June, 2011

To All Staff, Parents, and Community Members: As I depart the District, I felt compelled to leave some good news and assure you that despite challenging financial issues, the Natomas Unified School District provides a quality education for students. First and foremost, the District continues to move toward averting a State takeover. As many of you already know, due to management’s decrease of their total compensation by 7.9% for two years, certificated employees’ one-year agreement to decrease their certificated bargaining unit’s total compensation by 7.9%, and continued careful monitoring of all expenditures, the District currently projects a positive cash flow through March, 2012. However, the District is far from being out of the woods. The District continues to deficit spend. In other words, during each fiscal year we spend more than we receive. Without the assurance of employee concessions that span two years in order to balance a multi-year budget, the District will remain in a precarious position, continue to submit negative certifications to the Sacramento County Office of Education, and linger as prey for a State takeover. That precarious budget position presents my sole reason for leaving the District. I’m well aware that many comments circulated about the reasons for my departure. While I firmly believe that NUSD can come out of the financial woods, the California Education Code’s clear mandate to remove a superintendent in the event of a State takeover was simply too much of a personal risk without the assurance of multi-year agreements with our employee associations. To be clear, I believe we have a wonderful school district with incredible employees; leaving NUSD was the most difficult decision of my 34-year career. It’s been my honor to serve as superintendent, and I take great pleasure in providing the following information that demonstrates the quality of education offered by the Natomas Unified School District. The District’s Academic Performance Index (API) grew an unprecedented 21 points to 751 in 2010, as well as meeting all of its state mandated district-wide and subgroup growth targets. This was the largest API gain ever posted in NUSD history. The District is now within one point of the median API for school districts in Sacramento County. A number of our significant subgroups made exceptional API gains, including African-American students (+18), Hispanic/Latino students (+33), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students (15), Socioeconomically Disadvantaged students (+24), English Learners (+29), and Students with Disabilities (+39). With the exponential growth on our recently received CA High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) scores for this year, once again we expect significant growth when California’s standardized test scores are released in August. Standardized testing imparts the critical numerical assessment of our District, but test scores don’t tell the whole story. Many activities, events, and initiatives exist throughout the District to

boost student achievement and create opportunities to address our children as whole and happy human beings prepared to contribute to society. Just a few examples illustrate that effort . . . Recent high school initiatives will prepare students for college and propel them into the 21st century workplace as Natomas High School commences its Academy of Science next year, and Inderkum High School staff and parents lay the foundation for an International Baccalauareate program in the very near future. Additionally, both schools created more Advanced Placement (AP) course sections last year, and increased their AP student enrollment. Natomas Middle School followed suit as they prepare students for success in high school. Due to more students demonstrating readiness for Algebra in middle school, NMS will offer 9 sections of Algebra, an increase of three sections compared to last year. Music is alive and well in Natomas Unified! Natomas Middle School students recently composed “Let Us Rise,” a song now selling on CD with proceeds headed to Japan, the Inderkum High School music program experienced exponential growth from a handful of students three years ago to well over 120 students last year and still growing, and the Natomas High Drum Corps continues to be a popular elective on campus. We are champions! Athletics often play a critical role in motivating our students to higher academic achievement, and in Natomas Unified we do it well. Inderkum High School and Natomas High School enjoyed several Tri-County Conference championships, with the Natomas High School Boys’ Soccer team earning the CIFsection championship. The partnership of public education with the community has never been more important in the history of California schools. Through PTA financial support for library media technicians’ salaries, several of our elementary schools reinstated a portion of library service to elementary students. Parents and the community also played a key role in many activities such as Harvest Festivals, Family Math and Reading Nights, parent forums or informational sessions, the Million Minute Reading Challenge, and numerous after school clubs and activities. Thank you! NUSD educates and supports all students, and special education in this District enjoys a fine reputation throughout the region. And that’s not just NUSD personnel tooting the District’s horn! A parent of a student just diagnosed with autism said that the physician stated, “You’re in good hands with Natomas. You don’t have to worry.” Finally, NUSD isn’t just about K-12 education. The District provides adult education and diligently seeks to expand services to pre-school students. Over 350 people attended the recent School Readiness Health Fair, and over 187 children, aged 2 months – 5 years, received health screenings. Natomas School Readiness just completed a comprehensive organizational assessment and began an expansion and enhancement plan.


I could continue to list many, many more facts, accomplishments, and upcoming plans or activities to illustrate the District’s well-rounded, quality education for the students of Natomas. I hope the preceding information imparted the fact that we have great schools with hard-working personnel anxious to educate your children. Again, it’s been my privilege to serve as superintendent. Thank you for welcoming me into your community. I cherish the time spent here, and hold the best hopes and wishes for NUSD. Respectfully,

Bobbie Plough


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