Team Northshore…those words are more important now than they've ever been before. We just completed a remarkable first week of school – altered in a way that none of us would have predicted a year ago. We all know this pandemic has been challenging, and I’ve been filled with gratitude and awe as I’ve watched the way our Team Northshore continues to meet this challenge. I know. This has been anything but easy. New technology, new processes, new instruction plans, challenging surroundings…Yet, together, we are intent on figuring it all out. I appreciate the monumental effort that each and every one of you, our students, and families have put forth despite snags here and there.
With that said, I want to remind everyone how important it is to practice self-care. I will reiterate what I said in a message yesterday. As part of Team Northshore, each of you are uniquely high functioning and I understand the tendency to be harder on yourselves than anyone else can be. This is both an attribute of striving for excellence and a concern for mental and physical health under duress. I invite you to (as a staff member reminded me ;>) be less focused on doing and be more focused on being…Keep talking. Be patient. Extend grace to yourself and others.
Sometimes a little grace is all anyone needs to feel appreciated, feel better, or even feel empowered. I recently heard from one of our intrepid staff members, a Maywood Hills teacher, who shared the most heartwarming and inspiring story of how this community can come together in the most unexpected ways. She shared:
“Today, after a long, challenging, frustrating day, I couldn't stand the thought of standing in my 95-degree kitchen with no air conditioning to cook dinner, so I went to get Friday night cheat meal on Wednesday night. Lesson 1: Soothing yourself with fast food is not positive self-care. But I digress.
Upon driving up to the drive-thru order speaker I realized I had forgotten my wallet. It has been that kind of day. I was now at the point of no return though, trapped in the drive-thru. I would have to sit in my car, also with no air conditioning, windows open, breathing in smoky air, waiting for everyone else to get their dinner, leave with no food, and return later. As I sat, a young man, an employee, came up to my car to take my payment. I explained that I had forgotten my wallet and had therefore not ordered. He walked away. A moment later he came back to me and asked me what I was going to order. I told him. ...and he promptly responded with, "I can't give it to you for free, but I will pay for it. I don't want you to have to drive home and come back." I immediately started to tear up and thanked him profusely. I was at my emotional edge, so things were right at the surface. I told him I was a teacher and that I was having a rough day. He told me he was a senior and shared some of his experience with how his own teachers were coping. No, there were no names or details, but he said that his teachers were still learning the platform and technology as well and that he understood how I might feel. It turns out Jude is a senior at North Creek. I was so touched by his generosity and kindness. Lesson 2: You really don't know when your small moment of kindness will feel BIG to the recipient...Go team Northshore!" ...and go Jude! I love our Northshore can do attitude and our care for one another; it matters.
As tomorrow marks the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, I want to take a moment to remember the thousands of lives that were affected on that fateful day. We lost nearly 3,000 people in New York City, Washington, D.C., and in Pennsylvania. And we continue to lose many who have become ill, whether they were innocent workers and residents rushing away from the buildings or heroes rushing toward the site. And the reach of this tragedy was worldwide. It continues to remind me that we are indeed meant to live in community – to reach out and check on each other, provide support when it’s needed, and to celebrate one another – put simply, to show kindness.
World Suicide Prevention Day
In other news, today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I know that it can be extremely difficult to talk about suicide, even though it’s a tragedy that affects many of us. As you may know, youth suicide has been on the rise in recent years. And recently, the State Department of Health shared that the risks may increase in the coming months because of the pandemic. This is a worldwide concern. Here in Northshore, there are things we can all do to address this risk. We can take steps that can prevent suicides and be prepared ahead of a potential crisis. During this time when the virus has changed the way we are able to interact, we want to make sure every member of our Northshore community has access to these Resources for Families & Schools. I encourage you to review this information and act on the suggestions. I also recommend printing the documents and placing them on an easy to find area in your household. If you are concerned about a student, please reach out to your school counseling team for help or use the resources listed below:
Crisis supports are also available if your student is concerned for themselves or others. Teen Link can be reached daily from 6-10 PM at 1-866-833-6546; the following resources are for anyone and can be reached 24/7 365 days a year: Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 / Worried about someone on social media? Support on Social Media - Lifeline; the 24-hr Crisis Line:1-866-427-4747; and the Crisis Text Line can be reached via SMS 24/7— simply text “HEAL” to 741-741. Together, we can keep our community safe and save lives.
As we continue to dive in to learning outside of the classroom, our staff continues to prepare for the time when it is safe to bring students and staff back to buildings. When that happens, we will have to give attention to pandemic protocols and our normal health and safety protocols.
Safety and Security
To this end, Safety and Security Department member, Bill Brooks, recently shared with me that our Safety & Security Department was awarded a $6,800 grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission for additional safety equipment. When it is safe to return to school buildings, we will have more vests, flags, signs and cones to keep our community safe. Notably, 175 more vests will be purchased, which will allow our safety patrol students to each have their own vest so that they don’t have to share these during the pandemic. In addition to these new vests, the District will purchase 25 more flags, several crosswalk signs and a few dozen cones. Although the Safety & Security Department had to postpone their annual Crossing Guard Academy, it is expected that training will be done at individual schools once it is safe to do so. During the training, students learn about the importance of respecting the equipment, being a good role model for younger students, maintaining eye contact with drivers and smiling :>).
Northshore Concert Hall
And finally, exciting news that brings music to my ears. The Northshore Concert Hall at Inglemoor project is beginning to transform. Within the last two weeks, the team received the land use permit and fencing is beginning to be placed around the project. The capital project team is in the process of mobilizing the site for groundbreaking. All permits for the project are expected to be received by the end of September. More information will be shared soon with the community about viewing a virtual groundbreaking event. Imagine the possibilities…
I thought this quote best captures my thoughts as we take some reflective time this weekend about the work we engage in each and every day; “Each of us can look back upon someone who made a great difference in our lives, someone whose wisdom or simple acts of caring made an impression upon us. In all likelihood it was someone who sought no recognition for their deed other than the joy of knowing that, by their hand, another's life had been made better.” —Stephen M. Wolf I wish each of you a joyful late summer weekend ahead.
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.