February 6, 2023: Black History Month, Responding to hate/bias/violence, Budget Forecast

February 6, 2023: Black History Month, Responding to hate/bias/violence, Budget Forecast
Blue logo for Northshore School District

The Office of the Interim Superintendent


February is Black History Month! Family. Strength. Joy. Faith. Education. Hope. These are six words that come to mind when I think about my personal journey as an African American student growing up in the deep south to my current position as Interim Superintendent of Northshore. I have been reflecting a lot on these concepts as we enter Black History Month. For me and my family, the celebration of what it means to be Black in the United States and our community’s contributions happens every day - not just in February. 

During Black History Month, the Northshore School District recognizes and celebrates the national Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action from February 6 – February 10, 2023. This is an opportunity for all staff, administrators, and students to celebrate and center the voices, lived experience, and significant contributions of Black individuals and communities - past and present. From book readings and activities, to guest speakers and  community events - February will be rich with opportunities. Resources including the recent virtual panel hosted by the Racial and Educational Justice Department can be found below in District Highlights. I encourage all of you to participate in some way. 

I also want to take this opportunity to thank our Black staff and administrators for choosing Northshore School District. You could be sharing your gifts and expertise at any District in the region - but you chose this community to serve. Thank you. I was fortunate to meet with the North Creek Black Student Union recently. Our conversation underscored the importance of representation. Representation matters. It matters in our classrooms, in the District curriculum, and in who students see teaching and leading. It matters for all students, but particularly our Black students. As an African-American leader, I also understand the added weight of this responsibility. I see all that you are doing, and I am deeply grateful. If you ever need to talk, my door is open. 

I also want to recognize that Black History Month comes on the heels of the tragic murder and funeral of Tyre Nichols. I have been contemplating what our District’s consistent response should be to national incidents of violence against an individual or community. It is one thing to condemn the  incident - it is another to provide real support to our community and to those that are suffering. We must acknowledge these brutal injustices without also unintentionally inflicting additional trauma and pain. I plan to work with the Racial and Educational Justice, Student Support Services, and Communications Departments to determine a more predictable and supportive response - one that centers those most traumatized and impacted, also knowing all of us are affected by such horrific violence. While this work is underway, I want to draw your attention to current resources below in District Highlights, including a link to Tyre’s photography. By sharing his photography, I intend to help him and his family reclaim his narrative - one of joy, creativity, and appreciation for landscapes and nature’s unmatched beauty.  

These have been a few busy weeks, a mixture of great conversations and important work. I am excited about the State of Our Schools event on Wednesday, February 8th from 8-9 a.m. The event will center student voice and the concept of belonging. I hope that you can join us for the live stream or take the time to watch the taped event. All of our great successes are due to you. You are the reason that Northshore and so many of our students are thriving. 

Finally, this last week I presented our 2023-24 budget forecast to school leaders and central office staff. It is important that next year’s budgeting process is transparent and staff have the opportunity to ask questions of leadership. I have additional meetings scheduled for Support Services and Transportation Departments in the coming weeks and Cabinet members will be scheduling engagements with school-based staff over the next month. 

While Northshore may be in a better financial situation than neighboring districts, we do anticipate a budget shortfall of $10 to 12 million dollars for the 2023-24 school year. So what is contributing to the estimated budget shortfall? 

  • A loss of  666 students over the past four years, with the most significant drop between 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. Student enrollment is the largest driver of our budget. Every 75 students (FTE) = $1 million dollars;

  • An anticipated additional loss of more than 200 students next school year (2023-24); 

  • Inflation and increased costs for goods; 

  • Necessary investments in our pandemic recovery; 

  • Planning for upcoming contracts; and

  • The need to set aside funding for unknown issues or challenges. 


I want to remind everyone that our shortfall is an estimate and depends on the outcome of the state’s Legislative Session. As I shared earlier in January, this will be a critical 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 supports for our students with disabilities. These aren’t “extras” but foundational supports students need to thrive and reach their full potential. Full funding of Special Education is a Legislative Priority of our School Board and staff. If the state fully funded special education, our budget forecast would look very different. I look forward to participating with the Northshore Council PTSA during Focus Day on February 20th in Olympia. Together, along with families and educators from across the state, we will share what full funding could mean for our students, staff, and community. 


In partnership, 

Interim Superintendent Michael Tolley


Highlights from Around the District

Have a story you would like to see shared in the "Highlights from Around the District" section of this message and on our website? Submit using this form.

State of Our Schools Livestreamed Wednesday, Feb. 8

The community is invited to view the 2023 State of Our Schools on Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 8-9 a.m. This event is a celebration of our community’s public schools and all that we have accomplished together. Interim Superintendent Michael Tolley will provide an update on Northshore’s strategic initiatives and successes while providing insights into what he heard from Northshore’s families, students, staff, and community members during his Listen and Learn tour, which took place September 2022 - January 2023.

View the State of Our Schools Livestream on Feb. 8

Black History Month Resources

The concept of this celebratory month was created by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a scholar, activist, author, and historian. He has come to be known as the “Father of Black History” for his efforts to  elevate the experiences, histories, key contributions, and the lives of Black peoples and communities in American history. You can read Woodson’s full biography here.  You can also view a pre-recorded virtual panel on Human Rights, Black Lives Matter at School, and the 2023 Student Justice Conference, by clicking here. This panel was hosted by the Racial and Educational Justice Department and included the voices of students; teachers; and a community educator, author, and activist. Additionally, Northshore recognizes and participates in the national Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action from February 6 – February 10, 2023. This is an opportunity for all staff, administrators, and students to celebrate and center the voices, lived experience, and significant contributions of Black individuals and communities - past and present. 

Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action Themes:

  • Monday: Restorative Justice, Empathy, and Loving Engagement

  • Tuesday: Diversity and Globalism

  • Wednesday: Trans-Affirming, Queer Affirming, and Collective Value

  • Thursday: Intergenerational, Black Families, and Black Villages

  • Friday: Black Women and Unapologetically Black

Remembering Tyre Nichols

“My name is Tyre D. Nichols. I am an aspiring photographer. Well I mostly do this stuff for fun but I enjoy it very much. Photography helps me look at the world in a more creative way.” - Tyre Nichols 

Tyre Nichols’ photography: https://thiscaliforniakid2.wixsite.com/tnicholsphotography 


Responding to Incidents of Violence, Racism, and Hatred

NSD Mental Health Supports

Students will likely need emotional support from school and home after they become aware of incidents of violence and/or are the victim of racism, hatred, and or bias. Resources: 


Educational Supports



SafeSchools Alerts allow students, staff, parents/guardians, and community members to anonymously report concerns, including incidents of bullying, racism, and harassment to the District. If there is an emergency, immediately call 9-1-1.

Reminder: First Choice Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

This employee benefit is provided at no cost to you by the District. You, your spouse/domestic partner, and any dependent children under the age of 26 can access free and confidential access to counseling services, legal, and financial consultations, ID theft and fraud support, childcare and eldercare referrals/resources and home ownership assistance. Log in at www.firstchoiceEAP.com with the username of nsd to view the helpful tools available.

The EAP offers up to four sessions of face-to-face or telehealth (no copay, deductible, or premium) with a qualified clinical expert who can assess your concerns and develop a plan of action.

Call 1-800-777-4114 or visit the First Choice website to request an appointment. Username: nsd


ParentSquare Communications Tool Launched Districtwide Jan. 23

Northshore School District is committed to continually evaluating and improving our communication services and supports for families and students. In response the District adopted a new communication tool called ParentSquare (for families) and StudentSquare (for secondary students). These multilingual communications platforms are designed for families, guardians, staff, and middle and high school students to stay informed and encourage greater engagement and connection with our schools and the District. Here are several important reminders for staff using this tool:

  • Log in using the pass-through link https://parentsquare.nsd.org

  • Teachers who would like to use ParentSquare to communicate with families and secondary students are welcome to attend the next virtual training on Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 2-3 p.m. Register via Performance Matters and learn more in the Staff Toolbox.

  • We encourage teachers and staff to communicate with families about your preferred communications method. If you are using ParentSquare, email, or another tool, please let families know.

Learn About the District’s Adoption of ParentSquare and how it might help you improve family communication and engagement. 


Northshore's Virtual College and Career Fair takes place Feb. 9

Northshore School District 2023 Virtual College and Career Fair February 9, 2023 6:30-8:30 p.m. Register Today! graphic with grad cap and banners

Northshore School District is proud to host our 2023 Virtual College & Career Fair on Thursday, Feb. 9 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This event will be filled with valuable information to help families plan and navigate post high school options, and it is intended for all Northshore high school students and families, but is open to all.

Over 15 virtual sessions will be offered, and topics include:

  • College Application Process

  • Paying for College

  • Transfer, Tech, and 2-Year Programs

  • Apprenticeships and Career Colleges

  • ...and so much more!

Learn More About the Virtual College and Career Fair


Important Dates

Key Dates

February 8: Wednesday Early Release

February 10: Elementary Early Dismissal - Full Day for Middle and High Schools

February 13: School Board Meeting, 4 p.m.

February 15: Wednesday Early Release

February 20: Presidents’ Day, No School

February 21-24: Mid Winter Break, No School

February 27: School Board Meeting, 7 p.m.

March 1: Wednesday Early Release

March 8: Wednesday Early Release


Religious and Cultural Observances

February 18: Maha Shivaratri

February 18: Isra and Mi’raj

February 19: Japanese Internment, Day of Remembrance

February 22: Ash Wednesday

February 22: Lent (ends April 6)

February 28: Orthodox Lent (ends April 8)

March 2: Baha’i Fast (ends March 20)

March 6: Ta’anit Ester; Fast of Ester

March 8: Holi

March 12: Daylight Saving Time - Set Clocks Ahead One Hour



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