Thursday Thoughts: Kenmore City Council, State of Our Schools, Snow Make Up Days and More

February is now half over, which I find so hard to believe. I wish each of you a Happy Hundredth Day of School tomorrow ;>) !!  It is exciting to look forward to a celebratory Presidents Day weekend and winter break week. One of the presidents honored this coming week is President Abraham Lincoln, who stated unequivocally; "If the great American people will only keep their temper, on both sides of the line, the troubles will come to an end, and the question which now distracts the country will be settled just as surely as all other difficulties of like character which have originated in this government have been adjusted." As is often the case, history can be a powerful reminder of courage, wisdom, and the powerful often hard fought lessons we can learn from today. Here in Northshore, we will remain an innovative, inspiring and kind house. Together all things are possible...

Kenmore City Council

This week the School Board attended a joint meeting with the Kenmore City Council and discussed a number of items of mutual interest. The collaboration among the cities and our district is important for the success of all of the communities and the district as well. So many positive relationships and such supportive work going on !!

Solo and Ensemble Contest

This past weekend, I had the real pleasure of attending the solo and ensemble festival at Inglemoor HS. I want to extend my congratulations to the 67 talented Northshore high school students who were selected as finalists at the Northlake Regional High School Solo and Ensemble Contest on Feb. 8 at Inglemoor High School. It was a full day of outstanding performances by students from fifteen area high schools. The winners will go on to perform at the Washington State Solo and Ensemble Contest in April. Alternates may be chosen to perform at state if other regions do not fill all of their slots. Instrumental Music Teacher, Charlie Fix, shared; “We are very proud of the outstanding Northshore student musicians who performed on Saturday at the Northlake Region Solo and Ensemble Contest hosted by Inglemoor High School. Students performing as soloists and in small ensembles from all four district high schools were selected as finalists and will represent our region at the state contest in April. Special thanks to all of the teachers, parents, administrators, and students who shared their time and talents to make the day a success."  Well done !!

Sue Black Inspires

As a Northshore Inspires moment, I want to share some reflections about the importance of connecting and relationships as we continue to nurture the strong community we have here that sets Northshore apart from other school districts.  I recently visited Inglemoor HS and had the opportunity to visit students, staff and parents.  As part of this visit, I had the opportunity to spend a bit of time in Sue Black’s classroom.  I am so inspired by Sue and her energy, passion, and dedication to this integral craft of teaching.  I also learned that she rescues Guinea Pigs (21 in all over the last number of years).  I met Fern and Flower and was reminded by Sue that Guinea Pigs are not nocturnal and so there is no squeaky wheel in the darkest part of the night ;>) and they also live 6-8 years on the average.  Further, I had no idea that our rescue shelters often have Guinea Pigs and Sue encouraged me to share that rescue Guinea Pigs make great pets.  She also rescues swimming turtles …  As I was sharing my excitement about my new found knowledge with the office staff at IHS, Dana Lin then shared that several years ago, Sue had the honor of introducing President Obama when he visited Seattle. In the article, “As a biology teacher at Inglemoor High School in the Northshore district, meeting the president is about the only thing that could keep her out of the classroom, Black said. “To me teaching biology is more than what I do, it’s what I am.”  Wow, what an inspiration !!  Just imagine the possibilities…

Westhill Kindness

In an inspiring Northshore Kindness segment, Westhill Principal Dana Whitehurst recently shared with me an act of kindness that our Westhill students engaged in. Each month students at Westhill meet with their  "Mustang Families" (all students divided into a "family" blended by grade, gender, ethnicity, culture, etc.) to learn about and practice a characteristic of humanitarianism. This month they discussed empathy and service. The 5th grade students learned about Hurricane Dorain that struck the Bahamas in September and the lasting effects it has on the community and students still today. According to Principal Whitehurst; “We showed pictures of communities that have had to move into the local school houses after their homes were destroyed and discussed the impact on their access to schooling-something we often take for granted.  Using reciprocal teaching activities (games, direct teaching, small group conversation), the 5th grade "family leaders" taught their groups the same information. They discussed the difference between empathy and sympathy by sharing personal experiences of loss/challenging times (empathy) as well as concern for those they've never met (sympathy). The correlating service project was writing joint letters to send to the students letting them know we are thinking about them during this super challenging time; the lesson being that kindness can be just as simple as a quick note saying "you matter".”  Wow, just imagine the possibilities…

State of Our Schools

On February 5, we had the opportunity to present important District information to more than 200 community leaders, elected officials, and our district leadership at the 3rd Annual State of Our Schools event. I couldn’t think of a better way to begin our morning than to showcase many of our incredibly talented students. Event attendees heard from students ranging from primary grades to high school who played a variety of instruments beautifully – many without using any sheet music! We also heard from three talented poets and spoken word artists who set the stage for the morning. After all, the presentation and the work we do every day is about our students. I want to thank everyone who took part in the morning presentation of innovation, inspiration and kindness, including our Student Board members from across our district’s high schools. They sat with our guests and shared their experiences and ideas for the future of Northshore. Together, we reflected on the amazing work that we have done as a community and looked forward to what’s to come. Video of entire morning can be found here.

Bothell Cheer Team

In other exciting district news, completing their official season last week, the Bothell High School cheerleaders took home first place in their division at the WIAA State Cheerleading Championship in Vancouver, WA.  Just as exciting was the district showcase held at North Creek HS prior to the State competition, where Bothell HS and North Creek HS performed and both Woodinville and Inglemoor cheer squads attended supporting their Northshore family cheer squad members.  I continue to be so inspired by our Northshore sense of family.  Cheer advisor Andy Gault shared; “We are so grateful for our cheer parents, who packed up carpools for the weekend to make it happen! We are grateful we can support other athletics teams and continue to push our skill set as a team as well. The work was worth it and they are so beyond excited to have their trophy in the main office and a new banner for the gym! The oldest members are juniors, no seniors, so what they did was absolutely incredible!”  Imagine the possibilities…

Enrollment Update

As we review our February enrollment, Masha Figlin, one of our budget and finance analysts, recently prepared a report that shows the actual monthly enrollment (as full-time equivalent, FTE) that was reported at Northshore for the last four years plus this year's current monthly enrollment as of the start of the school year. In addition, the report displays the budgeted annualized average FTE of 22,590 (royal blue line) as well as the updated projected annualized average enrollment of 22,618 (green line) based on a five-year historical average as of October. This is an essential report for us as it tracks our student enrollment to budget and annual projections. This data is important to track as it affects all aspects of our operations including facilities planning, budgeting and all staffing, etc. Looking at this report regularly enables us to monitor and adjust when necessary as the year progresses. Our actual current head count is 23,294 students. Specifically, we have approximately 300 more students this year in a year over year head count. Imagine the possibilities...

Crystal Springs Says Hello!

As many of you know, we have 94 home languages spoken here in our amazing district.  Recently, during our mid-year check in with the Crystal Springs team, they shared a video of several of their students sharing a hello to me in their native language.  Crystal Springs has over 50 home languages spoken and is stronger for its diversity.  I continue to be inspired by the strength of our student voice and continue to imagine the possibilities…

Snow Make Up Days

If it seems like Groundhog Day again, the 2019-20 school calendar has been modified because of school cancellations in January due to inclement weather. When the school calendar was negotiated for 2019-20, NSEA and the District agreed to make up school cancellations on Friday, May 22 (our built in snow day) and at the end of the negotiated school calendar, on Friday, June 19 and Monday, June 22. We've worked collaboratively with NSEA to confirm our mutual understanding that the last day of school will now be June 22 and the teacher grading day will move to June 23. We've made all the modifications to the school calendar and cleared it for distribution. And so, we trust that the weather will hold for no further challenges ;>)

As we forward face to the winter break and upcoming Presidents Day holiday, I will end with a quote from one of my favorite presidents; “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don't have the strength.” -- Theodore Roosevelt.  And last; but, certainly not least, "My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth." -- Abraham Lincoln

Enjoy a joyful, reflective, and renewing break,

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.



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