The Northshore Schools Foundation recently hosted its inaugural Beyond the Book Speaker Series event aimed to bring the community and educators together to experience experiential learning outside the classroom.
The first speaker series featured Project VOICE presenter, educator and spoken word poet Sarah Kay.
The series brings in educators to work on and discuss a variety of topics with Northshore students and the community.
“The foundation is committed to bringing someone who’s working with teachers or students in our school district out to the community so we can have a further dialogue on interesting topics,” said Carmin Dalziel, executive director for NSF.
The first event on Oct. 24 focused on poetry as Kay performed for Inglemoor High School and Leota Middle School students and the Northshore community. Kay also hosted several poetry workshops for Inglemoor ninth graders and Leota seventh graders.
Dalziel said numerous community members, including many who don’t have children in the district, attended the speaker series to learn about poetry and hear Kay’s spoken poetry performance.
After the keynote and discussion, Kay hosted a book signing.
Dalziel said she was excited to see educators learn from the experience and to see people outside of school district parents care about education.
“That fills my soul in a way that makes coming to work even easier every day,” she said. “There’s a lot of really inspiring things going on in our community these days and this was one of those opportunities for local culture.”
Currently, the foundation plans to host the speaker series twice a year and is talking with other educators, but there is no set date for the next event.
“We really wanted to see how the first one was going to go before we made any concrete plans,” Dalziel said.
The speaker series, in total, reached more than 1,000 Northshore students and more than 150 educators and community members, according to Northshore School District Superintendent Michelle Reid.
Reid helped create the Beyond the Book Speaker Series and is one of the driving forces in establishing educational conversations within the community. According to Dalziel, Reid wanted to show the community what these educators are doing in the classroom.
“As Beyond the Book progresses,” Reid said, “our goal is to create programming that, at some point throughout the year, reaches everyone. We value every student, staff, parent and community member, every background and experience and every child’s right to an equitable and excellent education.”
Dalziel and Reid both said these free events are also an opportunity to provide equal education to everyone in the community. Dalziel said she hopes community members and students walk away with better access to literacy and ways to have better conversations with each other.
“I was most thrilled that we’ve developed another avenue to present programming that will engage our entire community,” Reid said. “With 22,000 students in 33 schools, a tremendous increase in diversity with 94 languages spoken at home and record enrollment growth, this is yet another way we can remain focused on equity and excellence.”