Every Day Evidence #31 for 2014/15 – Parent Voice

Every Day Evidence #31 for 2014/15 – Parent Voice
November 25, 2014

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator Jansen, Senator Elect MacGregor, Representatives, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, and Hooker,

Happy Thanksgiving!  I encourage you to take some time to ask your family what they care deeply about.

Riddle
: Who tells people where to go and gets away with it?

Questions for Your Consideration:

As you enter the “Lame Duck” legislative session I am asking you to consider the following questions:

If third grade reading proficiency is really important to you as a legislator, are you willing to align new operational revenue to the process?
How many of the bills that you are considering in the “Lame Duck” session are boiler plate versions that were lifted from the American Legislative Exchange Council – ALEC (http://www.alec.org/)?
How do you know if your legislative actions match what people really care about?

Every Day Evidence

Today’s EDE comes from a parent and relates how staff at the Grand Rapids Art Museum noticed the good behavior of our North Oakview Elementary students.

“Good morning!

I just wanted to tell you something, because I made a promise.

When we were at the Art Museum on Friday, my understanding is that it was closed to all but student groups and art museum members.  I noticed all the art museum members were wearing their little “GRAM member” stickers.  While at two of the Northview 3rd grade groups were listening to a docent’s presentation about one of the pieces, a couple approached me and the woman said, “I want you to tell those children how wonderful they’re doing.  Really, please be sure to tell them we noticed and we want them to know.”  And I said I would, although I really meant that I would tell YOU and let you take it from there!

And thank you for my chance to go along!  The GRAM is so huge and open that it really invites kids to go crazy.  It was such a pleasure to accompany the NV kids who somehow managed to share the space with fellow museum goers (and a serious bunch they were) but were still excited and engaged.  The museum staff and volunteers looked so happy with them!

Have a great week!

Dale Ann Iverson

Dale Ann Iverson
Principal
JustMediation PLC”

Fun Fact:  During one calendar year, students are in school 17% of their time.  They are somewhere else the other 83%.  Who is responsible for the upbringing of the children of our community?

Riddle Answer:  A travel agent.

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
Northview Public Schools

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Advanced Copy of December Northview News Superintendent Letter

Advanced Copy of December Northview News Letter – EDE #31 for 2014/15

November 24, 2014

Good Morning,

Here is your advanced copy of my December Northview News letter. I wish you and your family a restful, safe, and joyous Thanksgiving and Holiday Season.

As always, feel free to share this with those in your circles of influence.

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
Northview Public Schools

December Northview News 2014

Dear Families, Community Members, Staff & Students,

My September letter referenced an oft used phrase from my father-in-law. He celebrated his 89th birthday recently and adjusted the phrase slightly due to the close proximity of the holiday season – “It’s Christmas, it’s over, and then it’s summer.” He continues to advise me that as you get older time seems to go faster. However, I have noticed that time seems to slow when he shares those things for which he cares about deeply.

The holidays are a time of giving, receiving, and of deep reflection for me. As I think about our shared commitment to the “upbringing of the children of our community,” several people and events of the past year come easily to mind that highlight what it means to say “We Are Northview.”

Alicia Keur and Lisa Gendler complete their combined seventeen (17) years of service as members of the Northview Board of Education at the end of this month. They have been tireless in their pursuit of creating an environment of trust, high expectations, and focus on the students in Northview. Every day they demonstrated that they care deeply about Northview’s children, staff, and citizens. Thank you.

Michelle Gallery and Jeff Lambert were elected to fill two open seats on our Board of Education. While they are just beginning their official role, they care deeply about providing service to the community. Thank you.

Tim Detwiler and Doug LaFleur were re-elected to six-year terms on our Board of Education. They provide the consistency of leadership that is necessary to sustain the continuous improvement of the Northview Public Schools and the community. They are examples of citizens who care deeply about improving the quality of life in our community. Thank you.

While Scott Kohsel and Michael Henshaw were not elected, their campaigns showed citizens that we are all responsible for the academic growth and social development of our students. All of us have a way that we “can” contribute as a citizen. Thank you.

Over 1,200 Northview citizens attended the official ribbon cutting and open house at Northview High School on Thursday, October 23. Another 600 came to the less formal open house the following Saturday. The citizens who toured the high school and thousands of others cared deeply about the need to improve our high school facility, improve technology, increase security district-wide, and add four early childhood classrooms to West Oakview. Our citizens approved the tax increases for the bonds in the most difficult financial economy in Michigan’s history since the depression. They invested in their community. Thank you.

Early in November, Northview citizens gave careful consideration of the Renewal of the 18 Mills of Non-Homestead Millage. As a result the renewal was approved by voters in all of our precincts. You cared deeply about taking another step in preserving the Northview culture/climate for present and future students. We are working together on the common goal of preparing students for life’s next step. Thank you.

We don’t do everything right every day in Northview, or in life for that matter. We all make mistakes and then we learn from our mistakes. We do believe “we are all responsible for student success and learning.” Each day that we work together toward common goals is a gift to our students. I value and appreciate the professional and personal support you have provided to me over the past five years. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and the citizens in our community as superintendent of schools.

Ruth and I will spend time with our dads, siblings, children, granddaughters Zoe and Ava, and friends over the holidays. The gift of being with them is more and more meaningful as the years pass.

I wish you the simple, yet elegant, gift of time with your families and friends. I wish you a safe, restful, and joyful Holiday Season filled with the peace of the season. After all and before you know it “it’s summer.”

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz

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Thursdays With North (and East) Oakview – EDE #30 for 2014/15

Thursdays With North (and East) Oakview – EDE #30 for 2014/15

November, 20, 2014

Arrival Time:  7:25 a.m.

“Mom says no tennis shoes, only boots when it snows!”  Travis, the Life Coach, 2013

I really enjoy the before-school hallway meetings with staff members at North Oakview.  I learn about their families, who is having a birthday, concerns about the status of a field trip on a snowy day, what strategies are working for a child, and most of all the exchange of a smile or a laugh.  It is a great way to start another day in our chosen profession.

Nutrition – Activity – Strength – Relationships -Sleep.  I don’t recall any one of the five important strategies for a healthy life being tested on the MEAP and I am betting that they are not being tested on the NEW MEAP.  However, it may be more important to be at “proficient” level in the five areas if we are to really accelerate student academic performance.  Today’s hallway meeting with the PE teacher was a conversation about what he had learned at a recent conference and how that learning would help students.  As for me, the older I get, the importance of the five areas deepens.  Just think if we could establish the healthy patterns at age seven.

This is another reason why our public schools are relevant.  They are not just a service.
The drop-off line was really cold and snowy this morning.  The road conditions caused were tricky and it caused many late arrivals.  After two straight days of school being called off, I really thought that things would be okay today and our schools could open again.  We made the decision to open at about 4:45 a.m. as all indications showed things would improve.  After standing outside for 25 minutes in the snow and wind I began to understand why 35 people called me today.  They were questioning my ability to make a sound decision or wondering what I was thinking at 4:45 a.m.

I was brushing off an inch of “a few flurries” from my jacket and pants – every five minutes. Of course the kids were glad to be back in school and a few parents even gave me a thumbs up.  At least I think it was a thumbs up but then my glasses were filled with snow.

I spent a little time in a second grade classroom today.  Students were doing a little snow-day math.  We had just come off two snow-days and it was not officially winter yet.  We get six days of grace from the State of Michigan in the event winter conditions make it unsafe to open school.  The kids calculated that we only had four days left and we have about 4 months of winter left.  We haven’t yet reached December and we already have more snow on the ground than parts of Alaska.

Travis, my 1st grade Life Coach gave me a nod of approval when he noticed I had on boots instead of my red tennis shoes.  I patted him on the head as we walked by me.  He asked “what is that for?”  I responded that “it is because I like you and you give me good advice.”  He replied “then you should pat my head twice.”

Sounds like really great relationship advice Coach.  Thanks.
Meanwhile Back at East Oakview…..

I went right to the vocal music teacher and told him to quit having his kids sing the snow day song.  His response surprised me – “we didn’t even sing the song yet this year.  We were due to practice it on Tuesday and you called off school.” Maybe the song isn’t as powerful as I thought but then how bad would have been if they did sing the song on Monday?  Did you know there is an app that calculates the likelihood of a school district having a snow day?  Ask you child about the app.

Preparations of a guest author were underway in the library.  Laurie Keller, Arnie the Doughnut Series is scheduled to be at East on Friday.  There was hope that I wouldn’t call a snow day for Friday.  I told the teacher librarian to talk with the vocal music teacher.

As I moved down the hall toward a first grade classroom I observed the principal and social worker helping a child that was having a very difficult morning.  After talking about the root causes of the issue I flashed back to my conversation with the PE teacher at North. The first grade child is having trouble with nutrition, strength, activity, relationships, and sleep at home.  The  time at school is a haven and the child knows we care.

Just inside a first grade classroom, posted on a cabinet is a small print chart – “150 Ways to Show Kids You Care!”

1.  Notice them.
2.  Smile a lot.
3.  Acknowledge them.
.
.
.
150. Love them no matter what.

This is another reason why our public schools are relevant.  They are not just a service like where you buy your snow tires.

Great job of doing all 150 at East Oakview today and every day – “two pats on the head” for you.

By the way, why is that long yellow line of tape on the floor in the early elementary wing at East Oakview?

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

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World Wide Wednesdays With West Oakview – Every Day Evidence #29 for 2014/15

World Wide Wednesdays With West Oakview

November 19, 2014
Arrival Time:   3:45 a.m.

Two snow days and it is still a week before Thanksgiving!

I hope you noticed the arrival time.  That is right, 3:45 a.m.  Well, I didn’t really arrive at West Oakview at this “well-before- dawn” time, but it is accurate that I woke up at this time to begin the decision making process to hold school today or to have a second straight snow day.  We did make the decision to call off school today at about 4:50 a.m.  The roads in our subdivisions were still impassible and our buses could not safely get into and out of the neighborhoods.

Yesterday I contacted one of my “snow day advisers.” At 4:45 a.m. I called Ava, a third grade student at West Oakview to help me make the decision to call a Snow Day.  We had set up the call when Ava, her sister, and her mom and I discussed how we make the decision to close school for winter weather.

In case you are wondering, here are the steps in the process:

At about 3:30 a.m. we begin contacting local law enforcement officials to determine the condition of the roads.
At about 4:00 a.m. we view National Weather Service sites to help determine the length and severity of the snow fall.  We also look at local media weather reports.
At about 4:15 a.m. we begin to assess the conditions in Northview.  We determine if we can clear the parking lots and sidewalks at the schools.  We also begin driving several neighborhoods to assess conditions.  Sometimes we even walk a short distance in the neighborhood to see if students who walk to school can make it through the snow.  Most of our neighborhoods do not have sidewalks.
At about 4:30 a.m. we begin talking with Transportation Directors in neighboring school districts to hear what they are thinking and the conditions of the roads in their areas.  Generally we are in contact with Rockford, Comstock Park, Kenowa Hills, Sparta, and Forest Hills.
Between 4:45 and 5:00 a.m. I use all the collected data to make a decision if it is safe to hold school or if conditions are creating a situation that is not safe for school to open.
At 5:00 a.m. I take our dog to the back door and say “go out and do your stuff.”  If the dog goes out – school is on.  If the dog refuses to go out – I call off school.

All the steps are accurate except for the last one.  We don’t have a dog any more.  When I got to that point of explaining the process to Ava, I asked her (and her mom) if she would like me to call her and ask for her advice about closing school.  She agreed.

The 4:45 a.m., Tuesday morning call went something like this:  “Hello, this is Dr. Paskewicz, may I speak to Ava?”  Ava’s mom didn’t even sound sleepy even though I had to call twice.  The first call went to voice mail.  When Ava answered the phone I told her I needed her help in making the decision to call off school.  I asked if she would be willing to look out her front window and tell me if there was a lot of snow at her house.  Her reply was “yes, lots.”  “Should we close school today?” I asked.  She didn’t need to hear any of the data I had collected between 3:30 and 4:45 a.m.  Her answer was a solid “yes.”

Thanks for the help Ava.

Every Day Evidence (EDE) #29 for 2014/15

Since school was not in session today I am sharing some evidence why we say “OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS WORK!  This is the 29th piece of evidence I have shared with our Governor and local legislators this school year.  This EDE comes from our Director of Deaf/Hard of Hearing Services Trish Lopucki and from a parent of a student at West Oakview.
“Goo
d morning –

I wanted to share an email that was sent to me (and the elementary team) from a mom of a girl in our Deaf/Hard of Hearing Program. Her adopted daughter is Deaf, and has additional disabilities, as well.
T
he amazing team in the D/HH Program has worked very hard with the family to educate this little girl in the best way possible. I genuinely believe it is because of our ability to house a center based program for the Deaf that we are able to reach all of her needs.

Thank you!

Trish Lopucki
D/HH Supervisor
Northview Public Schools

Hey guys!  So, I just wanted to share a little from my conversation with the neuropsychologist regarding our visit to the neuropsych last month.  I am sharing this with all of you, just so that everyone is on the same page (plus, there is some fun stuff in there!)

I don’t have the official written report, I only got to chat with the psychologist on the phone.  She shared a few results and they were all good.  She started with saying how shocked she was at the difference in the little girl that walked in her office.  The difference between last year and this year (her testing was exactly 1 year apart).  The psychologist noticed that she was happier, more joyful and that she was able to engage in joking and teasing and having fun. She noticed that her language had DRAMATICALLY improved and that she was way better at communicating with others.  She is so impressed and pleased with the dramatic improvements that she saw both in the standardized testing as well as how she looks and acts in the real world if you will.  She said, “whatever you are doing…KEEP DOING IT!  IT’S WORKING!”

I will share more when I get the report, but what I really thought was that it was exciting.  That the things that we have been doing are working!  That all of our hard work is making a difference in my daughter’s life!  Sometimes in the day to day we see so little progress that it can get hard to celebrate the little victories (which I try to do, knowing that these victories are precious, but sometimes it is hard).  I am thankful that she was able to use the skills that you are teaching her in different environments and showing how much she really can do!

Thanks so much for your hard work!  Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for me!  I am always ready to learn more about how to help my girl!

Cheri”

……. and

I hope all of you are enjoying a second snow day.  I really think we will have school tomorrow.  However, I do remember we live in Michigan and anything is possible.

By the way, I am considering calling off school for one day next May when we have the first day that is sunny, 65 degrees,
and no humidity.  I am thinking about calling that day “Memorial Day.”  Maybe I’ll ask Ava for some advice.

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
Northview Public Schools

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Every Day Evidence #28 for 2014/15 – Teacher Voice

Every Day Evidence #28 for 2014/15

November 17, 2014

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator Jansen, Senator Elect MacGregor, Representatives, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, and Hooker,
Congratulations on being reelected to serve the citizens of Michigan.  You have a huge responsibility to consider what citizens care deeply about and then govern appropriately.

Riddle
: What is the difference between the North Pole and the South Pole?

New Questions for Your Consideration:

As you enter the “Lame Duck” legislative session I am asking you to consider the following questions:

  1. If third grade reading proficiency is really important to you as a legislator, are you willing to align new operational revenue to the process?
  2. How many of the bills that you are considering in the “Lame Duck” session are boiler plate versions that were lifted from the American Legislative Exchange Council – ALEC (http://www.alec.org/)?
  3. Which Michigan legislators are members of ALEC?
  4. How do you know if your legislative actions match what people really care about?

Every Day Evidence

Today’s EDE comes from Northview High School English Language Arts teacher Emily Alt.  Emily joined our staff this school year.  The email was written four weeks into the current school year.

“Dear Dr. Paskewicz

 
Hello! I know that recently in the Everyday Evidence, you have offered stories from my colleagues, Sheri and Betsy, so if you’d like to hold this one for awhile, so as to not overload with stories from the English Department, that’s totally fine. Thanks for reading!
 
I wanted to share with you a bit about my experience as a new teacher to Northview after 4 weeks of school.  This year marks my 11th year in public education and my 1st year teaching in a public school in Michigan.  I spent the past 7 years in Chicago Public Schools, and prior to that worked in a charter school in Holland. I had no idea what to expect when I took this job with Northview, but I hoped that it would be better and more inspiring than my time in Chicago had been.
 
See, where I worked in Chicago, it was extremely difficult  I got very used to people giving me a concerned face and saying, “Oh…you work in CPS…that must be so….awful.”  It wasn’t awful. It was wonderful. Most of it.  Parts, though, were awful, though, not for the reasons many would have thought–many people associate violence and strife with Chicago Public Schools, rough kids and gang issues. Certainly, I saw that in my time there, so much so that I really became numb to it, but there were 2 reasons I ultimately left CPS–the first was the district’s intense pressure on standardized testing and test results, and the second was the lack of professionalism within the teaching environment.
 
When I left CPS in 2012, I took a year off from teaching. I was totally burnt out and totally disenchanted with public education. I felt that all I was being asked to do was prepare students to take tests that determined their future, and I was not being asked to expand their minds. I was the ONLY 11th grade English teacher that was talking about literature with kids; my colleagues were talking about testing, test prep and score analysis.  I spent nights worrying, “Is this what our public education system is doing to our children? Are we just preparing them to take tests and to perform in high stakes environment, but not creating strong and lasting relationships or supporting their resilience?” 
 
It was heartbreaking and I found myself giving up. I found myself no longer believing in public education and, thus, doubting my place as a classroom teacher. I went into this field to make change, to change lives and to create curious learners.  It was time for me to take a break, and so, I did. For 1 year I didn’t teach. 
 
Within 2 weeks of being out of the classroom, my heart ached to be back. 
 
Thus, when I began to look for a new job, I took a long time trying to determine a district and a school that would be the right fit.  I met informally and formally with a lot of principals and administrators all over the West Michigan area. From the moment I first stepped into Northview, back in March of 2013, for an informal meeting with Sheri Steelman, I felt as though I had found my place.  Sheri was welcoming and professional, but, most importantly, passionate. She talked about educating young people with a twinkle in her eye and a rapid excitement rarely found in life long educators like herself. When I met Mark Thomas for the first time, I thought to myself, “Here is a principal who truly understands teaching and learning.” I was even more impressed and excited when he asked me to define the difference between those two concepts in an interview (Yes!).
 
When I met the other members of the Northview staff, I realized that this school district was doing so much of the work that our schools need to do–building relationships with students, creating rigorous and relevant curriculum based in skills and content, and, most importantly, providing students with the highest levels of challenge coupled with the highest levels of support.  One of the best parts of coming to my job everyday is knowing that I have colleagues and administrators, students and families, who believe in my ability to teach English and to teach writing, without having to measure everything next to an ACT benchmark.  I finally feel, after 11 years in the classroom, that it’s acceptable, even applauded, to be excited about books with students.  This is a new thing. It’s a wonderful thing.
 
Public schools work. I’ve believed this wholeheartedly during my time teaching, but I started to question this in my last years in CPS.  Now, though, I’ve found a home. What I see at Northview, though, is a public school that is working because every single member of the learning community is involved in its success–from the Superintendent to the new 9th grade student to the hard working parent to the marching band director to the janitor to the timid 3rd grader to the SRC coordinator to the wrestling coach to the graduating senior.  We are all in this together and we all believe, together, that every student can leave this school better, stronger, more capable, and, most critically, more curious than when he or she arrived. 
 
Thank you, Northview, for giving me hope again in the public education system.

Emily Alt”

Fun Fact:  During one calendar year, students are in school 17% of their time.  They are somewhere else the other 83%.  Who is responsible for the upbringing of the children of our community?

Riddle Answer:  All the difference in the world.

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

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Thursdays With North (and East) Oakview – EDE #27 for 2014/15

Thursdays With North (and East) Oakview
“Bark Like a Dog and Hang Your Tongue Out to Taste Snow”

November 13, 2014
Arrival Time:  7:50 a.m.

I was a little late arriving at North Oakview today as my day started at Northview High School with the Department Leaders meeting.  They were honoring Bill Schneider, the construction supervisor from Wolgast Construction.

Bill is the lead person of our three-year project to renovate Northview High School.  After a nice round of applause, a few kind words, and the gift of some Northview wear, the group escorted Bill out of the art room and into the cafeteria.

All of the high school students and staff gathered around Bill and thanked him for his work.  Bill has become a part of the Northview family and has experienced first-hand why “We Are Northview.”  All the best Bill.  Thank you for your attention to detail and your ability to make a complex project appear seamless.  As Travis would say “it is important to tell people thank you when they help you.”  Yes that is “important stuff” to remember but more important to do it every chance you have, every day.

As I entered North at 7:50 a.m. another complex situation was made simple by Judy.  “We have kindergarten teacher who was in a car accident this morning on her way to work.  The other two teachers have already divided up the children in her class and they will cover things until she arrives.”  The first snow on the roads impacts everyone, even teachers.  I told Judy that she handled the issue like it happens everyday.  She responded “it does.”  Maybe not the snow covered roads challenge but there is some challenge everyday in our schools.

Malcom Gladwell (Outliers, 2008) states that a person needs over 10,000 hours of experience in order to be truly proficient at a task.  Judy is proficient, as are all of our school office managers in Northview.

By the way, the teacher was in her classroom by 9:15 a.m. She was not hurt and the car was drivable.  The students never missed a beat.

The “drop-off line wisdom” continued this morning.  “If you wear a winter hat that looks like a dog then you should be barking and hanging your tongue out” quipped one 1st grade boy.  When I asked what kind of dog he was pretending to be, he just barked and hung his tongue out.

Hanging your tongue out when the snow is falling is one of the great joys first grade kids unabashedly experience regardless of who is watching.  I was encouraged to taste some falling snow for myself.  I’m not sure what the parents in the cars thought about seeing me with my head thrown back and tongue hung out.  A small voice behind me shouted “now start barking.” I turned and barked.  He laughed and barked back.  I think we connected on a different level this morning.  By the way, my snow flake tasted like limes.

That’s right Travis “I am remembering the important stuff.”  Thanks for saying we were twins today.

Inside the school I was struck that learning is taking place anywhere and everywhere at North.  It happens the same way in all of our schools.  It sometimes takes place at a desk but more often than not it is “everywhere else.”  A sign outside a 2nd grade classroom reads:

We are thankful for the freedom to choose:

the books we read
the topics of our writing

We hope you enjoy reading these personal narratives (or as Gooney Bird Greene says “absolutely true stories!”) we’ve written.

When did you learn to write “personal narrative” stories?  One of the students in the second grade classroom, whose dad teaches at Northview High School and coaches the Varsity Boys Basketball Team, gave me a little book talk about Lois Lawry’s book series featuring Gooney Bird Greene.  He also let me know that he will be the varsity team’s water boy this year.

Important stuff don’t you think?

Equally important were the “Picasso Monster” pieces of art work.  Our elementary students know Picasso art techniques by sight, can have intelligent book talks with adults about a Newberry Award winning author’s work, and understand that being the water boy for a basketball team is making a contribution that helps others.

Important stuff!

Meanwhile Back at East Oakview……

I didn’t make it to East Oakview today.  I stayed at North until 10:00 a.m. to help cover recess duty.  I had to stay on the blacktop because of a “snow rule.”  If you don’t have boots on you have to stay on the blacktop and you can’t play in the snow.

I am thinking about asking my Life Coach Travis if a pair of red snow boots still qualifies us as being twins.

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

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Emergency Response Plan – We Need Your Help

November 13, 2014

 

Dear Parents/Guardians, Staff, Students, and Community Members,

 

As you may be aware, over the past few weeks several schools in West Michigan and in Kent County have received threats ranging from bomb threats to physical harm of individuals.  While Northview has not received any threats at this time, it is possible on any given day that someone could make a threat or we may experience an actual emergency or a disaster situation.

 

Should an emergency or disaster situation ever arise in our area while school is in session, we want you to be aware that the school district has made preparations in conjunction with local emergency response personnel to respond effectively to such situations.  In fact, public schools are built to meet stringent construction standards and they may be safer than your own home in the event of a disaster.

 

Should we have an emergency or major disaster during school hours, your child(ren) will be cared for at the school. Our school system has a detailed emergency plan, developed in cooperation with Kent County Sheriff Department officials and based upon national best practices.  The plan has been designed to respond to any major catastrophe and/or threat.

 

We will share information regarding the issue as it is available.  What we are able to share is a decision made in coordination with emergency response personnel and law enforcement officials.  Information may be found on our web page nvps.net, on local media outlets, and in some cases via our Instant Alert System.

 

Your cooperation is necessary in any emergency, for both the safety of staff and students, and the expedient reunification with your child if necessary.  Please consider the following points that will assist us in keeping your child(ren) safe:

  • Do not telephone the school. Telephone lines may be needed for emergency communication.
  • Do not go to the school, or evacuation site, until notified to do so.
  •  In the event of a serious emergency, students will be kept at their schools, or evacuated to an alternate site if necessary. Only a parent, guardian, or an adult who has been identified on the school system emergency form, will be permitted to pick up a student. This form is required to be filled out by parents at the beginning of every school year.
  • If students are to be kept at school or evacuated to an alternate site, the media will be notified, information will be posted on our web page, and families will be notified via our Instant Alert System.
  • Impress upon your children the need for them to follow directions of any school personnel in time of an emergency.
  • It is critical that students and parents refrain from using their cell phones during emergency situations. A sudden surge in cell phone usage could actually overload the system causing it to shut down.  Your child(ren) needs to be paying attention to directives from school personnel.

 

The emergency actions your school may take are dependent on the emergency situation. Every situation is different and may require a different response.  Please realize that we will do everything within our power to keep your child(ren) safe. Planning ahead helps alleviate concern during emergencies.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

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World Wide Wednesdays With West Oakview

World Wide Wednesdays With West Oakview
It’s Snowing – There Is a Spider!

November 12, 2014
Arrival Time: 9:45 a.m.

My arrival was two hours later than normal today. I was with a small group of moms who meet on a regular basis to pray for Northview children, staff, and residents. They are one of many, diverse groups that I meet with during the year.

As many of you know I have rethought how to engage people in our community. We have started an effort to meet with 30 small groups in homes, churches, coffee shops, or sitting under a tree, over the 2014/15 school year. The meetings last for one hour maximum and those in attendance are invited by the person who hosts the gathering. People are delighted that we are not asking them to buy any candles, soap,or beauty products. Six groups have already met this school year. ( If you would be willing to host a group please contact me at mpaskewicz@nvps.net.)

I have committed to asking two primary questions and then listening. If time permits a third question is posed. The first question is “what do you care deeply about?” The second question is “where do you talk about what you care deeply about?” If time permits a third question is placed before the group, “what do you need from the Northview Public Schools?”

Every meeting has surfaced conversations related to caring deeply about the children of the community, family, commitment, and the importance of relationships. Today’s gathering was deeply moving for me as I watched and listened to the group talk with each other about what they cared deeply about. The rich interchange filled my head, heart, and spirit as I walked into West Oakview this morning.

As always, I start my time at West by checking in at the office. Within minutes there was a demonstration of what “caring deeply about children and relationships” looks like when it is happening in one of our schools. A short hug for the principal who had a death in her family last week was followed by a conversation about how the staff at West take care of each other so that the “family ball” is not dropped.

Within minutes, a five-year-old student came into the office for their thrice daily check of blood sugar levels. The normal for the child is a reading of 300 and today’s test showed a 324. While one office assistant talked with the child, the office manager, who took the blood sample from the child’s small index finger, called the child’s mother to make the report of the elevated level. Sometimes the report is a simple and quick text message but today it warranted a call. The parent and the school staff are a team. Their relationship is built upon a something they both care deeply about.

My first classroom stop today allowed me the opportunity to see a strong relationship between a teacher and three students who were learning the “long I” sound as well as practicing math addition facts as a secondary objective. The teacher had developed a board game to help make the learning fun. She knows her students intimately. Two of them sat on stools that required some balancing to offset their need for constant movement. The third sat on a traditional chair as it allowed for more stability and concentration. Each child has individual learning goals identified.

I did enjoy some time with the three and four year-old children who are in the Deaf/Hard of Hearing program. It is amazing what a short game of catch with a deflated ball can do to bring a smile to the faces of a three year-old and a 64 year-old. I was also reminded that children know that a sudden snow squall outside the window or a spider running across the floor is much more important than playing catch with the superintendent. The kids care deeply about the “important stuff.” Through all of this the DHH staff were teaching the children the appropriate American Sign Language to go along with the discoveries. I was overjoyed that they invited me to watch the snow and the spider.

We have over 15 languages other than English spoken in our school district. As I wandered down the early childhood hallway I knelt down next to our English Language Learners teacher as she worked with two second grade students. One student has a mother from Kenya and a father from Sudan. At home the language that is spoken most is Dinka. The other student has a family that speaks Spanish at home but he is bilingual. Both were reading from a book and learning how to decode words in English. The teacher knew their family members and small but important facts about each student. I felt as though I was able to touch the mutual respect between the students and the teacher. The three of them cared deeply about learning to read and speak English.

Did you know that a 4th grade student gets excited when she knows how to round numbers to the tens and the thousands? She was even more excited that she could explain the process her family tonight. She even told me she cares about her family.

I ended my visit today by enjoying a conversation with third grade students who were writing about the snow. They seemed impressed when I told them I get to make the decision to call a snow day…. or not. It doesn’t seem so impressive to me at 3 a.m. in the morning when the decision process begins. I’m not sure I care deeply about that process, but that is a story for another edition of 5WO.

What is it you care deeply about?

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
Northview Public Schools

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Every Day Evidence #25 for 2014/15 – West Oakview and Aquinas College Partnership

Every Day Evidence #25 for 2014/15 – Our Public Schools Work!

November 10, 2014

Good Morning Governor Snyder, Senator Jansen, Senator Elect MacGregor, Representatives, VerHeulen, Lyons, Brinks, Dillion, Yonker, and Hooker,
Congratulations on being reelected to serve the citizens of Michigan.  You have a huge responsibility to consider what citizens care deeply about and then govern appropriately.

Riddle
: What do beekeepers come down with when feeling ill?

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.  What do you expect of your public schools?
4.  Is public education relevant or is it a service?
5.  Is public education important enough to fund equitably?

Every Day Evidence

Today’s EDE is from our West Oakview Elementary Literacy Specialist.  Before you consider legislation that you think will improve the reading proficiency of 3rd grade students, take time to find out what is currently being done in our schools.

 

“Mike,

I would like to invite you to see for yourself the partnership Aquinas has with Northview for the tutoring program. I think it is rather incredible when you see it all come together and I am really proud to be a part of a district that allows and encourages such a partnership to exist. It is a win-win for kids, staff, and community. West is just one piece of the Northview-Aquinas Tutoring Partnerships that exists right now.
 
On Mondays and Thursdays, I am often greeted with, “Mrs. Strayhorn, it’s a tutoring day!” “Yes it is!” I answer back. (There are signs up around the building so students can begin to take responsibility to remember to go after school.) Two days a week, forty students in grades 1-4 head down to the library at 3:15 to meet their college tutors. From there they disperse throughout the building to spend the next hour reading, listening to great stories, laughing, and learning how to be better readers. At 4:20 they all head back down to the front doors where parents are waiting in their cars to pick up their students. Tutors walk students out to their parents, exchange a few words and say goodbye.  
 
To the casual observer, it all looks very smooth and easy. The reality is that it

require

s

an extraordinary

effort

on the part of the West staff to

make it all happen! The amazing custodian, teachers, secretaries, principal, and car duty staff at West are all involved making this program

successful

.

We need twenty different spaces to tutor. That is a lot of teachers and itinerants who are willing to share their space after school! Additionally, w

e are all getting kids where they need to be, tracking them down, making phone calls, reminding parents, reminding kids, chasing those down who forgot and got on the bus

, changing rooms at the last minute (we need to be flexible) and covering for various last minute crises

! There are times it is comical,  sometimes frantic, but

definitely,

always worth it.

I am very thankful for the staff at West for putting up with the craziness that is ‘after school tutoring’. This arrangement is an example of the good that can happen when you partner with the community to benefit kids.


I hope you can make it one of the days we meet. I’m sorry it is not on a “World Wide Wednesday at West” day! That just didn’t fit our schedule! I have included our meeting dates below.
 
Kim

*tutors arrive at 3:05 and gather in the library
October 30
November 3
November 10
November 13
November 17
November 20

You could come at any time from 3:05-4:30. If you come between 3:05-3:25 or 4:10-4:30, you get a feel for the magnitude of the program. The time in between, I could take you to see the individual groups.


Kim Strayhorn
Literacy Specialist
Northview Public Schools

Fun Fact

The Northview High School Marching Band has qualified for the State Finals in 20 straight years.

Riddle Answer:  Hives

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
Northview Public Schools

 

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Thursdays With North (and East) Oakview

November 6, 2014
Arrival Time:  7:30 a.m. but at the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) Conference

I missed you today.

As you were aware, I spent the morning at the MASB conference talking with school board members from across the State of Michigan.  They are in Grand Rapids for their fall conference.  You might say they are going to school to learn how to be better members of Boards of Education.  I really believe that the participants care deeply about being responsible for the upbringing of the children of their respective communities.

The session I participated in focused on how to set “high level goals” based upon the vision and mission of the school district.  They deepened their understanding that a school district is really a system with many moving parts. Each individual component of the system impacts the other parts. The implications of system components being out of alignment creates an environment that does not allow for continuous improvement.

Our Board of Education members understand these the value of defining where we are headed and trust us to define how to get there.  They understand good governance.

 

The Northview Board of Education has been very clear about what outcomes the students and staff in our school system must be able to know and demonstrate.  Our Board calls these outcomes “Ends.”  They have also been very clear what unwanted circumstances, behaviors, and issues we must avoid while accomplishing the “Ends.”  They call these unwanted practices “Limitations.”  Our Board has said “continuously move toward accomplishing the defined Ends while being mindful of  the Limitations.

Our Ends include clear statements that our students must be:

  • Literate
  • Creative
  • Problem Solvers
  • Productive, Respectful Members of Society
  • Ready for Career Success
  • Able to Learn Continuously
Our Board rigorously monitors system performance through a series of monitoring reports that provide evidence we are meeting (or not meeting) expectations while avoiding unwanted circumstances and behaviors.  Last year there were 459 data points measured.  As a system we met 435 of the expectations or 94.7%.

Our Board trusts us to develop and use the best practices that help students accelerate their academic achievements and to assist in their social development.  You have earned that trust.  We trust that our Board of Education is clear about their expectations and that they work to create an environment that is conducive to accomplishing the defined ends.
Sometimes I wonder what all this has to do with how a child is greeted in the “drop-off” line or at a classroom door.  It has everything to do with how we form relationships with the children/students of the Northview community.

You care deeply about each child.

As Travis would say “you need to remember the important stuff.”  You know what is important.

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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