Thursdays With North (and East) Oakview – I love the smell of new books!

October 30, 2014
Arrival Time:  7:30 a.m.

“I love the smell of new books!” North Oakview 3rd Grade Student
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Over the past two weeks I have had great discussions with our staff regarding our strategies to increase the reading skill of all Northview students.  It may seem simple to state that to be a proficient reader you must read more.  How we get kids to read more is a district-wide strategy.

We have tens of thousands of books available to our students throughout the school district.  Our classroom libraries have grown each year, students know how to access books electronically, community members donate books to our schools, our teachers/staff buy books out of their own funds, and our Northview Education Foundation has provided grants to our teachers to purchase additional titles.  Our staff has engaged in professional development to build “best practice” strategies for accelerating the ability of our students to read and comprehend at high levels.  Some of the best national professionals in literacy have coached our teachers and principals over the past few years.

You would expect this in Northview.  What I did not expect came from the excitement of a third grade girl this morning.  Her simple and elegant statement “I just love the smell of new books!” made me laugh out loud (I am told I could use lol here instead of the actual words – Mark Twain may have agreed as I remember reading that he wasn’t paid by the word).

Her teacher received a shipment of new books last night and she had spread them out on a table in her classroom.  The teacher shared that she still gets excited when new books arrive – even after 29 years of teaching.  The teacher predicted that the kids in her class would have touched each book within seconds of arrival this morning.

I am guessing it is a little harder to capture the “smell of a new book” when you download it on an IPad but I am guessing there will be an Ap for that in the near future.  Next time I get the car washed and they ask me what fragrance I desire, I am boldly stating “new book.”

During drop-off duty I started asking kids if there was anything happening tomorrow that they cared about.  The first boy said “yes, its my birthday.”  I replied “it will be cool that everyone gets dressed in a costume to celebrate your birthday.”  He shot back “look the lights are on at the stadium and the band is playing.”  I think he turns 7 tomorrow and I decided I couldn’t handle another change in what we were talking about so I refrained form saying the song was in his honor.

The same student came back a few minutes later and told me that it is also Halloween tomorrow and I should think about dressing up.  Note:  My wife Ruth did make me a costume that looks like the candy dots on a strip of paper.  The staff knew what it was but not all the kids.

Meanwhile Back at East Oakview……..

Second grade students have learned how to have “book talks.”  You heard me right.  Today, a girl with a spider clip in her hair sat next to me and explained why she would recommend Now One Foot, Now the Other, by Tomie dePaola.  She informed me that the author is her favorite and he has written other books.  The student is not an exception.  I had book talks with two others in the brief time I was in the room.

Because of Winn Dixie was the book of choice in two third grade rooms.  Students were providing proof that “Opal was good at making friends.”  (If you don’t know who Opal is, I suggest you visit East Oakview and ask a third grade student.)  The other room was using Character Theory by talking about what made Opal’s heart race?  They also discussed what made their hearts race when listening to the book.  A collective sigh of disappointment was heard when the teacher finished the chapter.

Students begin to develop their love of reading at home and in our kindergarten and first grade classrooms.  The workshop stations in kindergarten allow students to work in small groups, get creative with art supplies, build things out of old cardboard boxes and blocks, and then have the opportunity to talk with the teacher about what they are doing in each station.  I am always amazed how a kindergarten teacher can sing the pick-up song and 25 five-year old kids put the room back in order and sit down in front of the teacher chair, ready for the next lesson.

Equally amazing was the how a first grade teacher helped a student learn how to pick the right book – “Level 6 is too easy for you.  Close your fingers into a fist and then read a page of the book.  Release one finger each time you come to a word you don’t know.  You didn’t have any fingers released and that means you should choose level 7 and 8 books.”  This same teacher then moved on to hold 7 individual conferences with students about poetry.

Today is the last Thursday of the month and that means parents are running the popcorn sale.  Since it is the day before Halloween the sales might be down a little bit but not much.  I am betting that some of the profits from the popcorn sale goes to buying more books.

The Important Stuff……

I missed talking with my life coach Travis today.  However, I did remember some important stuff:
  • Tens of thousands of books in classroom libraries across our school district.
  • Thousands of pages read every day.
  • Thousands of students increasing their reading fluency and comprehension.
  • Halloween is tomorrow and somebody has a birthday.
  • Hearing the band play at the stadium under the lights is more important than talking to the superintendent.
  • Remember to look up at the sky when the sun is rising.
  • If you ask people what they care deeply about they most likely will tell you and show you.

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

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World Wide Wednesdays With West Oakview (5WO) – EDE #22 for 2014/15

5WO

October 29, 2014
Arrival Time: 8:25 a.m.

As I walked from the parking lot toward the school, I looked through one of the classroom windows and caught a glimpse of what appeared to be an adult dressed in a Halloween costume.  The folks in the office assured me today was not Halloween but the preschool was celebrating because they won’t be here on the actual day. I was comforted by the fact that I hadn’t lost two days.  The preschool room was my first stop of the day.

Sure enough the room was filled with pint-sized children dressed for the occasion.  Princesses (5 – one with a dress that lit up and played music), Pirates (2 – one girl, one boy), a Hot Dog, The Hulk, Spider Man, T-Rex, a Mouse, and a Blue Tiger.  The group moved out into the hall as began their parade though several of the big kids’  classrooms.  The kids finished their tour and  returned to the room for a group picture.  They were joined by their teachers who were also dressed in costume.

The parents gathered around like professional photographers at a celebrity masquerade ball.  As they used their phones/cameras I found myself thinking that it was just yesterday that our own children, now adults, paraded in their chosen costume.  The parents who were present today were sending a strong message to their children “you are important and I care deeply about you – not just today, but everyday.”

On a side note, as I followed the parade through one of the kindergarten rooms (the “big kids” to a preschool child) one young boy yelled out “Good Morning Dr. P.”  I was feeling really good that he remembered me.  His teacher came into the hall and told me “how” he knew me.  She had informed the class that on Wednesdays they could be having a visitor.  “He will have white hair and wears a badge like mine (district ID).  The boy simply connected the white hair with Dr. P and took a chance.  I still feel pretty good about the exchange.

One of our fourth grade teachers had just finished a one-on-one reading assessment with a student. They were standing in the hall, leaning against a wall discussing the student’s reading level.  “You are right on level but I am keeping my eye on you because you are ready to really jump up levels” the teacher shared.  They student broke into a wide smile and started back to the classroom.  The assessments take place with each child several times a year and provides individual time between student and teacher.  The time together is invaluable and provides data that guides classroom instruction.  This student needs to increase his fluency and speed of reading.  Our staff has a positive, respectful and appropriate relationship with students.  They care deeply about each student’s academic growth and their social development.

My stop in the music classroom brought back the concern that I missed some days.  In this case it would have been months as the 3rd grade class was working on a song for the holiday program – “Santa Claus Is On His Way.”  Now if they would have been dressed as elves, reindeer, or Santa himself, I would have had a little trouble believing I hadn’t missed a few months let alone a few days.  One of the office staff told me that her kids are singing the holiday songs at home and it isn’t even Halloween yet.  I think the retailers would have been happy but she is considering asking them to hold off the songs until after Thanksgiving.  Just for the record, you can’t wait until after Thanksgiving to teach children the holiday songs they will perform in early December.

Once again I was reminded that our art, physical education, and music classes at the elementary school have a direct and positive impact on the academic growth of our students.

I have started asking people “what do you cared deeply about?”  Today the answer was crystal clear.

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

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Every Day Evidence #20 for 2014/15 – Parent Voice

The Northview Board of Education has approved the placement of a “Renewal of the 18 Mills of Non-Homestead Millage” on the November 4, 2014 ballot. There is no tax rate increase. The tax applies only to commercial and industrial property and second homes, not primary residences.  Voters would be renewing the tax, which expires in 2015, for 12 years, 2016 to 2027. The renewal would generate approximately $3 million for the district in 2016 for general operations for classrooms.  Please vote on Tuesday, November 4.

Every Day Evidence #21 for 2014/15

October 27, 2014

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator Jansen, Representatives
MacGregor, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, and Hooker,
Riddle
: Knock, Knock.  Who’s There? Goblin.

Questions for Your Consideration:

Our question set has moved away from funding questions to something equally important – asking the citizens of Northview what they care deeply about.  We are entering into this conversation through a series of small group gatherings sponsored by people in our community.  The gatherings are being held in homes, churches, and local spots where citizens talk about what is called the “important stuff”  (Thanks to Travis, my first grade life coach).

1.  As a citizen, what is most important to you in your community?
2.  As a community “how are we responsible for the upbringing of our children?”
3.  How do we know if we have been successful?
4.  What do you expect of your public schools?
5.  What can you do, as a citizen, to help educate the young people in Northview?
6.  Is public education important enough to spend some of your discretionary energy to keep our public schools a viable and relevant education partner in the learning process?

Every Day Evidence

Today’s everyday evidence is parent voice regarding science instruction.
“Dear Mrs. Veenman,
Wow!! Science sounds like a ton of fun!!
Robert came home last week and shared with us all about medical research!!
He went into detail and explained to his 3rd grade sister all about the placebo effect.
He said he may want to go into Medical Research when he gets older.
Thank you for informing him as well as inspiring him!!
Matt and Jenny Barnes”
Fun Fact

State of Michigan House Representative Peter MacGregor (HD 73) spent a full day in Northview Schools on Friday, October 17.
Riddle Answer:  Goblin who?  Goblin food gives you a stomach ache.

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
Northview Public Schools

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Advanced Copy of Superintendent Letter – November Northview News – EDE #20 for 2014/15

Northview News

November 2014

 

Dear Families, Community Members, Staff, and Students,

 

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday the usual thoughts of the importance of family, being thankful for all of the people who have influenced my life, and taking a little break from the day-to-day work responsibilities come easily to my mind.  The simple events that bring a true elegance to each day added a vibrant color to the picture as I started this annual November letter to you.  So often the conversations at this time of year take on a new level of importance.

 

This year, one question has been present in my thoughts: ”How do people talk with each other about what they believe is important?” We have a constant stream of information from a variety of sources including print, television, radio, and social media outlets that pretends to tell us what is important.  If we only relied on this source of information one might be led to believe there is no hope for a civil conversation.

 

There is hope!  Every day in our school district and community important conversations are taking place between adults and children.  Some of those conversations are about academics, athletics, the arts, but more often than not they are about preparing our children to become productive citizens in their community.  We believe that we are all responsible for student success and learning.

 

Here are a few examples of the types of conversations that happen on a regular basis in our community.  One conversation was between an adult who made a commitment to mentor a Northview student each week and her student who graduated and is now formally sharing what she learned with other students. Another example is the conversation a student had with a caring adult that resulted in the 2014 INSPIRE BALL that raises money for the Children’s Assessment Center (November 13, 2014).  It may be the conversation people have about Michigan House Representative Peter MacGregor accepting a challenge by a high school student to spend a full day in Northview classrooms to experience how legislative actions impact students and teachers. Or it may be the conversation you have with a person over coffee next week when you share “what is important to you.”

 

Conversations about the willingness of Northview citizens to invest in their public schools by approving the bonds to improve the physical structure of our schools are important.  The simple yet elegant act of a student tour guide thanking a citizen for making it possible to learn in this “new high school” speaks volumes about what our young people are learning inside the walls of every Northview school.

 

So often we wait until “something threatens our collective wellbeing” (Kettering Foundation quote) before we act or have a civil conversation.  Why wait?  Right now we have a choice about how we influence the conversations with those in our circles of influence.

 

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful to be part of a group of citizens who are having daily conversations of importance.  My hope for all of us is to recognize we are part of a community that has decided to influence the lives of our children and to model what we expect of them as a citizen.

 

 

Sincerely and With Great Respect,
Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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Thursdays With North (and East) Oakview – EDE #19 for 2014/15

Thursday, October 23, 2014
Arrival Time: 7:30 a.m.

“We have a problem” the office manager and social worker said in unison as I walked in the door this morning.  Good thing I had on my red tennis shoes.

“We don’t have a substitute teacher for the kids in our special needs room.”  It was only 7:30 a.m. and they had already identified the problem and thought of four possible solutions. This is not an exception to the rule.  Our staff is skilled at problem identification and the selection of solution sets.  It is made a little easier as “everyone” picks up a part of the solution set.

I visited with a few kids that were eating breakfast in the  gyymacafatorium (thanks for the word Ray Ramano).  Of course the conversation turned to Halloween costumes.  You can plan on seeing  a”regular” zombie, a wrestler, and one girl dressed as a raccoon that she though was a puppy costume until she looked in the mirror.  I think there is a commercial on television that uses this theme to sell glasses.

The drop-off line was really a treat today – frost, fog, and funny hats.  We could hear the band over at the high school but couldn’t see past the stadium parking lot or across the playground to the school.  Kids love the fog and several said it would be really cool and creepy if we had this on Halloween.  One little girl laughed uncontrollably when she pushed a button and the tail on her cat hat rose up above her head.  I laughed at the laugh more than the hat.

I also found out that one first grade boy, who was wearing a medal around his neck, was the “fastest kid on his track team but not the fastest in the school.”  He figured that at least one 4th grade kid would be faster than him.  He earned the medal last summer.

Several kids didn’t want to stop and talk today.  They wanted to get over to see the new playground equipment that was being installed.  They were really disappointed when we told them they couldn’t play on the equipment yet because the cement was still wet.  Excitement went to disappointment.  When told the equipment would be ready on Friday the excitement returned.

A few minutes after the starting bell, our teachers were conducing Developmental Reading Assessments (DRA) to determine the current reading levels of their students.  This assessment is done one-on-one, three times a year.  In between times “running records” are used to target the needs of and instruction of our students.  This is done at all three elementary schools.

Travis always tells me to remember the important stuff.  Stuff like:

  • Halloween is a big deal.
  • Some families do not celebrate Halloween.
  • Costumes are okay if if they turn out to be a raccoon instead of a puppy because you still get candy.
  • Fourth grade kids are usually faster runners than first grade kids.
  • Fog and Frost stir the imagination.
  • Playground equipment is more important than talking to the Superintendent.
  • Kids forget about Halloween when they have one-on-one time with their teacher.
  • Our teachers know exactly where are students are in reading skill levels – every day!

Meanwhile Back at East Oakview………..

As I arrived at East this morning three students from Cornerstone University walked in with me.  They were joining 10 other students in Kathy VanDessel’s college class to observe music and art classes at East. Kathy retired from East Oakview last year and now is making a positive impact on aspiring teachers.

A line of kindergarten students came down the hall headed for vocal music.  Their fingers served a fangs and their arms as wings as the pretended to be vampire bats.  Interesting method of using what is currently important to a five-year old to keep order in a hallway.

Another line of kindergarten kids came by and shared some important stuff with me.  “My name is Levi – L E V I.”  Spelling and writing your name correctly is a kindergarten weekly goal.  Another boy shared that he lost another tooth.  His finger was in his mouth as he shared the big news.  He asked if I had ever lost any teeth.  I told him  yes, I lost all of them at least once but now I am trying to not lose any.  He said “then how do you get money from the Tooth Fairy?”

Another student shared that she was five-years old and asked how old was I.  When I proudly stated 64 she said “Whoa!”  The Beatles song “When I’m 64” started playing in my head.

First grader Erica had a birthday today.  Her name was on the white board and her cupcake treats were on the counter right below the poster of the Fall and Halloween words.  Just think back to first grade.  Did you know the words equinox, autumn, apples, costume, pumpkin, and skeleton.  Our teachers use a best practice called contextual learning to capture what is currently important to a child and then use that to teach critical learning skills and standards.

One of our veteran fourth grade teachers was deep into a math strategy lesson when I walked into the room.  All of our staff know that they should not stop a lesson to introduce me to their class.  The kids looked up at me for a second and then dove back into the strategy on how to do mental multiplication using original facts to determine the answer to extended facts. If you know 6 x8 = 48 then you should be able to do the mental math and get the answer to 60 x 80.  Kids were so excited to give answers they sometimes stood up so their hands could be better seen by the teacher.

A seamless transition to a “Six Minute Selection” reading lesson.  Students form partners and read selections to each other with those not reading watching for reading errors. Did you read anything that was as profound as a biography of Maya Angelo “A Life of Words and Music (A. Cary) when you were  in fourth grade?

Travis always tells me to remember the important stuff.  Stuff like:

  • Acting like a vampire bat when you walk in the hall is a big deal when you are age five.
  • Same thing goes for losing a tooth.
  • Our teachers influence future teachers.
  • Birthdays are important – so is Fall and Halloween vocabulary.
  • When you have the answer it is okay to be excited and stand up when you raise your hand.
  • Seamless transitions between subjects doesn’t just happen. It is a learned skill based upon high expectations.

By the way, as I walked down the hall to leave today, I acted like a vampire bat.  A 64 year old Superintendent doesn’t get the same reaction as a kindergarten student when adults observe the behavior.

However, it was fun to remember the important stuff!

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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World Wide Wednesdays With West Oakview – EDE #18 for 2014/15

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Arrival Time 7:30 a.m.

5WO …. It is 7:40 a.m.  Do you know where your principal, teachers, psychologist, social worker, and specialists are?

They are in their weekly child study team discussing interventions and strategies to help struggling students.  This process goes on all year in each of our schools.  Today at West the focus was on a fourth grade student and a kindergarten student. Interventions were planned and the implementation of the strategies started immediately.
I spent some time in our Developmental Kindergarten and Kindergarten rooms this morning before our kids arrived for the day.  Do you realize that our five-year old students have daily and weekly goals posted?  The goals include:
  • Identify shapes
  • Write name correctly
  • Explore letter Kk and the number 7
  • Be respectful
  • Readers read books more than once
  • Use kind words
  • Listen when other talk
Maybe you have forgotten where you learned these critical skills.  Perhaps Robert Fulghum was right and every thing we needed to know we learned in kindergarten.  By the way, if you were five-years old would you know what “beef teriyaki” was and would you choose it for lunch?  Not a problem in one room, the teacher takes pictures of the lunch choices and posts them on the board.  Our own little “foodie magazine” photographer deepen the student knowledge base.  Next time they see the words beef or teriyaki they will have a contextual clue.  This is a reading skill.
I explored a new book series during my visit to a first grade room – Elephant and Piggy Books.  “Watch Me Throw” was the title.  It helps kids learn how to add motion to illustrations.  Plus the pictures and words continue to build contextual clues for young readers.
This morning was cold, crisp, and clear.  The drop off line became more than an opportunity to greet kids and parents.  This was a chance for one of our staff members to evaluate who had winter coats and who didn’t.  A couple of trips to the lost and found helped a few students find the coat they lost yesterday.  A discreet peek at the shirt size of another would result in finding a winter coat for another student.
It is more than just “learning contextual reading clues” at West.
It is also:
  • Wednesday Lunch with the Teacher
  • Daily Good Deed Winners being announced and applauded by their classmates
  • The Sweet Flavors ice cream cone display in the hall recognizing students
  • Naming the lunch count person “The Nutritionist”
  • Knowing that there are only 9 days to Halloween
  • It is taking a scientific poll of 2nd grade students to determine if they know their teacher cares about them – 7 yes, 0 no
The same group of kids said Michigan will beat MSU this weekend. Vote was 6 to 1 in favor of the Wolverines.  I was a little surprised that the boy in the MSU shirt voted for U of M. He said his mom picked out the shirt and he had to wear it.
I found myself wondering if the small U of M banner in the one kindergarten room had anything to do with the vote.  By the way every one of the kids also knew what “beef teriyaki” was.  I am sure there is a MSU banner somewhere in the school.
Our Public Schools Work!
Sincerely and With Great Respect,
Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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Renewal of Non-Homestead Millage of 18 Mills – Vote November 4, 2014

Good Morning,

I need your help!  Please take a few minutes to read through the answers to the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Renewal of the Non-Homestead Millage of 18 Mills that is on the November 4, 2014 ballot.

I am also asking you to consider forwarding this email to those on your distribution list and to post it on your social media sites.  Finally, I am asking you to remember to vote on November 4 and remind at least 5 other people to vote (if you haven’t already done so via absentee ballot).

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Vote on November 4, 2014

Non-Homestead Operating Millage Renewal of 18 Mills Proposal

The Northview Board of Education has approved the placement of a “Renewal of the 18 Mills of Non-Homestead Millage” on the November 4, 2014 ballot. There is no tax rate increase. The tax applies only to commercial and industrial property and second homes, not primary residences.  Voters are being asked to renew the tax, which expires in 2015, for 12 years, 2016 to 2027. The renewal would generate approximately $3 million for the district in 2016 for general operations for classrooms.  Please vote on Tuesday, November 4.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

WHAT IS MEANT BY HOMESTEAD AND NON-HOMESTEAD PROPERTIES?

When Michigan voters passed Proposal A in 1993, Michigan’s property taxes for schools were restructured and reduced.  Property was divided into two categories:  homestead and non-homestead.  A homestead property is the home where you live (primary residence).  Non-homestead properties are land and buildings such as businesses and vacation homes that have not been designated as a primary residence.

WHY IS THIS ISSUE ON THE BALLOT NOW?

A renewal of the 18 mills is required periodically by voters in order for the district to continue collecting this millage.  Because our authorization expires in 2015, we need your approval to continue collecting the revenue which is crucial in maintaining Northview’s educational programs.

WILL THE APPROVAL OF THIS RENEWAL RESULT IN A TAX RATE INCREASE?

Approval of this request will maintain the current assessment on non-homestead property and will not change or increase the assessment on your home residence.

HOW MUCH OF OUR NORTHVIEW SCHOOL BUDGET DOES THIS NON-HOMESTEAD MILLAGE FUND?

The current assessment of 18 mills that voters are being asked to approve for renewal is used to fund a significant part of Northview’s school district operating budget.  Approximately $3,000,000 (8.4%) of the annual budget comes from the 18 mill non-homestead tax assessment.

WHY IS THE RENEWAL OF THE NON-HOMESTEAD MILLAGE IMPORTANT?

If the request for the renewal of the 18 mills non-homestead was not approved, Northview would lose approximately $3 million of funding (8.4%) for the 2015/16 school year and similar amounts for each following year.  There is no other way to receive the revenue except by voter approval of renewal of the 18 mills non-homestead on Tuesday, November 4, 2014.

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Every Day Evidence #17 – Northview High School Graduate Success

The Northview Board of Education has approved the placement of a “Renewal of the 18 Mills of Non-Homestead Millage” on the November 4, 2014 ballot. There is no tax rate increase. The tax applies only to commercial and industrial property and second homes, not primary residences.  Voters would be renewing the tax, which expires in 2015, for 12 years, 2016 to 2027. The renewal would generate approximately $3 million for the district in 2016 for general operations for classrooms.  Please vote on Tuesday, November 4.

Every Day Evidence #17 for 2014/15

October 20, 2014

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator Jansen, Representatives
MacGregor, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, and Hooker,
Riddle
: What is the laziest part of a car?

Questions for Your Consideration:

I am changing our question set today and moving away from funding questions to something equally important – asking the citizens of Northview what they care deeply about.  We are entering into this conversation through a series of small group gatherings sponsored by people in our community.  The gatherings are being held in homes, churches, and local spots where citizens talk about what is called the “important stuff.”

1.  As a citizen, what is most important to you in your community?
2.  As a community “how are we responsible for the upbringing of our children?”
3.  How do we know if we have been successful?
4.  What do you expect of your public schools?
5.  What can you do, as a citizen, to help educate the young people in Northview?
6.  Is public education important enough to spend some of your discretionary energy to keep our public schools a viable and relevant education partner in the learning process?

Every Day Evidence

Today’s everyday evidence is from Northview High School teacher Brian Bollone who received an email from a NHS graduate from two years ago.

 

“Dr. Paskewicz,

Former student, Aaron Oom, is currently at Michigan State University working in a research lab focused on microRNAs and cancer.   He recently wrote (see below) to share some of his current work.   As you may recall, Aaron was an academic super-star (valedictorian) at Northview, and at the end of his first semester at MSU, he had obtained a research position.  Now, just 1 1/2 years out of Northview, Aaron is continuing to “shine.”

Mr. Bollone,

I wanted to write to you to let you know about a couple publications from the lab I work in.  Our lab is focused on microRNAs in breast and lung cancer.  Over the summer we had a couple publications come out, one of which I was first author on.  The review I first-authored discusses miRNAs in cancer therapy and diagnosis.  Our other paper I was third author on and discusses miRNA-200b in triple negative breast cancer.  I pasted the links below if you’d like to give them a glance!

My review:
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/959461/

Our miR-200b paper:
http://carcin.oxfordjournals.org/content/35/10/2254.long

Best,
Aaron Oom”

Fun Fact

State of Michigan House Representative Peter MacGregor (HD 73) spent a full day in Northview Schools on Friday, October 17.
Riddle Answer:  The wheels.  They are always tired.

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
Northview Public Schools

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World Wide Wednesdays With West Oakview – EDE #16 for 2014/15

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Arrival Time 7:40 a.m.

5WO … and so it begins.

Today a new blog entry is born that shares my observations at Northview’s West Oakview Elementary.  It is also another chance to provide evidence that our public schools work.

State Representative Peter MacGregor (73rd House District) will be spending a full day in the Northview Public Schools this Friday, October 17, 2014.  His morning will be filled with classroom duties at Northview High School.  The afternoon will be spent at West Oakview Elementary.  This is the first time in my 40 years as a public school educator that I can recall a legislator spending a full day in a public school.

Here is a glimpse of what he will experience at West Oakview!

At 7:20 a.m. most mornings 10 – 12 cars are already parked in the “drop-off” line.  Families are asked to keep the kids in the cars until at least 7:45 a.m. when we begin our playground supervision.  Children are already being taught the important behavior of showing up on time.  Employers love this quality.  I bet this group of students works a full day also.

Today, like every other school day, the West Oakview cook is preparing breakfast for over 60 children.  The wonderful smell of cinnamon roles filled the halls and the gym that doubles as the breakfast/lunch room.  Between 150 – 180 lunches are also served each day.

As I popped my head into one of our developmental kindergarten rooms the teacher shared how excited her students were about the field trip to the apple orchard this week.  The “planned learning” is scheduled for this Friday.

I wonder if Representative MacGregor and our other Michigan Legislators know that 5 of the 18 kindergarten students in this classroom have never been to an apple orchard. This means that at least 20 out of 75 kindergarten aged students at West have never been to an apple orchard.  I wonder if they know that the apple orchard “planned learning” becomes even more valuable when students are in second grade?  This is a best practice called contextual learning or experiential learning.

The science lesson in a second grade classroom (that was preceded by “morning math” practice in addition and time facts) was about how an apple seed grows into a tree and that some people have jobs in apple orchards.  Just think if those five kindergarten kids had never been to an orchard before they hit second grade.  Experience is a great teacher.  You might even say that the teachers at West are employing a best practice of constructed learning.

Thanks to the families who make sure their children are in school on time, more than likely the kids, as adults,  will be on time to those jobs in an apple orchard – or other jobs in our community.
West Oakview is the home to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) program – a Center Program.  Students from age 2 through grade 4 are provided high quality learning experiences.  Today, I spent time in the pre-school DHH classrooms.  There are four sessions of pre-school that run four days per week in the morning or afternoon.  Up to seven students are in each session.  Most of them are two years old with a few 3 year old children.  All are qualified as DHH.  Several have cochlear implants.  All staff are skilled in American Sign Language.  One of the kids is the child of two parents who are deaf.  One child has Spanish as the primary language in her home.

We also have DHH students enrolled in grades K – 4, many of which are mainstreamed into general education classrooms.  Each of the classrooms would have an ASL interpreter when DHH students are present.

Now for a quick quiz:

If you have a child in your second grade classroom, who lives with a family that adopted the child from Guatemala, is DHH qualified, has no oral language in any language…. how would you go about getting the student ready to take the 3rd grade MEAP test that is the assessment measure used by the State to determine if he is reading at grade level?

Answer:  Visit West Oakview and find out for yourself.

I am shifting back to the start of the day and my time in the “drop-off” line. One of our teachers reminded me to look at the beauty of the mature grove of trees at the far end of the parking lot.

They are beautiful.

One fourth grade boy moved toward me saying “are you Mr….Mr…..Mr…. oh, I forget?”  I responded “I’m not Mr. Ohiforget, I’m Mr. Paskewicz.”  His response was “that is right!”  It is so good to be validated.

We chatted for about two minutes and then THE QUESTION was asked – “Hey where are your red tennis shoes?”  I told him I only wear them on Thursdays.  He replied “maybe you should wear them on Wednesdays too!”

Yes…… remember the important stuff no matter where you are.  I think Travis has expanded his “coaching” business and has a partner at West Oakview.

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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Every Day Evidence #15 – What Do Citizens of Northview Care About?

The Northview Board of Education has approved the placement of a “Renewal of the 18 Mills of Non-Homestead Millage” on the November 4, 2014 ballot. There is no tax rate increase. The tax applies only to commercial and industrial property and second homes, not primary residences.  Voters would be renewing the tax, which expires in 2015, for 12 years, 2016 to 2027. The renewal would generate approximately $3 million for the district in 2016 for general operations for classrooms.  Please vote on Tuesday, November 4.

Every Day Evidence #15 for 2014/15

October 13, 2014

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator Jansen, Representatives
MacGregor, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, and Hooker,
Riddle
: Why don’t most cows go to college?

Questions for Your Consideration:

I am changing our question set today and moving away from funding questions to something equally important – asking the citizens of Northview what they care deeply about.  We are entering into this conversation through a series of small group gatherings sponsored by people in our community.  The gatherings are being held in homes, churches, and local spots where citizens talk about what is called the “important stuff.”

1.  As a citizen, what is most important to you in your community?
2.  As a community “how are we responsible for the upbringing of our children?”
3.  How do we know if we have been successful?
4.  What do you expect of your public schools?
5.  What can you do, as a citizen, to help educate the young people in Northview?
6.  Is public education important enough to spend some of your discretionary energy to keep our public schools a viable and relevant education partner in the learning process?

Every Day Evidence

Today’s EDE comes from Garrett Bakos, a student at Northview High School who is writing columns as an independent study option.  This column talks about what “We Are Northview” really means.

“You may have heard it while walking the halls of the new high school. You may have heard it chanted at a football game on a Friday night. You may have seen it written in a local newspaper. Wherever you may have heard it, “We are Northview” holds much deeper meaning than the three words themselves depict.

 All members of the Northview staff, student body, or community know what being a Wildcat is. It’s showing up on time to a meeting at 6:30am. It’s picking up the trash that falls from the pocket of the person in front of you. It’s lending a helping hand to those in need whether they ask for it or not. It’s finding yourself within those around you. It’s staying after school to study for a bit longer on a Friday. It’s doing research to gain knowledge on a new interest. It’s showing a guest or a new student around and informing them of the changes that the high school has undergone. It’s showing a freshman where their class is.

We are Northview extends beyond a verbal representation of its literal meaning, because, clearly we do go to, or are members of, Northview High School. It shows us that outside of the classrooms, learning, textbooks and homework, that we are a community that comes together to overcome the good and the bad. That we are a community that shows respect and represents responsibility in its purest form. That we are a community that never neglects one another because of race, religion, beliefs, or morals. That we are a community that so many others should envy because, to put it quite simply, we are Northview.

Author:  Senior, Garrett Bakos

Fun Fact

The Northview High School Marching band again upheld the long standing tradition at Northview – a streak of 1st division ratings every year since 1975!
Riddle Answer:  Because not many graduate from high school.

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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