Wow, it has felt like I have been in the middle of the Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day movie for the last several days ;>) !! I think it was Piglet that barely hung on to the kite strings...At least we have been able to traverse the recent fall rainfall and storms without major incident in our community and for that I am grateful. This has been an amazing week of finding ways to strengthen community connections. We've discussed important topics, shared in the love of books, and continued to develop solutions for weather related challenges that come our way during Northshore Learns 3.0. Such a powerful reminder that ‘gratitude turns what we have into enough.’
Mental Health Event
This past Saturday, our district partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Eastside as they provided an evidence-based mental health presentation titled, “Ending the Silence”. This presentation was similar to NAMI’s presentation for staff on August 27th, but was adapted for Northshore families and aimed to educate our community about mental health, mental health conditions and their warning signs, suicide, treatment, positive coping strategies, and how to provide support. We are grateful for all those who attended as we continue to work together as a school community to reduce the stigma of mental illness. As requested by NAMI Eastside, the presentation can be found at this link for a limited time.
Books on the Bus Program
Another way our community is being brought together is through books! Last week librarians in 23 schools put together book bags to fill the eager reading requests of over 2000 students – and about 5,000 books were delivered! Our fabulous transportation department delivered those books to neighborhoods in every corner of our district. Approximately 1,700 elementary students, 200 middle school students, and 100 high school students were reading Northshore School District library books this week as a direct result of their collective efforts. One of the librarians, Jennifer McKnight from Kokanee Elementary said on the day books were delivered to students: "Bringing this important work off the page and into reality is no small task, and certainly took a great deal of collaboration. Going from a kernel of an idea in our library meetings, through multiple sessions between our library liaisons and teams of people from administration and transportation, to individual librarians making plans to support their local communities, culminating today...seeing the reality of kids skipping to the bus stop, eyes beaming, to pick up their bag of books...was just amazing. There is such joy in knowing that our books are in the hands of our readers." Students agreed. One mom of an elementary student said: "I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed picking up books from the school bus today! Although we have many books at home, my daughter has always loved going to the library and has really missed that since the pandemic began. Today she was so excited to meet the bus for books and loved seeing her neighborhood friends coming out to get books too! Thank you so much for all your hard work setting it up. Great idea!!" A middle school parent was equally delighted: "Love this idea! My son has been talking of nothing else since he heard we can get books from the library!!" Imagine the possibilities…
If you are interested in checking out books from your school library, please see the sign-up form on your school's library page or connect with your school's librarian. Click here to watch a discussion on Northshore Learns News about Books on the Bus and learn about another staff group that is super excited about getting books into students’ hands. Remember, there is a book, a topic, a genre for everyone! I am looking forward to reading the latest Dog Man titled – #9 Grime and Punishment ;>) I am looking forward to sharing my reflections…
Power and Internet Outages
It’s that time of year again. We understand that weather incidents may cause a loss of power when students and staff are engaged in distance learning. Our district's Technology, Northshore Learns, and Communications teams collaborated with educators to develop a plan for notifications about power outages, access to service, and how everyone can prepare ahead of time to adjust and continue learning. Please visit our website to learn what to do if your power goes out or if your teacher's power goes out. We can do this!!
Visitor Management Pilot
As we are always planning for a safe return to our school campuses, I want to share an update on a new pilot project. Over the past year our Safety & Security Department has been developing a plan to implement a visitor management software system in our schools. This plan is now finalized, and equipment is being set up and tested at our pilot schools: Crystal Springs, East Ridge, Kokanee and Ruby Bridges elementary schools, as well as Northshore Middle and Bothell High. When it is safe to return to buildings, visitors to these schools will work with school staff to scan their driver’s license, take a photo, and receive a name badge, to be worn at all times while in the school. Once the visitor is ready to leave campus, they will return to the main office and sign out, so school staff know that the visitor is no longer in the building. After the pilot concludes, staff will evaluate efficiency and troubleshoot any challenges. This software is anticipated to be rolled out districtwide over time. This approach will lead to consistency across all schools for all visitors and staff, and provide real-time monitoring of who is on campus, which is critical in the event of an emergency. The implementation of this new system is made possible by the generous support of our Northshore voters who approved the 2018 bond.
Turning to COVID topics, I intend on sharing the latest planning in my weekly COVID update tomorrow. In the meantime, you are welcome to review numbers from both King and Snohomish counties on our website.
I remain grateful for this community that continues to both learn together and reimagine education together; -- “At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer. Please enjoy the blustery weekend and hang on should you find yourself flying kites during the storm ;>)
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.