As we traverse the last of this winter season, I know we are more than ready for spring as it arrives this weekend. There is great comfort in the predictability of nature’s rhythm. I trust that you will have an opportunity to get outside and feel the sun on your face as the magic of spring unfolds.
A Statement Against Hate Incidents Against Asian Americans
Before I jump into details of our work together this week, I want to pause and acknowledge the recent heartbreaking incident where eight people were killed at three different spas this week in North Georgia including six Asian women. These murders are occurring at a time when Asian American communities are already grappling with the traumatic violence nationwide. Specifically, “Hate incidents against Asian Americans rose by nearly 150% in 2020, with Asian American women twice as likely to be targeted.” As we reflect on this incident and data, I invite you to review the Collective Statement - A Community-Centered Response to Violence Against Asian American Communities crafted by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta & Georgia NAACP.
I want to remind us of our community commitments to one another. I want to be very clear, that in Our House, we remain resolutely committed to creating a safe, caring, and mutually respectful environment within our school district community so that all students, families and staff feel welcomed, valued and supported. I want to thank each of you for your continued support and thoughtful reflection about how we best meet these challenges. What affects one of us in this country, affects all of us in this country. When we stand together as a community, we are stronger as a community. Please continue to take good care of one another. It matters... And to that end, …
Return to In-Person Learning
What a week this has been! A great big thank you goes to all of the staff working together who were able to pivot quickly to work out new details for an even earlier return to in-person instruction for our youngest learners. I can tell you that for our elementary students, we will use the AA/BB model where some students will engage in in-person learning two days a week while other students remain online. The AA groups will be assigned to Monday and Tuesday and BB group will be assigned to Thursday and Friday. The amount of synchronous instructional time with an educator will generally remain the same for students who remain 100% remote and will be generally equal to the amount of time for in-person instruction for students whose families choose hybrid. I can also share that Schoology will continue to be the learning management system for all students.
I am both grateful for and proud of the work that staff continue to do to prepare for this transition. Principals are still waiting on some families to select their choice of hybrid or 100% remote. Once that is complete, families will be provided with all details, including any possible class and teacher assignment changes, in the coming days. In the meantime, I hope this webpage will be helpful. As soon as details are worked out for secondary students, I will provide an overview and individual schools will contact families directly with those details.
Staff across the District have been excitedly preparing for Bridge Weeks, which start on Monday. This is a time for many of our youngest learners K-3 who will be participating in the hybrid learning model to visit their school campus. Thanks to our educators, staff and navigators from our Champions and YMCA daycare partners, each participant will come to campus for a couple of hours one day of each Bridge Week to engage in fun activities that will help them become acclimated to the environment with COVID-19 safety protocols in place. It looks like we’ll have a little rain and cool temperatures, so let’s all remember to dress comfortably and warm for these outdoor activities. Due to the accelerated return to in-person learning, grades 4 and 5 will move from 100% online directly to hybrid instruction.
Our own Team Vaccine continues to work on locating vaccinations for staff who wish to receive that layer of protection as they move back to the classrooms. Each day more of our staff are taking advantage of the opportunities that Team Vaccine is finding. I am grateful for this work and for our healthcare partners who continue to work with us to make sure everyone who needs a vaccine has access; together all things are possible.
Jen Haller Class of '94
As we continue our celebration of Women's History Month, I want to share about one of our own Northshore graduates. So many across our nation and right here in our community have performed heroic acts to keep us safe during this pandemic. I consider Jen Haller from Inglemoor’s Class of ’94 to be a local hero. She told me she looks for opportunities to contribute, so she jumped at the chance to join the first trials for a COVID-19 vaccine a little over a year ago. At the time, she didn’t know she would be the first in the nation to receive the vaccine. In doing so, she not only made history, but she has given of herself in a way that is saving lives worldwide and helping to change the course of this pandemic. For that, we are indeed Northshore proud. You can watch our interview from this week’s Northshore Learns News here. Imagine the possibilities….
Fernwood Brunch Club
As I continue my virtual journey into schools cross our great district, I made a stop at Fernwood Elementary on Friday to visit with Panther students, parents, guardians and staff. As always, the conversation was enlightening and helpful as we continue our journey toward returning to the buildings. Of course, the highlight of my day is meeting with Brunch Club students and visiting the classrooms. The ideas and energy that I take away help in our planning even beyond the pandemic. Today, I visited Cottage Lake Elementary. I want to thank all of the parents and guardians who joined me for our meet and greet. The Sailor Brunch Club students asked great questions about everything from Bridge Weeks to recess. We have so many reasons to feel grateful and inspired.
Northshore Middle School Choir
In more music news, I am always in awe of what our music educators can do in a virtual setting to carry off such amazing performances. Northshore Middle School choir teacher Aly Henniger shared a video of her choir students performing “Never One Thing.” I agree with Ms. Henniger that the performance makes a powerful statement right now. Her goal is to bring us all joy through this performance. I hope you’ll take a moment to watch and continue to imagine the possibilities…
In athletics news as we continue our return to more in-person experiences. Last week Governor Inslee moved COVID-19 restrictions in the state to Phase 3. Our athletics staff analyzed the new limits of spectators and have made the following changes: Starting today, March 18th, each student athlete competing in football and girls' soccer at Pop Keeney will be issued four (4) tickets per contest. This applies to both home and away teams. For admittance, at least one of the tickets must be presented by an adult and all four ticket holders are expected to sit together. Minors, accompanied and supervised by an adult, are allowed. Starting Monday, March 22, each student athlete competing in indoor sports (currently only girls volleyball) will be issued two (2) tickets per contest. This applies to both home and away teams. For admittance, at least one of the tickets must be presented by an adult and the two ticket holders are expected to sit together. Minors, accompanied and supervised by an adult, are allowed. These changes were made with the belief that spectators will be expected to adhere to all COVID-19 safety guidelines and social distancing protocols. Some competitions will be livestreamed here. Here’s a way to cheer on your favorite high school team. Submit a 5-10 second video cheering on your team here! Approved videos may be played during the live stream of athletic events! Students must have parent/guardian permission.
Professional Development Through the Holocaust Center
In January and February, the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Department offered professional development opportunities for our teachers through the Holocaust Center. This training focused on much broader strategies that could be applied to many cycles of hate. Participants learned the impact of quality Holocaust education on students’ attitudes towards diversity, tolerance and upstander behavior in the face of hate and intolerance, and on their critical thinking skills. Participants also learned about the Washington State “Best Practices” for teaching the lessons on the Holocaust, and how the Holocaust Center for Humanity and its many resources help prepare them, regardless of prior knowledge and teaching experience, to create positive, vital student learning outcomes. This work supports our Strategic Plan Goal 3: “Each student will experience continuous growth in all subjects, progress toward graduation at a pace that eliminates opportunity and outcome gaps, and receive fair and equitable treatment with regards to discipline.” It also helps us to reach our Strategic Plan Goal 2, “Each student will feel safe as a responsible and persistent learner, open to and accepting of diverse cultures and perspectives, and empowered to advocate for and pursue own educational passions.”
World Down Syndrome Day
Join us in recognizing World Down Syndrome Day on March 21. World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome. We believe that the best way to promote awareness of others is through the power of storytelling. Visit the World Down Syndrome Day website to read stories from across the world, told by individuals in their own words.
This past month, Northshore’s FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) leadership teams participated in the local Regional competitions. Through their strong performances, over 150 students have moved on to the State competition which will be held in April. At FBLA State, students will have an opportunity to qualify for FBLA’s National Leadership Conference in June. You can learn more about WA FBLA and follow along during the State competition by going to the WA FBLA website.
Also, the WA State DECA Conference and Competition took place last week. Washington DECA’s State Career Development Conference (SCDC) is one of the largest, most exciting, and most rewarding experiences in all of DECA. Over the course of the virtual conference, hundreds of industry judges and DECA volunteers assessed and evaluated thousands of DECA students in competitive events. DECA’s emerging leaders were put to the test with an examination and multiple rounds of performances. Congratulations to all of our Northshore DECA winners and those who will be part of the delegation for the International DECA competition. You can follow along with all of the events by going to the WA DECA website.
And finally, as our seasons change, and they surely do.....“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” — Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.