Thursday Thoughts: School Board Recognition Month, COVID-19 Update, Thank You to Subs and Volunteers, and More

As many of you might recall, I shared as we returned from the winter break that the six weeks following the break might be the most challenging of the entire year.  I also remain resolutely confident that we will continue to move through these weeks with the same tenacity, patience, and grace that we have navigated this pandemic – together – One Northshore. When the going gets tough (and it certainly is) Northshore gets going.  We are now almost three full weeks out from the winter break!!  Next week will be week four and finals week for our secondary school students.  Time continues to fly by as we work to make the most of each and every day; the days are long, but the years are short -- and these are indeed our best days. Thank you one and all for your herculean efforts right now; together all things are possible.    

School Board Recognition Month

I want to take a moment and pause to thank and recognize our amazing and dedicated Board of Directors!! Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed January as School Board Recognition Month. This marks the 27th year of the annual observance initiated by the National School Boards Association in 1995. "The Washington State School Directors’ Association, Association of Educational Service Districts and the broader education community take time in January to honor board members from Washington’s 295 school districts and nine elected educational service district boards. “Through leadership and governance, Washington’s 1,477 school directors are building the future of public education in Washington state,” said WSSDA Executive Director Tim Garchow. “Not only do they fortify one of the pillars of our democracy—public education, they also shoulder responsibility for helping all of us realize the hopes and dreams we have for Washington’s youth.” In total, Washington’s school directors govern districts serving 1.1 million students, with a combined annual budget of over $15 billion, employing about 120,000 people. This is a tremendous responsibility shouldered by our locally elected, school board members. As they navigate an array of complex educational and social issues, let us thank our school board members for their service, and for working toward a strong, equitable system of public education that supports all students." We join Gov. Inslee in thanking the elected board of the Northshore School District for their countless hours of dedicated work and their commitment to the children of this great community and district. It matters – now more than ever.

COVID-19 Update

In a brief COVID-19 update, I am happy to report that all of the schools that temporarily shifted to remote learning last week will shift back to in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 24. For many shifting back to in person also means an exciting finals week ahead.  Also this week, we implemented protocols in alignment with the state Department of Health changes. School administrators are sharing the updated information with staff, students, and families. Additionally, you can learn about our most current COVID response here. Having said that, I want to acknowledge the significant number of positive COVID cases that we have experienced among students and staff. This may be something that is here to stay, so if you’ve had COVID, take care and be kind to yourself. If you know someone who has tested positive, be kind to them. This is not an easy time for anyone. Together, we can get through it. We can also take care of each other by following safety protocols.  

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics

On a related note, this past weekend, 700 more students received their first dose of the vaccine against COVID. Thanks to the Shoreline Fire Department and all of our community volunteers for being such great partners. On Friday, Jan. 28, Safeway/Albertson’s/Haggen will be back for an evening booster clinic. We know it is an important layer of protection and is being actively sought by many of our staff members out in the school buildings. Staff will be receiving that link on Friday. 

Thank You to Substitutes and Volunteers

With that said, I want to express my gratitude to every member of our community who has stepped up in so many ways, from applying to substitute for staff who are out, to simply having patience and giving grace. Human Resources Director Abel Ghirmai reports that we have significantly more emergency certificated substitutes as of the last several weeks.  Thanks to our community for answering the call. Let’s not forget the volunteers who raised their hands to help with the confirmatory testing at Pop Keeney Stadium, meals for the students who have been learning remotely, vaccination clinics, and so much more. Of course, thank you to all of our staff for all you are doing to keep our students in the safest possible learning environment; it matters.

Black History Month

Looking ahead, February is Black History Month! This observance was created by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a scholar, activist, author, and historian. He has come to be known as the “Father of Black History” for his efforts to amplify the experiences, histories, and key contributions of Black peoples throughout American history. You can read Dr. Woodson’s full biography here.  During this month, the Northshore School District is acknowledging and participating in the National Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action from January 31 – February 4, 2022. Students, staff, and administrators will have the opportunity to participate. On Friday, the Racial and Educational Justice Department will be sending out resources to engage in this week of action and details about the virtual student panel they have planned for Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, from 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. During this time and always, let us celebrate the lived experiences, cultures, histories, backgrounds, and identities of our Black students and staff here in Our House. 

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In more inspiring news, I want to take a moment to recognize some of our outstanding students across Northshore. I continue to be so proud to serve a district where nurturing the whole student is a priority. I believe a successful education involves many areas so that our graduates are well-rounded and prepared for any next chapter in life that they choose. Our Northshore staff continue to graduate students who have built skills in leadership, fine and performing arts, athletics, academics, collaboration and so much more. As this Monday was the Martin Luther King national holiday, I was pleased to see the student leadership across many of our schools as they planned meaningful assemblies to actually challenge us to do more than remember the slain civil rights leader. Here in Our House, we will not just talk about Dr. King or our rich, troubled, and promising history just one day a year. We will continue to have these discussions to make sure all students know where we’ve been so we can better understand where we need to go together. This week, I am sharing the 2022 Martin Luther King assemblies from Bothell High School and Woodinville High School

Bothell High School student Jenna Legault

In exciting athletic news, Gatorade recently named Bothell High School’s Jenna Legault as 2021-22 Gatorade Washington Volleyball Player of the Year – the first ever to be chosen from Bothell High. The award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence and “high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.” Jenna is said to have “compiled 478 kills and 401 digs, including 73 kills and 66 digs in Bothell’s four-match run in the state tournament. She also recorded 75 service aces, 55 assists and 41 blocks while posting a .468 kill percentage and a .364 hitting percentage.” Equally important, Jenna has maintained a 3.98 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at California State University, Fresno this fall. Congratulations, Jenna! 

Woodinville High School student Jiya Joshi

Finally, you may remember Jiya Joshi who, as a middle school student, first performed in our Northshore Speaks spoken word event and then during our 2020 State of Our Schools event. Now, this exceptional student artist from Woodinville High was just named a finalist in the Edmonds Center for the Performing Arts 2nd Annual WE SPEAK Festival. This is another example of what our students can accomplish if given the opportunities to recognize their talents and to grow both in and out of the classroom. Congratulations, Jiya! The good news doesn’t stop with Jiya. The competition also recognized Bothell High’s Shivani Kulandaivel and Leota Middle School’s Mikaela Hoe. Their spoken word poetry earned them places as alternates for the event. You can learn more about the Jan. 27 WE SPEAK Festival here.   

Building Better Together: Bond & Levies Information

Did you know the state still does not fully fund K-12 education, including athletics, performing arts and other opportunities that I just mentioned? Our district, like all others in the state, relies on local levies to fund learning, and bonds to fund building to make sure our students have spaces to learn. As you have likely heard by now, our district is seeking renewal of two key funding measures – our Educational Programs & Operations Levy and our Technology Levy – as well as approval of a Capital Projects Bond in the Feb. 8 election. Many of you have had an opportunity to learn more about these measures during presentations in schools during the past several weeks. If you have not participated in one of these presentations or are interested in learning more about these important measures, I encourage you to take a look at the opportunities below: 

  • Participate in a Community Conversation webinar on the Bond & Levies with district leadership on either of the following days: 
  • Visit our website at www.nsd.org/bondlevy

Thank you for taking the time to learn more, and please watch your mailbox for your ballot, which is scheduled to arrive this week. Ballots are due by Tuesday, Feb. 8.  

2018 Capital Bond Update on Lockwood Elementary

Also, I am excited to share that the building improvements funded by the 2018 Capital Projects Bond at Lockwood Elementary continue to progress. The gym’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system was replaced during Winter Break, improving both operation and efficiency. This update will reduce the carbon output and utility consumption and supports the district’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. This portion of the building improvements will be finalized in the coming weeks, leaving just a couple of smaller projects left to complete, including parking lot striping and a tuff shed installation. Both of these projects are slated for February and March (weather dependent) and will complete the third and final phase of the building improvements scheduled for Lockwood. These updates were made possible thanks to the generous support of the Northshore voters who approved the 2018 bond. 

In closing this evening, I am reminded that “One by one, we can be the better world we wish for.”  -- Kobi Yamada

All the best and take good care,

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

 

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