Heard it Through the Grapevine Questions & Answers
The following questions were submitted to the district's Heard it Through the Grapevine. Answers to each question are provided by the appropriate district department. Some questions may not be posted due to duplication, the use of profanity or personal attacks. Please contact the Communications Department, 425.408.7670, for more information. Thank you.
Link to Heard it Through the Grapevine Submission Page
I Heard it Through the Grapevine that:
The district pays for taxi service to and from school for students that have moved within the district and choose not to go to the school in the boundaries of their new home. Why would funding be spent on taxi service for a choice the parents are making? Shouldn't transportation be the parent's responsibility at that point? (posted 5.20.13)
School districts are responsible for providing transportation for students experiencing homelessness under the federal McKinney-Vento Act. The act ensures homeless students have transportation to and from their school of origin upon the request of a parent or guardian, or in the case of an unaccompanied youth, upon the request of the McKinney-Vento liaison, even if the student has moved to a new location outside of their school of origin’s district. When two school districts are involved, they share transportation and collaborate to determine which district is going to assume transportation responsibility for the morning and for the afternoon. In the best interest of students in the McKinney-Vento program and to minimize costs, Northshore uses district-owned school buses, vans and cars to provide federally mandatedtransportation services. Other districts may send a variety of vehicles, including taxis, to a Northshore site to cover their portion of transportation services.
- We understand a new administrative position has been created for Dr Carolyn O’Keeffe to oversee the building of the ‘New High School’. Is this correct? And if so where did the money come from for this position? And wouldn’t it be prudent to wait until the people within the NSD have voted on the 2014 Bond before spending this money? (posted 5.4.13)
The deputy superintendent position is to oversee all aspects of our district instructional programs and specifically all elements associated with grade reconfiguration. The position is beginning now due to the extent of those changes and the desire to have an inclusive, thorough and representative process. The position has been funded by not replacing an administrative position in support services and reductions in non-personnel budgets in support services, primarily at the print shop.
- I am trying to understand how a new high school will help the overcrowding at Canyon Park and Skyview Junior High. (posted 4.5.13)
The addition of a new high school and grade reconfiguration would allow the district to adjust the service areas of overcrowded schools, including Skyview Junior High School, with the implementation of boundary adjustments and changes to feeder patterns. Canyon Park Junior High School is currently below its enrollment capacity and has room for additional capacity.
Boundary adjustments related to the opening of a new high school and grade reconfiguration are contingent on the successful passage of a February 2014 bond measure and would be recommended to the school board by the Enrollment Demographics Task Force at a later date to balance and accommodate enrollment across schools and feeder patterns.
The district's ideal plan would be to open the high school and implement grade reconfiguration and related boundary adjustments across the district simultaneously in the fall of 2017.
In the meantime, the district will continue to restrict in- and out-of-district waivers, add portable classrooms and implement program moves and busing to manage growth in impacted schools. The district would like to avoid implementing multiple boundary adjustments until a longer-term solution is realized.
- I was just on a field trip to a play with the Moorlands 3rd grade and asked what happened to all the great field trips we had when my daughter was in 3rd grade 3 years ago, including the Seattle Underground, the MOHAI, the Klondike museum, Pike Place Market and a harbor boat cruise. I was told by the teachers that the problem is with the bus--we don't have as many busses and the bus has to be back to pick up the high school students so we can't have the long field trips any more. This is a big disappointment and I hope we can figure out a way to get these field trips back. Kids learn a lot on field trips and they all correlated with things the students were learning at the time. (posted 3.25.13)
State standards are rigorous and require consistent classroom instruction. Field trips need to align with grade-level standards to extend the learning of content students are getting in the classroom. Curriculum and classroom learning play a role in decisions about how many and which field trips to take.
Due to limited resources, field trips are scheduled between the 9:30 a.m. elementary start time and the high school end time. Any field trip activities outside of this window are coordinated on an individual basis to ensure there is adequate staff to support all needs for district buses.
The district provides transportation for more than 3,000 field trips per year, and so far this year we have covered 95% of these requested fieldtrips with Northshore transportation.
Are there plans to move any more 9th grade sports to the high school level? I know a task force was looking into this (June 2012 question) and I'd like to know when we will know for the 2013-2014 school year. Thank you. (posted 2.25.13)
There are no immediate plans to move additional ninth-grade sports to the high school level. The Sports Task Force, comprised of parents, coaching staff, administrators and district personnel, was formed to look at issues such as Title IX, safety and health of athletes and programs, athletic policies and coaches training and salaries. The task force will also determine the next steps and potential transition plan for junior high sports in connection with the school board’s decision to plan for construction of a fourth high school and grade reconfiguration. Contingent on a successful February 2014 bond measure, opening a fourth high school and grade reconfiguration would occur simultaneously in Fall 2017 or Fall 2016 at the earliest. The Sports Task Force intends to send a transition plan to the board for its review in March/April 2013.
Do I understand the Frank Love Elem. website correctly? The pre-school program, which has been highly popular in the community, with a waitlist for attendance (the last? 7 years? ) has been shut down. An academic resource that the community demands and uses has been cancelled because NSD has not taken the needs of its community seriously. NSD has been too slow to address the overcrowding and now requires the space. NSD has not addressed the needs of its community enough by providing academic resources for all of its families; NSD could easily open up preschools at several elementary schools in the area and still have waitlists. Pre-schools are an academic resource that helps children prepare for an ever demanding curriculum. (posted 2.15.13)
We understand your concern about the closing of the tuition-based preschool at Frank Love Elementary School. Mrs. Kirkham and the staff have worked hard over the years to provide quality services for young children in the Frank Love community. As you acknowledged, district enrollment is on the rise in certain areas of the district and many of our schools in the north and central corridor are at capacity. This has resulted in the need to accommodate additional students from neighboring schools that no longer have room. Frank Love can accommodate additional students, which unfortunately means closing the pre-school program to provide this much needed classroom space. This was a difficult decision and we apologize for any inconvenience to families in our community.
I continue to hear that the school board will not consider a later high school start time. The community wants this. There are thousands of signatures on an online petetion. Now the district is asking for an enormous bond to build a new high school. How does the district expect to pass this when parents feel like their concerns are being brushed aside and ignored. I understanding overcrowding and am happy to see this is being looked in to. However, if the district continues to ignore the voters wishes, how can get anything passed? (posted 1.31.13)
The school board values parent and community opinion and considers it seriously when making decisions that impact Northshore students and their education. The school board spent many months analyzing the numerous variables that influence school start times and heard from parents, community members and representatives from PALS (Parent Advocates for a Later Start) on the issue. The district established a website containing information on this issue www.nsd.org/schoolstarttimes. In addition, the school board directed district staff to work directly with PALS leaders modeling different scenarios to achieve an earlier high school start time while also meeting the many other requirements of our transportation system. Given all of the variables, fiscal constraints, complexity of the system and number of stakeholders impacted, the school board did not authorize a change to current bell times. The school board agrees and has publicly stated that a later high school start time is desirable and has directed staff to maintain this as a high priority in the event that different opportunities and options become available.
To address current and expected enrollment growth in the north end of the district, the school board has voted to include funding for a new high school as the primary component of a 2014 bond measure. The district is working towards a bond measure that is similar in size to the 2010 bond measure of $149.2 million while maintaining a level tax rate. If the February 2014 bond measure passes and the district is able to move forward with constructing a new high school and reconfiguring grade levels to a K-5, 6-8, 9-12 model, the adjustment of school start times will be considered as part of the overall planning and implementation, as directed by the board. Please feel free to contact the district communications director, 425.408.7671, for additional information on the school board plan or to provide additional input.
- Do you know when a tentative 2013-14 calendar for the NSD will be made available to parents?
The 2013-14 calendar has not been determined yet. By law in Washington state, the school calendar is a mandatory subject of bargaining between the district and the teacher’s union, Northshore Education Association (NSEA).
As soon as both parties have an agreement on the calendar and we receive approval from the Board of Directors, we will send out an announcement and post the calendar on the Northshore School District Web site.
- What can be done to improve communication between transportion and parents/students when a bus is late? Could a text notification system be established to communicate changes? The driver could notify the district of the situation and then the district could send out a text blast to the affected students. (posted 10.25.12)
Currently the district’s Transportation Department notifies a school office when a bus is late. The district does not notify parents using text messages out of consideration for those parents who would be subjected to texting charges. Your suggestion will be shared with the Transportation Department for future consideration as our communication with parents evolves.
- I heard that the ReadiStep test will be administered to Timbercrest 8th graders in October. Will parents be given further information re: this test? What will the results be used for? When will the test results be available to the parents? Is the test mandatory? How will the test be administered (pencil/paper, computer, both?)? (posted 10.3.12)
Students in 8th grade will test during 2nd and 3rd periods at Timbercrest Junior High School on Oct. 17. A letter will be sent to 8th-grade parents on Monday, Oct. 8.
ReadiStep is a flexible middle-grades assessment that measures the knowledge and skills students need to be on track for college success. It helps identify the skills students need to develop, and it helps schools make early interventions at a critical point in a student’s school career. ReadiStep is the first step on the College Readiness Pathway, an integrated system of assessments that includes the PSAT/NMSQT® and SAT®. These tools work together from middle school through high school to help educators make informed curriculum decisions to improve students’ skills. Like the PSAT/NMSQT and SAT, ReadiStep measures the reading, writing and math skills students learn in school. It also uses the same format and question types as the PSAT/NMSQT and SAT, and it provides middle school versions of trusted College Board tools, including the Summary of Answers and Skills (SOAS) reports and Skills Insight.
There are several ways in which students, parents and educators benefit from the ReadiStep assessment. The assessment provides:
• Early indicators of students’ college readiness
• Information educators can use to adjust their curricula
• Tools to help improve student skills and target course selection
• Resources to encourage students to start thinking about college and the future
The ReadiStep Assessment is not mandatory and is free of charge to all students as Timbercrest Junior High School is piloting this assessment. The assessment is in alignment with current school board goals and performance measures to ensure that all of our students are graduating college ready. The assessment is an easy-to-administer, paper-and-pencil test and will be administered during the school day. The assessment has three multiple-choice sections — reading, writing and math (no essay or student-produced response questions). The testing time is 2 hours (40 minutes per section) and the results will be delivered to the schools within four weeks after testing which will then be delivered to students and parents.
There is curriculum that is tied into the ReadiStep assessment for counselors to utilize when meeting with 8th -12th graders to further help prepare them for decisions down the road. Currently, counselors utilize the Career Cruising curriculum grades 9-12. A district team will be looking at the curriculum, My Road, as an alternative to Career Cruising during this school year.
- I heard that their are talks of a new high school being built on the north end to accomodate the large amount of new construction south of 180th and north of 228th. Is there any validity to these rumors? (posted 7.10.12)
Northshore School District purchased property north and west of Fernwood Elementary School as a potential future school site, but does not have any immediate plans to develop it.
The district is aware of the significant growth in the north and central corridor of the district, which impacts capacity at these schools now and into the future. Northshore works with a demographer for long-term planning, and options to manage this growth are being explored by the district’s Enrollment Demographics Taskforce—a committee of parents, community members, consultants and district staff members. Additional information about the taskforce’s work can be found online at www.nsd.org/edtf. The taskforce will make a recommendation to address long-term growth issues to the school board this summer.
- I heard that the land recently cleared on 35th Ave. N.E. just south of Grannis Rd. is going to be a new high school. Is this true? If so, where can we find more information about the project and when is it scheduled to be completed? (posted 6.27.12)
Northshore School District purchased property north and west of Fernwood Elementary School as a potential future school site, but does not have any immediate plans to develop it. A developer owns the property directly west of Fernwood that is currently being cleared and plans to build new homes on that site.
The district is aware of the significant growth in the north and central corridor of the district, which impacts capacity at these schools now and into the future. Northshore works with a demographer for long-term planning, and options to manage this growth are being explored by the district’s Enrollment Demographics Taskforce—a committee of parents, community members, consultants and district staff members. Additional information about the taskforce’s work can be found online at www.nsd.org/edtf. The taskforce will make a recommendation to address long-term growth issues to the school board this summer.
- I heard the school board is looking at moving 9th grade sports to the high school level. I am wondering what the costs will be associated with moving 9th grade sports to high school. I understand that team sports are important learning tools but I hope the district will consider using that money to start high schools later—let's put academics first in Northshore. (posted 6.7.12)
There is a district committee working on a proposal with a focus on junior high school sports. The proposal will be an information item on the June 12 school board meeting. In order to help the school board make an informed decision, the committee’s proposal does consider logistics, transportation, participation fees, ASB cards and all other cost items.
NOTE: (This is a follow-up comment posted after the June 12 school board meeting.) The board discussed junior high sports at its June 12 school board meeting and determined that it is too late to make changes to seasons and sports teams for the 2012-13 school year, but directed the Sports Task Force to come up with a new plan that analyzes participation, cost, pay-to-play, schedules and C teams.
- I've been hearing from neighbors that the NSD is considering moving school district boundaries which would put those of us who've recently purchased new construction homes close to the district boundary near 180th & 35th in to the Everett SD instead. Is there any truth to this rumor? We purchased our house specifically because it is in the NSD. (posted 6/4/12)
The dividing line for Northshore School District’s northern school district boundary is 180th St. S.E. from 19th Dr. S.E. on the west and 59th S.E. on the east. The Northshore School District is not moving Northshore students into the Everett School District. School enrollment in the north and central corridor of the school district is increasing, and the district’s Enrollment Demographics Task Force (EDTF) is researching options to address current and future growth in this part of the district. However, there are also no immediate plans to shift elementary boundaries for Fernwood Elementary School. Information regarding the work of the EDTF to address district growth can be found online at www.nsd.org/edtf.
- My kids go to Moorlands, which seems overcrowded already with lots of building go on. Are there plans to redraw boundary lines anytime soon? (posted 5/31/12)
Recommendations for changes to school boundaries is processed through the district's Enrollment Demographics Task Force (EDTF). Although there is continued growth in the area surrounding Moorlands, there is no decision to adjust the elementary school boundary for Moorlands Elementary School at this time. The issue was brought up at a recent EDTF meeting and it will be examined in a future meeting.
- I heard that the school board voted to not conduct a survey of the community regarding later start times for the high school students. All studies show that a later start time benefits the education of teens plus increases their test scores. I am very concerned that the board is making decisions based on things other than what is best for our students. (posted 4/6/12)
The Board of Directors has spent many months analyzing the variables that influence the district's current school start times and has determined that, at this time, the best option is to maintain our current bell time configuration. The board has expressed a desire for later start time options to remain a consideration in future decisions as circumstances or events warrant. Information about the school start time and analysis can be found online at www.nsd.org/schoolstarttimes.
- I heard our schools in this district use the 'pink slime' in the beef meals in our lunchrooms. Is this true? If so, how much, in what food items? I would like to see a complete ban on using ANY amount of this product in our kid's food. (posted 3/20/12)
Recent national media stories have reported on the use of lean, finely textured beef in school lunches. Our supplier has assured us that they do not supply this product. (letter from supplier) Northshore does not use this product in our meal program. If you have questions about Northshore's Food Services program, please contact 425.408.7656.
- I heard that Lake Washington School District will move to kindergarten to fifth grade at elementary level starting next year. Does Northshore School District have plans to do the same? (posted 3/19/12)
There is no active decision by the district to move to four-year high schools although the district will continue to research the potential benefits, challenges and impact of k-12 grade reconfiguration. The board is in a study phase and no recommendation has been presented for board consideration.
The district has assembled a Growth & Demographic Master Planning group to research and help address enrollment and capacity issues of the district, particularly in the northern and central corridor. The group will provide information and updates to the Enrollment Demographics Taskforce (EDTF) and the board.
The district would engage in an extensive community input process before making a final decision on any recommendation with wide ranging impacts. Please click here to access the Growth & Demographic Master Planning Web page.
- My kids go to Moorlands, which seems overcrowded already with lots of building go on. Are there plans to redraw boundary lines anytime soon? (posted
- I have heard that since Gov. Gregoire declared a state of emergency during the January 2012 snow/ice storm, Washington state students don't have to make up those school days under said state. (posted 1/27/12)
Any changes to the district calendar are negotiated with the teachers’ union; per the calendar, any necessary make-up days will be added to the end of the school year. The district is waiting for additional guidance from Olympia on the governor's proclamation on the winter storm. Information will be shared with families if any changes are made to the school calendar.
- I have heard that Northshore is evaluating a later start time for the high schools. Besides the cost of bus transportation, are there any other factors that would prevent a later start time? (posted 12/7/11)
The Northshore School District is undergoing further analysis on school start times. Information and updates on school start times is available at www.nsd.org/schoolstarttimes.
Why is our school transportation system only funded partially by the state, where as in other school districts it is fully funded by the state?
Washington state uses the same transportation funding system for all districts. It is a “one size fits all” model that is basically a rate per weighted student mile. What varies among districts is the number of students transported, the number of stops and students per stop, the district’s policy on ridership qualifications, fuel prices, labor contracts, availability of local transit alternatives, and additional bus services provided (e.g. our elementary before-school music program transportation.)
The transportation funding model has been a topic in a number of state studies and reports and there is a consensus that it is under-funded and needs to be changed.
From a financial view, for the 2009-10 school year, 67.52% of school district transportation costs were funded by the state. For Northshore that number was 58.91%. This translates to a total of almost $2.6 million of unfunded costs for Northshore.
From a per pupil expenditure perspective, the state average was $384.57 spent with Northshore being at $335. Of the 16 largest districts in the state with which we do financial benchmarks, the costs per pupil transported range from $696.69 in Seattle to $267.57 in Kent.
*Note: The above figures were taken from the OSPI financial Web site.
- I heard recently that the Northshore School District is expanding their Special Needs Program. Is this true? If so, as this is already a program that is unfunded by many millions of dollars, where is the NSD getting the money from? (posted 11/15/11)
Special education services in the Northshore School District are based on the identified needs of the students who qualify for these services. If our student population grows, our program also will grow. Since our special education student numbers have been fairly stable over the past several years, we have had relatively little change in the size of our program.
- Is the Northshore School District increasing its Special Education Program for out of district students? If so, why? as this is a cost that is not recoverable due to insufficient funding from the state. How many millions are we underfunded by? (posted 11/15/11)
The Northshore School District does not have separate special education programs for out of district students. There is a waiver process that allows any student living outside the district to request enrollment in a Northshore school, based on available space. Once students enroll in a school district, they are eligible for all services provided by that district. If a non-resident student then qualifies for special education services, the district would provide those services.
State and federal funding follows the student, so if a non-resident student enrolls in Northshore, the district would receive the full allocation for that student. In the case of special education, the student generates basic education funds as well as state and federal special education dollars. The special education law, IDEA, mandates that we provide the appropriate services required by the student, regardless of cost. Like other districts, overall Northshore uses additional basic education dollars (between $7-8 million annually) to fund these services for its special needs students.
When a student takes a bus to school, how minutes before school starts should the bus arrive? My child's bus arrives 2 minutes before school starts and the transportation department has not taken any steps to change this. (posted 9/21/11)
Northshore buses are scheduled to arrive at the school approximately 10 minutes before the start of school. Arrival times can fluctuate depending on traffic and weather conditions, road construction or student issues. Families that have a concern should contact the Transportation Department at 425.408.7900 for assistance.
- I read the comment about the lockers at Timbercrest. I have to voice my sincere concern as well. The weight of these backpacks is such that my daughter is now experiencing back and shoulder issues at twelve years of age. It is my sincere belief that Northshore District is absolutely disregarding the health of these kids. You contradict yourself when you say that you bring in drug sniffing dogs for this very reason. We encourage law enforcement to continue these efforts to keep the schools safe. If they are there and you are the owners of the property; you have every reason to open each and every locker as often as you wish. If you can't come up with a solution soon; I encourage another approach in regards to the weight of these textbooks. Perhaps our bond levy could pay for on-line textbooks instead. (posted 9/20/11)
The Northshore School District is aware of the health concerns for students who carry heavy backpacks. The following Web site has tips about selecting and using a backpack:
Many of our textbooks are available online and each classroom at Timbercrest Junior High. Teachers provide students with a code that allows students to access the online textbooks and its resources. Students also have the option of taking a textbook with them or leaving it in the classroom. As we adopt and purchase new curriculum, we are ensuring that we have access to online resources (including the textbook) for teachers and students. The following junior high courses have online textbooks and resources: Washington State History, US History 8, mathematics at grade 7 and 8, Algebra 1, and Geometry. Our older materials are not available in online versions (English novels or the anthology). Science reading and use of the textbook would
happen during the school day and in the science classroom with support and guidance from the science teacher.
I've heard parents and teachers at Moorlands Elementary School are concerned about overcrowding there. Large class sizes necessitate the use of portables and even the computer lab is being converted to a classroom to accommodate the growing school population. At the same time, Arrowhead Elementary School is in great need of more students to assure that programs and services (such as a full time librarian) can continue. What needs to happen to better balance the populations of these two schools? How can parents help? (posted 9/20/11)
Several Northshore elementary schools are experiencing capacity issues this fall. The district’s Enrollment Demographics Task Force (EDTF) is the clearinghouse for analyzing and providing recommendations to address the impact of enrollment growth and enrollment decline within the school district. Your concern will be forwarded to the EDTF with the suggestion to evaluate this community concern regarding Moorlands enrollment growth and Arrowhead's increasing capacity.
- Is there a school dress code? (posted 9/6/11)
The Northshore School District has established guidelines for student attire while on school district property as outlined in the district's 2011-12 Rights and Responsibilities Handbook. Students are provided a copy of the handbook at the beginning of the school year. A copy of the 2011-12 Rights & Responsibilities Handbook can be obtained by contacting Ruth Anspaugh at 425.408.7725 or by downloading it as a pdf document from the district Web site at www.nsd.org. (handbook is 46 pages) To view the file, you will need Acrobat Reader from Adobe.
- Now that the state budget is out, does the district still anticipate that there will be no lay-offs for the upcoming school year? (posted 6/16/11)
The Northshore School District does not anticipate layoffs as a result of the state budget. While the district is making some reductions in staffing, there are enough resignations and retirements to avoid layoffs this year.
- Lake Washington School District has had their 2011-2012 school calendar published for many months. Why doesn't Northshore have a calendar yet? Originally, the NSD website stated the district was waiting for special school days approval. Was it to have a 180 day school year or 183 day school year? Was something approved? The next updated stated NSD's was working with the teacher's union to negotiate the school year calendar. Updated again it says NSD is waiting to see if the special legislative session will provide additional school funding, when NSD doesn't believe this legislative session will provide additional funds. Then we are asked to wait until the session in Olympia is/was over for NSD to begin negotiations with the teacher union. I've heard many reason's why the school year calendar has not been completed. None of the reasons I've heard have been published on NSD's website. Can you please explain why we are all still waiting for next year's calendar? (posted 6/16/11)
The district and teacher’s union did not begin negotiating the 2011-12 school calendar until after the legislative session because state funding reductions could have impacted the number of days in the school calendar. The Northshore School District has reached a tentative agreement on a two-year contract with the Northshore Education Association (NSEA), including a 2011-12 school calendar. The tentative 2011-12 calendar follows the same format as last year’s calendar with the first day of school before Labor Day. The first day of school last year was Wednesday, Sept. 1, and the tentative start of the 2011-12 school year is Wednesday, Aug. 31.
The contract and calendar were ratified by NSEA on June 15 and are pending School Board approval. They will be an action item on the agenda for the June 28 School Board meeting. The tentative 2011-12 tentative district calendar has been posted to the district's Web site. Tentative 2011-12 District Calendar
- Has NSD purchased any land on the Maltby road for future development? (posted 6/10/11)
The district purchased property located at 4709 Maltby Rd. in Woodinville as a potential future elementary school site. The property is located in the northern region of the school district, an area that continues to see growth in population and enrollment. Current elementary schools in this region are at or nearing capacity. The purchase is consistent with the district’s mid- to long-term goals of balancing student demographics, managing the district’s housing growth and capital planning. Funding is from the district’s capital budget and does not impact funding for basic education costs.
- My second grade daughter mentioned earlier in the school year that she and a first grader were being teased at recess by three older boys. She told me this week that it has continued all year and that just a few days ago one of those boys took some game cards belonging to the first grader and ripped them up. This was handled when my daughter reported the bully to the recess monitor. I know that at our particular elementary school that “being kind” was addressed at the beginning of the school year, but I’m wondering if there is a district-wide curriculum/program to help stop bullying before it begins. A program that continues to send this message to kids throughout the school year, and that offers help and education to the bullies so they learn why it’s harmful (as opposed to simply giving them a “time out” at recess). If a third grader thinks it’s okay now to bully a first grader, what will this third grader’s behavior be when they are in JH or HS? (posted 6/8/11)
Bullying is never acceptable in Northshore School District. The district has strict policies and procedures regarding harassment, intimidation and bullying that are detailed in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
District efforts focus on education, intervention and prevention. Every school adopts an approach to bully prevention that meets its unique needs. School counselors and administrators talk with students about harassment, intimidation and bullying. We want to ensure that students are informed and feel comfortable coming forward, if there ever is an issue, so we can help. One area we will focus more specifically on with students is what they can and need to do if they are being bullied.
The district conducts regular trainings for staff members on issues related to harassment, intimidation and bullying. Counselors completed training on cyberbullying and administrators will have training on cyberbullying in August. In addition, the district will be adding language to address cyberbullying in district policy and procedure. All segments of the school community must work together to address the problem of bullying.
I heard that this is the last/final year for the Jr High Soccer program? Is this true? (posted 5/31/11)
The junior high school soccer program is not in its final year and there have been no discussions regarding any cuts to or elimination of the program. Questions regarding junior high or high school sports programs can be directed to Student Services, 425.408.7725.
- Why is the district purchasing all new hardware and software for computers? What was wrong with the existing computers and why couldn't just new software being installed. No one I know has identified any issues with the existing computers and with one of my teachers having a class of 40 students next year, we wonder where the budget priorities are. (posted 5/16/11)
Because teachers are more mobile and the computers they use need to be kept reasonably current in order to meet existing and future technology needs, the district and Technology Advisory Committee (TAC), consisting of district staff members and parents, recommended that nearly all teachers be moved to current laptop computers. The replacement of some computers with laptops and software updates is part of the comprehensive technology plan developed by (TAC), approved by the Northshore School District Board of Directors and funded by the 2010 capital bond and technology levy. Capital funds may not be used to fund basic education costs such as class size, per Washington State Law. For more information on the Technology Plan, please visit www.nsd.org/2010bondlevy.
- When can we expect the release of the 2011-2012 school calendar? It is extremely inconvenient in vacation planning when we don't even know when school is starting. (posted 5/6/11)
By law in Washington State, the school calendar is a mandatory subject of bargaining between the district and the teacher’s union, Northshore Education Association (NSEA). The district and NSEA are awaiting action by the legislature to determine the 2011-13 state budget before starting negotiations on the 2011-12 school year calendar. Various proposals in Olympia, if enacted, could result in a shortened school year, which would influence the school calendar. Until that issue is known, negotiations on the calendar with our teachers' association are at a standstill, including outlines of a calendar such as start date and major holidays/breaks.
The legislature is in a 30-day special session. The district is hopeful, although not overly optimistic, that an agreement on a budget will be reached within the next couple weeks. Once the budget is finalized, we will work as quickly as possible to develop a calendar. As soon as both parties have an agreement on the calendar and we receive approval from the Board of Directors, we will send out an announcement and post the calendar on the Northshore School District Web site. We regret the inconvenience caused by this delay and understand the frustration of parents.
- I have heard that this year's 5th and 6th graders will be taking portions of the MSP via a computer test taking system. I have also heard that this may not apply equally to all 5th and 6th graders throughout the district and that some of them may be taking a paper version of the MSP. Is this true? ...are all 5th/6th graders using a computerized MSP test? In looking at the tutorial MSP tests available on the State OSPI website, it looks like there could be some room for unnecessary errors in taking the MSP online in a computerized format that would not be present if taking the paper version of the tests. Are we to expect that MSP results for our students this year may reflect logistical test taking errors in switching from paper to computer tests? If all students are not being tested using the same test format, how will that effect selection into programs such as Jr, High challenge courses? Thank you for your response. (posted 5/3/11)
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is moving towards having all state testing in the online/computerized format and began offering online Measurement of Student Progress (MSP) testing in 2009-10. OSPI has found no differences in the scoring patterns or test achievement of students testing online versus students using the traditional paper/pencil format after a thorough analysis. Numerous states have already successfully transitioned to online testing, including Oregon. School districts such as Northshore are progressively adding more schools, grade levels and content areas of the MSP to the online format to accomplish this objective. We have 10 elementary schools and 3 junior high schools participating in online MSP testing this year. Currently, grades 5 through 8 can take the online MSP in reading, math and science. For a complete list of FAQ's and presentations that describe the online system, please visit http://waonline.caltesting.org/documentation/index.html.
- How is the district allowed to have random (without just cause) canine searches of classrooms involving three district staff members plus four law enforcement staff. I shouldn't be going to school and being treated like that I did something wrong. (posted 5/3/11)
Student safety is one of our foremost concerns and there are a number of things we do to accomplish this. The one area you address, canine-assisted searches, is but a single segment of the overall security plan designed to keep the school community safe. This search, in partnership with local law enforcement, is designed to be a deterrent and to send a strong message that illegal drug activity on school campuses will not be tolerated. It is regrettable that some students may feel they are being treated as if they have done something wrong, as we do this for overall school safety.
Searches were started a number of years ago and the district had a legal review before proceeding. Canine-assisted searches and procedures were developed and are conducted with local law enforcement to ensure they meet regulations. Our PTAs and parent community were then and continue to be supportive of this effort. We do not want drugs in schools, and the district will continue to work with local law enforcement officials to take the necessary steps to keep that problem from growing in our school communities.
- Will there be additional parking at Woodinville High School for the 2011-2012 school year? Because as of now sophomores have to park off-campus creating a huge inconvenience. (posted 3/30/11)
The number of available parking spots will remain about the same in 2011-12, although there will be some shifting of some parking areas. Additional parking should be available when the construction is completed in 2013. Current student parking in the temporary lot off 136th Avenue N.E. and the area south of the field off N.E. 195th Street will remain the same, but other parking areas will be temporarily repositioned. Woodinville High School will be distributing/posting related information. Please check the school’s Web site before the start of the 2011-12 school year for more information. Thank you for your patience.
- What's up with the installation of new amplification systems in every classroom at Leota? Why is this being done now, when budgets are so tight? Is this being done throughout the district? How much does it cost and who is paying for it? (posted 3/23/11)
The audio amplification systems that are being installed throughout the district were funded by the bond measure that Northshore voters passed in February 2010. (www.nsd.org/2010bondlevy) The project will install audio equipment in 1,200 teaching areas throughout the district which research shows has increased student achievement and motivation. The overall project is estimated to cost $2 million and was approved by voters. Additional information about the specifics of the project can be viewed at http://www.nsd.org/soundfield.
Funds from bond sales can be used for projects, like the classroom audio project, that provide key infrastructure support for classroom learning as well as for projects that maintain and renovate schools. However, per Washington State law, these bond funds cannot be used for ongoing, general support and instructional expenses.
- I heard the Jr. High honors program is being changed. New honors programs are for Math, English, and Social Studies. Why is science not being considered for the new honors program? (posted 3/18/11)
While English, math and social studies have a history of offering honors courses, junior high science has not. There are several reasons for continuing this practice at this time.
Science coursework is organized with a grade level focus: Life science at grade seven, earth science at grade eight and physical science at grade nine. Students cannot accelerate and skip these courses and still be prepared for higher level science courses in high school.
Junior high science is undergoing a curriculum renewal after many years of using outdated instructional materials. Teachers have piloted new science materials in the last few months, and a new science program will be implemented in all three grades next fall. We need to thoroughly develop these new programs before teachers will feel confident in developing a Challenge-level course with the increased rigor one would expect in an advanced or accelerated course.
Junior high is the first time most students have a lab science class and they come to the junior high with varying experiences of science instruction. We currently do not have an equal opportunity for all students to learn science prior to entering junior high. We also have no formal means of assessment to fairly and accurately identify and qualify students for placement in a Challenge science class.
We will review these issues and consider offering a self-select ninth grade Pre-AP physical science class in the future.
I heard you can take health online. How would I do so? I am currently a 9th grader at Leota Jr. High and will be going to Woodinville HS next year. (posted 3/14/11)
The Northshore School District will be offering health through the district's 2010-11 summer school program. Please contact your junior high counselor for more information.
- I heard that our librarian is currently throwing in the recycling bin hundreds of books that are slightly damaged, but still readable. She says district policy says anything bought with public funds cannot be donated or sold to benefit the library. How can the district justify the waste when there are plenty of children who would be delighted to have a used book? (posted 2/17/11)
The law allows school districts to declare the books as surplus or use in other capacities. Northshore has a procedure in place to recycle obsolete or damaged books. The law also allows the district to grant or loan surplus books to other educational entities provided the books are used for preschool through 12th grade educational purposes. We are not allowed to donate the books to private individuals.
I heard that the district is going to cut full day Kindergartens and move to all 1/2 day Kindergartens because of state funding cuts. If this is true, we will see a drop in enrollment as parents enroll their children in full day Kindergartens in the community. Many of those children won't come to NSD for 1st grade because it's hard to change schools once you've started and see how well your child is doing and how much they love it. The drop in enrollment will keep expanding as those children and their siblings grow up. Please tell me this rumor is completely untrue!!! (posted 2/8/11)Northshore School District has no plans to cut full-day kindergarten. It will remain a tuition-based program for the foreseeable future. The state only provides funding for .5 kindergarten teachers; therefore, the district charges tuition to cover the remaining .5 cost required to provide full-day kindergarten. For more information, please contact Evie Shoeman, Elementary Education, 425.408.7705.
- I heard that we will be going to school till July. Is this true? (posted 2/4/11)
Northshore School District's 2010-11 original calendar had the last day of school scheduled for Friday, June 17, with emergency make-up days to be added to the end of the school year. The district has three make-up days due to inclement weather, which has extended the last day of school to Wednesday, June 22. This will remain the same unless there are additional emergency make-up days. Please contact the Communications Office, 425.408.7670, for additional information or support.
- I heard that a student may request or submit a "Request for Credit for Equivalency Course of Study." This provides a vehicle for requesting credit for work performed that is equivalent to a course offered at the high school level but due to scheduling the student cannot attend/complete. Is there such a form? (posted 2/3/11)
Northshore School District does not have a Request for Credit for Equivalency Course Study form. The district accepts official transcripts from accredited institutions for credit applied to a student’s official Northshore School District transcript. Please contact your high school counseling center for more information or assistance.
I have heard that there will be no lay offs at Northshore for the remainder of this school year or for the 2011/2012 school year provided the budget forecast remains as it is, is this true? (posted 2/1/11)
The district will not be laying off employees currently under contract for the 2010-11 school/contract year. However, any vacancies that occur due to resignation, retirement, leave of absence, etc. will be reviewed to determine if the vacancy can be left unfilled.
The necessity for any 2011-12 layoffs will be determined by the outcome of the legislative session and the 2011-13 biennial budget adopted. If the legislature adopts a budget similar to the Governor's budget proposal, the district does not anticipate the need for layoffs. There will still be the routine shifts and realignment of staffing that occurs every year due to changing program requirements and specific program funding levels.
- I have heard that NSD is considering adding Freshman Football at each of the High Schools next year. What is the process for making this decision? Who will make the decision? Has their been any public discussion about this matter? When will the final decision be made? (posted 2/1/11)
The Northshore School District has been exploring the addition of freshman football to the three high schools for 2011-12 to address funding issues and ensure safety. There have been numerous discussions with input provided by interested junior high parents, Save Our Sports committee’s leadership, junior high athletic directors and principals and high school athletic directors and coaches.
There are many benefits to having freshman football at the high schools. It is a positive experience for participating freshman providing them an opportunity to compete at a higher level. They would receive proper training, techniques, a better understanding of the high school football system and a one-year advantage having participated in the high school program.
The decision will be made by the superintendent with the support of the school board. The final decision will need to be made within the next few weeks as preparation for the 2011-12 high school football season begins in early spring.
- Northshore is considering going to the middle school model as many of the neighboring school districts have done. If that is so, when would this take place? (posted 2/1/11)
There is no active decision by the district to move to a middle school model. The board is not actively considering a move to middle schools, nor has any recommendation been presented for board consideration. The district would engage in an extensive community input process before making a final decision if such a recommendation was ever brought forward.
- We’ve been told that inclement weather calls cannot be made later because of the high school schedule. However, we have received school-specific calls. Is there a reason why inclement weather calls cannot be made at different times according to the school start times. (posted 1/24/11)
Inclement weather calls are made at the district level to notify NSD families and staff members of a district wide closure, delay or special circumstance. A call is sent in English and in Spanish. The notification system does not allow for staggering call times within a call at this time. The only way to do this would be to schedule separate calls. This poses more problems for families regardless of grade level who need the early notification to arrange schedules and for families who have children in different schools and grade levels as there would be no way to eliminate duplicate calls. The easiest solution at this time is to make one call (English, Spanish). If the district must send a call in the morning, the call will go out before 6 a.m. to ensure we can communicate quickly with families. The first school bus stop time is at 6 a.m. and zero period starts at two high schools around 6:10 a.m. Many local school districts that use a notification system schedule the morning inclement weather call before or at 6 a.m.
If you do not wish to receive inclement weather calls, you can opt out by contacting the Communications Department at 425.408.7670. This means you will not receive any inclement weather calls (afternoon, evening or early morning), but you will still receive general announcement and emergency calls. The district will still post information on the Web site and information lines, and local TV and radio stations will also broadcast this information. Additional information is available at www.nsd.org/weather.
- Where can I find information about SAT prep classes offered through NSD? (posted 1/24/11)
The Northshore School District does not have SAT prep classes. However, the counselors at each high school have information on local SAT prep programs. Please contact the Counseling Office at the high school for information.
- I heard that the Northshore School District is considering closing some schools next year 2011-12 including East Ridge Elementary. It this true? (posted 1/13/11)
The Northshore School District is not considering the closure of any schools for the 2011-12 school year. The school board would conduct extensive community outreach to gather community feedback prior to making such a decision.
- I heard that the grades that were recently mailed home are not recorded on a student's transcript but are a reflection of student's current progress and that the grades that really matter will be the grades that come out after the first semester deadline in January and at the end of the school year. (posted 12/8/10)
The grades your student received recently are a reflection of your student's progress in his/her classes at this time. Only end of the semester grades are transcribed onto a student's transcript. The end of the first semester is January 28, 2011. The end of 2nd semester is at the end of the school year.
- Timbercrest Junior High does not have lockers because the district/school is concerned about students storing drugs in them. Please clarify the reason why there are no lockers at Timbercrest and if there are plans to put in lockers for the students. (posted 11/9/10)
The construction and layout of a school are defined by the educational specifications developed by design team. The design team consists of the architect and site instructional staff. During the construction of the school the group may have been influenced by research that indicated that lockers were rarely used, so resources were allocated to create more open space for each student, hopefully encouraging more staff and student interaction as well as creating more group learning spaces. Additional research would be required to determine if there was adequate space for the installation of lockers and yet still meet safety and code requirements.
- Lake Washington and Northshore School Districts have different midwinter breaks and spring breaks. With kids in one district, and husband teaching in another, it makes vacation planning difficult. (posted 10/21/10)
The school calendar is a mandatory part of bargaining between teacher unions and school districts in our state. Each school district must reach agreement with their teacher's union on the school calendar, and school calendars are often different from one school district to another based upon negotiations.
Our teacher's union surveys their members each year to gain input to use during the negotiation process. Northshore has provided the February mid-winter break for many, many years. In the past, Lake Washington School District also provided the same February mid-winter break, but this changed as a result of negotiations regarding their calendar. As a result of state testing requirements, many school districts changed the week of their spring break several years ago. While Lake Washington negotiated their spring break for 2010-11 from March 28 through April 1, Northshore negotiated their spring break from April 4 through April 8. When a family with children lives in one school district and a family member teaches in another school district with different break periods, this makes scheduling family events and responsibilities more difficult.
For the 2010-11 school year, Northshore along with some of the surrounding school districts such as Mukilteo, Shoreline, Bellevue and Issaquah scheduled the week of February 21 through 25, 2011 as their mid-winter break. Northshore along with such school districts as Everett, Mukilteo, Edmonds, Snohomish, Bellevue and Issaquah scheduled the week of April 4 through April 8, 2011 as their spring break period.
- I heard that the parking lot at Woodin is a disaster. The principal has done all she can to help the situation, but I still see a need for change. Having six lanes of moving traffic cram into that tiny little area, it is only a matter of time before someone gets really hurt. Can the district work with the City of Bothell to help fix this problem? I also notice that there are kids who get bussed that live really close to the school. Why is that, and why do others who live the same distance have to walk/drive? Maybe if the district picked up more kids then the lot wouldn't be such a problem. (posted 10/6/10)
Woodin Elementary was built in 1970 with the site access/parking lot configuration designed with a single entry point for ingress/egress and, although not an ideal design, has served the school for almost 40 years. The entry to the parking lot was modified this summer to allow for a one-way entry and one-way exit in an effort to improve circulation and safety. This improvement was a negotiated solution with both the City of Bothell and King County. Traffic engineers from each jurisdiction were involved, several options were presented and only the current solution was accepted by both agencies. Neither agency is interested in modifying the four-way stop at the entry to the school.
The new driveway modifications have decreased the traffic congestion during parent pickup and drop-off and improved the sites circulation according to the school’s principal.
Regarding busing: If a student lives more than one mile from the school or lacks adequate walking conditions or qualifies for special education transportation they may receive district transportation.
There are several options available for families who are not receiving district transportation.
1. Submit a Transportation Request Form which allows a student to ride the bus and use an existing bus stop
2. Develop a Walking School Bus Program (http://www.walkingschoolbus.org/) October 6, 2010 is National Walk to School Day
- I heard that only the Bothell junior football group is allowed to provide concessions at Pop Keeney's main concession stand during all of the high school football games, even if it is an Inglemoor HS or Woodinville HS home game. This removes a great fundraiser from the junior football groups at the other two high schools since they don’t have a permanent, enclosed concession stand to use. Would it be possible for the Inglemoor and Woodinville groups to erect their own concession stand so that they can sell concessions at their high school's football games? If not, is there some other way to make this situation more equitable? (posted 9/30/10)
The Bothell Junior Football Association has been operating the concession stand at Pop Keeney field for over 10 years. The arrangement with the association directs that the home football team receive a percentage of the profits generated in the concession stand. The association submits an annual accounting record and individual checks for each of the three schools within 30 days of the end of the season.
The agreement with the association states that they have the sole right to operate the concession stand at Pop Keeney for district football games and does not allow for other parties to sell at these events The association has done an excellent job to date with running this concession stand. They meet all state health and insurance requirements; the district has received no complaints concerning the quality or service provided; and each of our high schools has benefited.
We are currently in the second year of our five year agreement. If an organization wishes to compete in future solicitations for this service, please send the district the organization name, address and contact information.
- There are supposed to be Junior High football games at Kenmore Junior high, but I don't know what time they are. (posted 9/28/10)
Information regarding junior high school sports schedules, as well as high school sports schedules, can be found on the district's Athletics Web page, www.nsd.org/athletics.
- The school district has cut many honors programs at the Junior high level. Many kids were asked to leave the honors program. Is this true and why would the district do this?
I heard that Honors classes have been severely cut back at the Junior Highs. My understanding is that teachers are not paid more to teach these classes so why not offer them when you have to offer the classes regardless. If you have four 7th grade English classes, why can't you have one hoors English class and three regular. We need to encourage our kids not hold them back!!!!
Northshore School District has not cut the junior high honors program. Honors offerings vary slightly each year based on enrollment and the number of students who qualify for honors level classes. This year, the district made some changes to standardize the qualification process across all junior highs, but the net effect has not decreased junior high honors classes offered district wide.
The total number of junior high honors classes to be provided this year increased from 75 classes offered in 2009-10 to 78 classes. In addition, 43 junior high students are taking advanced math at the high schools.
The district discontinued seventh grade humanities so that the selection of students and content of the honors courses could be standardized across the school district. A junior high honors task force will be created this year to align the junior high honors curriculum with high school advanced placement and IB courses and to develop an annual program review process.
Overall, 31% of district 7th graders take honors math 7, 29% of district 8th graders take honors math (algebra), 2% of district 8th graders take honors math (geometry), 25% of district 9th graders take honors math (geometry), and 4% of district 9th graders take advanced level math at the high schools. District wide, 15% of 8th graders take honors English 8 and 23% of 9th graders take honors English 9; and 14% of 8th graders take honors US History 8 while 24% of 9th graders take honors World History 9.
Here is a link to information about the junior high honors program.
- I heard that negotiations between the school district and the union representing the para-educators is not going well. I am wondering if I, a parent of a child with special needs who benefits for para-educator involvement in his education, can learn more about what the issues are.
I have heard that district negotiators told the para-educator bargaining team that they do not have the authorization to give raises, and that paras are being asked to take a wage freeze for the next 3 years -- after not receiving a raise the past 2 years. I heard that the district has negotiated contracts with other bargaining units in the district, all of who are getting increases. I have heard that paras in the NSD make less then most bus drivers, custodians and secretarial staff -- and less than para-educators in surrounding school districts.
I have heard all this information second or third hand so I wonder 1) if it is accurate and 2) what other issues are at play, and 3) what are the next steps in the negotiations. (posted 9/7/10)
The District and NESPA (Northshore Educational Support Professional Association) are in the process of re-negotiating the collective bargaining agreement between the parties. NESPA is affiliated with the Washington Education Association. NESPA represents paraeducators, school assistants and nurses. We appreciate and value our NESPA employees and the contributions they make to our students and our educational programs.
Under the terms of the agreement that recently expired, the bargaining unit received a general wage increase of 4.4% for the 2008-09 school year, plus additional local funds were applied to some of the wage steps on the salary schedule. The bargaining unit did not receive a general wage increase in 2009-10, since the state did not fund any wage increases for K-12 employees.
The state legislature did not fund a wage increase for K-12 employees for 2010-11 either. This means that any increase to wages agreed to in bargaining would be paid for out of local levy funds, and consequently those funds would not be available to pay for other instructional programs or reducing class size. While we can’t comment specifically on what’s going on in bargaining, comparative wage data shows NESPA employees are paid at or above the average when compared with similar positions in other school districts.
None of the classified (non-teacher) bargaining units or administrative units have received a general wage increase for 2010-11. Some bargaining units are in the middle of mult-year contracts; four of those units will receive small amounts of money applied to some wage steps or classifications based on market comparison. The rest will not receive general wage increases.
- Woodmoor Elementary therapists are losing their therapy room so that it can be used as a regular classroom due to the increased enrollment at Woodmoor. At East Ridge Elementary, there are numerous regular classrooms (plus there are empty portables) sitting empty because of reduced enrollment at that school. Why are steps not being taken to even out enrollments so that some schools are not over capacity while other schools are under capacity? (posted 9/2/10)
Over the last four years the district has revised boundaries and moved programs throughout the district in an effort to equitably adjust school enrollment. This has affected 11 elementary schools and all junior high and high schools by redirecting over 1,200 students and several programs.
Each year the Enrollment Demographics Task Force (EDTF), a committee made up of parents, community members, district staff, and a consulting demographer, meet for the purpose of analyzing or balancing enrollments and, as necessary, making recommendations for school board deliberation.
Your concerns have been forwarded to the EDTF for its consideration. Additional information about the EDTF is available online.
- Have been watching with interest the construction at Pop Keeney Stadium. Can you tell me what they are doing (other than adding additional seating and parking)? When will it be finished? (posted 9/1/10)
Under the conditions of the Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) between the Northshore School District and the City of Bothell, the district was required to vacate the 18 acres sold by June 30, 2010. Since the current locker rooms and concessions stands were included in the property sold to the city, those facilities needed to be added at the district’s remaining Pop Keeney site to facilitate continued district use. The district is also replacing the turf and visitors stands which have reached the end of their useful life. The goal is to have the facility ready for the first game of the season on September 2.
- The actual total of levy/bond monies raised through the property tax was $57 million for 2010/2011. (posted 9/1/10)
Although the district budgets on a school year basis (September 30 through August 31), taxes are collected on a calendar year basis (January 1 through December 31). For 2011, the district is estimating tax collections totaling $86,488,513 as approved by the voters for district levies and bonds. The following tax collections are projected:
- Maintenance and Operations (M&O) levy: $40,000,000
- Technology levy: $6,000,000
- Total bonds (both new issues and bonds approved and sold in prior years): $40,488,513
- Frank Love Elementary was supposed to receive a brand new playground this summer. I heard that the PTA had saved up $50,000 for this, but nothing happened this summer and anything related to the new playground was taken off of the Web site. Why is this and when will Frank Love get a new playground? The old one seems unsafe and old compared to many others in the district. (posted 9/1/10)
The Frank Love Elementary School PTA has been raising funds for over a year to renovate the playground at Frank Love, and to date the PTA has raised approximately $25,000. The PTA submitted over 20 grants seeking funding for the project last spring, and they are continuing to explore ways to raise funds again this year. The target amount needed is closer to $60,000 to do the renovation. With the downturn in the economy, it has proven more difficult than perhaps it would have been otherwise to raise the funds necessary for the renovation.
The current playground was installed nearly 20 years ago and is inspected annually and maintained regularly. In that time span though, playground codes and equipment have changed, and the playground is indeed aging, which is why PTA has been attempting to raise funds for a major renovation. Anyone interested in helping is encouraged to contact the Frank Love PTA directly by visiting http://www.nsd.org/franklovepta.
- Northshore is considering a switch to 4 year high schools. Why, and when would this be implemented? Would this also necessitate a boundary change similar to the one we had in 2007? (posted 8/24/10)
There is no active decision by the district to move to four-year high schools although the district will continue to research the potential benefits, challenges and impact of a four-year high school model. The board is not actively considering a move to four-year high schools, nor has any recommendation been presented for board consideration.
The district would engage in an extensive community input process before making a final decision if such a recommendation was ever brought forward.
- It would be considered to have schools start later (most importantly the high schools and junior highs; we are up way earlier than we like to be) now that district is done double bussing to accomdate the boundary changes. (posted 8/12/10)
The district has researched costs associated with later start times for secondary schools, but found that it is cost prohibitive. It would be optimal to have a later start time at our high schools, but given our current resources and state and federal mandates, administration has attempted to provide an equitable and responsible solution to this issue for all Northshore students.
The district has made changes to achieve operational cost savings: alignment of all high school start times; alignment of all junior high start times; a reduction of 21 bus routes and drivers, which provided between $525,000-630,000 in operational savings; a reduction of the total mileage by bus per day which reduced maintenance and fuel costs; and a reduction in the number of buses owned and operated by the district.
By aligning the start times of the high schools and junior high schools, students are better able to access satellite courses across the district. These are shared courses open to students at all three comprehensive high schools and at one alternative school. There are a finite number of buses (and bus drivers) that are utilized in the district. To continue with cost savings and routing efficiencies across the district, this number has remained low. There are no extra buses to be deployed if one pathway high school changed its start time.
- There are 2 principals in some schools. Why is that? (posted 7/29/10)
The district follows a standard staffing model and provides each elementary school with one principal, each middle school with one principal and one assistant principal, and each high school with one principal and two assistant principals.
Northshore School District does not have two principals at any of its schools. Bothell High School had two co-principals and one assistant principal instead of one principal and two assistant principals for a few years, but this is no longer the case.
- There is a teacher mentoring program costing $500,000. Why would teachers not support one another for free? (posted 7/29/10)
NSD does not spend $500,000 on a teacher mentoring program. It has budgeted $60,000 next year for new teacher professional development. In addition, one teacher will serve district wide as a secondary education mentor/instructional coach for new teachers and other related education service staff. Many school districts provide professional development and mentorship for teachers including Renton, Lake Washington, Everett and Vancouver school districts.
Informal collaboration and mentoring is already happening in schools among our teachers and support staff. In addition, formal mentoring and professional development workshops and classes are provided for new teachers to increase knowledge in content areas, curriculum updates, teaching strategies, and working with diverse learners, among other things.
Research demonstrates that the greatest impact to student achievement is the quality of the teacher. A 2006 study by the University of Washington also showed a 25% attrition rate for Washington teachers in the first five years of their career. Mentorship and professional development support for beginning teachers is particularly important to address both of these issues.
- The NS Teacher's union is considering the possibility of eliminating teacher in-service days and instead, having an early release day once per week for teacher preparation time (similar to Bellevue and Lk WA districts). I heard they are considering making this change possibly as soon as the 2010-11 school year. Can you confirm if this is true? (posted 7/29/10)
While the Northshore Education Association has approached the district about the possibility of moving to early release days in the future similar to Bellevue and Lake Washington, the teacher's union did not propose that this change be made for the 2010-11 school year. The 2010-2011 school calendar has already been bargained between the teacher's association and the district and is posted on the district Web site. This calendar is very similar to the calendar that has been in place for the past five years with 175 student days and designated non-student inservice days for teachers.
The school district received a three-year waiver from the Washington State Board of Education allowing us to modify our school calendar to 175 student days beginning with the 2005-2006 school year because the district provided more instructional hours than were required by the state. This waiver was renewed for another three years beginning with the 2008-09 school year and expires at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.
In 2009, the state provided a new definition of what constitutes basic education and increased the number of instructional hours from 1,000 to 1,080. At this time, school districts are waiting for an interpretation of these changes and when they must be implemented. Until the new requirements are communicated to school districts, we are unsure whether we will be able to apply for a future waiver. It is also unclear at this time whether school districts like Bellevue and Lake Washington will be able to continue having early release days after the 2010-2011 school year.
Northshore would not make a decision to move to early release days without community engagement on this issue.