- Tiffany Rodriguez, Principal
- AmyLynn Schexnayder, Assistant Principal
- Navarre Kerr, Dean of Students
- NMS Office Staff
- L. E. A. D.
Hello Titan Families,
Since Governor Inslee’s announcement that school buildings will not reopen this school year, I have been thinking of you, our families. In addition to the profound sadness I feel about missing our students and staff and grieving the loss of all that our community will miss out on this Spring, you have been at the top of my heart and mind. Not only are you juggling your household, living through an unprecedented health crisis, dealing with the impacts on your own workplace, and so many other losses your family may be experiencing during this difficult time, now your home has also become a learning site. This is a lot to take on. I want you to know that we get it. We understand what you are going through, and we will get through this next phase together, as one community.
As you can imagine, our staff is also heartbroken that they will not be able to return to school this year. They miss the students they care about so much, they worry about them, and they are deeply disappointed that they will not be able to finish the year as planned. Despite the extreme let down we feel, we are also heartened by the fact that, although our delivery model has drastically changed, school is not canceled. Learning will continue, connection with our students will go on, and although we are apart physically, we are in this together.
Our team at Northshore Middle is deeply committed to partnering with our families and supporting you and your student with grace and compassion. Please know that our District and school are working on plans for the rest of the year. Although many questions still remain, we will be working to get answers and develop plans, and I will share details with you as soon as possible. In the meantime, this is our path until we have further guidance:
- The Northshore Learns 2.0 weekly schedule started prior to Spring Break will continue.
- Teachers will focus on the key learning objectives in their course content for the remainder of the school year. The lessons they're giving students are built upon this. Students are strongly advised to fully participate to the greatest extent possible so they can maximize their understanding of these essential concepts.
- While our goal is to keep learning moving forward, we recognize that some families may be in crisis right now. Your student’s wellbeing is the top priority. The goal is not to add stress, but rather engage students in learning.
- If your student is struggling with the lessons or your family is dealing with circumstances that impact your student’s ability to participate, please let our staff know so we can support you and your student. The last thing we want is to make this harder.
- As opposed to trying to replicate what would happen in a brick-and-mortar setting, students will be working on the big ideas and main concepts in each of their classes. Teachers have been asked to think about engaging projects, interesting explorations, and independent learning tasks to guide student’s independent learning, as students will only be meeting with their classes once a week.
- Office hours are available for teachers to support students in small groups or 1:1, as well as for staff to provide special services. This is a great time for kids to connect with their teachers if they have questions or just want to check in with a trusted adult.
- We recognize that some students and families may want to engage in additional learning opportunities this spring. To meet this desire, our district has compiled the Northshore Learns website as a resource. These resources are offered for the joy of learning and personal growth, and not as a curricular expectation (unless assigned by a teacher).
- Grading will look different during Northshore Learns 2.0: Staff will provide feedback to students regarding the work they are doing, but there are no grades at this time, other than pass/no credit for the course.
- We are working on a plan for students to safely retrieve items left in their lockers and return checked out items. Once the details are ironed out, we will share the plan with our community. Stay tuned.
- As a school and district, we will be working on how to adjust course content for the fall. We recognize that every student will have experienced a narrowed focus of learning this spring. To accommodate that, courses will begin this fall with content that meets students where they are as a result of what was learned this spring.
- There is no expectation that families need to seek additional tutoring or curriculum to compensate for topics not covered this spring. Our teachers will move forward this fall with the understanding that students have been exposed to the foundational blocks that were taught this spring, and nothing more. This includes courses at the high school for our 8th grade students who will be transitioning there this fall.
We’ve received some questions asking how to best support students as we continue with Northshore Learns 2.0. We recognize that you have already been supporting your student in this new learning environment and may already have a routine that works. I know my family, this has been an on-going process as we try to find a system that works for all of us. These are just a few suggestions in case you are interested.
- Structuring the Day - Routine is essential for adolescents. Having the same time each week-day to get up, engage in activities, and go to bed helps to engage their circadian rhythms. This may contribute to health on many levels, and provide a sense of security through routine. Consider working with your student to create a daily calendar for activities that includes the daily school schedule. For the joy of learning and engagement, discuss with your student adding time to their calendar for independent creative, athletic/movement, musical and reading pursuits.
- Managing Online Learning - Organization of online materials and navigation of the Internet are key skills for online learning. Just as you might help your student organize their notebook for school, consider helping them develop a system for storing and managing their online work so that it is easily accessible. As for navigating the Internet, teachers and librarians have taught many skills associated with this. However, we know that students often need reminders or support, even if a skill has been taught. Consider working with your student until they feel comfortable and confident in finding the online resources they may need.
- Reach Out If You Have Questions or Are in Need of Resources - Our team is here to support you and your student. Don't hesitate to email our teachers, counselors, librarian, office and support staff, or our admin team with any questions you may have. If we don't have the answer, we will do our best to get you to someone who can help you or your student. We are happy to help families locate essential resources in our community. If your family has a need, we are here to help.
Our team is looking forward to seeing students again (virtually)! We became educators because of the joy and satisfaction that working with adolescents brings. We do it because we love it. This is such a unique age and each student is a wonderful gift. Thank you for sharing your amazing child with us. Together, we will carve the very best out of this new reality to pave their way into the future.
Hello Northshore Middle School families! It is such a joy to be returning to the Northshore Middle School community. Last year was one of learning and listening for me. I have greatly appreciated your feedback, your ideas, and your support. This year, I remain curious and courageous while planning to celebrate and inspire the same in our students. I have spent my summer connecting with my family. We’ve traveled across the country to visit family in Louisiana as we do each summer. I was able to reflect again on the beauty and strength found in our diversity as a country. One of my goals over this next school year is to experience more of the diversity within our own families and community. I hope that in doing so, and in sharing that experience with you and your child, we can cultivate an environment that draws us together towards the common goals of achieving greater equity for our students and a more positive culture overall. As I traveled this summer with my 16-year-old son, we reflected on both our middle school experiences. Our memories made clear how our experiences in middle school impact so much more than our overall academic success in high school. With that said, I have two questions for you as starters for a conversation with your own child as we enter into the new school year. (And if either of you wish to share your answers with me, please do!)
● Looking back to when you were your child’s age, what would you have wished for during your own middle school experience?
● Looking ahead to this year, what do you both wish for as you think about your child’s own middle school experience?
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me by calling my office at 425-408-6725 or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, I welcome your input as well as your expertise as your child’s parent and look forward to partnering with you towards your child’s success.
AmyLynn Schexnayder (Mrs. Schex)
At Northshore, our motto is Titans LEAD, which encompasses the four pillars we use to teach positive behaviors for the classroom and good citizenship at school and beyond. These school wide common expectations apply to every area of the school, and we regularly teach and refer to them to ensure our students know and understand the expectations of our Titan community. In order to reinforce these positive behaviors, students are recognized and rewarded for exemplifying our LEAD pillars. In addition to the academic and critical thinking skills students learn to prepare them for high school and beyond, we strive to also teach students the soft skills and character traits that will empower students to be successful, productive citizens in the future. This year we have updated our pillars to be active verbs, allowing us to best describe what it looks like and sounds like to be a Titan LEADer. Here is how we define each of our pillars:
- Lead Positively: Empower others to do their best, set an example, speak up
- Engage Fully: Do your best, pay attention, work hard, work with others
- Accept Readily: Create an inclusive environment for everyone, be kind, reach out
- Decide Responsibly: Follow directions, make safe choices