Superintendent's Blog

  • April 28, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 4/28/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    Well, it is hard to believe it is already the last week of April !! May is upon us next week and the wonder of an evolving spring. Sorry the Thursday Thoughts are a bit late this evening. Tonight, I had the amazing opportunity to attend an event celebrating our Scholarship Foundation of Northshore. Since 1984, the Scholarship Foundation has provided $2.8 million in scholarships to 1,850 graduates of our school district. That is simply amazing!! We are so blessed to have this supportive partnership.

     

    I recently had a great time attending Fernwood's First Ever Cultural Night event. The planning for this started several months ago with a core team that planned and organized the event. It was a fun evening that allowed the whole community to come together. According to event organizer, Ms. Jerri Tregear, "The school's diversity was showcased in many different ways with over twenty-one countries and twenty-three languages being represented and information that these families shared about their country and culture displayed on poster boards and with objects. There were also more than twenty-five different food samples to taste. There were twelve dances or musical performances and thirty students and families who participated in the fashion show." This was such a rich and robust evening celebrating community and the rich tapestry of our respective cultures.

     

    We have continued to work on the strategic planning process and this week the School Board began the review of all the feedback we have received from each school and department in the district. It is so important and integral to this strategic work to hear all voices and to have the opportunity to be both thoughtful and reflective about the feedback we seek. I am going to share the cumulative feedback with you based on the requested categorical prompts: What feels right about the Goals and Measures?; and then, What feels Missing from the Goals and Measures?; and then, What feels Right about the Four Pillars?; and then, What feels Missing from the Four Pillars?; and then, What feels Right about the Professional Practices and Strategies?; and then, What feels Missing from the Professional Practices and Strategies?; and then, What else you would like us to Know?; and then finally if you can only read through one set of data, this is my personal favorite set of data -- If we as educators could make One Promise to our Students, what would that promise be? I am so impressed with the reflective work, the depth of thinking and the thoughtful input into this strategic process. Together all things are possible...

     

    As we move forward, we will be asking our parents for feedback on the strategic goals and the four pillars as well as their promise they would like to share with us as we finalize the strategic plan. The Board will be reviewing all of this feedback at their upcoming May 23 Board meeting and plan to finalize the strategic plan during the first June Board meeting. This is important work as it will focus our time, talent and resources for the foreseeable future. All stakeholders will have had input, totaling several thousand members of our district and community including students, staff, families, community members and leaders. We have so much to be thankful and joyful for in the support of so many for this important work.

     

    In current elementary curriculum news, on Monday, at the monthly Curriculum Materials Adoption Committee (CMAC), the Elementary Units of Study Pilot Team requested, and was granted, an extension for their work. The pilot team was tasked with comparing Units of Study with Benchmark Literacy to determine which should serve as our core curriculum. Based on feedback received during the adoption process, it seemed wise to take a step back and conduct a more comprehensive review of how our elementary literacy curriculum meets the needs of all students and promotes research-based instructional practices with current standards. According to David Wellington, "The Curriculum and Instruction department will continue the adoption phase for elementary ELA. Teachers will continue to have access to both Benchmark Literacy and Units of Study as they work to develop a robust balanced literacy program in their classroom. We will be taking this opportunity to focus on strong instructional practices, and will provide ongoing PD to support that work." I look forward to the continued journey of our best work in this area.

     

    In our transition topics, we are soon hosting important transition meetings for students and families at our secondary schools. These informative sessions are eagerly anticipated and will continue the transition journey for our students, staff and families. I can't wait.

     

    In compassionate news, Ms. Ailisa Newhall, one of our choral teachers, recently shared a poignant project and so I would like to share with you their choir's final creation in honor of sweet Gabi Deibler, a SJH student who passed away in October. The choir performed this song at their tribute concert to Gabi in November and recently recorded it as a gift to Gabi's family and friends. According to the choral students, "We spent time talking about chord progressions and listening to different chord progression ideas. We listened to different major and minor keys. Finally, we picked a progression for our chorus. Once we had the progression, we started to look at the things we had written on our poster, things we had written in class, or just thoughts that had come to us. We pulled out some poetic phrases from those writings and started singing melody ideas to our progression. A solid melody started to emerge and we sang what we heard for the class. Mrs. Newhall recorded it and started to notate it on music staff. Once we had the chorus, we sang it over and over until it was memorized and we could begin to add harmony. Three harmony parts were created and we had our final chorus. The last creation step was to add the verses. We had discussions about meaningful images we wanted to include in the song. We had many verse ideas from many students. Not all of them were used, but we may release a longer version with everyone’s verses at a later date! Finally, Mrs. Newhall wrote the rest of the accompaniment, notated all of the parts, and added a cello part." The arts often provide that sensitive way of expressing deep emotion and are such an integral part of the fabric of our Northshore district family. Thank you...

     

    This weekend, I can't wait to attend the musicals at our high schools. It is hard to decide between Young Frankenstein at Bothell or Beauty and the Beast at Woodinville. I may have to attend both ;>) I do know that my husband and I will be running (okay not really fast ;>) during the 2017 Can Do 5K event in Bothell on Saturday morning. I look forward to seeing you on the road and enjoying this community event together.

     

    Finally, a thoughtful reflective quotation for our April ending week; “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
    ― Benjamin Franklin

     

    All the best and take good care,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • April 21, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 4/21/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    It is so great to be back to school this week !! So many exciting and inspiring events going on all across the district. As we continue through this glorious spring, I love the quote; "Always be on the look out for the presence of wonder." -- E.B. White. After visiting Kenmore Elementary School today, I saw wonder aplenty. So exciting !!

     

    In a review of our current enrollment chart progress, Chris Brenengen, our Director of Finance, recently prepared a report that shows the actual monthly enrollment (as full-time equivalent, FTE) that was reported at Northshore for the last four years plus this year's current monthly enrollment through April 2017. In addition, the report displays the budgeted annualized average FTE of 20,700 (royal blue line) as well as the updated projected annualized average enrollment of 20,823 (green line) based on a five-year historical average as of October. This is an essential report for us as it tracks our student enrollment to budget and annual projections. This data is important to track as it affects all aspects of our operations including facilities planning, budgeting and all staffing, etc. Looking at this report regularly enables us to monitor and adjust when necessary as the year progresses. Our actual current head count is 21,373 students. The trend line is continuing to grow more than in prior years over the course of the year.

     

    As we continue our relentless focus on equity and access, I came across a provocative article that someone had recently shared with me regarding access to highly capable programs and how this affects potential for many of our often underserved students. I think the NY Times article raises important questions whose answers will inform our practice moving forward as a district. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the topic.

     

    I look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks as we continue our spring and our support of each student in their journey to the end of the school year. The time for transitions is soon at hand. We have prepared well over the last several years and will benefit from the thoughtful and detailed planning. In many ways, spring is a season that reminds us how wonderful change can be. Together, all things are possible.... More news on transition initiatives next week...

     

    Recently, I asked if there was any interest out there in getting together to provide a historical timeline story of our district. Several of you responded with an interest in this project. Before I set a first meeting, I wanted to circle back and see if any others of you might be interested. I think this is an important project as our history and traditions tell a story that defines us and is the foundation for all our future work. It also assists those who are new to the district ;>) and community to better understand our work together.

     

    In keeping with the theme of wonder, I thought I would close with "Live the life you have imagined." -- Henry David Thoreau

     

    Enjoy,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • April 14, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 4/14/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    What a great spring break week !! I trust many of you are enjoying some time away and hopefully even getting some quality outside time in with friends and family. Because it is spring break, I am limiting my 'thoughts' today in the hope that we can all enjoy the amazing opportunities spring break provides.

     

    If you have the time and want to watch an absolutely incredible production, the Bothell High School ASL Senior Student Showcase presented The Lion King to a packed house at the Northshore Performing Arts Center. Under the steady and inspiring leadership of teacher Andy Gault, these seniors produced an awe inspiring dramatic performance celebrating their language learning and leaning into the arts. Bothell High School Senior Jesse Sims recently sent me the link to the video of the performance which I am sharing with you. We can all be so proud of these young people and so grateful for Andy's expertise. Enjoy !!

     

    I look forward to seeing you next week as we continue our April month and support each student in their journey over the last several months of the school year. The time for transitions is soon at hand. We have prepared well over the last several years and will benefit from the thoughtful and detailed planning. In many ways, spring is a season that reminds us how wonderful change can be. Together, all things are possible....

     

    Finally, one of my favorite poets often shared; "We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike." -- Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

     

    Enjoy the remainder of this joyful spring break,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • April 7, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 4/7/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,


    Another wet spring week. I am seriously considering the possibility of breaking out the flippers as I wade across puddled parking lots and fields.


    Today, we are saying a final good-bye to former astronaut and Senator John Glenn as he was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Perhaps it is my age, or my generation, but I still remember the sense of wonder when we watched the first American to orbit this precious Earth. Glenn's mission, the Mercury 7 flight in 1962 (now over fifty years ago), ignited the spirit of adventure across the country and vaulted him to veritable national hero status. Interestingly, he recently became the oldest man in space when he returned aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1998 at age 77. Hmmmm...I wonder....

     

    In our continued focus on equity for the district administrative leadership team, we worked again this morning with Caprese Hollins. Robust conversation on the lives and experiences of our students led into our continued work on the strategic plan. As equity is a cornerstone of the emerging strategic plan, we also had occasion to watch a video chronicling student voice and we heard "some straight talk from middle-schoolers about race and what it's like to grow up in such racially charged times." As we continue our relentless focus on the success of each student in our schools, however we choose to define success or achievement, it is critically important to remember the voices of the students themselves as they articulate their uniquely personal experience.


    I want to remind you that we are engaged in the soft start of our new district mobile app. Again, in our continued effort to improve our communication both in and outside of the district, our intrepid Communications and IT Departments have been working to develop and implement a Northshore School District mobile app now available at the App Store. The implementation plan contains the timeline for an effective implementation of this integral communication tool. I would encourage you to go to the App Store, or its equivalent, and download the Northshore School District app so that you are able to provide feedback while it is still in a 'beta state' internally. This is such an exciting and supportive technology tool for all of us. It will go live for the public April 18.

     

    Last week, it was great to enjoy an energetic dramatic production of The Little Mermaid. The Canyon Park JH student ensemble was terrific and the audience (myself included) were delighted with the inspiring performance. It is such a great educational experience for students to be able to participate in the arts where there are so many valuable lessons learned, practiced, and performed -- the ultimate project-based learning opportunities ;>)

     

    Earlier this week, over 700 Northhsore Schools Foundation supporters gathered on the campus of North Creek High School to celebrate the 14th Annual All In for Kids Luncheon and the inaugural Breakfast Program. According to Carmin Dalziel; "The event was a smashing success and an opportunity to experience so much of what the Foundation has to offer. We are thrilled to announce that we have exceeded our goal and raised $208,000! What an amazing show of community support. Thank you!" Staff and students were honored and all attending guests had the honor of hearing the experience, hopes and dreams of the four student scholarship winners and the innovative teacher of the year narrative. Such an amazing event and such a fantastic partnership generously supporting our students, staff and community. We are so thankful to have such dedicated and committed folks supporting us !!

     

    One of the unique experiences fifth-grade students here in the Northshore School District have annually is the opportunity to attend Camp Cedar Springs. As yet, I have not had the opportunity to attend camp (maybe soon ;>) I asked our roving reporter/principal Dana Whitehurst for a camp report. "The sun finally graced us with its presence around 1:30 today out here in Lake Stevens, making the trek to stream life and geocaching classes more tolerable. Rain boots are still highly recommended however, unless you are climbing the indoor rock wall or playing Gaga-Ball. An insider report stated that the food was the best part of camp, however this correspondent has heard laughter and witnessed many more smiles occurring during the fire and shelter building classes. I continue to be impressed with the perseverance for problem solving out here in the woods. Maria Montessori stated 'when children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.' I believe it, these campers are taking risks physically, socially, and emotionally. Leaning into their fears and growing everyday!" So many important lessons learned that will only be fully measured well into the future... Thank you to all involved in this work !!

    As my thoughtful quote this week, and in the spirit of the campfire experience, I went to a woman of history that I admired many years ago, “Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” -- Golda Meir (1898-1978) the former Prime Minister of Israel

     

    And so, as we approach the coming spring break, imagine the possibilities. I wish for each of you a joyful and energizing week.

     

    Warmest regards,

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • March 31, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 3/31/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    Well, here we are; the last week of March. As I have mentioned earlier, March certainly came in like a lion and is going out like (you guessed it;>) a lamb.

     

    I have had several amazing school visits this week. I visited both Crystal Springs Elementary and Northshore Junior High this week. In both cases, I found the students at Breakfast to be delightful and full of interesting information, questions and ideas. In particular, this morning one of the NJH students shared that "Teachers here are so supportive of us. They build each other's confidence up and ours too and that's really important to community." Another student added that they are encouraged to debate (and not argue) and that really helps them learn. While at Crystal Springs, students shared how important the extra time and attention teachers gave to them really helped them learn. While visiting classes in both schools, I so appreciated the engaging instruction and interesting topics being discussed. In English 9, I found a new novel to read and am borrowing Bog Child, by Siobhan Dowd, from Ms. Nielsen's class for the next couple of weeks to read. I look forward to returning and sharing my thoughts on this murder mystery.

     

    We are so excited about our new partnership with the King County Library System (KCLS). According to Shelby Reynolds, in an effort to increase student and staff access to, and use of, KCLS’ online resources, KCLS has created accounts for every staff and student in our district so we can seamlessly log in to KCLS services from school, home, or from any computer or device. These accounts are easy for students and staff to remember and provide seamless access to databases, videos, music, eBooks, and homework help services. Some of the services augment resources we already provide and could ultimately replace some of our services, resulting in some cost savings for our district. Students who already have a KCLS library card will continue to be able to use it to checkout materials from the public library and use in-library computers. This arrangement will supplement the traditional library cards. Student accounts have been active since October 3 and staff accounts since March 6. We will be reviewing data soon from this project.

     

    Teacher Librarians have been trained in the use of the services and have been given the promotional materials needed to share the services with students and staff. Additionally, our partners in the Communications Department have sent materials home to families to help them become aware of these great new resources. We are so grateful for partnerships of this nature as students, staff and families benefit from these collaborative endeavors.

     

    In thinking about the transition update for this week, I am choosing to share our most up to date enrollment numbers for the four comprehensive high schools planned for the 2017-18 school year. I have been part of several conversations lately related to this topic and am therefore sharing what is actually in our Synergy system as pulled and reported by Anne Deutschman, secondary administrative assistant at the district office. The numbers reflected on this chart are reflective of head count and not FTE count. As you can see by the chart, staff continue to regularly document these counts as we continue to monitor and adjust to provide the best possible learning environment for our students. Please also be reminded that our North Creek HS numbers will not include seniors for the 2017-18 school year and will thereafter have a full complement of four grades. So exciting to look forward to...

     

    Previously, I shared Health Occupation competition results from both Bothell and Woodinville High Schools. Please note that Inglemoor High School also has a HOSA Chapter and attended the state competition receiving 22 awards with 15 placing in the top 3 earning the opportunity to compete at the national level in June slated to be in Orlando, Florida. Inglemoor and Woodinville’s Health Occupation Classes enjoyed traveling together and look forward to competing in Florida. We have such talented students and staff who represent us so well in a variety of competitive venues. Well done !!

     

    As an update on my sojourn through the district, I have now visited 630 classrooms as of today. It is so great to get out and meet our students and staff. There are so many amazing moments that I cherish from my visits. Never doubt that regardless of your role in this work, that you are making a difference.

     

    Finally, I want to close with an interesting idea about taking risks and what that might mean for us and the youth we work with. In visiting Northshore Junior High today, I had occasion to speak with Tim Hayward about an interesting and provocative Ted Talk he was watching about kids doing dangerous things. Gever Tulley believes "the most effective way to keep children safe is to give them a little taste of danger." I found this to be an interesting idea and one to ponder thoughtfully, perhaps even representative of things we fear, not to put these ideas into practice ;>)

     

    Have a great spring weekend,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • March 24, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 3/24/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    Well, spring has officially arrived !! I for one am certainly celebrating the calmer and warmer weather !! I trust that you will have an opportunity to get outside and feel the sun on your face as the magic of spring unfolds.

     

    In strategic planning news and updates, we continued to work on the plan this week. Approximately 140 participants gathered on Monday from both the Core Planning Team and the Instructional Focus Team. We reviewed the current draft goals and strategies and refined statements of purpose. We are still gathering feedback from each school and department in the district. Both the Board and I so appreciate the time and attention you are each giving to this important work. The strategic plan when completed will focus our energy and resources for the coming years. In many ways, it is an opportunity to organize the work we have already embarked on as well as integrating our new work. A reminder that the plan is slated for Board approval on May 23 which is fast approaching. I also know that we could review and revise the plan indefinitely; but as Instructional Focus Team member Adam Zitzmann observed, "The work is never 'done', but 'due'." This is such an exciting time for us ....

     

    In other exciting news, Fernwood Elementary teacher Kristy Spencer today was named STAR 101.5's Teacher of the Week. According to Casey Henry, "One of her second-grade students, Roran Seavers, and his mother, Jessica Seavers, nominated her, writing, 'She genuinely cares about each and every one of her students.' Kristy has been teaching in the Northshore School District since 1984." We are so proud of her dedication and contributions. Well done !!

     

    On Wednesday evening, we collaborated with the Islamic Center of Bothell (ICOB) to facilitate a conversation on bullying and how to both prevent and deal with this important topic of student safety. It was a meeting well attended by both parents and students. The Bothell Police Department as well as one of our school district legal advisors provided information on the topic and facilitated a question and answer session which was thoughtfully interactive.

     

    In our continued effort to improve our communication both in and outside of the district, our intrepid Communications and IT Departments have been working to develop and implement a Northshore School District mobile app soon to be available at the App Store. The implementation plan contains the timeline for an effective implementation of this integral communication tool. Coming next week, I will share with you the process to connect with the app directly and to be able to provide feedback while it is still in a 'beta state' internally. This is such an exciting and supportive technology tool for all of us. Thank you to the development and implementation team for this innovative work. Well done !!

     

    Along with the Board of Directors, we had a great SIP visit to Maywood Hills this week. These visits are so integral to the comprehensive work we do as a district. In highlighting the work of the school, Principal Sonja Hoeft highlighted several aspects of the school work this year; "One of the most significant data points made at Maywood is that despite our growing and changing demographics, our achievement has remained steady. We also emphasize the whole child by supporting many enrichment activities both before and after school." We all noticed the strong feeling of pride as students greeted us as special guests and we certainly enjoyed sharing their classroom experience with them. It is always so energizing to be out in the schools. Go Tigers !!

     

    As an interesting historical note, and this week's transition update, I had the opportunity to meet and visit with the first principal of Maywood Hills, Mr. Kenneth Eickhoff, while we were at the SIP visit. Mr. Eickhoff opened Maywood Hills in 1961 and served as principal there until 1969. His great grandkids attend Maywood Hills today, illustrating the incredible sense of family present here in our great district. As to the transition update (and in the it could be worse category ;>) Mr. Eickhoff shared that they moved into their new school building over the then three-day February holiday weekend in 1961. He noted that he went to the grocery store and procured paper grocery bags for the students to put their books and supplies in and they walked them over to the new building. I found this bit of history to be so interesting and really a testament to our spirit ;>) So many stories as part of our legacy...I really would like to craft a story timeline of our district and its amazing growth as we have developed into who we are today. Any interest ??

     

    As an update on my sojourn through the district, I have now visited 567 classrooms as of today. It is so great to get out and meet our students and staff. There are so many amazing moments that I cherish from my visits. Never doubt that regardless of your role in this work, that you are making a difference.

     

    Today, as one of my half day school visits, I had the opportunity to spend time at Inglemoor High School. Visiting with students at Breakfast Club in the morning was very informative. Our students are so insightful. Along with Principal Vicki Sherwood and her leadership team of Kristen Rose and Jon Stern, I visited classrooms and continue to be so impressed with the quality of student engagement and staff expertise. I am confident my heart beats strongest when I am in the schools, particularly with the amazing work occurring each and every day here in our amazing district. Go Vikings !!

     

    I recently purchased The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, coauthored by Douglas Abrams, who interviews the Dalai Lama and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In their effort to create a gift to the world, they spent a week together and sought to be responsive to a need to find joy even as all around us we see evidence of despair and grief. Interestingly, they argue that the source of all joy resides in the quality of our relationships with one another, and they talk about the importance of inclusion as a means of support for these joyful relationships; "When we see others as separate, they become a threat. When we see others as part of us, as connected, as interdependent, then there is no challenge we cannot face — together. What can you do to help change the situation? You might not be able to do a great deal, but start where you are and do what you can where you are. And yes, be appalled. It would be awful if…we said, 'Ah it doesn't really matter.'" I so appreciate all that each of you are doing as we continue to nurture a joyful culture and climate here in this amazing district. It matters...

     

    Warmest regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • March 17, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 3/17/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    What a great week, one of my favorites because of course it includes a significant mathematics holiday. Pi Day (which was 3/14) was celebrated across the district. Pi (π) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and is a constant number, meaning that for all circles of any size, Pi will be the same. It is such a comfort that some things in this amazing and oft changing world stay the same regardless of size.

     

    We are celebrating Classified Public School Employees Week this week. I want to extend my deep and heartfelt thanks to all our classified employees who support our students, staff and families. "Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." -- Henry Ford. Indeed, your excellence inspires our success !! Thank you for your hard work and dedication.

     

    Mrs. Trudy Swain, from Northshore Junior High, has recently been named the Innovative Educator of the Year. Trudy is the fourth recipient of the Northshore Schools Foundation Innovation in Education Award. It will be a thrill to hear her speak at the upcoming All In for Kids event on April 4th at North Creek HS. We are so blessed to have such outstanding educators and such great Foundation partners here in this amazing district !!

     

    In transition news from Mr. Jeff Sherwood, we're starting the final stages of teacher transfers related to next year's opening of North Creek High School and grade reconfiguration. Approximately 60 teachers have transferred to the high school level, including 47 to North Creek, and 40 teachers have transferred to middle school. Elementary and Special Education teacher reassignments are in process now and should be concluded by the end of March. This year's accelerated staffing timeline means most teachers know their assignments for next year and remaining vacancies can be posted for voluntary transfer earlier, and that allows us to begin hiring new staff sooner. According to Jeff, "School classified staff reassignments will begin this spring and by and large, we anticipate that we'll follow our typical processes for reassigning staff within schools, displacing staff where necessary, and posting vacancies internally for reassignment of displaced staff. In the coming weeks, we will be working with our labor leaders and employees to continue the transition as smoothly as possible." The transition update document captures the details of the collaborative work being done to support the transition.


    In exciting news from Mr. Damen Schuneman, please congratulate the following students for their success in WA State HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) competition, which was held in Spokane, WA on March 10 and 11, 2017. Health Science Careers Program had a small team of 12 students this year, but they were mighty – 85% of students were in the top five in the state. Four students qualified for Nationals in Orlando, FL in June, winning a total of 5 medals. The NSD Marketing/DECA students recently competed at the DECA State Career Development Conference (SCDC) which occured on March 2-4. Students faced competition from 145 DECA Chapters from all of Washington State. All NSD Chapters performed incredibly well while qualifying a total of 72 students to compete at the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in Anaheim, CA on April 26-29th. The 72 NSD students qualifying for the ICDC was more than any other school district combined. Great job NSD HOSA and DECA teams!! Well done !!

     

    March is Women's History Month and a variety of interesting stories and artifacts are included as part of interesting and illuminating lesson plans. As we contemplate the role of women in our history, there is yet much to learn. I know that as a woman myself, and a scientist by education training, I had not heard the story as told in the book and now movie entitled Hidden Figures. In reviewing the National Women's History Project web-site, the following is noted; "The 2017 theme for National Women’s History Month honors women who have successfully challenged the role of women in both business and the paid labor force." There are so many opportunities for rich discussion.

     

    In a review of our current enrollment chart progress Chris Brenengen, our Director of Finance, recently prepared a report that shows the actual monthly enrollment (as full-time equivalent, FTE) that was reported at Northshore for the last four years plus this year's current monthly enrollment through March 2017. In addition, the report displays the budgeted annualized average FTE of 20,700 (royal blue line) as well as the updated projected annualized average enrollment of 20,823 (green line) based on a five-year historical average as of October. This is an essential report for us as it tracks our student enrollment to budget and annual projections. This data is important to track as it affects all aspects of our operations including facilities planning, budgeting and all staffing, etc. Looking at this report regularly enables us to monitor and adjust when necessary as the year progresses. Our actual current head count is 21,392 students. The trend line is continuing to grow more than in prior years over the course of the year.

     

    As an update on my sojourn through the district, I have now visited 507 classrooms as of today. It is so great to get out and meet our students and staff. There are so many amazing moments that I cherish from my visits. Never doubt that regardless of your role in this work, that you are making a difference.

     

    As I review our work in this most amazing of professions, that of education, I recently received a most provocative video that illuminates the power of student voice. As we contemplate what is one of the most energizing times to be a part of the education community, we must recognize that the future of this community and great country rests on the capacity of our next generation. As surely as the seasons turn, so too, the torch for our civic leadership will be passed to the next generation. Their voice now and later matters. Our ability to nurture and shape this voice thoughtfully and responsibly is integral to our future best selves as a community and nation, however we choose to define that. Let me know what you think ....

     

    In recognition of St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, I feel compelled to share a Celtic Quote. "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." -- GB Shaw. As I watch the March Madness basketball games, I haven't ruled out taking to the court again ;>)

     

    Enjoy a great March week-end,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • March 10, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 3/10/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    Well it is now well and truly March. While it is currently not snowing, it is forecast to be a rainy and blustery evening. It must be true that March comes in like a lion, and then out, (of course you guessed it), like a lamb ;>)

     

    Along with the Board of Directors, we had a great SIP Visit to Timbercrest Junior High School this week. These visits are so integral to the comprehensive work we do as a district. In highlighting the work of the school, Principal Joe Mismas highlighted several aspects of the school work this year. One of the most significant data points that Timbercrest has been working on is high school readiness by working on increasing the number of ninth graders leaving credit ready for high school. To this end, they have seen a significant increase in the number of 9th Graders on track to graduate and as Counselor Ann McGowan explained they continue to consciously focus on the transitions students make both into and out of the school as a strategy. Assistant Principal Amber Pacquer shared data about the school wide MTSS work and the decrease in office infractions coupled with PBIS support as well as the Global Service Project - Sierra Leone One World Futbol. Underscoring this work at the school is the foundational belief that, "Every student can achieve at high levels given the appropriate support" that all the staff we visited with seemed to embrace. It was a great visit and a real opportunity to observe a variety of courses and the resultant work by students. Go Wolves !!!

     

    On Tuesday March 9th, over 250 NSD students from Bothell, Inglemoor, Woodinville High Schools, Skyview and Northshore junior highs participated in the SERVUS Leadership Conference. Sydney Fee, Bothell High School Activities Coordinator, reports that "the day was filled with intentional learning on servant leadership and becoming character strong. We are so proud of the students and staff for participating and committing to building our school communities stronger by strengthening character. " Raising a generation that understands that service is important and that when you give you get so much more is a gift to our community...

     

    In current transition news, the High School Grade Reconfiguration Task Force recently recommended that Monday and Tuesday should be the two days each week to be blocked in the high school schedule beginning with the 2017-18 school year. This recommendation was unanimously affirmed through a thoughtful consensus building process led by Assistant Superintendent Heather Miller. As you have the opportunity, please review the memo as the rationale for the choice of days has been clearly laid out and thoughtfully considered. We are looking forward to planning with this information now set. Thank you to all who participated on this Task Force for continuing to provide such thoughtful guidance and leadership in this transition work.

     

    This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to be a special guest at the Tiranga sponsored event held at the Northshore Performing Arts Center. Over the course of Sunday afternoon, more than five hundred of our NSD Children performed a variety of traditional dances from India and shared community with over a thousand of our community members. I learned so much about the beauty of the dances and the humor and steadfast commitment to lovely traditions. Diversity is such a strength of this great district !!

     

    This week the Board attended a joint meeting with the Kenmore City Council and discussed a number of items of mutual interest. The collaboration among the cities and our district is important for the success of all of the communities and the district as well. So many positive relationships and such supportive work going on !!

     

    On a different note, I recently received this chart and thought it timely to share with folks as it provides a snapshot of our local labor market and opportunities. I know our community continues to evolve and demand different skills of future employees. It is also interesting to note the occupations many of our families are engaged in.

    Occupational chart

    Following the discussion on mental health,“Disease vs. Disgrace: Conversations to End Mental Illness Stigma” hosted at EvergreenHealth Medical Center several weeks ago, I continue to be so reflective on the challenges mental health poses for so many of our students and families in our community. I found the presentation to be compelling and came away understanding that mental illness affects far more people than I previously understood. Perhaps the most compelling data point is that mental illness often goes undiagnosed for seven to nine years. We know education and awareness is often the first step to making changes. Given that very soon, our results from the Healthy Youth Survey will be available to the schools, it might be very appropriate for each school community to really take a look at the results of the survey and consider what the implications are in each school community. Frank Dellino has shared, "We know that students experiencing depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and past or present traumatic events, have more problems with paying attention, regulating emotions, retaining memory, developing language skills, and learning math." The Board will be taking a close look at this topic at an upcoming study session later this month as we work to better understand ways in which we can support students, staff and families. Please stay tuned for more information on this topic in the coming weeks and months.

     

    Interestingly, in light of all the recent debate around immigration, citizenship and the like, I thought it would be interesting to share the CNN link to an Immigration quiz that recently came out. Before you all ask, yes, I did take it myself (and passed ;>) though I did miss one -- the number of representatives in the House of Representatives ;>( I sometimes wonder what other important information might be important to query as a citizenship assessment...

     

    In closing, I would like to share a favorite quote that coincidentally Joe Mismas shared with us this week, “Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” --- E.B. White

     


    Warmest regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • March 3, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 3/3/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    What an amazing Thursday, and thank goodness no snow in sight the rest of the week. Again, I so appreciate all of your efforts this past Monday in making the day start as safely as possible. Thank you !!

     

    I have had two fantastic school visits this week and truly enjoyed being with students and staff at both Lockwood and Hollywood Hill Elementary Schools. I continue to work at my goal of getting to all the classrooms in the district. It is so energizing to be in the schools and experience the high quality work engaged in by students and staff on a regular basis. I think we can at times take for granted the amazing culture and climate within which we work. I was very impressed with the Leadership Academy presentation provided by Lockwood students at their after school meeting I attended. This student-created presentation is a warm welcome and also a moving tribute to one of their former teachers whose impact is still clearly felt. The power of relationships is so important....

     

    I want to share that our Board of Directors is reviewing and studying a new governance model as the Board would like to strengthen the processes they use to oversee and guide the District's important work. Policy Governance formalizes several important steps in how direction setting and reporting happen in a district and sets very clear goals, creates firm parameters the district must operate within to achieve the goals, ensures all parties discuss how the Superintendent will direct work be done to reduce miscommunication, and formalizes how program evaluation and reporting will happen. This is a governance structure that is used by several large districts in our area, including Lake Washington School District, Issaquah School District, Federal Way School District and Bellingham School District. According to Board President Amy Cast, "if Policy Governance is implemented in Northshore, we would create a new set of policies to list the goals, operating parameters and reporting structure for the work of the district. Bi-monthly board meetings would be reorganized to incorporate annual public reports on the goals and parameters, and this reporting calendar would be published far in advance for anyone interested."

     

    The board is scheduled to conduct a study session on Policy Governance on March 28th. At this time, we will be researching implementation options and schedules to understand the scope of work involved in changing governance models. We would like to ask for any thoughts, questions, or suggestions from parents, staff members, students and other stakeholders as we continue to study this governance model. The Board welcome emails at schoolboard@nsd.org through March 21, and would welcome any public comment at our March 14th 4:00 pm board meeting.

     

    What a great week for us to study Dr. Seuss and his birthday. As this is the 20th Anniversary of Read Across America Day, I have had the best afternoon in a long time as I have been able to read to children in three of our elementary schools (Shelton View, Frank Love, and Kenmore Elementary Schools). I did have the opportunity to read three different books: 1) Giraffes Can't Dance (neither can I really ;>); 2) Sophie's Masterpiece (gentled my feelings towards spiders a bit ;>); and 3) The Invisible Boy (great book ;>). As I was leaving Kenmore Elementary School, Principal Melissa Riley and I discussed how the simple act of sitting down and reading together brings us together. It is such an interesting phenomenon that we can all become so engrossed around a story and its excitement. The children of course had marvelous predictions, questions and insights. Thank you to those teachers, para-educators and principals for hosting Karen Orsinger and I in the schools this afternoon for our reading session.

     

    For those of you who may have missed the immigration correspondence earlier today, I am hopeful you will have an opportunity to review it soon. We have been a bit besieged by families, staff and students with regard to questions about what information we collect, share, etc. about our students. The letter is my attempt to state the current facts and be responsive to them with the advice of legal counsel, so we have a consistent expectation and position that all staff, students and families can clearly see and understand. While we have varying degrees of immigration impact in our schools and community, we are all impacted in some way or another. In our Northshore School District family, when one of us is affected, all of us are affected. Please check in with me if you have any questions.

     

    Wow, in exceptional athletic update news, congratulations to all the Northshore gymnasts on the impressive showing at the 4A state championship meet. Bothell, Inglemoor and Woodinville represented the district well and Northshore is proud of your accomplishments! Amazingly, Woodinville High School won their fourth consecutive 4A Team state championship (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017) and Bothell placed third.
    Woodinville’s Alli McManus won the 4A All Around state championship and Inglemoor’s Kim Kramer placed third. Many other gymnasts placed at the State Tournament. I know when I watched one of their meets earlier in the season, I was so impressed. I am not sure that I ever could contemplate the jumping, tumbling and balance, coupled with exquisite grace that these athletes are able to perform. Well done !!

     

    Finally, a staff member recently shared this video on motivation with me. It is another remarkably provocative idea that is timely in so many discussions prevalent today. Dan Pink's lecture outlines his ideas about the surprising truth about what motivates us and illustrates what he believes to be the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace. I would be interested in your thoughts on this topic. It might also be a great PLC conversation starter.

     

    I want to remind you of our important strategic planning work and to bring you up to date on several items, the first of which is our continued strategic planning work. We are a bit more than half way through the process and are moving into the phase that is focused on hearing directly from each of you. This morning at our Administrative Team Meeting (ATM) we discussed the process for the feedback loop from each of you to this important planning process. That is correct, in the next couple of months, each school and department will have the opportunity to see and hear about the current draft of the strategic plan and provide feedback that will come back to the core planning team for integration into the final draft of the strategic plan that will be taken in front of the Board of Directors in May. I look forward to our journey together with this process. I am so excited about the possibilities ....

     

    Finally, in keeping with the Dr. Seuss theme today, I want to share that one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books is The Sneetches. As I contemplate our world today, and its various beaches, I am reminded that we have more in common than we have differences as we learned from the Sneetches. To quote Dr. Seuss in The Sneetches ---

     

    "But McBean was quite wrong. I’m quite happy to say.
    That the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day.
    The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches.
    And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
    That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars and whether
    They had one, or not, upon thars."

     

    Warmest Regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • February 24, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 2/24/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    I hope this note finds you enjoying a joyful and robustly reflective winter week. I am so relieved that the snow flurries in the weather are occurring while school is not in session. That groundhog certainly has been correct again ;>) It is so hard to believe that we are already nearing the end of February with just over three months of our current school year left. I am often reminded that as I get older, the days are long, but the years are short. Time seems to pass ever swifter …

     

    As we continue to be responsive to current events in our country, for example -- (In May 2016, the Federal Education and Justice Departments issued guidance on transgender students. The guidance required that schools treat students “consistent with the student’s gender identity.” On Wednesday evening, that guidance was rescinded by the Federal Education and Justice Departments.) Given the change in position at the federal level on this subject, and to support understanding of this conversation, I want to share today's statement from our Governor regarding the topic of protections for transgender students in our state;

     

    “I strongly oppose the Trump Administration’s reversal of federal protection for transgender students. Washington state will continue to be a place where all children can feel safe from discrimination, harassment or assault based on their gender identity. Our state’s law, the Anderson-Murray Act, passed in 2006, will remain in place and is unchanged by the new federal guidance. And just last year our state Human Rights Commission did important work to put rules in place that uphold the rights of our transgender students and residents. Our schools will protect transgender students and ensure they have access to the same facilities, classes, and the opportunities as other students. We will continue to stand together to protect some of our most vulnerable students - we know that these young people face high rates of bullying, harassment and even violence. We have a long way to go to make sure that all our students can learn safely and free from discrimination.” --- Governor Jay Inslee

     

    Clearly this is a topic that will continue to be discussed and debated at both the state and national levels. According to today's OSPI press release, "Washington state law, though, continues to protect transgender students from discrimination in school, which includes names and pronouns, dress codes, student participation in sports and physical education, harassment, and students' use of restrooms and locker rooms. The federal guidance will not affect state law. In 2006, sexual orientation and gender identity were added as protected classes to the Washington State Law Against Discrimination (WLAD). Four years later, the Legislature passed a law (codified as Revised Code of Washington 28A.642) explicitly protecting students in Washington public schools against discrimination. As a result of that law, OSPI in February 2012 issued formal guidelines entitled, “Prohibiting Discrimination in Washington Public Schools.” School districts are required to comply with the guidelines – and have been doing so successfully for five years. The new guidance from the Education and Justice Departments states that “there must be due regard for the primary role of the States and local school districts in establishing educational policy.” In short, our state laws continue to protect our transgender students." As for us here in Northshore, we will continue to abide by the law and will continue to nurture an educational environment that is safe and free of discrimination for all students and staff. We recognize that our diversity is a strength and a growing part of our foundational strategic plan from which teaching and learning flourish in this great district.

     

    At our recent Board meeting, we received great news. A big thank you goes to the Northshore Schools Foundation for granting $73,000 in project funding for the Northshore School District. I would like to share a few of the projects funded in this round which include books for kindergartners, computer coding support, innovative classroom grants, national board certification for teachers, access to activities for homeless students, and much more. We are so blessed to have this dedicated group of amazing individuals who tirelessly support our schools and community. Thank you !!

     

    In other fascinating news, astronomers have recently discovered seven planets that are similar in size to our Planet Earth. They might even have conditions on them that would support life. This news feature is certainly one that draws one in on a reflective winter break. Imagine the possibilities .... What if there is another universe out there where people are interested in a relationship with our school district ?? What if one of these planets has solved traffic problems ?? How do we connect with them ?? What did their groundhog say about the coming spring, or not ?? Infinite inquiries really... So exciting...

     

    In news closer to home, I had a great meeting yesterday with our district custodial team. We were able to gather at the new high school, North Creek High School; every time I am there, I am even more impressed with the design and feel of this campus. I want to share that we are so blessed to have our custodial team supporting our educational work here in this great district. The team is so dedicated to our safety and welfare, both student and staff, and their hard work is critical to our success as a district. Thank you !!

     

    In closing, I trust that you will find time over the next several days to enjoy simple pleasures, quiet times, and joyful outbursts with those closest to you. These are our best days...

     

    Warmest regards,

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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