Thursday Thoughts: Principal Appreciation, Ramadan, ArtSpring and More

Whew, it is so amazing to have the spring weather and the opportunity to be part of such an amazing season !!  I trust that each of you have taken the opportunity to get outside and revel in the sun and warmth; it is so renewing …

On behalf of our elected Board of Directors, I want to share my appreciation for our teachers as next week is Teacher Appreciation Week. I know that our future is safe in their hands as all persons and students of all professions will pass through our teachers' classrooms. Given this Appreciation Week is fast approaching, I recently had a short video shared with me and think it captures well the spirit of appreciation we all share for our hard working and dedicated teachers. Quality, well-resourced public education is our best hope for the next generation, and the courage and conviction required by our teaching professionals to meet the education challenges we face go far beyond the classroom. If you have a moment, take the time to reach out and thank a teacher you have had that made a difference in your life or the life of a family member. Thank you for all you do...

In National news, tomorrow, May 3rd, we are celebrating School Lunch Hero Day! NSD Food Service professionals have a lot on their plate and School Lunch Hero Day is a national celebration to honor the hard-working individuals who nourish our students. Every day, our Food Service team serves over 12,000 meals that meet nutritional guidelines for protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, calories, sodium, and saturated fat. Our Food Service staff represents the diversity we celebrate in this district, as well as the dedication we share with our students and community. From Romania, Mexico, India, Indonesia, and Costa Rica. From homemaker, farmer, singer, and dancer to small business owner, mechanical heart valve technician and NFL spouse, our Food Service team bring so much to the figurative and literal table. Please take a moment to thank your Lunch Heroes for the nourishment they provide and the dedication they show to serving our students each day; it matters.

I would like to personally recognize our fantastic Northshore principals. May 1 was National Principal Appreciation Day, and I want to share how important our principals and assistant principals are to the achievement of our core work in the schools. I applaud their instructional leadership and would invite you to share your own personal thanks sometime during the week with your school principal. Our collective work in this amazing field of education is so transformative; I firmly believe it is only through the power of public education that our communities and country will remain strong. Each of us plays a role and together, all things are possible....  “Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader…they set out to make a difference.  It’s never about the role – always about the goal.”  -- Lisa Haisha.

Beginning next week, many of our students who practice the Muslim faith will begin fasting for the month of Ramadan. As indicated in our strategic plan, we are committed to each student feeling safe as a responsible and persistent learner. While our practicing Muslim students move through the month of Ramadan, it is possible that they partake in no food or drink during school and it is important that we take appropriate measures to support their learning. I've included a letter from our Equity and Diversity Director, Dr. Bigelow last week. In it, he provides details on how our district is supporting our Muslim students. There are also ideas for providing additional support, and links to resources for a greater understanding of Ramadan. I appreciate your work in supporting us becoming a stronger community.

Congratulations are in order for Shelby Reynolds. Northshore’s Manager for Instructional Technology and Library Services. At the WA State PTA convention this past weekend, Shelby was elected to the Board of Directors as their new Leadership Director. In addition to her duties with the board, Shelby will coordinate the leadership training and development programs offered by the WA State PTA. From the Instructional Technology Dept.: "Shelby is an inspiring and dedicated leader that embodies the tenants of servant leadership. Those of us who work on her team feel incredibly fortunate to have a manager of her caliber who shows so much care and agency towards the work she does for the district, and we feel the WA State PTA has elected one of Northshore's finest for this position.”  We are all proud of Shelby and her accomplishments; well done !!

In exciting news from Woodinville HS, I wanted to share WHS American Sign Language Instructor Richard Jacobs will be hosting a visit from Actor, Howie Seago, on May 24. According to CCR Director Damen Schuneman, “Mr. Seago is a very well-known deaf Actor who has been in many old Star Trek TV movies, deaf movies, and International movies including, "Beyond Silence". It is truly an honor and privilege to have Mr. Seago speak to our ASL students as well as our drama/theatre students.  We look forward to hosting and learning from Mr. Seago- this is truly a rare opportunity for our students.”   What an exciting opportunity to learn from such an inspiring professional, imagine the possibilities…

Today is National Holocaust Day of Remembrance, a commemoration that encourages us to continue to learn about and reflect on the Holocaust, remember and pay respects to the survivors and victims, and confront antisemitism and genocide. It is a time to spread awareness about the past, gain knowledge in the present, and develop skills to advocate for a future that is rooted in humanity. In our house, we celebrate the differences between and among us, and we appreciate and respect every diverse individual who is a part of our community. Please take a moment to review these resources: a local event that you can attend this Sunday; a local museum that is open to the public; and additional educational articles, videos, and lesson plans from the United States Holocaust Museum.

Since my last note out to you, I have had a great school visit to Kokanee and am now at over 840 classrooms visited. There are so many opportunities for our students and so many great conversations. In visiting with children from kindergarten to their senior year in the same week, I have the opportunity to be reflective about all the time, talent and resources we share with each of our children. It really does take each and every one of you, in all the various roles you have, to guarantee this incredible educational experience for our students. Thank you.

Today was the big day for ArtSpring!! This is our hands on arts festival for many of our students with special needs. Peers and educational support professionals joined teachers and therapists for a morning or afternoon session at Brightwater featuring color and contact with Art and artists. JoAnne Grambush and other members of the event team have been visiting classrooms, getting to know the kids and preparing them for the big event with a special project. The theme, Building our Community Through Art was evident all day.  Projects included painting, polymer sculpting, weaving, stamping, beading, collage and more.  I loved the energy and excitement of the event and the fantastic engagement and love of the arts; it was contagious !!

In humorous news from Kokanee this week, the first grade classes recently attended a dramatic presentation of the story Miss Nelson is Missing (a great read aloud if you haven’t read it ;>)  As it turned out, two of the Kokanee first grade teachers, Mrs. Hummel and Mrs. Douma went missing over the weekend, so Miss Viola Swamp had to fill in for each of them on Monday morning. 😊 The kids got quite a kick out of it.  Since I had occasion to be part of this excitement, I appreciate Melissa and Karen playing out the read aloud ;>)

In keeping with the example set by Melissa and Karen, that humor and fun are part of the joy in our journey, I am reminded of one of my favorite comedians and her sage advice -- as timely today as it was years ago…"I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done."  -  Lucille Ball.     Hoping you enjoy the unapologetic joy of the season and upcoming weekend with no regrets !!

Warmest regards,
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.



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