Thursday Thoughts: Bridge Week, Hybrid Learning, National Board Certified Teachers and more

Wow, what a great first full week of spring, so abundant with possibilities and promise. 

Bridge Week

Our first Bridge Week will come to an end tomorrow and from everything I’ve seen and heard, our students and navigators are having a ball while important learning takes place. I’ve been out to visit about seven elementary schools so far, and I have seen our young learners appropriately masked and playing fun outdoor games to learn the important skills of staying socially distanced, proper handwashing, and following COVID-19 signage and instructions.

Parents and guardians have shared that they appreciate the opportunity to ease the transition back to the school buildings and all the excitement Bridge Weeks have brought. A great big thank you to our childcare providers, Champions and the YMCA, and our staff who have shared their talent and their time. From everything I have seen, the adults are having as much fun as the students! 

Hybrid Learning

Last night I sent a message that we have reached agreements on a return to hybrid learning that are in accordance with Governor Inslee's March 15 Emergency Proclamation. Our district's elementary schools (grades K-5) will begin a hybrid learning model on April 5. Secondary schools (grades 6-12) will begin a hybrid learning model on April 19. All secondary families are asked to complete the Intent to Return survey no later than noon Tuesday, March 30.  

Today, Governor Inslee announced that all K-12 schools will be allowed to reduce physical distancing between students in the classroom from 6-ft to 3-ft. Because each of our schools is unique in size and design, our Support Services staff are already out in our schools measuring available and potentially available classroom space with the new guidance from the Governor, so we can consider the possibilities given the numbers of students indicating their intent to return. I will provide more information as it is available. 

National Board Certified Teachers

Congratulations to the six Northshore educators who recently became National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT), as well as the 14 who renewed their National Board Certification. Districtwide, 11.8% of Northshore educators are National Board Certified.  We remain so grateful for the Education Foundation partnership that supports this great work and congratulate those staff who have achieved these milestones and appreciate their efforts and dedication to excellence; please take a moment and congratulate these teachers for their achievement.  National Board certification is recognized as the gold standard in teacher certification believing higher standards for teachers mean better learning for students. All told, there are 185 Northshore National Board Certified Teachers who join the over 11,000 NBCT educators in Washington State and over 128,000 NBCT educators nationwide. 

Innovation Lab High School's Learning Expedition

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with Principal Peter Schurke from Innovation Lab High School. He shared his perspective with me about their school’s recent Learning Expedition, “The Pandemic as a Catalyst of Innovation.” Principal Schurke described how the students learned to apply the design thinking process throughout the expedition.  Starting in November, students interviewed essential workers about the problems and opportunities they saw being revealed by the pandemic. Next, they constructed a primary source database by entering all their interview questions and answers into a single document all students could access. The students then used that database to select commonly cited problems to study. 

After completing a root cause analysis of their problem, students then brainstormed solutions and broke up into project workgroups to set about bringing their ideas to reality. In mid-February, the school held a virtual public exhibition of the students’ work. You can view video of those presentations on the school website. As a capstone to their projects, each student group then wrote a summary of their project and submitted it to the State of Innovation Challenge. Innovation Lab HS led all schools in the state with the most submissions from a single school. Well done Ravens! 

Team of Lockwood Second Graders are Regional Winners of ExploraVision Program

In great news from Lockwood Elementary, congratulations are in order to the team of second grade students selected as one of the regional winners of the 29th annual ExploraVision program, the largest K-12 science competition designed to build problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills. Second grade students Lillian Anderson, Alex Doyle and Rory Rundquist, who invented “The Toothbrush of the Future,” will advance to the national phase of the competition, where participants will have a chance to win $10,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bonds (at maturity) and other great prizes.

Holi, The Festival of Colors

On Sunday, March 28, our Hindu community, and many non-Hindu communities around the world will celebrate the popular Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors. This festival marks the arrival of spring and celebrates joy and new life as well as good over evil. People gather in the streets and sprinkle colorful liquids and powders on each other before exchanging sweets to honor friendship and relationship as they forget their differences. Thanks to Dr. Srinivas Khedam in our Racial and Educational Justice Department for sharing this information. Happy Holi!!  

Celtic Quote

In recognition of St. Patrick's Day last week, I feel compelled to share a Celtic Quote. "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." -- GB Shaw. As I watch the March Madness basketball games, I haven't ruled out taking to the court again ;>)

Enjoy a great March week-end,

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.



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