I trust you are enjoying these warm July days and staying safe and healthy as we continue to navigate the resurgence of COVID-19. As we consider how this situation changes from day to day, we must be able to adapt our plans, while also remaining steadfast in our commitment to strengthening our community through excellence in education.
As you know, I have committed to sharing fall reopening information as it becomes appropriate to share. Guidance from Seattle King County Public Health indicates that with the current community transmission rate data, it is not safe to reopen schools in person at this time. Further, with Governor Inslee reducing the number of congregants even in Phase 3, we do not find reopening school in person feasible now. As the science of COVID-19 continues to evolve, and our understanding of the impact of young people on the possible community transmission rates become better known, we have a responsibility to better understand that our school district is not an island. Further, with the significant number of high risk staff we have in critical positions, the task of reopening schools in person is compounded.
At this time, we plan for our students to begin the 2020-21 school year with a more robust and flexible 100% distance learning model through Northshore Learns 3.0, using a staged approach for in person re-entry to school. Our district leadership and staff have been working closely with the Northshore Education Association and other labor groups on planning for a number of instructional scenarios in the fall – instruction that continues to align with our 2017-22 Strategic Plan goals, and yet is flexible and responsive to restrictions presented by our region’s current health crisis. The planning process continues to be collaborative with a mutual commitment to the health and safety of our students, staff and their families.
We have developed a Northshore Learning Model Status page, which will be used throughout the school year. As you will note on this page, there are three scenarios for teaching and learning; 100% In-person Learning, Hybrid Learning, and 100% Distance Learning. Under these scenarios, there is a breakdown of in-person/distance learning hybrid stages that allow our educational model to pivot at any time between the three scenarios. These six stages will be determined by the impacts of a changing health situation, available resources, and direction from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), our Governor and our Health Department(s). As the public health situation continues to evolve, the District, the Northshore Education Association, and other labor groups will continue to work together to adjust.
In working closely with our labor groups in this planning, I want to make it clear that we have heard you. Together, we have reviewed our survey responses, we have had conversations with staff, student groups, parent groups, and in emails and phone calls. Now, a number of teams are thoughtfully working on the implementation detail planning to begin the 2020-21 school year with distance learning in a Northshore modified Stage 2. This means that students will learn remotely while staff members will have limited and monitored access to their instructional space at their respective school sites to provide for a more robust experience. In support of a more robust learning experience, I want to share two of our priorities. The Northshore School District will utilize a common, system-wide learning management system, which will be user friendly for staff, students and families. The system will include the ability to use preferred languages to the extent available within existing translation capabilities. Stay tuned as we plan to provide parent/guardian training on this and other topics of interest to support and sustain student educational success over the coming months.
Also, as we nurture the learning of our students fully online or, when safe to do so, through hybrid models or in-person, one priority will be to build relationships – to build a sense of belonging and connectedness within our classrooms, schools, and regions within the district. Through collaboration and a commitment to our common purpose of creating safe, caring, respectful school environments, Northshore’s students will continue to learn at high levels, find their passion, and thrive. We are Northshore…
I will provide additional updates and details on the structure, breadth and depth of our distance learning models as we move forward. In the meantime, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Northshore Learning Model Status page and the information on the Next Steps page that continues to be updated and reviewed. In addition, I invite you to tune in tomorrow morning, Wednesday, July 22 at 8:00 a.m. for our Northshore Learns News segment on YouTube or Facebook. I will be joined by NSEA President Tim Brittell as we discuss this fall reopening plan.
The creativity, strength and innovation that we continue to embrace through this process, and in communication with all of you, must continue. After all, learning best happens in community.
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Northshore School District