Spotlight Community Newsletter – November 17, 2023

--- Published on November 17th 2023 ---

School Spirit

NUSD High School Students Share Academic Tips with Middle School Students

SVAC Nov 2023

High school students as part of our Student Voices Advisory Council (SVAC), visited middle school scholars in south Natomas recently as part of the fall Middle School RoadShow. The high school students shared their experiences and advice on how to become a student athlete, how Advanced Placement (AP) courses can benefit them, importance of getting involved in clubs and extracurricular activities, and the Career Technical Education (CTE) pathway courses available at their school sites. The assemblies allowed middle school students to get an idea of what their academic futures may look like and gave our SVAC members a chance to practice their presentation and public speaking skills.

SVAC will visit north Natomas middle schools in the spring.

Fall Family Night 2023

fall family night 2023
fall fam night2023

Our first Fall Family Night for our foster families was a hit! Families enjoyed a delicious festive fall meal and learned about the resources available to them. The event was a wonderful way for families to socialize, win prizes, and stay in the know.

Give Back and Play Ball

hoops for harvest

The Hoops 4 Harvest Clinics, as part of Natomas High School’s Basketball Program, provides an opportunity for preseason player and coach development. Give back and play ball to help make this holiday season brighter for families in need. Registration is free with a canned or non-perishable food donation.

The food drive benefits Joey’s Food Locker located on the Natomas High School campus. Joey’s Food Locker provides meals to families in need every Friday.

More info and registration here.


Parents as Partners

Resources for Families

Annual Turkey Drive at Joey’s Food Locker

turkey drive

Thanks to donations and volunteers, hundreds of families will have warm meals this holiday season. We are grateful to our Natomas community for showing up, and showing kindness.


Student Author Featured on News10 for Published Book of Poetry

where do i begin book cover

Overcoming adversity can sometimes create beautiful works of art. This is what student author Anisha recently showed Natomas families, as her story on how she became a published author, was recently shared on News10. Her book is available for purchase on Amazon.

Staff Stars

Senator Angelique Ashby Recognizes NUSD’s Nutrition Services for How it Obtains Produce 

vince award

Congratulations to NUSD’s Nutrition Services Department for being recognized by Senator Angelique Ashby! The department has worked directly with Sacramento farmers Fiery Ginger Farm’s Spork Food Hub to obtain food for our school meals – the first school district in CA to name a local food hub as its primary produce provider. Way to go, team!

Flashback Friday: Shayla Allen, Social Worker Liaison

young shayla

Every week, we share a wayback/flashback/throwback photo of our staff members, share a little bit of their story, and why they love working for NUSD.

This newsletter, we feature Shayla Allen, our Social Worker Liaison, at our Education Center.

Question: What’s the story behind the photos you shared?
Answer: My mom used to take us to Olan Mills every year.

Question: When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Answer: I wanted to be a veterinarian, until I found out they had to touch reptiles.

Question: Why do you like working at NUSD?
Answer: I like working here because I get to work with all these wonderful families, and I get to be in my community, helping the people I love.

If you would like to see the latest career opportunities at Natomas Unified, visit

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Finding Home: Parent Becomes Advocate for Trafficking Survivors

Jeanette Diaz is a human trafficking survivor turned advocate. She shares her story in hope of helping others. November is National Unhoused Youth Awareness Month. In this video, Diaz, an NUSD parent, shares her journey from being unhoused to finding peace, joy, and a place she can call home. For the past year she has been living at Vista Nueva, a facility which provides permanent supportive housing. NUSD provides supportive services to Vista Nueva residents.

Storytime with NUSD’s Social Worker Liaison

shayla reading

Shayla Allen, NUSD’s Social Worker Liaison, read the book “Home” to Bannon Creek School students Wednesday. The storytime is a part of our district’s efforts to recognize November as National Unhoused Youth Awareness Month. The story, by Tonya Lippert PhD, depicts the lives of two children experiencing homelessness, bringing to light the different situations families may face when unhoused.

On Thursday, our staff members also wore green to raise awareness during National Unhoused Youth Awareness Month.

Green Day Nov 2023

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with Author Traci Sorell

Listen to our latest Conversations with NUSD podcast with author Traci Sorell as we continue to celebrate National Native American Heritage Month. Sorrell is a member of the Cherokee Nation and shares her love of writing, tips on how to create a powerful literacy work, and some insight into her children’s book Powwow Day. If you would like to read Powwow Day, copies of the book will be available at our K-8 campus libraries. To learn more about Sorell, visit

Powwow Day Cover

Students Take Part in Annual Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day

ruby 1
ruby 2

Natomas Unified elementary students were proud to observe Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day Tuesday. Ruby Bridges was just 6-years-olds when she integrated William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. That walk in 1960 made Bridges a Civil Rights icon.


Take a look at these pictures from Witter Ranch and Natomas Park elementary schools. Ana Reilly, a teacher at Witter Ranch Elementary says, “Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day is the perfect opportunity to teach children about the Civil Rights Movement and make connections to today’s collective efforts for change. The event gave our Hawks the chance to celebrate Ruby’s courage by walking to school. Our friends from AAA joined our walk. AAA is proud to be in partnership with the Ruby Bridges Foundation in support of the annual Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day.”

In 2021, the California Senate proclaimed November 14th as “Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day”.


ruby 4
ruby 3

Natomas Unified Family Shares how to make Brazilian Brigadeiros 

Brigadeiros is a Brazilian sweet that Natomas parent Beca Clement says was a huge part of her childhood. Brigadeiros is considered the most popular candy in Brazil. The easy-to-make dessert is made with cocoa, condensed milk, and coconut flakes. The word brigadeiro stems from the Portuguese word brigadier, referring to military rank. It is believed the sweet was created by the wife of Air Force Brigadier Eduwardo Gomes in Brazil. Watch this video, and learn how to make the chocolate dessert, along with her son, Tama.

College and Career

Students Learn About Engineering Careers

engineering day bce

3rd grade Bannon Creek Students recently learned what it takes to become an engineer, presented by Northrop Grumman, an engineering company. From mechanical, electrical, chemical, and more – the elementary students learned about the different fields of engineering and what it takes to become an engineer. To demonstrate the kind of projects engineers take on, the students were tasked with building different types of paper planes.

Alumni Strong

NUSD Alum to be Featured on Food Network on Thanksgiving Day

Ehsan Tahir 2023

A familiar face will grace TV sets! Inderkum High School graduate Ehsan Tahir will take on the Food Network Cookie Challenge next Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, at 9 pm.

Recently, Tahir spoke with NUSD about the importance of staying focused in school, in order to pursue your dreams.


Tahir’s advice to students

”Every small task or homework assignment is an opportunity for you to build your work ethic. Don’t lose sight of the importance of your academics and extracurriculars while pursuing your dreams. Consistently putting love and passion into whatever it is that brings you joy will continue to bring exciting opportunities in your life.”

Tahir’s passion for baking started early

“I started cooking at a young age because my parents worked late hours and that’s where my passion for cooking and baking began. Growing up I used food to express my creativity and to share my passion with others.”

What’s Cooking Currently in Tahir’s Life

“I’m still actively pursuing a career in culinary arts  – I currently juggle a public sector job and a baking business from my home kitchen.”

How Tahir Feels About Appearing on The Food Network

“As an introvert I’m nervous, however, I am excited and grateful to be on national tv doing what I love. While I can’t share any spoilers, please watch on November 23rd to see how I did. I’m proud that I stepped out of my comfort zone for this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

To stay up to date on Ehsan Tahir’s upcoming bakes, follow the IHS graduate on Instagram @EhsansPatisserie.


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