Thursday Thoughts: Dyslexia Committee, 7-Period Day Update, Halloween Costumes and More

I trust this note finds you enjoying a festive fall week. I love the crisp air and changing color of the leaves. However, at the moment, I am contemplating fins and flippers to get through the rest of the week ;>)

Northshore Inspires

Recently, Assistant IT Director Shelby Reynolds shared with me some great news, Northshore Inspires kind of great news, about one of our Middle School Librarians, Heidi Bush, who serves at Northshore Middle School.  She has been awarded the 2019 Visionary Service Award by the Washington Library Association Children and Young Adult Services Section.  “The selection committee was particularly impressed by Heidi’s work at Northshore Middle School in creating meaningful connections with local public librarians and utilizing all the tools available to best serve youth in her school. One of her nominators said: “Heidi Bush’s dedication to student reading is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and this past year was her first year as a School Librarian! Heidi has been teaching for 20+ years, and just last year started as Northshore Middle School’s School Librarian. When you first meet her, she tells you right away that her goal is to have all her students reading. She does this by offering a wide variety of reading programs to her students. She also does her research: she knows what other school libraries are offering, she knows to apply for grants for books she needs, and she looks to local organizations for help.” Please join me in congratulating Heidi and her work supporting our students and staff; it matters!

Enrollment

As we review the October enrollment our Director of Finance 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 23,284 students. Specifically, we have approximately 300 more students this year in a year over year head count. This marks an increase of over 1500 students in the last three years.  Imagine the possibilities...

Dyslexia Committee

It is National Dyslexia Awareness Month! Learning to read is the foundation of education. Northshore supports development of reading and literacy through our continuing Strategic Plan and the work of our Dyslexia Committee and receives guidance from OSPI’s Dyslexia Advisory Council. We are working to align our guiding principles for student success to be inclusive of screening, instruction and intervention suited for learners at risk for dyslexia. We in Northshore continue to develop our understanding of dyslexia in order to guide schools to support students, families and teachers in their mutual quest for student success with literacy.

I want to provide a resource to families. The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) has revised the IDA Family Handbook which provides necessary information regarding: the definition of dyslexia, the characteristics of dyslexia, the appropriate assessment tools, evidence-based interventions, and suggestions for managing a student with dyslexia’s educational process.  In addition, helpful resources and a glossary of terms are provided to better understand dyslexia and its related disorders.

The NSD Dyslexia Committee Interim Report and the IDA Family Handbook are important documents for educators and staff to become acquainted with. I also want to assure staff are aware that our initial professional development around dyslexia with Dr. Carolyn Denton was recorded.  The dyslexia video is available in Google Drive and accessible to all NSD staff.  It's titled, "Dyslexia Recording".  Many thanks to all those serving on this committee and all those supporting our students in classrooms every day; it matters.

National School Lunch Week


This week is National School Lunch Week. This wonderful video gives you a look inside the kitchens at Canyon Creek Elementary and Inglemoor High School. Our Food Services Department is also launching an Instagram account to share new menu items and kitchen highlights from around the District (@nsdfoodandnutrition). The Northshore school lunch program serves about 8,500 meals across 31 primary and secondary school sites each day. This keeps our kitchens and cafeterias busy serving healthy, convenient, and economical meals to our students. We are so lucky to have such a fabulous team of food and nutrition services staff across the district! Well done!

Cyber-attack

After checking in with IT Executive Director Allen Miedema, I want to report that work continues around restoring the district’s education, information, and operation systems that were impacted by the cyber-attack that I’ve written about to you recently.  Notably, access to ParentVue and StudentVue were restored this week. If you haven’t been able to re-establish your access in the mobile apps, please follow the steps outlined on our website.

Food service systems at the buildings should all be back up and functioning again. However, there is still much work to be done with getting the meal information that needed to be collected via paper and pencil back into the food service system. This work will continue for at least the rest of this week; breakfast and lunch information for all our students over the course of the past couple of weeks has generated quite a stack of paper! Once that work is done Food Service and Technology can turn their attention to making sure that student lunch balances are correctly updated with this new information.

Work also continues on restoring full access to some instructional systems, specifically in CTE classes that use Windows computers in the secondary schools. Those were hit particularly hard. That said, more services are coming up each day. In the meantime, staff continues to appreciate your patience while we continue to recover from this unfortunate incident.  As mentioned previously in my Thursday Thoughts, this serves as a reminder to all of us to stay safe online. Our website has great information and links regarding digital citizenship and maintaining your privacy online. Thank you for your patience during this time; it matters.

All in for Kids

Another exciting aspect of this fall season is that it is All in for Kids Month in Bothell, Kenmore, Woodinville and the Northshore School District.  Our very own Northshore Schools Foundation (NSF) is raising awareness for what they do for students and they are inviting families to join them in this important work.  The NSF generously gives of their time and talent to support our students, staff and families.  I invite you to check out their work and its integral importance to our mission.  Thank you.

ShakeOut Earthquake Drill


I want to thank each of you for supporting our emergency preparedness planning by participating in the 2019 Great Washington ShakeOut.  This statewide earthquake drill is so important to our safety and emergency planning.  Given where we live, and the possibility of further significant earthquake activity, I so appreciate all those who invested significant time in planning and implementing this event. I for one was grateful the rain let up for our evacuation ;>)

7-Period Day


As there continue to be questions surrounding our decision to move to a seven period day at our comprehensive high schools, our communications department teamed up to craft a short video message articulating our why for this important shift.  Given the evolving State Board of Education graduation requirements and our resolute focus on the whole student, this move provides equity and access for a variety of courses and a thoughtful approach to planning a path to post-secondary success.  We can be assured that there will now be a safety net for struggling students who may need extra coursework for required graduation courses should they stumble in achieving credit(s).  We are also thrilled with the early data showing many more students enrolled in career and college ready courses (now over 1,000 students ;>), students enrolled in the fine and performing arts, students able to participate in leadership and adding more years of another language, as well as many other elective and core course options.  We will continue to study new course options and supports for students in the coming years with input from a variety of stakeholders. Imagine the possibilities…

Halloween Costumes

Halloween is approaching and we want to take the time to share some topics to consider and discuss in your building, classroom, or department. With regards to costumes, we want all students and staff to feel safe and comfortable. This means that dressing up to depict a race or culture other than one’s own, or a historically or currently oppressed figure is harmful. Further, doing so perpetuates stereotypes, cultural appropriation, discrimination and insensitivity. Cultures and races are not, and should never be considered costumes. For those who participate in Halloween festivities by dressing up, please remember that this day and every day should be one that is fun, inclusive, and respectful of the diversity that we have in and outside of Northshore School District. Below are a couple of resources for continued learning. These sources can also serve as discussion starters among us all:

Goal 4 Think Tank

And finally, as we had a Goal 4 Think Tank meeting this afternoon, I was reminded of one of my favorite provocative and ‘disruptive thinking’ quotes.  As we lean into Goal 4: Innovative, Creative, Critical Thinkers conversations, I think what Steve Jobs shared in 1997 is still hauntingly provocative.  “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.  The ones who see things differently.  They’re not fond of rules.  And they have no respect for the status quo.  You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.  About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.  Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.  Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” So much to ponder during this upcoming fall weekend. Imagine the possibilities…

Warmest regards,
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

 

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