Everyday Evidence #2 for 2014/15 – Advance Copy of September Superintendent Letter

Dear Families, Community Members, Students, and Staff,

 

My father-in-law often says that as you get older time seems to go faster.  He often uses the phrase “it’s summer, it’s over, it’s Christmas, it’s over, it’s summer.”  The summer months have exactly the same number of hours, days, and months as they did when I was young but it seems as though there are fewer now that I’m older. Regardless of how fast or slow time seems to go, the learning process is always constant.

 

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about what we have learned from the construction process over the past few years.  I know that our Senior High School Class of 2015 is the only class that will experience all the construction years. When they were Sophomores, only one narrow hallway on the east side of the school was available to move from the Max Colley Jr. Performing Arts Center on the north side of the school to the gym on the south side.  Classes were held in temporary classrooms and no media center was available.  They adapted really well and even had a few legitimate excuses for being late to class.  They have learned “why” someone would need math, good communication skills, and must be able to recognize the importance of expecting the unexpected. Our staff, families, and community members modeled the behavior we expected of our students.

 

It was Sophomore year and it was over. It was summer, it was over. It was Junior year, it was over.  It was summer and it is over.

 

As the class of 2015 enters the high school as Seniors, the excitement of a new school-year will be energized by the scheduled end of the construction project.  We should have everything completed by the winter holiday break -”It was summer, it’s over, it is Christmas.” During the second week of August one of our student athletes, who is a member of the Class of 2015, stood with me in the new front entrance of the high school.  He spoke very few words but six of them were powerful – “Our community did this for us!”  The community also “did this” for the nearly 200 kindergarten students who will attend Northview in September.

 

We believe “we are all responsible for student success and learning.” Our community continues to invest in the Northview public schools.  The kindergarten students who will enter our elementary schools will benefit from the courage demonstrated by our Board of Education, our staff, our families, and our community members.  They have a future focus and understand that the adults must model the behavior we expect in our students.

 

I know that our high school students who have “lived” the construction will remember what the Northview community did for them and for all Northview students.  We continue to deepen the emotional and spiritual connection in Northview.  Our students will carry the relationship into the community they choose to call home as an adult.


A Request for Your Help


We believe our words and behaviors accelerate student academic performance and nurture their social development.During the 2014/15 school-year, I am asking each member of our staff, our families, and our community to help strengthen our emotional and spiritual relationship in Northview.  Please consider the following requests:

  • Contact someone in your circle of influence and tell them about the great things going on in Northview.  Use email, text messages, FaceBook, phone calls, post cards, US Mail, or a conversation over the back fence.  If you send an email or use social media, please consider sending me a copy (mpaskewicz@nvps.net).
  • Read the “School News Network” weekly (www.schoolnewsnetwork.org) and tell at least two other people about this site that provides evidence public schools work in Kent County.
  • Speak to a school-age student in your neighborhood.  Tell them how important it is to do well in school.  Tell them you are proud of them for their contributions to our community.  Let them know their achievements and behaviors are a reflection of you and our entire community.
  • Thank a Northview staff member for their work in our school district.
  • If you are a Northview staff member, thank a community member or parent for their support.
  • Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 23, 2014 and then attend the “Ribbon Cutting and Open House” at Northview High School.  A second open house is scheduled for Saturday, October 25.  Details on page 3 of the September Northview News.
  • Remember to vote on November 4, 2014.  Northview is asking for the Renewal of the 18 Mills of Non-Homestead Millage. There is no tax rate increase.  The tax applies to commercial and industrial property and second homes, not primary residences.
  • Also on the November 4, 2014 ballot you will find candidates for the four seats on the Northview Board of Education.  Look for more candidate information in the October Northview News.

 

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

 

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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My Life Coach Enters 1st Grade – Everyday Evidence #1 for 2014/15

Thursday, August 28, 2014
Everyday Evidence #1 for 2014/15
Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator Jansen, and Representatives MacGregor, VerHeulen, Lyons, Yonker, Hooker, Dillon, and Brinks,

We are just days away from the official opening of the 2014/15 school year.  Staff members have been busy over the past several weeks as they prepare to greet our student body next week Tuesday.

YES, the high school (and all of our other schools) will be ready for our students even though the construction project is not completely finished.  The entire project is not slated to be finished until December 2014 with the pool slated to open in mid-October.  Some of our retired teachers had the chance to tour the site last week (http://www.schoolnewsnetwork.org/index.php/2014-15/retirees-agree-new-northview-high-school-stunner/).

Today is Thursday and as many of you remember, my life coach Travis, who enters 1st grade next week, encouraged me to wear my red Chuck Tanner Converse All Star tennis shoes every Thursday.  I have them on today as I don’t want to forget what Travis says is the “important stuff.”

As we approach the opening day I found myself looking back to some of the lessons Travis helped me learn last school-year to see if they would apply to the new school-year.  There are four:

1.  Our kids really do listen to us and they watch what we do – every day.

I tell the story of how Travis and I first met last September.  I still smile when I think about our first three meetings. Travis hopped out of the van the first day.  His red tennis shoes were on the wrong feet and untied.  I suggested to him they were great shoes but he had them on the wrong feet.  He looked at his shoes, looked at mine, and stated without hesitation “I think your shoes are on the wrong feet and they are black.” During our second meeting, when I suggested that I wanted to buy a pair of red tennis shoes,  Travis shared that he thought I was a little old, my feet were kind of big and he didn’t think the stores would have shoes that size.  Our third meeting was the best as I had on a pair of red Converse, Chuck Taylor All Star tennis shoes.  Travis’ only comment was “it is about time you got a pair.”

2.  I knew right then that I was taking myself too seriously. That is the second thing I learned from Travis last year.

Travis will graduate with the Class of 2026.  I will be 76 and my shoe size will still be the same. I am forever reminded to take what we do for and with our students very seriously.  Remembering that our decisions, words, and behaviors have implications on how our students learn and grow.

Travis’ mom called my office on a Wednesday last May to make sure that I was at the “drop-off” line when they arrived on Thursday.  It didn’t take long to find out why.  Travis, hopped out of the van sporting new red tennis shoes – size 1 – one tied and one untied.  He handed me a large envelope and said “this is for you.”  Inside I found a book Pete the Cat, Rocking in My School Shoes, by Eric Litwin.  For those of you who don’t know, Pete wears red tennis shoes – “just like you and me Dr. P” said Travis.  Travis signed the book with his first and last name.  So did his mom.

3.  I learned from Travis how important it is to “give every child every ounce of your energy, decision-making skills, every day regardless of their life away from school.”

Travis is a symbol for all the kids in Northview that we educate and care for each day.  So many of our kids, like Travis, come from homes who have parents that kiss them good-bye each morning, and tell them they are loved.  They are partners with our staff.  Some of our kids have experienced the tragedies presented by society that no adult should have to cope with let alone a seven year old child.

4.  Wear your red tennis shoes every Thursday just because you told me you would.

Travis, my life coach, shared many lessons last year but perhaps number four (4) is the most important of all.

Build strong relationships and never give up!  Just because you told me you would!

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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