Thursday Thoughts: Inclement Weather, COVID-19, District Bond & Levies Election and More

Hello Team Northshore,

Well, we have bid 2021 good bye and are welcoming 2022 with all of its promise and opportunities. “For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” — T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) There is so much that awaits us in the coming year; much of which we will have prepared for and much of which we cannot have prepared for. I continue to be grateful to be on the journey with you....

Inclement Weather

Many of you know that inclement weather means that I am up at 4:30 a.m. with a team of leaders making the important decision as to whether we will delay the start of school, cancel school completely or open on time. What you may not know is our early morning conversations are just one small piece of the facilities, grounds, and custodial response to weather events. This week, our grounds crews, maintenance staff, and custodial teams were amazing as usual, working on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in order to get our campuses ready. Also, a giant shout out to all our transportation staff who drive in the wee morning hours as their feedback is critical to our decision making; it definitely take a team effort and we have the best team ever !! A great big THANK YOU to each and every staff member involved; it matters!!

COVID-19 Omicron Variant

As the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus has taken center stage and forced an astonishing surge of positive cases in our area, I want to share information about our response and opportunities to provide additional layers of protection for our learners and staff. This morning on our Northshore News segment, I provided answers to many questions submitted by students, staff, and families via social media. Questions ranged from, “Are we moving to remote learning?” to “Can you address mental health?“ To learn more, I encourage you to view the segment here. I endeavor to be transparent in our work and this includes the current Omicron surge as well as our decision-making that has an impact on everyone. Therefore, we will be hosting a virtual community forum next week for all staff and another for our community members in an effort to try and address as many questions as possible. Please look for an invitation in the coming days. 

Today, more than 350 individuals were tested at Pop Keeney Stadium. This testing is for Northshore students and staff who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, those who have been deemed close contacts, and individuals who were part of a positive batch. We remain so grateful for the dedication of our COVID testing team!!

On Jan. 16, we will host another vaccine clinic for elementary students. The link to schedule an appointment will be sent in the coming days. For families who want their elementary students vaccinated, I encourage you to register as soon as possible. School hub-based elementary clinics are not yet planned due to the high demand for large community clinics and the logistics around having parents and guardians present for the vaccination. I want to thank the Shoreline Fire Department for being such dedicated partners throughout this process. They, along with Safeway/Albertson’s/Haggen, have vaccinated approximately 4,000 elementary students. 

Even as we focus on the impact of the newest COVID-19 variant, we must also focus on continuing the regular business of keeping our amazing district going as we work toward our best future together.  

Building Better Together: District Bond & Levies

With the start of the new year, we are looking ahead to our three local funding measures on the Feb. 8 ballot. These three measures include Proposition 1, renewal of our Educational Programs & Operations levy to continue funding staff, mental health counseling, and other programs and operations in our schools, Proposition 2, our Capital Projects bond to modernize several school buildings and add classroom space throughout the District and Proposition 3, our Technology levy renewal to continue funding to ensure our students and staff have the computers, devices and technology training they need. 

If you haven’t had a chance to come to one of our virtual bond and levy informational sessions, you can view the presentation and many other details online at https://www.nsd.org/our-district/overview/bond-levies. Please take a look when you can and feel free to ask any questions at bondlevy@nsd.org.   

2018 Capital Projects Bond Update

I’d like to share one of the many success stories from the 2018 bond, which was approved by our voters. The classrooms and practice rooms connected to the Northshore Concert Hall at Inglemoor High School are coming together, with the delivery of furniture and musical instruments now underway. The classroom spaces have received a temporary certificate of occupancy, which allows Inglemoor teachers to move into these rooms this month and prepare to teach students beginning in February for the new semester. A big thank you to our capital projects team and their dedicated efforts to complete this world class facility!!

On a related note, our music program shared great news about the selection of the piano for the Concert Hall. Inglemoor choir teacher Ailisa Newhall and instrumental music teacher Charlie Fix have been working hard with a team to find the perfect piano for the state-of-the-art space. Inglemoor students Cameron Hughes and Elizabeth Wang were invited to help with the final selection along with Seattle Symphony pianist Joseph Adam. Cameron is an Inglemoor senior, choir student, and piano accompanist. Elizabeth takes piano, plays flute in the band, and plays trumpet in the jazz band. They selected a beautiful Steinway, which will look and sound magnificent! Ms. Newhall said the piano has “clarity and resonance with the ability to diversify to accompany a choir festival, fit in a jazz band, orchestra, and shine as a solo instrument.”  Thank you to the team of students, teachers, and outside experts for their support of this work. And thank you to voters who approved our 2018 capital, leading the way for this concert hall to become a reality!  

Leading Us Into a New Year

Finally, Amanda Gorman, a Harvard graduate and National Youth Poet Laureate shared a work last week to help lead us all into a new year. Ms. Gorman told the Associated Press that the "chaos and instability" of the past year had made her reject the idea of going "back to normal" and instead fight to "move beyond it.” She added that she "wanted to write a lyric to honor the hardships, hurt, hope and healing of 2021 while also harkening the potential of 2022." My hope as you read this poem is that together, we can all acknowledge the past year (and beyond) and fight as One Northshore to move beyond what was our previous normal.  Together, let’s continue to imagine the possibilities… 

‘New Day’s Lyric’ poem 

May this be the day 
We come together. 
Mourning, we come to mend, 
Withered, we come to weather, 
Torn, we come to tend, 
Battered, we come to better. 
Tethered by this year of yearning, 
We are learning 
That though we weren’t ready for this, 
We have been readied by it. 
Steadily we vow that no matter 
How we are weighed down, 
We must always pave a way forward.  

This hope is our door, our portal. 
Even if we never get back to normal, 
Someday we can venture beyond it, 
To leave the known and take the first steps. 
So let us not return to what was normal, 
But reach toward what is next.  

What was cursed, we will cure. 
What was plagued, we will prove pure. 
Where we tend to argue, we will try to agree, 
Those fortunes we forswore, now the future we foresee, 
Where we weren’t aware, we’re now awake; 
Those moments we missed 
Are now these moments we make, 
The moments we meet, 
And our hearts, once all together beaten, 
Now all together beat.  

Come, look up with kindness yet, 
For even solace can be sourced from sorrow. 
We remember, not just for the sake of yesterday,  

But to take on tomorrow. 
We heed this old spirit, 
In a new day’s lyric, 
In our hearts, we hear it: 
For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
Be bold, sang Time this year, 
Be bold, sang Time, 
For when you honor yesterday, 
Tomorrow ye will find. 
Know what we’ve fought 
Need not be forgot nor for none. 
It defines us, binds us as one, 
Come over, join this day just begun. 
For wherever we come together, 
We will forever overcome. 

Be well,

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

 

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