Dear Natomas Middle School Families,
Welcome to the 2019-20 school year! I am Marcel Baker, proud principal of Natomas Middle School. I love the diversity of our school and the Natomas community, which is why I purchased a home here. So, if you see me in the neighborhood, stop and say hello. I would like to meet as many of you as possible. I want to especially welcome our incoming 6th graders to the Mighty Panther Nation! I am excited to meet each of you during 6th grade orientation and get to know you during the school year.
At Natomas Middle School, we follow what we call “The Panther Way”. Living the Panther Way means to Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be a Problem Solver. Last year, our scholars stepped up and were Living the Panther Way in regards to behavior and academics. Our major emphasis last year was to improve the culture of the school. We did just that as suspensions decreased by 50% and office referrals reduced by a significant amount as well. This tells us that our school-wide approach to using restorative justice to resolve issues is working. Improving school culture will continue to be a focus of ours this year, as we focus on empathy, compassion, and love.
We are also very proud with the academic gains made by many of our students, especially our outgoing 8th graders. For the fourth quarter last school year, 129 of our 268 students in the 8th grade made the honor roll with a GPA of 3.0 or better. Even more exciting is that 39 students has a GPA of a perfect 4.0. This means that we are sending students to high school with the right mindset and skills needed to be successful at the next level. We will continue to work to continue to move all of our students towards proficiency and beyond, and your involvement in your students academic progress will be key. When students, parents, and teachers are on the same team, the student’s chances for success increase exponentially. The first step you can make today is by downloading the Infinite Campus app on your phone to check your child’s progress daily. Information to download the app can be found here.
We are also excited about the work we are doing around celebrating our students’ diversity. We are the most diverse school in the district, and we value that as one of our strengths. Last March, we had our first annual NMS Cultural Diversity Week Celebration. Students we entertained and educated by groups representing African, Mexican, Filipino, and Polynesian cultures. The week was capped off with a family night that featured food, entertainment, and a fashion show where students wore clothing that reflected their own cultural heritage. We look forward to continuing this new tradition this year and even more community involvement to make the week even more special. Celebrating diversity is not limited to just one week. We also celebrated Hispanic Heritage month, African American History Month, and Women’s History Month through our restorative circles that we hold in our classrooms.
At Natomas Middle School, we believe in the “Joy Factor”, the belief that when students enjoy coming to school they will perform better academically and the unwanted behaviors will decrease. Our PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports) team, developed programs to recognize positive behavior in students. When seen doing something positive, students were rewarded with Panther Bucks that could be spent in the student store. This was a huge hit. This year, we will continue to focus on the Joy Factor by introducing a Broadcast Media elective. This will give our students more choice and closer align our students to Inderkum High School’s CTE pathway for Broadcast Media.
Our goal is to make Natomas Middle School a great school for all students. In order for this to happen, we need your help and support. We have many ways for parents to get involved; stop by and visit a class (24 hours notice needed), participate in the PTSA, ELAC (English Learners Advisory Council), or SSC (School Site Council). We want and need the support of parents/guardians. Please look for announcements of opportunities to participate in events.
I look forward to meeting and working with each of you this school year as we continue to take strides to make NMS a great school!
In the spirit of service,