Thursday Thoughts: Welcome Back Kick-Off, Community Serve Day and Goal 4 Think Tank

I trust you are each enjoying a beautiful summer evening. I want to thank you for the great energy this morning at our Welcome Back Kickoff. It is so inspiring to be back together again as we prepare for the fast approaching start of the school year.  Congratulations to Leota on their victory this morning, and also congratulations to all the other schools, departments, and contestants attending, cheering, and participating.  The family that plays together, stays together ;>).  It is so important for us to connect and “Remember who you are.” – Mufasa.  We are Northshore!!

I have heard so many great stories of the work going on in the schools and departments this week. So many excited students and families about the start of a new school year. Please know how much you are each appreciated. Our community is better for your efforts.

In breaking news from our Community Partnerships Coordinator, Natalie Campbell, Community Serve Day was a wonderful success thanks to the continued dedication from our community partners, staff and volunteers. Bright and early on Sunday, August 25, over 2600 volunteers came out to serve our schools. Prepared for anything, volunteers completed projects across 26 of our campuses from painting playgrounds, pulling weeds and spreading yard material, to cleaning, decorating and organizing classrooms. Volunteers included our families, staff, past and present School Board members and community members.

In addition to the great work completed by volunteers, there are countless hours spent preparing for the day. A special thank you to Northshore Community Church for your continued partnership in planning and the facilitation of the day. Also vital to the success of the event is our Support Services Department. Over the past two weeks, our maintenance team provided over 180 gallons of paint and our custodians have been integral in ensuring our site leaders had the necessary access to our campuses. Our grounds team had a heavy lift in delivering 650 yards of mulch, 260 yards of play chips, 4 yards of gravel, 2 yards of sand bringing a grand total to 916 yards of material delivered which was spread by our volunteers the day of the event. All the hard work did not end on Sunday as 110 yards of debris have been hauled out from our campuses this week to ensure our school sites are ready to welcome our students the first day of school!

As I foreshadowed this morning, 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 me directly (you can reply to this email) and copy 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.  The book we will start out reading is Creating Innovators, by Tony Wagner.  If you are not able to make it to the Think Tank meetings and would like a copy of the text, let me know and we will get a copy out to you.  Otherwise, we will be distributing copies at 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 have a long holiday weekend ahead of us, let's be mindful of the meaning behind Labor Day which honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country. Thank you for all that each of you do each and every day to support our students and families. I hope you will find a joyful way to make space for family and friends this weekend.

Warmest regards,
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.



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