Thursday Thoughts: WEB & LINK Leaders, Northshore Inspires, Goal 4 Think Tank and More

Wow, what a smooth start to the epic school year we have had this week.  As I have been out in the schools, I have been so moved by the WEB and LINK leaders and the intentional ways in which we are welcoming students and families to our learning communities. Further, our staff in ways large and small are taking that extra time and putting that extra effort into making this start special for all involved.  We are indeed a community of doers.  Thank you.

In thinking about several themes for the current year, I am planning regular short segments in my Thursday Thoughts on several themes: Northshore InspiresNorthshore Innovates and Northshore Kind. Northshore Inspires will be a thematic shout out to a student or staff member who has inspired others in some way. Northshore Innovates will be a thematic shout out to a student or staff member who is innovating in some way, and Northshore Kind will be a thematic shout out to a student or staff member who has been particularly kind in some way.  If you have any ideas or nominations as the year progresses, please send them my way and I will include them in my Thoughts which become part of my public blog on Fridays.  The more we focus on what is going well, the more that I believe will go well.

In this spirit, I want to share an example of a Northshore Inspires moment this past weekend.  Our own Bill Bagnall, Lockwood Elementary Principal, set out Saturday to shop for groceries and fill up the gas tank.  What should have been a routine day, turned out quite differently. While crossing over I-405 heading southbound, Bill noticed a young man perhaps in his mid-twenties leaning over the railing as if he was watching the traffic.  It’s interesting how a mind makes meaning.  At that moment, Bill didn’t detect any evidence or clues that there was a problem, and for a second or two, his brain kind of checked it off and dismissed it.  However, within a shocking nanosecond, Bill realized that the young man was not sightseeing. Noticing that there was no oncoming northbound traffic, Bill flipped a U-Turn and sped back to the middle of the bridge.  Bill then abandoned his truck in the right lane and proceeded to approach the young man with the best version of open posture he could muster. Throughout, Bill continued to express words of encouragement.  It became clear to Bill very quickly that it was time to take some kind of action as he believed the young man was contemplating seriously, his own death. Soon another community member happened on the scene and together he and Bill physically pulled the young suicidal man away from the highway overpass ledge to safety.  It was a swift and successful maneuver and once down, they were able to restrain him until officers and EMT staff from the Bothell Police and Fire Departments arrived to take over.

And so Bill shares; “Every day poses challenges and problems for us and things seem beyond our control sometimes. Pick off small actions and just  “Do the next right thing.” Sounds like great advice, just imagine the possibilities…  Thank you for inspiring us Bill; it matters.

In another reminder, as I foreshadowed last week, in our strategic plan work for the coming year, I will be focusing on Goal 4: Innovative, Creative, Critical Thinkers as we contemplate innovation on a system wide scale.  I am planning to facilitate a Goal 4 Think Tank that will meet every two weeks during the course of this school year.  We will be looking at research on innovation and how schools and school districts make space for it at scale.  We will be highlighting innovative projects happening here in our district and also those we select from outside our district to learn more about.  We launched this conversation formally during our recent August Advance and our thought partner on this topic, Dr. Tony Wagner, (former Harvard Innovation Lab lead) presented his perspective and thoughts on this necessary conversation.

If you have an interest in participating in this Think Tank, please email Cindy Benson ( and we will add you to our email list of invites for the meetings. I am excited about this conversation and how it will inform our newest high school program planned for the school to be housed in the CP-4 building recently purchased.  I also want to reiterate that this will not be the only topic related to innovation so please feel free to consider attending no matter what grade level you are working with or department/program you are a part of. The book we will start out reading is "Creating Innovators" by Tony Wagner. The first meeting which will be on Wednesday - September 11, from 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm in the Board Room at the District Office. Imagine the possibilities…

As we are starting a new school year, I want to provide a reminder as several of you have asked again how best to tune into my Twitter account for late breaking school weather plans and other news so I will include the directions again. I want to share with you that after hearing from students and community members at recent school and activity visits, I have decided to continue Twitter ;>) Visit my page and follow me at @Northshore_Supt. Please feel free to send me questions, suggestions, and innovative ideas. I love to hear from students, staff, parents, and community partners. Like the Thursday memo and my blog, Twitter is another tool that will help us all stay connected and share information. As you ‘follow my Twitter account’ you too can be among the first to know about school snow closures, inclement weather issues, wildlife challenges, safety messages, etc. I will also be sharing up to date news on what’s new around the district. The really good news is that I am limited in characters in those Twitter communications ;>) !!

I continue to so appreciate the warmth and dedication of the staff here in this amazing school district. We have so much to be proud of and grateful for in this community of learners. I look forward to seeing more of you and having the opportunity for more personal visits as I am out and about.  As we think about the impact of the mighty acts we engage in, I am struck by the simplicity of celebrating the idea that big impact comes from making a series of many small changes.   Please also know that I think I have heard the practice of patience over perfection, and not allowing the pursuit of perfection to stop progress, a few times in the last couple of days ;>)   “Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. ”  —  Dr. David M. Burns    Let's enjoy this time together....

Warmest regards,
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.



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