Message to Families: Northshore Learns Version 2.0

Hello Northshore Families,

I trust this note finds you enjoying a beautiful spring day.  Even as the news around us is difficult to assimilate, I continue to find joy in small moments and rich interactions with family, friends and colleagues (even furry family ;>). I trust each of you are also finding the time to seek joy in small moments while you practice social distancing and healthy safety habits.

As we look forward to our Northshore Learns v 2.0, I want to thank each of you for your patience as we have worked to make sense of often conflicting and generally restrictive guidance state and federal sources.  As we shift from the pause in our instructional model and add instruction onto the connections we have reestablished with students during the week of March 23-27, it is important to be clear about the expectations as we move forward. 

We must recognize that our next steps related to Northshore Learns will not look the same as our first attempt at virtual learning – a time when we were planning on a two-week school closure.  At this time, we are unsure when and if our current “normal” school year will resume.  To address these circumstances, we are shifting into a model that addresses the guidance provided by OSPI on March 23 while also adhering, to the extent possible, with best practices in virtual learning.

Here is our plan moving forward:

  • March 26 and March 27 - educators will meet virtually with their school teams to plan for the rollout of Northshore Learns v 2.0.  Each school will then send a message to families communicating the return to distance learning, starting on March 30.
  • March 30 through April 3 - educators will initiate the rollout of Northshore Learns v 2.0.  This will involve contacting students via email or during a virtual meeting for the purpose of sharing expectations for how students should engage in learning over the course of any given week.  The emphasis will be on connecting with students; making sure students understand how they will engage in learning; and providing initial independent tasks or projects that students can work on until the next time the content area (at elementary) or class (at secondary) convenes.

We, along with all other educators in Washington State and our nation, are facing an unprecedented situation. Due to the closure of our school buildings, we can no longer think about school in the way we are accustomed.  Equitable learning experiences will be our goal, but given the fact we are in the midst of a global pandemic, there may be factors that limit our ability to guarantee the same quality of education Northshore aspires to deliver.  With the closure of more and more parts of our society (e.g., the Stay at Home Order by the Governor), and with the added pressures for educators and their families, our approach to virtual learning needs to reflect these responsibilities and our current, rapidly changing reality. Further, in these unprecedented times, if educators become unable to deliver instruction to their individual class groups, we do not have substitutes to fill in at this time.

Using a common instructional schedule with specific times for core content area lessons, specific times for specialist and elective class lessons, and specific times for the delivery of Special Education and related services support will ensure that all educators in our District have the ability to support instruction in whatever ways their role might require.  A consistent, predictable instructional schedule not only enables educators to support their own families and ensure their own health and wellness, but also supports students’ families as they consider how to support their students’ learning in the home environment.

As our district continues to navigate this challenging time, we must continue to lean on the strengths of our community. We want to make sure that all of our students and staff are being treated with respect and dignity at this time and always ​- especially as we move to an online environment. This is not the time to segregate with unwarranted fear but to come together and help fight it with knowledge and compassion. It is vital to advocate for our community members and to stay kind to one another, and to uphold a culture of safety and belonging in and beyond our schools. In these tough and unpredictable times, we must stick together as a school community and remember that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. I want to remind us that when we are done with this COVID-19 outbreak, and we surely will be at some point, our community will still be our community and our district will still be our district.  What we say to one another now and in the coming days, and how we say it, matters, as we will remember how we felt far into the future. In Our House, in Our Community, whether virtual or physical, we will remain one that is inclusive, civil and inviting. We are Northshore !!

🐝 "Aerodynamically, the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway." --- Mary Kay Ash

Let’s do this !!
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Northshore School District

 

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