Clarification on EDE #90 for 2014/15

June 26, 2015
Good Morning,

Just a point of clarification in my last posting of Every Day Evidence.  The “Ten Things Legislators Should Know and Do When Making Education Policy” list is not my list.  This came to me in April 2013.  If I remember correctly it was from the Michigan School Public Relations Office or from Steve Norton with the Michigan Parents for Public Schools – I don’t recall which one.

Good list and good advice to our elected body in Michigan.

Thanks,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
Northview Public Schools

Read More

Final Every Day Evidence as a Superintendent – #90 for 2014/15

Every Day Evidence #90 for 2014/15 – Ten Things Legislators Should Know
June 26, 2015

Final Post

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator MacGregor, Representatives, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, Hooker,

and Afendoulis,

As a Superintendent of Schools, this is my final edition of “Every Day Evidence That Our Public Schools Work!”  I am retiring after 40 years in public education.  My years have been spent serving students, their families, staff members, and community members. My support of and advocacy for public education does not retire!

I believe our public schools are relevant and they must be community based.  I care deeply about the role our public schools play in the preservation of values and practices that strengthen our democracy.
Over the past three years, you have received over 500 “pieces of evidence” that our public schools work.  Over 900 “opinion leaders” are on the blind copy list of each email message you have received. 

Thank you for taking the time to read a few of my postings or at least recognizing that you have received another “piece of qualitative or quantitative evidence” before you hit the delete button.  The evidence is not hard to find.  Just take the time to be present in your local school district.

My final questions to you are:

  1. Are your legislative actions strengthening the relevance of public education?  
  2. Are you aware of the ten (10) things you should know and do when making education policy?


Every Day Evidence – Public Education

Ten Things Legislators Should Know and Do When Making Education Policy Posted: 30 Mar 2013 02:10 PM PDT

A couple of days ago, I had coffee with Betsy Coffia, who ran last November–unsuccessfully–for a seat representing the 104th district in the Michigan House of Representatives. Coffia and I had never met, although we have several mutual friends. We found each other on-line, in a Facebook argument over Detroit Public Schools’ Emergency Manager. She liked what I had to say, and suggested we meet.

It was a great conversation. Coffia plans to run again, and asked lots of questions: What did I think about cyber-schools? Charter chains? The value of early childhood programs? Well-known education non-profits in Michigan? Although she worked for a time in a Head Start program, she admitted there were lots of theories and ideas in education policy she found murky.

Then she said this: Wouldn’t it be great if there were a guide for legislators to making useful education policy? So here it is:

#1) You don’t know education just because you went to school. Even if you were paying attention in high school, your perspective as a student was extremely narrow and is now completely obsolete. Study the issues, which are more complex and resistant to change than you think. Here’s a brief list of things that, in my experience, legislators don’t know diddly about:
• A cooperative classroom and how to achieve it.
• Formative assessment.
• Impact of class size on daily practice (not test scores).
• Difference between standards and curriculum.
• Special education.
• Research-based value of recess and exercise.
• Differentiation vs. tracking.
• What quality teaching looks like in practice.
• The fact that all learning is socially constructed.
And on and on.

#2) Plan to pay many non-photo op visits to lots of schools. Do things while you’re there. Read with 3rd graders. Sit in on a high school government class or small-group discussion about Shakespeare. Play badminton in co-ed gym class. Take garden-variety teachers out for coffee after your visit; let them talk and just listen. Resist the urge to share the “good news” about legislation you’re co-sponsoring. Ask questions, instead.

#3) Take the tests that kids have to take. Then you’ll understand why “achievement data” and what to do with it are sources of high anxiety for public schools, teachers and students.

#4) Be picky about what you read, listen to and believe. Media is not fair and balanced, and in an online world, information and sexy, upbeat storylines are for sale. At the very least, read both sides, with your crap detector on full alert. Consider that media often enshrines flat-out lies in the public consciousness simply because they’re a good headline or the deliverer is charismatic.

#5) Examine your assumptions. When teachers roll out unsubstantiated chestnuts (“no wonder he’s the way he is–just look at his parents!”) it’s lounge talk. When elected officials say clueless things, voters pay attention. For example: “ Incompetent teachers are being allowed to teach and substandard service is being tolerated.” Whatever your deepest convictions about unions, teacher pay, urban poverty or kids today, check those biases at the door. It’s your job to represent everyone in your district, not just the people who agree with you.

#6) Follow the money, not the party. A lot of what’s happening in ed “reform” today is centered around taking advantage of the large, previously untapped market of K-12 education. Before you get on any partisan policy bandwagon, just for the thrill of passing a law, ask yourself: Who really benefits from this? Who loses?

#7) Remember you were elected to create policy that represents your constituents’ goals and desires, not ALEC’s. Even if the pre-packaged legislation is slick and convenient, and the Koch brothers are willing to fly you someplace warm with golf courses–do the work yourself.

#8) Be like Rob Portman and change your mind and your public proclamations when the evidence is convincing. Changing your mind–if you do it publicly, and don’t try to sneak the shifts past voters with tap-dancing and weasel language–makes you stronger, demonstrating that you have confidence in your own core values and leadership. Diane Ravitch altered her views, and earned herself a few million devotees, after all.

Corollary: Admit when you don’t understand value-added methodology, the reason STEM is so hot, or constructivism in mathematics education. There is nothing more pathetic than a legislator trying to act like he knows something by tossing out a few buzzwords.

#9) Big and bold gets headlines, but tinkering around the edges gets results. Want to raise teacher quality? Don’t endorse firing the “lowest” quintile, publicly rank-ordering them in the newspaper, or bringing in untrained but photogenic Ivy Leaguers. Do it the old-fashioned way: careful recruitment, building teachers’ skills and knowledge, investing in their capacity and leadership over time.

#10) Honor our democratic foundations. Public education is the most democratic of our institutions, one of our best ideas as Americans. Public schools may be tattered, and behind the technological curve. But systematically destroying the infrastructure of public education is a profoundly selfish and immoral thing to do. Don’t be that legislator.

Final Fact

Our roads do need improvement and you plan to allocate $1.2 Billion.  Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is important and an “upstream solution.”  You allocated $26.4 Million.  Your Legislative actions show your priorities. Kent County ISD school districts have done their part.  Now it is time for our Legislators to do their part and increase K-12 by a “3% net-operating revenue” in each of the next three years.

Sincerely,

Michael F. Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

Read More

Every Day Evidence Our Public Schools Work – #89 for 2014/15 – Teacher Voice

Every Day Evidence #89 for 2014/15 – Teacher Voice

June 25, 2015

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator MacGregor, Representatives, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, Hooker,  and Afendoulis,

Currently our Michigan Legislative body is working on finding $1.2 billion in “road funding” in order to make Michigan a TOP TEN state for roads.  The current School Aid Budget included a $26.4 million allocation for 3rd grade reading in order to make Michigan a TOP TEN state for academic achievement.

Questions for Your Consideration:

  1. The new School Aid Bill resulted in a $50 per pupil increase in the net-operating revenue. This is approximately a .6% net operating revenue increase for Northview. This is unrestricted revenue.  Do you believe this covers the inflation rate?
  2. Yes, we did receive a $48 per pupil increase in “at risk” funding that is restricted.  Do you know the criteria for use of the $48 per pupil?
  3. Are you aware that the overall funding for K-12 is about the same as the level of funding in Governor Granholm’s last year in office? The priorities changed to cover retirement costs established by previous Legislative actions.
  4. Are you aware that the MPSERS was established by the Legislature not by school districts collective bargaining agreements? Our MI legislators state that paying down this legacy cost will result in more money for K-12 …….. in 2034.
  5. Are you aware of the size of the budget cuts in Grand Rapids Public Schools, Forest Hills Public Schools, East Grand Rapids Public Schools, and other districts in your legislative boundaries?
  6. Are your actions strengthening the relevance of public education?

Every Day Evidence – Generous Parents

Today’s EDE comes from our East Oakview math interventionist.  The funds for this position are not available next year due to funding levels from the State and Federal governments.

“I did not get a chance to discuss this with other teachers, but the answer to this question is one that I think about/experience almost every day.

In the past 3 years, I have spent a lot of time in many schools and I can confidently say that East Oakview is one of a kind.

When it comes to parent involvement, I have NEVER seen parents so involved in student learning. It was one of the first things I recognized that was clearly special about this school. In my position, I get a peek into each classroom every day. I have the privilege to see parents in the classrooms and out in the hallway working with students. Each time I see this, it makes me feel that our students are so lucky to have such loving and caring parents, but it also makes me wonder why other schools are not like this?

The students at this school are absolutely amazing, to say the least. On my very first day, I waited for Sarah Shook’s class to finish taking off their snow gear and get everything ready for their school day to start. As I was observing the “madness” that comes with 20+ 5 year olds getting ready for school, I felt something hugging my leg. As I looked down, I see a smiling little boy staring up at me. He immediately asked, “Who are you?” I asked him, “I am Ms. Johnson, who are you?” He quickly responds, “Zander. Ms. Johnson, I like you.” After saying this, he lets go of my leg and continues with his morning routine. I have had so many experiences like this one in the short amount of time that I have been here and I have observed students express their admiration for their teachers. This experience is only a glimpse of the love the students at East have for their teachers.

I am still “getting used to” the Northview community. But, as far as I can tell, this is a strong community that truly supports their schools. Definitely something that is very heartwarming.

I feel extremely lucky to be part of the East Oakview staff. EVERYONE has been so welcoming, helpful, supportive, and appreciative for what I do/I’m trying to do. Each day becomes more comfortable and last week I had the opportunity to spend time with a group of teachers outside of school. At the end of the school day on Friday, I was asked to join some teachers at a restaurant. The only way I can phrase the way this made me feel is thinking about being a kid in school and wishing the “cool” kid in your class would invite you to their birthday party and when you least expect it, you get the invite! (Ok, maybe an exaggeration, but it is the best way I can describe the feeling) The teachers here and their relationship with one another as well as the kids, without a doubt, is like nothing I have experienced before.

I cannot express enough how lucky I feel to be at a school like East Oakview.

Kara Johnson

Math Interventionist

East Oakview Elementary”

Fun Fact

Our roads do need improvement and you plan to allocate $1.2 Billion.  Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is important and an “upstream solution.”  You allocated $26.4 Million.  Your Legislative actions show your priorities. Kent County ISD school districts have done their part.  Now it is time for our Legislators to do their part and increase K-12 by a “3% net-operating revenue” in each of the next three years.

Sincerely,

Michael F. Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

Read More

Every Day Evidence Our Public Schools Work – #88 for 2014/15 – Parents Do Their Part

Every Day Evidence #88 for 2014/15 – Parent Do Their Part

June 24, 2015

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator MacGregor, Representatives, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, Hooker,

and Afendoulis

Currently our Michigan Legislative body is working on finding $1.2 billion in “road funding” in order to make Michigan a TOP TEN state for roads.  The current School Aid Budget included a $26.4 million allocation for 3rd grade reading in order to make Michigan a TOP TEN state for academic achievement.

Questions for Your Consideration:

  1. The new School Aid Bill resulted in a $50 per pupil increase in the net-operating revenue. This is approximately a .6% net operating revenue increase for Northview. This is unrestricted revenue.  Do you believe this covers the inflation rate?
  2. Yes, we did receive a $48 per pupil increase in “at risk” funding that is restricted.  Do you know the criteria for use of the $48 per pupil?
  3. Are you aware that the overall funding for K-12 is about the same as the level of funding in Governor Granholm’s last year in office? The priorities changed to cover retirement costs established by previous Legislative actions.
  4. Are you aware that the MPSERS was established by the Legislature not by school districts collective bargaining agreements? Our MI legislators state that paying down this legacy cost will result in more money for K-12 …….. in 2034.
  5. Are you aware of the size of the budget cuts in Grand Rapids Public Schools, Forest Hills Public Schools, East Grand Rapids Public Schools, and other districts in your legislative boundaries?
  6. Are your actions strengthening the relevance of public education?

Every Day Evidence – Generous Parents

Today’s EDE comes from East Oakview Teacher Librarian Kurt Stroh.  Our parents do their part.

“Hi everyone!

I received a generous donation from an East family to be used to help some students, who can’t afford it, purchase a book at the book fair.

If you have a student that you know can’t afford a book, please email me his/her name.  I will do my best to get as many of them as possible down to shop.

East has some awesome parents!!!!

Happy Reading!

Kurt Stroh

Teacher-Librarian

East Oakview Elementary School

www.eastoakviewlibrary.weebly.com”

Fun Fact

Our roads do need improvement and you plan to allocate $1.2 Billion.  Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is important and an “upstream solution.”  You allocated $26.4 Million.  Your Legislative actions show your priorities. Kent County ISD school districts have done their part.  Now it is time for our Legislators to do their part and increase K-12 by a “3% net-operating revenue” in each of the next three years.

Sincerely,

Michael F. Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

Read More

EDE #87 for 2014/15 – Graduate Voice – Our Public Schools Work!

Every Day Evidence #87 for 2014/15 – Graduate Voice

June 23, 2015

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator MacGregor, Representatives, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, Hooker,

and Afendoulis

Currently our Michigan Legislative body is working on finding $1.2 billion in “road funding” in order to make Michigan a TOP TEN state for roads.  The current School Aid Budget included a $26.4 million allocation for 3rd grade reading in order to make Michigan a TOP TEN state for academic achievement.

Questions for Your Consideration:

  1. The new School Aid Bill resulted in a $50 per pupil increase in the net-operating revenue. This is approximately a .6% net operating revenue increase for Northview. This is unrestricted revenue.  Do you believe this covers the inflation rate?
  2. Yes, we did receive a $48 per pupil increase in “at risk” funding that is restricted.  Do you know the criteria for use of the $48 per pupil?
  3. Are you aware that the overall funding for K-12 is about the same as the level of funding in Governor Granholm’s last year in office? The priorities changed to cover retirement costs established by previous Legislative actions.
  4. Are you aware that the MPSERS was established by the Legislature not by school districts collective bargaining agreements? Our MI legislators state that paying down this legacy cost will result in more money for K-12 …….. in 2034.
  5. Are you aware of the size of the budget cuts in Grand Rapids Public Schools, Forest Hills Public Schools, East Grand Rapids Public Schools, and other districts in your legislative boundaries?
  6. Are your actions strengthening the relevance of public education?

Every Day Evidence – Graduate Success – Poetry

Today’s EDE is an email exchange between a teacher at Highlands and a former student.

“Yes, I absolutely remember you, Kelsey!  You were an articulate writer even back in sixth grade and I am SO proud of your success.  It is Spring Break next week and we have tentative plans, but if I am available, I will certainly attend.  The topic, “Race Relations” sounds especially interesting and I love that you are using your talents to positively impact our world. Thank you for the invitation…and best wishes for a successful presentation.

Mrs. Lewis


On Sun, Mar 29, 2015 at 10:02 PM, Kelsey  wrote:

Hello Mrs. Lewis! I hope you’re doing well. It’s been a few years since I last visited. I’m not sure if you’re still at Highlands.

I am emailing to invite you to my poetry reading at Grand Valley! Since graduating from Northview, I’ve been writing and traveling. I’m now a writing major and will be presenting a collection of my poems on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 1pm. If you would be able to attend, it would mean a lot to me to have you there! Please see the attached flyer for details.

Kelsey

Simply Love People

wordsareaneed.blogspot.com”

Fun Fact

Our roads do need improvement and you plan to allocate $1.2 Billion.  Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is important and an “upstream solution.”  You allocated $26.4 Million.  Your Legislative actions show your priorities. Kent County ISD school districts have done their part.  Now it is time for our Legislators to do their part and increase K-12 by a “3% net-operating revenue” in each of the next three years.

Sincerely,

Michael F. Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

Read More

Every Day Evidence #86 for 2014/15 – Parent Voice

Every Day Evidence #86 for 2014/15 – Parent Voice

June 22, 2015

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator MacGregor, Representatives, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, Hooker, and Afendoulis

Currently our Michigan Legislative body is working on finding $1.2 billion in “road funding” in order to make Michigan a TOP TEN state for roads.  The current School Aid Budget included a $25.4 million allocation for 3rd grade reading in order to make Michigan a TOP TEN state for academic achievement.

Questions for Your Consideration:

  1. The new School Aid Bill resulted in a $50 per pupil increase in the net-operating revenue. This is approximately a .6% net operating revenue increase for Northview. This is unrestricted revenue.  Do you believe this covers the inflation rate?
  2. Yes, we did receive a $48 per pupil increase in “at risk” funding that is restricted.  Do you know the criteria for use of the $48 per pupil?
  3. Are you aware that the overall funding for K-12 is about the same as the level of funding in Governor Granholm’s last year in office? The priorities changed to cover retirement costs established by previous Legislative actions.
  4. Are you aware that the MPSERS was established by the Legislature not by school districts collective bargaining agreements? Our MI legislators state that paying down this legacy cost will result in more money for K-12 …….. in 2034.
  5. Are you aware of the size of the budget cuts in Grand Rapids Public Schools, Forest Hills Public Schools, East Grand Rapids Public Schools, and other districts in your legislative boundaries?
  6. Are your actions strengthening the relevance of public education?

Every Day Evidence – Graduate Success – Dual Enrollment

Today’s EDE is a pair of email messages between Northview HS Principal Mark Thomas and the parent of a freshman student.

“Jen,

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your comments.  I am very happy Aiden has enjoyed the transition to high school.  Mrs. Rodegher has a tremendous personality and cares so much about all of her students.  She has the unique ability to make learning fun and engaging every day.  She loves music, has a great sense of humor, and truly empowers students to explore the learning.  I learn all sorts of things from her about effective instruction and student engagement.

Please tell Aiden to stop by my office in the next week or two.  I would enjoy sitting down with him in order to hear his thoughts on his freshman year… things he liked and also some things he thinks we could improve upon now that he has the ability to reflect a bit.

Thanks for selecting Northview Public Schools and trusting us with your most precious possessions.  We will always try our best to help them in any way possible.  Feel free to reach out at any time if there is anything I/we can ever do to be of assistance.  My cell phone is ……………. if you ever need to contact me directly.

Thanks again and have a great day!  Take care.  Mark

Parent email:

Hello, Mr. Thomas. I wanted to take a minute to let you know how much my son ( Aiden ) has enjoyed his first year of high school. Being a freshman isn’t always easy, as I’m sure you know, but a lot of why Aiden has enjoyed it has a lot to do with his teachers:) One in particular, Mrs. Rodegher.

She is fantastic! Aiden has loved her teaching style, and the joy she passes on to the kids. He comes home and tells me about her class almost daily. She truly loves what she does and it shows, and my son has been the beneficiary of that!

It makes a mom pretty darn happy to know my son ( and his brothers to follow) are in a school system that cares about our kids!

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Jen”

Fun Fact

Our roads do need improvement and you plan to allocate $1.2 Billion.  Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is important and an “upstream solution.”  You allocated $25.4 Million.  Your Legislative actions show your priorities. Kent County ISD school districts have done their part.  Now it is time for our Legislators to do their part and increase K-12 by a “3% net-operating revenue” in each of the next three years.

Sincerely,

Michael F. Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

Read More

Advanced Copy of June/July Northview News Superintendent Letter

June19, 2015

Good Afternoon,

As you have come to expect, here is an advanced copy of my Superintendent letter that is found in the monthly Northview News.  I have sent 63 advanced copies over the last six years.  As always, feel free to share this with those in your circles of influence.  They trust you and look to you to tell them the “important stuff” about Northview and public schools.

This is my final message to you as Superintendent of Schools.  I encourage you to welcome and support Dr. Scott Korpak as our new Superintendent.  Look for his opening letter in the June/July edition of Northview News.

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike

Northview News June 2015

Dear Families, Community Members, Staff, and Students,

Robert Fulghum, author of All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten, states “we are surrounded by good people who are always there for us, who can be relied upon in small and large important ways.  People who teach us, bless us, enrich us, support us, and uplift us.  We often forget to tell them.”

My final message to you as Superintendent of the Northview Public Schools is driven by the small and large important ways that you are relied upon by our students, staff, community members, and how I have relied on you over the past six years. You are living proof of why I have hope in and confidence in our public schools and our ability to continuously improve the quality of life for our community.

I have confidence that our public school system is producing young women and men who will be quality replacements for the leaders in our community.  Thanks to each of you, I am confident Northview is producing competent, caring individuals who have integrity and operate from a base of ethical values.

You have made your core values public at every opportunity.  Our students have modeled the values you care deeply about.  Here are just a few that you have helped me remember during our time together:

  • Families, no matter how you define family, are the most powerful influences in a person’s life.
  • All individuals have value.
  • Diversity enriches a community.
  • Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
  • Practice the appreciation of “simple elegance” – look for the beauty and humor of daily life.
  • Never give up.
  • “Gentle pressure relentlessly applied” (Steve Crandall, 1990) – be kind, yet persistent as an advocate.
  • You can only control your own behavior – choose to stay on the high road.
  • Encourage the heart.It brings out the passion of individuals.

Two years ago, I met a kindergarten student who constantly reminds me of perhaps the most meaningful core value – “remember the important stuff” (Travis V., 2013).  Well, Travis, the “important stuff” for me is and always has been answering the question, “Is it best for the children of the community?”

Thank you Northview students, staff, families, and community members for allowing me to be a part of a community that has a strong emotional and spiritual relationship with its schools.  You always remember “the important stuff.”

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

Read More

Thursdays With North Oakview – The Final Post – EDE #92 for 2014/15

Date:             Every Thursday (minus a couple) for the Past Two Years
Arrival Time:   Early, but never before Judy and several teachers and the cook
June 18, 2015
Thursdays With North Oakview, The Final Post!
Two years ago I agreed to spend the first 90 minutes of each Thursday at North Oakview Elementary.  One of my before school duties was to serve as the supervisor of the “drop-off line.”  The assignment was to make sure that kids exited their family vehicle safely, say good morning to each one, and usher them onto the playground.  I had performed similar duties during my seven years as an elementary principal and I really believed that I could handle the job.
The very first Thursday a little five-year old boy named Travis jumped out of the side door of his mom’s van and ran in my direction.  His red tennis shoes were on the wrong feet and untied.  I stopped him with my friendliest “principal voice” and suggested to him that he might have the shoes on the wrong feet and maybe he should tie the shoelaces before he tripped and fell.
He looked at his shoes, looked up at me, looked down at my shoes, looked up at me and said “I think your shoes are on the wrong feet and they are black.”  He then proceeded to run onto the playground.  I stood silently and mentally agreed that he was right about the shoe color but had to double check to see that they were on the right feet.  I started planning for my next encounter with Travis.
The following Thursday Travis once again jumped out of the van, ran up to me and stopped.  His shoes were on the right feet and the shoelaces were tied.  I asked him where his mom bought his shoes because “I would like to buy a pair of red tennis shoes” like his.  Once again he looked down at his shoes, up at me, down at my shoes, and then back up at me and said “at an outlet mall, but your shoes are kinda big and you are kinda old.  I don’t think they have your size.”  Once again I stood without comment and watched as he ran onto the playground.
I relayed the scenario to my assistant Deb and the very next Thursday morning a pair of red tennis shoes were on the table in my office – Chuck Taylor, All Stars.  I pulled off my “black, old man, big” shoes, put on the new red shoes (on the right feet) and laced them up.  I was ready for Travis.
Same drill – van pulls up, Travis jumps out, runs up to me and stops.  I pulled up my pant legs and showed my new red tennis shoes.  “They had my size” I laughed.  Travis looked down at my shoes, looked up at me and said “it is about time you got a pair.”  He left me standing  in silence.
Travis became my life-coach that day!  That afternoon, I named my blog “Thursdays With North Oakview” as a take off from the book Tuesdays With Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom.
Several Thursdays later I was distracted by email messages, a couple of early morning phone calls, and I forgot to put on my red shoes.  I really didn’t even notice until I met Travis in the drop-off line.  He looked down at my shoes and then up at me with the question “where are your red shoes?”  I told him I got busy and forget to put them on.  His gaze never left my eyes and he made a simple yet very profound statement that solidified our coaching relationship “Dr. P. you need to remember the important stuff.”
He was right!  As an educator, I need to remember the important stuff.  I made a commitment that day to wear the red tennis shoes every Thursday.  The red shoes remind me to never take myself too seriously but to take what we do for and with our students very seriously.  That is the “important stuff.”
I am retiring at the end of June after 40 years of serving students, their family members, staff, and community members.  Over the past two years, Travis has provided me with many words of wisdom.  Travis, his sister, and his mom presented me with a framed picture of the two of us with our red shoes and Travis’ final words of wisdom:

  1. Always have FUN!
  2. Remember the “IMPORTANT STUFF.”
  3. Don’t forget to wear your RED shoes on Thursdays.
  4. Never take yourself TOO seriously!
  5. NEVER give up!
  6. TRY to wear your shoes on the right feet!
  7. Red shoelaces are always BETTER!
  8. And DON’T forget you owe me your red shoes when I get into high school.

Thanks Travis (and your mom, dad, and sister) for two really great years of being my “life-coach.”  If you see me in the community and I have on red shoes, you will know it is Thursday.

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent (until June 30, 2015

Northview Public Schools

Read More

Every Day Evidence Our Public Schools Work – #84 for 2014/15 – Graduate Success

Every Day Evidence #84 for 2014/15

June 18, 2015

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator MacGregor, Representatives, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, Hooker,

and Afendoulis

Currently our Michigan Legislative body is working on finding $1.2 billion in “road funding” in order to make Michigan a TOP TEN state for roads.  The current School Aid Budget included a $25.4 million allocation for 3rd grade reading in order to make Michigan a TOP TEN state for academic achievement.

Questions for Your Consideration:

  1. The new School Aid Bill resulted in a $50 per pupil increase in the net-operating revenue. This is approximately a .6% net operating revenue increase for Northview. This is unrestricted revenue.  Do you believe this covers the inflation rate?
  2. Yes, we did receive a $48 per pupil increase in “at risk” funding that is restricted.  Do you know the criteria for use of the $48 per pupil?
  3. Are you aware that the overall funding for K-12 is about the same as the level of funding in Governor Granholm’s last year in office? The priorities changed to cover retirement costs established by previous Legislative actions.
  4. Are you aware that the MPSERS was established by the Legislature not by school districts collective bargaining agreements? Our MI legislators state that paying down this legacy cost will result in more money for K-12 …….. in 2034.
  5. Are you aware of the size of the budget cuts in Grand Rapids Public Schools, Forest Hills Public Schools, East Grand Rapids Public Schools, and other districts in your legislative boundaries?
  6. Are your actions strengthening the relevance of public education?

Every Day Evidence – Graduate Success

Today’s EDE comes from Northview High School teacher Brian Bollone.  It is an email from a parent of a NHS graduate.
“I just received a delightful complement and a great piece of “evidence” yesterday from Janine Conway that Northview Public Schools work!  As you may recall, Becki Conway was an outstanding student leader at the high school and was respected by the staff for her socially, academically and spiritually gifts.

I thought both of you would like to know where, Becki Conway Dykstra, is in her life’s journey. 

Mrs. Janine Conway shared with me:
– After high school, Becki graduated from Taylor University with a Biology degree.
-She headed to Des Moines University Medical School, in Iowa.

 -While there, she met Scot Dykstra, a med student in her class, and they were married in December 2013.

 -This Saturday, she and Scot are graduating from Med School.

 -Becki and Scot received their first choice of residency programs, and will begin this June at Muncie, Indiana.  They are both specializing in rural family medicine.”
This is another wonderful piece of “evidence” that NVPS plays a critical role in preparing students for life’s next steps.

Fun Fact

Our roads do need improvement and you plan to allocate $1.2 Billion.  Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is important and an “upstream solution.”  You allocated $25.4 Million.  Your Legislative actions show your priorities. Kent County ISD school districts have done their part.  Now it is time for our Legislators to do their part and increase K-12 by a “3% net-operating revenue” in each of the next three years.

Sincerely,

Michael F. Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

Read More

Every Day Evidence #83 for 2014/15 – Parent Voice – Our Public Schools Work!

Every Day Evidence #83 for 2014/15

June 16, 2015

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator MacGregor, Representatives, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, Hooker,

and Afendoulis

Currently our Michigan Legislative body is working on finding $1.2 billion in “road funding” in order to make Michigan a TOP TEN state for roads.  The current School Aid Budget included a $25.4 million allocation for 3rd grade reading in order to make Michigan a TOP TEN state for academic achievement.

Questions for Your Consideration:

  1. The new School Aid Bill resulted in a $50 per pupil increase in the net-operating revenue. This is approximately a .6% net operating revenue increase for Northview. This is unrestricted revenue.  Do you believe this covers the inflation rate?
  2. Yes, we did receive a $48 per pupil increase in “at risk” funding that is restricted.  Do you know the criteria for use of the $48 per pupil?
  3. Are you aware that the overall funding for K-12 is about the same as the level of funding in Governor Granholm’s last year in office?  The priorities changed to cover retirement costs established by previous Legislative actions.
  4. Are you aware that the MPSERS was established by the Legislature not by school districts collective bargaining agreements? Our MI legislators state that paying down this legacy cost will result in more money for K-12 …….. in 2034.
  5. Are you aware of the size of the budget cuts in Grand Rapids Public Schools, Forest Hills Public Schools, East Grand Rapids Public Schools, and other districts in your legislative boundaries?
  6. Are your actions strengthening the relevance of public education?

Every Day Evidence – Parent Voice – Teacher “shout out.”

“Hello Mr. Thomas,

I’m not typically one to write emails, but I feel like this teacher deserves a “shout out”.  I have had both the pleasure to work in her classroom as an interpreter, as well as having a son as one of her students.  It was/is so incredibly refreshing to see someone care and give so much to every day and every task.  

My son is a unique child, which I assume most parents would say, but Taylor truly is.  He struggles to focus on classwork and follow through. Yet, for Taylor, his time in AP Lit has produced a catalog of work I never thought I would see him willingly do.  Not only has his love for literature grown, Mrs. Steelman has helped grow his individuality and drive.  Thanks to her unique teaching and straight forward manner my son blossomed. His final project was suited to his drive to become a film director. He came home yesterday with a light in his eyes that I haven’t seen in months.  With the simple sentence “She loved it”, I could tell his life had been changed.

I appreciate all that she has done to inspire my son, She will forever be “one of those” for him. I am thankful that as a School of Choice child we were able to bring him to Northview Public Schools so that his perspective and value is truly cultivated and allowed to grow.

Christie “Cre”

Fun Fact

Our roads do need improvement and you plan to allocate $1.2 Billion.  Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is important and an “upstream solution.”  You allocated $25.4 Million.  Your Legislative actions show your priorities. Kent County ISD school districts have done their part.  Now it is time for our Legislators to do their part and increase K-12 by a “3% net-operating revenue” in each of the next three years.

Sincerely,

Michael F. Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

Read More