New School – Paso Verde School

Paso Verde School to open in Fall 2017

NUSD’s new school in west Natomas now has a name: Paso Verde, which was chosen by the Board of Trustees in November and has ties both to the area’s historic greenery and to the nation’s challenge of a green, sustainable energy future.
Paso Verde, a Spanish phrase meaning green path or step, also celebrates Natomas Unified’s rich diversity by honoring the language and culture of NUSD’s largest ethnic group, Hispanic, consistent with the District’s Board-approved Core Belief: “Our diversity is a strength.”
Paso Verde was one of two finalists from an initial list of 167 nominations submitted via survey to a 10-member committee of community members and NUSD employees charged with making recommendations to the Board for naming the new school, which will open next fall.
Paso Verde School initially will offer Transitional Kindergarten through 5th grades at an interim site along Del Paso Road – current home of Westlake Charter — while a new campus is built nearby. The new school will expand to K-8 by adding one grade annually for three years.
The name Paso Verde also ties closely to the new school’s curriculum. It will offer a rigorous International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) and focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). 
IB is a nationally renowned academic program designed to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring students who understand and respect other cultures. PYP students study a world language throughout their elementary years.
As part of Paso Verde’s focus on science, technology and engineering, students will tackle a variety of issues and challenges. Early thinking about the STEAM program envisions a look by students at how to expand green energy created from renewable and sustainable resources such as sunlight, wind or geothermal heat.

Grade Levels and Program

SummaryPaso Verde school will be built around inquiry-based instructional approaches as a delivery method for the common core state standards (CCSS) and next generation science standards (NGSS). These philosophies of education are based on the idea that inquiry strengthens students’ abilities to be creative and flexible problem-solvers, to explore different ideas, to recognize failures as opportunities for discovery, and to communicate well with others

Grade Levels:

  • 2017-2018: TK through 5
  • 2018-2019: TK through 6
  • 2019-2020: TK through 7
  • 2020-2021: TK through 8

Note that Paso Verde school will include TK to begin and Preschool may be offered in the future time

Program: Based on a great deal of parent input, the new school will focus on a rigorous instructional program that prepares College and Career Ready citizens by…

  • Including the inquiry and authentic learning of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics)
  • Developing the creativity and confidence of ART
  • Promoting the analytical and reflective thinking of the IB Programme

How to Enroll Your Child

Paso Verde School will open with grade levels TK through 5, and will add one grade level per year to eventually having students through grade 8. Click here to enroll your child if she/he will be in grades TK-5 in the 2017-2018 school year.  All students who live within the Paso Verde school boundary may attend the new school, and other NUSD students can also apply to enroll at the new school.  Students who reside within the Paso Verde School’s boundary but currently attend another school can choose between the two next year. 


Meet the Principal

Eager to get started, Principal Tonja Jarrell is a veteran educator with more than two decades of experience as a teacher and administrator. She also has served as a consultant for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and as a development coach for teachers and administrators in California, Oregon and Washington.


Ms. Jarrell says she’s honored to serve the Natomas community and looking forward to engaging families and staff in creating a rigorous academic program centered around 21st century learning and inquiry. It’s never too early to plan for college and career – and Ms. Jarrell is the ideal leader to lay the foundation for that. This school’s potential is huge. We can hardly wait to get started.

History – The Work to Open Paso Verde School

It won’t open until next year, but already the Paso Verde School planned west of Interstate 5 has a long and successful story.

Natomas Unified’s Board of Trustees approved a Facilities Master Plan in June 2014 that included a new school west of Interstate 5, but construction was no certainty given a series of issues unresolved at the time.

Since then, Natomas’ voters approved the Measure J school bond in November 2014, the community’s flood-related building moratorium was lifted in summer 2015, and projections show thousands of new students enrolling in NUSD over the next decade.

Opportunity also was created by Westlake Charter School’s plans to vacate its current campus along Del Paso Road next year, when it moves into a facility currently under construction on Mabry Drive.

NUSD trustees voted in November 2015 to temporarily house a new district-operated school at  the current Westlake Charter site, pending construction of a new campus. A staff report at the time said the plan would:

  • Create additional space for hundreds of elementary students
  • Relieve students from having to cross I-5 to attend H. Allen Hight Elementary
  • Potentially slow enrollment growth at Witter Ranch and H. Allen Hight elementary schools

Over the past year, much has happened, including community engagement; selection of boundaries for the new school; the hiring of Principal Tonja Jarrell; the decision to offer Transitional Kindergarten through 5th grades initially, then expand by one grade level annually for three years; and the decision to offer a rigorous academic curriculum, including an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) and a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM).

The planned K-8 school in west Natomas is consistent with NUSD’s Board-approved Vision that, “All NUSD students graduate as college and career ready, productive, responsible, and engaged global citizens.”




The interim school site will be located at 3800 Del Paso Blvd, Sacramento, Ca. 95834 while a permanent location is constructed.  Construction of the permanent school may begin in 2018.  Here is a map of the school boundary along with the location of the interim and permanent location.


Questions and More Information

If you have questions, please contact our Constituent and Customer Service office.