February 27, 2023: Connections Newsletter Message

February 27, 2023: Connections Newsletter Message

Dear Northshore Families, Staff, and Students,

I hope everyone had a relaxing mid-winter break. On Monday, February 20, along with the Northshore Council PTSA I participated in Focus Day in Olympia. It was a valuable experience and important advocacy opportunity. I want to thank the Northshore Council PTSA for inviting me to participate and representing the voices of our diverse community so well.

As I have shared before, this is a critical legislative session for public education across our state. Seventy-three percent of Northshore’s budget is paid for by the state based on student enrollment. Local taxes used for public education, referred to as levies, help make up the gap between what the state provides and what our students need.

Last school year, Northshore invested over $23.6 million of local levy dollars on special education services and support for our students with disabilities. These aren’t “extras” but foundational supports students need to thrive and reach their full potential. 

Together, during Focus Day the Northshore Council PTSA and our School Board Directors, along with families and educators from across the state, shared what full funding of special education could mean for our students, staff, and local community. Please be on the lookout for community budget meetings during the month of March and early April where you can learn more about our 2023-24 budget development process.

March is Music in the Schools Month! During this time of year music education becomes the focus of schools across the nation. As some of you may know, both my wife and daughter are public school music teachers. As a result, every school I visit requires a walk through of the music room. In Northshore we are fortunate to have strong and vibrant music programs. One of my favorite performances at State of our Schools - and there were many - was the Moorlands Elementary School Choir under the direction of Kelly Griffin. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to take a few minutes to enjoy the artistry of our students. 

I also want to personally congratulate the Bothell High School Jazz Ensemble 1, under the direction of Phil Dean, for being selected for the second consecutive year as a finalist in the Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition & Festival! The annual Essentially Ellington competition in New York is one of the most innovative jazz education events in the world. Learn more about this well deserved honor and student opportunity under District Highlights below. 

Finally, today marks the beginning of Public Schools Week, Feb. 27 - March 3, 2023, an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the amazing contributions of public schools, administrators, teachers, specialists, parents, and school board members who support Northshore’s 22,000 students and the nation’s nearly 50 million public school students. I continue to be proud and grateful for the opportunity to lead in such a strong public school system. 

In partnership,

Michael Tolley
Interim Superintendent



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