One day after our community approved the renewal of the Building and Site Millage for ten years, a first grade classroom at North was flooded due to a faulty roof drain. The class was relocated temporarily to the library while clean up continues today.
This is exactly why the renewal was so important. Repair costs come out of this fund rather than out of classroom or co-curricular budgets. One person, who appreciated our work that informed the community of the need for facility repair, suggested that I was one day too late to have the “flood” used as a campaign strategy.
A BIG THANK YOU TO NORTHVIEW VOTERS for having the courage to support our public schools.
As I spoke to the kids from the flooded classroom it became very apparent that they are flexible and adaptable and always see the positive opportunity that a flooded classroom presents. “You see,” started one first grade boy, “there was a great big puddle in the room that was made for jumping in.” Another girl said “I just jumped over the puddle to get my things. I didn’t know I could jump that far.”
The PE teacher at North has a quote by Neil Young that hangs outside the gym door. It reads “In the field of opportunity it’s plowing time again.” Even though I am quite sure that a seven year-old child at North does not know who Neil Young is, I am quite sure their teacher has something to do with helping them recognize opportunity – “Teach Your Children Well.”
Speaking of the PE teacher, he informed me the 25 year old controller for the scoreboard in the gym finally died. It will cost $400 to replace. Let’s see, we spent $16 a year for the scoreboard controller or $.04 cents a day to have an operating scoreboard. We wonder where we will get the $400 to pay for the controller that has already arrived. I wonder what other business that uses a scoreboard would need to worry about cost? How many of those businesses would wait 25 years, until the controller died, to upgrade the controller (or the scoreboard for that matter).
We will find the $400 for the cost of the controller. I am quite sure the PE teacher won’t be teaching when the next replacement is needed. Well maybe, he is in good physical and mental and spiritual shape.
Fourth grade students have their writing samples displayed in the hallway outside their rooms. Both Sam and Xavier wrote a review of the book The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. Their reviews caught my eye for two reasons. First, the boys were attracted to stories that are about kids their own age. Second, they were interested in the historical perspective provided in the book. For those of you who don’t know the story (and movie) it is about two ten year-old boys in World War II. One boy is the son of a German Army officer. The other is a Jewish boy in a concentration camp run by the German Army officer. If you want to hear/read more about the impact of the book on our two students, you will just have to visit North Oakview.
A third grade teacher asked me to spend some time with one of her students, Mitchell, who wanted to share his writing. I sat down with Mitchell and he showed me his writing sample from last fall. Then he proudly showed and read his writing sample from this spring. Amazing does not describe the changes. His teacher said when she showed him his fall writing sample she covered up his name. Mitchell asked “who wrote this?” You can imagine his surprise when his teacher uncovered his name and said “you did.” Mitchell’s response was and is “I really made great progress.”
One of Mitchell’s classmates, Emily, informed me that she turned ten today. That set off a listing of when four other kids turn ten. I shared that I would turn 64 on June 2. One kid said “that is a really big number.” Maybe so I remarked….. “but I be you don’t know who Neil Young is?” They countered quickly….”yes we do, he made that quote that hangs outside the gym.” I guess the four fourth grade students understand opportunity quite well.
Poems about Forsythia flowers hung next to a life sized Forsythia bush constructed out of paper. I was a bit distracted from reading the poems when a kindergarten student walked by and burped out the greeting “good morning.” I laughed. I laughed even harder when I tried to accomplish the same greeting back. He laughed even harder.
Do you know who wrote the music to Pomp and Circumstance? Our fourth grade students know that Sir Elgar wrote the song for the coronation of a Queen of England. What to know which queen? Visit North and ask a fourth grade student. By the way, I would stay away from telling them when you next birthday happens. I would also work on burping a greeting of good morning.
The drop-off line provided a weather report from at least 15 kids. “It’s going to be 80 degrees today so I didn’t wear a coat.” “Why don’t you wear a pair of red flip-flops instead of the those red tennis shoes, don’t you know it’s going to be 80 today.” “Look, I’ve got two different colored socks on. I’m not wearing them after lunch recess because it will be 80 out.”
Travis informed me that he was nervous last week when he presented Jamie Vollmer with a pair of red tennis shoes in front of all the teachers in Northview. He didn’t seem nervous at all that day when he launched into a discussion of “same and different” with Mr. Vollmer. Travis did say that his shoes were different than the ones he gave Jamie but Jamie’s and my shoes were the same. If he would have stopped there it would have been fine but then he said “but Dr. Mike is older than you.”
Sixty-four is a big number. The music from Teach Your Children Well started playing in my head.
I told Travis that Mr. Vollmer’s wife is having a hip replacement operation today and that Mr. Vollmer is wearing his red shoes to the hospital – after all it is Thursday in Iowa also. Travis seemed pleased that he has another client for his life coaching business.
I wrote to Jamie today and wished his wife a successful surgery. I found myself marveling at the wonders of our lives in a time that allows many of us the opportunity to have a failed body part to be replaced in a hospital and the recovery is reasonably short. Miraculous if you ask me.
While a hip replacement is a miracle, it is no greater than the small and large miracles I saw evidence of this morning at North Oakview. I am sure that the same is true in all of our schools today in Northview and across the Kent Intermediate School District.
Last week when Jamie Vollmer visited our schools, he asked “is what I am witnessing normal and usual?” I wish I would have had the quote by Neil Young handy “In the field of opportunity it’s plowing time.”
We do teach our children well.
Sincerely and With Great Respect,
Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent