Thursday Thoughts: COVID Testing for Students, National Poetry Month, Career and Technical Education Programs and More

It is so great to be back to school this week after our spring break week !! So many exciting and inspiring learning opportunities going on all across the district. As we continue through this glorious spring, I love the quote; "Always be on the look out for the presence of wonder." -- E.B. White. We have so many opportunities for experiencing wonder and so much to be grateful for...

A Response to Derek Chauvin's Guilty Verdict

This week, a Minnesota jury found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd last May.  I must acknowledge that as I saw the notification that the verdict was in and soon to be read, I was anxious about the outcome.  Even with the clear video evidence of what transpired, there was a degree of uncertainty about the outcome; we were all on edge.  Sadly, our nation’s history of racism and our frequent unwillingness to hold one another accountable in moments such as this, have undermined our faith in an equitable future for all in our country.  President Biden shared remarks that capture the moment and the strength of the movement we must nurture in the coming weeks and months. 

Further, Vice President Harris shared; “It is not just a Black America problem or a people of color problem. It is a problem for every American.  It is holding our nation back from reaching our full potential.”  She added; “A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice.” To that end, we must recognize that there is more to be done and we all have a role in the work ahead.  While this verdict is a clear step in the right direction, we have many steps yet ahead in our work to dismantle systemic racism in all its forms and all the institutions affected. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shared many years ago; “We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”  In Our House, we will continue to cultivate the necessary conditions for just and equitable change in our education system and community.  To learn more about the Racial and Educational Justice work in Our House, please visit this webpage

COVID Testing for Students

As I turn to the topic that has been a focus for over a year now, I want to share that this week is our first full week of COVID testing for students in grades 2-12 who are in the school buildings. As I mentioned before, there was no COVID playbook for school districts, so wow! Have we learned a lot! Teams across the District pivoted to do continued research on best practices in other districts across the country and on health department and CDC guidelines. We’ve received a lot of great feedback that is helping us refine the testing process which will likely be with us for a while. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this effort to help keep schools open. We've also received a number of questions from families wondering why we are testing - or who may be a bit hesitant. This morning, infectious disease specialist, Dr. Sara Mostad, joined me on Northshore Learns News to answer many of those questions and provide insights to the current COVID-19 surge and what we might expect in the coming year. I hope you’ll take a moment to watch here.  

I want to thank our school administrators for leading the way in helping to inform families about the importance of the COVID batch testing program. I know a reminder is being sent to families this evening and first thing in the morning with information on the testing protocols and how to provide consent. My ask is that every family responds by completing either the consent form or the opt-out form. I am so appreciative for everyone’s commitment to keeping our students, staff and community safe and to keeping our school buildings open; together all things are possible.

COVID-19 Dashboard

I also want to share that our amazing staff members have collaborated on a COVID-19 dashboard that will provide up-to-date information on positive COVID-19 cases in students and staff as well as quarantine data. On the same page, you will find a graph that reflects transmission rates in King and Snohomish counties. I hope you will take the time to review this information as it provides insight to the importance of our batch testing program.  

Volunteer Appreciation Week

This week is Volunteer Appreciation Week! We would like to take a moment to thank all of the volunteers that support our students, staff and schools year-round. Over the last year, our volunteers have pivoted along with our students and staff to support the virtual classroom, adapt elementary art docent lessons to be taught virtually, donate countless hours of their time to support our free meals program for children up to 18, and provide home delivery for critical supplies such as technology devices, books, meals and more. Do you know of amazing individual volunteers, volunteer groups or even your PTSA who you would like to give a shout-out? You can do so here. Also, if you or someone you know are interested in volunteering, learn more at www.nsd.org/volunteer

National Poetry Month

As many of you know, April is National Poetry Month. The Academy of American Poets says this is a month that "reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters." Over the years, National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration in the world. I am so proud that the Northshore School District will once again present Northshore Speaks during this special month. This year, Emmy-nominated poet Christian Paige will join Northshore Speaks on April 29 for a special performance of his work to complement the performances of our own Northshore students. As an added bonus, this year’s student performers on Northshore’s Virtual Stage received coaching from Paige during the dress rehearsal. 

Career and Technical Education Programs

As students are returning to campus, our Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are also thriving with students engaging in hands on learning. This photo shows our Medical Professionals Academy students preparing for their off-site clinicals. Also, with the help and support of the Northshore administration team and Woodinville High School Medical Professional Academy Instructor Marina Orobinskaia, our district has been able enter into a partnership with Virginia Mason Medical Center. Through this partnership, Northshore students can now complete the required 50 hours of clinical rounds to be eligible for the WA State CNA certification. The Medical Professional Academy students will complete the state CNA exam at the end of the school year. Best of luck to our Medical Professional Academy students as they work towards this great accomplishment! 

Earth Day

Finally, today is Earth Day. I hope everyone was able to get out and do something to beautify, sustain, preserve, or somehow help this beautiful planet. I couldn’t think of a better way to end Earth Day than by celebrating it with this special performance by some of our young Moorlands Mustangs. Music Specialist Kelly Foster Griffin shared that the Mustang Choir's new virtual performance features student-created artwork. The choir members submitted their recordings, which were synced together using Garageband and iMovie. The student prompt was, "If you could make a card to give to the people of the world, what encouraging message would it say?"  Kelly said, “I’m inspired by the kindness and empathy I see in our students. We need to keep trying to do good things.” I wholeheartedly agree. Thank you Ms. Griffin for this timely reminder; together all things are possible. 

And so, as we contemplate another beautiful and bountiful spring weekend ahead, I am reminded of the significance in the following sentiment; “The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.”  -- Mahatma Gandhi

All the best and take good care,

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

 

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