Well, right on cue, we welcomed our first day of autumn and shortly after, the skies opened up to some of the heaviest rain many of us have seen in quite a while. And there is such beauty that comes along with it…the tranquil sounds of drops falling on the leaves and the glorious sunset that follows. I know these first weeks of school have challenged us in a multitude of ways as we invest so much into our learners and our community. I thank you one and all for the passion and commitment so uniquely Northshore; together, all things are possible.
Wednesday’s rain was a good reminder that power at our homes may not always be reliable during distance learning. I want you to know that our Technology, Northshore Learns and Communications teams have already been collaborating on a plan for notifications about power outages, service accessibility and how everyone can prepare ahead of time to adjust and continue learning. We will provide more information in the coming days.
Last Friday, I updated staff and the community on our current status and the considerations for moving to more in-person instruction stages. I continue to participate in discussions with colleagues, health departments and state leadership. As promised, I will have a weekly COVID update tomorrow and weekly for the foreseeable future.
Art Docent Program
Our community is vital to our success during Northshore Learns 3.0 and beyond. This includes volunteers such as our art docents. The Art Docent Program continues to be an integral part of the Northshore community. This week Danielle Wheeler, a volunteer art docent, presented to Ms. Alicia Herron's 5th-grade class at Sunrise Elementary. Students learned about space and perspective through an interactive lesson about Rene Magritte's Golconda. I loved reading the students’ observations. Students went on to create a floating Rubik’s cube. It is so wonderful to see great partnerships between teachers and volunteers. As we continue to settle into our teaching and learning rhythm, there can be a wide variety of virtual volunteer opportunities. If you’re interested in supporting our schools this year through volunteerism, our new online volunteer application is now available.
Bothell High School Choir
Also, this week, several members of our Northshore community were part of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Bothell High School Choir teacher Taylor Iverson was profiled on the TODAY Show for her dedication to her students and to music in education. She was also in the Today Show Virtual Plaza surrounded by some of her former and current students. You can view the Today Show segment here. Thank you, Ms. Iverson and all of the music teachers across our great district for keeping the music alive for all of us. Imagine the possibilities…
Northshore Concert Hall
This was a big week for the arts! On Monday, I joined a small group of District staff and two of our school board directors to celebrate the groundbreaking at the Northshore Concert Hall. The architect and contractor were also on-site for the celebration. As you may know, the Northshore Concert Hall, which was funded by the generous support of Northshore voters in 2018, will accommodate 750 seats and add classroom and instructional space to Inglemoor High School. In addition to the Concert Hall, the project includes traffic circulation improvements, as well as rebuilding and relocating the school’s six tennis courts. The project is scheduled for completion in December 2021. Thank you to all of our community members and voters for supporting this project and remembering that the arts are not something extra in Northshore. They are core to who we are and the foundation to the experience we want for each of our students. I am thrilled to be part of a district that is deeply committed to bringing the arts to all of our students. While we wish we could have had students, staff and community members attend this epic groundbreaking in person, we filmed the ceremony and are excited to share it with you!
In good news for our Northshore families that live in the Woodinville zip code! (98072), Assistant Director Elizabeth Meza, shared that the city has secured funds through the CARES Act that may be distributed to households for rental assistance. We know that this is a need for so many families in our community, one that has been difficult to meet with other community resources. Thanks to our friends at El Centro Cultural Mexicano, families can now access those funds! For more information and to apply visit https://centroculturalmexicano.org. El Centro Cultural Mexicano, located in Redmond, is the first organization on the Eastside dedicated to providing a space to celebrate Mexican culture. Their vision statement reads "To build a vibrant community of empowered individuals through art and culture" and they share our goal of inviting all to participate in creating a positive future that is inclusive of all members of society. They have a fabulous studio gallery, which invites artists of all cultural backgrounds to showcase their work free of charge. While they opened less than two years ago, they have already hosted a major community-wide weekend celebration in May of 2019. This would be a great time for everyone to explore their website since Mexican Independence Day was on September 16th and Hispanic Heritage Month continues through October 15th. Read more at https://hispanicheritagemonth.gov Please share this good news with any and all families who might benefit.
In another 2018 bond update, lock upgrades have been continuing across the District. During the summer, main classroom entry locks were upgraded at all high schools and to date 31 schools have received these new locks. Entry lock upgrades are still needed at three schools, and are scheduled to be installed by the end of October. The new classroom locks can be locked from inside the classroom without the use of a key, while the old locks required someone to lock the door from the outside with a key. The new locks also have a visual indicator which will help in an emergency situation. The final phase of classroom lock installations started at the beginning of September, which will capture the two remaining schools, as well as secondary classroom access points at all schools. The upgrades to the secondary access points at all schools are expected to be complete by March 2021. These important safety improvements are made possible by the generous support of our Northshore community who voted to approve the 2018 bond.
Finally, as this has been a tumultuous week in many ways, I am reminded of the towering legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As we head into this first fall weekend, I will reflect on my favorite of her thoughts: “Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” And of course, "Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time." While especially during these times; “So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.” Please take good care this weekend and find joy in the predictable changes in our season and inspiration from a life well and truly lived…
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.