On Friday, July 12, Woodinville Water District will be upgrading its phone system. In the afternoon, starting at approximately 1:30, the main phone number, some fax lines and individual phone extensions will have intermittent service disruptions for up to one hour.
For emergency calls that may arise during that time frame, customers can call a Woodinville Water District pager at (206) 969-4462 and leave a call-back number. A district representative will call you back.
The ground work to move the Northshore School District to a school calendar that includes Instructional Planning and Collaboration Time began a decade ago. In the next school year, educators will have 95 minutes per week to plan and collaborate, without any loss of instructional time for students.
This was accomplished by adding back to the school calendar five full days of instruction, and extending each school day by five minutes.
Additionally, the Northshore Education Association has been working for years to bring forth a new semester system for elementary schools and for a more effective teacher evaluation system, both of which will be implemented in the next school year.
These reforms will allow the Northshore School District to continue as a leader in the state. This is exciting because as our community’s teachers, we know that these reforms, all brought forth by teachers from the ground up, will make both the work and learning environment which can’t be separated a better place for students.
During the 2003-2004 school year, the Northshore School District Elementary Design Team, comprised of both teachers and administrators, began studying different early release/late arrival models, school districts both in and out of our state, instructional models in other countries such as Finland, and implications for the configuration of the school day .
They brought their recommendation forward in the 2005-2006 school year in a formal set of recommendations: buy new curriculum, improve the elementary report card, and implement an early release/late arrival model to allow for greater collaboration between teachers. Once the economy collapsed, all attention turned to maintaining what programs we could.
NSEA began surveying teachers on this topic in 2010, again in 2011, and again in 2013. Every time the results were the same with the majority of NSEA members wanting to go to this model to provide time for planning and collaboration. At our General Membership meeting, by a vote of 76 percent to 24 percent, the teachers of the Northshore Education Association ratified changes to the evaluation system, calendar, and elementary semesters. This change was made to improve the quality of instruction for our students. We know that when we have time to talk, observe, and learn from each other, our teaching is more effective.
Our goal is to improve student learning, and this time will allow us to plan better lessons and learn from our colleagues’ best practices. This time will also allow a better coordinated education program for our students with unique learning needs. By allowing time for teachers to collaborate with each other about specific program modifications needed by these students their unique learning needs will be better addressed.
With all of the changes coming at teachers over the next five years we felt even more strongly that now was the time for this change. These changes include the implementation of the new evaluation system, new Common Core Teaching Standards, new Smarter Balance Student Assessment System, new Graduation Requirements that begin next year, and with the hopeful passage of our bond and levy, the construction of a new high school along with grade reconfiguration for all schools.
Additionally, as teachers will now be evaluated on their ability to collaborate, it was necessary to provide time for them to do so.
The final decision to have the Instructional Planning and Collaboration Time on Wednesdays is one based upon what the education professionals believe is best for the overall academic program. Teachers felt by having this time on Wednesdays it would afford them the opportunity to put into practice the next day some of the best practices they will have discussed.
NSEA feels that we have struck a good balance between the time needs of teachers, school buildings, and administration as to how the time will be used most effectively. NSEA also worked hard with the district bargaining team to find a way to meet the parameter set by the School Board to not reduce instructional time.
With the complete elimination of all Learning Improvement Days (non-student teacher work days) by the state Legislature, the Instructional Plan and Collaboration Time model being implemented is the most cost neutral way of completing this important work.
With the continued underfunding for our schools, this cost savings is the way we protected our students from further cuts to programs or further increases to class sizes.
This is accomplished by folding this work into the regularly contracted day. To do this after the end of our contracted work day is a model that Northshore, and most of our surrounding school districts cannot afford. In the end this saves money for our district.
Change is not always an easy process.
It will never meet everyone’s needs. As we move forward with these changes, please know that we as the professional educators of the Northshore Education Association are now well equipped to continue to lead the way in excellence in education.
Northshore Education Association
My husband, Don, and I are hosting a book sale/fundraiser in our front yard to help with the massive medical expenses and rehabilitation costs for Bothell’s Jessie Owen.
Jessie is a 6th grade teacher at Frank Love Elementary. She was paralyzed last December when a snow-laden tree crashed onto her family SUV, while driving over Stevens Pass.
The accident killed her parents and caused critical injuries to her sister and brother-in-law.
The books will be free, but we’re asking for a dollar amount donation to help with Jessie’s expenses.
All proceeds go to HelpHOPELive.org in Jessie Owen’s name.
WHEN: Saturday, July 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: 20902-33rd DR. SE, Bothell 98021 (Canyon Firs Development near Canyon Creek Elementary, Bothell)
A RESPONSE TO ‘ANTHEM’ I was also present at the 2013 graduation ceremony for Woodinville High and wanted to supply a contrasting perspective to last week’s letter to the editor.
In contrast to her perception, I felt that the rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” sung by a popular teacher was an absolute delight. This sentiment was shared by many of my graduating daughter’s friends.
His somewhat unconventional interpretation covered a number of diverse styles from Irish Tenor to Road House Blues, reflecting the diversity of our great nation. I felt it gave an air of freshness and spontaneity to what was a fairly long and heavily choreographed event. Let’s face it, our national anthem is a “classic” in the deepest sense of the word. As a classic, it is important that it be re-interpreted every so often, so that we hear it afresh, and think about the insights it gives us into our lives here and now.
When a classic gets trapped in a single acceptable interpretation, like a flower pressed between the pages of a book – it dies.
This teacher has obviously spent his Ten Thousand Hours working with teens and came up with a very creative way to make this powerful piece of music speak to them, to pass the responsibility of preserving its meaning to the next generation.
My perception was that he cared deeply about these students and about his country.
I admire the previous writer’s intense desire to preserve tradition, but know that our country has survived and prospered on its ability to reinterpret its traditions. Think of how Abraham Lincoln reinterpreted the words from the Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” in his Gettysburg Address.
I am pretty sure that the founding fathers who penned these words were referring to people like themselves: white, male, landowning, and educated.
As we approach the 237th birthday of our democracy, I am immensely thankful to our sixteenth president for expanding the meaning of those words and reinterpreting our tradition.
I recently learned that our elementary school (East Ridge) will be closing two hours early each Wednesday next year and am struck by the mathematics of it. In theory, a minimum school year length should be 180 days. This was at one point reduced by waiver to 175 days (I may be wrong here). So, 175/5 = 35 weeks. Now, if we take 2 hours out of the week, that is 70 hours of class time. Given that each day is generously assumed to be approximately 6 hours of class time (I consider recess part of the learning process), 70/6 = 11.6667 days, rounded up is 12 days of your child’s education gone!
Please feel free to correct my math because I hope I’m off.
Brian Bordeau, Woodinville
WEDNESDAY VS. FRIDAY
On Friday (June 14, 2013) I sent a note to NSD Superintendent Francois and the NSD School Board, voicing my disappointment with the decision to implement weekly staff planning times on Wednesday afternoons as opposed to Friday afternoons. Friday afternoons had overwhelmingly been chosen by 65 percent of respondents to a NSD public survey. Superintendent Francois responded to my feedback in an email that stated many reasons why the NSD went against public opinion and chose Wednesdays.
He sent this same email to several parents I know who voiced negative feedback. Below are some of my responses to his email:
Dear Superintendent Francois and NSD School Board:
Thank you for your timely response. I can see you have put a lot of thought into this matter and I appreciate your consideration:
"Our reasoning to favor a Wednesday early release was a belief that it would be less likely that students/families would choose to not come to school at all on Wednesday (middle of the week) versus Monday or Friday where we already have higher absence rates." – Superintendent Francois (6/17/2013)
As for your reasoning as to why Friday wasn’t chosen, the message I can’t help but hear is that "parents don’t really know what’s best for their kids and family." I’m sorry that some parents already allow their children to skip school on Fridays. I can’t imagine why they would do that.
Perhaps there is a false opinion that Fridays are mainly for class parties and other "busy work," and that it’s not a great day for learning? I can assure you that my family (and most families I know) value every hour that our children are in school.
Personally, I work very hard to make sure that I don’t take my kids out of school early unnecessarily.
In the 7 years I’ve had my boys in school, it’s been very rare that they are absent for reasons other than illness or unavoidable doctor appointments, and trust me this has not always been appreciated by my kids (and sometimes not by my husband!).
That said, I don’t appreciate the NSD administration and the school board assuming that the poor choices of some families should bring consequences to those of us who encourage diligence in our children.
After all, this is data I’m sure you were aware of before this process started, so why did you give us the option to vote for Friday? There is just no way of overstating this — getting out on Friday afternoons vs. Wednesday afternoons would be much more convenient for families. And, it would soften the blow of this decision overall with a bit of "goodwill."
"We hope and expect that PTAs and other organizations will utilize the collaboration time to offer extended learning opportunities for students. We believe it is more likely that students and families will access these opportunities on a Wednesday versus a Friday." – Superintendent Francois (6/17/2013)
I would caution the statement you make about hoping community organizations should pick up the slack for your decision. Whether our PTA is willing to help with this or not will be up to next year’s Board of Directors.
However, please remember each local PTA unit has its own independent mission statement and goals, and it shouldn’t be assumed that they would feel obligated to bridge this gap. That is an unfair yoke to place on these parent volunteers.
"While the District and Northshore Education Association were not opposed to a Friday early release, both believed that the time would be much more beneficial to those ends on a Wednesday when staff are fresher and more receptive to new learning than at the end of the week where folks are generally more tired." –Superintendent Francois (6/17/13)
Finally, to your point that collaboration at the end of the week would be less effective because teachers would be less tired ... my question then is whether teachers should be spending their most tired hours of the week with our children?
I would think our kids would benefit most from classroom time when teachers and students are the most "fresh" (Wednesday not Friday).
Having done a fair bit of studying myself, I have come to realize that adults are quite capable of learning at all hours of the day and night, as long as the environment is conducive to learning.
How many of us have taken evening classes and had to study late after the kids have gone to bed?
Certainly a grown adult and professional educator can muster the strength to devote an afternoon toward professional collaboration and lesson planning.
This is a burden the teachers should bear as adults and not at the expense of valuable classroom time early in the week.
An opportunity to finish the week with reflection and forward thinking to Monday morning is by no means a hardship.
All of this said, I concede there are many factors that I’m probably not even aware of that go into running a school district.
So, I don’t wish to come across as hostile or disrespectful. I just want you, the administration office and our School Board, to see that communication is best accomplished through transparency and engaging in dynamic conversation.
What I am (and many others are) hearing is very likely a different message than you intended to send.
First, you said the transition from in-service days to weekly planning was out of your hands, and that you couldn’t tell us until it was too late (because of the private nature of contract negotiations).
Then you said you wanted parents to give you feed-back so you could advocate for us in your next round of negotiations.
Finally, you are now saying that our opinions weren’t well enough informed, and that we should just let you decide for us.
Putting it into those terms, I would think that you could understand the frustration.
What is happening is that parents are losing confidence in the administration and the school board.
And with a bond/levy coming, this is exactly the wrong time for this to happen.
I want our school district to succeed and I hope to rally support for the upcoming bond/levy.
But I don’t see my efforts going very far in the present climate. It’s not too late to stand up for the majority opinion on this.
It seems like you are giving in to the teachers’ union 100 percent on this, and not willing to fight for the parents who went to the trouble to vote.
And if the teachers’ union had nothing to do with this decision, it seems that you have a no confidence that our parents can make wise decisions for their own children and families.
You can choose to send a message of compromise and goodwill to the parents by changing the weekly planning time to Friday afternoon.
Thanks again for your time and consideration.
Angela Van Lierop, via email
A WAY TO STAY IN TOUCH
In reply to Cyndee Wiese’s letter concerning Northshore School District administration not being in touch with the teaching level: A solution would be to require all administrators to teach in a classroom every fifth year. They supposedly have teaching certificates so should have no problem?
Sharon Kay Ricketts, Bothell
I’m a fifth grader who believes that more people should care about the endangered animals, or at least care more about them than they do now. If animals go endangered, then poof! Gone.
The animals that may feed off of the animals that become endangered will die when the endangered animals become extinct. When the animals they feed off are gone, then they have nothing much to eat.
Then that animal goes endangered because of no food. Most animals are okay if we eat them, just don’t kill the endangered animals like narwhals. People are killing them for their tooth — also known as a horn.
But because cows aren’t endangered, I bet it’s okay that we eat them. The same goes for pigs.
I think in your newspaper you should spread the word about people caring about endangered animals because they are important to life and most likely always will be.
SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS I am writing in response to the front page article in the Woodinville Weekly about the surveillance cameras that will be going up in Woodinville. I personally had a conversation with an officer from the Woodinville Police Department, who informed me that “it is perfectly legal for a person to stand on your sidewalk taking pictures through your windows into your home with their camera without your premission. It is not a crime,” he stated.
Given this is the offical position of the Woodinville Police Department/City of Woodinville on surveillance within our city, there is grave concern how this information will be used, especially as surveillance of private citizens will be available to any person who requests it.
I am a member of the Emergency Preparedness and Public Safety Commission. But I am also personally very concerned about the rights and privacy of all citizens and families that would be in the surveillance areas due to the fact that any one can request copies of the tapes. Lille Clinton, Woodinville
BUSSING WOULD LIMIT OPPORTUNITIES My name is Samantha and I am in the 8th grade at Leota Junior High. I wish to write about the Northshore School District’s decision to bus the half-day kindergarteners from their homes near Kokanee to Maywood Hills Elementary. This change to the kindergarten program will have a significant effect on me and my family.
When we were discussing these adjustments as a family, I immediately recognized the impact on me. If my sister is assigned to afternoon kindergarten, the timing of the bus will make it impossible for my mom to pick me up after school if I participate in after-school activities.
As we all know, about half of what colleges look for is how many and what activities you participate in during your 9th through 12th grade years.
My goal in life is to go to a competitive college. It is important to me that I will be able to put in my college application that I have participated in sports.
But how will this be possible if my mom can’t pick me up?
Not only will this affect my goal for college, but it will take away the joy I have at school.
The district’s decision to bus kindergarteners so far away may impact my opportunities for a college education.
The district’s motto is, “Strengthening Our Community Through Excellence in Education.”
How does limiting my educational opportunities support this motto? Samantha Green, Snohomish
THANK YOU A very heartfelt thank you to our wonderful friends and neighbors for your generous donations and kindness at our yard sale last weekend. We raised $503 for Homeward Pet in Zac’s name!
If he could have been there, we’re sure he would have given you lots of XXX’s, OOO’s & LLL=Licks! We send you XXX and OOO (ok...not the LLL). :)
THANK YOU! Karen & Bob Myles, Woodinville
CITY ORDINANCE 560 I don’t even know where to begin addressing the fallacious ideas and pipe dreams that generated City Ordinance 560.
And if indeed this missive makes it into print, it may already be too late, a penalty (not to mention increased taxes) we will all pay for the general populace’s apathy towards local government.
But perhaps I can start with Councilmember Rubstello’s statement that “we are now a city …. it’s an evolution.”
Well, Mr. Rubstello, Woodinville is not a city, it remains a small town with a crowded two-lane road, one shopping center, and a few smaller strip malls.
Woodinville even has a nursery and a feed store in the central business district, not normally commercial activities associated with the central business district of a “city.”
Up to this date, no developer has come forward to build anything beyond what would normally be built in a small town.
There has been no evolution, there has been little change apart from the grandiose delusions of this newest iteration of council members.
If and when an evolution from a small town to a city begins, it will be signified by neither code nor regulation but by the private sector acknowledging that the local demographics have changed significantly enough to make a concrete investment. The signs will come from the private sector first, not from the personal desires of the council members.
There are specifics of Ordinance 560 that are simply ridiculous.
Perhaps the most inane are the restrictions on auto services and gas stations.
The ordinance would put five long existing auto service business “out of compliance.”
In other words, the council members have told these businesses “thank you very much” for your years of employing our local citizenry and paying and generating tax revenue, but now it is time to leave in the hopes of replacing you even though the market has shown no interest in providing any replacement services.
And the restrictions that 560 places on the few gas stations in town are simply laughable.
The council members and a few of the planning commission members have found a few isolated examples of gas stations that appeal to their personal aesthetic tastes and now wish to force that aesthetic — an aesthetic built voluntarily by the example stations and not by code, upon all of us.
Well, let me be the first to confess that when I get off the interstate to gas up my vehicle at some unknown small town like Woodinville, I want to be able to make out my preferred gas station hopefully even before I get off the freeway, and I want to be able to see a big sign and the pumps, giving me plenty of time to navigate safely through the traffic to my destination.
You simply can not compare a commercial intersection leading directly to and from a major interstate highway to a gas station in downtown Lynnwood or Snoqualmie. That is just plain nonsense. Another specific of Ordinance 560 that makes no sense is the prohibition on the indoor gun range. Now I can certainly understand the need to have codes regarding noise from such a facility.
But once the noise issue is properly addressed, how is an indoor gun range any different than the indoor golf range that 560 does allow.
Both services would bring in visitors who might not otherwise come into Woodinville.
Both services would generate welcome tax revenue and both services would lead to their patrons visiting and patronizing other neighboring businesses, thus generating even more revenue for the city.
Where is the legal justification that allows these arrogant council members to decide which sport facility is allowed and which sport facility must be banished from the commercial district to a distant industrial region?
The bottom line, and I could go on at length at other inanities and delusions contained in Ordinance 560, is that the market will decide how Woodinville evolves.
In another five years we may see the proposed Canterbury development come to fruition. It might indeed cause an evolution in Woodinville from a small town with lots of underutilized, if not undeveloped land, contained within its commercial core to something else.
Perhaps it might be the seed that will cause Woodinville to evolve into Councilmember Rubstello’s imagined city.
And at that point it might indeed be time for the council members to facilitate that change by tweaking the city codes and regulations.
But at the moment nothing is changing or evolving to an extent that necessitates this poorly conceived ordinance that penalizes existing businesses and land owners that the city now, and in the foreseeable future, will continue to rely upon to provide the revenue needed to properly maintain our town. R. Jaffe, Woodinville
NATIONAL ANTHEM I am the proud grandparent of a Woodinville graduate, class of 2013.
My husband and I attended the graduation ceremony Wednesday evening with our family.
It was a proud occasion, marred only by the extremely disrespectful rendition of our National Anthem by a teacher.
We were appalled at the display of disdain for the National Anthem and wondered why he wasn’t vetted before hand, or if he was, why you would allow an unsuspecting audience to be assaulted by his obvious statement of disrespect for our country — which makes me ask, who was in charge of this part of the program?
And believe me, we were not the only ones who were offended.
The people sitting around us were also commenting on the disrespect. It really doesn’t matter what anyone’s political beliefs happen to be, this was no place for him to make his statement.
I think he, and whoever chose him, owes everyone in attendance a huge public apology at the very least.
He should at the very least, be reprimanded. He needs to keep his political opinions out of school, or resign.
I would not want him having any influence over my children and will check to see if my other grandson who will be a junior this year, is in his class.
There is no doubt that his rendition of our National Anthem was a statement of his utter disrespect for our great country.
It was disgusting and unacceptable at what was a proud moment for the families of the graduates. Pamela Anderson, Woodinville