Thursday Thoughts: Board SIP Virtual Visit, National Dyslexia Month, 2020-21 Student Board and More

I trust this busy week has allowed you the opportunity to discover and enjoy the wonders of fall, especially as we head toward a weekend filled with sunshine, brisk temperatures and falling leaves.  

Board SIP Virtual Visit to Westhill Elementary

This week, we had our first Board SIP visit of the year, traveling virtually to Westhill Elementary School. These visits are integral to the strategic work we do as a district. Principal Dana Whitehurst highlighted several aspects of Westhill’s work this year. She and Assistant Principal Telena Hagel shared their collective thoughts on their ongoing work; “The theme of our presentation is Every Child Every Day. This is a belief system that drives us to be creative, innovative and connect to the work every day. We use cycles of inquiry to examine what is and isn’t working and as a community seek ways to regularly improve our practice. Through some of the challenges we are facing together, there are so many successes. We see collaboration and intentional targeted instruction, innovative uses of technology and a parent community that is partnering with us every step of the way. We are so thankful to be Westhill!”  Go Mustangs !!

West Region Assistant Superintendent David Wellington shared that at Westhill there is a clear commitment to learning, to community, to relationships, and to joy that transcends even our most challenging current conditions, “The love of the staff and administrative team for their students and parents was on full display during their Board presentation, as was the innovative way they are using a host of available online tools and platforms to engage students in the work and the learning. Their goals for their learning community continue to be both lofty and achievable because of the way they have come together with diligence, resilience, and care.” Thank you, Westhill, for such great work – relationships and community are so important – especially now!  

National Dyslexia Awareness Month

This is National Dyslexia Awareness Month. The Northshore School District remains committed to supporting every child’s development of reading and literacy as it is the foundation of education. I am so appreciative of the efforts of our Dyslexia Committee, as we continue the work to bring that commitment off the pages of our strategic plan. We also continue to receive guidance from OSPI’s Dyslexia Advisory Council. As with so much of our critical work to remove barriers for all of our students, we will continue to develop our understanding of dyslexia toward success in literacy for all students.  This video is helpful in understanding dyslexia. The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) has revised the IDA Family Handbook which provides necessary information regarding: the definition of dyslexia, the characteristics of dyslexia, the appropriate assessment tools, evidence-based interventions, and suggestions for managing a student with dyslexia’s educational process. You will also find helpful resources and a glossary of terms are provided to better understand dyslexia and its related disorders. Many thanks to all those who served on this committee and all those supporting our students in classrooms every day; it matters. 

2020-21 Student Board

One of the many events I am grateful for this week was my first meeting with the 2020-21 Student Board. This group of student leaders from across our district provides a diverse, yet collective and critical voice that informs our work. I heard loud and clear that this representative group of students is beyond ready to begin learning about racial, social and educational justice, improve student engagement, problem solve technology issues, support mental health challenges, explore workload issues, and reflect on mentoring models, etc. They give me hope for our present and our future as they are ready to help lead this work. We will continue discussions on how they can play a role. I want to thank the 2020-21 Student Board for a great start to our collaborative work:  

Bothell High: 
Brooklyn Harrel, ASB Rep 
Reagan Ferrell, Black Student Union Rep 
Ananya Kumar, Climate & Culture Committee Rep 
Siya Sharma, Climate & Culture Committee Rep 
Tara Duong, Root of Our Youth Program Rep 

Inglemoor High 
Khushveen Kaur, ASB Rep  
Osayi Stewart, Black Student Union Rep   
Jaydon Fry, Music Program Student Rep 
Harshini Iyer, Asian Indian/Tamil Student Rep 

Innovation Lab High 
Amelie Fry, Student Rep 
Veronica Rivera, Latinx Student Rep 

North Creek High 
Josh Bissenden, ASB Rep 
Madison Roland, Black Student Union Rep 

Northshore Networks 
Emerson Pendelton, Student Rep 

Secondary Academy for Success 
Grace Davis, Student Rep 
Nizhoni Newman, Native American Student Rep 

Woodinville High  
Tina Zhang, ASB Rep 
Hayden Brown, Asian/Chinese Student Rep 
Mikko Epstein O’Rourke, District Equity Youth Committee Rep 

Learning happens best in community and our community is indeed strong and poised for future impact planning. 

Our Cabinet, comprised of our senior district administrators, makes it a point to gather weekly for a quick check-in. We find it important to take about 15 minutes to stop and see each other beyond the important work that we do on a daily basis, including our response to the pandemic, the regular business of the District, and planning forward. This morning, the question was posed, “If you could plant a physical seed or seed for change, what would it be and why?” This morning our leaders named the beautiful trees, pumpkins and flowers they’d love to plant and then shared seeds of change that they would plant. It was an uplifting 15 minutes and empowering to feel that we are all in this work together. I’ve listed those identified seeds of change here and hope you also feel uplifted and inspired. After all, we are in this work together – One Northshore.  

Seeds of change: 

  • A seed of reconciliation for our country.
  • Hope. Much of what we hear and see around us is filled with despair.  A seed of hope would give people the inspiration they need to carry on. 
  • A seed for renewed respect for expertise. 
  • Social responsibility - like the ideas that Warren Buffett and his son Peter have expressed. Those of us who derive benefits from society need to recognize our responsibility to give back to society. 
  • Seed of peace in our country and around the world to bring calm and peace to the unrest. 
  • Seed of Love 
  • Social and Educational Justice in the Northshore School District. It is important that we continue to nurture (water and feed) it to make sure that it grows.  
  • Plant a seed to end racism. 
  • Maturity 
  • We already have in our hearts the seeds of wisdom and compassion. I would wish for it to be watered in all of us regularly, by ourselves and through the examples of others. 
  • Political civility 
  • Seed of knowledge, truth and willingness to accept both. 

Together, as one Northshore, we can grow and nourish them into a reality. Imagine the possibilities! 

As it continues to get light later and darker earlier, it reminds me that our seasons are changing.  Even with the snow advisory in the Cascades (hopefully not at our level for a while ;>) winter is coming.  As I have been asked, I will take this time to remind folks again on how best to tune into my Twitter account for late breaking school weather plans and other news so I will include the directions again.  Visit my page and follow me at @Northshore_Supt.  Please feel free to send me questions, suggestions, and innovative ideas. I love to hear from students, staff, parents, and community partners. Like the Thursday memo and my blog, Twitter is another tool that will help us all stay connected and share information. As you ‘follow my Twitter account’ you too can be among the first to know about school snow closures, inclement weather issues, wildlife challenges, safety messages, etc. I will also be sharing up to date news on what’s new around the district. The really good news is that I am limited in word count in those Twitter communications ;>) 

As I contemplate the many topics ahead of us, I am reminded by Abraham Lincoln’s thoughts to be reflective; “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”  Wishing each of you a safe, healthy and joyful fall weekend upcoming. 

Warmest regards,

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.



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