When will the postal carriers in Woodinville get the mail deliveries correct? Recently I had received my neighbor’s mail. I have no idea what happened to my mail that day. This has happened quite frequently since I have lived in Woodinville. Both my mailbox and my neighbor’s mailbox clearly had the house numbers displayed quite visibly on the mailboxes. There is no reason that the carrier could not have matched the mail to the mailboxes he or she was delivering to.
Will they EVER stop hauling dirt past Hollywood Hill Elementary? They’re seemingly building a dirt mountain on the hill and it’s been going on for a couple of years now. Seriously, there’s no point in washing your car from May to November because, if you have to go that way, it’s always sprayed with residual dirt from those double-load trucks that never seem to stop. They cover it with about 40,000 sq. feet of unsightly tarp all winter to stop it from sliding onto the road and now they’re loading more up there. They make some kind of pitiful attempt to hose the street down and sweep it but that actually makes it stick to your car worse! Is there any kind of stop date for this endless piling? They owe everyone on Hollywood Hill a free car wash when they’re done.
Bill Phillips Woodinville
Last night (June 1) I was driving by the Little League fields at 175th. A fly ball came crashing into my windshield, creating several long cracks. When I went back to the ball field and tried to talk to someone I was met with total indifference. No one took responsibility, no one offered to do anything about it, no one even apologized. Instead I was met with laughter, a lot of it, “bad luck!” they said. It’s not bad luck; it was negligence. It took me a while to even find out who was in charge.
So I’m out some money, but at least the teams had a good joke. And they were, I was proudly told, “the tournament of champions.” Champion at what? Not maturity. In the old days the boy who broke someone’s window had to fix it. Guess that’s another part of personal responsibility that has disappeared.
John Nordin Bothell
Bravo to Larry Francois and Janet Quinn on your pledge to focus on diversity within NSD! Academics, testing and funding have monopolized our “schools’ bandwidth” for the 11 years I’ve been involved with NSD. However, I believe our lack of willingness to sacrifice time and energy from these to address social-emotional learning in our students has crippled us.
Your letter to our community asserted that diversity will increase in coming years. I would like to counter that diversity has been around us in all forms since our species began, and it is what sustains and strengthens us as humans. In fact, it’s a key cornerstone of our biology, and it goes much deeper than looks and bank balances.
Imagine what life would be like if we were all neurotypical, left-brain, heterosexual extroverts, who rated 10 on all our executive functioning skills yet lacked vision. Boring. Evolutionarily dangerous. Where would we be without Oscar Wilde’s incisive writing? Sylvia Plath’s poetry? Temple Grandin’s autism activism and animal behavior work? Marshawn Lynch’s football? This is us. Our diversity isn’t something to solve. Our diversity is what makes us great!
So what to do? Your proposal is a great start. I believe we need to go much further than “Let’s Stop Bullying” assemblies. Progress must start from within. Teachers and coaches, who themselves may feel “diverse,” must be allowed to feel comfortable providing real leadership to students. Students should be encouraged and given time to come together within school to share their ideas and opinions and work to enlighten their fellow students — perhaps through greater use of homerooms that tackle diversity issues head-on, and also through clubs such as GSA/QSA and the like. We parents need to get on board with our own education process so we are part of the solution. The district needs to be proactive, strong, supportive and willing to put diversity and social-emotional learning on the front burner for awhile. It sounds like this is happening, and, if these resolves take flight, this will be a monumental leap for NSD.
Liz Bohlin Woodinville Inglemoor High School parent
SCHOOL BOARD RESPONDS
At our last board meeting many families came to share their comments and concerns regarding a situation at Timbercrest Junior High School involving racially insensitive statements and threats made by a student and their personal experiences regarding race, harassment, intimidation and bullying in Northshore schools. Superintendent Francois will outline in a separate letter action being taken by the district, some of which began prior to the incident at Timbercrest and some as an outgrowth of events of the past few weeks.
Northshore demographics reflect our community and continue to become more diverse. Concerns shared by families reflect a need and urgency for greater understanding and attention to meeting the changing needs of our students and families, and importantly, creating a more inclusive environment for all Northshore students.
The school board is responsible for district governance and we have recently been examining our policies to determine where we have sufficiently strong ones and where they can be improved. We are examining the effects of current policies and reviewing policies from other districts. The experiences and stories of those who spoke to us at our board meeting are important input for the board to consider as we discuss the need to come together as a community to effect change. The school board will be discussing next steps at our board meeting on June 9 at 4 p.m.
The school board and district are committed to student safety and providing an environment free of discrimination, harassment, intimidation and bullying for everyone in Northshore, and we realize we can’t do it alone. We are resolved to address these issues head-on and view them as opportunities for our district to listen, learn and work collaboratively with our students, families and staff to strengthen our school communities for the betterment of all Northshore students.
We look forward to working together to continue to build a stronger, more inclusive school district.
Janet Quinn School Board President
COMING TOGETHER, MOVING FORWARD
Recent events in the Northshore School District have uncovered a painful reality: an epidemic of racism, intolerance and bullying in our schools.
At the May 26 school board meeting parents, students and community members came forward to share their experiences and address their concerns and fears. It was heartbreaking to hear the racially motivated attacks some of our children have endured. No child should ever feel afraid to go to school. No family should ever feel that staff and administrators are not listening to their pleas for help.
The community has called on the school board and the superintendent to take immediate action to change the climate and culture of our schools, to create an environment where students feel safe and valued. I believe this has been a wake-up call for the District.
Superintendent Francois recently issued a letter to our community. I believe it is a heartfelt response to a deeply distressing situation. In his letter he details the first steps the District will be taking to address the issue of racism, intolerance and bullying in our schools. It is a multi-layered approach that includes working with our community, providing cultural competency, diversity and equity training for staff and administration, reinstating a mechanism for confidential reporting and implementing Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports.
Superintendent Francois has called on all students, parents, staff and community members to help move our school community forward to a better, safer place. I echo Superintendent Francois’ belief that together we can make a positive difference in our schools and in our community. I believe Northshore can become a place where all children feel safe and valued. Where parents are treated with respect, and are considered partners in their child’s educational experience. Where teachers and support staff are treated with dignity. A place that is more “family” than “institution.” A place where our administrators and our school board directors listen and care.
The school district is taking the first steps in a long but worthwhile journey. I think we can all be a positive part of the process and join the District in moving forward.
Our district is changing. Most of the time, I’m writing about the changes we’re seeing as our enrollment grows and we implement changes to our instructional program. Too little do I write about the changing demographics of our community and the students and families we serve.
Over the past 15 years, the diversity represented across our community has changed steadily and significantly, and even greater ethnic, cultural, religious, economic and racial diversity is projected in the coming years.
While I believe our schools aspire to be welcoming and inclusive, events in recent months such as hateful graffiti spray painted on the Bothell Hindu Temple and a nearby school, and racially charged threats against African-American students, remind us that we sometimes fall short of what we may believe to be the best about ourselves, our schools, our families and our community.
As a school system, we accept our responsibility to create the environment and conditions for all students, families and staff to feel safe, welcomed, valued and supported within our schools. We also know that we cannot accomplish this alone. True inclusion, acceptance and celebration of diversity are not accomplished solely through school board policy, rights and responsibilities handbooks, a motivational assembly or a cultural fair. They are accomplished when hearts and minds are opened, educated and nurtured to appreciate and embrace diversity as strengths that unite and make us better rather than as differences that breed ignorance and intolerance. That change must be cultivated and grown in our schools, homes, towns, cities and places of worship. It is a collective mission and journey.
Every journey begins with the first steps. Below are some of the first steps we are and will be taking with urgency to respond to recent events and build upon the work already taking place in our schools:
• Conducting focus groups with diverse representatives from our school communities to better understand their school experiences and to help inform our policies and programs. • Seeking and capitalizing on the expertise of those with training, experience, insights and resources in cultural competency, diversity and equity policy, programs and training; networking with other organizations that are experiencing similar demographic changes. • Initiating formalized cultural competency training and skill-building with district leaders. • Analyzing our threat assessment process to align to nationally recognized standards, providing additional staff training and developing stronger relationships with mental health providers and law enforcement. • Investigating technology systems to enable confidential reporting of bullying and harassment. • Analyzing available data to better inform our understanding of and responses to disproportionality that may exist across various subgroups of students. • Reviewing existing policies and programs to assess whether they are culturally responsive and appropriate to our changing demographics. • Continuing to support and expand our schools implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Multi-Tiered System of Supports models (MTSS), which build more positive school cultures and develop intentional strategies and interventions for students needing greater levels of support to be successful. • Revamping our student Rights and Responsibilities handbook to better align with PBIS and MTSS principles. • Collaborating with our civic, faith-based and community partners to promote a deeper community conversation around diversity and equity.
Like everyone, I am the product of my life experiences and circumstances. I can’t claim to have insights and understandings that have not been part of my life’s journey. But like everyone, I can be a learner. I can be vulnerable and open to what I don’t know and understand. I will seek to be better skilled and competent to interact with those whose life experiences and circumstances are different than mine. I will use my voice and influence to make Northshore schools and our community better. And I ask that all of you — students, parents, staff and community members — join me on our collective journey to create a school community that more perfectly reflects our best selves.
The StoryCorps Mobile Tour will be in the Seattle area Aug. 6 to Sept. 4. Appointments for interviews can be made at storycorps.org. Interviews can also be recorded anywhere with smartphones, then sent to StoryCorps with a smartphone app. StoryCorps is a nationwide nonprofit oral history project, preserved at the Library of Congress. Weekly broadcasts of select interviews can be heard on National Public Radio or the StoryCorps website.
Polly Roberts Woodinville
WOODINVILLE-DUVALL ROAD MEDIANS
To the City of Woodinville: Why do we have medians/islands instead of lanes? I thought we needed more lanes to handle our traffic. Silly me! Have you seen the line to turn north at Mack’s Corner? Have you seen the traffic coming and going during peak traffic and school drop off/pick up times? Have you seen the Saturday westbound back up at 156th? Maybe a designated right hand turn lane would have been better than a median taking up a whole lane. Also, it seems to me that the large (and ugly) evergreens being planted (Why?! We don’t need those!) in these silly medians should have been planted along the shoulders on people’s properties that lost their privacy trees and bushes. Those property owners received twigs instead. I’m sure they’ll have some of their natural screens back in 15 years with those scrawny plantings. Tina Sander Woodinville
Thank you for your article on etiquette for those who use the Burke-Gillman trail. We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful amenity in our community, which my family has enjoyed for 25 years. The trail can be very busy at times, especially on weekends. As someone who has been both a cyclist and a pedestrian pushing a stroller or walking a dog, I have witnessed some poor choices made by both pedestrians and cyclists and wanted to provide additional guidelines.