Puddles Are Made for Jumping In

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.

Small and Large Miracles

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

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Northview Community Has Courage – Time for Lawmakers to Have Courage

May 7, 2014

Good Morning Senator Jansen and Representatives MacGregor, VerHeulen, Lyons, Yonker, Hooker, Dillon, and Brinks,

You are currently in the process of developing the K-12 Budget.  It is time to have the courage to support the school districts in the KISD by approving a “true 3% net-operating revenue increase.”

Last night, all of the school districts with a bond proposal or a sinking fund renewal proposal on the ballot, were approved by their respective communities.  The communities had the courage to step forward and invest in their schools.

Please use the support demonstrated by the respective community members to assist you in your work on the K-12 budget.

For the 4th time in five years the Northview community has stepped up and invested in our public schools.  They made an informed vote on our Building and Site Millage Renewal.  Here are the results:

1,425 Yes – 73%

   521 No  – 27%

All 8 precincts approved the request.

The Northview Board of Education was courageous in placing the renewal before voters.  The voters had the courage to approve the proposal.

Now it is time for our Michigan Legislators to have the courage to pass the Classroom and Kids K-12 Budget and give our public schools a “true 3% net-operating increase.”  Northview did its part now it is time for our Legislators to do their part.  Have the courage to do what is right!

Your found a way to do this for road repair.  Now it is time to invest in public schools that work.  You have the evidence.  You have the proposal. No new revenue is needed.

What else to you need from us to help you convince your colleagues to invest in K-12 schools?

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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Thank You Northview Voters

May 6, 2014

Dear Parents, Family Members, Community Members, Students, and Staff,

Thank you for your careful consideration of the request to renew the Building and Site Millage for ten years.  As a result, the No Tax Rate Increase proposal was approved by voters.  Once again the Northview community has stepped up and invested in our public schools.

Your vision for the future of Northview carried the vote.  The unofficial vote totals as of 9:55 p.m. were: *Note: Absentee ballots ran the same percentage but we do not have official numbers at this time.

898 Yes or 77%%

261 No or 23%

Voters did a very detailed review of the 173 projects completed with Building and Site revenue over the past ten years, considered that this was a renewal of an existing millage rate, and understood that this allows Northview to continue to plan for the maintenance and repair of its grounds and buildings.  Our voters made an informed vote.

The Northview Board of Education was courageous in placing the renewal before voters.  They continue to have a future focus.  We also appreciate the work of the Friends of Northview Public Schools citizens’ committee and chairpersons Ginger and Mike Rohwer.

Once again, thank you for approving the renewal of the Building and Site Millage for ten years.  You have taken another step in preserving the Northview culture and climate for present and future students and their families.

WE ARE NORTHVIEW!

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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Northview HS Students Give Back – Remember to Vote Today

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 – Remember to Vote Today
Good Afternoon,

Here is a link to a School News Network story written by Charles Honey that gives you one more piece of evidence that our public schools work.

Northview High School students in teacher Jeff Vargo’s Woods I course give back to their community.

http://www.schoolnewsnetwork.org/index.php/2013-14/skilled-hands-make-toy-cars-young-patients/

Our Northview community did their part by allocating tax dollars to renovate our high school school, added four early childhood classrooms, and updated technology by approving a $43 Million Bond proposal in November 2011.  They were courageous when they passed the proposal in the worst economic times in Michigan history since the Great Depression.

Today, our community is once again following the courageous lead of our Board of Education as they consider are request to renew the Building and Site Millage.

This is a NO TAX RATE INCREASE – NO NEW FUNDS that is used to maintain and repair our facilities.  It prevents the use of our limited classroom and co-curricular budgets.

Now is the time for our Michigan Legislators to be courageous and support and pass the Classrooms and Kids K-12 Budget Proposal that was introduced in February 2014.  This would give Northview a “real 3% net-operating revenue increase.”

Without NEW FUNDS and NO TAX INCREASE in the Base Foundation Allowance.

Our community does its part.  Will our MI Legislators do their part?  Ask them.

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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Remind Ten Others to Vote Today – Tuesday, May 6

VOTE TODAY – TUESDAY, MAY 6
POLLS OPEN 7:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Building and Site Millage Renewal

Remind ten others to vote, post this on your social media sites, send to those on your email lists.

No Tax Rate Increase

Renewal for 10 Years – No Tax Rate Increase

·  Brings $667,000 per year in revenue with no tax rate increase.

          Sincerely,

          Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent 

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Remember to Vote Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 5, 2014

Good Morning,

I need your help.  Please post the following message on your web pages, social media tools, and send the information to those on your email list.

Thanks,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

REMIND TEN NORTHVIEW PEOPLE TO VOTE TOMORROW – TUESDAY, MAY 6, 2014

Vote on May 6, 2014 – Building and Site Millage Renewal

No Tax Rate Increase

 

Renewal for 10 Years – No Tax Rate Increase

·         Brings $667,000 per year in revenue with no tax rate increase.

·         Millage rate is 1.2056 mills.

·         Northview families with a home at a taxable value of $100,000 currently pay $120.56 per year or $2.32 per week.

Timely Repair

·         Renewal of the millage rate provides funds for the timely repair of our buildings and sites.

·         As with our homes, timely repairs are more cost effective than paying for extensive repairs.

·         We must address the health/life safety repair needs in the buildings in order to have safe learning environments for students.  If the Building and Site Millage revenue is not available, funds currently aligned to support classroom instruction and co-curricular programs, must be used to make necessary repairs.  As you are aware our “net-operational revenue” has been reduced by the State over the past three years.

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2014/04/west_michigan_school_districts_8.html#incart_river_default

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