I want to begin my note today by taking a look back at a day in history that has had an impact on education and where we are today. It was 60 years ago this past Saturday, November 14, when federal marshals escorted Ruby Bridges past angry, threatening crowds and up the steps of the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. At just 6-years old, she was one of the first Black students to integrate public schools after the landmark Supreme Court ruling on Brown vs. Board of Education. Today, Ruby Bridges is a leader in her advocacy for equity in education and racial healing. Here in Northshore, we opened Ruby Bridges Elementary and in September, Ruby Bridges made virtual visits to staff and students. Principal Cathi Davis, her staff, and all of us here in our great district, are excited for our growing collaboration with Ruby Bridges and for the work we continue to do to achieve racial and educational justice. Read more about Ruby Bridges.
Virtual Visit to Woodinville High School
Last Friday, I was able to “visit” Woodinville High School in the second of my visits to every school in Northshore this year. During these visits, I first spend time with parents and guardians to answer questions and listen to their concerns and innovative ideas. I then visit classrooms where I see teaching and learning firsthand before spending time with a group of students who give me insights to their experience and inspire me with ideas. I am grateful for everyone who was able to meet with me. Every encounter matters as we continue to adjust instruction and learning during the pandemic and beyond. I am also grateful for the Woodinville High School administrative team’s flexibility and efficient plan that provided me with glimpses into the Falcon virtual classroom experience. I continue to be so inspired with the efforts of our educators and our students; together all things are possible.
Board SIP visit to Northcreek High School
On Tuesday, we had our third Board SIP visit and ‘traveled to’ Northcreek High School. These visits are so integral to the comprehensive work we do as a district. In highlighting the work of the school, Principal Eric McDowell shared some of the practices that are important to the success of every student: “I am super proud of the hard work of all the teachers in Northshore that resulted in North Creek’s 98.2% graduation rate! This kind of graduation rate shows the dedication and professionalism of all our teachers at every level – pre-K, elementary, middle and high. I’m also very proud of the work North Creek staff have been doing around racial and educational justice and in working to re-create North Creek as an anti-racist school. We have much work still to do but as the old saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and I’m proud our school has taken those initial steps.” This work is part of the strategic work we have been doing as a school district these past several years and enables our students to find serious success. North Region Assistant Superintendent Obadiah Dunham observed: "The NCHS administrative team are excellent models of what it means to know each student by strength and need and using that knowledge to create a relevant and rigorous high school experience for their students.” It is always so energizing to be ‘out in the schools’. Go Jaguars!
Elementary School Science Olympiad
Innovation during these challenging times means so much to our community. Northcreek HS junior Diya Gupta came to me last year interested in developing and planning an Elementary Science Olympiad. The event was scheduled to take place in March - right when the pandemic hit. That didn't stop Diya, who came to us again this year for a plan to move forward with a reimagined Elementary Science Olympiad. During her first information session for interested students, Diya presented to more than 100 students in grades 4 and 5. She will have another information session Friday, November 20. You can also watch Diya’s segment on Northshore Learns News. Re-imagining the possibilities…
This month at Timbercrest Middle School, students in Eric Wilcox’s Exploring Tech I class have been working through the Engineering Design Process to create popsicle stick truss bridges. Student Dylan Smith, showed the testing process in action to identify the failure load of his bridge. After holding an impressive 185lbs of force shown in this photo, the bridge finally failed at a weight that Mr. Wilcox said was an impressive 305 pounds! This picture is a great reminder that despite circumstances, students can develop new critical thinking strategies, avenues of ingenuity, and of course, have fun during the process! Eric says he’s in great company as a Career and Technology Education teacher, “We share strategies, ideas, and package them in a way that works best for our individual schools. I am so thankful for the cumulative wealth of knowledge between those colleagues, one oddly enough, being a former teacher of mine during my Skyview days.” Yes, Mr. Wilcox’s CTE teacher is now a colleague. I’m so happy to see that our great district continues to produce such innovative and inspiring educators! Eric shared more about his distance instruction experience here on Northshore Learns News.
November is National Adoption Month
I want to share that November is National Adoption Month and the Monday before Thanksgiving (November 23 this year) is National Adoption Day. Even though all adoption topics are important to recognize, the specific focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care. I want to share my grateful thanks for all those who are able to open their hearts and homes as new families abound. Finding a forever home is such a transformative experience for all involved. Imagine the possibilities…
Pilot Fencing Project
We continue the work approved by voters in our 2018 bond and levy. Over the last few months, the planning by our Capital Projects and Safety & Security staff has ramped up for a pilot fencing project. This past week, a contract was awarded for fencing at Arrowhead and Crystal Springs elementary schools. The fence installations are expected to be completed during winter 2021. A mix of decorative and chain link fencing will be installed in an effort to ensure that visitors are directed to the main office, when it is safe to return to our buildings. The fencing will also provide enhanced school perimeters, giving a consistent approach districtwide so that visitors are only in areas where visitors are permitted. Once the pilot is complete, fencing at other schools will be considered. This important safety and security project is possible thanks to the 2018 bond, which was approved by our generous Northshore voters.
Earlier this week, Northshore Family Partnership teacher Angela Dose’ brought my attention to this video. Her educational support professional, Vicki Bingea discovered “Just Breathe” in her search for new social emotional learning material. While this video focuses on what children can do when they’re feeling angry – breathe – I think this is a perfect video for all of us during these stressful times. I encourage everyone to view it with their students and practice breathing. This isn’t perfect, but we’ll continue to be the best we can be during these challenging times.
Share a Note of Gratitude
Finally, as we continue to navigate virtual learning and move into the holidays where families and friends traditionally celebrate each other and a sense of togetherness, I understand the rising number of COVID cases and warnings from our Governor and health departments says the best thing to do is reimagine the holidays so we can all remain healthy and safe. I know this is difficult but together, we will get through the holidays. A Harvard Medical School article says that gratitude can support good mental health. I believe in that concept and would like us all to engage in a district-wide expression of gratitude. Click this link to share your note of gratitude and add a photo if you’d like! You can express gratitude for your family, your friends, your homework, teachers, health, rain…anything you want. We will collect notes of gratitude and create a gratitude wall on our website. Thanks to Shelby Reynolds, our Assistant Director in Technology, and the Communications team for helping to bring this idea to life. There is no better time than now for us all to “come together” and share what we are grateful for. Imagine the possibilities…tens of thousands of gratitude messages from students, family members, and staff! Let’s do this!
As we approach the coming week, I am mindful of all that we have to be grateful for, even during these challenging times, and how important it is that we continue to celebrate our amazing district family.... "Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." ~ William Arthur Ward. Let’s remember this is who we are….
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.