I want to start my notes this evening with a 'thank you for your service' to all Northshore School District staff who are veterans and have served this amazing country. Secondly, I would like to thank those Northshore staff who are family members of veterans as I understand the sacrifice this entails.
I am always thrilled to be with our students and witness their leadership on important topics. Having recently “attended” several concerts and Veteran's Day assemblies, I know that we can all be proud of the leadership, integrity, and vision of our young people. I am so impressed with the talent in this great district and have been so moved by the performances and heartfelt sentiments shared by our young people. The respect and appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform is so important. We owe them such a debt of gratitude for so many things both large and small. I know these events require a great deal of effort and attention to detail on the part of so many staff in our schools, particularly this year; it matters. It also reminds us of the importance our fine and performing arts play in the story of our great nation. It is music and art that touches our souls in a manner that words alone cannot. Our community and nation are in good hands. Thank you one and all....
Saturday, November 14 is Diwali. This is one of the largest festivals celebrated by Hindus and other faiths all over the world. This celebration marks the victory of goodness over evil. It is also called the Festival of Lights. People celebrate Diwali with fireworks displays and the lighting of lamps. Light is the symbol of hope, knowledge, positivity, optimism, joy, and happiness. On Diwali day families share food and gifts with friends, relatives, and give to various charities. Having shared this, I also want to acknowledge that many of the holidays traditionally celebrated during this fall and winter season will require us to be creative in how we safely celebrate with family and friends given our current pandemic environment; together all things are possible.
Native Heritage Month
A little over 30 years ago, President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 Native American Heritage Month. Although the month has become nationally known as Native American Heritage Month, after researching this topic, we are referring to it as Native Heritage Month with the understanding that Indigenous Peoples were here before white settler colonialism. As our Racial and Educational Justice Department has recommended, we are refraining from using the term in an effort to honor the lives and histories of Native peoples in and beyond Turtle Island - the name used by many tribes when referring to this great land. Each Monday for the rest of the month, you can celebrate Native heritage with the Eastside Native American Education Program. I also encourage you to visit our Native Heritage resource page to learn more. Our Racial and Educational Justice Department is currently working with local tribal leaders on an inclusive and official land acknowledgement that can be used throughout our district. More to come on this topic in the coming days…
On Friday, I began my annual sojourn to every classroom with a visit to Wellington Elementary. For now, my visits will be virtual, but just as important as an in-person visits for many reasons. During my visits to schools, I first meet with parents and guardians to listen to ideas and respond to questions. Then I “tiptoe” into classrooms to observe the instruction and learning for a few moments before breaking bread and chatting with a group of students. I always learn so much from these visits. At Wellington, I saw engaged learning, dynamic instruction and everyone embracing the challenge of learning in a virtual space. I also had a great chat with the Lunch Bunch about what’s working – like doing things at one’s own pace – and what students would like to see – like more opportunities to connect with friends and more games during choice time ;>) I continue to be so inspired by our students’ and educators’ resiliency! You can see a picture of our Lunch Bunch here. A big thank you to Principal Brian Matthias and his amazing team for piloting the first of my virtual visits. Our students are at the core of our work, and I am so appreciative of the opportunity to share time with them in their learning environments. I am looking forward to ‘visiting’ Woodinville HS tomorrow morning as we pilot a secondary school visit. I know there are so many details and appreciate the efforts of Principal Criscione and his team in setting up an exciting morning to come ;>)
I continue to be grateful for the investment of time and resources being made by all of our educators who are reimagining and recreating the best possible virtual learning experience for our students. In Our House, we are all working to support one another in this unusual journey, and I draw hope from this community that continues to grow stronger. I want to take a moment to acknowledge the Lockwood Elementary staff who have had a particularly challenging time this fall as their building is not yet available. Their heroic efforts, as some of them are working out of classrooms in other schools, have not gone unnoticed. I know that our Capital Projects and Communications teams will continue to work to provide support and in the meantime, I am deeply grateful for the flexibility, resilience, and can-do attitude demonstrated by the Lockwood staff and colleagues at buddy schools supporting their essential services; together, all things are possible.
National School Psychology Week
This week of November 9-13, 2020 is National School Psychology Week (NSPW). The work that school psychologists and other educators do to help all students thrive is so important. Here is what the National Association of School Psychologists says about "The Power of Possibility," this year’s theme: “The word ‘possibility’ implies hope, growth, resilience, and renewal. Possibility suggests that even something as small as a seed can grow into something magnificent. The word ‘power’ implies that things can and will happen. When we focus on what is possible, we have hope that students will grow, thrive and bloom." As further recognition, the Governor's office proclaimed this week School Psychology Awareness Week. As many of you know, I often encourage our community to imagine the possibilities. I believe only then can we support our students in reaching their full potential.
World Kindness Day
Friday is World Kindness Day. I’ve heard that one kind word or deed can change someone’s entire day. So, I am challenging all of us to perform at least one random act of kindness on Friday. In just one day, our school district community has the potential to create more than 27,000 random acts of kindness, but don’t stop there! Simple acts of kindness are free. It won’t cost us a thing to keep it going. You can find simple ideas for everyone here. Now, more than ever, we can create needed change one act of kindness at a time. Imagine the possibilities!
As we contemplate the coming weekend, I hope that you and yours find time to connect with those who are special to you in a safe way. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
All the best and take good care,
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.