Thursday Thoughts: Graduations, Staff of Color Coalition, Professional Development and More

Superintendent Reid watching student speaker during Bothell graduation

Wow, what a beautiful week!! The summer solstice is upon us and we have now officially entered the summer season (on Friday). It is hard to even remember the snowy days of winter. ;>)

I want to take a moment and share how impressed I have been with all the different graduation ceremonies I have attended this spring.  I approach each graduation with a sense of wonder and am continually impressed with the quality, sense of dedication, strong relationships, and commitment everyone has brought to this important work. The graduates have been inspiring, the speeches thoughtfully written and passionately delivered, the music beautiful, the decorations and the elegant timeless traditions of the graduation ceremony itself beautifully continued. This event marks both an end and a beginning -- a timeless and significant tradition. Thank you one and all, from kindergarten through high school classroom and support staff, for all your hard work and dedication, and congratulations on graduating the Northshore Class of 2019 !!

Carving out pathways for all staff to be seen and heard aligns with Northshore’s commitment to embracing equitable practices and all who are a part of our district community. To that end, I am excited to share the success of yesterday’s End-of-Year Event for the Staff of Color Coalition (SOCC). There were 38 staff in attendance and they had the opportunity to engage in valuable dialogue with guest speaker Jesse Hagopian. The SOCC was created a year ago by the Subcommittee for Hiring and Retention and the Equity and Diversity Department. The purpose of the event, and the SOCC at large, is to support all staff who identify as non-white and/or multiracial in the District by providing them with space to share common experiences, learn from and grow with one another, engage in networking and professional development opportunities, and build mentoring strategies. The creation of this coalition aligns with Building Block 3 of our Strategic Plan and Goal 3 of Equity Policy 0001 in establishing culturally responsive attraction and retention strategies that support and value diversity in our staff.

The SOCC event also took place on Juneteenth, an annual observance that commemorates the ending of chattel slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, enslaved African Americans were freed in the state of Texas. This was the last state to adhere to the Proclamation, and a local Freedom Day celebration the next year has since turned into an annual day of observance in 46 states and the District of Columbia. It has yet to be recognized as a national holiday. Today, Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom, independence, advancements, and culture; yet we must also recognize that although there have been significant strides toward freedom, African Americans and their allies are still fighting for Black liberation in its totality. In Northshore, we value all of our community members and my hope is that we can continue to think about how to support one another in all of our struggles and journeys. Imagine the possibilities…

As we approach 2019-20, Northshore’s leadership team will continue our work on ensuring that our school system is ready for the launch of a cohesive and robust Response to Intervention (RtI) system to partner with the Positive Behavior Interventions and Support.  With the incorporation of RtI, our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Framework for Student Success will be whole.  The launch of RtI will occur in September 2020 and requires that we have all of the elements of a strong Tier 1 in place so that when RtI is implemented.  Shoring up our instructional core will be the way we ready for the launch of RtI.  Imagine the possibilities…

To support our leadership team as they in turn support our schools and departments in shoring up the core and readying for the launch of RtI, the leadership team will participate in learning across four strands of leadership work during the 2019-20 school year.  For each strand of leadership emphasis, leaders will read an accompanying text.  As we will be beginning this work over the summer at our August Advance, I thought you might find it interesting to hear about the texts and ideas we will be interrogating.  The strands and books are as follows:  1) Leadership for Equity & Instructional Improvement.  This strand focuses on instructional practice and the level of rigor in classrooms and across schools.  Leaders will read A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind.  2) Leadership for Equity & Inclusion.  This strand focuses on developing a deeper understanding of inclusive practices, and determining ways to ensure our policies, procedures, and instructional approaches support inclusive welcoming learning environment for all staff, students, and community members.  Leaders will read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Timeby Mark Haddon.  3) Leadership for Equity & Innovation.  This module focuses on developing a common definition of innovation and thinking about the ways schools and departments might innovate instructional or operational practices to enhance school or department outcomes.  Leaders will read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwambe.  4)  Leadership for Equity & Inspiration.  This module is focused on the importance of inspiration as a leadership act, as well as on strategies for strengthening team collaboration that inspire teams to excel.  Leaders will read Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.  I am so excited to read the texts I have not yet read, and to reread those I have with the lens of our work fast approaching.

In other rich learning opportunities, all staff will have the opportunity August offers us many learning opportunities prior to the start of the school year.  One of the biggest ones for staff in August is our Summer Institute.  This year, the Summer Institute is a three-day event and offers classes for both certified and classified staff.  The hope is to offer a variety of classes that will meet the needs of our required training for new curriculum and enrichment in other areas.  During the course of the week, we will be able to offer classes that can support over 2,000 registered participants.  These classes will all be held at Inglemoor High School and include elementary and secondary staff.  Each day will have a wide range of classes to choose from.

According to the Curriculum and Instruction Department, Tuesday, August 20th is our kick-off day.  We continue to add classes to the schedule, but have many offerings so far on this day. Topics on this day included: 

  • Light Search & Rescue
  • Cooperating Teacher Mentor Academy
  • Grades 3-12 Desmos Activity Builder
  • Google Expedition
  • Elementary and Secondary Grade Book
  • Close Reading Across Linked Text Sets – Grades 2-5
  • Elementary FLASH Training
  • Inclusion for Administrators

Wednesday classes offer several opportunities for staff wanting to extend their learning.  On this day we are able to provide training on:

  • Introduction to Phono-Graphix
  • IRR Administration
  • Making Learning Visible Through MathCasts for Grades K-12
  • NSD Instructional Practices
  • Stop the Bleed
  • Culturally Relevant Classroom Libraries
  • Team Collaboration: Effective Strategies to Working with Your Paraeducator Team
  • Copyright
  • Inclusion for General Education Teachers

Thursday, August 22nd, will be our wrap-up day and will include:

  • Erg Ed Rowing Curriculum
  • Elementary - Science Notebooks: Students write to learn
  • Principle Based De-escalation Strategies
  • Individual Running Records
  • Evaluation System & Student Growth Goals
  • Lesson Planning with iPads
  • Technology to Implement Formative Assessments with TCI Resources to Show and Support Student Learning
  • Active Threat Training
  • Co-Teaching in Highly Engaging Classrooms

We will be collecting feedback throughout the week for each class offered using an on-line class evaluation tool.  We are continuing to expand our schedule and are excited to be able to offer this to teachers prior to the start of the school year.  Providing NSD tailored professional development is a huge asset to our instructional staff.  This work is in direct support of the Professional Practices for Instructional Effectiveness outlined in the NSD Strategic Plan.  I plan to attend several of the classes and look forward to seeing you there.

Community partnerships contribute to the important work that takes place in the Northshore School District. So often, our community will rally around us to ensure all of our students are successful. One of the wonderful contributions of our District to our community is our sponsorship of Care Day, which is a one-day resource fair for local families experiencing poverty and homelessness.  This year, the 6th annual Care Day will take place on Friday June 28 from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at Northshore Middle School. The goal of Care Day, in partnership with Community Care Alliance, is to bring together service agencies and resources under one roof within Northshore to meet the needs of hundreds of struggling families and individuals in our community. Services include: free dental care; employment support; housing and food assistance; health and medical services; legal, financial and veteran services and a hot meal. The Northshore School District has been the key sponsor that enables Care Day to continue. Please help us get the word out to those who would most benefit.  What another great example of community partnerships.  Imagine the possibilities...

Over the summer, I will be periodically publishing Thursday Thoughts as we are still working on a budget, and I think it is important to keep you up to date on our planning for the coming year.  This is such an exciting time in our district as we conclude year two of the implementation of our strategic plan.  If you cannot access your work email over the summer, or simply prefer not to, my Thursday Thoughts are always posted to my blog on our district website Friday morning. I am also available by phone, email or in person over the summer, so if you have a minute, or an idea or ?? please connect with me.

And so, I wish for each of you a joyful summer respite and challenge you to reconnect with friends and family, reignite a passion you have perhaps let go, make time for the quiet and thoughtful introspection that gifts us with new insight into our lives, hopes and dreams, and celebrate this amazing time in our lives with a new adventure.  In thinking about the summer that stretches with promise ahead, F Scott Fitzgerald reminds us of "that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."

Enjoy and warmest regards,
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.



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