Thursday Thoughts: Concert Hall, School2Home, Cricket and More

Well, it has been another beautiful and active fall week here in this amazing community.  It is hard to believe that we will be in November tomorrow ;>)  There continue to be such inspiring moments, large and small all over this amazing district.  As we contemplate the evolving innovation conversation in our district, I found the following quote to be both productive and provocative:

“Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought.” —Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1893-1986) Nobel Prize Winner

As we move forward, together, let’s imagine the possibilities

Innovation at Woodmoor

And speaking of innovation conversations, in another segment of Northshore Innovates, Woodmoor Elementary Assistant Principal Renee Williams recently shared the work around engineering taking place in Caroline Chastain's class.  Renee shared; “This work has been driven by her passion to prepare students for our future and the level of engagement, curiosity, and communication skills it's developing in her students. While meeting with one of her young authors who was sharing their ‘all about the author page’ with me, she said, Her favorite thing to do at school is engineering and they've been doing it a lot in her class. When she grows up she wants to be one.”  Wow !!

Of course, we had to check in with Caroline and hear more from her. So Caroline shared; “Inspired by Tony Wagner‘s work, my first graders and I have been digging deeper into math talk that involves critical thinking, creative problem-solving, teamwork, engineering, and innovation! I feel a real need for my students to learn in an environment where play has a purpose. Innovation and STEM related activities lend themselves so easily to helping students reach their goals. The students are extremely engaged and so excited, that learning almost seems secondary to what’s going on! In activities as simple as making the longest paper chain with a certain amount of paper, or building structures with toothpicks and marshmallows, my students are learning to work together by devising a plan, making predictions, using math skills to measure, and then reflecting on what went well and what they might try differently next time. I’ve heard students use such language as “ It will be sturdier if we build a bigger base” or “ I’m good at collaborating!”  Or “It didn’t work this time, but we won’t give up because we have Growth Mindset.“ Seeing my first graders so excited about learning and creating, makes the mess and the extra work so worth it.  I’m finding I have to let go of a little bit of control in order to make their learning so meaningful. In the meantime, they are learning many amazing skills while they are becoming creative problem solvers. It makes me hopeful for their futures!”  I am so inspired, just imagine the possibilities

Construction Projects

Rendering of interior of Northshore Concert Hall at Inglemoor

Construction on the 2018 bond-funded projects continues to make strides in our district. Notably, Elementary #21 has 90% of the metal panels installed on the exterior of the building and the turf athletic field installation is 95% complete. The school’s interior is also taking shape with many of the rooms painted and some cabinets installed. With the naming process underway, the Elementary #21 Naming Committee carefully reviewed the ideas and School Board policy and narrowed the selection down to 11 names. Now, families, students, staff and community members are invited to help further narrow the choices through Nov. 15. The Skyview and Canyon Creek expansion project is also continuing to make progress. The new multi-use building is nearly complete and in October the process of commissioning began, which tests each of the systems in the building to ensure they work properly. The lights, HVAC system and fire alarms were commissioned. Commissioning of this building is expected to be completed in November.

Over the last few months, the Northshore Concert Hall at Inglemoor HS continued through design development. In October, design development and the environmental review were completed. As part of the environmental review, the project underwent the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol. The project scored an 82, qualifying it as a Washington Sustainable School. The project is now moving into the construction document phase, which will outline exactly how the building will be constructed. Once construction documents are close to completion the team will begin the permitting process, which is expected to commence in January. Be sure to check out the interior rendering of the concert hall. Thank you to our Northshore voters who approved the 2018 bond, making each of these projects possible.  Imagine the possibilities…

Bothell High School

In other news, as many of you are likely aware, there has been recent media coverage regarding the Bothell High School football program. This is a complex situation, and as can often happen in the media, the desire for a headline can override the facts of a given situation.  Having said that, there is a role for media, and if in this case it provides an opportunity to revisit and thoughtfully explain what we legally can about a sensitive discipline matter, then we will take the opportunity to do so.  This morning, Bothell High School Principal Juan Price shared a letter with Bothell HS parents and staff speaking directly to the media coverage and the issue(s) specifically; recognizing that in student discipline cases, we are limited by privacy statutes in what we can publicly discuss.  It is important to note that these serious allegations have been fully and thoroughly investigated by both the Bothell Police Department and the administrative staff at Bothell High School.  I appreciate their handling of a difficult situation.

Following the recent media coverage, I again met with the Bothell Police Chief this week to confirm my understanding of both the scope of and the outcome of the two investigations they had previously undertaken related to these allegations. The Chief confirmed that no criminal charges were filed.  As to the spring allegations specifically, the police were not able to confirm any of the alleged serious behaviors as having taken place at all.  However, in a separate situation, as a result of their conduct in the cafeteria during a lunch break at the August football camp, student athletes were disciplined by school officials.  Additionally, team sanctions as described in Principal Price’s letter were levied on the team as a whole.  Following my review of our legal counsel’s investigative timeline and fact pattern as presented, I am confident that these matters, once brought to our attention, were handled appropriately and that the student misconduct has been addressed.

As the leader of this organization, I clearly understand it is my responsibility to set the tone for our collective behavior here in Northshore.  In this case, where we have fallen short in our commitment to safety for all students, whether in the classroom or participating in our extra-curricular programs, we will do better. I believe there is no confusion with my current expectations and direction surrounding student athlete deportment expectations, and the responsibilities, modeling and supervision I expect of all of our coaches.  We are using this opportunity to review our practices across all of our schools and programs as we affirm our commitment to promoting a healthy and safe environment for all students.  Finally, I want to be clear  -- behaviors as those described in triggering the investigations, will not be tolerated in our house.  I want to assure you that we have and we will continue to vigorously investigate allegations of misconduct regardless of where they occur, and will follow through with consequences, education, and adjustments in policy and practice where appropriate.  Our students’ safety is our most important priority.

Having said that, I want to remind us that we are working with and raising adolescents (as educators and parents) who are at times impulsive and often challenging to communicate with as this developmental stage is active and unpredictable.  As our young people, with our guidance and direction, develop into the responsible adults we yearn for as neighbors in this great community; let’s be mindful of the words we choose to describe them, their behaviors and the outcomes of their decisions. In this time of serious concerns about mental health and anxiety, our words matter.  Relationships, whether strained or stretched, must not be broken if we are to retain our strength as an organization and community.  Together, all things are possible.


District staff carrying laptops that will be distributed to students

District staff getting ready to distribute laptops to students

School2Home, our 1:1 computer pilot program has successfully distributed 60 computers to Northshore High School students.  The goal of this pilot is to support our students academically and to provide equitable access to success in coursework that increasingly requires technology. We continue to work with staff and the community, including our Student Board to strategize ways to communicate the existence of this pilot so students are aware of this fantastic opportunity. Recently, NSD is partnering with T-Mobile to provide an initial 50 hotspots for students that do not have access to internet at home.  These hotspots are expected to be ready for distribution to students just prior to Thanksgiving break.  Students involved in the pilot have given feedback and these are a few examples of what we are hearing:

  • “I’ve been using the computer for history and it’s been a great help to get me ready for tests”.
  • “It’s going great with my computer, its helped me access my teachers’ websites and see what I missed when I was sick”. 
  • “The computer is great.  I’m using it to write my resume and also do a project for class”.

Many thanks to all involved in this important equity and access work; it matters.

Cricket at Lockwood

In exciting youth athletics news, recently, a fourth grader approached Mr. Bagnall about starting a Cricket team at Lockwood. She proposed having her father come to teach the kids how to play. Mr. Bagnall purchased a Cricket set for the students. A parent came to Lockwood during a recess and taught a small group of eager athletes how to play Cricket. Now, fifth graders have indicated a desire to play Cricket at recess too. Dr. Khedam, a former professional Cricket player himself, met with the fifth graders to teach them how to play. Our recess supervisors manage the Cricket set along with the other recess equipment and students may check this out during their respective recesses.

A group of 12 students posing with a cricket bat

Strategic Action Plans

As part of our district-wide commitment to our bold equity driven strategic plan, I have been meeting with school principals and reviewing their Strategic Action Plans for the year. To date, I have now held thirty meetings and reviewed plans for schools at all grade spans in the district, with the rest of the schools scheduled for the coming week. I am so impressed with the reflective thought and committed work planned for the year. As you may remember, all schools are responsive to Goal 3: Growth for Every Student, Elimination of Outcome and Opportunity Gaps, and one other of the four remaining goals in our district-wide plan. I am confident that we are a better district for this strategically focused work. Thank you to our teachers, principals, SDLTs, support staff, Equity and Diversity Department, and Regional Assistant Superintendents for their work on these plans. Imagine the possibilities...

Nick of Time Screening

As a reminder, UW Medical and the Nick of Time Foundation will be at Bothell High School on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019 to do free heart screenings for every student who has registered. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) on school campuses doesn’t only happen to athletes—every young person is at risk.  Unfortunately, we know that the standard of care for well-child and sports physical examinations can miss about 90% of electrical and structural issues that can put young people at risk for SCA. Most of these conditions are not detectable with just a stethoscope.  A reminder that registration is required! Please register your student (adolescents and young adults ages 14-24) for a free screening in the Bothell High School gym on Nov. 6, 2019. Your student does NOT need to be enrolled at Bothell High School to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Crystal Springs Visit

Finally, I had a fabulous visit to Crystal Springs this morning.  I will say that visiting an elementary school on Halloween is a joyful experience to be sure.  So many spider hats, leaf hats, spider web drawings, fabulous singing, pumpkin seed estimation using the scientific method, and even the review and reflection of Hatchet, which I will have as my weekend read.  I also so love the autumn art, so colorful and so reflective of each of our unique gifts and the abundance of the season.

Wishing you and yours a joyful fall weekend,
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.




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