Superintendent's Blog

  • August 19, 2017

    Posted by Dr. Michelle Reid at 8/19/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,


    I trust this note finds you enjoying one of our outstanding Pacific Northwest summer weeks.  Having duly noted the 'Back to School advertisements' in the local papers, I am excited that we are getting closer to the start of the new school year.  As we draw near to this time of new beginning, I want to begin my summer thoughts this week by inviting you to join me in a few reflections, as this has been an extraordinarily difficult week for so many...


    As this new academic year begins, and our school campuses are filling with faces both familiar and new, I want to take just a moment to reassure our community that Northshore School District's primary mission, beyond the education and safety of our students and staff, is the safety of everyone who steps foot on our campuses.  The recent tragic events in Charlottesville left many Americans – and Northshore School District – mourning and in disbelief at the unnecessary injuries and loss of life. Our Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech to all, but our laws also protect individuals and groups who are affected when words become harmful actions. As the Superintendent of Northshore School District, I condemn those acts of violence in the strongest sense possible. Northshore School District’s core values of diversity, community, and integrity will not be shaken. In our house, in our district, we remain dedicated to creating an environment of inclusion and diversity, and promoting meaningful and constructive dialogue, not violence and inflammatory rhetoric.  As we look forward, I hope and pray that the Charlottesville community, and our nation, can rally behind a sense of common purpose, love, and unity.


    With our continued commitment to effective communications and engagement with parents, staff, students and the larger community, I am thrilled to announce the addition of Lisa Youngblood Hall to the district as our new Director of Communications.  Lisa brings decades of experience in communications to the district.  In this role, Lisa will oversee the strategic communications direction for the district, including internal and external communications. She comes to the district from the University of Washington Bothell, where she was the Director of Media Relations and Communications. During her time at UW Bothell, Youngblood Hall served on the Chancellor’s Cabinet, the Advancement and External Relations Leadership Team, the Diversity Council, the Community Engagement Council and the annual Equity and Inclusion Conference planning committee. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the district that has been such a big part of our family’s life,” Youngblood Hall said. “I understand the needs of the parent community and what we need to do to continue finding new ways to communicate, connect and ensure all our families, staff and community members have the news and information they need, as well as celebrating the successes of our district.”  Before working at UW Bothell, Youngblood Hall was a producer at KING 5 TV and associate producer for the Oprah Winfrey Show. She understands the importance of finding new and compelling ways to share the Northshore story with all students, parents, staff and community leaders as well as external audiences. Please welcome Lisa when you have an opportunity as she will begin work on August 23.  I am looking forward to our upcoming work and am excited about the possibilities.  I will have a complete district-wide administrative update next week as we have one last assistant principal position to fill on Monday before we are complete.


    In summer transition news from Support Services, the crew(s) have been working diligently to prepare for a successful opening of school in several weeks.  Due to a late/long school year, the team planned 33 work days to complete their summer projects for the start of Fall 2017 (Wow, that is an audacious goal !!)  Support Services has utilized time efficiently to complete summer projects, support the district wide transition, and prep the district for success. These projects include: preventive maintenance, custodial cleaning, maintenance repair and projects, supply ordering and receiving, grounds beautification and crime prevention, field maintenance and prep for fall sports, capital improvement projects, and coordination of the logistics of opening a new high school, technology cleaning and installation, transportation routing and communication to accommodate new boundaries, new grade configurations, and new start times.  Our hardworking support staff have coordinated the moves of over 550 teachers and coordinated and moved technology equipment as well as back-end systems upgrades.  I will be providing more updates as we close in on the start of the school year.  Please take a moment to thank these hard working support staff professionals when you see them.  Their efforts are an important building block in our ability to achieve our strategic planning goals.  Thank you.  Together, all things are possible.  


    In other exciting news, one of our very own Northshore teachers, Kerry Pigott, formerly from Cottage Lake Elementary and now at Westhill Elementary, continues to learn a lot as an educator in our district and continues to seek out opportunities to learn. Last year she applied for and was selected for a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching.  From mid-January 2018 to May 2018 she will be in Finland to explore Finnish best practices in regard to movement in the classroom. She hopes to see how a more active classroom enables all students, especially those with ADHD, achieve at high levels. Finland is doing a lot of innovative work in this area.  This past week she attended the Fulbright orientation in DC and is very excited about the opportunity to continue her learning trajectory.  Kerry shared; "After my time in Finland I plan to share my findings with colleagues and hopefully at Summer Institute. I appreciate the support the district has provided me with my leave of absence and the enthusiasm my principals and peers have for the project."  Imagine the Possibilities !!  


    Recently, I heard from Jay Tonneslan, our Welding,CAD,Robotics Teacher at Woodinville High School, about an amazing project his students have been involved with.  They have worked on several sculptures and this summer had a dedication ceremony of the Bus Sculpture that the Advanced Welding students built this year for the Bothell Arts Commission. The event was July 29th at the Red Brick Road Park near the Wayne Golf Course in Bothell. This is the second sculpture his Advanced Welding class has built for this location.  The Bothell Arts Commission has verbally committed to have a few more of these sculptures built and installed at this same location.  Jay's hope is that the relationship will continue and the Advanced Welding class will build 3 or 4 more sculptures over the next few years.  Jay shared, "It is such a cool thing for the kids involved and is a great piece of public art."  Imagine the possibilities... 

    I am looking forward to the Summer Institute next week and I am so excited about all of the different opportunities available.  As we continue Learning Into the Future as a district, this time to renew and refresh is so essential.  To achieve our bold strategic plan, and continue to strengthen our community through excellence in education, this professional development is core to our work together.  Many thanks and much appreciation to all those who have planned this event and many thanks to all those who will give of their time to attend.  I look forward to seeing you at IHS on Monday with classes starting at 8:30 am.   


    In closing, I would like to share that as we are approaching the start of school, I will be regularly sharing my thoughts again in the coming weeks.  If there is something you would like to have me feature or an idea/question you have, please reach out and let me know.  And so, I will end with a thought from Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert Comic Strip;  “Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”  Let's flood our district and community with kindness in the coming days and weeks...

    Warmest regards,

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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  • More Sad News

    Posted by Karen Orsinger at 7/28/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

    Our Northshore family once again suffered a loss this week. Woodinville High School English teacher, Dr. Nancy Babienko, passed away after her courageous battle with cancer. She was surrounded by her family, including her husband Jeff. I know you join me in thinking of him and their two children, Teo and Annika.

    Nancy was an inspirational teacher to her students, and a loyal and caring colleague at WHS. I know she brought passion, humor and high expectations to her students. She started at the school in 2003, and taught English courses and German. Before coming to Washington state, she taught Literature, Humanities and German at New York University. She has also taught Teaching Methodology and writing courses at Pacific Lutheran University and "Opera in the Classroom" courses at Seattle Pacific University.

    Nancy Babienko was born on November 11, 1968. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York state on June 30, 1990, where she majored in German. On March 31, 1994, she was awarded her Master of Arts in Germanic language and literature from New York University, and earned her PhD from NYU in 1999. Prior to entering public education, she worked as a director of language programs. She was hired to teach in Northshore School District on August 28, 2003 and has taught at Woodinville High School since that time, primarily English/Language Arts but also German and ELL. She received her National board certification November 20, 2009. She was also a part-time English Language Arts Teacher on Special Assignment from 2014 to 2016. Nancy was an outstanding educator who has made a lasting impact on generations of young people in our community. What a bright light she was. She will be so greatly missed. 

    We grieve for her family, the Falcon family and our Northshore family. I know there will be a celebration of her life in the coming weeks, and we will keep you posted as details are available. WHS will be open next week for any students or staff who want to talk to a counselor or grieve together. This is such sad news and I know we all – students and adults – handle our grief in different ways. Counselors will be at WHS next week from Monday, July 31, - Wednesday, Aug. 2,  from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to meet with anyone who wants to talk. Even if your student didn’t know Dr. Babienko personally, the idea of death may bring up feelings from other deaths or losses he/she has experienced. We have attached the handouts, “Helping Children Cope with Loss, Death and Grief” and “Teenagers Experiencing Grief and Loss or Trauma,” to assist you in talking with your child.   

    We will work with the Northshore community to find ways to celebrate, honor and remember Nancy and her thoughtful inspiring legacy with so many young people and colleagues. Until then, please join me in keeping Nancy’s family in our thoughts and prayers.


    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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  • Sad News

    Posted by Cecilia Shumate at 7/24/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

    It is with great sadness that I’m writing to you today. As many of you might have already heard, longtime Woodinville High School teacher Eric Lucas passed away after an accident while on vacation. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time, as well as with the Falcon Family.  

    Eric has been the Director of Instrumental Music and Performing Arts Department Chair at Woodinville High School since 2001. He taught many students Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Marching Band and Rock Guitar. I know he touched many lives, and he will be remembered for bringing his passion for music to our students.  In speaking with his wife Debbie this morning, she asked me to share how much Eric loved working with everyone in the district and how much the Northshore community felt like family to them.  She asked for continued prayers for them as a family and shared how touched they have been by the outpouring of concern. 

    Eric Lucas was born in Whittier, California, on September 5, 1966.  He attended Biola University and Seattle Pacific University, and was awarded a B.A. in Music in 1994.  He earned a Masters in Music degree and his teaching certification from Central Washington University in 2001.  He did his teaching internship in the Northshore School District in the fall of 2000, at Inglemoor High School and Kenmore Junior High, under mentor teacher Ted Christensen, and began his career in the District as the instrumental music teacher at Woodinville High School in the fall of 2001. He won many awards during his career at Northshore, but I know he was most proud of the successes of his students over the years.

    This news is very unexpected and I know we all – students and adults – handle our grief in different ways. Counselors will be at WHS this week from Tuesday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to meet with anyone who wants to talk. Even if your student didn’t know Mr. Lucas personally, the idea of death may bring up feelings from other deaths or losses he/she has experienced. We have attached the handouts, “Helping Children Cope with Loss, Death and Grief” and “Teenagers Experiencing Grief and Loss or Trauma,” to assist you in talking with your child.

    For our staff members, the District’s Employee Assistance provider is Far West Family Services. Counseling visits can be scheduled by calling 206-682-8149.

    We will work with the Northshore community on finding ways to remember Eric and the leadership and inspiration he has brought to our district. We will keep you posted as we know more.  Please join me in keeping Eric’s wife and family in our thoughts and prayers during this time, including his father, Ron, who is a retired teacher and now a bus driver for our students.

    Warmest regards,
    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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  • July 5, 2017

    Posted by Karen Orsinger at 7/5/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,

    I trust this note finds you enjoying a joyful summer week.  This warm and active season is so important in the rhythm of our lives.  As promised, I am providing budget updates as they become available and sharing the connections to our work here in our amazing district.  Over the course of the summer, I will be continuing to provide 'Summer Thoughts' as warranted and generally weekly.  Please remember that my thoughts to staff are also posted to my blog on the district website the day after they go out to all district staff.  

    I want to start by saying how excited and inspired I am with the recent approval of our district strategic plan.  This plan has been worked on over the course of the last school year and has had thousands of voices and perspectives framing and focusing it.  This will provide the necessary focused roadmap for our collective work together in the coming years.  I am looking forward to crafting our strategic implementation as we continue to build on our strong district and community traditions moving forward.  While we face challenges as an uncertain future for public education unfolds, we can remain resolutely confident in our direction and work with our well thought out and aspirational plan to guide us.  


    As we connect the work of each school and department in the district to the strategic plan, each of you will be playing an important role in shaping the work of the coming generation of students both here in the district and in the community at large.  What an awesome responsibility and amazing opportunity.  If you are interested in joining me in crafting the school and department specific plan templates that we will be writing, please let me know as we will be working to have these templates complete and ready for use in the fall.  I anticipate that a couple of meetings over the summer would be the time commitment (and possibly some reading as well ;>) 

    Now, as I turn my thoughts to the current state budget issue(s), I would like to share with you that we are still reviewing the budget decision impacts as the information came late at the end of last week.  You no doubt know that the Governor did sign a budget which maintained a continuity of State operations.  EHB 2242 is the official document and body of work drafted by the legislature. I am providing a summarized legislative prepared synopsis of HB 2242 that describes the new rules for all of us to be cognizant of as it effectively defines how we will do business moving forward.  It is clear that some aspects of the new legislation take place immediately and others will be phased into place in the coming years.  

    While there are yet serious questions about rather or not this recent budget fully and amply funds education in our district and State, this is what we have to work with with today as we plan our upcoming Northshore budget with very little time to spare.  I will continue to keep you posted as to the local impact for our students, staff and families.  Please reach out to me if you have specific questions, wonders or ideas related to this or any other topic of interest.  This work we do each and every day is the most important driver of our future success as a community and as a nation !!

    In reflecting about the meaning of Independence Day and all it represents, I am reminded that the fiercely independent will of the people will not be denied.  I am grateful for the patriot spirit that trusted one another and gave birth to this amazing democracy.  What we have been handed, we can never take for granted. Today we celebrate the 241st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776, there were only 2.5 million people living in the newly independent nation; today, America’s population is more than 323 million. While our country continues to grow and change, we still hold these patriot values close in our thoughts and deeds.  


    Finally, one of my favorites and her thoughts; “You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” - - Erma Bombeck

    Have a safe and happy 4th of July,

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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  • June 23, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 6/23/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,


    Wow, what a beautiful week. The summer solstice is upon us and we have now officially entered the summer season. It is hard to even remember the snowy days of winter. ;>)


    I want to amend my previous announcement of having visited every classroom in the district. As I continue to learn more about the work in this amazing community and district, I realized that I had not yet visited our alternative program that educates our incarcerated youth. Teacher Debbie Storino, Principal Donna Tyo, and the staff work diligently with these students and provide an academic setting replete with high expectations and high support. Yesterday, I was invited to attend the graduation of one of these students. The graduate was excited to have met the diploma requirements and his family members came to celebrate with him on this special milestone celebration. Several staff shared poignant anecdotes about the young man's journey to graduation and reminded him it is not where you start but where you end up that is so important and challenged him to use his gifts to lead his life moving forward. And so, 1044 classrooms visited. ;>)


    I want to take a moment and share how impressed I have been with all the different graduation ceremonies I have attended this spring. As it is my first year in the district, every event is a first for me. I approach each new event with a sense of wonder and am continually impressed with the quality, sense of dedication, strong relationships, and commitment everyone has brought to this important work. The graduates have been inspiring, the speeches thoughtfully written and passionately delivered, the music beautiful, the decorations and the elegant timeless traditions of the graduation ceremony itself beautifully continued. This event marks both an end and a beginning -- a timeless and significant tradition. Further, in the coming year, our high schools will be forever transformed as we will welcome ninth graders, the Class of 2021, to our high schools for the first time. Thank you one and all, from kindergarten through high school classroom and support staff, for all your hard work and dedication, and congratulations on graduating the Northshore Class of 2017 !!


    We've had all hands on deck this year preparing for district-wide transitions, and an important part of the plan has been supported on a much smaller scale at the Northshore Primary Center, The Home of the Teddy Bears! In the Fall of 2016, the Primary Center opened its doors to proudly serve nine of our elementary schools with over 140 of our half-day kindergartners! These Primary Center graduates will soon join their neighborhood peers entering first grade as eager readers, mathematicians, and ready learning partners. With the opportunity to offer full-day kindergarten within Northshore schools, the Primary Center will be closing its doors at the end of June. So, it is with heartfelt gratitude, we express our appreciation to the Primary Center staff and the teams throughout Northshore and the community at large, that supported their dedication and commitment to providing the foundational skills and experiences for some of our youngest students and their families. A great Northshore team effort and a job well done! We look forward to this class of 2029 and celebrating their special milestone...


    I recently received a note from recent Bothell HS graduates Ankitha Doddanari and Alyssa Nguyen. They are one of the top 100 finalists in the Paradigm Challenge, which is a global youth innovation and kindness challenge. The press release about the challenge describes the competition and its purpose. As young Northshore innovators, I am so proud of both their savvy expertise and their sense of empathy for our environment and world as a whole. The Paradigm Challenge is a collaboration with Project Paradigm and the American Red Cross to create an annual competition that inspires youth to use STEM skills plus kindness, creativity, and collaboration to make a difference. The 2016-17 Challenge aims to generate new ideas to reduce waste in homes, schools, communities, and around the world. Their entry was to create an app that would help reduce the leftover food waste from restaurants, groceries, and farms. More information can be found in their YouTube video. Finalists can advance to the next level through the public voting phase. Their entry and all the other finalist entries can be located here at this address. We are so proud of all of our graduates and are confident they have been inspired over the thirteen years they have spent with each and every staff member in our deeply connected district. I am proud of their enormous force for good in the world and look forward to their impact in the coming years. Well done !!


    Over the summer, I will be periodically publishing Thursday Thoughts as we still do not have a state budget, and I think it is important to keep you up to date on what will be occurring as events unfold in Olympia. This is a critical juncture for public education in our state as the McCleary mandate is now due and our legislators must resolve the manner in which we will fully and amply fund schools as the state constitution requires. If you cannot access your work email over the summer, or simply prefer not to, my Thursday Thoughts are always posted to my blog on our district website Friday morning. I am also available by phone, email or in person over the summer so if you have a minute, or an idea or ?? please connect with me.


    Finally, as this is the final Thursday Thoughts of my first school year here in this amazing district, I want to take a moment and thank each of you for the warm welcome to the Northshore family. I am but one of many (691 total including 225 new certificated hires, 173 new classified and administrative hires, and 293 new hourly/substitute hires -- includes substitute teachers and paraeducators, coaches, substitute food service, substitute bus drivers, substitute custodians, events staff, theme readers, technology assistants, etc.). I know I speak for all of us in saying we do indeed feel blessed to be part of this warm and welcoming team. I am looking forward to the journey ahead of us and am grateful to walk with you in the coming years...


    Warmest regards,


    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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  • June 16, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 6/16/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,


    Such a great week with the end of year fast approaching and the celebrations so poignant. Among these was the Adult Transition Program (ATP) graduation held last night. Twenty-six young adults graduated from this incredible program. It was a special evening in so many ways as each of these young people shared their story and thanked their teachers, families and job coaches. The students also talked about the importance of their friends in their lives and shared their optimism about their future plans. I learned a great deal about what it means to do your best, give it your all, and fully participate in your own best life. We congratulate these new graduates and are thankful for their inspiration. Well done !!


    As a final update on my sojourn through the district, I can finally say today that I have met my goal of getting into all of our classrooms. With my final school visit to Sorenson Early Childhood Center, and wow, that was an exciting place to be this morning, I can proudly state that I have visited 1043 classrooms as of today. I can also attest that I am fully performing my 'ch' sounds ;>)It is so great to get out and meet our students and staff. There are so many amazing moments that I cherish from my visits. Never doubt that regardless of your role in this work, that you are making a difference. We have so many amazing lessons learned both large and small. I look forward to the coming year....


    Last night, we had a great turnout for the first annual North Creek High School TEDx event organized by Northshore ninth grade student Deepthi Chandra. Deepthi did an outstanding job of organizing a complex event, complete with music, art, technology, food, etc. The topics discussed by all the speakers were timely and thoughtfully delivered. It is so inspiring to host an event that enables and nurtures civil discourse on a wide variety of topics. The art of conversation is one that is so important for us as a district, community and country to foster. It is fitting that the youth should lead this work... Well done !!


    Recently, I received a video clip from one of our staff related to the topics discussed at the TEDx Event and grapples with the topic of what we would do if money were not an object, a talk by Alan Watts. He talks about the importance of finding your why. A timely and provocative topic these days I think...


    Along with the Board of Directors, we had a great SIP visit to East Ridge Elementary School this week. These visits are so integral to the comprehensive work we do as a district. In highlighting the work of the school, Principal Sarah White highlighted several aspects of the school work this year and shared; "The East Ridge staff was proud to share our school improvement goals to reach for higher growth for all students in addition to a continued focus on high levels of proficiency. Students were actively engaged today in rigorous learning and sharing of culminating projects. East Ridge hallways were filled with amazing art work from our art docent program, which is just one example of the high levels of parent and community involvement in our school. We were honored to have the School Board and District Administrative Team visit today!" Additionally, we all noticed the strong feeling of pride as students greeted us as special guests and we certainly enjoyed sharing their classroom experience with them. It is always so energizing to be out in the schools. Go Suns!!


    In great news from Jeff Sherwood, Human Resources has been working to provide opportunities for our ParaEducators who are interested in pursuing their teacher certification. We have new partnerships this year with two universities--Northwest University, in Kirkland, and Western Governors University, with local offices in Washington State--who have alternative routes to certification programs designed for professional educators who want to become certified teachers while continuing to work. Recently, an informational session hosted by the District and Northwest University provided over 30 classified staff with details about the NWU alternate route program. At this time, here in the Northshore School District, there are seven ParaEducators pursuing an application with NWU, with the full support of their principal and colleagues. Additionally, three ParaEducators are pursuing certification with WGU during the 2017-18 school year. We are proud to be partners with these universities and to be able to provide support for our classified staff members in their pursuit of teacher certification. This is such important work and both frames and forms our communities of the future.


    In the final review of our current enrollment chart progress, Chris Brenengen, our Director of Finance, recently prepared a report that shows the actual monthly enrollment (as full-time equivalent, FTE) that was reported at Northshore for the last four years plus this year's current monthly enrollment through June 2017. In addition, the report displays the budgeted annualized average FTE of 20,700 (royal blue line) as well as the updated projected annualized average enrollment of 20,823 (green line) based on a five-year historical average as of October. This is an essential report for us as it tracks our student enrollment to budget and annual projections. This data is important to track as it affects all aspects of our operations including facilities planning, budgeting and all staffing, etc. Looking at this report regularly enables us to monitor and adjust when necessary as the year progresses. Our actual current head count is 21,330 students. The trend line is continuing to grow more than in prior years over the course of the year. While this is great news, it also necessitates our continued work on capital planning as we will continue to require more classrooms. We will use this data in planning forward...


    In an update on the Reflections competition regarding our Northshore students: there were TWELVE Northshore students who received awards at State. THREE of these students from Northshore moved to Nationals. (the Outstanding/First place at State); Ryan Cass, Film, Inglemoor High School; Gabriel Frank, Music, Westhill; and Grace Rong, Music, Westhill. Finally, ONE student from Northshore—Grace--received a national Award of Excellence. That is 1 of 3 top awards for grades K-2 Music... in all of America. As a reminder, the Reflections Program is a National PTA and Washington State PTA cultural arts competition, providing an opportunity for students to use their creative talents by expressing themselves through their own original works in any of six arts areas: Visual Arts Photography, Literature, Music Composition, Dance Choreography, and Film Production. The 2016-17 theme was What is your story? We are so blessed with talented and creative students, dedicated and committed teachers and staff, and supported by our strong PTA partnerships. Well done !!


    Recently, retiring Inglemoor English teacher Tim Curtis shared some thoughts with me as he was ruminating on becoming a teacher in 1972… and stepping on into the next season...


    within the limits of time


    learning to say goodbye
    is really saying you now finally
    acknowledge that an end does
    exist but the truth is it has been
    there waiting since the first day
    you smelled the familiar smell of
    a waxed classroom floor holding desks
    which held students who held
    books that held ideas that uttered words
    all the while forming numerous circles
    of motion but whose details now
    have become faint memories
    as they too fade away which to
    a large degree allows you to keep all
    the tomorrows you ever planned for
    still in some small way ever there as you
    now look hesitantly out over what will
    forever be an empty classroom


    Please enjoy these last days of a truly special year. Savor each moment and especially amidst the turbulent excitement that accompanies every end of the year, find those small joyful moments and be thankful for all that we have and all that we will yet experience as the result of our good work. The days are long but the years are short...


    Warmest regards,

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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  • June 9, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 6/9/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,


    What an amazing June week !! The temperatures are rising and the rain keeps falling.... As we continue our journey into the season of graduation, I was moved by the story of a WWII veteran who just recently received his high school diploma at 89 years of age, 71 years later than he had hoped. Graduation is such a rite of passage and marks a significant achievement for students and their families and signifies the collective efforts of many, many educational professionals over the thirteen years or more that most students are with us.


    This week during our regularly scheduled Cabinet meeting, we reviewed the updated enrollment numbers for the current and upcoming year. Of particular interest are the kindergarten numbers and their projected numbers. The current kindergarten numbers tell an interesting story as they show growth. The overall current enrollment numbers also show steady growth from June to the fall. The enrollment projection is very important to get as accurate as possible because it is how we account for our revenue and how we staff our schools. In the past year, we grew 270 students at the elementary level from June to September. Given our updated enrollment demographic report, we have adjusted our enrollment projections for 2017-2018 for all grades. This continues to be a fluid process as we see updated enrollment patterns emerge. We are grateful that Doug Wilson and the EDTF are attending to this mission critical topic. Les Kendrick, who is our contracted consultant demographer, recently updated specific sections of his report for the 2017-2026 student projections based on current/changed assumptions and individual enrollment impacts based on current registration/enrollment. Please review these documents and share any thoughts you might have about the information shared. It takes all of our best thinking to best forecast our upcoming enrollment and successfully meet the challenges of rapid growth.


    Since my last note out to you, I have had great school visits at both Westhill and Woodmoor and am now at over 1031 classrooms visited. There are so many opportunities for our students and so many great conversations I have had. In visiting with so many students and staff, I have the opportunity to be reflective about all the time, talent and resources we share with each of our children. It really does take each and every one of you, in all the various roles you have, to guarantee this incredible educational experience for our students.


    While I was at Woodmoor, I learned from LaTisha Joseph, a Teacher/Librarian at Woodmoor, that they continue to find new programs and activities to help promote student growth and learning. They have embarked on competing in the Global Reading Challenge. This reading program is offered through the King County libraries for the school districts it serves for grades four and five. This was Woodmoor’s second year participating and they remain the reigning champions for Northshore School District. According to LaTisha, "Woodmoor students have done a great job representing our district against Lake Washington and Shoreline school districts. An interesting bonus: a few students have moved up reading levels while participating in this program and one student moved up four reading levels in four months time. We are excited to continue on next year with this program." Well done !!


    In good news from Bothell HS, students Dane Siegelman, Johnny Suh and Jorge Zuniga entered a video into the 2017 UW Climate Change Video Contest and made it to the final round. This year’s contestants brought some tough competition, so this is quite an accomplishment. They placed fourth in the UW Climate Change Video Awards event. Well done !!


    Finally, a reminder that TEDx is coming to the North Creek High School Commons on June 14, 2017 from 5-7 PM! There will be a total of six inspirational speakers and community leaders sharing their thoughts on the theme Why Not? and an intermission showcasing some of the district’s amazing musical talent. Following the event, there will be time for refreshments. TEDxYouth@NorthCreek is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students in the Northshore School District to explore “ideas worth spreading” and start asking Why Not? so they too can start thinking outside the box. For more information, visit What is amazing is that the organizer of this event is student Deepthi Chandra, a ninth grader and future North Creek HS Jaguar. I had the opportunity to meet with Deepthi this week so she could brief me on my role in the event ;>) I am excited to have the opportunity to keynote the event and talk about innovation and our schools with the question posed to me, "Are our schools killing creativity?" Anyone with ideas that might help with my remarks, please forward them to me. I am so excited to be part of this event and look forward to seeing you there. Our young people are so earnest and inspiring in their efforts to improve our world to become our best selves and our best community. I appreciate the remarks I have already received and am looking forward to sharing discourse on this topic.


    And so, enjoy a lovely spring weekend as it will be summer soon. And now, off to another amazing spring music concert !! We have such talented students and staff...


    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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  • June 2, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 6/2/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,


    It is hard to realize that it is now June. The year is flying by and we are soon upon the season of graduation and transition from grade to grade and school to school. These are joyful times and also can be stressful for many. It is important to remind one another that change is in many ways a constant and energizing part of each of our life's journeys. Together we can celebrate all things and make all things possible. “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” — Vincent Van Gogh


    This afternoon we formally honored our school district retirees. All told this year, we have seventy-five of our staff family who have announced their retirement this year. Collectively, this represents 2,073 years of service in education and 1,812 years of service to the Northshore School District and our community. Please take a moment at some time between now and the end of the year to extend a personal thank you to any retirees you work with. Together, we are in a relationship profession and often it is the simple acts of saying thank you and well done that we treasure most. Thank you and well done!!


    Last week I had the opportunity to ride the bus with students from Kenmore Junior High, Frank Love and Lockwood. Driver Linda Frisch is absolutely amazing !! As we went from stop to stop picking up children, Linda knew the name of every student and even the name(s) of their pets ;>) The students were very excited and had many stories to share, from birthday parties to upcoming weekend camping trips. I also heard about band and their excitement about upcoming concerts...


    In a season to be remembered for sure, we are celebrating the recent State Championship Woodinville High School Fastpitch team. The team has 6 seniors - all starters. They set a goal to win the state title when they were freshmen. That year, they qualified for state and finished 5th. The next year, with the same goal, they worked harder, qualified again and finished 3rd. Last year, they made it to the championship game and lost to Snohomish. Perseverance, discipline, team work, passion, joy, all traits these girls demonstrated each time they took the field enabled the win this year. The team also took the time during their season to work with the youth in our community through various camps and hosted Little League nights; inspiring role models. In an interesting note, only three softball teams in State history have capped an undefeated season with a State Championship: 2005 WHS Falcons; 2012 WHS Falcons; and now 2017 WHS Falcons. Well done!


    This year the Safety and Security Department teamed up with Support Services to update the intercom systems allowing for prerecorded messages to be sent during a crisis by using an Emergency Console. We have four different Building Safety Status Modes with four different prerecorded messages. Lockdown, Safe Inside, Shelter In Place, and Evacuation. According to Robert Noll, "Every school has participated in using the Emergency Console to launch a prerecorded message during one of our state mandated drills. The next phase is to allow staff members the ability to initiate a lockdown by district phone. Soon you will see the word “Alert” next to the third botton on district phones. Once this button is pushed a code will be entered to launch the lockdown alert. The programing of the phones will start next week. Training for staff on when to initiate a lockdown and the code to be used will follow. Just to be clear, this is a two-step process. Simply pushing the “Alert” button will not initiate a lockdown, a code will be required." This is work that supports our continued focus of safety and security in the district.


    As an update on my sojourn through the district, I have now visited 967 classrooms as of today. It is so great to get out and meet our students and staff. There are so many amazing moments that I cherish from my visits. Never doubt that regardless of your role in this work, that you are making a difference.


    We are thrilled with the roll out of our Middle School Model at Northshore video as we welcome the incoming sixth graders to middle school as part of our upcoming transition. Hearing the voices of our excited and inspiring middle school principals is such a joy as we look forward to the upcoming year. As we embrace the upcoming changes, we can be confident in the positive outcomes as we have been so deliberate in our planning. So exciting....


    This year, as an effort to improve equity and access for all students, the Highly Capable Department has expanded assessment opportunities for families and students in the district. In addition to the fall “New to Northshore” testing, as well as the winter open nomination and testing window, an internal data sweep was conducted in order to identify students of high academic achievement for Highly Capable eligibility testing. Efforts have resulted in remarkable growth within the Elementary Advanced Placement Program (EAP). In order to place all newly qualified EAP students a fourth EAP site has been identified. In addition to Bear Creek, Lockwood and Sunrise EAP sites, it is our pleasure to welcome Woodmoor Elementary to the EAP family!

    Thoughtful and careful consideration was given during the placement process of newly qualifying students, while also ensuring current EAP students remain at their existing EAP sites. Every effort was made to place EAP qualified siblings (all EAP children within one family) at the same site. The Northshore School District Transportation Department was an integral part of this process as we considered routing and ride times for students as all EAP and AAP (secondary Advanced Academics Program) students will receive neighborhood bus stops to their EAP/AAP sites beginning in the fall of 2017-18. Placement of a large number of newly qualifying EAP students, and opening a fourth EAP site has truly been a Northshore team effort. Well done!


    Multiple honors were awarded to Inglemoor High School's band, choir and orchestra this weekend at the World Stride's Heritage International Music Festival in Vancouver, B.C.! The various ensembles earned Gold and Silver Awards as well as outstanding overall scores and several solo performers also earned special awards. We are so blessed to have the quality of fine and performing arts programs in this amazing district. Thank you to all the students, staff, parents, chaperones and community members who support these essential learning opportunities, and so many others, as we teach and model what excellence can be and what the lessons of disciplined preparation teach. Well done!


    As this season of special events is upon us, it was my great pleasure to attend the annual Spring Recognition Breakfast hosted by the Northshore Council PTSA this morning. There were many honors announced for local PTA chapters and individuals. I would like to share a few of these with you. This year's Outstanding Advocate Award went to Carrie McKenzie for her tireless legislative work on behalf of foster students and their educational opportunities and attainment. The Outstanding Educator Award went to Vicki Sherwood for her thoughtful and inspiring leadership and steady mentoring of so many educators in our district, as well as her resolute commitment to excellence, over the years. Finally, the Outstanding Service Award went to Sandy Hayes for her tireless volunteering and focus on equity and excellence for all students, as well as her legislative passion and presence. We thank these individuals who have given so much for so many and also thank the Washington State Outstanding PTA of the Year, our very own Northshore Council who have given of themselves in so many ways to support our district.


    In thinking about the countless contributions of so many that form the fabric of this district, I am reminded of a favorite quote; “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” — Maya Angelou


    Warmest regards,

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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  • May 26, 2017

    Posted by Casey Henry at 5/26/2017

    Hello Team Northshore,


    I want to start my thoughts today with a quote from Dr. Debbie Montague, our phenom band director of twenty-seven years at Kenmore Junior High. Last night, she conducted her last concert at Kenmore Junior High to a packed gym celebrating a long and inspiring tenure at the school. Students, staff and families provided an emotional recognition of the many contributions and achievements Debbie has made to students and the music program in our district. So in Debbie's comments, she shared from Winnie the Pooh, "If ever there is a tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is even if we're apart, I'll be with you." -- A.A. Milne Perhaps this is also a great transition thought as Debbie will begin with the North Creek High School Jaguars in the coming fall. I look forward to many great concerts to come...


    In exciting early learning news, Director Doreen Milburn recently reported that "We are excited to announce that we will be serving 57 Head Start eligible students and families at Kenmore Elementary School next school year. NSD is currently working on a contract with PSESD which should be finalized this month." The Center for Human Services (who currently has the Head Start contract) announced in January 2017 that they would no longer provide Head Start programming, finishing out the remainder of this school year while also providing support for a smooth transition for students and families to be served within Northshore School District. Our district looks forward to serving 57 students (representing only 16% of the eligible families in our district community) and families each year while we continue to look at additional options to grow our capacity to serve our at-risk early learners!


    Recently, as a response to parent and community safety concerns, the City of Bothell created a Safe School Walk Route Task Force (SSWR) to develop a prioritized project list to improve the safety of students walking to school. The committee consists of community members, Northshore School District staff and private school volunteers. The SSWR Advisory Committee gathered input from school staff, PTAs and the community to identify the need for installing or repairing sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, and signage, as well as traffic enforcement needs. On May 22, the City of Bothell celebrated one of the first school safety improvement projects which was installing flags at several crosswalks near Frank Love Elementary school. According to Committee member and NSD Transportation Manager Connie Noll, "Students and the community are encouraged to carry the brightly colored flags when they use crosswalks. This makes pedestrians more visible and increases driver awareness. Soon, ten other schools in Bothell will have pedestrian flags as well. This is a great example of our community working together to improve the safety for our students." The committee members are: Brian Bradish (Vice Chair), St. Brendan School; Bill Brooks, NSD security; Sterling Cassel, Maywood Hills Elementary; Brandi Doyle, Bothell High School; Amanda Lamer, Frank Love Elementary; Amy Loomis, Shelton View Elementary; Aaron Moreau-Cook (Chair), Woodin Elementary; Connie Noll, NSD Transportation; Mark Robb, Crystal Springs Elementary; and Susan Schilling, Woodmoor Elementary. Please take a moment and thank these folks as they give of their time to support student, staff and community safety. It matters !!


    In continuing the bold work of the District Diversity and Equity Committee, and being mindful of our new strategic plan work, we have crafted a message that will be a preamble to all future hiring committee deliberations and be part of the commitment we will make to each other, our district and community, and the candidates we will be seeking to hire. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with this document as a review of this document will be integrated into all future hiring process conversations.


    I want to share that our Board of Directors is continuing to review and study a new governance model as the Board is committed to strengthening the processes they use to oversee and guide the District's important work. Policy Governance formalizes several important steps in how direction setting and reporting happen in a district and sets very clear goals, creates firm parameters the district must operate within to achieve the goals, ensures all parties discuss how the Superintendent will direct work be done to reduce miscommunication, and formalizes how program evaluation and reporting will happen. This is a governance structure that is used by several large districts in our area, including Lake Washington School District, Issaquah School District, Federal Way School District and Bellingham School District. According to Board President Amy Cast, "if Policy Governance is implemented in Northshore, we would create a new set of policies to list the goals, operating parameters and reporting structure for the work of the district. Bi-monthly board meetings would be reorganized to incorporate annual public reports on the goals and parameters, and this reporting calendar would be published far in advance for anyone interested." As we are completing our strategic planning work, these five strategic goals will inform the governance structure and support cohesive alignment of our goals and resources. I will be providing more information on this important topic as we move forward in the coming months.


    In recent diversity work, our leadership team hosted a presentation on Ramadan from local community member Rami Al-Kabra. This year, Ramadan will start later this week on May 26, 2017 and will last 29 to 30 days during which our Muslim students and staff will likely abstain from food and drink from pre-dawn to sunset. This fasting is considered obligatory for Muslims. Because Ramadan is during the school year this year, Rami provided an informative Ramadan presentation that launched a rich and thoughtful conversation. I want to remind each of us that there are inherent federal and State rulings concerning religious accommodation such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and RCW 49.60. I am also taking the opportunity to share our 2016-2017 district memo on religious holidays as we celebrate a very diverse set of holidays within our district and community.


    We recently received the great news that three of our Bothell High School students, Trevor Crabb, Mozes Jacobs, and Ben Anderson were selected as Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS). WAS is designed "to connect high school juniors with educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through independent learning, hands-on interaction, professional guidance, and site-based tours. In December 2016, these motivated students were among the two hundred who began competing for a spot in one of the WAS Summer Residency sessions by completing ten NASA and University of Washington designed lessons- Phase One of the WAS program. Phase Two is a six-day experience that will be held at The Museum of Flight in Seattle during three sessions throughout June and July. In each session, four student teams cooperate to plan a human mission to Mars with support from professional engineers/scientists, university students, and certificated educators. Additionally, participants receive briefings from aerospace professionals, tour engineering facilities, and compete in hands-on engineering challenges." Well done !! Go Cougars !!


    Assistant Superintendent, Heather Miller reports that Woodinville High School has completed their accreditation process and passed with flying colors. Principal Criscione presented to the committee last week and shared the school improvement work of his staff. The committee had several commendations. The committee highlighted the following three commendations: 1) outstanding school culture; 2) programs available for all students (open access to AP courses was one example); and strong administrative leadership. This is another example of the outstanding work that is happening all across this amazing school district. Well done !! Go Falcons !!


    I can't resist sharing several moments from my recent school visit to Moorlands Elementary. Principal Graff and I toured each classroom and enjoyed an active and thoughtful morning together. From dancing in Kelly Griffin's music class (whew) to reviewing my math facts in kindergarten with Ms. Hink's class (that was stressful as I navigated the Kahoots technology) and no I did not even make it to the leader board ;<( and then I visited first grade classrooms where I learned about the economics of their farm unit. I must say my heart beats strongest when I am in classrooms (now over 950 for the year) across this amazing district.


    Finally, as we approach our upcoming holiday weekend, please take a moment and pause to remember all those who Memorial Day commemorates and all that it means to so many families in this great country. As we gather with family and friends, we cherish our many blessings and regardless of our challenges, we know that together anything is possible.


    Warmest regards,

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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  • May 19, 2107

    Posted by Karen Orsinger at 5/19/2017
    Hello Team Northshore,
    What a great week !! The sun is finally emerging to celebrate spring with us ;>)  I have encountered several classrooms recently working on poetry during my school visits.  To that end, I would like to share two sections of a favorite poem, titled May's Spring Days, by Hemakumar Nanayakkara:
    Twirling flossy clouds dance graceful waltzes
    Mountain range beneath has got rich pastures
    Cows graze fresh grass in lavish green Meadows
    Chiming cowbells from mornings to evenings ...

    ...May's spring days are refreshing and sunny
    Trees have new leaves flowers rapidly bloom
    When cool breeze blows through the garden
    Young maple leaves rustle and pansies dangle
    Poetry can often tell a story that speaks to both our heart and our mind. Perhaps this craft has the capacity to touch us in a way that makes a difference in the world.  When we think of the rich poetry of the late Maya Angelou, I am often reminded of her poem Human Family and its resonant impact on the topic of equity and diversity.  In many ways, her elegant and artful communication speaks to the fact that 'we are more alike than we are different'.  
    As an update on my sojourn through the district, I have now visited 925 classrooms as of today. It is so great to get out and meet our students and staff.  We have also calculated the number of students (currently 290 students) I have met with for Breakfast Club and with whom I have discussed their school experience in a focus group setting.  There are so many amazing moments that I cherish from my visits. Never doubt that regardless of your role in this work, that you are making a difference.  Tomorrow, I will have the opportunity to ride a bus with students from Kenmore Junior High; I can't wait ;>) !!
    As I visited Canyon Creek Elementary School today, students were engaged in a myriad of activities and actively engaged in robust learning.  Among other things, I learned that ladybugs are not grouchy !!  Whew....  The Coyotes are definitely finishing this amazing school year strong.  Well done !!
    Along with the Board of Directors, we had a great SIP visit to Inglemoor High School this week. These visits are so integral to the comprehensive work we do as a district. In highlighting the work of the school, Principal Vicki Sherwood highlighted several aspects of the school work this year and shared; "The Inglemoor Administrative Team (Vicki, Kristin and Jon) appreciated the opportunity to share our journey.  It was exciting to recognize our strengths and acknowledge the challenges that lay ahead."   We all noticed the strong feeling of pride as students greeted us as special guests and we certainly enjoyed sharing their classroom experience with them. It is always so energizing to be out in the schools. Go Vikings !! 
    I want to take a moment and thank our Budget and Finance Department staff, Lydia Sellie, Joli Valentino and Chris Brenengen (and the whole department), for our recent outstanding audit report.  I know how challenging this work can be and want them to know how much we appreciate their competent dedication to the financial health of our school district.  Our students, staff and families are better for their efforts.  Well done and thank you !!
    This coming week, our elected school board of directors will review our proposed Diversity and Equity Policy.  This is an example of courageous work by an amazing group of individuals led by Dr. Chris Bigelow and will dovetail nicely with our upcoming strategic plan.  In the preamble to the policy, "The Northshore School District is committed to ensuring all students are provided equitable opportunities to learn in an environment where they are nurtured and supported to succeed at high levels throughout their P-12 experiences and beyond....  To fully realize our mission to educate all students, it is imperative we recognize the institutional barriers, including racism and bias, that contribute to the pervasive, disparate educational outcomes within our school system. We will take action to eliminate barriers as we strive for educational equity for all student groups.  For the purposes of this document, a focus on educational equity means raising the achievement of all students while (1) narrowing the gaps between the lowest and highest performing students, (2) eliminating disproportionality among student groups represented across academic programs and (3) ensuring that each student receives the appropriate supports and opportunities to achieve their full potential."  I encourage each of you to take a few moments and review the policy as it boldly outlines our work together in the coming years on this topic so integral to the success of our students, staff, and families here in this amazing district.  
    In exciting news from the student voice sector in our district, TEDx is coming to the North Creek High School Commons on June 14, 2017 from 5-7 PM! There will be a total of six inspirational speakers and community leaders sharing their thoughts on the theme Why Not? and an intermission showcasing some of the district’s amazing musical talent. Following the event, there will be time for refreshments. TEDxYouth@NorthCreek is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students in the Northshore School District to explore “ideas worth spreading” and start asking Why Not? so they too can start thinking outside the box. For more information, visit  What is amazing is that the organizer of this event is student Deepthi Chandra, a ninth grader and future North Creek HS Jaguar.  I had the opportunity to meet with Deepthi this week so she could brief me on my role in the event ;>)  I am excited to have the opportunity to keynote the event and talk about innovation and our schools with the question posed to me, "Are our schools killing creativity?"  Anyone with ideas that might help with my remarks, please forward them to me.  I am so excited to be part of this event and look forward to seeing you there. Our young people are so earnest and inspiring in their efforts to improve our world to become our best selves and our best community.  
    And so, I wish for each of you a joyful spring weekend and will close with a favorite quote --"We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value, no matter what their color.”  -- Maya Angelou, Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou
    Warmest regards, 

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
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