Well, what another beautiful and bountiful week we are traversing. So many opportunities abounding to connect, learn and grow…
As we continue to move through this pandemic, I see continuing evidence of how intertwined our lives are. Our response to this ever present pandemic and each other carries great impact. The information alone is a lot to take in - positive, exposure, close contact, quarantine... and so are the multiple perspectives on how we should respond. I remain convicted that learning happens best in community and the stronger and healthier our community is, the better positioned we are to nurture one another in learning. As we met for our first ATM meeting this morning, I was touched by how similar the sentiments I heard were to those expressed at our student board meeting this past week. Mental health continues to be a focus and concern as we push ourselves and one another to ever increasing levels in our quest to show up as our best selves individually and collectively. This takes a great deal of energy and it happens to be at a time when we had yearned for a more predictable and ‘normal’ fall. This morning, an article was shared that seems to capture what I heard from both our leadership team and our student board leadership team; there is a great deal of anxiety in returning as we are not the same people who left the more traditional work spaces and learning spaces so many months ago.
Dr. Amy Cuddy, social psychologist, best-selling author, award-winning Harvard lecturer, and expert on the behavioral science of power, presence, and prejudice recently published a Washington Post article, “Why This Stage of the Pandemic Makes Us So Anxious,” and how working through this collective, constant pandemic flux affects us as individuals and as leaders. From her perspective, it has never been more important to develop a flux mindset and nurture a sense of agency as we contemplate how we best return to work spaces and learning spaces. I trust you will take a moment and read the article and as important – take a few moments and discuss it with a colleague or friend. Making our own meaning about these topics during these challenging times is so essential to our understanding and talking about it supports this ability to make our own meaning in a healthy way. We need to practice patience and not perfection with ourselves and one another as we lean into the opportunities ahead of us this year; together all things are possible. We’ve got this….
COVID-19 Batch Testing
As I shared earlier this week, we will begin batch testing all students K-12 starting on Monday, Sept. 20. I also want to share that after thoughtful bargaining with all our staff labor groups, we have an agreement that all staff will also be tested on a regular basis. This is a serious commitment that we do not enter into lightly as our goal is to sustain a safe and healthy workplace and learning space in Our House. For testing specifics and personal exemption options available, please check in with your association leadership and/or supervisor, or with Human Resources.
Testing will be conducted weekly at each of our school buildings and district buildings over the course of three days. We will use a testing process similar to the one used last spring. If a family does not opt out their student from testing, they will be tested each week for COVID-19. Evidence has shown that someone who is infected with COVID-19 can be asymptomatic and still transmit the virus to others. Through regular testing and contact tracing, our goal is to stop any spread so that our schools remain open. We remain committed to health and safety for our Northshore community. Parents may opt their students out of testing and vaccinated staff may also opt out. However, we know that keeping Northshore School District school buildings open depends on awareness of and immediate action on any COVID-19 concerns in our buildings. Learn more about the batch testing process by reviewing my message sent earlier this week.
I want to remind everyone that we remain resolute in our responsibility of educating our students and providing them a safe and welcoming environment to learn and thrive. We are also committed to providing that same environment for our staff and families. We continue to update our COVID safety protocols in our handbook. You can find updated information here. In addition, you can view our COVID Dashboard to get a snapshot of the presence of the virus in our district.
Student Device Distribution
Our Technology Department has provided us with great news. In support of S2H expansion, the Department has completed device distribution to all grades with nearly 19K devices going home with students in grades 2-12 for use in their studies and by their families. Distribution of these devices, funded by the 2018 Tech Levy, was conducted by each building's School Technology Specialist (STS). Any family with a student in grades 2-12 who did not have an opportunity to pick up a device should contact their school’s office staff to arrange for a pickup. Thanks to our Technology Department and all staff and volunteers who supported this important and herculean effort!
COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics for Middle and High School Students
I am pleased to share that we will begin another round of mobile vaccines starting Monday, Sept. 20 for our middle and high school students. Multiple teams from the Shoreline Fire Department will administer the Pfizer vaccine for all students who are 12 years of age and older and would like to be vaccinated. Please know that the COVID-19 vaccination is not mandated by the District. Families who are interested in having their student receive the Pfizer vaccine at one of these clinics, must complete a registration form. In order to plan accordingly, all registrations for Monday’s clinic must be submitted by noon on Sunday, September 19. Registration must be submitted by noon the day before the scheduled date for each clinic. If a clinic isn’t scheduled at a student’s school, families can register them for the vaccine at another school. Students attending the clinic, who are not already learning in-person on the designated campus, need to arrive within the first 30 minutes of the scheduled clinic time to ensure there is enough time to administer the vaccine and have at least a 15-minute waiting period after receiving the dose. More information can be found on our District webpage.
September continues to be a month of remembrance and reflection. Today, I want to acknowledge our Jewish families who are observing Yom Kippur at this time. Yom Kippur is the holiest, most important day of the year in Judaism, known as the “Day of Atonement.” It began at sundown Wednesday, September 15th 2021 and ends Thursday evening, September 16th, — the last of the ten days of penitence that began with Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).
Northshore's Student Board
Yesterday, marked the 5th year of Northshore’s Student Board. Joining me this year are students from our high schools, programs and special interest groups. The following are members of the Student Board: Josh Bissenden, Sky Darkhand, Amelie Fry, Iham Goyal, Hayleigh Grogan, Mariam Kazmi, Emma Mann, Samantha Perez, Yarley Perez, Peyton Revolinski, Joel Shernicoff, Riley Scott, Vusi Simango, and Osayi Stewart. We are looking forward to an exciting and productive year.
National Merit Semifinalists
Congratulations to the six Northshore students who were named National Merit semifinalists. Nationally, about 16,000 students were named semifinalists this year. These high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring. Learn more and view student names by visiting our District website. Imagine the possibilities….
In exciting news, Maywood Hills Elementary and Bothell High School both had field improvement projects during the summer months. Synthetic turf was installed at Maywood Hills' west playfield, replacing the sand-based playfield. This new playing surface greatly improves the field drainage, meaning fewer clogged drains and puddles. With the project’s completion, the school’s playground reopened. Also, during the summer, the softball field at Bothell High School was renovated and the outfield grass was replaced with turf. The installation of the turf is scheduled for completion at the end of this month. These BHS improvements support the District’s commitment to equity for high school athletic fields. Bothell High’s field is the final softball field in the District to be upgraded. Field improvements at both Maywood Hills and Bothell were made possible thanks to the Northshore voters. Thank you.
I am so excited to finally take a short break this evening so I can head over to Pop Keeney to cheer on our Woodinville Falcons (with our masks on). It is always a treat to be a part of our Northshore student activities with their trademark energy and passion. “It’s the little things in life that lead to the big.” – Rose Zadra.
All the best and take good care,
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.