Natomas High Ranked As Low Performing School

Natomas High School yesterday was named as one of the state’s persistently lowest-achieving schools by the California Department of Education.

Federal and state laws require persistently low-achieving schools be identified and that the lowest 5 percent of these put a school intervention model in place by 2010-11. Natomas High was one of two schools in Sacramento County on the list.

“While some may see this as a negative reflection on our hard-working staff, administrators and students at Natomas High, this truly is an opportunity to forever change for the better our Natomas High,” read a statement released by the Natomas Unified School District.

The Obama administration is offering $4 billion in financial to support state and local education leaders in turning around the low achieving schools like Natomas High School. To qualify for this money under the Title I School Improvement Grant program, lowest-performing schools in economically challenged communities must be transformed using one of the four following intervention models:
  • Turnaround model: Replace the principal and rehire no more than 50% of the staff, and grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (including in staffing, calendars/time and budgeting) to fully implement a comprehensive approach to substantially improve student outcomes.
  • Restart model: Convert a school or close and reopen it under a charter school operator, a charter management organization, or an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process.
  • School closure: Close a school and enroll the students who attended that school in other schools in the district that are higher achieving.
  • Transformation model: Implement each of the following strategies: (1) replace the principal and take steps to increase teacher and school leader effectiveness; (2) institute comprehensive instructional reforms; (3) increase learning time and create community-oriented schools; and (4) provide operational flexibility and sustained support.
Natomas spokesperson Heidi Van Zant said, “Early indications are that the ‘transformation’ model is the best fit for us.”

In a conference call with California Department of Education representatives last week, Natomas officials asked whether Principal John Eick, who has been at the site 1-1/2 years, must be replaced or if there may be exceptions to that rule.

“Our preliminary information is that the principal we have can stay,” said Van Zant.

District officials say they will apply for grant funding – anywhere from $50,000 to $2 million over three years – to implement changes at Natomas High School. Applications are to be submitted by May.


  1. I wonder how many students at NHS go onto college?? If it is not a hight number, why can’t they turn it into a school that has more vocational ed type of classes? Not everyone is college material, or even wants to go to college for that matter. Get these kids some skills they can use to get themselves jobs when they get out of high school.

  2. Anonymous says

    Get your facts straight. It is only a minority of the students that do not go to college at NHS, and that is the same school for that matter. NHS recently scored 695 on the Star Test scores. Research before you talk.

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