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Stay home, stay healthy and classroom to cloud update

  • Written by Michelle Reid NSD

Dear Northshore families and staff

My hope is that you are all staying safe and healthy and that you’ve enjoyed a beautiful spring weekend. In extraordinarily challenging and unpredictable times like these, it really helps to slow down, take a breath and remember what is most important to the well-being of your family and community.

After taking a breath myself, I want to provide you with an update since my last message. Last week was our project-focused Learning Week when we took a pause from our Classroom to Cloud (online learning). This provided time for District leadership and partners to collaborate on the best possible educational delivery model for moving forward. At the same time, we waited for critical guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on how we might avoid significant financial penalties as we continue education for our student body during these unprecedented times.

On Friday morning, I was invited to a phone conversation with representatives from the U.S. Department of Education to explain our situation and the negative financial impact that we, and school districts across the country, could be facing based on federal regulations. I am appreciative for that conversation as well as Saturday’s notification from the Department advising school districts of more flexible guidelines.

A short time ago, Governor Jay Inslee announced a statewide stay-at-home order enforceable by law. This action will help us “flatten the curve” or reduce the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus. The better we can be at this, the sooner we may be able to return to some semblance of normal. Until that time, we will continue to do our part. Today marks the first day that working remotely became a reality for District staff as all buildings are closed, with the exception of spaces being used to prepare meals for our children up to 18 years of age (see below).

Also, until further notice, all School Board meetings will be a virtual experience. You can find today’s and future meetings here. We continue to work together to provide the best possible learning experience for all of our students.

New educational delivery model

Today, with this new information in hand, our team of education leaders and partners have been thoughtfully and collaboratively planning a new model to engage our students in the learning experience moving forward. We expect to have more details this week, so my hope is that your students have been keeping their learning spaces warm and their minds sharpened using the learning resources provided last week that they could do on their own or with an adult.  

Class of 2020

To the Class of 2020, I know senior year is one filled with college and career preparation, acknowledgments, celebration, ceremonies and so much more. We have a team researching the impact of our current situation and the possibilities for celebrating our seniors’ major life milestones. Also, please note that I will be holding a live video information session for the Class of 2020 this Wednesday, March 25 from 2-3 p.m. to answer as many questions as possible. We are still waiting on some guidance from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the State Board of Education. To help me provide the best possible answers on Wednesday, we have developed a survey feedback form for you to provide your questions ahead of time.

Free meals

We will continue to serve meals to all children up to age 18. This week, our Food Services and Transportation staff have served up more than 14,000 meals at 33 different locations. Remember to pre-order between 6 p.m. the evening before and 9 a.m. on the day of meal pick-up.

Childcare

Northshore has created space where our community partners, the YMCA and Champions are providing childcare for families who are in need, especially first responders and frontline workers in this health crisis.

Staying connected

Our team continues to develop ways to keep our students connected. In addition to our learning resources, I shared in my message to students last night that we have just released an opportunity for students to submit book recommendations. My hope is that the reading continues and the connections grow as students share their favorite books. Coming soon – opportunities for students to share their book recommendations via video and their work in the arts.

I am proud of how everyone – our educators, staff, students, families, and community – has risen to the challenge over the past few weeks as we have been navigating completely new territory. I am also very appreciative of the patience you’ve each exhibited as we continue to come together for our students. I am confident that, if we keep moving together on this journey, we will be successful.

We are Northshore. We’ve got this!

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Guest Column: Helping community organizations as we respond to the Coronavirus

  • Written by Steering Committee for Brave Commitment, King County

As the Coronavirus sweeps across our community, all of us are striving to respond in a considered, calm and compassionate way. We mourn the loss of those that have died as the result of the disease and our hearts go out to their families and loved ones.  Just as our communities were enriched by each of those singular lives, our communities are diminished by their deaths. 

Taking care of ourselves, our neighbors and our loved ones has become our top priority and hand washing, social distancing, staying informed, self-isolating and self-quarantining are concrete steps we can take to keep each other healthy. 

On March 11, Gov. Jay Inslee took the unprecedented step of banning events of more than 250 people, noting that “One main defense is to reduce the interaction of people in our lives.” 

As nonprofit organization leaders, our day-to-day work year-round is committed to the health and wellbeing of our community and we wholeheartedly support the Governor’s directive.  Slowing the growth in the number of Coronavirus cases is critical. 

The Governor also noted that we all have a role to play in responding to this public health emergency, that we are all called upon to lead, and we couldn’t agree more.  Our organizations, like you, are on the frontline of our community response to this disease, and our services are needed now more than ever.  For instance:

The economic impact of the virus has meant that more of our neighbors need help with the basics of life: food, clothing and shelter.  We are finding creative ways to meet these needs, including grocery gift cards when our food pantries are unable to stay open, additional cleaning for our shelters, and special protective measures to maintain the health of both our guests and our front line staff when clients are able to keep appointments.

The emotional impact of the virus has meant that many of our neighbors are experiencing anxiety, depression, isolation or feelings of helplessness and fear. Our counseling services have helped them cope with the impacts of these feelings, strengthening their ability to weather the uncertainties that we face at this challenging time.

As these needs increase in our community, we are also being called upon to do more with less—a lot less in many cases, as canceled fundraising events across the community, along with lack of revenue from canceled in-person client appointments and group events continue to severely impact the resources our organizations rely on to do our important work. 

Nationally, some of the nation’s largest nonprofit organizations are calling for inclusion of our sector in any economic stimulus package, recognizing that our sector is the third largest employment sector.  In fact, the vast majority of nonprofits are small businesses, with 92% operating with under $1M in annual spending. 

We often assume that nonprofit organizations will be there for all of us when we need them.  Unfortunately, our sector has not fully recovered from the 2008 economic recession and a recent study shows that more than half of nonprofit organizations have less than one month’s cash, demonstrating how fragile our community safety net really is. 

Because we serve our community’s most vulnerable residents, we need a stronger infrastructure not just for today’s crisis, but to strengthen our communities for the future. Now, more than ever, we need both policies and our community partners to support us with their gifts of time and money.    

As you reflect on your leadership during this crisis, we hope you will support your local nonprofit with an additional donation or an offer of support. Together, we can help those most impacted by the virus while maintaining the social safety net that is crucial to a strong and resilient community.

Woodinville needs a playhouse

Dear Editor,

The city of Woodinville is very happy with all of the new additions to the recreation scene in their town. What they don’t have, and any mature city needs, is a Playhouse. 

Woodinville has a long history of great thespians. We all remember Northern Exposure. I have gone to plays located all over town, but not in a location appropriate for such an event.

I was struck with the location of the Schuck Auto Parts building next to the US bank. What a find. Perfect size and location across the street for Woodinville’s new pride and joy. When not used for plays, it could double for events held at the Civic Campus. 

People would love to have dinner and follow up with a night on the town at an outstanding play.

I hope the citizens of Woodinville will feel the same way and work on making this a win for everyone.

Sincerely,

 Jeanette van der Heyden

Woodinville

Council member's letter was example of 'sour grapes'

Dear Editor,

I must say that Ms. Susan Bounty-Sanders' letter to the editor (March 5) was one of the best examples of "sour grapes" that I have seen in a long time. 

Many of us have been on a team, a council or a committee where we have felt impotent because our vote was frequently that of a minority vote taken on an issue. 

It is a frustrating position to be in, and many Woodinville council members over the years have been there. But I do not recall that those voting in the majority were ever attacked or accused the way Susan did in this letter to the editor.

Susan tried to get individuals elected last term to Woodinville Council who would support her votes, but the voters showed that they were not in her camp. I would urge her to find a group whose voting record reflects her philosophies — King County Council perhaps.

In closing, it also would have been appropriate that Susan had identified herself as a current Woodinville Council member.

Sincerely,

Nancy Montgomery

Woodinvill

Woodinville citizens deserve more

Dear Editor,

There have been several votes over the past year that show the current city council majority supports developers in terms of letting them build more, for greater profits. 

In 2019, in our tourist business district, the council majority doubled residential density, raised building heights to 10 feet taller than our downtown, and approved a development agreement when specifics of the development — particularly reductions in parking requirements in the already parking-constrained district — were not determined yet.

In January, the current city council majority took another step, shifting the policy from supporting developers, to also endangering the safety of Woodinville’s citizens.

They voted in favor of a resolution declaring they do not intend to purchase a property in the neighborhood east of Woodinville’s downtown that’s designated as a landslide hazard area. This property has been on the city’s acquisition list for several years. By purchasing it, the city could keep it forested and undisturbed, reducing the likelihood of reactivating a landslide.

The city council majority voted in full knowledge that this land carries a landslide hazard designation and shows clear evidence of multiple previous slides. Compounding the injury, one councilmember talked about building affordable housing almost always meaning apartments — on this property. 

In other words, he followed the template that has resulted in so much tragedy nationwide, of housing the most vulnerable people on the most unsafe land. It adds insult that such a development also endangers the people and property that currently surround the land.

At the Feb. 18 meeting, the council majority moved still further on the spectrum, supporting spending taxpayer dollars to benefit developers.

The sewer capacity in  Woodinville’s downtown is inadequate for the residential density that developers would like to build. The Woodinville Water District owns the sewer system and is responsible to provide adequate capacity — but has no immediate plans to do so.

The city council majority endorsed spending city money — our taxpayer dollars — to build out the sewer capacity that we don’t need as current citizens. The beneficiaries are downtown developers; we as citizens would receive only a fractional repayment of the costs of the new sewers and the increased road capacity needed to accommodate the new residential density downtown.

This sewer project is not on the city’s formal list of Capital Improvement Projects. This list has been built up over the entire history of the city, is reviewed regularly to update content and priorities and contains $175 million worth of projects. 

Over the past 10 years, the city has averaged less than $5 million per year in funds to build these projects. The projects on this list are, on the whole, projects for the benefit of citizens: sidewalks around schools, road projects to reduce congestion, parks and trails, and so on. 

In other words, the current city council majority supports spending your money to benefit developers and is poised to move this project to the front of the queue, ahead of the entire list of projects that are for your benefit.

Woodinville citizens deserve so much more. 

Susan Boundy-Sanders

Woodinville