It is hard to realize that it is now June. The year is flying by and we are soon upon the season of graduation and transition from grade to grade and school to school. These are joyful times and also can be stressful for many. It is important to remind one another that change is in many ways a constant and energizing part of each of our life's journeys; we’ve certainly learned that over the past year. Together we can celebrate all things and make all things possible. “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” — Vincent Van Gogh Together, we can address any challenge in our path….
June is Pride Month. The Northshore School District is committed to creating a safe, caring, and respectful environment for all students, families, and staff. During the month of June, the District celebrates and recognizes Pride to honor the historical and current organizing movements for LGBTQIA2S+ liberation, recognize the global impact that the LGBTQIA2S+ community has had, and advocate for actionable steps to affirm and amplify the voices of our own LGBTQIA2S+ community. To learn more about the steps that the Racial and Educational Justice Department has been taking in the past few years, you can visit this webpage. Towards the bottom of the page, you will find a list of resources and a Northshore Learns News segment where I interviewed Assistant Director Ayva Thomas and Woodinville High School Teacher Rick Lizotte last June.
Pride Week of Engagement
In addition, the Racial and Educational Justice Department will host a Pride Week of Engagement next week. They will send out resources and elementary read-alouds to all Northshore educators at the beginning of the week. They will also facilitate a community panel with Northshore students, educators, and community members on Thursday, June 10, from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. You can click here to register.
Spring Theatre Productions
In arts news, theatre students at two of our high schools are embracing pandemic safety protocols this week as they each put on their spring performances. The Woodinville High School Performing Arts Department is going all out...side with their production of Oklahoma! The cast and crew have taken the production to the main loop of the school with socially distanced seating included or you can bring your own chair or blanket. Performances are June 4, 5, 10-12 and tickets can be purchased at schoolsales.nsd.org. If your preferred in-person performances are sold out, each Friday performance will be livestreamed. You can purchase your tickets for $5 at schoolsales.nsd.org. Go Falcons!
Bothell High School's spring musical will be coming to a computer near you at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, June 5. I'm told the production is 100% student-created and completely done virtually. Everything from the script, costumes, props, and virtual background were all written and designed by students. You can watch the trailer here and on Saturday, the full production here. Theatre arts teacher Chaya Glass said, "I am floored by the talent that these students brought to this project. A huge shout-out to Taylor Iverson for leading students in song choices and vocals, Trevor McNamara for taking on a new job with sound editing and as always, Lori Haydon for advising the student costume team." Go Cougars!
We are less than two weeks away from our high school graduations and like many of you, I am looking forward to celebrating our seniors. As I mentioned in last Friday’s Weekly Reopening Update, our Senior Activities Committee has worked over a number of months to develop the best opportunities for celebrating our graduates while remaining aligned with state safety protocols. Based on our official capacity and the results of the survey of our senior’s families, schools are able to provide each graduate with four tickets. This morning on Northshore Learns News, I talked with South Region Assistant Superintendent Heather Miller about the process for planning the graduation experience for our Class of 2021. You can also learn more about graduation ceremonies on the Class of 2021 webpage. Questions specific to your senior’s graduation should be directed to the staff at the high school they attend. I want to thank our Senior Activities Committee for this work; together all things are possible.
New Kenmore Boathouse
Last week, I joined School Board Directors Jackie McGourty, Amy Cast, and Bob Swain along with a small group from the City of Kenmore and the Pocock Foundation at the official ribbon-cutting for the new Kenmore Boathouse, a facility for our Northshore students and the community. I am thrilled that we can now provide all Northshore students with an opportunity to participate in a sport that brings abundant mental, physical and lifelong benefits. It is important to provide equitable access to traditionally private programs such as crew. This partnership with the City of Kenmore and Pocock Foundation will open doors to post-secondary opportunities, including scholarships, for students who may not otherwise have access to the crew experience. Imagine the possibilities…
Student Academic and Well-Being Recovery Plan
I want to remind you that Northshore staff have developed and submitted our Student Academic and Well-Being Recovery Plan to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). In this plan, you will note our commitment to support online learning during the summer. This will include curated online content that supports core curriculum across all grades and will help address student confidence and readiness for the next grade. We are also investigating partnerships that will enhance the online learning experience. In addition, we are removing barriers to this summer learning by making computing devices available to every student. Each student who currently has a District-provided computing device will receive an updated device that they may use for the entire summer. When the student returns their District-issued computing device, they can pick up their summer learning device at the same time by simply completing and submitting this request form as soon as possible so the device will be ready when the school schedules the exchange. If a student did not need a device this school year, but will need one for summer enrichment and learning, they should complete the form. As students return or exchange their device for another, we are not charging fines. Thanks to your support of our 2018 Technology Levy, Northshore is equipped to support year-round learning both in the classroom and at home.
As we reopened our school buildings, our nurses and counselors have played an instrumental role in ensuring our students have the necessary supports to navigate the transition. Additionally, we’ve had amazing arts performances and athletics that have helped build and sustain community during the pandemic. These are just a few of the many aspects of education that are supported by the Enrichment Levy. Did you know taxpayers provide approximately 16% of the District’s revenues by approving a levy? Enrichment levies, also known as Educational Programs and Services (EP&O) and Maintenance and Operations (M&O levies), allow the District to fund teachers, support staff, supplies and materials, or services that the state only partially funds. Enrichment levies bridge the gap in funding and can be approved for up to four years. With these revenues, the District is able to support the Special Education program, pay staff (nurses, counselors, and support staff), and provide extra-curricular activities including music, drama, and sports. Thanks to the generous support of our Northshore voters who approved renewing the EP&O levy in 2018 we’ve been able to continue funding these necessary programs and activities that support our students.
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene visits Ruby Bridges Elementary
Finally, I want to thank Congresswoman Suzan DelBene who joined School Board Directors Sandy Hayes and Jackie McGourty and me at Ruby Bridges Elementary for a tour and discussion about the limited federal relief funding coming to our district to help us recover from the pandemic and prepare for the coming year. It is important to note that some of those funds have already been spent on HVAC system improvements, PPE, cleaning supplies and other safety-related expenditures for this current school year. The remainder will be invested in our Student Academic and Well-being Recovery Plan. Our School Board and I will continue to advocate for additional funding for this important work. We appreciate the efforts of our elected officials in supporting this important work.
I also want to thank Ruby Bridges Principal Cathi Davis for providing the tour and information on the inclusionary practices that have been incorporated into the Ruby Bridges learning culture. As the discussion ended on the playground in front of the inclusive playground that I hope everyone has an opportunity to see sometime soon, I may or may not have challenged the congresswoman to a future game of tetherball ;>)
I look forward to everyone finishing the year strong and starting the new school year even stronger. In thinking about the countless contributions of so many that form the fabric of this district, I am reminded of a favorite quote; “There’s nothing “ordinary” about decency, courage under fire, compassion, tenacity, lion-heartedness, and that is what is being called forth in a moment – a deeply mythic moment – like this.” – Dr. Martin Shaw Wishing each of you many joyful moments this late spring weekend ahead.
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.