Thursday Thoughts: North Creek Students in Cuba, Special Olympics Bowling Team and More

We are fast moving into the month of December...  I trust the Thanksgiving holiday provided a joyful respite to each of your busy lives.  As many of us traveled over the holidays, patience was certainly a must these past few days ;>)   As I have had a bit more quiet time these past few days, I have had the opportunity to do some reading and reflecting.  I really enjoyed rereading Oprah's recent text, The Wisdom of Sundays which includes one of my favorite of her quotes; "When you acknowledge and are grateful for whatever you have, it allows more to be drawn to you and changes the way you experience life."  I am so grateful for having the opportunity to serve you and this incredible community of students and families.  Together, all things are possible...

Elementary Conferences

I so appreciate all the efforts of the many teachers and support staff who provided for the recent parent conferences. As I have been around the community, I have heard so many positive comments from parents about the quality of the conversations and the educational experience they are having with teachers and staff at their respective school. Thank you for all your dedication and efforts to making Northshore such a special place to both work and learn; it matters.

Northshore Inspires

In another segment of Northshore Inspires, Mr. Carlos Lazo of North Creek High School inspired teens from the community, including a number of North Creek students, to imagine the possibilities. After Mr. Lazo's Spanish class traveled to Cuba last year, some of the teens were so inspired by the impact they'd made on that trip that they began to dream about returning one day to sing for the Cuban people in a concert. With that dream, the community group La Fabrica de sueños (Factory of Dreams) was born, and the work to make a greater impact in Cuba began. In the months to follow, the group brought pop musicians to North Creek. Outside of class, they collected and delivered donations for people affected by a tornado in Cuba. Mr. Lazo said the dream of the concert continued to grow, "Sometimes the children asked me, 'Sr. Lazo, what about our dream of singing in Cuba for the Cuban people?' I told them what I always say about dreams, we do not know when they would happen but we need to prepare as if the opportunity was happening tomorrow."

The opportunity came in November. With the celebrations in Cuba of the 500th anniversary of Habana, the group learned a song in Spanish and made a video to congratulate Cubans for that anniversary. The video went viral and was even aired on Cuban television. The authors of the song, the famous Cuban group Buena Fe, saw the video, contacted Mr. Lazo for permission to show part of the video in their concert at the end of November. Mr. Lazo, a fellow dreamer, seized the opportunity and convinced Buena Fe that it would be better to have the kids travel to Cuba to be in the concert. Families were only required to cover the cost of the flight. With the help of a few kind donors, including Mr. Lazo, accommodations and all incidentals and even special t-shirts were covered for 16 teens. Today, they are proud to say that they were the first American students to ever perform in the biggest Cuban theater. And true to form, the teens found ways to get involved in community activities in some of the most impoverished neighborhoods of Havana, bringing donations and singing for those who could not have afforded the concert in the theater. This is absolutely our Northshore spirit in action and a great reminder to continue to dream big and remember that obstacles will come but; if our dreams involve love for learning and community, faith in the future and in a better and equitable world, we must never give up.  Together, all things are possible.  Thank you Carlos for reminding us of the power of a caring community.

National Board Renewals

In other exciting news, thirteen Northshore School District educators successfully renewed their National Board Certification. To remain certified, they must submit new work for review by The National Board for Professional Standards, which, upon approval, validates that National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) are continuing to teach to the highest standards in the nation. By doing so, they demonstrated their ongoing commitment to meeting rigorous standards and improving student learning. Districtwide, 11.3% of Northshore educators are National Board Certified.  We are proud of the accomplishments of these staff and those that support them; imagine the possibilities…

  • Rebecca Andrick, Middle Childhood Generalist
  • Ian Barnes, Career and Technical Education/Early Adolescence Through Young Adulthood
  • Barbara Blakeslee Beck, Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood
  • Christopher Brush, Middle Childhood Generalist
  • Tracy Dulas, Physical Education/Early and Middle Childhood
  • Nicole Hollingshead, English Language Arts/Early Adolescence
  • Paul Jensen, Physical Education/Early Adolescence Through Young Adulthood
  • Jennifer Ligot, Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood
  • Corey Martin, Social Studies-History/Early Adolescence
  • Erin Moody, Mathematics/Adolescence and Young Adulthood
  • Adam O'Hair, Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood
  • Shirley Parrott, Literacy Reading-Language Arts/Early Adolescence
  • Nicole Richardson, Middle Childhood Generalist

Inglemoor Special Olympics Bowling Team

Collage of AJ Olson with the 3rd place medal and AJ getting cheered at the bowling alley

In another Northshore Inspires segment, Inglemoor Teacher Kelly Richards recently shared that in early November, six members of the Inglemoor Vikings Special Olympics Bowling Team participated in the North King County Regional Bowling Tournament. Junior AJ Olson took first place in his division and went on to take 3rd place overall at the Special Olympics Washington State Tournament in Tri-Cities November 23rd. Inglemoor Coach Eric Levine says he finds joy in supporting AJ and his teammates outside the classroom as he helps them develop real life skills while having fun, "Through our partnership with Special Olympics our students get to practice many of the skills they work on each day including communication, social, and teamwork skills as well as sportsmanship. It makes a huge difference in the students' lives and the families are grateful for the opportunity."  AJ's mother, Anna Olson said her family was uncertain of his future when he was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, but AJ has found community and friendship. "At Inglemoor and the Special Olympics, AJ has been able to find communities where he can be himself, be accepted for who he is, grow and learn."  Well done !!

Hour of Code

Computer Science week is just around the corner, and as it is the tradition here in Northshore, many of our students and staff will be participating in the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science where students and teachers can choose from a variety of activities for all skill levels, many of which can be found on  Currently, there are more than 500,000 computing jobs open nationwide and computer science graduates enjoy the second-highest starting salary and the highest full-time employment rate (76%) within six months of their graduation.  I am looking forward to participating at one of our schools during the week ;>) We are grateful to the Northshore Schools Foundation for partnering with the district to encourage participation by students and teachers district wide.  Imagine the possibilities.....

Cougars Heading to State

In exciting district athletic news, our very own Bothell HS Cougars Football Team has worked hard and earned the right to play this coming weekend. They will take on the Camas Papermakers for the WIAA 4A State Championship crown on Saturday, Dec. 7, 4:00 pm at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma. Join me in congratulating them on this achievement and I invite you to join me at the game on Saturday night. GO COUGARS!

Canyon Park Visit

I want to say how much I enjoy my school visits and Breakfast Club events. This week, I had the pleasure of visiting Canyon Park Middle School. The visit was great, with students and staff so positive and energizing. It also brings the number of classrooms I have visited thus far this year to 240 ;>)  I continue to be so grateful to have the opportunity to serve and support each of you. Thank you.

Overcoming Challenges

As we think about the many challenges we are facing in our schools, community and country at this time, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and at times more easily frustrated than we might otherwise be. I want to share one of my favorite vignettes which chronicles the epic race that sprinter Derek Redmond ran in the Barcelona Olympics of 1992. It is so important to stay steadfastly and resolutely committed to our path, especially when things seem the most difficult. Here in our house, we do not give up, nor do we give in to debilitating beliefs and negative energy. We will continue to stay resolutely in the light and not be drawn into the darkness and negativity that can at times seem overbearing. We will remain mindful of those around us and their needs as we guide and support our community's greatest resource, our children. And so, as I was contemplating the coming days, I came across this quote and am reminded of its power for us today…

“When you know who you are; when your mission is clear and you burn with the inner fire of unbreakable will; no cold can touch your heart; no deluge can dampen your purpose. You know that you are alive.” -- Chief Seattle (1780-1866) Leader Of The Suquamish and Duwamish Native American Tribes

I trust that each of you will enjoy a joyful and abundant weekend respite and I look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks. What an amazing journey we are on...

Warmest regards,
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.



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