Northshore School District (NSD) held its second annual State of Our Schools event on Feb. 27.
Hosted at Northshore Community Church in Kirkland, the event addressed more than 180 attendees — including district leaders, government officials, community partners and students — on what NSD has accomplished in the past year and what initiatives the district is looking toward in the coming year.
NSD superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid opened the event by stating the purpose of the day’s event.
“It’s a time where we can reflect on what we’ve done and where we’ve been and concentrate on the future path,” Reid said. “I want us to imagine the possibilities.”
This year, the district will be celebrating its 60th anniversary. Over the past 60 years, Reid said the district has grown from having 4,686 students in seven schools with 136 teachers. In 2019, there are 23,000 students in 33 schools with 1,500 teachers.
“Since our beginning, we have grown exponentially. This year alone we’ve grown 500 students…and we’re preparing for increased exponential growth in our district,” she said.
To illustrate the growth of the district over the years, Reid compared the children’s book “The Little House” by Virginia Lee Burton to NSD.
“In the book, the little house nearly crumbled underneath the weight of the progress and the growth around it, but not our house,” Reid said. “In the Northshore School District, we have flourished and have taken that growth and have examined the possibilities and we’ve made amazing things happen for our students.”
Reid provided an update to the levy voted in more than a year ago. The approved levy and bond is allowing the district to build a new elementary school near Maltby Road, known as “School 21.” Skyview Middle School and Canyon Creek Middle School will be remodeled with “functional and flexible buildings.” Inglemoor High School will be getting one of the district’s first concert halls in 2021.
“When you aspire to excellence, we raise the ceiling for our young people and we enable them to pursue hopes and dreams that will change our world,” Reid said. “That’s what this district is about.”
In addition to the developments to the district, Reid discussed the district’s diversity and equity work and academic advancements.
The current diversity statistics in the district include 57.2 percent white, 19 percent Asian, 12.6 percent Hispanic/Latino, 8.7 percent two or more races, 3 percent black, 0.3 percent American Indian Alaskan Native and 0.2 percent Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander. The district has a 15.2 percent population on free or reduced-price meals and 14 percent special education.
“In our district we want to answer the question of who gets to be in classes and programs that matter…and the answer is anyone and everyone who meets the standard in Northshore,” Reid said.
To alleviate “systemic barriers,” the district has removed music fees for elementary students so all students can participate in music. The district has also adopted a universal screener administered to all students to qualify for gifted classes and programs.
“The number of students who qualified to receive highly capable services increased from 1,200 in 2016 to 2,300 today. That’s 700 [additional] students,” Reid said. “It’s about each student getting equitable access and us removing systemic barriers for that.”
Following Reid’s presentation, she invited the district’s student board to enter the stage and participate in a table discussion on what changes they would like to see in the district.
Cynthia Davis of Woodinville High School suggested NSD be more accommodating to more cultures and races throughout the district. James Johnson of Bothell High School suggested the district adopt more mental health awareness in schools.
“It’s something that the district has done really well on so far but I think it would be great to have more student-led panels and discussions to increase awareness and provide more tools to students,” he said.