This summer continues to speed by, and I hope you are finding moments for reflection, joy, and renewal. As we step away from July and into August, I wish each of you a safe, healthy and joyful summer season. I continue to be so inspired and proud of our Northshore Team as we work together to plan for the coming school year and contemplate all that is possible as we navigate these uncertain times. I remain resolutely confident that there is far more that unites us than divides us and am both inspired and challenged by the thought provoking video recently shared with me; together, all things are possible….It is so true that we are never alone…
Planning for Fall 2020
I want to report that we are finalizing our plans for our fall start and the accompanying agreements with our labor groups. I can safely say that we have had more than 100 staff from multiple departments and many schools, as well as labor representatives, participate in planning that covers everything from instructional schedules, technology, special services, childcare, meals, professional development, student and family trainings, and so much more. Each day, I continue to be so inspired by the depth of the passion and the level of commitment and work that is invested in the needs of our students, our staff and our families as we remain steadfast in our commitment to the health and safety of our students, staff and the families we go home to while providing a socially just Northshore education with positive outcomes. So, while the beginning of the school year will be like none other we have ever experienced, I am confident that we will make this work and continue to provide the world class education we are known for providing here in Northshore. I am grateful to each and every person who has contributed their voice and their knowledge to this planning work. I am planning to announce details about our fall plan early next week. In the meantime, please familiarize yourself with our progress and overarching plans by visiting our Northshore Learning Model Status page.We know student success is dependent on more than our students, our teachers, and our schools. We simply can’t do it alone. A strong community is an important part of the equation, and I am grateful for the thousands of volunteers and community partners who, over the years, continue to prove that we are One Northshore. I’m also confident that in this coming year, we will continue to shine together. As we work to develop volunteer opportunities for the fall, which will begin online, I want to share that our Partnership and Volunteer Coordinator Natalie Campbell is creating an easier volunteer application experience. After a successful pilot of our online volunteer application and background check at Kokanee and East Ridge elementary schools, Northshore Middle School and Bothell High School last year, we are excited to announce that in the fall, all schools will begin using this system. Family and community volunteers will be asked to fill out an application online beginning this September. This new centralized system will allow families with children at more than one school to complete just one application. The system also will prompt volunteers to renew their background checks 30 days before expiration. Thank you to the wonderful school staff who helped pilot this software during the 2019-20 school year. Natalie and I discussed the new volunteer application system and how some of our dedicated volunteers have helped us this year on this week's Northshore Learns News. We will be sure to share more about fall volunteer opportunities as they are developed. Together, all things are possible…
Building Improvements and Construction
In addition to all of our work on the Fall 2020 Reopening Plan, the regular business of Northshore continues. For example, when we are able to be safely back in the classrooms together – and that is a day that we are all dreaming of – we want to make sure the physical classroom and school surroundings are ready. To that end, I want to highlight some of the work that is continuing over the summer. The work on Ruby Bridges Elementary is in the home stretch. The team is working through the project’s punch list, including paint touch ups and finishing carpentry. Final inspections for plumbing are expected to be completed by the end of the month and commissioning for the HVAC system is ongoing. Also, furniture and equipment deliveries continue to arrive. During July, the Ruby Bridges River Otters were announced as the school’s mascot. And earlier this week, the Ruby Bridges sign went up letter by letter. We are so excited for our incoming River Otters and their families.
Other school improvements across the district include the replacement of sections of flooring at Maywood Hills, Moorlands and Wellington elementary schools. Additionally, all flooring, except for the gym, will be replaced at East Ridge, Lockwood and Westhill elementary schools. We are so grateful to our community for their support of capital bonds to make these improvements.
To this end, the installation of equipment that regulates and circulates air in portables at Arrowhead Elementary will be completed this summer. This equipment replacement has a number of benefits including: replacement of an aging mechanical system with a more cost-effective system that reduces operation costs, improves teachers’ and students’ comfort, and improves the air quality in the portables. With this completion, there will be a guaranteed utility savings of 14,042 kWH/year. The associated reduction in annual carbon emissions based on calculated savings equates to 7.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of removing one car from the road. Additionally, an aging wood ramp was replaced with a new ADA compliant ramp.
As we think about our staged re-entry plans, it is important to review the system updates under construction this summer. Recently, crews installed new HVAC systems in the Westhill Elementary kitchen and five of their portables this summer. This equipment regulates and circulates the air flow. These building improvements have a number of benefits including: replacement of an aging mechanical system with a more cost-effective system that reduces operation costs, improves teachers’, students’ and kitchen staff’s comfort, and improves the air quality in the kitchen and five portables. The school’s roof is also being replaced, which will reduce heating costs because of the improved roof insulation. Currently the roofing teardown is in process, and exterior painting has started. Once these upgrades are completed, there will be a guaranteed utility savings of 10,948 kWh/year and 289 Therms/year. Additionally, the associated reduction in annual carbon emissions based on calculated savings equates to 8.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to removing one car from the road.
These are just some of the necessary improvements that were made possible by the generous support of Northshore voters who approved the 2018 bond. You can find much more, along with photos, on our construction page.
And so as we end this turbulent month, and remember so many moments that have impacted our past, and will continue to shape our future; I want to share several thoughts from revered national thought partners. As we honored Representative John Lewis and his good works this week, it gave me pause to contemplate so many ideas that inform our work each and every day. In his most recent essay, Rep. Lewis shared; “Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.” And so, together, let’s imagine the possibilities…
In his comments, former President George W Bush shared; “His lesson for us is that we must all keep ourselves open to hearing the call of love. The call of service. And the call to sacrifice for others. Listen, John and I had our disagreements of course – but in the America John Lewis fought for, and the America I believe in, differences of opinion are inevitable elements and evidence of democracy in action. We the people, including congressmen and presidents, can have differing views on how to perfect our union while sharing the conviction that our nation, however flawed, is a good and noble one.”
And finally, from former President Barack Obama; “America was built by people like them. America was built by John Lewises. He as much as anyone in our history brought this country a little bit closer to our highest ideals. And someday, when we do finish that long journey toward freedom; when we do form a more perfect union – whether it's years from now, or decades, or even if it takes another two centuries – John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America.” I invite you to join me in continuing to imagine our future possibilities; together all things are possible...
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.