Thursday Thoughts: Teacher Appreciation Week, School Lunch Hero Day, Bothell High Jazz 1 to Perform at Lincoln Center , and More

This is a very busy and exciting month. What a great week, and my how the days are racing by. It is truer now more than ever that while the days can be long, the years are short. It seems that the more years I have behind me, the shorter the years become ;>) It is such a busy time of the year; I hope we remember to pause and appreciate the beauty around us... 

Teacher Appreciation Week

There are so many important celebrations and remembrances this week and over the month of May. I want to begin with Teacher Appreciation Week. There is so much that I could say about our teachers. I know the work that each and every teacher accomplishes inside the classroom has far reaching impact in our students lives, their families’ lives, in our community, and the world. I want to share this additional brief message. This is one of the toughest and inspiring professions with the highest of expectations, and I am grateful for the attention you invest to making your teaching and learning spaces safe, welcoming, and inclusive. It matters. Thank you! 

School Lunch Hero Day

Our school communities are celebrating kitchen staff across the District tomorrow, May 6, during the 10th annual School Lunch Hero Day. If you have a chance, please say thank you to the exceptional staff members who work tirelessly to ensure students have nutritious meals. There are about 125 kitchen staff members across the District who serve roughly 13,000 meals per day. Director of Food & Nutrition Services Juliana Fisher reports that as of the end of April, staff have served 1,867,309 meals this school year, which is about a 30 percent increase in lunch participation and a 150 percent increase in breakfast participation compared to before the pandemic. Thank you to all of our staff in Food & Nutrition Services – you are School Lunch Heroes today and every day!  

Bothell High Jazz 1 to Perform at Lincoln Center

You may remember from a previous Thursday Thoughts that our own Bothell Jazz Band 1 was selected to compete in the prestigious Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center. I received news from Bothell’s Director of High School Bands, Phillip Dean that we can watch the Bothell Jazz Band 1 perform live tomorrow (Friday) at 11:30 a.m. PST. I encourage you to tune in at this link if you can. Go Cougars! 

Northlake Regional Solo & Ensemble Contest Winners

In other music news, congratulations to the 109 Northshore students who performed at the State Solo and Ensemble Contest at Central Washington University on April 29 and 30. Each of these students had previously won their division at the Northlake Regional Solo & Ensemble Contest in February in order to qualify for a performance spot in the state competition. Special congratulations to the following students who won or placed in their division at the state competition: Eric Schindler, Inglemoor High School, 1st place, cello solo; AJ Larsen, Bothell High School, 3rd place, baritone vocal solo; Eason Chen, Rachel Lan, and Hannah Yi, North Creek High School, 3rd place, small woodwind ensemble.  These young musicians continue to inspire us !!

Frank Love Elementary School Visit 

On Friday, I had an opportunity to visit Frank Love Elementary. As always, I sat with parents and guardians to learn what was on their minds before having a fun and insightful conversation with a group of Frank Love students. I learned that we have some pretty amazing students who, even at a young age, understand the importance of their education and the great teachers and staff they have at Frank Love. Then I toured the classrooms to see creative teaching and engaged learning taking place. I want to thank the Cheetah community for being so welcoming. Go Cheetahs!  

Just one example of the deep commitment of our Northshore educators is Deb Fullerton at Moorlands Elementary. I received word that she wrote a Fund for Teachers grant proposal to meet the learning gaps in her classroom. Deb will “accompany Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity on an exploration of Poland’s past and present to empower students to become change-makers in their communities, nation, and world.” As one of three Teacher Fellows from the state of Washington this year, Deb shared in her proposal, “Our state mandates Holocaust Education; however, the bulk of resources are geared toward older students. Furthermore, resources provided are a suggested start and don’t fully address foundational issues around biased attitudes and the apex of the pyramid of hate where genocide occurs. Because of this fellowship, I can modify current resources to fit my students’ needs while also building additional resources that teachers and students can access.”  Congratulations Deb!!

Mental Health Awareness Month

This month is also Mental Health Awareness Month. From Student Services Director, Rick Ferrell, “Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the United States since 1949. Although there has historically been a stigma associated with how various demographics handle and acknowledge mental health issues, mental health does not discriminate and affects individuals regardless of race, gender, and socioeconomic status. As reported by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), this short list shows the impact of mental illness in our communities:    

14% of Asian adults 

17% of African American/Black adults 

17% of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander adults 

18% of Hispanic/Latinx adults 

19% of American Indian/Alaska Native adults

23% of White adults

36% of multiracial adults 

47% LGBTQ adults      

During the past year, the health of many of our family, friends, and the Northshore School District community members has been impacted by the pandemic. During this same timeframe, we have also seen an increase in individuals who have experienced mental health symptoms.  We are working in our schools and with partners like the PTSA to remove the stigma around mental health and mental illness by opening dialogue and increasing opportunities to learn more. On Saturday, May 21, NAMI Seattle is hosting a free online Youth Mental Health First Aid course. This training is open to anyone concerned about the well-being of adolescents in our community.  Any interested individuals should register by Friday, May 6. Please also visit our Mental Health Awareness Month webpage to find a number of additional community support events by NAMI for the month of May."

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

May 5 is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit peoples (MMIWG2S). 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 change and action to stop this from happening. 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. We must amplify the voices and honor the lives of the Indigenous students, families, and educators that are part of our district community. 

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

This month is also Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a tribute to and celebration of the cultures, histories, contributions, and achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country. 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. In Our House, we celebrate the differences between and among us and respect every individual who is a part of it. Find ways to celebrate by visiting: https://asianpacificheritage.gov/

I want to take a moment to celebrate one of our own community members. Teresa King is a product engineer at Boeing. (She is also married to Racial and Educational Justice Executive Director Dr. Chris Bigelow.) As part of their celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Teresa’s company celebrated her by sharing her story – and it is a compelling one. She was one of the first women, and the first woman of Asian descent on her team when she started her career at Boeing in 1991. Teresa broke barriers 30 years ago and continues to reach back and support other Asian women to climb to even greater heights. You can read Teresa’s story here.  

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated 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 stereotyping on this day and always. Rather, we can honor authentic Mexican culture and heritage in and outside of the classroom and teach about this historical event. 

DECA International Career Development Conference

Also, a big congratulations to Bothell High School’s Tamanna Mishra who competed at the DECA International Career Development Conference. She qualified for her 20-page Career Development paper. Marketing teacher, Diane Brust, said their time in Atlanta was well spent with networking, learning, growing, and exploring the city. She added that she looks forward to growing the DECA program at Bothell High and taking more students to the international conference next year.  Well done and Go Cougars !!

The National Day of Prayer

This year, May 5 is the current first Thursday of May. Therefore, it is a day that is also identified as “The National Day of Prayer and is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked "to turn to God in prayer and meditation". The president is required by law to sign a proclamation each year, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.  Former President Ronald Reagan amended former President Harry Truman's original 1952 law, designating the first Thursday of May as the National Day of Prayer by issuing a new proclamation each year, encouraging Americans to pray that day.”

Interim Superintendent Search

A reminder that the search is underway for an interim superintendent to lead Northshore for the next year. The School Board is asking our community to take a short survey to provide feedback on the qualities of an interim superintendent. Please take a moment to complete our survey and share your thoughts. Responses are due ​Friday, May 13. The School Board will begin the search for the permanent superintendent this fall, with a robust community engagement process. Please visit the Superintendent Search website for updates. 

North Creek High School Intercultural Festival

Finally, this evening I had the opportunity to visit the North Creek HS Intercultural Festival which was extremely well attended. We know learning happens best in community and the energy present this evening is definitely a testament to the strength of embracing our diversity.  “When you learn something from people, or from a culture, you accept it as a gift, and it is your lifelong commitment to preserve it and build on it.”― Yo-Yo Ma

I wish each of you a joyful spring weekend ahead,

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

Superintendent

 

 

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