Thursday Thoughts: Art Docent Program, Enrollment Growth, Alumni and More

What an amazing close to December classes and wow, what an amazing week !! ... and all through the district many creatures are stirring and the excitement is contagious. It is such a beautiful time of the year with such a generous spirit abounding. I recently received a holiday note that reminded me that; “This season represents tenderness for the past, courage for the present, and hope for the future.” There are so many examples of our students and staff going above and beyond to support those less fortunate in our community this holiday season. This speaks so highly of the character and grace abundant in our great district; a real Northshore family feel to be sure.

Our Art Docent Program is approaching its 50th year and we are so proud of the work that our staff and volunteers who support art in the elementary schools! It is important work that contributes to the growth of our students and to achieving goals 2, 3, and 5 in our strategic plan. As you know, equity is at the foundation of the plan. For that reason, we are excited to announce that a refresh of the Art Docent Program has begun. The refresh is to update and realign the program to better reflect the diversity of our current community and increase support for our dedicated art docent volunteers. They enter our classrooms monthly to bring art appreciation and experiences to our students.  This refresh would not be possible without funding from the Northshore Schools Foundation and dedication of the Art Docent Refresh Team which includes art educators, trainers, and many volunteers.

We are continuing to experience rapid enrollment growth. In February 2018, voters approved a bond which funds two construction projects that will help alleviate overcrowding and provide room for projected growth: Elementary School #21 and the Skyview & Canyon Creek Expansion. Both projects are scheduled for completion in summer 2020.  The Enrollment Demographics Task Force, a group comprised of district staff and community members, developed a proposed boundary adjustment to prepare for the additional capacity. If approved by the school board, the new boundaries will go into effect for the 2020-21 school year. You're invited to attend a Community Open House. At each event you will learn about the proposed boundaries, speak one-on-one with district staff, and share your feedback. Learn more about the 2020 boundary adjustments here. Please attend whichever event works best for your schedule: Tuesday, January 8 - 6:00-7:00 p.m. at Fernwood Elementary; Wednesday, January 9 - 6:00-7:00 p.m. at Canyon Creek Elementary; or,  Tuesday, January 22 - 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Kokanee Elementary.

Group of Woodinville alumni

Many of our recent Woodinville HS Falcon alumni are home for the holidays, and WHS counselor Ruth Krochmalny asked them to take the opportunity to share their experiences with current Falcons. She organized the first ever Falcons Flying Home event to give current students the opportunity to hear about the college experience directly from their recently graduated classmates. She said our alumni have so much valuable information. What a great idea for all of our high school students! Over 30 alumni volunteered their time and experience, representing colleges from across the country and many different majors including criminal justice, theatre arts, biochemical engineering, pre-med, kinesiology, and aerospace engineering. When asked if there were any unexpected adjustments, there was one surprising answer that most alumni agreed upon: returning home. The room shared a big laugh when a Yale student shared her difficulties re-adjusting to house rules, specifically not letting her mother know when she’d be home after hanging out with friends. I must say I can identify -- with the mom! Well, I'm sure the families of all returning alumni are ready with big hugs for our alumni who are returning from their post-K-12 experiences. In the meantime, you can read more about Falcons Flying Home here.

I recently received some great news from a parent and staff member at North Creek High School, who wanted to let me know of an observation she had of one of our teachers.  She shared that they had recently enrolled a student at North Creek High School who is a refugee from El Salvador.  The student has not attended formal education since the 5th grade and does not speak any English.  She has observed Mr. Lazo, who is also her son's Spanish teacher, working with this student on his own time after school to provide extra assistance for her as she learns English and the American School system.  Further, she wanted me to know about the article Carlos recently wrote for a Cuban publication. The article was published for the OnCuba news magazine which is a very popular magazine with more than 300 000 readers and was originally published in Spanish.  In his words, Carlos shares:

"If we want to build a more just world, more democratic and participatory societies and where privileges do not end up being perpetuated in a group or in a caste of fortunate people - and where each man and woman has the possibility of reaching their maximum human potential - the work must begin in the schools. It is not about treating all students equally, because that 'equality' does not translate into social justice. Equity is the word of order."

The parent/staff member reporting, notes that our bold new strategic plan, with its clear focus on equity, continues to be compelling and she is "...sure this is just one of many examples of the truly extraordinary educators we have in this District."  Imagine the possibilities...

Many have noted the following; “This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays!” What a joyful wish to come true for each of you…

Warm wishes for a blessed and joyful holiday season,

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.



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