As we complete this first full week of April, and welcome the transitions we know must come; I am reminded of the thoughtful commentary shared many centuries ago. “Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy. ” — Saadi
To that end, I have received many positive reports from our community of educators, learners and families as our youngest learners complete the first week of our Stage 5 Learning Model status. Of course, there are bumps to smooth over as we continue learning and building community, but all in all, we are off to a great start. When we return from spring break, our secondary students will join us in Stage 5.
Now that school buildings are open for in-person instruction and learning, our goal is to keep them open. To do that, we are following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to begin testing and contact tracing across the District. On Friday, we will begin our COVID-19 testing. Families at Sunrise, Kokanee, Crystal Springs and Moorlands elementary schools have received information on the simple self-administered testing that their students can participate in. Staff are also being asked to participate in this batch (or pool) testing program, which is similar to what our athletes are participating in during the sports seasons. Also on Friday, families across the District will receive an email detailing the testing process, including how to provide consent or opt out. My hope is that our Northshore community can model the CDCs’ recommended protocols for keeping schools open.
By now many of you have heard of the effort to recall our elected School Board Directors. I feel that it is important at this juncture for me to share my thoughts on this matter. Over the past year, members of the Northshore School Board have volunteered countless hours on behalf of our students and community. As we navigate a deadly pandemic that is not yet over, each board member has remained resolute in their dedication to providing the best education for our students while also prioritizing the health and safety of our students, staff and the families they go home to. Our School Board members live in our community and as volunteers, they have stepped into a monumental challenge for which there is no playbook. They have continually studied evolving CDC, state and health department guidance, and COVID-19 data to provide the best direction possible. At this time, it is important for the District to focus all resources on final details to transition our students into the new learning model. We are also continuing the work of finishing the year strong and planning for the fall.
Elementary Science Olympiad
Since the start of this pandemic, we have witnessed the truly amazing ways that our students have met and overcome challenges – or are helping others overcome their challenges. We’ve learned about the Never Alone mental health newsletter from Bothell High School, music classes and ensembles taking advantage of the virtual spaces, and new endeavors like student-run newsletters, newspapers, organizations, and events. One such student-run event occurred this past weekend. The inaugural Elementary Science Olympiad was conceived and planned by North Creek junior Diya Gupta. After the pandemic caused her to pause her planning for last year’s in-person event, she approached us again with a reimagined plan to create an online competition. This weekend more than 60 elementary students from across the District participated, and we expect this event – in partnership with the PTSA – will continue to grow. To learn more about the Elementary Science Olympiad, watch Diya on this morning’s Northshore Learns News. Well done!
National Merit Finalists
More great news about Northshore students! Congratulations to the 13 Northshore School District students who were named National Merit Finalists. With this recognition, these students will be considered for approximately 7,600 Merit Scholarship awards, which will be awarded this spring. You can view the full list of Northshore students who are receiving this honor by visiting our District website.
Congratulations also goes to Northshore’s middle and high school students who competed virtually in the 2021 North Puget Sound Regional National History Day Contest. Students who were selected to advance will compete at the Washington State History Day Contest, which will be held virtually from April 14 - May 1. Students chose a historical topic related to this year’s theme: Communication in History: The Key to Understanding. Once their topic was selected, they conducted primary and secondary research to analyze and draw a conclusion about the significance of their chosen topic. They presented their work at the regional competition in one of five ways: a paper, exhibit, performance, documentary, or website. One hundred fifty-nine students participated, 118 entries were submitted, and 13 schools were represented at the state event. Students were judged on two main criteria: historical accuracy and relation to theme, as well as clarity of presentation. Students were also required to follow the rules requirements for each category such as word counts and time restrictions. Visit our District website to see the full list of students who will complete at the state level competition. Many grateful thanks to the staff supporting this important learning experience !!
Holocaust Remembrance Day
This evening marks the end of Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day when the United States honors the over six million Jewish people and others killed by the Nazis during World War II. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah. You can learn more about the Holocaust on this National Archives website or on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website. Armed with knowledge, love, and simple kindness, we can be a beacon – a unified community that conquers hate and values one another and the experiences that we bring. Imagine if we focused on understanding and celebrating our unique contributions.
April is National Poetry Month and at the end of this month we will host our annual Northshore Speaks event! There is still time for students and staff to submit their original spoken word poetry for the event, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 29. Entries must be submitted to Flipgrid before the end of day on Sunday, April 18. Northshore students and staff should log in to Flipgrid using their Northshore School District account. If an entry is selected, District Communications staff will connect directly with the student and their family, or the staff member. If you are a student, be sure to have your parent/guardian complete the Northshore Speaks participation form. If you’re not interested in speaking, you’re more than welcome to attend! You are encouraged to reserve your ticket. The event is suitable for Northshore families. This evening event is an effort to connect, reflect and hear multiple perspectives from our community. We are working on finalizing details for a special guest to coach our student performers, as well as perform at the event. Stay tuned for more details!
School Library Month
School Library Month is the American Association of School Librarians' celebration of school librarians and school libraries. Every April school librarians are encouraged to host activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school libraries play in transforming learning. In Northshore, our librarians put together a wonderful video showing the collaborative efforts between school staff, transportation staff, and community members to get books circulated to students during the pandemic. You can view the video “Books are Everywhere” here.
National Assistant Principals Week
This week is National Assistant Principals Week. It is a time for us to pause and thank our amazing assistant principals in the Northshore School District. They work so hard for our students, staff, and families, and have been part of the backbone to our school communities as we have navigated this pandemic. From planning remote learning and materials pick-ups to planning for the Stage 5 Learning Model status and senior activities, I am so grateful for our assistant principals and every creative and innovative idea they bring to Northshore. I hope you will take time to send our assistant principals a note of gratitude as we celebrate them this week.
Spring break is a time for rest, recreation and rejuvenation. While many of us will be spending at least some of spring break in thoughtful preparations to transition our middle and high school students to the hybrid learning model, I know there is also a great desire to travel. I want to remind all staff and families to review travel safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you are staying local, please continue to practice all COVID safety precautions. Together, we can help lower our region’s COVID-19 transmission rate, which is rising.
As my seasonal thoughts wander this evening….
“Spring drew on...
and a greenness grew
over those brown beds,
which, freshening daily,
suggested the thought
that hope traversed them
at night, and left each
traces of her steps.”
― Charlotte Brontë
And so, as we approach the coming spring break, I wish for each of you a joyful, hopeful, and energizing week.
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.