IHS IB Notes

October 2020

Welcome to Fall

So this means we're getting closer to the end of 2020, right? I know that 2021 won't bring instant change, but it does feel like 2020 has been extra long, and I think most of us at least would like to be able to (virtually) flip the calendar.

It's not all bad, and this newsletter will celebrate some of the great things that are happening. Still, this continues to be a stressful time for many. Please, please reach out if you could use some help. Administrators, counselors, teachers and others are here for you, and if we don't have all the answers, we can help connect you to other resources.

And if you'd like an easy way to help support the IB Committee in its efforts to support all of you, please participate in the Dos Coyotes fundraiser!

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Resources for you and your families

NUSD's Virtual Tutoring and Wellness Center is fully up and running. Have you explored what's there yet? You need to plan ahead a bit because resources are available by appointment, but it should be fairly easy to find an opening. Tutoring is offered by district teachers, and you can choose which ones you'd like to work with when you make your appointments. This tutoring happens in addition to teacher's daily office hour availability. On the wellness side, students can sign up for support sessions with our school psychologist and other providers. PLUS, this isn't just for students; there is a rich list of parent workshops plus opportunities for parents/guardians to meet individually with support providers.

Thanks to our fantastic National Honor Society leaders and members, peer tutoring is back, too. They'll be available via Zoom on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. No appointments are necessary. Students can pop in any time, using these links. Just to help keep everyone focused, several of our Tigers (campus monitors) will be online to supervise.

What if you need tutors at other hours or what if you have younger siblings in need of help? In that case, you may want to look at the fantastic site put together by Sidharth Gopisetty and Emily Tang, Initi8. These IB Diploma Candidate seniors actually created a non-profit and have been serving the community along with developing a tutoring service. Please check out their services and/or consider volunteering through them.

Or what about a totally different kind of support? Have you developed some new exercise habits? Or perhaps as you consider going back to school some days, you're thinking about transportation? The Natomas Jibe's Bike Doc service is a fantastic community resource. There are tools permanently mounted outside our library at at other locations around North Natomas. You can sign up and have them work on your bike for free. The next available date I see is October 31, but if you follow them on social media, you'll see other dates when announced.

The PSAT, SAT, ACT & College Applications

The PSAT is a shortened version of the SAT which allows you to get a feeling for what the questions are like before you take the real thing. Your PSAT score report will give you some guidance about what you need to focus upon as you study for the real thing. Also, if you allow the College Board to share your information, you'll start getting emails and brochures from colleges and summer programs telling you more about what they have to offer. Pro tip: put your personal email address on the data form as your school email only can receive messages from pre-approved senders.

Our district continues to support students by offering the PSAT for all sophomores at no charge. You'll be automatically registered for the test and take it during school on January 26 (subject to change in case of COVID-19 restrictions).

Juniors should take the PSAT, too, but you have to request a seat. Use this form, not the College Board site. It only takes a minute and needs to be done by November 5. As far as I know, the district will be paying your test fee, too. Besides getting another chance to practice before you start your SAT, juniors achieving top scores may qualify for the National Merit Scholarship program. We recently found out that we had five commended students from last year's PSAT, meaning they were in the top 3% of scores. Congratulations to Amy Kalteis, Zoe MacMillan, Ryan Newton, Ronan Okinaka, and Tracy Weng. All are IB Diploma Candidates.

Practice questions for the PSAT are offered online at the College Board website and more individualized practice is available through their partnership with Khan Academy.

Juniors should plan on beginning their college tests during the spring semester. Research whether the colleges that interest you require the SAT or the ACT. You'll find that most (including the UCs) will take scores from either test and that many colleges are now considering scores optional. You may want to try both tests to see where you score highest. If we're allowed, I expect that district will provide the SAT for all juniors at no charge in the spring as they have in the past. To sign up for additional dates and the SAT subject tests, see the College Board's website. Be sure you do the essay as it's required for some campuses! The ACT also does online registration and practice.

Juniors and seniors who qualify for free or reduced lunch may get fee waivers for testing. Contact the counseling secretary, Mrs. Marquez, well ahead of the deadline to sign up for the test.

Seniors, if you weren't happy with your SAT score from spring, you might still be able to take the tests. **Again, UCs and many other colleges have gone test optional (or in some cases no scores considered) for you because of COVID-19.** I'm sure the counselors are addressing this further in their presentations and meetings with you. Use the links in the paragraph above to check for any open test dates/sites. Typically you can take the tests as late as December and still have your scores counted as part of your applications, but check the details for the colleges that interest you. You should be starting your search for scholarship opportunities this semester. You still can earn more entries for the College Board's Opportunity Scholarships by doing all the steps which the counselors want you to do anyway. (These should open up for juniors after the PSAT.)

Seniors have either already done or soon will begin their fall meetings with counselors. They first see videos prepared by our counselors to cover essential information and then each will meet individually to discuss their plans. Application workshops will happen, too. The FAFSA application is open now, and you're encouraged to get started on that soon. Make sure that you are doing it for the 2021/22 school year. If you could use more help on the FAFSA or California Dream Act applications, check out one of the virtual Cash for College workshops. Look through the resources on our College and Career Readiness Center site, too.

College and Scholarship Info

We had great participation in the Cal Poly session for Inderkum students, and the admissions rep has another event planned for Sacramento area students. For more information, contact Dimitrous Chattman. Please note that they would especially like to encourage students from underserved groups to participate.

  • We are pleased to announce “High Value Purpose” an exclusive event focused on college admissions, career pathways, and the life skills needed to excel as a high performing scholars. This free event will feature information on Financial Aid, Cal State Apply, Student Panels, Alumni and other important resources for prospective students, counselors and parents.
  • The event will take place virtually on two separate dates: Saturday, October 31st, 2020 - 9:30am to 11:30am – Register here or Sunday, November 8th, 2020 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm – Register here

Most scholarship opportunities are for seniors, but some allow younger students to apply. You have to search! Don't forget about checking our College and Career Center for scholarships, but here are a few that have been emailed to me. Also, I sometimes get information from colleges promoting programs or scholarships particularly for IB graduates. I'll continue sharing out as I get more.

Service Opportunities & Logs

How to serve from home continues to be a common question.

  • If you're in National Honor Society, have you considered being a peer tutor?
  • You also may tutor through Initi8's program. See the info, link and flyer above.
  • Vote Forward is a non-partisan organization which encourages people to vote. I'm too late in telling you about this for you to participate in their main letter-writing activity, but they have suggestions on their site that you could use with your own family or neighborhood. (Please note that for CAS or Senior Project service, you can't count working to promote a specific candidate as that's a potentially divisive activity. However, IB is fine with general promote the vote activities.)
  • Sacramento Blankets for Sacramento Kids continues to need blankets plus they still have fabric for mask-making. Sometimes they just need people to cut the fabric. Contact them for full info.
  • The Smithsonian Institute is looking for "volunpeers" to help transcribe historical documents. Thanks to Amrin for finding this one!
  • Do you have access to tools and some basic skills? Lots of kids doing distance learning don't have actual desks. You might be able to help them while completing a great CAS group project. For inspiration, watch the video about this teen or read about this teacher or watch this one.
  • Check out CASTrips' blog where they post six new online service ideas each month.
  • If you've got a great idea, please share!

Please remember that we ask 9th and 10th graders to complete a total of 20 hours over the two years combined. As far as recording service hours, we usually have a paper. Information and the form are available online. If it's not possible to get an actual signature confirming your service, you could email the supervisor for a confirmation and then keep those emails.

Those doing CAS or Senior Projects should follow the instructions given for logging their time.


To close, I'd love to share what some of our students have done recently. Please keep sending more of these, too!
  • Junior Mia won the district's anti-bullying video contest.
  • Sophomore Maribela spent two weeks collecting school supplies for farm workers children. She was able to collect enough school supplies for 172 students at Walnut Grove Elementary and provide a check for $1552 through Angels in the Fields.
  • Freshman Supriya had an op-ed published by the Sacramento Bee.