Every Day Evidence #11 for 2014/15 – Our Public Schools Work!

Every Day Evidence #11 for 2014/15
September 29, 2014

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator Jansen, Representatives
MacGregor, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, and Hooker,
Riddle
: Which three Rs must every cheerleader know?
Questions for Your Consideration:

Funding for public education is on both the Republican and Democratic party platforms.  One party says that $1 Billion has been given to public education over the past three years.  One party says that $1 Billion has been taken away from public education. Is it possible that both political parties are right?  Can you answer the following questions?

1.  Our Governor’s first budget was approved in May and was declared a balanced budget.  Is it correct thinking that to balance a budget you need to do two things:  First, reduce expenses and second, increase revenue.  Was the K-12 School Aid Fund reduced to help balance the budget?

2.  Was there a cut in the K-12, per-pupil funding during the Governor’s first budget?
3.  Was money allocated to the MPSERS fund in the first budget and in the budgets that followed?
4.  What is the “net-operational revenue increase” to the K-12 per-pupil funding over the past three years?  This is the amount minus the contributions to MPSERS.

Every Day Evidence

Today’s EDE comes from a Northview High chool English teacher who taught at Ferris State University last year.

“Dr. Paskewicz,
 
I decided to try a new writing activity this week. I’d only done it on the university campus where I previously worked, but not with a group of high schoolers.  Sometimes ignorance has its advantages.  I introduced my 10th grade English class to Marathon Writing:  we traveled through the building, sitting in different locations and writing for 7 solid minutes. We focused on our 5 senses.  We focused on memories.  We focused on what we don’t see as much as what we do.  
 
So this past Thursday I took five different groups of 30 students through the high school. I have to say, I have a couple of classes that struggle to know what it means to responsibly act like a student.  I have students who are learning what I expect of them when I remind them to “attend to their own learning.”  So there was a small part of me that wondered if this day would end terribly, or with me in Mr. Thomas’s office.  
 
On our Marathon Writing Field Trip, we sat on the stage of the empty auditorium and in complete silence wrote for 7 minutes.  Then we traveled to the empty space of the lunchroom and my students spread out over the area and wrote in 7 minutes of silence.  Last we ended in the gymnasium where my people sat around the perimeter of the empty gym and wrote for 7 minutes.  Then as a group we moved back to my classroom on the 2nd floor of the building to begin the hard work of processing this collection of information.
 
Every hour someone stopped me to comment on how focused my class was; on their silence in the hallways;  on their ability to move past classrooms without creating a distraction.  One deputy from the touring group from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department offered a compliment.  Teachers noticed.  Support staff commented.  Administrators encouraged.  And I felt like the proud Momma of 135 wonderful people.  I was reminded that day that it is great to take risks.  I was reminded that my students will rise to the occasion.  Even those who struggle to attend to their own learning on a daily basis, will rise when the stakes are high.  I was reminded that I need to keep raising the stakes.   
 
My first three weeks at Northview have been overwhelming, empowering, challenging and delightful.  Every day when I leave that building I am thankful that I was given a place at the table.  
 
And I just wanted you to know. 
Betsy
Betsy Verwys

10th Grade English
Northview High School”

Fun Fact

Over 300 Northview High School Students rode five Spirit Buses to the football game against Cedar Springs HS.  There may not be another high school in Michigan who can claim such a large following for an away game.
Riddle Answer:  Rah! Rah! Rah!

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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Advanced Copy of Superintendent Letter – October Northview News – EDE #10 for 2014/15

Every Day Evidence #10 for 2014/15

Good Morning,

As you have come to expect, here is an advanced copy of my Superintendent Letter for the October Northview News.  Please remember to mark you calendars for Thursday, October 23, 2014 and then attend the Ribbon Cutting and Open House at 5:00 p.m. at Northview High School.  This is your first formal opportunity to see the results of your investment.
As always feel free to share this information with those in your circles of influence. You may contact me directly if you have questions, concerns, or positive comments to share.

email:   mpaskewicz@nvps.net

Phone: 616-365-6151

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview News October 2014

“Northview Public Schools and its community inspire and develop literate, creative problem solvers, ready for continued learning and career success, while becoming respectful, productive members of society.”

 Dear Families, Community Members, Staff, and Students,

Thank you Northview for approving the bonds that allowed us to renovate Northview High School, add four early childhood classrooms to West Oakview, increase security, and improve the access our students have to technology at all schools.  We believe that people working together toward common goals can accomplish anything.

 

Please mark your calendars for October 23, 2014 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. and then attend the 5:15 p.m. Ribbon Cutting and Open House at Northview High School.  While all of our “punch-list” items will not be complete until December 2014, you will have the opportunity to see the results of your investment.  A second open house will be held on Saturday, October 25 from 10:00 a.m. until noon.

 

Have you ever wondered how we measure our progress toward achieving the vision and mission of our school district?  There are many qualitative and quantitative measures that are available with the click of a button.

Our Board of Education uses 498 data points to monitor school district performance.  Last year, our district met expectations on 446 of the benchmarks – 89.5%.  Our quantitative measures may be found on our web site www.nvps.net by clicking on Board of Education, then click on monitoring reports.

Our qualitative and quantitative measures may be found in several other places:

Superintendent Blog –  mikesblog.nvps.net

  • By adding your email address to the Opinion Leaders distribution list.  Simply contact me at mpaskewicz@nvps.net to have your contact information added.
  • On Facebook “Friends of Northview Public Schools.”
  • On Twitter @DrPaskewicz
  • By visiting KISD School News Network at schoolnewsnetwork.org.  Sign-up for regular notifications of new stories.

I also encourage you to remember to vote on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. This important election which includes State Legislators and Governor has an impact on Northview and public education in Michigan.  Additionally, there are three very important ballot questions directly related to our school district:

  •  Three people are running for two six-year terms on the Northview School Board.  Two people are incumbents.
  • Three people are running for two four-year terms on the Northview School Board.  No incumbents are running for the seats.
  • The approval of the renewal of the Non-Homestead Millage for 18 mills.  This renewal is for a tax on second homes and business properties and not on your primary residence.  There is no tax-rate increase.  The renewal generates approximately $3 million for Northview in 2016 for general operations of classrooms.  Your vote is an important one as we strive to continue to prepare our Northview students for life’s next step.

Thanks for a great opening to the 2014/15 school year.  We Are Northview!

 

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

 

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Thursdays With North (and East) Oakview – I Love the Smell of Popcorn in the Mornings

Arrival Time: 7:25 a.m.
Beautiful Fall Morning

Yesterday afternoon as I was walking back from the high school and I notice a van slow down.  A fourth grade girl from North Oakview leaned out the window and yelled “Hey, where are your red shoes?” I called back “I only wear them on Thursdays!”  Her response of “That’s too bad” bounced around in my mind all of  Wednesday night. I wondered if she knows Travis.

It occurred to me that I live in a society that is so affluent that I have multiple choices of which pair of shoes to wear on any given day.  Earlier Wednesday afternoon I made a visit to our dentist, Dr. Amato to have a filling replaced that fell off one of my front teeth.  It occurred to me that we live in a society that is so affluent that we have a choice of dentists and other health care options.  By the way, Dr. Amato is a huge supporter of the Northview Public schools.

I also thought about how many people in our society may or may not have the same choices available on a day to day basis.  I wondered how many of those families have children attending our schools.  What I do know is that we learn in a community that offers a strong public school setting that benefits all kids in Northview.

The banner posted outside the front door of North Oakview said it all for me this morning – “Kids, Everyone’s First Priority.” Here are some examples of what that looks like as it is happening:

  • A first grade teacher asked me to follow up on why bus #51 is late everyday.  One of the kids who rides that bus is thrown off track when he arrives late.  He needs the structure and he needs the breakfast served at school.
  • The kindergarten teacher who followed up on a student comment about his home life which led to a referral to Child Protective Services.
  • The sign posted outside a 3rd grade room that states our goal of “building a reading life” with a benchmark of 30+ minutes of sustained reading by the end of the year.”
  • The second grade teacher who knows kids need to stretch after sitting for 15 minutes.  Did you know one of the stretches is called the “seal,” complete with barking seal sounds?
  • The PE teacher who has a commitment to help kids be “Fit for Life” and has an idea to build on a cafeteria to the school so the gym is available all day for students instead of shutting it down for 90 minutes to serve lunch in the gym.
  • Travis shared a little joy in the drop-off line today.  He went to the circus recently and it was really cool to see those motorcycles crash through the plastic buildings.
  • Another student thought it was really neat that the high school band would play for they every morning when the arrive for school. “Kids are the first priority” may be why we have a great high school music program.  Or maybe they just like playing for kids who are arriving for school.

Meanwhile Back at East Oakview…….

I Love the Smell of Popcorn in the Morning!

Did you know that four moms can pop enough corn to fill 500 bags in less than three hours?  Our schools work because of moms who can “snap a brown bag open” and fill it with popcorn just to raise a little money to help kids.  They also help mentor kids, read to them, hug them, assist in the library and in classrooms.  They do what ever it takes to help us help kids be successful.

The smell of popcorn is just one symbol of the strong emotional and spiritual connection between our schools, our families, and our community.  I wonder if the four moms I met today know that in Ethiopian culture it is a symbol of affluence and respect to serve popcorn at ceremonies.

Today it was a popcorn day ceremony at East Oakview!

I found out that 90 third and fourth grade students gave up an outdoor lunch recess to attend the Library Lunch to hear the latest book from Aaron Becker.  Aaron has a Caldecott Winning book titled Journey.  The teacher/librarian read the book to the third and fourth grade classes last week and then showed them the first page of Decker’s new book Quest.  The hook was “if you want to hear/see the rest of the book you can come to Library Lunch on Tuesday or just wait until next week to see the new book.”  More than half of the students gave up outdoor recess on a sunny, 75 degree, fall day to “see” a new book.  The book is a picture book that students add the story line to as they see the pictures.  Next week the kids interview the author via email.

By the way, the book Journey is set up to take a journey across the world as part of the mini-library project.  More on that in future blog posts or you can visit Kurt Stoh’s blog.

A second grade teacher related how much she was learning about her students from the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment).  I thought she was talking about their reading levels but it went much deeper.  She learned about how they think, what they have learned from their families, and how to build their reading accuracy and their thinking about reading.  “It is like holding up your arms and flexing your muscles.  You need to build each side to be strong.”

All in all, just another day of learning in a community that has its priorities in the right order.

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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Every Day Evidence #8 for 2014/15 – More Small and Large Miracles

Every Day Evidence #8 for 2014/15
September 22, 2014
Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator Jansen, Representatives
MacGregor, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, and Hooker,
Riddle
: What would you get if you crossed a pitcher and the Invisible Man?
Questions for Your Consideration:

Funding for public education is on both the Republican and Democratic party platforms.  One party says that $1 Billion has been given to public education over the past three years.  One party says that $1 Billion has been taken away from public education. Is it possible that both political parties are right?  Can you answer the following questions?

1.  $400 million of the School Aid Fund was allocated to colleges during our Governor’s first two budgets.  Is the same amount going to colleges this year?

2.  Was there a cut in the K-12, per-pupil funding during the Governor’s first budget?

3.  Was budget revenue allocated to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System over the past three years?

4.  What is the “net-operational revenue increase” to the K-12 per-pupil funding over the past three years?  This is the amount minus the contributions to MPSERS.

Every Day Evidence

This comes from Northview High School teacher Sheri Steelman:
Small and large miracles…next door.

Yes, at the high school miracles of every shape and size are happening.

I got a cold last weekend and knew I was in for it unless I went home early.  The time spent in an easy chair with some tea and a good book provided more for my students than an extra few hours of grading would have done.  I was able to read 3 books this week and book-talked my discoveries of some good writers with my students.  They are lined up on my white board like soldiers at the ready.  Students have been checking books out like crazy – despite the fact that they are already reading A Thousand Splendid Suns as a class. Big miracles, for sure.

Lunch time in the English workroom has become a place for teachers to eat – for the first time ever.  I can count on stories about home, life in the classroom, struggles and victories.  Who’s to say that finding out about a great recipe for beet salad is any less important to know than how to fit in time for grading.  Small and large miracles.

My green chairs are back, and my students can move!  It takes less than a few seconds to make a large circle and then move back into small groups.  No matter where they are and what they are doing, refocusing on a short lesson is only a swivel away.  Small miracles.  And green is lovely. Just ask Kermit.

I can walk down the language arts wing and see so much learning going on.  It makes me smile – students reading, writing, acting out plays, discussing issues, conferring with teachers. The miracle of allowing our learning to be visible to the outside world is brave and humbling.  Large miracles.

When I gave the question for today’s writing, I watched students’ expressions. Some looked at the ceiling, some looked up and to the right – or to the left – pre-writing began.  My notice-ings of body language as well as verbal feedback made me realize how valuable all the trainings I have had at Northview’s expense: cognitive coaching, Penny Kittle, Doug Fisher, Kelly Gallagher.  The largest of miracles.

Thank you for giving me a good model for writing! Sheri

 

Fun Fact

Visit The School News Network to see another example of how Northview students, staff, families, and community members give back to their community.

http://www.schoolnewsnetwork.org/index.php/2014-15/students-community-come-together-help-kids-cancer/

Riddle Answer:  Pitching like no one has ever seen! (Go Tigers)

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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Thursdays With North (and East) Oakview – Small and Large Miracles – EDE #7 for 2014/15

September 18, 2014
Arrival Time:  7:30 a.m.
Beautiful Sunrise

People who have followed this blog since the beginning will remember that one of my favorite books is Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom.  This is where the title “Thursdays With North Oakview” originated.

Last week I added East Oakview to the title as I am also spending some time there on Thursdays.  When I make the shift to reflecting on East Oakview you will see the transition words of “Meanwhile Back at East Oakview.”  This title originated with one of my favorite kids books Meanwhile Back at the Ranch by Trinka Hayes Noble and Tony Ross.

Light streaming from two classrooms lit a North Oakview Elementary school hallway.  The light fell on three educators discussing the progress made by a student over the past year.  One child, now a first grade student, is able to state to an adult that “he misses his dad” instead of acting out in the classroom.  The same child was seen later in the day helping another student on the playground.  He also professed that he loves math.  Small and large miracles happening every day.

Posted outside a 4th grade classroom: Reading Goal for the year – Building a Reading Life, Read for 45 minutes.   Writing Goal for the year – Raising Level of Personal Narrative Writing, Write 6 pages.

As I wandered out to the “drop-off” line I noticed a kindergarten boy walking backwards.  When I asked why he was walking backwards he replied “just because it’s fun to walk backwards.”  He was passed by several other kids who were running down the sidewalk.  When I asked them why they were running they said “because it is fun to run and we get to school faster.”  I usually pose the question “are you ready to learn today” to at least ten kids.  Every one smiles and makes the comment of “yes.”  When asked why are your ready to learn they all say “because it is fun.”  I wonder if they have seen the goals posted outside that 4th grade classroom?  Small and large miracles.

Travis shared two things with me on Thursday.  First was that his flag football team never wins
but that is okay because playing is so much fun.  The second stumped me for a little while.  He asked if I ever had a double birthday celebration.  Come to find out this means that you celebrate two years for one.  So if you are five, you get to move to six and then seven.  He said his mom an dad made up the celebration.  I told Travis that since I am 64 I plan to go down two years at each birthday so that when I turn 65, I am going to double celebrate down to 63.  Travis said “why, are you worried about growing so big that you hit the lights?”

First grade kids equate getting older with getting bigger.

What do Dot Week, Book Shopping, and Center Time have in common?  Dot Day/Week helps kids have a “can-do” attitude and is reinforced across all areas of the elementary curriculum – even in gym class.  Book Shopping is a strategy used by the teacher/librarian to help individual kids find books they are able to read and want to read.  Center Time is a learned skill, especially in kindergarten – think, “how do you help 21 five-year old kids move to five different centers in a timely and orderly fashion?”  Small and large miracles every day is what they have in common.

Meanwhile Back at East Oakview…….

“Dot Day” was in full swing in the library.  The teacher librarian was using a new app – Augmented Reality or AR – to make the student produced “dots” become animated.  The “oohs and aahs” told the story of how the technology bond revenue is making a difference in our classrooms.  If you are wondering about “Dot Day/Week” I suggest you read The Dot by Peter Reynolds.  It is an easy read since it is a children’s book.  It could be part of your personal quest to “build a reading life.”

I enjoyed the discussion being held in a fourth grade classroom about the question “how do I learn?”  The teacher informed her students that you don’t always see the hard work people do to learn something new.  Hard work pays off!  Struggle is okay.  Students were asked to think about how parents let a baby struggle to roll over or how a little one learns to walk by falling down and getting up again.  All of this was part of a lesson on “exclamatory, declarative, and fragmented” sentences.  Small and large miracles every day.

Another classroom of students was learning to “read myself awake.”  The teacher pushed students to higher levels of thinking by asking high quality questions.  She modeled the expected behavior of “writing down your questions as you think about what you are reading.”

A first grade teacher helped two students learn how to navigate a social issue while kids were lining up for recess.  Not a minute is wasted throughout the day.  Small and large miracles.

….. final thoughts

I usually make the time to write my reflections before the end of the day on Thursdays.  That didn’t happen yesterday and my reflections are written on Friday morning.  However, this allowed for three things to happen:

  1. The idea of small and large miracles happening right before my eyes carried on for the rest of the day.  I didn’t even have to look hard.  They are always right in plain sight.
  2. I kept thinking about how the struggles in life have made me a better person and a better educator.  I am thankful for the people who helped me be strong enough to face the struggles.
  3. If Travis was right about equating growing bigger with each year of life, I am going to need bigger clothing.  Wait a minute…..my pant size is bigger in the waist.

Maybe I will take a little time to walk backwards today!

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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Every Day Evidence #6 for 2014/15 – Northview Is Filled with Caring People Like Rosemary

Every Day Evidence #6 for 2014/15
September 16, 2014
Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator Jansen, Representatives
MacGregor, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, and Hooker,
Riddle
A Boy Scout climbed a tall pine tree to gather some acorns.  He tried all morning but couldn’t get any.  Why not?
Yes, for the third year, we are planning on sending you “evidence” that our public schools work
. Over the past two years we have sent you over 300 pieces of evidence.

This year we will have a little fun by placing a riddle in the first line of the EDE and the answer at the end of the email.  This is a reminder from Travis, my life coach (a first grade student), to have fun but “remember the important stuff.”

This will be followed by a set of serious questions that we ask you to consider, regardless of your political party.  Then we will present a real piece of either qualitative or quantitative evidence that our public schools work!  The “fun fact” comes just before the answer to the riddle.

Questions for Your Consideration:

Funding for public education is on both the Republican and Democratic party platforms.  One party says that $1 Billion has been given to public education over the past three years.  One party says that $1 Billion has been taken away from public education. Is it possible that both political parties are right?  Can you answer the following questions?

1.  $400 million of the School Aid Fund was allocated to colleges during our Governor’s first two budgets.  Is the same amount going to colleges this year?

2.  Was there a cut in the K-12, per-pupil funding during the Governor’s first budget?

3.  Was budget revenue allocated to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System over the past three years?

4.  What is the “net-operational revenue increase” to the K-12 per-pupil funding over the past three years?  This is the amount minus the contributions to MPSERS.

Every Day Evidence

“Today’s “evidence our public schools work” comes from East Oakview 4th grade teacher Jean Sonday.  In Northview, we believe we are all responsible for student success and learning.

“I am usually blessed with a few parent/relative volunteers each year.  This last school year, Rosemary, grandmother of my student Mason volunteered in my classroom.  She is a gentle, loving, kind woman.  She did whatever I asked & worked with all students (polite & crabby!)…she was such a good role model.

The students all knew her as “Mason’s grandma.”  She has excellent penmanship (old school), but was sometimes hesitant at teaching something or spelling correctly.  She quickly learned that we are all “learners” (me especially) and that the students often see me looking in the dictionary or checking a fact online. I WANT students to see this type of modeling & know it is not an embarrassment to not know something…that it is a situation that requires a little effort (opening a book, asking a friend, checking online, etc.).

ANYWAY…Rosemary discovered she had COPD the last 3 months of the school year & was not able to come in.  When I did see her, she was pale & weak.  She had mentioned making new book bag covers for my chairs (our blue ones had seen better days).  I washed & repaired the blue ones as best as I could this summer.

What do you think happened next?

Rosemary got better (new medicine) & proceeded to buy fabric & sew me a new class set of book covers!!  I met her last week in my classroom & she refused to take any reimbursement of money for her time and supplies.

Talk about a help, a blessing, a truly giving human being!

I know the sum of my success with students is not dependent upon just myself or even the efforts of my students.  The success of our students is community based.
 

Northview is filled with caring people like Rosemary…and that helps us build strong, caring students.

Just wanted you to know!”

 

Fun Fact

US News and World Report ranked Northview High School in the top 6% in Michigan and in the top 10% in the nation.

Riddle Answer

Acorns don’t grow on pine trees.  They grow on oak trees.

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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EDE #5 for 2014/15 – Thursdays With North (and East) Oakview

September 11, 2014
Arrival Time:  7:25 a.m. at North

I am branching out this year.  Following my time at North Oavkview each Thursday, I will head over to East Oakview to see if Travis’ advice is transferable.

Those of you who followed “Thursdays With North Oakview” (also found in my blog http://mikesblog.nvps.net/) last year will remember that I am not the first one to arrive in the building.  Judy, our Building Administrative Assistant, is always there early.  Some teachers also arrive early to prepare to meet student needs.  Today was no exception.

One of the kindergarten rooms housed a meeting that started at 7:00 a.m.  The goal of the meeting was to develop strategies to help a student.  The small group was “conspiring – breathing together – to help kids.”  Our food service staff member was in early, as she is every day, preparing breakfast for students who choose to eat at school.  At the same time the PE teacher was setting up the gym for the first hour of classes.

Two teachers, hands full of bags and a cup of coffee, came down the hall at 7:30 a.m.  When I asked if I could open the door for them, the reply was typical – “Thanks but I can get it.”  After all they are both a mom and a teacher.  The comment influenced my thinking this morning.

Everybody has a personal story that impacts them daily.  Most of the time we don’t know the story when we are talking with the person. Just like our Northview families, our staff members have stories that impact them daily.  It may be the death of a family member, caring for aging parents, a move to a new house, working on a relationship, dealing with an injury to a child, or just being able to find time in a busy day to stop at Meijer on the way home to buy milk.  I am constantly amazed at the ability of our staff to handle their individual stories and still make each student feel like they are the most important person in the school.

The Drop-Off Line Wisdom……

Travis had a little advice this morning.  He was wearing shorts today and was quick to say it was a little too cold for shorts. He was glad I listened to my mom when she told me to wear long pants today.  I think his mom may have said the same thing this morning.  He was distracted by a white circle in the grass near the playground gate.  “Is that a golf ball?” he asked.  It wasn’t. It was a white cap to a water bottle. I modeled the expected behavior and picked up the cap, turned to get an approving nod from my life coach, but he was off to the playground.

The very next child in the drop-off line asked me if that was a golf ball in my hand.  When I asked “why, do you have some golf advice for me?” he replied “yeah, hit it straight and don’t lose your ball.”  I think Travis may have taken on a partner in his firm.

Another student wanted to know what is that “clinking sound” he hears every day when he gets out of his mom’s car.  I had the answer for that one, it is the sound made by the high school band to help them march in time.  “Good” he said, “I thought it was my mom’s car.  Hey is that a golf ball you are holding?”  Our kids see and hear more than we think.  They are constantly watching us.

Meanwhile Back in the Classroom…….

The teacher/librarian at North was introducing herself to a class of students – “I’m a teacher, a mom, a wife, a sister, and I like going to Grand Haven.  How many of you are the oldest child in your family? The youngest? The middle child?”  When she reached the question of “who is the only child in your family?” a young girl responded “in one house I’m the only kid, in the other house I’m not.”  Everyone has a story.  Sometimes our students are more willing to share their story.

In another classroom a first grade boy shared that he had his tonsils out a few weeks ago.  He told me he didn’t like the medicine he was supposed to take but his mom forced it down his throat but then he got a popsicle so it was alright.  When I shared that I had my tonsils out when I was about his age he responed “that was more than a few weeks ago since you are kind of old now.”  My response was “hey, want to see a really neat golf ball?”  The cap was still in my pocket.

And Over at East Oakview…..

Pete the Cat, red and blue tennis shoes and all, was helping teacher/librarian Kurt Stroh memorize the names of kindergarten students.  Building relationships is of primary importance if we really expect our children to learn at high levels.  Dr. James Comer says that no significant learning occurs unless there is a significant relationship between the teacher and the student.

Walking down the hall I passed one of our teachers who was escorting a young student down to the office.  The student “shared his story” and as a result Child Protective Services was contacted by the school.  The case worker was there to see if we could make an appropriate intervention to help the child deal with his personal life story.

My time in Jenny Barnes’ 2nd grade classroom included learning how to react in a Code Red Lock Down Drill.  As part of our safety and security plan, we practice the drill several times a year in all schools.  Part of the drill involves students moving to a safe area in the classroom.  Mrs. Barnes is a skilled, veteran teacher.  Even when 22 second grade students and the superintendent are standing in the safe area, also known as the classroom bathroom, she continues to teach.  “We stay quiet and stand still” she whispers while scanning each small face and determining the comfort level of each student, “you are really doing this right.”  When the drill ended, she moved students back to their desks and began the next lesson.

Our staff are responsible for so many things that our students must know and be able to do.  Every time I am in one of our schools they teach me something new.  Now if one of them could just teach me to “hit it straight and not lose my golf ball!”

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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EDE #4 for 2014/15 – Community Voice on a Graduate

Every Day Evidence #4 for 2014/15
September 9, 2014
Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator Jansen, Representatives MacGregor, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, and Hooker,
Riddle
: Who tells people where to get off and gets away with it? (answer at the end of the email)

Yes, for the third year, we are planning on sending you “evidence” that our public schools work

. Over the past two years we have sent you over 300 pieces of evidence.

This year we will have a little fun by placing a riddle in the first line of the EDE and the answer at the end of the email.  This is a reminder from Travis, my life coach, to have fun but “remember the important stuff.”  You might want to use the riddle the next time you visit one of our schools.

This will be followed by a set of serious questions that we ask you to consider, regardless of your political party.  You will then have a real piece of either qualitative or quantitative evidence that our public schools work!  The “fun fact” comes just before the answer to the riddle.

Thanks go out to Representative Hooker for responding to
our very first EDE of the 2014/15 school year. 

Questions for Your Consideration:

Funding for public education is on both the Republican and Democratic party platforms.  One party says that $1 Billion has been given to public education over the past three years.  One party says that $1 Billion has been taken away from public education. Is it possible that both political parties are right?  Can you answer the following questions?

1.  $400 million of the School Aid Fund was allocated to colleges during our Governor’s first budget.  Is the same amount going to colleges this year?

2.  Was there a cut in the K-12, per-pupil funding during the Governor’s first budget?

3.  Was budget revenue allocated to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System over the past three years?

4.  What is the “net-operational revenue increase” to the K-12 per-pupil funding over the past three years?

Every Day Evidence
I received this from a past co-worker from my days at DeVos Hall. I’ll try to find out who the student was but thought you would appreciate knowing that we are able to empower our deaf students as well as many of our other students to have a positive impact in the Community and to stand up with courage and feel safe in telling their story.
Michael Frank
Hi Mike,
Not sure if that was one of your students ( unfortunately I don’t have her name in front of me ) but she is in her 20’s and went to Northview  and was HH from childhood and wore hearing aids.
 
The event , Hearing Awareness workshop was partnered with DHHS @ Kent Co Health Dept and intended to increase awareness of deafness, HH etc.  I went on behalf of DHHS as I am a volunteer there now.
 
This girl got up and told her story and the problems she had growing up as a HH person…and I have to tell you it made the hair stand up on my arms and opened a lot of eyes in the audience. which consisted of various public services providers.
 
Anyway, just thought you would like to know.
 
Take Care
 
Ron Coleman

Fun Fact

US News and World Report ranked Northview High School in the top 6% in Michigan and in the top 10% in the nation.

Riddle Answer

A bus driver.

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
Northview Public Schools

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Thursdays With North Oakview – EDE #3 for 2014/15

September 4, 2014
Arrival Time: 7:25 a.m.

IT IS THURSDAY AND THAT MEANS “REMEMBER THE IMPORTANT STUFF AND WEAR YOUR RED TENNIS SHOES!”

I was a little nervous during the short drive from the district office to North Oakview today.  I am sure the thunderstorm and lightning added to the uneasy feeling in my stomach but that was not the real reason for the butterflies.

I remember having the very same kind of feeling for the past 40 years on the first day of school.  Deep excitement, follow by nervousness that families have chosen us to help their child learn as much as they can, as fast as they can.

Now that I remember it, my mom told me I cried every day on the way to school for the first 20 days of kindergarten.  I didn’t see any child or adult crying today.

Those of you who are regular readers of “Thursdays With North Oakview” will remember that I am spending time each Thursday morning at North Oakview Elementary.  Starting next week, I will also spend some time at East Oakview Elementary.
You will also remember that Travis, now a first grade student, became my life coach last year.  I was really concerned that Travis wouldn’t remember that I expected him to continue the coaching arrangement this year.  As a matter of fact, I wasn’t quite sure if he would even remember me.  I couldn’t wait to get outside for my assigned duty at the “drop-off” line.
I was relieved when Travis and his sister jumped out of their van and greeted me like no time had passed.  After a quick hello and a few comments about our red shoes, Travis took off for the school.  I yelled “who is your teacher this year?”  His reply was typical Travis -“I don’t know, you can find me!”
The “drop-off” line gives me the chance to see how our families give their children a great start to the school day.  Some dads, some moms, and several grandparents brought children to school.  Many goodbye kisses and hugs along with words of encouragement to have a good day.  I even heard a couple of parents say “learn something new today and be kind to other kids.”
The kids in one of the 3rd grade rooms I visited today were surprised to see that I was wearing my red tennis shoes – just like Pete the Cat!  The teacher immediately had the kids break into song and dance.  What was even more impressive was the way the teacher engaged students who were reluctant to join in the fun.
A strong teacher/student relationship improves student academic performance and nurtures their social development.  Dr. James Comer goes even further by stating “no significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”
Time for a short quiz!

Do you know the best reason for being physically active and exercising?  If you guessed weight control and healthy hearts you would be wrong.  The best reason is it activates your brain.  The PE teacher at North has an exercise bike in the gym that is available for students who have too much or too little energy during the day.  By the way, he also has organized an after school fitness class for the staff.  Healthy body and healthy mind for students and staff alike.
I did manage to “find” Travis in his new first grade room.  He is playing flag football this fall.  Wrestling will come later.  He had his first game last night.  Travis said that after practicing so much it was fun to play the game.
Earlier this week a person from the media asked me what it was like for educators on the first day of school.  I responded in Travis like words – “we are excited to get in the game after so much practice.”
I didn’t cry today like my first 20 days of kindergarten.  But I think I was a little more excited than my life coach to “get in the game” today.
Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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