We are less than two weeks away from the first day of school. I have to say that I am absolutely excited for the coming year! Admittedly, it will be a different first day. For me, I am used to traveling from school to school and greeting students as they arrive by bus, by car or on foot. It’s one of the highlights of my year (and likely yours). But after spending the summer with more than 150 members of our NSD staff family, I am inspired by the innovation, determination and energy that everyone continues to invest in making sure every student has the best possible educational experience during Northshore Learns 3.0.
We continue to add to this more robust instructional plan as teachers, staff members, principals, parents/guardians, and community partners create engaging educational and community-building opportunities. I am excited about ideas coming from our teacher-librarians, our first-year teachers, our very experienced teachers, our office managers, our nurses, administrators and every department within the District. We are trying to think of everything, but we must remember we will practice patience, not perfection as we move forward. Our staff and students are ready to get going and so am I. And I look forward to another first day – when all of our students and staff are able to safely return to the school buildings. Imagine the possibilities….
With a lot of work still ahead of us as we prepare for the coming school year, I was grateful to have had an opportunity Thursday morning for community building and to put all of our current challenges into perspective. I dropped in on the very first staff meeting at our new Ruby Bridges Elementary – the second school in our nation to be named after this civil rights icon. Shortly after, Ruby Bridges herself actually made a surprise appearance. She Zoomed in! Among other topics, she shared wisdom about the importance of our work toward racial and educational justice. She also talked about the racism and violence she faced as a little girl on a daily basis while on her way to school to receive the education to which she was entitled. Ruby Bridges also inspired us with these simple words: "Our kids can learn anywhere, and you can teach anywhere." Then she went on to talk about kids learning from everyone, including family and their surrounding community. She talked about how much she learned from her grandmother while doing the simplest things, like sitting with her by a creek. Ruby Bridges Elementary Principal Cathi Davis says she was thrilled to surprise her team and also deeply touched by the experience, “It was the highlight of my career to have this profoundly personal and inspirational conversation with Ruby Bridges as we opened our first staff meeting of the 2020-2021 school year. Ruby’s wisdom, humility and deep conviction to engaging in change work through our schools and communities left each staff member empowered, grateful and ready to launch our new school community. We cannot wait to make Ruby Bridges proud and live into her legacy.” I look forward to the possibility of welcoming Ruby Bridges in person when it is safe to have our big grand opening of the school.
In a historical milestone reminder, 100 years ago, the 19th Amendment was passed, securing the right for women to vote. This milestone in American history was the product of the unwavering endeavors of suffragists who pursued their vision of a more just society. As we commemorate this historic event, we must also recognize that the application of this amendment was not universal, because Indigenous, Black, and Latinx women and communities continued to fight for sovereignty, voting rights, citizenship, and humanization. On this 100th anniversary, we honor all the women who have fought for, and continue to fight for, justice and equality. Imagine the possibilities...
As we gear up for the upcoming school year and Northshore Learns 3.0, it is always important to be reminded of the community building support that makes this work possible through our bonds and levies. I want to share with you how levy dollars that were approved by our Northshore taxpayers are supporting this important work. To date, we’ve distributed nearly 5,300 devices to students to support their learning. The majority of these devices were funded by the 2018 levy, and some were from 2014 levy funds. I am very excited about another tech levy funded project, which occurred this summer - the migration of the library services structures to the cloud. This move provides students and staff access to a more robust system, while ensuring system stability and greater availability for all users.
In addition to the software and hardware improvements, tech levy dollars have supported countless professional development opportunities to support staff in distance learning as we are all learners. Even before the last school year ended, our Technology staff were hard at work planning for the 2020-21 school year - figuring out ways to make the remote classroom experience better and more effective. Their devotion to all students and staff continue to inspire us and make our Northshore community extremely proud.
Northshore Educator Leadership Academies
A new professional development opportunity for Northshore's certificated and educational support professional (ESP) educators, Northshore Educator Leadership Academies, has been designed to develop and enhance the leadership of Northshore's classroom teachers, educational staff associates, teacher librarians, and ESPs. A partnership between the University of Washington, Bothell, and the generous support of the Northshore Schools Foundation makes the Northshore Educator Leadership Academies possible. These academies have been developed with our district's racial and educational justice core values in mind. The over-arching purpose of the Northshore Education Leadership Academy initiative is to positively impact student learning outcomes by developing and strengthening the knowledge and leadership capabilities of the professionals in our school system. Executive Director of Human Resources, Doug Hale said, "We are excited about our partnership with UW Bothell and the creation of this program. The professional development of our educators is important as it provides avenues of continued growth. At the same time, educator learning benefits our students because participating professionals bring back what they've learned and integrate it into the ways they work with students. This partnership is going to provide us with the opportunity to support the learning of educators in ways we haven't been able to previously. Chief Leadership and Strategy Officer Tracy Meloy added, "In less than a week, each of the fall academies reached capacity. The enthusiasm for this professional development is a testimony to Northshore's dedication to ensuring students are supported on their education journey in a safe, caring, mutually respectful environment where everyone feels welcomed, valued, and supported." Imagine the possibilities…
Wishing each of you a restful and renewing summer weekend. “Maybe who we are isn't so much about what we do, but rather what we're capable of when we least expect it.” — Jodi Picoult. Thinking about all of the great expectations ahead of us...
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.