Thursday Thoughts: Ethnic Studies, Woodinville Baseball Supports Vs. Cancer, Congratulations to Grace Zhou, and More

Earlier this week, we officially welcomed spring, and it definitely showed up with beautiful weather on Tuesday. I hope you all had an opportunity to enjoy the warmer weather and appreciate all that comes with spring – new growth and opportunities abound. In addition, Nowruz, also known as Persian New Year, began on March 20 this year. With more than 300 million people around the world celebrating, the day promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families and communities. Nowruz marks the beginning of spring for many and the renewal of nature. Happy Nowruz to all who celebrate!

Ethnic Studies

It’s hard to believe it’s already the time of year when our middle and high school students are making plans regarding their coursework for next school year. On this morning’s Northshore News, I had the opportunity to talk with four of our high school students about Ethnic Studies, which is a semester-long class being piloted next fall that high school students have the opportunity to register for now. North Creek High students Grace Medjo, Niranjana Saju Menon, and Shreya Shaji, and Innovation Lab High student Katie Chiodo were joined by Assistant Director of Equity Pedagogy Melissa Riley, who is also the co-lead of the Northshore Ethnic Studies curriculum project and framework development. These four students are on the work team for the curriculum and framework development along with many of our community members, teachers, and administrators, and I was so inspired by them. The students shared their perspectives and the reasons why they have participated on this important team. Their voices have helped shape the experience for our Northshore students moving forward. They provided great insights into why students might want to consider registering for this class. If you know a student who might be interested, please encourage them to look into it further as we reimagine the possibilities…

Woodinville Baseball Suppports Vs. Cancer

I am so proud of our Woodinville High School baseball team for the steps they are taking off the field. Coach Alan Dillman shared that for several years, the team has done a fundraiser for Vs. Cancer, which supports the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. As it turns out, the School Resource Officer at Woodinville High is Brendan Dodge (a WHS alumnus), whose daughter Rowan was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year at age 8. The baseball team has met with Officer Dodge and really taken his family under their wing. The team is raising money for Vs. Cancer and Seattle Children’s, where Rowan Dodge is receiving her medical care. They also plan to have Rowan throw out the first pitch at their game on April 1, which is the Vs. Cancer Night for Woodinville baseball. Many of the players and coaching staff also plan to shave their heads in support of Rowan after the game. There are many stories of students doing amazing things for our community, and this one really touched me. Thank you, Falcons, for your inspiration and care for one of our own. Read more about their efforts here.

Congratulations Grace Zhou

Congratulations to North Creek High School senior Grace Zhou, who has achieved national recognition for her creative achievements! Grace received a National Silver Medal for her Art Portfolio "family album" through the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards (see samples of her work here). Grace's portfolio is "about the experience of being the child of two first-generation Chinese immigrants, and how that has ultimately shaped [her] views on family." North Creek High teacher Britt Martin tells us her artwork was chosen from among 260,000 artworks submitted from students across the U.S. and Canada. At the regional level, she received a Gold Key for her portfolio, two Gold Keys for her individual artworks "lucky me" and "waiting for the train," as well as two Honorable Mentions for her individual artworks "family photo" and "tired of time zones" through the Schack Art Center. Congratulations, Grace! 

Learning Ally

Learning Ally is our district’s newest audiobook solution, offering more than 80,000 audiobooks for students ranging from grades K-12, including high-interest fiction, core curriculum read-aloud titles, and even textbooks. This district-wide subscription provides human-read audiobooks with on-screen tracking of the words and images. While the service is intended as a direct support for students with dyslexia and other reading challenges, any student can use it. Learning Ally was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Northshore voters, who approved the 2018 Tech Levy. I am hearing positive feedback from teachers and families alike and am excited to see what possibilities arise for our students due to this wonderful tool.

Student Justice Conference

I am also excited for our high school students attending tomorrow’s Student Justice Conference. With students attending from all of our high schools, it will be a wonderful day for them to connect with one another and grow their knowledge together. I am very appreciative of the work of our team in Racial and Educational Justice for making this opportunity happen. I look forward to seeing our students there!  I will also plan to share more about the impact of the conference in the coming weeks.

World Down Syndrome Day

Several parents and staff have reminded me that Monday, March 21st was World Down Syndrome Day.  This recognition day is chosen to be on 3/21 because of the 3 copies of the 21st chromosome, making it easy to remember.  It is a day of celebration, acceptance, community, friendship and pride.  I want to share that pausing to celebrate our diversity reminds us of the work we have been doing, and the work we continue to do in providing an equitable and inclusive educational experience for all of our students.  In our bold new strategic plan, Goal 2: Responsible, Resilient, Empathetic Learners, we state that "equity means each student embracing their own voice, accepting ownership of their own actions and experiences, and honoring the diversity, unique needs and contributions of others."  Each and every one of our Northshore students bring unique gifts, hopes, and dreams to their daily journey with us.  I so appreciate all the inspiring work undertaken to support each of our students every day.  Imagine the possibilities...

SAT School Day

In news from our Career and Colleges Readiness (CCR) Department, Director Damen Schuneman reports that on March 23 the CCR department hosted the SAT School Day exam at BHS, IHS, and NCHS with 194 students registered to test between the 3 high schools. This is the first year NSD has participated in the SAT School day offering and it is great to have our students be able to test at their home schools during the school day supporting equitable access to high stakes post-secondary assessments. The College Board SAT School Day is a newly implemented initiative designed to make it easier for students to take an official SAT. Instead of driving to a testing location on a Saturday morning to take the exam, students whose schools participate in SAT School Day will get to take the SAT at their own school during a time when they’d normally be in class. The Career and College Readiness department will continue to work with all of our high schools to offer SAT School day on multiple test dates next Fall and Spring (tentative dates are set for Oct, March, and April). In addition, we will be looking to offer ACT in school day exams as well. More details on these college placement exam options will be coming soon.  So many great ideas; together all things are possible…

As our seasons change.....“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”  —  Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Warmest regards,

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.



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