Well, here we are. As we mark the ending of this epic school year, I know there are many new adventures that await each of you. For in every end, there is a new beginning…
As I think about the note I sent to each of our students this evening, and reflect on all that this past year has wrought, I continue to be so profoundly grateful to have the opportunity to serve you and this amazing community; together, we have indeed demonstrated that all things are possible.
As I shared with our students, you have been an eyewitness to history and you have had a front row seat to one of the most challenging times in our community, country and world. As we enter the summer season, I encourage you to take some time and reflect on how you met those challenges as you will likely need to draw on these strengths for your next life adventures. I know that each of us found that we are stronger than we thought we were, and we found that we better understand and appreciate so many opportunities and experiences we might previously have taken for granted.
You have accomplished so much and demonstrated resilience in ways too numerous to count. I want to thank you for how hard you worked on tasks large and small. I want to thank you for your care of yourself and doing hard things even when you did not want to. I want to thank you for caring for those around you and believing that better days would come. As Nelson Mandela famously shared; “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. You have faced what at times must have felt impossible, and yet you still got it done. I am proud of you and what you have accomplished this year. As you both finish this school year, and plan for the coming school year, I invite you to continue to imagine the possibilities…
What a perfect week for the celebration of our final days of the school year and of our Class of 2021. The weather provided a fabulous backdrop for such a joyous time as we celebrated our graduates in Pop Keeney Stadium for the first time in decades. With more than 1,600 graduates, our schools, administrators, student and staff speakers along with school board members recognized each student's sacrifice, resilience, and optimism in the face of adversity. The next chapter for the Class of 2021 will bring excitement, challenges, new knowledge and new friendships. I am confident that each of our graduates is ready for what’s ahead and I am excited for what the future holds because they are our future.
A great big thank you to everyone who helped to make our graduations a success, including our Senior Activities Committee, the Facilities Department, our Pop Keeney staff, Safety and Security, Technology and Communications staff, volunteers, school staff, students and families. I also want to thank our first responders for escorting our graduate parade from Bothell High to Pop Keeney. The sight of a sea of black, blue, purple or green (depending on the graduation) coming down that hill toward the stadium was special. This could not have happened without the commitment of this Northshore community. Thank you! The Class of 2021 virtual graduations can be viewed here. Learn more about the Class of 2021 by visiting our District website.
This is also a time of mixed emotions as we bid farewell to our retirees. Each year, we take time to express our deep gratitude for our retirees and their countless contributions toward fulfilling our mission in education. This year's “class” of retirees has collectively contributed more than 1,000 years of service. To each staff member who has decided to turn the page to your next chapter, please know that we are grateful for your professionalism and dedication to our students and our entire Northshore community. With that said, I hope you will stay connected with our great district that you’ve helped build. There is still a lot of work to be done and your voice is important. Each year, I hold several Communications Roundtables for retirees who want to learn about new initiatives and provide insights as we plan forward. It's an engaging group and I hope you'll join us. We are also developing fun retiree benefits and other opportunities to stay connected. Learn about our 2021 retirees on our District website.
Today, the President of the United States signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday. Juneteenth is an annual observance on June 19th that commemorates the ending of chattel slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, enslaved African Americans were freed in the state of Texas. This was the last state to adhere to the Proclamation, and a local Freedom Day celebration the next year has since turned into an annual day of observance across the country. Today, Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom, independence, advancements, and culture; yet we must also recognize that although there have been many strides forward, the deep struggle for Black liberation still remains. In Our House, we value each Northshore community member, and together, we must continue to build and nurture both a better now and a better future. Imagine the possibilities…
I want to congratulate Woodinville High School student Lily Pezzee who is one of just 10 local artists to have their art exhibited in a Pride Month art show at the Centro Cultural Mexicano in Redmond. “Rainbow on the Eastside” opened on June 1 and runs Monday through Friday 10. a.m. – 5 p.m., until June 26. Lily contributed three digital pieces to the show. You can learn more about Lily and the art show in this Woodinville Weekly article.
Beginning in fall 2021, Northshore will provide district-issued devices for all students in grades 2-12. This means students in these grades will have a device provided by the District that they may bring back and forth daily from school to their home. This initiative is an expansion of the District’s School2Home program, ensuring students have equitable access to a computing device anywhere and anytime they need it for learning. Students in grades K-1 will each have an assigned device at school but will not bring the device home. This is a continuation of the District’s program called District2School, which supports the work that is already happening in the classroom and broadens the learning opportunities for all Northshore students. Each school will have enough computers on campus to allow students’ access anywhere and anytime during the school day. The expansion of this program and the ability to distribute more than 20,000 devices to Northshore students next school year is thanks to the 2018 Technology Levy, which was approved by Northshore voters. Learn more by visiting our District website.
Summer Thursday Thoughts
Over the summer, I will be periodically publishing Thursday Thoughts as we are still working on a budget, finalizing administrative moves, finalizing Summer Institute plans, etc. and I think it is important to keep you up to date on our planning for the coming year. If you cannot access your work email over the summer, or simply prefer not to, my Thursday Thoughts are always posted to my blog on our district website Friday morning. I am also available by phone, email, or in person over the summer, so if you have a minute, or an idea, or ?? please connect with me.
And so,…. I wish for each of you a joyful summer respite and challenge you to reconnect with friends and family, reignite a passion you have perhaps let go, make time for the quiet and thoughtful introspection that gifts us with new insight into our lives, hopes and dreams, and celebrate this amazing time in our lives with a new adventure. In thinking about the summer that stretches with promise ahead, F. Scott Fitzgerald reminds us of "that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer." Together, let’s reimagine the possibilities…
Enjoy and warmest regards,
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.