Superintendent's Blog

  • January 13, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 1/13/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    Brrr... It has definitely been scarf and mitten weather this week. And, what an unbelievable full moon this morning. It seemed so large !! I was really intrigued so I looked up the type and size this morning. It is technically characterized as a Near Full Moon (Waning Gibbous) and is 99.8% of its visible size. It is so comforting to have nature be predictive and amazing. Further, there are so many amazing things going on and the energy is contagious. There are multiple celebrations of the upcoming holiday commemorating the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the music, readings and drama are so inspiring.

     

    I want to bring you up to date on several items, the first of which is our continued strategic planning work. The Board reviewed a status report on the Strategic Planning Process this past week. We are approximately half way through the process and are moving into the phase that is more focused on instructional strategies and the classroom support. We will have two days in early February with our Instructional Focus Team comprised of teachers, para-educators, counselors, TOSA's and principals primarily. This team's work is essential to the success of the strategic plan as the plan has student learning at the core and we recognize that the fundamental work of the district at its core occurs in the classroom. I look forward to our journey together with this process. Thank you to all who are lending their voice, it matters.

     

    Another group that is beginning its work on curriculum topics is our K-12 District Math Committee. Obadiah Dunham is leading this group as we work to continue to review and refine our outstanding district-wide math program as we continue to be responsive to the changing needs of our students and the workplace. Interestingly, it has been stated that math limits 84% of our career choices so this is indeed a foundational core skill and an integral core element of our curriculum. I attended the initial meeting this week and provided a charge for the math committee work expected over the next two years. It is an ambitious work plan and one that will build on our strengths already present here in Northshore. Thank you to all those who have committed to this important work over the next several years; it matters.

     

    The Board also approved several new policies at their recent meeting. The newly approved Gender Equity Policy outlines our district approach to the topic of gender equity and cites the legal references supporting this policy. This is work that has been evolving over the past several years and supports our educational commitment to inclusiveness. Another policy approved by the Board this week is one dedicated to the Integrated Pest Management system here in the Northshore School District. This policy defines, outlines and regulates the use of high hazard pesticides on district property and encourages a safe and healthy environment for students, staff, and those who use our facilities.

     

    In an update on the McCleary Case and emerging information, I would like to share the current projected chart of potential financial impact for our district. In many ways I feel it is not as impactful unless we understand the possible impact to us -- us here in this amazing Northshore School District -- so here we go. Based on recent statewide McCleary-based data charts, our fiscal budget staff reports that the difference in current state funding and the McCleary "trajectory" - see Northshore progress chart - would generate nearly $119M per year in additional state funding for us here in our district. Remember, our State constitution preamble states, "It is the paramount duty of the State to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex." We look forward to progress in meeting this constitutional obligation.

     

    A reminder that this coming Monday is the observance and celebration of the birth, the life, and the dream of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many in our staff family and community are planning to observe the day as “A day on NOT a day off”. Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” No doubt we continue to be inspired by the epic I Have a Dream speech delivered over fifty years ago. I so appreciate that each of you continue to work tirelessly to support the tenets of this cherished dream. It matters to so many. Thank you.

     

    Warmest regards,

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • January 6, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 1/6/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    Happy New Year!! I trust each of you enjoyed a blessed and joyful winter break with family and friends. Winter is such a great season, so full of promise…

     

    As I reflect on the year past and anticipate the opportunities for joy and growth in the year upcoming, I am thoughtful about all that we have done together and all that we have yet to do. There has been so much thoughtful and careful planning and preparation for the transitions upcoming later this year. We can feel confident that while there will be challenges we have not anticipated, we have the skills and drive to meet them and together have the capacity to continue the strong traditions in this amazing district.

     

    In a recent meeting with one of our amazing NSD teachers, we discussed innovative programming and the opportunities that await us as we teach students who will be living into the 22nd Century. We have spent such a great deal of time talking about preparing our students for the 21st Century, and now we realize that our kindergartners and those that follow will be engaging in the 22nd Century. This teacher shared an article with me from Thom Markham around project based learning that started with this quote, " Imagine a day in the distant future when a student comes home from school (or the community learning center), and the parent asks, "What did you do at school today?" and the child answers, "the teacher tried something new today. She called it a 'lecture'. It is something they used to do in school at the beginning of the century." Imagine the possibilities....

     

    This Friday night, the Northshore PTSA Council will be celebrating 295 students for their Reflections art work. Reflections is a National PTA program to inspire students to use their creativity by expressing themselves through their own original works in dance, film, musical composition, literature, photography and visual arts for the theme of "What is Your Story?" There are 58 students whose pieces are moving on to the State PTA for further judging and another 49 students that received a Judges Choice award for their creativity. The event will run from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. and will take place at the Eastside Foursquare Church in Bothell. Such talented students, so inspiring !!

     

    Next week, we will be hosting a special conversation on gender diversity in our schools for parents and guardians in the Inglemoor High School attendance pathway. The event, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 12, in the Inglemoor High School Little Theater, featuring nationally renowned speaker and writer Aidan Key, is geared toward parents of all students at any grade level. We plan to schedule similar presentations soon for the Bothell and Woodinville high school pathways. With transgender students attending our schools at a variety of grade levels, the district is committed to ensuring a safe, comfortable learning environment for all students. Key will lead a conversation intended to help parents better understand transgender issues and how to navigate them with children. Key’s work with K-12 schools includes topics such as gender-neutral bathrooms, transgender student athletic participation, locker rooms, privacy, disclosure, name changes and gender changes. His expertise has informed gender-inclusive policy work within the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Washington Intercollegiate Activities Association, and public school districts. Key, author of “Trans Bodies, Trans Selves,” has been featured in national media, including NPR, Nightline, Oprah, and Larry King Live. This promises to be an informative evening.

     

    Recently, a staff member provided me an interesting link to the Five Essential Questions in Life according to Harvard School of Education Dean, James Ryan. I think these remarks are especially timely as we begin a new year filled with such promise and fraught with its usual uncertainty. It is nice to know that which we can count on when we anticipate challenges and new ideas. Our greatest resource is one another and the relationships we hold dear. Together, all things are possible -- and of that we can remain resolutely certain.

     

    2017 will see our Northshore School District strong and getting stronger. Our future depends on the character and competence of the children we both raise and educate. It takes all of us in moments both small and large to make the difference for our future generation. I look forward to seeing you in the schools or at an afterschool activity in the coming year.

     

    Warmest regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • December 16, 2016

    Posted by Casey Henry at 12/16/2016

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    What an amazing close to December classes and wow, what an amazing week !! ... and all through the district many creatures are stirring and the excitement is contagious. It is such a beautiful time of the year with such a generous spirit abounding. I recently received a holiday note that reminded me that; “This season represents tenderness for the past, courage for the present, and hope for the future.” There are so many examples of our students and staff going above and beyond to support those less fortunate in our community this holiday season. This speaks so highly of the character and grace abundant in our great district; a real Northshore family feel to be sure.

     

    We have continued our strategic planing process during the current week. This is really a special endeavor, particularly at this time in the journey of our district. Our core planning team and our student voice teams both worked this week and provided parallel views on similar topics. It is enlightening to be part of both conversations and read the earnestness and thoughtful consideration those of all ages are giving to this essential process. By way of an update, we are closing in on five strategic goals and then looking at statements that might best define them. As we collectively move forward, the goals will be more clearly defined. I am so excited about this opportunity to chart our course for the upcoming three to five years. The ability to unify our work and better focus our energy is such a powerful and engaging opportunity. Coming up in early February, the instructional focus team will be working for two days to design the instructional strategies intended to bring the strategic goals to life in the classroom. For any of you who may still want to participate in the instructional focus group work, it is not too late to sign up. Your voice would be much appreciated as this is the group that will identify and document the teaching strategies that will be the foundation of the instructional aspect of the strategic plan. This reflective introspection is so inspiring.

     

    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 December 2016. 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 21,355 students.

     

    At the recent Board meeting this past Tuesday, our Board unanimously passed a Respectful and Inclusive Environment Proclamation intended to proclaim the Board expectations for our school and district community here in Northshore. “The board is dedicated to the mission of supporting and educating the students of our vibrant community,” said School Board President Amy Cast. “This is an affirmation of our belief that students will thrive in an environment that honors their unique strengths and backgrounds.” The Proclamation on a Respectful and Inclusive Environment reads:

     

    WHEREAS the Northshore School District Board of Directors believes that a safe, inclusive and civil environment is essential to high student and staff achievement and that the free exchange of ideas is central to a quality educational process; and

     

    WHEREAS the Northshore School District Board of Directors is committed to an equitable educational system that continues to grow in our ability to nurture and support all students through a fair and inclusive education, which should permeate all aspects and levels of the organization down to the classroom; and

     

    WHEREAS the Northshore School District Board of Directors is committed to providing and maintaining safe and healthy environments conducive to learning, where all of our students thrive, regardless of their background, language, race, status, gender identity, orientation, religion or other exceptionalities. The Board of Directors are steadfast in our efforts to communicate and celebrate the worth and importance that each student, educator, parent and community member bring to the work of teaching and learning in a contemporary school district.

     

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Directors of Northshore School District No. 417 proclaim our school district will continue to model, support and foster a respectful and inclusive environment for all students, educators, families and community members.

     

    Interestingly, our Northshore School District is becoming more and more diverse at an accelerated rate. Currently, it might surprise you to know that there are ninety-four home languages spoken in our district. This is such a source of strength for us as a district and for us as a community. I know our dedicated and talented staff are working in innovative ways to meet the needs of each of our learners and am anticipating this strength of diversity forming a cornerstone of our strategic plan that will focus and lead us into the future. This is such exciting and important work.

     

    Many have noted the following; “This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays!” What a joyful wish to come true for each of you…

     

    Warm wishes for a blessed and joyful holiday season,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • December 9, 2016

    Posted by Karen Orsinger at 12/9/2016

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    I trust my note finds each of you well and enjoying a bustling winter season. While things have been a bit cold, OK really cold , I want to especially thank our facilities, custodial and maintenance folks for keeping us warm. Also, many thanks for the transportation folks who have been up extraordinarily early these past weeks,and traveled many miles of icy and dangerous roads to deliver students safely to and from home during this cold weather. We each have such a unique role in the education of the whole child and all the support necessary to make our vision a reality for all children in the district – no exceptions. It really does take a whole district to support and educate a whole child. Its matters to so many, the acts large and small, and together forge a stronger family here in our amazing district.

     

    This week we had the the opportunity to do our SIP visit to Kokanee Elementary. The staff provided an amazing and informative presentation and our classroom visits were inspiring. The SIP visits continue to provide a great opportunity for collaborative conversation regarding the amazing work going on in our schools. The visits also highlight the various partnerships supporting our work here in the Northshore School District.

     

    In exciting news, we want to celebrate our Natural Leaders Program that recently received the 2016 Outstanding Human Services Program award from the North Urban Human Services Alliance (NUHSA) at its annual meeting held Dec. 6 at Shoreline City Hall. These tireless individuals spend innumerable hours supporting children and families in our district in so many ways, both large and small. In particular, they are working with our Spanish speaking families to provide support and integration into our school programs. They provide the high support for the high Northshore School District expectations for each student. It matters so much to so many.

     

    In innovative classroom news; for the last three years, Kokanee PE teachers Ellen Hanley and Kael Fisher have partnered with OT/PT specialists Janet Prendergast and Hannah Lott-Havey to develop and implement a special PE program for their Mid-Level Sensory students. The team has developed the program to address gross and fine motor skill learning needs in the PE setting through structured stations. Mid-Level students participate in a series of stations focusing on specific motor skills in a setting designed to meet the learning and environmental structure needs for sensory students. This program has produced wonderful outcomes for students including increasing their ability to engage in the general education setting and exiting some of them from special education services in the area of motor. The team has shared their program ideas with other elementary PE teachers throughout the district as teachers look for innovative ways to support the needs of all students through Physical Education! Having been in the gym, with these innovative teachers, para-educators and students, I am so impressed with the energy and engagement of all involved. Well done !!

     

    In exciting alumni news, recent Inglemoor graduates, Emma Spencer and Scott Johnson won $50,000 for their invention of a 'potholder-fire blanket'. The students are now attending college in Arizona and have created this innovative product with a winning design. In the November 23, 2016 Seattle Times article 2 Inglemoor Grads win $50,000 with Fire-Safety Invention the odyssey is described. I love our NSD Innovative energy !!

     

    Many thanks to NSEA President Tim Brittell for organizing the McCleary informational meeting held at the Shoreline Conference Center last evening. It was a well attended meeting and Attorney Thomas Ahearne described the vision of the McCleary case, and explained how the final stages of the McCleary timeline may play out. Mr. Ahearne took audience questions, and explained how the McCleary case has evolved and progressed since its inception through the 2017 Legislative Session. The implications of this case in this legislative session are uniquely important. Stay tuned as we articulate more specifics around Northshore funding impacts specifically.

     

    On Saturday, December 3, several school board members attended a six hour event at the Monroe Correctional Facility on equity and education topics. This summit, entitled "Call to Action: Stopping the School to Prison Pipeline" was organized by the Black Prisoner's Caucus at the Monroe facility. Along with over 120 other guests inside the facility's walls, the school board heard inmates speak on topics such as Education versus Assimilation, Growing Up in The System, and Parenting From Prison. This is an example of the wide variety of professional development and outreach opportunities that board members continue to participate in so that they can support the district's commitment to the education of each student, regardless of background. These conversations and many others will inform our equity and diversity work this year and for many years to come.

     

    A staff member recently forwarded this provocative empathy focused video to me. I think it illustrates the importance of a variety of topics we have been discussing this year. Relationships matter. This topic has come up over and over in all types of conversations this year and especially recently as this season is one that is often raw and challenging for individuals and families for a variety of reasons. "You only understand people if you feel them in yourself." -- John Steinbeck. As we contemplate our equity and strategic planning work, the capacity for us to slow down and be authentically present and in conversation with one another matters.

     

    It has been said that the difference between a very good school system and a uniquely exceptional school system can be found in the achievement level of its least advantaged students. I know that what I have observed over the last couple of weeks and months in each of the schools I have visited is a uniquely exceptional compassion and care for all students. I am well on my way to my goal of being in every classroom in the district by the end of the school year. I am so impressed with the work, compassion, joy, care, and spirit in each school and classroom I have visited. I remain both honored and humbled to serve you.

     

    I will close this week with the hope that each of you will enjoy a weekend filled with abundant joy and excitement. This is a season for friends and family, reminding us of the importance of being in relationship with one another. “A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” —Elbert Hubbard. True then, still true now…

     

    Warmest regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • December 2, 2016

    Posted by Casey Henry at 12/2/2016

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    What another great week. It is hard to believe that it is already December !! The winter concerts and activities are in full swing. The schools and streets are alive with a festive energy as we await winter. I for one can wait a bit for any more inclement weather ;>) As these days get shorter, it is wise to remember “gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” —William Arthur Ward (1921-1994).

     

    Brrr.... "Well, the weather outside is frightful..." (or so it is forecast to be in the coming days). Please review your inclement weather planning guides and check to make sure you have all your weather safety plans and contacts in order. Given that the snow is forecast to soon fall, I want to provide a reminder as several of you have asked again how best to tune into my Twitter account for late breaking school weather plans and other news so I will include the directions again. Visit my page and follow me at @Northshore_Supt . Please feel free to send me questions, suggestions, and innovative ideas. I love to hear from students, staff, parents, and community partners. Like the Thursday memo and my blog, Twitter is another tool that will help us all stay connected and share information. As you ‘follow my Twitter account’ you too can be among the first to know about school snow closures, inclement weather issues, wildlife challenges, safety messages, etc. I will also be sharing up to date news on what’s new around the district. The really good news is that I am limited to 140 characters in those Twitter communications ;>) !!

     

    As we approach the upcoming State legislative session, a topic that is near and dear to all of us is the expectation for fully funding schools in Washington State. Next week, there is a McCleary Meeting billed as What Would Full Funding Look Like? From the invite: "Described as a 'force of nature', Attorney Thomas Ahearne will describe the vision of the McCleary case, and explain how the final stages of the McCleary timeline may play out. Mr. Ahearne will take audience questions, and explain how the McCleary case has evolved and progressed since its inception through the 2017 Legislative Session. As the attorney who argued the McCleary case in front of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington, Mr. Ahearne is the authority on the case, and yet has the ability through his personality and presentation style to explain the intricacies of school finances in a way that makes them understandable, and even interesting." This meeting is slated for December 7, 2016 at 6:00pm. The location is the Shoreline Room in the Shoreline Center of the Shoreline School District, 18560 1st Ave NE, Shoreline, WA.


    Sign up HERE to reserve your spot to attend this important informational meeting and and thank you for all you do for our students. It matters.

     

    We, in the Northshore School District, intend to continue to address diversity and equity issues as we recognize these as strengths; equity and access benefit all students in the Northshore School District and the community at large. Gaps in educational opportunity and achievement will improve as we promote inclusive and welcoming learning and work environments. To this end, Dr. Chris Bigelow has started the work of the Northshore School District Diversity and Equity Committee. During 2016-2017, the district’s Diversity and Equity Committee will be responsible for a broad range of review and recommendations to provide the support and opportunity for all NSD students to reach their highest potential. Rather than perpetuating academic disparities, we must work to overcome institutional racism and pervasive student achievement disparities. The committee charge outlines the topics which the committee will be responsive to over the course of the year. Having visited the inaugural meeting, I am so impressed and inspired by the energy and commitment of the committee members to lead this important work for our district and the future of our community and country. Just a reminder that “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” -- Nelson Mandela

     

    This week, we had our first Communications Roundtable meeting of the year. It was a great opportunity to host retired staff members of the Northshore School District. Approximately sixty retired NSD staff members came to the table to share their perspective(s) and provide me with thoughtful advice. I find this to be such an important group to tap into as they have such amazing experience and insight into what makes Northshore so special. These amazing professionals who in many cases have given more than thirty years to this great district shared a number of insights with me and will continue to meet with me throughout the year. NSEA President Tim Brittell co-hosted the event with me and shared wisdom of his own. A significant theme from the retirees was the importance placed on relationships and the 'family feel' of this great district. Relationships matter...

     

    Today concludes the second full day of Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) training for district administrative and NSEA leadership. The training, led by John and Carol Glaser, focuses on a more collaborative approach to bargaining and problem-solving, with the parties identifying their mutual underlying interests and learning to resolve issues in positive and productive ways that align with those core values and interests. John Glaser's career spans both a long career in educational administration and several years of private practice as a labor relations consultant with his wife Carol. They are highly regarded as experts in the field of collaborative labor relations; we are fortunate to have them working with our teams to build skills and deepen trust in our mutual ability to move our important work forward together. This joint effort represents a significant step by District and Association leadership to improve our relationship and outcomes for students. For those of you who would like more information or want to simply read along with us -- Leading through Collaboration; Guiding Groups to Productive Solutions, by John Glaser, is the text we will be using as the foundation of our work together. Please let me know if you would like to receive a copy to read. I am so excited about our future !!

     

    This week I had an opportunity to visit with the district-wide Office Manager Team group. Ms. Anne Deutschman and Ms. Evie Shoeman lead this group of amazing office professionals. I continue to be so impressed with the experience, dedication and commitment of the staff here in this amazing district. Many of these office managers have been supporting our education mission here in Northshore for more than twenty years!! Our students and staff are so grateful for their necessary and incredible support. Thank you !!

     

    This week, our School Board met with the Bothell City Council in a joint meeting to address topics of mutual concern to both the district and the city. The Bothell City Council hosted the meeting which spanned many meaty topics over the two hour session. Among these topics were safe streets and sidewalks projects, school impact fees, school zone police emphasis patrols, etc. The council members and police chief were extremely complimentary of our crossing guard staff among others. We will continue with joint city council meetings with the other municipal jurisdictions within our district in the coming months. It is so important to have these partnerships with our cities and county government(s) as together so much more is possible. Imagine the possibilities...

     

    Finally, take a moment to review this YouTube video, "A Study on Praise and Mindsets" from Carol Dweck, that was recently shared with me by a research colleague. This short video clip illustrates the critical role our language plays in the achievement and experience our children have with teaching and learning every day. Another provocative thought to ponder as we construct mountain top experiences for all our students.

     

    I trust that each of you will enjoy a joyful and abundant weekend respite and I look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks. What an amazing journey we are on...

     

    Warmest regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • November 24, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 11/24/2016

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    It is at this time of the year, we are often reminded of all the things we are thankful for. While it is so easy to at times succumb to that bit of ‘grinch--ness’ about all the things that we wish we had, or have been disappointed about, or that we think could be done better, or ??. It is so important for us individually, and as a culture within the district and the community, to remember and be thankful for all the blessings large and small that are ours each and every day. We have so many… There are so many exciting events and such great energy all across the district. We are a strong district and getting stronger. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -- John F. Kennedy (1917-1963). We have so much to be thankful for and so many adventures yet to share…

     

    Next week, NSEA and District leaders will be engaging in three days of training related to interest-based bargaining. The training, led by John and Carol Glaser, focuses on a more collaborative approach to bargaining and problem-solving, with the parties identifying their mutual underlying interests and learning to resolve issues in positive and productive ways that align with those core values and interests. John Glaser's career spans both a long career in educational administration and several years of private practice as a labor relations consultant with his wife Carol. They are highly regarded as experts in the field of collaborative labor relations; we are fortunate to have them working with our teams to build skills and deepen trust in our mutual ability to move our important work forward together. This joint effort represents a significant step by District and Association leadership to improve our relationship and outcomes for students. For those of you who would like more information or want to simply read along with us -- Leading through Collaboration; Guiding Groups to Productive Solutions, by John Glaser, is the text we will be using as the foundation of our work together. I am so excited about our future !!

     

    This past Monday evening provided an opportunity for the community to turn out and tour the new North Creek High School as we welcome it into our school district family of schools. What a stunning school and what an amazing Open House and Ribbon Cutting celebration we all shared. The energy with all the students, families, staff and community members was electric. So many people came together to create something no one could alone have envisioned. People are still talking about the dream that has become such an incredible reality. Imagine the possibilities...

     

    In other news, I want to let you know that the Northshore School District will be starting and ending the school day later beginning in 2017-18, a change designed to improve student sleep patterns for better overall health and academic performance. Our School Board last night approved a “25-minute roll,” meaning most district schools will start and end 25 minutes later than the current times. While the 25-minute roll may not yet be a perfect solution for all, it represents important progress. For high schools, the start time will be 7:45 a.m., ending at 2:20 p.m. For middle schools, school will begin at 8:25 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. Elementary schools will vary, depending on whether they are “late” or “early” start schools. These times could be adjusted somewhat based on transportation needs as the district implements this decision. For now, the plan is to start early elementary schools at 9 a.m. and end at 3:25 p.m., and to start late elementary schools at 9:35 a.m. and end at 4:05 p.m. We will keep you posted as we work through these transportation issues.

     

    This decision comes after many years of wrestling with this complex topic, including the review of significant research and community input. In 2015, the district formed the Start Time Task Force. The task force included teacher, community, parent, student and administrative representatives who devoted many hours and days diving into research and analyzing numerous options to come up with recommendations. We are so grateful for their hard work. Additionally, a number of community surveys and public meetings generated specific and helpful input from our families. An initial survey showed overwhelming support for starting secondary schools later. A more specific survey last May surfaced several community concerns, including worries about how late some students would be released. This input influenced the task force’s final recommendation for the 25-minute roll – a modification of an earlier recommendation. Finally, the feedback we have received from hundreds of families over recent weeks has been helpful as it emphasized a desire for more on-site child care, among other issues.

     

    I want to assure you that we will do everything we can to mitigate concerns related to our youngest learners while concurrently endeavoring to improve the start time for our adolescent learners. Also, please know that we are investigating child care options to better serve our working families. Meanwhile, I do believe that these new start times provide a healthy balance for our students and our community, and I want you to know that the board tonight expressed its commitment to continue the discussion. Visit our Start Times webpage to learn more: http://www.nsd.org/Page/29748

     

    At the November 22nd School Board meeting, the school board unanimously approved the calendars for the next two school years -- the 2017-18 calendar and the 2018-19 calendar. I want to acknowledge and thank our lead NSEA and Administration bargainers, Tim Brittell, Kraig Peck, Carolyn O'Keeffe and Jeff Sherwood, for their collaboration and diligence in developing these calendars so early in the school year. I also want to thank all who played a role in reviewing, providing input and then, recommending the final drafts that came to the school board for their approval on Tuesday evening. I know our families and staff will appreciate having the two years of calendars as they plan their upcoming family events. Well done !!

     

    Last night, Carolyn O'Keefe, Heather Miller, Obadiah Dunham, David Wellington, and Jack Huber provided a robust presentation on our graduation status, progress on meeting CORE 24 requirements and other assessment news. WOW, do we have a great deal to celebrate !! In particular, our ninth grade success rate is the top in our region for school districts our size. This is so important because one of the key indicators of students graduating from high school in four years is their ability to get through ninth grade with all their credits intact and be on track credit wise when they begin ninth grade. This is a testament to hardworking teachers, counselors, support staff and principals with our students and families being intentionally supported in a focused manner. Truly an example of high expectations coupled with high support, well done !!

     

    I trust each of you will have a Happy Thanksgiving holiday and enjoy time with family and friends. I want to take a moment and share how thankful I am to have the opportunity to serve you and this amazing district. I know how hard each of you have been working these past few weeks and months with all the transition topics and challenges and want you to know how much I appreciate your efforts. I am certainly thankful for all the hard work each of you do every day. Thank you one and all….

     

     

    And so,…  For each new morning with its light,
                      For rest and shelter of the night,
                      For health and food, for love and friends,
                      For everything Thy goodness sends.
                                                                         ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

     

    I wish each of you and your families a happy, blessed and safe Thanksgiving…

     

    Warmest regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

     

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  • November 17, 2016

    Posted by Karen Orsinger at 11/17/2016

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    I trust this note finds each of you enjoying a joyful and productive fall week. I have heard so many positive community and parent comments about the current parent conferences and school events. I so appreciate your positive energy and approach to challenging times and issues. It matters.

     

    This week, our Board and Cabinet visited Westhill Elementary School for our regularly scheduled SIP visit. Wow, what a great presentation and robust visit we had led by Principal Dana Whitehurst and her leadership team. So many amazing things happening and so much positive energy. Earlier in the school year, we visited the Northshore Networks Program and had a great presentation from Principal Donna Tyo including robust data and thoughtful reflection. We have so many amazing programs and people doing so many amazing things. So inspiring !!

     

    Recently, the secondary choral music teachers of the NorthShore District presented both 8th and 9th graders in a district J.H. Honor's choir concert on the evening of November 9th. According to our amazing Ms. Terry Sullivan, this concert was designed to give students a feel for choral music in the high schools as we transition to four year high schools. The event was attended by over 180 Junior High 8th and 9th graders who sang together in an afternoon of rehearsals as well as evening of beautiful and inspiring music. It was an impressive and inclusive event. Well done !!

     

    In news from Tracy Meloy, the Effective Practice and Induction Mentors--Andrea Haas, Denise Waters, Linda Cowan, Rhonda McGee, and Susan Martin--meet with a representative from OSPI three times per year. These meetings serve the dual purpose of 1) identifying for OSPI how we fulfill the obligations set forth in our Beginning Educator Support Team grant; and 2) engaging in coaching support that pushes our thinking and our practice around how we support new professionals. Induction Mentors met with Kristin Courtney from OSPI this week to share about our current work. Kristin complimented the Induction Mentors on their efforts to provide a learning-focused orientation experience for first-year teachers, provide new teachers with professional development opportunities that meet new teachers' needs, be present in first- and second-year teachers' classrooms, and communicate about their work with school principals. NSD's Induction Mentors were told the work they were doing was "incredible" in its scope. This is definitely an example of the high Northshore expectations we maintain with our high support. Well done !!

     

    In other exciting upcoming events, the entire Northshore community is invited to the Open House and Ribbon Cutting at North Creek High School on Monday night, Nov. 21 to see the cutting-edge design of the district's fourth comprehensive high school. We thank our supportive community who approved our 2014 capital bond and are proud to report that North Creek High School is on schedule to open to students in the fall of 2017 as an innovative learning center. Construction has been completed on time and on budget. Principal Eric McDowell, reports that at the Open House on Monday, a program that includes speakers and a ribbon cutting will begin at 6:30 p.m., but you can stop by anytime before 8 p.m. to take a self-guided tour. Student and staff ambassadors as well as Spanish and sign language interpreters will be on hand to help out. I am so excited.

     

    This week, we had our monthly district administrative office staff meeting and among other things, we discussed one of my favorite topics -- how do we Water the Bamboo....I love this Ted Talk from Greg Bell delivered in Portland, OR, circa 2011. A big idea is to ask ourselves both the first thing in the morning and the last at night the simple question -- What is going well ?? It also reminds us that patience and discipline are inherently necessary for strong and sustained outcomes. As you might know, following the planting of bamboo seeds, it is three years before any of the bamboo plant is visible above the surface of the ground. Indeed, we need to continue to tend what we can't see yet hope to have thrive. Once the bamboo breaks through the ground, it can grow several feet a day ;>) Wow, that is an interesting metaphor for so much of our work...

     

    As a reminder, last week the Board took another step in the start time planning for the coming year. The Board reviewed the most recent Start Time Task Force memo as a first reading and will have it on their upcoming meeting agenda for a second reading and vote. Should this most recent recommendation be approved, the start time at most schools in the district would move forward by 25 minutes with the current delivery model of transportation remaining intact. While this is not everything the start time research might warrant, it is a step in that direction and a recognition that we will continue to work on progress to best meet all student learning needs. Please stay tuned as this detailed and thoughtful process plays out.

     

    Given that the snow is beginning to fall in the mountains, I want to provide a reminder as several of you have asked again how best to tune into my Twitter account for late breaking school weather plans and other news so I will include the directions again. Visit my page and follow me at @Northshore_Supt . Please feel free to send me questions, suggestions, and innovative ideas. I love to hear from students, staff, parents, and community partners. Like the Thursday memo and my blog, Twitter is another tool that will help us all stay connected and share information. As you ‘follow my Twitter account’ you too can be among the first to know about school snow closures, inclement weather issues, wildlife challenges, safety messages, etc. I will also be sharing up to date news on what’s new around the district. The really good news is that I am limited to 140 characters in those Twitter communications ;>) !!

     

    Congratulations to all our fall student athletes as they competed and succeeded at so many levels and in so many sport team endeavors. We also encourage those teams still competing and wish each of them well as the competitions unfold. Such an exciting time to be competing !!

     

    As I contemplate our collective work at this time, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Simon Sinek; "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe." This is so prophetic and so powerful as we work through this transition time.

     

    Warmest regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • November 13, 2016

    Posted by Casey Henry at 11/13/2016

    Hello Northshore Families,

     

    I trust this note finds you enjoying a reflective fall weekend.

     

    As we approach a new week, I want to take a moment to share some thoughts with you. Regardless of our political perspective, it is clear that the recent election season has been a difficult one for many in our country. I have received a number of notes concerned and wondering about the events that have occurred in schools and communities across the nation and want to take this opportunity to reassure you that our schools are safe, are inclusive, and remain an amazing learning culture resolutely committed to excellence and equity.

     

    I want to assure you that here in our house, the Northshore School District house, we will steadfastly continue to maintain a warm and inclusive culture and climate for each one of our students from our youngest children to our promising young adults. Know that we value and celebrate the differences that each of us uniquely brings to the work of teaching and learning in a contemporary school district. Our dedicated and thoughtful staff will continue to maintain the intellectual, physical and emotional safety of each of our students as well as each other.

     

    Please take a moment this evening to discuss with your student(s) the importance of being a positive and inclusive member of our Northshore School District community. We want to remind students that bullying will not be tolerated under any circumstance as we expect our students to remain kind and compassionate, being mindful that we are enriched by our diversity and strengthened by our unity.

     

    Please feel free to contact me directly should you have any questions or concerns at mreid@nsd.org. I wish you all the best as we anticipate another productive fall week.

     

    Warmest regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • November 11, 2016

    Posted by Casey Henry at 11/11/2016

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    I want to start my notes this evening with a thank you for your service to all Northshore School District staff who are veterans and have served this amazing country. Secondly, I would like to thank those Northshore staff who are family members of veterans as I understand the sacrifice this entails.

     

    I want to take a moment to share how delighted I am with our students and their leadership on important topics. Having recently attended several concerts and Veteran's Day assemblies, I know that we can all be proud of the leadership, integrity, and vision of our young people. I am so impressed with the talent in this great district and have been so moved by the performances and heartfelt sentiments shared by our young people. The respect and appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform is so important. We owe them such a debt of gratitude for so many things both large and small. I know these events require a great deal of effort and attention to detail on the part of so many staff in our schools. It matters. It also reminds us of the importance our fine and performing arts play in the story of our great nation. It is the music that touches our souls in a manner that words alone cannot. Our community and nation are in good hands.

     

    I have recently visited several schools in the district. As part of my Entry Plan, I am committed to being in each and every classroom in the district by the end of the academic year. As part of these school visits, I ask staff to randomly select students from each grade for me to personally visit with to discuss their school experience. In the last several weeks, I have had an opportunity to break bread with our young students at several elementary schools and also students at one of our junior high schools. The principal(s) and I have joined the students for a Breakfast Club meeting and I have learned about the many wonderful things going on at these schools. The students are so complimentary of all the staff at the school and are excited about what they are learning. Even with their unique and diverse interests, they are all hopeful about their future and confident in their ability to meet whatever lies ahead. This is such a gift that teachers and support staff provide to students. I am so thankful to have these opportunities and to join in their wonder… I look forward to being in more schools soon; it is where my heart beats strongest.

     

    As I reflect on the matters of the recent days, I am struck by how much we each care about the topics and issues facing our amazing country. Regardless of our particular political perspective, I must acknowledge that the election season has been difficult for a variety of reasons. Many more eloquent than I have shared their thoughts during this historic week. Tonight, it seems fitting that I simply quote President Obama as his perspective is unique. "Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember that we're actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage. We're not Democrats first. We're not Republicans first. We are Americans first. We're patriots first. We all want what's best for this country. ... That's what the country needs -- a sense of unity, a sense of inclusion, a respect for our institutions, our way of life, rule of law, and respect for each other." I couldn't agree more...

     

    For me, in a simplistic way perhaps, I am reminded of our kitchen table at home. On special occasions, we have large family gatherings with extended family, neighbors and friends who join us and become part of the fabric of our lives. We rarely if ever all share the same perspective on almost anything; e.g., political, economic, religious, sports, etc. However, we come from a foundation of love and camaraderie so we listen and seek to understand one another and often leave the table a bit more informed on a topic(s) than when we began the meal. Being in community means taking the time to have the civil discourse necessary and being less worried about being right than being present with each other. So too, as a community and nation, we must lean in to the difficult conversations necessary to heal and we will emerge stronger for the experience. History is often our toughest teacher and we will continue to draw strength from each tough situation we successfully face. "Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation." -- John F. Kennedy. It all comes back to education -- our work together...

     

    This week, we renewed an old tradition by collaborating on a joint NSEA and NSD Dinner with principals and association leaders from all our elementary schools. At the dinner, we reviewed the recently bargained contract and shared discussion topics of interest to foster a deeper understanding of how we might best work together. We are a community of learners and reinforced our common interest in supporting one another and the students we serve. We will hold the secondary schools meeting in the coming week. A big thank you to both bargaining teams in preparing for this event. Also, a big thank you to the BHS Culinary Arts team for providing an outstanding dinner. We are so blessed to have such amazing programs, staff and students in this great district.

     

    This week, the Board took another step in the start time planning for the coming year. The Board reviewed the most recent Start Time Task Force memo as a first reading and will have it on their upcoming meeting agenda for a second reading and vote. Should this most recent recommendation be approved, the start time at most schools in the district would move forward by 25 minutes with the current delivery model of transportation remaining intact. While this is not everything the start time research might warrant, it is a step in that direction and a recognition that we will continue to work on progress to best meet all student learning needs.

     

    In news from Mr. John Hughes, this year there will be sixty college scholarships averaging $2,700 that will be offered to 2017 graduates of Northshore’s high schools during the 33rd year of the Scholarship Foundation of Northshore operations. Eligibility and criteria for each of the forty four scholarship programs administered by the Foundation can be found online at www.sf-ns.org. The website provides the only source for application forms. Deadline for applications is Feb. 3, 2017. The 2017 grants will bring to more than 1,800 the number of Northshore graduates who have received $2.75 million in community scholarships. More information is also being sent out directly to high schools. This is such a blessing to have such a robust scholarship program in our community to support our students. Thank you.

     

    In other exciting news, this week for Monday Night Lights, Bothell High School got to hang out with our very own Seahawks. BHS Athletic Director Yonni Mills, provided the Twitter link to the action. How fun for our student athletes and coaches.

     

    Finally, as tomorrow we will celebrate Veteran’s Day, I would ask each of you to pause sometime during that day to think about and thank those who have served our country so valiantly, and remember the many sacrifices made on our behalf. It is so true that we are free because of the brave. And from a former Commander in Chief, let's remember "We are of course a nation of differences. Those differences don’t make us weak. They’re the source of our strength." -- Jimmy Carter

     

    Warmest regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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  • November 3, 2016

    Posted by Karen Orsinger at 11/3/2016

    Hello Team Northshore,

     

    Well, a wet first of November week to be sure. It is also the last week for daylight savings time, so please do remember to set your clocks back an hour this weekend. While only 40% of the countries in the world observe this tradition, we have since President Roosevelt reestablished daylight savings time back in 1942 to save energy. How exciting to have the gift of an extra hour this weekend -- use it wisely ;>)

     

    We have been busy with the ongoing strategic planning work this week. Our Core Planning Team met for two days and have really begun to make serious progress in contemplating the future goals for our amazing district. We also met with the leadership team this morning and reviewed the work our planning team and student voice teams have already begun. We discussed the importance of trust as we have these challenging conversations. In the midst of planning, it is becoming so apparent that we have significantly more in common than not. I am so excited about this work and both its short and long term benefits for each of us in this amazing district. Please know that there are still many ways to be part of this process and each of us will have a thoughtful look at the process at some point during the course of the year. I will also continue to provide weekly updates as our journey unfolds. The strategic planning calendar is continuing to be refined and will reflect updates as we move forward in the process.

     

    In more exciting Northshore news, our very own Volleyball Lady Falcons have been named Academic State Champions. The Woodinville ladies volleyball team, carrying a collective grade point average of 3.86, has been named the 2016 Fall WIAA State Academic Champions. The WHS Volleyball program is a back to back, two time State Champion. The eight returning seniors, #4 Kenzi Oates, #5 Jordyn Janshen, #7 Gabriella Whalen(C), #9 Catherine Johnson, #10 Lauryn Rhinehart, #18 Makenna Barton(C), #19 Devyn Young, and #28 Taylor Rhinehart were also members of the 2015 winning team. The underclassmen that share this significant accomplishment include: #2 Cate Quilantang, #3 Colleen File, #6 Madison Lundquist, #11 Sierra McKissick, and #36 Janett Ramirez. Congratulations to these accomplished student athletes, their coach Mike Mills and assistant coach Andrea Roelen. We can all be so proud of this accomplishment; all our kindergarten through senior year teachers and support staff contribute to these amazing accomplishments !! Well done !!

     

    As you go about your days, and run across positive stories or events that would be of interest, please pass them along to me so that I might share them. I continue to be so amazed at all the positive energy and events that are regularly taking place (in ways both large and small) all across our district and community. With so much of our national and regional news often being negative, I love that we can be that light for our community that leads us in a positive direction and keeps a healthy balance for those young and old.

     

    I will be hosting my first open community chat from 8 to 9 a.m. on this coming Tuesday, Nov. 8, at Tully’s Coffee in Canyon Park (next to PCC). Please pass this information along to parents or friends who might wish to chat with me about our strategic planning, transitions, or other topics. If folks are not able to meet this coming week, I will also be hosting community chats on the following dates:

     

    • Friday, Dec. 9, 2016
    • Friday, Feb. 3, 2017
    • Tuesday, March 14, 2017
    • Friday, April 28, 2017

     

    In other breaking news, the most recent PDK poll of the public's attitudes toward the public schools is in. Once again, one of the major findings is that "Americans don't agree on the overall purpose of education." While this is no longer surprising, it does make the work we are doing here in our community that much more important as we come together to commit to our common purpose for public education here in our district. Within the report, there are many interesting ideas and identified trend data that is important to be mindful of as we move forward in our work. Excerpted from the report, "In a year marked by so many divisions, the newest PDK poll on education shows that Americans don’t agree on the most basic question about the very purpose of a public school education. Is it to prepare students for work? To prepare them for citizenship? Or to prepare them academically? Less than half (45%) of adult Americans say preparing students academically is the main goal of a public school education, and just one-third feel that way strongly. Other Americans split between saying the main purpose of public schools is to prepare students for work (25%) and for citizenship (26%)." I believe that the ever changing landscape of our world and the nation which our graduates will soon be leading, make it incumbent on us to be thoughtful about how we both inform and form the data and perceptions about our profession and its purpose. We need to lend our collective voice(s) to the statement of this purpose. It matters.

     

    And so in closing, as I contemplate my excitement over the possibilities associated with my extra hour this weekend, I am reminded of a quote recently shared with me; “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking, and don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking, don't settle.” —Steve Jobs (1955-2011) Co-Founder Apple Inc. I am loving what we are doing here and so grateful to be doing it with you...

     

    Enjoy your extra gift of time,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
    Superintendent

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