Thursday Thoughts: Snow Closures, Mental Health Event, Martin Luther King Jr. and More

Brrr... It has definitely been scarf and mitten weather this week !! I want to take a moment and especially thank all of our hard-working custodians, maintenance staff, grounds staff, warehouse staff, support services staff, and transportation staff as they kept our students, staff and facilities safe this week. Connie Noll noted the special contributions of the Winter Watch team who go out at 3 a.m. on roads they know are dangerous to make sure students stay safe – Scott Engel, Larry Kling, Tim Frisch, Kurt Kulseth, Linda Christians, Danny Ostrowski, Jill Roberts, Terri Gregory, Gene Budbill and Dana Rogers. I also appreciate our office and communications staff as they handled so many front line communications and questions. Many thanks to all the classroom and support staff for their flexibility all week and our food and nutrition staff coming in so early and for keeping us well nourished.

Truly loving the ‘Can Do’ attitude so exemplified by this amazing district family…. "A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky—unbidden—and seems like a thing of wonder." – Susan Orlean. Further, there are so many amazing things going on and the energy is contagious. There are multiple celebrations of the upcoming holiday commemorating the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the music, readings and drama are so inspiring.

End of First Semester

Due to the snow we experienced this week, the Northshore School District and the Northshore Education Association have been receiving inquiries as to whether or not we would be extending the end of first semester past the scheduled date of January 24th, next Friday. The question is primarily coming from our high schools that have semester finals scheduled for next week. Their request is for the first semester to extend by three days and end on January 29th or later. Unfortunately, while we are sympathetic to the issue, we will not be able to move the end of the semester. Our entire para educator staff is scheduled for a mandatory training on the grading day currently scheduled for January 27th. It would be very problematic to move this required first of two days of required training this year, particularly at this juncture, as there will be over 500 staff involved with this training. Additionally many families have likely already made alternative plans inclusive of this day.

Enrollment Update

As we review our January 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 23,279 students. Specifically, we have approximately 300 more students this year in a year over year head count. Imagine the possibilities...

Skyview & Canyon Creek Expansion

As we update you on the continuing progress of our district construction projects, I am excited to share that work continues at the Skyview and Canyon Creek expansion project. In December, furniture was installed in the flexible use main building and inspections are expected to be complete this month. Landscaping for the site is ongoing.

During the winter break, flooring was laid in Skyview’s health classrooms, as well as in Canyon Creek’s gym. Additionally, the section of the administrative area at Skyview that was formerly a restroom is expected to be fully converted to offices with carpet and other finishes, and complete in January. We are so grateful that this project was made possible by the generous support of Northshore voters, who approved the 2018 bond. Continue to follow the school’s progress by visiting our construction page.

ACT to Save a Life

As I connected with Clark Combs, our E-Prep TOSA, this morning, he shared that Safety and Security is preparing materials for a new staff training called "ACT to Save a Life" developed by South County Fire. Act focuses on the three leading causes of death that can kill someone prior to Fire/EMS arrival. Training is 1 hour and focuses on Bleeding control, hands only CPR, and opiate overdoes awareness. Patient survival rates can go up 50% if somebody takes action in the first 5 minutes. Classes will be offered at school sites starting the end of January. This is such important work and we are so grateful to Clark and the Safety and Security team for leading us in it.

Mental Health Event

I want to remind you that as we continue to make progress in our work to address mental health challenges, I want to share news about an upcoming community event that is focused on mental health and suicide prevention. Currently, in our region, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10 - 24. During this community event, our goal is to help remove the stigma around mental health and discuss tools for seeking help and coping with an increasingly stressful world. The event is scheduled for January 30 at the Northshore Performing Arts Center from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. and will feature: Interactive Discussions, Student Voices, and a Film Preview. Special attendees will be Gabriella Wright, Never Alone Co-founder, Speaker, Philanthropist, and Actor; as well as Poonacha Machaian, Never Alone Co-founder and CEO, and advisor to Deepak Chopra. Seating for this community event will be limited, so we are asking that you reserve your seat prior to attending. Special thanks for this evening goes to Ganesh Banavar, a parent whose passion for this topic was kindled by the recent loss of his son to suicide. This is such a painful topic and one that as a community we must be able to talk about and share our hopes, concerns, ideas, etc. as well as draw strength from one another as we craft thoughtful supports for each of our students, staff and families; it matters. I look forward to seeing you there as we come together as a community in support of our students, families and staff.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

A reminder that this coming Monday is the observance and celebration of the birth, the life, and the dream of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many in our staff family and community are planning to observe the day as “A day on NOT a day off”. Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others’” As we continue our nurturing and support of student voice, I thought I would share a video link as we no doubt continue to be inspired by the epic I Have a Dream speech delivered over fifty years ago. The video highlights students from Martin Luther King Jr's former school.

I so appreciate that each of you continue to work tirelessly to support the tenets of this cherished dream. It matters to so many. Thank you.

Warmest regards,
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Northshore School District



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