BOTHELL — A lot of uncertainty has been bantered about the Northshore School District community the past couple of weeks regarding the status of the Northshore Learns program: specifically, why the pause in the program and when will it resume?
In a statement released to Northshore School District families Thursday afternoon on March 26, Superintendent Michell Reid expressed her appreciation for the patience exercised by all and offered some insight as to what parents and students can expect in the coming days.
“As we look forward to our Northshore Learns 2.0 version, I want to thank each of you for your patience as we have worked to make sense of often conflicting and generally restrictive guidance from state and federal sources,” Reid said. “As we shift from the pause in our instructional model and add instruction onto the connections we have reestablished with students during the week of March 23-27, it is important to be clear about the expectations as we move forward.”
Reid advised that all must recognize the next steps related to Northshore Learns will not look the same as the Districts’ first attempt at virtual learning, which was focused on a two-week school closure.
“At this time, we are unsure when and if our current “normal” school year will resume,” Reid stated in the release. "To address these circumstances, we are shifting into a model that addresses the guidance provided by OSPI on March 23 while also adhering, to the extent possible, with best practices in virtual learning.”
The plan moving forward, Reid wrote, is as follows:
Educators were to meet virtually with their school teams on March 26 and 27 to plan for the rollout of Northshore Learns version 2.0. Each school would then send a message to families communicating the return to distance learning starting on March 30.
On March 30 and April 3, educators were expected to initiate the rollout of Northshore Learns 2.0. The process will involve contacting students via email or during a virtual meeting for the purpose of sharing expectations for how students should engage in learning over the course of any given week.
The emphasis, Reid stressed, will be on connecting with students to make sure they understand how they will engage in learning and to provide initial independent tasks or projects that students can work on until the next time the content area (at elementary) or class (at secondary) convenes.
“We, along with all other educators in Washington state and our nation are facing an unprecedented situation. Due to the closure of our school buildings, we can no longer think about school in the way we are accustomed,” Reid said. “Equitable learning experiences will be our goal, but given the fact we are in the midst of a global pandemic, there may be factors that limit our ability to guarantee the same quality of education Northshore aspires to deliver.
“With the closure of more and more parts of our society (e.g., the Stay at Home Order by the Governor), and with the added pressures for educators and their families, our approach to virtual learning needs to reflect these responsibilities and our current, rapidly changing reality. Further, in these unprecedented times, if educators become unable to deliver instruction to their individual class groups, we do not have substitutes to fill in at this time.”
Reid went on to say that by using a common instructional schedule (see NSD website) with specific times for core content area lessons, specific times for specialist and elective class lessons, and specific times for the delivery of Special Education and related services support will ensure that all educators in the District will have the ability to support instruction in whatever ways their role might require.
A consistent, predictable instructional schedule, she said, not only enables educators to support their own families and ensure their own health and wellness but also supports students’ families as they consider how to support their students’ learning in the home environment.
“As our district continues to navigate this challenging time, we must continue to lean on the strengths of our community. We want to make sure that all of our students and staff are being treated with respect and dignity at this time and always — especially as we move to an online environment,” Reid stated. “This is not the time to segregate with unwarranted fear but to come together and help fight it with knowledge and compassion. It is vital to advocate for our community members and to stay kind to one another, and to uphold a culture of safety and belonging in and beyond our schools.
“In these tough and unpredictable times, we must stick together as a school community and remember that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. I want to remind all that when we are done with this COVID-19 outbreak, and we surely will be at some point, our community will still be our community and our district will still be our district. What we say to one another now and in the coming days, and how we say it, matters, as we will remember how we felt far into the future.”