Connections: January 23, 2023

Connections: January 23, 2023



News from the Northshore School District



Superintendent Michael Tolley visits Hollywood Hill ElementaryJanuary 23, 2023

Dear Northshore Students, Families, and Staff:

I would like to start by wishing our Asian and Pacific Islander community a happy Lunar New Year! In 2023, the Lunar New Year began on January 22 and is usually celebrated for multiple days. To learn more about this significant holiday celebrated by our Asian and Pacific Islander communities, you can view the  History Channel's Lunar New Year explanation and resources.

With a heavy heart, it is also imperative to acknowledge the devastating mass shooting on Saturday in Monterey Park, California. What was supposed to be a joyous Lunar New Year celebration turned into a horrific, senseless tragedy. I send my condolences and support to the families of each victim, each survivor, all who have been impacted, including our own Asian and Pacific Islander students, families, staff and communities. 

During times like these, it is important to reaffirm our collective commitments. Here in the Northshore School District we are continuing the important work of creating safe, caring, and inclusive environments within our school district community so that all students, families and staff feel welcomed, valued and supported. Hate and discrimination will not be tolerated in our District. 

If you or your child ever has a concern about bullying, harassment, bias, or racism, you can report it using our SafeSchools alert system.  There is an option to report anonymously. 

In other news, on January 9 the Washington State Legislature convened its first of the year Biennial Session. This will be a critical session for public education across our state. Over the course of 105 days, our elected representatives will discuss and eventually adopt a 2023-25 Operating Budget, which includes funding for public education. Seventy-three percent of Northshore’s budget is paid for by the state based on student enrollment. Local taxes used for public education, referred to as levies, help make up the gap between what the state provides and what our students need. 

Of great importance this legislative session, will be any recommended changes to the Special Education funding formula.  Full funding of Special Education is a Legislative Priority of our School Board. Last school year, Northshore invested over $23.6 million of local levy dollars on special education services and supports for our students with disabilities. These are not “extras” but foundational supports students need to thrive and reach their full potential. 

While the Legislature has provided incremental increased support for special education in the last few years, districts across our region and state are hopeful that measurable steps will be taken to provide the financial support necessary to deliver special education services to our students. 

Superintendent Reykdal and OSPI have requested $971.9 million for special education. You can read more about Reykdal’s special education budget proposal on the OSPI legislative priorities webpage

To learn more about educational priorities during this legislative session and how to get involved, visit the Northshore Council PTSA advocacy webpage. Additionally, the Council has a webpage dedicated to resources for Special Education which families and community members may find helpful. I will continue to keep you updated as funding proposals are made and make their way through the state’s budgeting process. 

Last week, I wrapped up my Listen and Learn tour with a special engagement session for families representing the Indian subcontinent and Chinese and Korean speaking families. I also met with North Creek’s Black Student Union. 

One of the many lessons I have learned during my Listen and Learn tour, is the importance of language access in making sure families are supported as partners in their children’s education. In response, we are launching ParentSquare. Northshore is a language-rich district with over 100 different languages and dialects spoken by our families and students. Communicating with families in their preferred language is one way we can demonstrate our commitment to inclusion, belonging, and strong family partnerships. More information about ParentSquare can be found below. 

Thank you to all of the staff, families, and students who have shown up to share your thoughts and feedback directly with me at the Listen and Learn sessions. Your ideas and comments will be summarized in a final public report and presented at the District’s State of our Schools on February 8. Look for more information below about the State of our Schools event and how to watch the live steam. 

In partnership,
Michael Tolley
Interim Superintendent

To read any of Interim Superintendent Tolley's messages to families, students, and staff, please click the button below.

Interim Superintendent's Blog






Reminder: No School on Jan. 30, Elementary Early Dismissal on Feb. 10


Monday, Jan. 30 is a non-student day. This day allows teachers time to complete grading for the first semester, which ends on Friday, Jan. 27. In addition, for elementary schools ONLY, Friday, Feb. 10 is a conference early dismissal day. Students whose families will be invited to conferences will receive this information from their student’s teacher.

View the Elementary Conference Dismissal Times



Northshore Launches ParentSquare Communications Tool for Families and Secondary Students
ParentSquare logo with green blue magenta and yellow circles on a gray background

Northshore School District is committed to continually evaluating and improving our communication services and supports for families and students. 

We are excited to announce that the District has adopted a new communication tool called ParentSquare. This multilingual communications platform is designed to keep families, guardians, staff, and middle and high school students informed and encourage greater engagement and connection with our schools and the District. ParentSquare goes live today January 23, 2023 for the District, School Leaders, and Office Staff. Educators and other school staff will receive training in January and February. 

ParentSquare will provide families and students streamlined communications, responsive to your needs including, but not limited to: 

  • Communication in your preferred language;

  • Messages from school(s) or the District via email, text, or app notification;

  • Opportunity to receive information as it is sent, or all at once with a daily digest at the end of the day;

  • Ability to reply to staff directly from a post (similar to social media) in the app; 

  • Direct messaging to staff; and

  • Ability to sign up for conferences, sign forms, permission slips, and much more all from your mobile device or computer.

Learn More About Northshore’s Launch of ParentSquare


2023-24 School Year Calendar Dates Now Available
The Northshore School District is pleased to share the key dates for the 2023-24 school year, including the first day of school and all school breaks throughout the year. We will begin school on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. Please visit our website for the complete one-page calendar.

Download the 2023-24 School Year Calendar

Update Your Calendar: Friday, May 26 is Now a School Day

Due to the inclement weather and cancellation of school on Nov. 30, 2022, school will now be in session on Friday, May 26. The last day of school is currently Tuesday, June 20, 2023. If additional make-up days are needed, they will be added to the end of the school year.

Download the Revised 2022-23 School Year Calendar

School Board Recognition Month

January is School Board recognition month! Please help us in thanking our dedicated School Board Directors for their commitment and service to our students, families, staff, and greater community. You can read the Governor’s 2023 Proclamation here

Northshore Wins Government Finance Officers Association Award for Excellence

The Northshore School District was selected as one of seven winners of the 2022 Awards for Excellence in Government Finance. Given by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), the winners represent a diverse set of governments and agencies. The District is the only public school system in the U.S. and Canada to receive this award. GFOA recognized Northshore with this honor due to the District adjusting its budgeting process to ensure alignment between the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan and its available resources. While still following the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s budgeting guidelines, the District also uses performance measures to align the budget and pursue Strategic Plan goals.

Learn About Northshore’s Award of Excellence




2022 Capital Bond Report: Design and Family Engagement Begins

The 2022 Capital Bond school growth projects that will take place at eight schools continue to progress. The timeline for each project’s design work and community engagement varies but all have builders and/or architectural firms selected and will begin the design phase in late winter/spring 2023. The four school expansion projects taking place at Crystal Springs, Fernwood, and Woodin elementary schools and Sorenson Early Childhood Center will host community engagement sessions on Zoom and in-person at each school in late January and early February. These projects were made possible due to the generous support of Northshore voters, who approved the 2022 Capital Bond.

View the Dates and Times for Community Engagement Sessions



Winter Weather Reminders


This is a good time to remind our Northshore community about the District’s snow and hazardous road condition response. The decision to close or delay schools due to inclement weather is made by the Superintendent as early as possible, typically by 5:30 a.m. 

Northshore is a large district that covers more than 60 square miles. While conditions may seem normal in your neighborhood, it may be unsafe in others. All of this is taken into consideration when a decision is made to cancel, delay, activate snow routes, or keep everything on a normal schedule. Remember, if the District does not make an announcement, it means schools are open and buses are operating normally.

Learn About School Closure & Delay Information


Staying Home When Sick 


Let’s continue to work together to support our school community’s health! Students and staff are encouraged to follow these easy steps to limit the spread of respiratory illnesses including the flu, COVID-19, and RSV: 

  • Stay home if you’re sick

  • Test for COVID-19 if you feel sick and before returning to school or work. You can get  free tests for your family. 

  • Wash your hands frequently

  • Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Stay up to date on vaccinations

Learn more about our tips for staying healthy on our District’s Health webpage. Families are also highly encouraged to review current guidance from Public Health so you can make informed decisions about masking, community risk, and vaccinations. 


Ruby Bridges Elementary - Leading the Way for Inclusion
Ruby Bridges Elementary is one of OSPI’s statewide inclusionary practice demonstration sites in partnership with the Haring Center at University of Washington. These demonstration sites are a cohort of schools leading the way toward “inclusive school communities,” ensuring all students, including students receiving special education, multilingual learner services, and other supports are authentically included and thriving in general education classrooms. Ruby Bridges is a demonstration site for other schools, administrators, and educators interested in increasing inclusionary practices in Washington state and nationally. Learn more about the work of Ruby Bridges Elementary staff and student outcomes in last week’s Crosscut article
Bothell High School Student Wins State Stock Market Game

In Bothell High School’s Personal Finance classes, students compete in a statewide stock market game. Each student is given $100,000 to invest for 10 weeks. Business education teacher Terry Ley shared that senior Lucas Gerity turned his $100,000 into $111,001.79 in just 10 weeks and had the number one portfolio in the state. The personal finance classes at Bothell have produced the state winner in this contest each of the past three years, a testament to the program and accomplishments of these outstanding students. Congratulations, Lucas!



Changes to Availability of Isolation Learning Support Lessons


The number of reported COVID cases in Northshore schools is low and the number of students at the elementary level who are isolating due to COVID is low and has been for some time. Fewer than 5 students each day, on average, have accessed the Isolation Learning Support lessons virtually. Therefore, unless the number of COVID cases rise and results in a larger number of students who must remain at home, the Isolation Learning Support lessons will not occur until further notice. Students who must remain at home because of a COVID-related illness should contact their teachers and log into Schoology or Seesaw to gain access to learning materials. If case numbers rise significantly and more students must isolate, we will make and communicate adjustments to our approach.






Registration Now Open for Innovation Lab High School – Learn More at Next School Tour


Innovation Lab High School supports independent thinkers and doers coming together in a community to create, experiment, and learn. Academics are integrated across courses resulting in students’ deep understanding of the content and how it applies in real-life situations through learning expeditions and class projects. Families currently enrolled in a Northshore middle school or high school who would like to learn more about this choice high school program are encouraged to attend a school building tour (register in advance as space is limited):

  • School Tour: Thursday, Jan. 26, 4-5 p.m. at Innovation Lab High School (register here)

In addition, the Innovation Lab High School application window is now open and the “first consideration” deadline for applicants is Jan. 31, 2023. 

Learn More or Apply to Attend ILHS




State of Our Schools Livestreamed Wednesday, Feb. 8


The community is invited to view the 2023 State of Our Schools on Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 8-9 a.m. This event is a celebration of our community’s public schools and all that we have accomplished together. Interim Superintendent Michael Tolley will provide an update on Northshore’s strategic initiatives and successes while providing insights into what he heard from Northshore’s families, students, staff, and community members during his Listen and Learn tour, which took place October 2022 - January 2023.

View the State of Our Schools Livestream on Feb. 8






UW’s Young, Gifted & Black Conference Takes Place Feb. 11


Young, Gifted, & Black (YGB) is designed to engage African American high school students interested in the University of Washington. The purpose of this conference is to promote positive self-esteem, social consciousness, and cultural awareness, while simultaneously emphasizing the importance of higher education. The workshops and interactions with current African American UW students, staff, and the community will provide both the resources and role models to help students make a commitment to pursue higher education. Students interested in learning more about the UW may register to attend. Participation is open to all 9th, 10th, and 11th-grade students regardless of race/ethnic background.

Learn About UW’s Young, Gifted & Black Conference




High School Students: Second Annual Student Justice Conference Planned for March 24


The Racial and Educational Justice Department will offer its second annual Student Justice Conference on Friday, March 24, 2023, and the event will be open to high school students in Northshore. This year’s theme is  “Unapologetically Dreaming, Designing & Doing for Justice.” The  purpose of the Student Justice Conference is to create space for Northshore’s high school students to celebrate their intersectional identities, build community and collaborate with one another, grow their knowledge and understandings about various forms of justice, meet and work with educators and community partners, and learn more about various higher education opportunities.

Learn about the Racial and Educational Justice Department






Operation School Bell and Northshore Schools Foundation Partnership


The Assistance League of the Eastside worked with the Northshore Schools Foundation and Northshore counselors to distribute 95 vouchers, totaling  $59,250.00 to students at 24 Northshore schools. Each $150 voucher can be spent at local Fred Meyer stores in Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond, or Bellevue. Counselors and other school staff helped identify students that would most benefit from these supports. 

The Assistance League has been fundraising and supporting Operation School Bell for 30 years, beginning in Lake Washington  and a few years ago added the Northshore School District and Bellevue School District. They are a non-profit organization of 70 women who volunteer their time to work in three main areas with the largest program being Operation School Bell. Thank you to our incredible partners at the Assistance League of the Eastside and Northshore Schools Foundation for supporting our students!




Students: Hispanic Scholarship Fund Applications due Feb. 15 


Every year, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) selects 10,000 outstanding students as HSF Scholars from a broad and talented pool of applicants from across the nation. HSF Scholars have access to a full range of Scholar Support Services, including career services, mentorship, leadership development, knowledge building, and more. HSF also awards more than $30 million in scholarships annually and, depending upon available funds, HSF Scholars may be eligible to receive a scholarship, which ranges from $500-$5,000 and is awarded directly to students. It takes an average of 30 minutes for students to complete Phase I of the 2023 HSF Scholar Program Application, and there are no essays, recommendations, or document uploads required in Phase I. To get started and learn more about eligibility requirements, visit and log in or create your myHSF profile to access the HSF Scholar Program Application.

Learn About the HSF Scholar Application




High School Seniors: Apply Now to the Scholarship Foundation of Northshore


The Scholarship Foundation of Northshore is now accepting applications from current high school seniors for spring 2023 scholarships. The deadline to apply is Feb. 22, 2023. Visit to view the opportunities available, which include 93 different new and returning scholarships, including ones specific to students interested in the trades. The Scholarship Foundation of Northshore provides annual awards to deserving graduates of the Northshore School District’s high schools, distributing scholarships valuing more than $4.3 million to over 2,270 students since 1984.

Learn about the Scholarship Foundation of Northshore’s Application Process






January 23: School Board Meeting, 7 p.m.

January 25: Wednesday Early Release

January 27: First Semester Ends

January 30: Non-Student Day/Grading – No School

February 1: Wednesday Early Release

February 8: State of Our Schools

February 8: Wednesday Early Release

February 10: Elementary Early Dismissal

February 13: School Board Meeting, 4 p.m.

February 15: Wednesday Early Release

February 20: Presidents’ Day – No School

February 21-24: Mid Winter Break – No School

February 27: School Board Meeting, 7 p.m.


Additional religious and cultural observances:

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is January 27.

Maha Shivaratri is February 18.

Isra and Mi’raj are February 18.

Japanese Internment, Day of Remembrance is February 19.

Ash Wednesday is February 22.

Lent begins February 22 and ends April 6.

Orthodox Lent begins Feb. 28 and ends April 8.