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NUA Home School Herald - April 2017

Enrolling with NUA Home School
Click Here to Enroll with NUA Home School
Do you know someone who is looking to home school with the support of an award-winning charter school? If so, please encourage them to check out NUA Home School! We are still enrolling for the 2016-2017 school year.
Interested families will find lots of information about the program on our website: Home School Resources Site
**Please note, enrollment for K-8 students (not TK) for the 2016-2017 school year will close on Friday, April 7th. All applications for new K-8 enrollments must be complete by this date. 
Our student enrollment application for the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year can also be found online: Admission Application Page
Enrollment for TK students for the 2016-2017 school year closed on Friday, March 17th. TK students may enroll for the 2017-2018 school year. 
The enrollment application for the 2017-2018 school year is also available. Use the link on the Admission Application Page (see above), and be sure to select "2017-2018" when prompted. 
Questions should be directed to one of our Program Principals: 
Jennifer Carrete (Orange County) - 
Gillian Simcox (San Diego/Riverside Counties) - 
NUA Wants to Hear from You!
Our student and parent surveys are still available. If you have not already done so, please take some time to thoughtfully complete the parent survey by April 30th. Then, read through the student version and go through the survey with your child. Your honest feedback and comments will help us make improvements to continue to grow our program to better support our students and their families. 
These surveys will be given annually so we can collect and compare this important perception data. 
*Note: These are school-wide (all of NUA), so some questions may not apply. Please complete the questions that are applicable to your child's schooling through NUA. 
Thank you!
Parent Perception Survey
Student Perception Survey
For the Love of Reading - Ginger Pye (Article by Liz Derr)

Did you know? Copies of all books featured in the "For the Love of Reading" section of the Herald will be available in the NUA Library? Check them out next time you are in Vista!

Title: Ginger Pye
Author: Eleanor Estes

Suggested reading level: 3-8
Read aloud level: TK-8

Good for: Parents looking for a sweet but exciting story of childhood for their own children

Eleanor Estes, a former librarian, wrote a series of children’s books such as The Moffats, and Ginger Pye in the 1950’s.  These books take place in a simpler time, before computer games, virtual reality and smartphones, when childhood play consisted of activities such as neighborhood games, sledding, and hiking.  I love all of her books because they truly evoke a simpler, kinder time. And yet there is plenty of childhood adventure, fun, challenges and terror as well.  My own children loved these books, finding them funny, innocent and delightful.

Ginger Pye opens with two siblings, Jerry and Rachel, wondering if Gracie-the-Cat was a pet or a family member, and either way, would she mind if her brother and sister got a dog? For there was a group of puppies Jerry had been visiting and he had already picked out the smartest one. But how would Jerry get the dollar the puppy’s owner required?  The children know better than to ask their parents who most certainly didn’t have any money to spare, their father being a celebrated “bird man” who was respected among naturalists everywhere but not well compensated. Then, out of the blue, Sam Doody shows up and asks if they will dust the church pews for him for a dollar! Delighted, the children dust the church in the company of their Uncle Benny, who was respected everywhere because he was only three years old and already an uncle!  Children were always giving him nickels and dimes because of this great feat.

They bring home Ginger Pye, the smartest puppy anywhere who even tracks Jerry’s scent all the way to school one day.  He scales the fire escape and enters though the window with a pencil in his mouth to the delight of Jerry’s whole class.  But always lurking in the shadows is a mysterious man in a yellow hat who seems to want to kidnap their amazing dog.  The children take to calling this person the “unsavory character” as they catch glimpses of him around the town. Then one day the unthinkable happens—Ginger Pye is dognapped!  Uncle Bennie, however, promises to find the missing dog and amazingly, by the end of the book, this plucky three year old (who is, after all, already an uncle) is reunited with Ginger Pye, to the delight of Jerry and Rachel.

Ginger Pye is a delightful book that would make a great read aloud for the whole family.

April 2017 - Important Dates
Save these important dates
  • Friday, April 7th - Learning Period 8 ends
  • Friday, April 7th - Bowers Museum/Bowers Kidseum Field Trip
  • Monday, April 10th-Monday, April 17th - Spring Break
  • Tuesday, April 25th-Thursday, April 26th - First week of CAASPP testing for San Diego and Riverside Students (Grades 4, 6, 8)
  • Tuesday, May 2nd-Thursday, May 4th - Second week of CAASPP testing for San Diego and Riverside Students (Grades 3, 5, 7)
  • Monday, May 15th-Friday, May 19th - CAASPP testing for Orange County Students (Grades 3-8)
NUA Home School Master Calendar - 2016-2017
Spring Break for all NUA students is coming up later this month! Our Spring Break dates are Monday, April 10th-Monday, April 17th. School will resume on Tuesday, April 18th. 
Save the Date: Student Showcase and Entrepreneur Fair Events
We are looking forward to our fourth annual Showcase event this May! Showcase events will be held at the Tustin Enrichment Center on Thursday, May 11th and the Carlsbad Enrichment Center on Thursday, May 18th. We will hold our popular Entrepreneur Fair as part of the two Showcase events. 
Mark your calendars and start thinking about a project or presentation you can showcase in May! 
Orange County Showcase Flyer (Tustin)
San Diego and Riverside Counties Showcase Flyer (Carlsbad)
Save the Date: Field Day Events!
Our End-of-the-Year Park Day events this year will feature Field Day games! We are busy planning lots of fun activities to wrap-up the school year and we hope you and your children will join the fun. 
The Orange County Field Day will take place on May 30th in Irvine.
Orange County Field Day Flyer
San Diego and Riverside County students are invited to a Field Day on June 2nd in Rancho Penasquitos.
San Diego/Riverside County Field Day Flyer
Mark your calendars and plan to join us later this year!
April 2017 School Board Meeting
NUA school board meetings are held monthly, generally on the second Tuesday, and parents are always welcome to attend. In accordance with the Brown Act, public comments are heard by the board at the beginning of each meeting. A call-in option is always available for those who are unable to attend in person, and comments are taken by phone. 
The April board meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 11th. Please check the home page of the Home School Resources website a few days prior to the meeting for the agenda and call-in information. 
Starr Ranch Junior Biologists Program - Spring Session
Join Starr Ranch for their upcoming "Breeding Birds of Bell Canyon" program. 
This four-morning program is open to children ages 8-13. Participating students will spend the morning with biologists from Starr Ranch studying breeding songbirds and hawks. 
Specifics of this exciting program include: 
  • Learning about California wildlife by participating in scientific research.
  • Assisting biologists with the live-capture, identification, and release of songbirds.
  • Participating in various bird monitoring techniques, including point counts and nest searching. 
  • Using GPS and GIS to map hawk nests in Bell Canyon. 
Students may attend the Wednesday morning sessions on April 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th; or the Saturday morning sessions on April 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th. All sessions run from 8:30am-12:00 noon each week.
The cost of the program is $100 per child. Reservations are required and can be made by following the link below:

Learn more about Starr Ranch's education programs here:
2017-2018 School Wide Calendar
The school-wide calendar for 2017-2018 is posted below. This calendar lists basics, such as the first day of school, school-wide holidays, and Learning Periods. A Home School program-specific calendar for 2017-2018 will be coming soon!
2017-2018 School Wide Calendar
NUA Home School Water Bottle Challenge (Article by Shawn Johnson)
Did you know that by the year 2050 there will be more plastic waste than fish in the ocean? 
Did you know that 40% of bottled water is just filtered tap water?
Did you know that 80% of plastic is never recycled and is the 3rd most common type of litter?
Did you know that plastic contains EPA "chemicals of concern" BPA and Phthalates which may cause cancer, diabetes, brain and liver disease, reproductive, and thyroid problems?
Did you know that for every liter of bottled water, it takes 3 liters of water and water and petroleum to produce it?
Did you know that Americans use approximately 50 billion bottles of water per year (38 billion of which are not recycled)?

Now for the cost for a family of 4: (Calculated at 17 cups per day)
24 bottles/case with 8 single-use bottles (16.9oz each) per day at $2.65 per day

Reverse osmosis in-home system: $0.25 per day
($800 to install, lasts 20 years, yearly replacement filter)
Britta pitcher: $0.33 per day
($27 pitcher, 18 filters per year)
Five-gallon water delivery: $1.16 per day
(Five bottles per month at $7 per bottle)

Would you like to be part of the solution?
If so, take NUA's reusable water bottle challenge for the month of April! Our goal is for you to eliminate plastic water bottles for the month and replace them with refillable containers (stainless, glass, or BPA-free plastic bottles; drinking glasses; Mason jars; etc.). At the end of the month, write a brief report about how easy or hard it was to convert to reusable containers, what you learned from the experience, or anything else related to conservation or health. 
We will draw 10 names in May and award the winners their very own NUA reusable bottle!
NUA Instructional Funds: Reminders
  • Reimbursements - Did you know you can be reimbursed for classes taken through city recreation programs, your local YMCA, or AYSO soccer? We also offer reimbursements for certain student-level memberships! See the article below and check out the Reimbursement page of our website for more information. All reimbursement paperwork must be submitted by the last day of school, June 8th, 2017.
  • Order Deadlines - The deadline for final service orders (lessons, classes, tutoring) is April 21st, 2017. Orders for classes/lessons in April are due by March 24th. Orders for classes/lessons in May are due by April 21st. 
  • Vendor Requests - The vendor request window for the 2017-2018 school year opens on May 1st, 2017. Look for information in the May Herald and emails from your Education Advisor. 
  • These strict deadlines are in place due to school-wide fiscal deadlines. Thank you for understanding!
NUA's FREE Online Subscriptions
The materials order deadline may have passed, but these FREE online subscriptions are still available to all NUA Home School students! Simply contact your Education Advisor to sign-up for any or all of the online programs. 
  • ABC Ya! - Educational games (Language arts, math, critical thinking) for students in Grades TK-5.
  • BrainPOP - Animated videos covering all subjects for Grades TK-8. 
  • DreamBox Math - Supplemental math program that is customized to each child's needs. (Grades TK-8.)
  • Enchanted Learning - Worksheets and activities for all subjects (Grades TK-3).
  • Go Noodle - Fun movement games and activities to help with transitions and rainy-day PE. (All ages.)
  • Raz-Kids - Computer-based leveled books and quizzes to build reading fluency and comprehension. (Grades TK-5.)
  • Typing Agent - Online typing practice program for Grades TK-8. 
NUA Home School Handbook
NUA Home School CAASPP Testing
Spring semester means standardized testing season is upon us. Please save the following information and look for more details to come out in future issues of the Herald, as well as via email. 

California public school students (including charter schools) in Grades 3-8 are required to complete the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress ("CAASPP"). This computer-based assessment tests student knowledge in math and English-Language Arts. Each child will complete a computer adaptive test in each subject, as well as a Performance Task in each subject. 

Students in Grades 5 and 8 will also complete the California Science Test ("CAST"). 

Testing dates will be as follows: 
  • San Diego and Riverside County students will test on April 25th, 26th, and 27th and May 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Testing will take place at the Carlsbad NU site. 
  • Each San Diego/Riverside student should plan on attending three (3) days of testing. Grade bands (3, 5, 7 and 4, 6, 8) will each be assigned to one week of testing. 
  • San Diego & Riverside CAASPP Test Flyer
  • Orange County students will test during the week of May 15th-19th. Testing will take place at the Costa Mesa NU site. 
  • Orange County CAASPP Test Flyer
Practice and training tests are available for the computer adaptive test and the Performance Tasks. Training tests for the new CAST science test (Grade 5 and 8) are now available. Click on the green "Student Interface: Practice and Training Tests" button, then sign in as "Guest". You will be prompted to select the grade level on the second login page.

These math vocabulary flashcards will also help students prepare for the math-specific language found on the math CAASPP tests:

Interested to see how we did on the CAASPP testing last year? Check out the "Smarter Balanced Testing (CAASPP)" page of the Home School Resources website for a run-down of the achievement data. 
Test-Taking Tips (Article by Michelle Hass)

CAASPP testing is fast approaching. The following tips will help ensure a positive testing experience for your child.  

Tips for Parents

  1. Give your child a chance to practice. If your child has trouble taking tests, try practicing test questions and studying new words. Keep the sessions short, and set small, manageable goals so that the extra practice boosts your child's confidence.
  2.  Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and eats a healthy breakfast. Many teachers report that students who don't do well on tests haven't gotten enough sleep, and haven't eaten breakfast on the morning of the test. Doing both of these things will ensure that your child is working at full capacity.
  3.  Remain positive. Staying calm will help your child stay calm. If he/she gets nervous about the test or is likely to experience anxiety during the test, help them practice some relaxation techniques that they can try once they're taking the test.
  4. Show up on time. If possible, get to the test site a little early so you're not rushing and your child has time to relax and familiarize him/herself with the settings before beginning. 

Tips for Students on Test Day

  1. Stay focused and relaxed. Keep your mind on the test, but don't tighten up. Try to stay loose and cool so you can move through the questions one-by-one. 
  2. Sit comfortably. Don't hunch over the computer. Sit in a relaxed way and keep your posture loose. 
  3. Expect and accept a little bit of stress. Don't worry if you have some stress while you begin the test. Almost everyone feels this; it's there because you want to do your best. The key is to accept it and not let worrying about the stress make you even more stressed. Tell yourself "I'm a little worried, but that's okay. I'm going to do well on this test because I'm prepared." 
  4. Read the directions. Take a minute to read or listen to the test instructions before you get started. This will prevent simple mistakes and will help guarantee that you don't waste time going back and redoing any work because you didn't understand the directions. 
  5. Pace yourself. The tests are not timed, but maintaining a steady pace will help you relax and focus on each question as you move through the test. 
  6. Don't rush. Read each question carefully, as well as the answer choices, before answering. Check your work before moving on to the next question. 
  7. Don't get distracted. Keep your eyes on your test. Try not to look at those around you.
  8. Focus on the stuff you know. What happens if you come across a question that absolutely stumps you or seems impossible to answer? Give it your best guess and move on. At the end of the test section, go back and check your work; you may find you have thought of the answer while you were working on other questions.
  9. Use all your time. If you happen to finish the test before others, go back and check your work. Fixing obvious mistakes can help boost your score.  

CAASPP Practice and Training Tests:

Math of the Month: April
These math activities are optional, but highly recommended. They are similar to the Math Performance Task that will be part of the CAASPP testing, so they are a great way to prepare!
April Math Exemplars
Grades 3-5: On Balance
Grades 6-8: Calculating Palindromes

While they work, encourage your child to pay attention to the following three steps: 
  1. Give the answer (it's easy to forget when working on these involved/multi-step problems!)
  2. Write out each step. Include lots of details and math vocabulary. For example, "I saw that the divisor was larger than the first digit in the dividend, so I went to the next place value to divide."
  3. Give an example of how they checked their work. For example, "I multiplied the quotient and the divisor together and got the dividend as my product.  This means my answer is correct."
Spring Semester In-House Assessments
NUA gives a variety of in-house assessments each school year so we can see student progress and help you and your children set goals for their academic success. Here is the run-down of assessments we'll give this Spring, in addition to the state-mandated CAASPP assessments. 
**Please see above for information on the CAASPP test, which is given to all students in Grades 3-8. 
Spring Writing Assignment
Our in-house writing assignment is the perfect opportunity for students to practice the various writing genres (opinion, informational, or narrative). Each grade level is assigned a topic based on one of the three styles of writing, and students respond to that prompt. Children are simply asked to respond to the best of their ability. For students in Grades TK-1, that may mean drawing a picture or writing a few letters or words. That is perfectly acceptable! 
The purpose of this assessment is to gauge each child's current writing ability and to provide feedback on what they are doing well, as well as provide some goals to work on over the rest of the school year. 

The Spring writing assignment window opens on March 20th and closes on April 7th (Learning Period 8). Your EA will collect your child's completed writing assignment during your LP 8 meeting in early-April.  
Click here for more information about the NUA Writing Assignment.
Spring NWEA Assessment
The NWEA is available for all students, but we also offer alternate (paper-and-pencil) assessments for students in Grades TK-2 who may not be ready for a computer-based test. 
The NWEA assessment is given in reading and math. The test is online, but students may complete the assessment in the comfort of their own home. Your EA will set up two testing dates so students are not completing both tests on one day. 
Feedback from the NWEA assessment includes a chart showing student scores and how they compare to other children at the same grade level. NWEA also offers a goal-setting worksheet which identifies areas where the student performed well, and areas for growth. This feedback makes the assessment a useful tool for planning future instruction.
The Spring NWEA window opens on May 15th and closes on June 8th. 
Click here for more information about NWEA testing (includes scores from the Fall 2016 NWEA test administration).
Spring Semester Portfolios
We know some families like to get a head-start on their semester portfolio samples! Here is the information you need to know for Spring 2017 portfolios.

We collect two samples for each of our six courses/Learning Areas each semester. Your EA will provide examples of items that may be turned in for each course. Our six courses are as follows: 
  • Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • History-Social Studies
  • PE
  • Elective
  • Samples must be original student work; no photocopies. The one exception is student artwork. Since we know students do not like to part with their artwork, we can accept a photocopy or a photograph of a piece of art. 
  • Samples must not contain any religious references, nor can they be from a religious publisher. 
  • Your child must write their name in the upper-left of each paper. 
  • Dates on samples are no longer required. 
  • Photos are acceptable, but should show the child working on a project, or the child with their finished project. Please use the Portfolio Photo Form for each photo submission. 
  • Activity logs, such as PE logs, are not accepted as portfolio samples. 
  • Portfolio samples are not returned. If you need to keep a certain piece of work, please make a photocopy for your records and turn in the original work to your EA. 
Please see the Portfolios page of our Home School Resources website or contact your EA for more information. 
Character Education: Integrity (Article by Jenna Yates)
We are continuing our focus on INTEGRITY for the month of April. Students will learn the story of Abraham Lincoln, the American president who, in spite of great odds and differences of opinion, guided the United States through the Civil War. Known as Honest Abe, the first president to be assassinated was mourned by the entire nation and is today considered among America’s greatest presidents. Along with Abraham Lincoln, we will learn about the integrity of the Boy Scouts of America, Galileo, and Marco Polo. Our discussions and read alouds will emphasize the importance of keeping one’s word and exercising good judgment. We will encourage students to have the courage to stand up for what they believe is right. 

Read Aloud Books on INTEGRITY:
The Emperor’s New Clothes
Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock
David Gets in Trouble
The Dog Who Cried Woof
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

Featured Educational Website: Tate Create
Do you have a great educational website to share with other homeschooling parents? Please email the link, along with a quick message telling how you use the site and why you love it, to Gillian at 
Focus/Subject: Visual Arts/Elective
Grade Levels: TK-8
Why It's a Great Resource: Tate Create features a wide variety of arts and crafts projects for all students. Many projects are based off the work of famous artists, and feature a quick description of the artist and their work. 
While some projects require special materials, most can be completed with items you probably already have at home! These projects make fantastic portfolio samples for the Elective course! :)
Vendor Spotlight: Phoenix Feather Academy of Music
Phoenix Feather Academy of Music, Orange County Instructional Vendor
Phoenix Feather is located in Lake Forest and offers both keyboarding and guitar. activities.The group keybarding program includes note reading, rhythm, ensemble playing and  performances.The program can be completed in 5 1/2 years and includes progressive homework and practice. The guitar program  includes instruction in how to strum, use a pick, sing while strumming and reading and playing tablature. It includes a  guitar rental for 6 weeks. Student performances are offered two times per year. 
Vendor Spotlight: Sparks Learning Center
Sparks Learning Center, San Diego County Instructional Vendor
Sparks Learning Center, located in Escondido, offers language arts tutoring to students of all ages. The site is run by California credentialed teachers. 
Sparks Learning Center uses the popular Barton Reading and Spelling System to provide multi-sensory support in spelling, reading, and writing skills. The program works well for students with processing difficulties or anyone who would like to improve their reading comprehension or fluency, or their spelling skills. 

Check them out online for more information:
In Our Community: Orange County

1) Let's Make Comics at the Newport Beach Library
April 13th, 4:00pm

Free admission
Have you ever dreamed about creating your own comic book? At this workshop, you will find out how it can be done. Comic book artist Javier Hernandez will lead this hands-on workshop that show would-be Stan Lees the process of making a comic book story, which they can keep and take home. This free class is open for elementary school through high school students.

2) Dana Point Interpretive Center Kid's Class
April 21st-23rd

Discover what local students – from high school all the way down to pre-school – have devised as their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) projects for the annual Imaginology competition. The contest’s categories cover fields like photography, poetry, crafts, science & engineering, video and both fine and fiber arts. Besides the exhibits, this family-oriented event also features hands-on activities for all ages.

3) Dana Point Interpretive Center Kid's Class
April 22nd, from 10:00am-2:00pm

Every month, the Friends of the Dana Point Headlands lead a program whose focus is to teach kids about the natural world that exists around natural world around the Dana Point Headlands. The classes typically include hands-on family-friendly projects related to that month’s topic, and the title of April’s class is “What Kind of Whale Am I?” For more details and to make a reservation, you can email:

In Our Community: San Diego County
1) Julian Gold Rush Days
April 1st and 2nd

Tickets: $3 for adults (over 12); children 12 and under are free
Celebrate the discovery of gold in San Diego County at Julian's Gold Rush Days! This exciting and educational weekend features gold panning, tomahawk throwing, candle dipping, re-enactments, and a petting zoo.

2) Carlsbad Flower Fields
Open now through May 14th, from 9:00am-6:00pm (seven days per week)

Tickets: $14 for adults and children over 10; $7 for children 10 and under; children 2 and under are free (Tickets are available online).
Visit the Carlsbad flower fields to see stunning rows of colorful ranunculus! Take a walk along the designated pathways, or enjoy a tractor ride through the fields. 
Check the website for specifics, or to purchase tickets:

3) SDCDM Roots Celebrates the Pacific Islands
April 29th, from 2:00pm-4:00pm

Free Admission
Enjoy a celebration of the culture of the Pacific Islands at the San Diego Children's Discovery Museum in Escondido! This fun event will feature storytelling, dance, ukulele music, and food. 
Check the SDCDM website for more information:
In Our Community: Riverside County
1) Insect Invasion! at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum
April 2nd, from 1:00pm-4:00pm

Free Admission
April is Insect Month at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. Celebrate by checking out the Insect Invasion event on April 2nd. Students will learn why insects are a vital part of our planet, from pollination to decomposition.

2) Riverside Flower Show at the Riverside Elks Lodge
April 8th. Gardens available at 10:00am, Show begins at 1:00pm

$10 presale, $12 at the door. Children under 16 are free. 
Check out beautiful plants and gardens at the 70th Riverside Flower Show on April 8th! This family-friendly event features garden tours and a flower show. Garden-themed arts and crafts will also be available.

3) Spring Eggstravaganza at Ryan Bonaminio Park
April 8th from 10:00am-1:00pm
Fun Zone Wristbands are available for $5 presale or $7 at the event. 
This fun springtime event features egg hunts, crafts, bounce houses, face painting, and a petting zoo. Photos will Peter Rabbit will also be available. 

Check the link below for information and to register:
NUA Home School Quick Links
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