Thursday Thoughts: Teacher Appreciation Week, School Lunch Hero Day, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and More

Hello Team Northshore,

Well, here we are, the first full week of May and spring’s gifts abounding.  As I continue to reflect on the importance of community, the truth that relationships matter, and the clear evidence that demonstrates that learning happens best in community, I am reminded that our Northshore community is strong and getting stronger.  “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” — Coretta Scott King.  We have much to be grateful for as we ‘learn into’ the work we have ahead of us; together all things are possible…

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week! I want to extend my gratitude to all of our educators in Northshore for their time and dedication to supporting our students and Northshore families. It is well known that teachers change the lives of millions of children every day but during this last year, teachers have taken on the challenge of teaching students virtual, in-person or a mix of both, having never worked harder. I encourage you to take a moment to say thank you to our teachers and school staff who make education in Northshore possible by sharing a message with them.

School Lunch Hero Day

Tomorrow, May 7 is School Lunch Hero Day and I want to say a big thank you to all of our Food & Nutrition staff who have done exceptional work, especially over the last year! As essential workers, Northshore kitchen staff have worked five days a week onsite since March 2020, even through the summer months. They’ve served more than 1.5 million meals while students attended remote schooling. They provided meals 391 out of the past 414 days and provided nearly 300,000 meals to family homes that did not have transportation to community pickup locations. They also pivoted their skills to support families and worked in various ways including library book distribution, family outreach, translation services, sorting curriculum materials and supporting families who needed to sign up for free internet services. Please take a moment and thank our Food & Nutrition staff by sharing a message with them.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

This month is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a tribute to and celebration of the cultures, histories, contributions, and achievements of Asian American and Pacific Islander peoples across the country. The tribute takes place this month, in part, as an acknowledgement of the oppressions and contributions that many people of Asian descent have experienced in the U.S. Two significant historical notes: In May of 1843, the first Japanese peoples immigrated to the U.S., and in May of 1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed, which involved the labor of many Chinese immigrants. May we, in Our House, continue to learn about and amplify our diverse histories, cultures and heritage. This is a time, as it is always the time, to spread awareness and gain knowledge about the stories of these communities nationwide and continue to learn about, value and appreciate our own diverse Northshore community. There are so many powerful lessons and stories to be told. I look forward to learning more…

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit peoples Awareness Day

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit peoples (MMIWG2S) Awareness Day was yesterday, May 5. This is an annual day to spread awareness about the murders and assaults on Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit peoples and to put a spotlight on the critical need for transnational, systemic and institutional change. The patriarchal, heteronormative and colonial violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit peoples has been going on for centuries and it is critical that we continue to learn more about the bigger picture functions that have led to these outcomes for far too long. In Our House, we shall continue to collaborate on ways to build humanizing and safe educational spaces for each of our students, families, and educators. Further, we must continue to amplify the voices and honor the lives of the Indigenous students, families, and educators that are part of our district-community.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is also on May 5 each year. This day recognizes the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War on May 5, 1862. While the holiday may not be significantly celebrated in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has become an increasingly celebrated day in the U.S. It is important not to engage in cultural appropriation or maintain stereotypes on this day. Rather, we can honor authentic Mexican culture and heritage in and outside of the classroom and teach about this historical event.

The Toothbrush of the Future

In late breaking Leopard news shared by Teacher Jean Dinell, I want to congratulate our Lockwood Elementary second grade students Lillian Anderson, Alex Doyle and Rory Rundquist, who invented “The Toothbrush of the Future” for the ExploraVision competition, the largest K-12 science competition in the world. They placed first in the K-3 division at the national event this week! According to part of the student’s abstract, they described the project by saying, “Our toothbrush will test your saliva every time you brush for viruses like COVID. Our toothbrush can also check for cavities, and our 3D printer can print braces. It can talk to your doctors and dentists about your health. Our toothbrush of the future has a computer and an AI program to make decisions about what its sensors see. The toothbrush also includes speakers, a camera, and 3D printer.” The innovation and teamwork, as well as their collaboration, perseverance, and spirit, are so inspiring!  Go Leopards !!

Students' Silhouettes Featured on Alaska Airlines Plane

I’m excited to share that Northshore student Kaden Mickey and former Northshore student Kyra Mickey were part of a special event with Alaska Airlines in late April when Alaska unveiled their plane to take education and equity to the skies, while raising awareness, inspiring conversation and creating belonging. With students being the future leaders, Alaska put the silhouettes of the faces of the children of Alaska’s Black employees on the plane. Kaden and Kyra’s mom is the former director of diversity and inclusion for Alaska Airlines, so they are included on the plane. I encourage you to learn more about the faces on the plane, including Kaden and Kyra. In Our House we remain committed to this same belonging and inclusivity and are proud of Kaden and Kyra representing Northshore!

Unleash the Brilliance

Recently, Northshore School District was one of two districts in the state awarded with the Racial Discipline Gap grant from OSPI. Thanks to this grant, and the leadership of Student Services Director Rick Ferrell, we have partnered with Unleash The Brilliance (UTB) to empower youth to make positive decisions and build a positive partnership between schools and families. The collaboration between Northshore and UTB is to inspire youth to value the process of learning and proactively engage in their education as we share ideas and tools that empower students to proactively engage in their future and with their community. The objective is to work with students, parents and staff on the principles of equity, amnesty, trauma-informed sensitivity and restorative practices to minimize school infractions that lead to harsher consequences that impact learning. Since the project will involve the cohesive collaboration of Northshore students, school staff and parents, UTB will be poised to strengthen these relationships and to assimilate them into the positive learning environment that is currently being established to help lessen disproportionate rates of discipline. UTB will be offering workshops through the end of June that will help families learn about the discipline process and share their thoughts, hopes and concerns with others. These informational workshops will in turn help staff to become more aware of these issues affecting our students.  Reimagining the possibilities…

The Importance of Getting Names Right

Recently, a colleague shared with me this story from NPR titled “What Listeners Told Us About The Importance of Getting Names Right.” I encourage you to listen to the brief clip or read the story about the weight and meaning behind names. One college student is quoted saying "I will forever be grateful for having my name, even if people mispronounce it, because it's given me so many defining experiences. It's taught me a lot about valuing myself, having confidence — even being considerate towards other people, being inclusive, and being brave enough to tell people when they're wrong." As we consider this quote, let’s be intentional in getting to know one another’s names and pronouncing them correctly. As the article shares, if you are unsure of how to say someone’s name, simply ask. Together as a community we want to celebrate our identities and names are an important aspect of this.

Bond-Funded Camera Project Update

In an update for one of our bond-funded projects, I want to share that our camera project continues to make progress, which focuses on adding and modernizing cameras districtwide. Contracts were awarded for Kokanee and Woodmoor elementary schools, as well as Northshore Middle School for the procurement and installation of cameras, with installs anticipated during the next couple months. Camera inventory has also been purchased for Bothell and Inglemoor high schools, Secondary Academy for Success, and Canyon Park Middle School for a future contract. These installs are expected to be completed during the 2021-22 school year. Prior to this districtwide initiative, the District’s elementary schools lacked video coverage, and systems installed at middle and high schools were aging. Once complete, the additions and modernizations will enable better area coverage, have improved technology to provide clearer images, and newer cameras that are compatible with a new centralized video management system (VMS). Additionally, the modernizations will ensure that there is similar coverage on each of our school campuses as specified by the Safe Schools Advisory Committee report from May 2019. The upgrades at the secondary level will be ongoing and are expected to be complete in 2022.  Thank you to our generous Northshore voters who approved the 2018 bond, which makes these important safety upgrades possible for our students and staff.

As I close this evening, and contemplate the strength of our collective community, I am reminded of comments our former First Lady Barbara Bush shared; "Believe in something larger than yourself... get involved in the big ideas of your time.....Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others." I often think of those words and acts, small and large, that those who follow us will remember about us; the strength of our relationships, our compassion and participation in both our own and one another’s lives, and the power of an undivided community.  I trust you will each enjoy a fabulous weekend.

Warmest regards,

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.



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