In The Loop Staff Newsletter – April 12, 2024

--- Published on April 12th 2024 ---
General News
In the Loop


Winning Off the Court: Natomas High School Coach and Student Athlete Recognized by The Sacramento Bee

coach and player
coach of the year
NHS basketball career

Congratulations to Nighthawks Boys Basketball Coach Brian McKenzie for being named The Sacramento Bee’s Coach of the Year after leading the team to their finest season since 2007! McKenzie says, “It’s an honor to be able to bring a lot of change and excitement to the school and community. It was a lot of hard work put in starting last year that resulted in the accolades and this journey we went on.”

The Sac Bee also recognized Natomas High School student athlete Manno as “Player of the Year”! Manno is currently a guard for the team and says he is grateful to the Natomas Unified community, team mates, and his family for helping him achieve this goal. The sophomore adds this accolade helps him and the team continue to build together. We’re excited for what you’ll bring to the basketball court next season!


Nutrition Services Awarded By the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Nutrition services holding corn

NUSD’s Nutrition Services proves it knows how to ‘turnip the beet’! The department was recently awarded the bronze “The Turnip the Beet Award” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its outstanding summer meal program in 2023. NUSD Nutrition Services was awarded this recognition based on the meal’s appeal and nutrition and has been recognized for providing Sacramento-grown produce, a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, and nutritionally packed dishes.

Tasting New Items with Natomas High Students

It was a spicy, albeit delicious assignment for some Natomas High School students as they tasted Nutrition Services’s new menu item: buffalo chicken wrap. Watch this video, produced by our talented CTE Digital Media pathway students, as they take a bite and share their feedback with the chefs.


Saturday’s the Day! NUSD’s Multicultural Festival

Official Multi fest flyer

Saturday’s Multicultural Festival is sure to be a feast for the senses as our district prepares to celebrate the diversity of Natomas! All are welcome to take in the Chinese, Polynesian, Filipino, hip-hop, Bhangra, Native American, Aztec dances, and more; arts and crafts booths; and the sheer display of the talent and culture our community offers.

The entire festival will be indoors, so if it rains, guests will stay dry once inside. Access to more information, including the link to RSVP to the event, and transportation from select school sites may be found here.

‘A History of Me’

Watch this video as students learn that identity is about embracing all parts of oneself. The lesson was coupled with the reading of the book, ‘A History of Me’. One of the teachers who taught the lesson, Meghan Topping, shares, “Our sense of identity morphes with all of our life experiences. It’s going to be formative for their (the students) jobs, for their families they have later.”

Students also learned how shaping identity impacts cultures outside of their own. “I like how we’re learning about not just one specific culture, we’re learning about a lot of different things,” a student said.


robyn, susan, and noel
group photo

Superintendent Dr. Robyn Castillo documented her trip to Washington, D.C. this past week on her Instragram. She is pictured with NUSD Trustees Dr. Susan Heredia and Noel Mora, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Martin, and Congressman Ami Bera. Castillo wrote this caption, “Was an honor to travel with Trustees Heredia & Mora to DC to advocate for our schools on important issues such as Special Education funding, teacher recruitment and retention & cybersecurity.”

Follow Castillo’s Instagram journey here, then click “follow”.


‘Love & Logic’ Shares Tips on Raising Self-Confident Children

Families recently received techniques to help them navigate raising self-confident, motivated, and resilient children thanks to the free Parent University series ‘Love and Logic’. Watch this video to hear what parents learned and how they were able to use those skills immediately to enhance their parenting. To learn about future workshops, access podcasts, recorded sessions, and resources through Parent University, visit the Parent University webpage.

10th – 12th Graders Encouraged to Apply to Summer Youth Workforce

We are excited to offer the Summer Youth Workforce program for the third year in partnership with the Natomas Chamber of Commerce and SAFE Credit Union. This program is open to incoming 10th – 12th grade high school students who want to obtain job and life skills to prepare them for the future. Students will learn such skills as interviewing for a job, searching for employment, dress etiquette, resume building, networking, and personal budgeting. At the end of the week-long session, they will have the opportunity to interview with representatives of the Natomas business community for potential job opportunities. If students do not receive a job offer at the end of the session, they will be equipped with a resume and skills to apply to future jobs. The series of workshops will be from June 10-14. Students who are offered a job or internship at the end of the workshops will arrange their work schedule with the employer. Apply here by May 1 at 4 PM.

youth workforce flyer

Celebrate Earth Day with Art!

Kindergarten through 6th grade students are invited to send in their Earth Day Art, as community partner SMUD, hosts an Earth Day Art Competition. The competition is a fantastic way for students to express their creativity through art, while also getting them to think about SMUD’s 2030 goal of eliminating carbon emissions. The competition closes April 22nd.

Students are invited to create paintings, sculptures, sidewalk art, dioramas, and other media. SMUD will select 18 winners whose artwork will be featured in a special 18-month calendar from July 2024 to 2025.

For more information about the contest, visit SMUD’s website.

Art Competition Open to High School Students

art competition

Apply here and access student release form here.

Seniors! Apply for the Natomas Chamber of Commerce Scholarship 

scholarship savings

Graduating seniors are encouraged to apply to this year’s Natomas Chamber of Commerce Scholarship. The Natomas Chamber of Commerce serves the Natomas community by providing a forum for its members through promoting sound business relationships and by advocating socially responsible community policies. Through awarding the scholarships we want to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship as well as higher educational goals towards any industry the students wish to pursue. As a chamber we want to foster community involvement, appreciation for entrepreneurship, interest in further studies and long-term career goals in all shapes and forms.

To download the application, click here.


Schools Insurance Authority (SIA) Newsletter Available Now


The SIA spring newsletter is available now and may be viewed here. 


An EAP is a service designed to help you manage life’s challenges. Everyone needs a helping hand once in a while, and the EAP can provide it. Professional counselors and services can help you and your eligible family members resolve a broad range of personal problems affecting your emotional health, family life, and work life. EAP is a no-cost, confidential resource for NUSD employees and their eligible family members. 


EAP provides customized financial coaching resources. Are your finances fit? Is your budget trim? Do you have a healthy savings account? You can plan a healthy financial future for your family now. There are resources, tips, and articles to step up your financial know-how. Plus, you’ll find support to help you increase your savings, lower debts and improve credit — so you can dial down financial stress. This service, included at no cost to you, includes: 

  • Online financial stress assessment
  • Self-directed online learning modules on credit, debt, and budgeting
  • Financial calculators to assess your current situation
  • Two 30-minute calls per problem per year with a money coach
  • 100% confidential


Call EAP at 1-866-248-4096 to get connected with a money coach or visit the EAP website at and select Benefits & Services, All Benefits, and scroll down to the Financial section.

If accessing online for the first time, click register now, follow the prompts, and select SIA-SIA when prompted for the company code. 









How to Navigate Workplace Change




How to Understand Nonverbal Communication




How to Work with Difficult Customers (not employees)




How to Work with Difficult Customers (not employees)




Menopause & Mental Health




Making Time for Fitness




How to Support Mental Health Concerns with Friends & Family




NUSD Newsroom Hub

newsroom hub big

The NUSD Newsroom Hub web page is a dedicated place to access current and past NUSD media such as news articles, Board Highlights, newsletters, Last Week’s Wrap Up, videos, and podcasts all produced by the district’s Communications and Family Engagement team known as CAFE. Check out our page here.