Thursday Thoughts: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, COVID Update, Remote Learning and More

Hello Team Northshore,

I must say it has been quite a week.  I continue to be grateful for all the opportunities we have to learn together.   

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

In recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Kenmore Elementary School fourth grade students shared their version of the song "Give Light."  This is a part of Kenmore's virtual assembly recognizing Dr. King's work.  Counselor Ms. Nunes organized the assembly and leaves students with a challenge to honor Dr. King's legacy by encouraging them to give back to our community.  Thank you to Ms. Sandusky for developing such beautiful singers. I invite you to view the video, listen closely to the lyrics, and let our wonderful Kenmore Elementary Cubs lead us -- while together, we reimagine the possibilities…

COVID Update

As we continue to be responsive to this dynamic pandemic, staff have been working with the local and state health departments, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and a number of community partners, school administrators, staff, and volunteers to address the skyrocketing number of positive COVID cases throughout Northshore. Over the past two weeks, we have extended our confirmatory testing days, increased the available hours, reduced the number of batch tests pools from ten to five so fewer students or staff will have to isolate, and continue to explore options to improve and enhance our testing program as it has never been more important.  Next week, we will be implementing the new COVID guidance provided by our local health departments. Stay tuned as our COVID supervisors, nurses, and COVID response team members will be sharing this information in the coming days. 

Remote Learning

Earlier this week, I announced that six schools transitioned to a Remote Learning Model until Jan. 24 due to staffing shortages that prevent school staff from delivering meaningful instruction in a safe learning environment. Those schools were Bothell, Inglemoor, North Creek and Woodinville high schools, as well as Northshore and Skyview middle schools. I shared the overall plan for transition in a message earlier this week and received approval from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. As staff will continue to work in the buildings during the remote learning model, we will continue batch testing with participating staff and students whose programs are staying in person and who routinely participate in the batch testing program. 

Today, after reviewing additional and critical staff shortages at Sorenson Early Childhood Center, I have also decided to pause in-person instruction at Sorenson beginning tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 14, so families can pick up computing devices and other supplies needed for remote learning. We will plan for in-person instruction at Sorenson to resume on Monday, Jan. 24. 

CDC Recommendations

Whether you or your family are currently in remote learning or your family plans to take advantage of a drier, somewhat warmer holiday weekend, I encourage you to seek this as an opportunity to keep each other healthy. Per CDC recommendations:  

Innovation Lab High School Students Working on Missing Indigenous Women Expedition

In breaking news from Innovation Lab High School, teachers Andrea Berutti and Mo Diehl shared that US History students, made up of 10th and 11th graders, have been working on The Unseen and Unheard: Missing Indigenous Women expedition since the beginning of December. Students have been working in groups to identify the root problem of missing Indigenous women, offer a solution, and tell the story of a missing Indigenous woman from the Pacific Northwest. On Jan. 5 they met on Zoom with a member of the local media to ask questions about the media’s relationship with indigenous tribes. On Jan. 12, they met with local tribal leaders to ask questions about their experiences, including how we can solve the problem, and what has contributed to missing Indigenous women in the PNW. The students are using what they learned about the problem through research and through interviews to offer solutions. The art class is drawing portraits of local missing Indigenous woman and it will all be compiled into a book similar to the blog Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton. I heard about feedback on this expedition from a number of students. Joel Shernicoff’s feedback really reflected this school’s innovative work, “I believe that this expedition is a wonderful opportunity to let us have a unique experience that we can actually make a difference with. I love how we can connect our learning with real problems in society that give us different perspectives. This expedition is exactly why I came to Innovation Lab in the first place.” I look forward to learning more about this expedition. Go Ravens !! 

Pongal/Sankranti/Lohri

As we approach the weekend, I want to share that today started Pongal/Sankranti/Lohri which is a harvest festival celebrated by Hindus from Jan. 13 – 15. During the festival, farmers bring their harvest to their homes. Families typically decorate their homes with flowers, add colorful designs called Kolam/Muggu/Rangol to their front yards, and prepare a special feast that they share with friends.  Happy Pongal/Sankranti/Lohri to all of our friends and families who celebrate the festival! 

Thank you to Transportation Staff

Our staff members never cease to amaze me, especially throughout this pandemic. Executive Director of Support Services and Operations, Dri Ralph, reports that earlier this week when we were down 24 bus drivers, the remaining drivers rallied. They problem-solved, re-routed some buses, combined other routes, and safely transported our students to and from school. Thank you to our drivers and the rest of the Transportation Department. I am also grateful that we were able to use voter-approved technology funding to purchase the MyStop app. This tool helped many families know when their student’s bus was arriving when there were some delays. If you haven’t downloaded the MyStop app to your phone, I encourage you to do so as we will likely be using it on an increasing basis for a while. It’s getting these little things in place that make a big difference when needed. 

Northshore Concert Hall

As I speak of our voter-approved funding, I want to share that – finally – our seats for the Northshore Concert Hall at Inglemoor High School are on their way north! They were held up at the port in Long Beach for quite some time. We now hope to have the seats installed by the end of January.  I am looking forward to the ‘sound of music’ …

Bond and Levy Information

So much of this amazing work across our district happens because our voters approved ballot measures in 2018 to support education in Northshore. This is necessary because the state does not fully fund K-12 education. On Feb. 8, we will have a renewal Technology levy, a renewal Education, Programs and Operation levy, and a Capital Bond on the ballot. If approved, the Capital Projects bond will fund modernization and expansion of eight existing schools across Northshore, and critical work on so many more. Approval of the Technology levy will fund the continuation of our 1:1 device program, adaptive technology, and other critical work. The EP&O levy funds mental health staff, elementary counselors, fine and performing arts, special education programs, and athletics. We are usually able to gather in-person to share information and have rich discussions while standing at display boards and pointing out details of these measures. The pandemic has changed our ability to gather in such large groups. Instead, our staff will be scheduling two virtual gatherings to share information and take questions. Please stay tuned for those invitations in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please visit our website to read more details at nsd.org/bondlevy

Finally, as we plan for a joyful Friday and look forward to this holiday weekend, I am reminded of the wisdom and words shared by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  While prophetic many years ago, the sentiment shared seems eternally timely today as he observed; "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." And in so doing, being mindful that, "The time is always right to do what is right." And when the times seem particularly challenging to remember always that; "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."  In Our House, we will resolutely stay in the light.  I wish each of you a restful and renewing weekend with those you love. 

Be well,

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

 

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