st century learning include:
· Reducing class sizes this year to a 24-to-1 target in grades K-3 to help get very young students off to a good start.
· Adding Special Education teachers and social-emotional staff, a full-time safety specialist to each K-8 school, and a Transitional Kindergarten program at Heron School, giving the district a TK program at all K-5 and K-8 sites.
· Continuing planning for a permanent campus for Paso Verde School, which opened at an interim site last year; and laying the foundation for two new college and career pathways – in Public Safety and Building & Trades.
NUSD also is completing a renovation and modernization of Jefferson School, with enhanced Internet capacity and new roofing, carpet, paint, heating, air conditioning, clock-bell-intercom systems, and desks that fit together easily for collaborative studies.
The journey toward college and career readiness resumes today, students.
Let’s get started!