Thursday Thoughts: College Bound, Timbercrest Visit, Black History Month, Innovation and More

Well, what another exciting winter week. It started with one of my favorite events of the year – Groundhog Day.  As it turns out, we have much to be positive about as Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil greeted a record crowd this year (almost 40,000 present) and did not see his shadow. Thankfully, this signals an early spring and I for one am grateful ;>) !!  Especially this week, with the unbelievable torrential downpour and flooding roads and fields, I am really looking forward to a more spring-like atmosphere. I want to provide our heartfelt thanks to all the transportation staff and facilities staff who have worked tirelessly to keep us safe throughout this recent weather system. It is so important to recognize their efforts as these staff have put in countless hours over the last week. I also so appreciate the efforts of our office staff across the district as they have fielded countless phone calls on weather-related topics and remained so positive and helpful. Thank you. Well done !!

College Bound Scholarship Program

Gold Star Awards

For the second year in a row, we celebrate the efforts of our middle school principals, counselors, teachers and support staff in completing documentation for our College Bound Scholarship program.  Our sign up rate this past year again placed us as one of the top performing districts in the state and earned us the Gold Star District Award for the second time.  Further, all six of our middle schools received Gold Star School status.  This is an important milestone for our students in this amazing district and is aligned with Goal 5 and our equity work; “Each student receives equitable access to experiences crucial for success in college and beyond, and meets or exceeds Washington state’s college-&-career readiness graduation requirements.”  This means that qualifying students will have more options and support for future educational goals.  Imagine the possibilities…

School Counselor Week

I want to wish our counselors a hearty Happy School Counselor Week !! Most especially in these challenging and stressful times, please find time to thank your school counselor for all that they do to support students, staff and families in our schools and community. We are a better district and community for your efforts. Thank you !!

Timbercrest Visit

Along with the Board of Directors, we had a great SIP visit to Timbercrest Middle School this week. These visits are so integral to the comprehensive work we do as a district. Principal Kristi Hannigan shared the work that is being done at Timbercrest to be developmentally responsive for middle school kids by meeting students where they are and moving them forward in their academic and social-emotional learning.  The Timbercrest team holds high expectations for students while also working to provide high supports to ensure students are able to reach their full potential.  Principal Hannigan shared; “I am so humbled and honored to serve the Timbercrest community, where students and staff daily exemplify our pillars of being respectful, responsible, and inclusive.  The work we are pivoting toward this year is to ensure that EACH student is successful and has what they need to achieve maximum success. Our team cares deeply about our students and we have created supports, specifically in our math classes, to help students backfill gaps in their learning and set them up for new learning. The data we have collected so far indicates that our supports are having the intended impacts, and we look forward to migrating these supports to other content areas.” East Region Assistant Superintendent Michael Tolley shared his impressions of the visit.  “The Timbercrest Middle School visit this week provided a tremendous opportunity for members of the School Board, Dr. Reid and others to learn about the high-quality teaching and learning occurring in the school.  Kristi Hannigan, principal of Timbercrest Middle School, did an excellent job presenting the students’ academic performance data as well as the interventions provided to ensure that each student’s needs are effectively addressed.  The positive and supportive culture and climate of the entire school community was observed and appreciated through the visit.”  It is always so energizing to be out in the schools. Go Wolves !!

Black History Month

February is Black History Month, and I want to take a little time to promote the month, share resources, and encourage you to celebrate with staff and students. The concept of Black History Month was created by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a scholar, activist, author, and historian. He has come to be known as the “Father of Black History” for his efforts to amplify the experiences, histories, and key contributions of Black peoples throughout American history. You can read Woodson’s full biography HERE. During this month, The Northshore School District is acknowledging and participating in the national Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action from February 3 - 7, 2020. It is optional for staff and administrators to participate. Last month, the Equity and Diversity Department sent out age-appropriate resources to educators and administrators for Northshore students in grades K-12 and facilitated an optional 2-hour professional development training for all educators and staff who wanted to participate. This Friday, February 7, the Equity and Diversity Department will be hosting a Black Lives Matter at School Community Celebration. The event will be held from 4:30 – 6:30pm in the Northshore School District Administrative Center Board Room. All students, families, community members, staff, and administrators are welcome to attend. During the event, there will be a high school BSU student panel, community cafe, student creative challenge, coloring station for kids, and resource table.

Career and Technical Education

Every February, students, educators, and administrators raise awareness of Career and Technical Education programs by celebrating Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. Northshore’s CTE Director Damen Schuneman says, “We are very proud of our CTE programs in Northshore and they are thriving like never before. Our program emphasis real world, 21st century learning where innovation, creativity, and problem solving are at the foundation of every course.” Those course Engineering, Robotics, Computer Science, Health Sciences, Manufacturing, Human Services, Aviation, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). That’s just a small sampling of the more than 89 courses available to students. The program also includes access to numerous preparatory and industry certificated programs, all Northshore School District students can explore a variety of potential careers while earning valuable 21st century skills. This is a great time to learn more about Northshore’s CTE program.

Lunar New Year

Also during the past several weeks, families across the district are celebrating Lunar New Year, which this year is the year of the Rat. The Lunar New Year Day was on January 25th. Observances, celebrations, and events continue for days following, and is a time for families and friends to come together. I wish all who are celebrating, a Happy Lunar New Year!

Enrollment Update

As we are planning forward, I want to share that we use a variety of sources for data.  Earlier this month the district received enrollment projections for 2020-21 and beyond. These projections, from the demographer the district uses, are updated annually and used to inform budget and staffing decisions for the coming year. Utilizing the mid-level growth projections contained in the report, the district also uses these projections for long term facility planning purposes.  As many of you have lived in the district longer than I have, I would be interested in any feedback or thoughts you might have about the demographic data in the report as we make a significant number of decisions based on it.

Kindergarten Special Education

Recently, in a Northshore Inspires event, over 100 families with pre-K students (who have IEP's) joined Doreen Milburn, Kim Durkin, and a Kindergarten teacher panel for a Kindergarten Promotion Meeting at the District Office in the Board Room to learn about Northshore's Kindergarten special education continuum of services.   This event is to inform families of our unique Northshore continuum of special education services for students, so that families can be informed team members of their student’s IEP to help determine Kindergarten placement.  The teacher panel included Kari Stokes a General Education teacher from Woodmoor, Jessica-Lynn Tompkins a Learning Center teacher from Arrowhead, Jessica Darling a Mid-Level Blended teacher from Arrowhead, Sarah Rabine a Sensory teacher from Lockwood, and Jenny Woods an FSA teacher from Woodmoor. The teacher panel did a wonderful job highlighting all aspects of Kindergarten and provided an informative question and answer session to address specific parent questions.  We are so grateful for the teachers and support staff who share their talent and wisdom to guide our young learners on their journey.  Thank you !!

Innovation Lab High School

The Innovation Lab High School has opened its application process. Hundreds of interested students and family members have already attended the information sessions with Planning Principal Peter Schurke. There is still one more information session for families of students in grades 8 and 9. That session is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 13, 6-7 p.m. at the District Administration Building, 3330 Monte Villa Parkway in Bothell. If you’d like to be prepared with questions about the Innovation Lab High School before Thursday’s session, you can visit nsd.org/innovationlab.

On the topic of innovation, I want to remind you of a special community evening coming up next week. Northshore will host Dr. Tony Wagner, a lead with the Harvard Innovation Lab, on Tuesday, February 11 at the NPAC starting at 6:30 p.m. This will be a rare opportunity for our school community to hear directly from an international expert on the topic of nurturing innovative and critical thinking as well as creative problem solving. Dr. Wagner has been consulting with us during our regularly scheduled Goal 4 Think Tank meetings where students, staff and community members have been looking at a variety of models and frameworks that especially foster innovative and critical problem solving as they relate to our District and especially the Innovation Lab High School scheduled to open in Fall 2020. This will be an excellent opportunity to hear from this highly regarded education expert who has been helping to guide the development and work that will happen at the new high school. Due to high interest, and likely space constraints, we ask you to reserve your seat today. Imagine the possibilities…

And finally, as our recent Goal 3 report started with the following quote, “We must not see any person as an abstraction.  Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.”  -- Elie Wiesel  …. So too, I am so grateful that here in our house, we never forget that data alone does not depict or describe us as we, each of us and each of our amazing students, are so much more.  We will continue to nurture some measure of triumph for each of our students.  Imagine the possibilities…

Warmest regards,
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

 

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