I trust this note finds you enjoying a bountiful fall week. As it gets light later and darker earlier, it reminds me that our seasons are changing. I love the crisper air and changing color of the leaves. So many exciting possibilities…
Modified Stage 3 Hybrid Learning
On Tuesday, I announced that we have planned and are scheduling the move to a modified Stage 3 Hybrid Learning Model beginning on Monday, October 26. This means we plan to begin phasing in some of the groups listed in Stage 3 - starting with students in Headstart, the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), and the Adult Transition Program (ATP) - Pathways. I want to thank all the staff who have been preparing for a safe return to in-person learning for our students. Also, I want to remind everyone that we will continue to watch the trends and all other considerations that might have an impact on a safe return. Should the infection rate continue to trend in an unhealthy direction, we will have to reconsider the timing of moving to a modified Stage 3. We want to be thoughtful and deliberate in our moves as we are taking a very measured approach with small groups of students and staff returning first.
Northshore's Class of 2021
On Wednesday, I had an opportunity to connect with students from Northshore’s Class of 2021. This was a time for seniors to ask questions and share ideas that will help them get the most out of their last year of high school and launch them into their next life chapter. During the conversation, students confirmed some of what I already knew – they want to be physically in school, in the classroom, and with their classmates. There was a lot of innovation on the spot as they pitched ideas for ways that we could safely bring them back to in-person learning – or just connecting. I was inspired by their ideas and I’m willing to continue listening and exploring ideas. The students also expressed concerns over stress and mental health as many are in the midst of preparing college applications and working to finish strong. I know our amazing staff at each of our high schools are already working on plans to support our seniors, and I will be working with a team at the district level to do the same; together, all things are possible.
National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) Eastside
One of the more immediate actions to support students’ mental health is a virtual event taking place this Saturday, October 10 from 10-11 a.m. The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) Eastside will be presenting Ending the Silence, a virtual event designed for all Northshore parents and guardians. The goal of this presentation is to support families, raise awareness about the warning signs of mental health conditions, and share what steps to take if you or a loved one are showing symptoms of a mental health condition. If students would like to attend, this content will be geared for middle and high school students. RSVP for this event. I invite you to join me as we address this important topic in our community; it matters.
Indigenous Peoples Day
October 12, 2020 is Indigenous Peoples Day, which celebrates Indigenous people and honors their histories, culture, legacies, and futures. On this day and always, it is important to recognize our Indigenous people locally, who have been and still are here. The Coast Salish people live in and beyond the Puget Sound, and we continue to honor them for their persistence, resilience, and contributions. The Northshore School District occupies Coast Salish lands, and is collaborating with local tribal members to build and strengthen these vital partnerships. In Our House, we join hands with our community and keep working toward just futures together. For additional learning and resources, you can visit the Racial and Educational Justice Department’s website. In addition, Mary Wilbur, the Native American Education Coordinator for several of our Districts, shared information for a virtual Indigenous Peoples Day celebration with the University of Washington scheduled for Monday 5-6:30 p.m. You can register for the event here.
Disability History and Awareness Month
Disability History and Awareness Month is this month! The purpose of this recognition is to increase awareness for people with disabilities, and to bring a greater sense of pride to people with disabilities. Shining a spotlight on this one aspect of identity – for our students and those staff members who identify as neuro-diverse, disabled, differently-abled or with diverse abilities – is important to acknowledge, lean into and learn into in October and all year as we engage with students and families to accomplish their social and academic goals together.
University of Washington Bothell Collaboration
You’ve probably heard me say that learning best happens in community – that’s true for all of us. The University of Washington Bothell is a long-time community partner in many areas, especially training highly skilled, collaborative teachers with a passion for providing an excellent educational experience for all students. Our latest collaboration with UW Bothell’s School of Educational Studies began almost a year ago as we designed a program to help teachers focus on equity and social justice by challenging ideas of white supremacy. I am grateful for this collaboration with the School’s Leadership Development for Educators (LEDE) program. The first cohort of 50 Northshore educators were part of the program launch last month. Melissa Riley, Northshore’s Assistant Director of Equity and Pedagogy, helped set up the program and participated in the cohort, and was interviewed for a UW Bothell article, which you can read about here.
Woodinville Chamber Meeting
Finally, I had the pleasure of presenting at the virtual Woodinville Chamber meeting today. As always, I am happy to connect with our community. It was a special treat to meet with business leaders from across Woodinville, including parents of some of our students - and even one of my former students! During our time together, I described some of the information we are using to make decisions during this pandemic. I also talked about the importance of partnerships and the opportunity for us to work together to support our students' success during this pandemic and into the future. I must say that much of what we have been able to do in Northshore Learns 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 would not have been possible without our voters supporting the passage of the 2018 Technology Levy. While we had been imagining the future when we developed the levy, we certainly could not have predicted our current circumstances. I am so grateful for each of you, your support of all of our students, and your relentlessly positive Northshore spirit. Together, we are better!
And so, this weekend, "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." --- Robert Brault
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.