It is at this time of the year, we are often reminded of all the things we are thankful for. While it is so easy to at times succumb to that bit of ‘grinch--ness’ about all the things that we wish we had, or have been disappointed about, or that we think could be done better, or ??. It is so important for us individually, and as a culture within the district and the community, to remember and be thankful for all the blessings large and small that are ours each and every day. We have so many… There are so many exciting events and such great energy all across the district. We are a strong district and getting stronger.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -- John F. Kennedy (1917-1963).
We have so much to be thankful for and so many adventures yet to share...
Maywood Hills Visit
This past week, we had our third School Board SIP visit and traveled to Maywood Hills Elementary School. These visits are so integral to the comprehensive work we do as a district. In highlighting the work of the school, Principal Sonja Hoeft highlighted several aspects of the school work this year. Principal Hoeft added; " It was a pleasure to be able to show our Board and Superintendent the work of our staff, students, and community during their visit this week. At Maywood Hills we strive to know each student by name, strength, and need. This year we shared our focus on the social emotional development of every student, and our efforts to improve math learning and instruction in each classroom. Our staff is developing and utilizing data tools to better understand our students' areas of strengths and needed growth, create instructional opportunities to shore up core knowledge and extend and enrich learning, and shape environments where all students can thrive.” This work is part of the strategic work we have been doing as a school district these past several years and enables our students to find serious success. West Region Assistant Superintendent, David Wellington observed: “It is always such a personal joy to be on the Maywood campus and see how staff and students seamlessly work together to learn and grow. The commitment of staff to quality instruction - both academically as well as in the social emotional arena - and whole child development creates engaging classroom environments of learning and love. It was so evident this week in our visit. Such a joy.” We all noticed the strong feeling of pride as students greeted us as special guests and we certainly enjoyed sharing their classroom experience with them. It is always so energizing to be out in the schools. I especially took note of the innovation work and creative artistic projects that our young artists were engaged in ;>) Go Tigers!!
Innovative Math at Arrowhead
In a Northshore Innovates segment, I wanted to share some exciting news recently provided to me from Arrowhead Principal Kristin Bailey regarding math activities. “With the rest of the south region, Arrowhead Elementary is focusing on math for our SAP goals. Our Goal 1, success in the early years, is that students in grades K-2 demonstrate high growth in numbers and operations. To increase engagement, inclusion and student mastery of numbers and operations staff have been incorporating games, collaborative activities and student discourse into math instruction.” I am so excited about the possibilities… As an illustration, Principal Bailey shared; “Colleen O'Connor's second grade students are an exciting example of what's possible when we encourage students to take ownership of their learning as creative mathematicians! She created buddy boxes filled with math materials and incorporates student-directed partner-time into her math lesson. Students use their buddy boxes to play games, invent games, or practice the math they learned in the day's lesson. Mrs. O'Connor has taught her students to be ready to answer the question, "How does this help you build your math brain" It's impressive to see students designing and playing games that require them to engage in math discourse and build fluency in numbers and operations. Mrs. O'Connor reports increased engagement, math fluency and confidence in her students. Math truly is a beautiful language, and our Arrowhead Hawks are practicing in new ways.” Imagine the possibilities…
Japanese Culture Festival
This past weekend, I attended the Second Annual Japanese Culture Festival. What a fun evening with so many opportunities to learn about the Japanese culture! I was so proud to see all four high school Japanese programs work together to put on such a successful event that was attended by more than 400 school and community members. I want to give a shoutout to the Japanese teachers across Northshore’s high schools: Emiko Kamitsuna at North Creek, Chikako Misener at Bothell, Noriko Nasu at Inglemoor, and Kei Tsukamaki at Woodinville who put this together for the second year in a row. Woodinville was proud to host the 2nd annual festival, and Kei Tsukamaki says the group is are already looking to plan next year's event! You can see photos and read more about the festival on our website. Definitely a Northshore Inspires event !!
Hour of Code
It’s almost that time of year again for the district-wide Hour of Code! Northshore's schools have been participating in the Hour of Code for the past six years with support and encouragement from the Northshore Schools Foundation, with nearly all of our schools participating last year. And this year is already shaping up to be even better. Every school is encouraged to have students engage in this significant learning event. Once again, as part of this year's Hour of Code events, ATM leaders from the Central Office and Support Services will join in the coding activities. These ATM members will be assisted in finding a classroom to visit during the days of Dec. 9-15. Once in schools, we will sidle up alongside a student to learn about coding with that child or youth. You can learn more by visiting the Hour of Code website. I am so thankful for each time I am able to get out into the schools and I’m sure this will be no exception. Thank you in advance for supporting the Hour of Code and for embracing this learning opportunity for all of Northshore's students and leaders! Imagine the possibilities...
Northshore Water Polo
Congratulations to the Northshore Men's Water Polo team who finished the season with their best record ever - 14-6. In addition Shawn Lettic, the team's head coach, was voted league coach of the year and the team also had five players receive league wide honors. Field players Alex Dekay (IHS) and Billy Surdyk (IHS) were named first team all-league. Field players Kai Geller (NCHS) and Andrew James (IHS) received second team honors and Owen Harman (NCHS) was named honorable mention at goalie.
Goal 4 Think Tank
In a Northshore Innovates segment, the Goal 4 Think Tank joined Tony Wagner, Ed.D. this week for the first of several virtual conversations about innovation in education, and how we might apply some of these ideas to the education that will take place in our new innovation lab high school due to open in Fall 2020. Dr. Wagner spent more than 20 years as an educator and expert in residence at Harvard before joining the Learning Policy Institute as a senior research fellow. I was impressed with the questions that our Think Tank members asked Dr. Wagner and the resulting discourse. It is clear that we are all eager to build upon the innovative work already being done in our great district. Dr. Wagner will be in our district on February 11 for a community event. Be sure to get this on your calendar! More to come…
Washington Huskies Basketball Clinic
This is a big sports week for our district from high school playoffs to college basketball in the elementary. Today, Arrowhead and Moorlands elementary schools brought their 5th graders together to participate in a pop-up basketball clinic hosted by the University of Washington Huskies women’s basketball team. In all, seven Huskies and four coaches led a clinic for 175 Arrowhead and Moorlands fifth graders. Students practiced dribbling, shooting, and hustled through offensive, defensive and agility drills. After their drill rotations, the athletes led a question and answer session about being college athletes. The action-packed event was inspiring, and the students worked hard and had fun. Arrowhead Principal Kristin Bailey and Moorlands Principal Meghan Griffin agreed that thanks to this clinic with the Huskies, the students were able to start building relationships before heading off to Camp Cedar Springs together and then middle school. Imagine the possibilities…
All four of our high schools have exciting sports weekends coming up, including football, soccer and volleyball. Be sure to visit out our postseason page here if you want to check out a game. We are so proud of all of our student athletes and their respective personal and public victories and are grateful for the leadership of our coaches and staff.
Speaking of thankful, I want to take this time to acknowledge one of our staff members in a Northshore Kindness segment. Laurie Lundberg works in our administration building. This week, I saw this beautiful “thankful tree” in our staff room where staff shared notes of gratitude. This is the kind (get it?) of simple idea that can make a difference in so many lives. Thank you, Laurie for this wonderful idea to continue building connections in our district; it matters.
On a related note, each building will be receiving a packet of gratitude notecards in the coming days – enough for each staff member. As part of our commitment to community, every staff member can feel free to take a card and express to at least one person why they are grateful for them. There is nothing like being reminded of your “why” or that you are appreciated. Let’s continue to spread a little bit of kindness this season! And speaking of our commitment to kindness, I want to provide a tally of acts of kindness as of today. In our Northshore Kindness segment, I am keeping track of the number of acts of kindness we are blanketing our district with since last we met. As a reminder, with 23,000 students and 3,000 staff and now 84 days since we last gathered (I have included weekends as I am trusting we have been kind on the weekends as well ;>) together we have shared 2,184,000 acts of kindness. Wow, that is more than two million acts of kindness already !! Please remember to send me your stories so that I can share them and together we can celebrate one another’s contributions. Kindness, one act at a time, is transformative. Imagine the possibilities...
Given that the snow is beginning to fall in the mountains, I want to provide a reminder as several of you have asked again how best to tune into my Twitter account for late breaking school weather plans and other news so I will include the directions again. Visit my page and follow me at @Northshore_Supt. Please feel free to send me questions, suggestions, and innovative ideas. I love to hear from students, staff, parents, and community partners. Like the Thursday memo and my blog, Twitter is another tool that will help us all stay connected and share information. As you ‘follow my Twitter account’ you too can be among the first to know about school snow closures, inclement weather issues, wildlife challenges, safety messages, etc. I will also be sharing up to date news on what’s new around the district. The really good news is that I am limited in the number of characters in those Twitter communications ;>) !!
As we approach the coming week, I am mindful of all that we have to be grateful for and celebrate our amazing team.... "Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." ~ William Arthur Ward
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.