Our Core Beliefs in Action – Thursdays With North and East Oakview

January 29, 2015
Arrival Time: “Ice Day” No School

EDE #48 for 2014/15

All of the Kent County Schools, including Northview, were closed yesterday due to the icy conditions.  I am using two email messages to replace my usual Thursday blog.

The first is from a North Oakview teacher.  She references the great support provided by Darryl, the head custodian at North.  I was unable to download the picture. The second is a parent email to East Oakview principal Andy Scogg.

The email messages illustrate how all of our staff members demonstrate one of our core beliefs:

“We are all responsible for student success and learning.”
North Oakview Custodian

“When you first look at this, all you probably see is a hot pink pencil sharpener….awesome, I know! But the story behind it is too great to not share.

The other day I shared with Darryl that my sharpener was broken. My students have taped it together the best they could to make it somewhat usable. Darryl and I talked and laughed about this clever thinking. Darryl quickly said he’d try to fix it. The next morning I came back to school and saw a note…the sharpener couldn’t be fixed, so he ordered a new one. WOW!!! As hard as he works, how did he find/make the time???

I was so appreciative of this, as I am everyday when I see Darryl so kindly and with such compassion, interacting with my kids, as well as taking time to connect with so many of the staff.  But, it didn’t stop there…I had a dream that I shared with Darryl…I dreamt that the sharpener he ordered came in and it was hot pink! It was so cool!!! We laughed about this silly dream. And then, the next morning, it happened…I had a hot pink pencil sharpener!!! My students knew the story of my dream, as did my own kids. We ALL got such a laugh out of this!!!

Darryl listens when we tell him stories, when we ask for something; he’s willing to see if he can do it himself for us and if, he figures out how to make it happen. He is such a special person. I just wanted to share this because it absolutely made my day!!”

Meanwhile Back at East Oakview……..

“Mr. Scogg,

It is so often we take the time to complain about “things”, but it is not often we take the time to recognize superior acts of human kindness.  I just want to say a very heartfelt THANK YOU for the start of the school year for 2 of my 3 boys!  My youngest son, Zak has had a very hard adjustment with Kindergarten.  He basically has cried for the first two weeks of school and has finally stopped.  Now let me state that once he got into his class, he was fine, but every morning for two weeks when I dropped him off he would cry before he got out of my car.

The moment that most amazed me about what kind of Principal you were going to be was on his third day of school when I dropped him off and he was in tears.  I told his bigger brother Jake to take his hand and bring him to the Kindergarten playground.  As my heart was breaking because he was in tears, I watched the boys walk away from the drop off lot.  What absolutely made me realize what a great year this was going to be was when you were talking to a teacher at the drop off area and you saw Zak out of the corner of your eye, you immediately stopped your conversation and took the time to acknowledge him and talk to him (even at his eye level).  I don’t know if you realize the impact this had on him (and myself as well), but you became the person he wants to see every morning when I drop him off.

For this simple act of kindness, I sincerely thank you!  I am excited for the upcoming year to get to know you and all you have to offer East Oakview.  I have to admit, we really liked Mr. K and do miss him, but you have impacted us in such a wonderful way and we are enjoying all you are bringing to East Oakview.  As my boys have told me, “Mr. Scogg is so cool!  He plays with us at recess.”  So, thank you and welcome to East Oakview, we look forward to a wonderful year.

Sincerely,

Nichole and Todd

Fun Fact

Thanks to the Northview community’s approval of bonds we have improved our access to technology.  Here is a Technology Bond summary:

  • 1,200+ student and teacher devices purchased and installed.  Replaced all desktop PC’s in labs.
  • 300 interactive projectors installed.
  • 63 network switches installed.
  • 194 wireless access points installed.
  • 40+ miles of cabling run in buildings – 27 miles just in the high school.

“We believe that people working together toward common goals can accomplish anything.”

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

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Do Ten Education Reformers know the student by name?

January 28, 2015
Arrival Time: 7:35 a.m.

Do Ten Education Reformers know the student by name? – EDE #47 for 2014/15

At 7:45 a.m., an hour before the official start of the school day for students, ten highly qualified education professional sat around a table discussing how to best provide interventions for a first grade student.  They used a best practice format and process that provides intimate understanding of the needs of the student.  They know the needs of the adults in the student’s family.  They know the student by name and by need. They are implementing best practice strategies to help the student be successful.

Do Ten Education Reformers from Michigan know the student by name? 

As I moved to my drop-off line duty I found it difficult to get the question out of my mind.   A brother and sister hopped out of a car and told me their travel mugs contained a wonderfully smelling tea called “something like Bangold Spice.”  Their mom made the tea for them so they could enjoy it on the ride to school.  She also kissed them good-bye, encouraged them to learn something at school, and promised to see them after school.

Do Ten Education Reformers from Michigan know the brother and sister by name and do they understand how the implications of legislative actions on the siblings and their mom?

A kindergarten girl eating an apple approached me and shared that it is much easier eating an apple now that she has a “growed up” tooth.  She pointed to the tooth with great pride.  I wondered how her family will afford the needed dental care as she continues to get more “growed-up” teeth.  Our staff knows the student by name and understands the ability of the family to provide for her health care needs.

Do Ten Education Reformers from Michigan know this girl by name and do they understand that public education is a relevant part of the upbringing of the children of the community?

We do provide breakfast for some students at West.   I asked two students why the “Coco Puffs” were multi-colored in one bowl but not the other.  “That is because these are Trix you silly superintendent” was the response.  I also was informed that if you put white milk into a bowl of Coco Puffs you turn it into chocolate milk.  I didn’t dare ask what happens when you put chocolate milk into the Trix.

I spent time in a first grade room today.  The usual start to the day was underway when I sat down on a small chair.  Plenty of smiles from the teacher were accepted by the first grade students.  Plenty of laughter filled the opening conversation. “Glad you are feeling better” she said, recognizing two students, by name, who had been out ill for several days. The transition to the “readers workshop” was smooth and effective.  The teacher shared the focus for the seven-year old children – “I can use text features to help me understand non-fiction books.”  This is a best practice process for acquiring the necessary reading skills to be a proficient reader by the time they reach the end of 3rd grade.

Do Ten Education Reformers from Michigan know the names of each child in this first grade room and are they aware we are implementing best practices, that are supported by empirical data, to increase the likelihood that children are proficient readers by the end of third grade?
The feel of the small chair made me think back to the first time Ruth and I sat in the small chairs when our now 43 year-old daughter was in first grade.  Public education sure worked for her.  As an adult, she is  is a productive, respectful, and caring citizen of our community.  Next week she heads off to the Michigan Winter Special Olympics as a volunteer athletic trainer. Somewhere along the line, her teachers helped her understand how to read non-fiction text (not to mention her passion for fictional novels).  They knew her name then and just last Sunday we ran into one of her high school teachers who still remembered her name.

As I walked out of West Oakview today an additional question crept into my mind

Are the Michigan Educational Reformers  and our Legislators helping public education remain a relevant part of preparing children be productive, respectful, and caring citizens or are the reforms and legislation reducing public education to a for-profit service?

The staff at West Oakview, as well as the staff members at our other Northview schools, are the real “Education Reformers in Michigan.” They know the names of our students.  They know the name of the high school senior who is approaching the end of her basketball playing career.  They know what she wants to study in college.  They know how emotional the senior year is for her parents.

They know.  They are the real reformers.

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
Northview Public Schools

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Every Day Evidence Our Public Schools Work – #46 for 2014/15

Every Day Evidence #46 for 2014/15

January 26, 2015

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

and Afendoulis

Thank you Senator MacGregor, Representatives Hooker and VerHeulen for spending a full day in your school districts.  Northview, Wyoming, and Kenowa Hills appreciate your time and your interest.

Now the challenge exists for our other Kent County Legislators – when do you plan to spend a day in your school district?  Is it true that Representative Lyons has accepted the challenge and will spend a full day in the Lowell Public Schools?

Questions for Your Consideration:

You have a great responsibility to govern our State.  As you enter the the new legislative session I am asking you to consider the following questions:

  1. Will you state your support for the $.01 sales tax ballot issue in public settings?
  2. If third grade reading proficiency is really important to you as a legislator, are you willing to align new operational revenue to the process?
  3. How do you know if your legislative actions match what people really care about?

Every Day Evidence

Today’s EDE comes from a Northview High School graduate who is furthering her studies at Eastern Michigan University.  Mr. Aymer is a math teacher at our high school.  Our Public Schools Work.

“Hi Mr. Aymer!

It’s Emmy over here at Eastern Michigan. Is the new high school treating you well?

I’m really enjoying college life and most of my classes, however I am taking an elementary stats class that makes me really glad I took your class last year.. The professor is straight from India and struggles with English, and she jumps right from one point to another without explaining anything. I sit in the front of the class in order to catch like 80% of what she’s saying.. She is a nice woman, but I don’t know if teaching statistics is necessarily her forte…. But I am telling you this because I am really appreciating how great of a teacher you are! If I hadn’t have taken stats last year then I would really be struggling. In your class I always knew what was going on because you took your time and explained everything so thoroughly (with perfect English) and made sure we all understood. So thank you very much Mr. A for excelling at your job, and for helping me in college!

I hope you have a great day and a wonderful rest of the year!

Emmy

エミ ルタオスキ”

Fun Fact:

In the category of “good news to share”, here is a link to some really good news about our High School Student Spirit Section. The Northview students are literal pioneers in some of the cheers they’ve developed and in the intensity of their support.  It’s great for the Northview brand and consistent with our encouraging and teamwork-oriented community.  Click on the link below and cast your vote for Northview.

http://highschoolsports.mlive.com/news/article/-6990481472395256416/see-the-nominees-and-vote-now-for-michigans-best-high-school-student-section/#incart_m-rpt-2
Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

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Advanced Copy of February Northview News Superintendent Letter

Friday, January 23, 2015

 

Fun Fact:

In the category of “good news to share”, here is a link to some really good news about our High School Student Spirit Section. The Northview students are literal pioneers in some of the cheers they’ve developed and in the intensity of their support.  It’s great for the Northview brand and consistent with our encouraging and teamwork-oriented community.  Click on the link below and cast your vote for Grand Rapids Northview.

http://highschoolsports.mlive.com/news/article/-6990481472395256416/see-the-nominees-and-vote-now-for-michigans-best-high-school-student-section/#incart_m-rpt-2

Advanced Copy of February Northview News Superintendent Letter

As is my practice, pasted below is an advanced copy of my February 2015 Northview News Superintendent letter.  I encourage you to read this letter and share it with those in your circles of influence.

As my life coach, Travis, has counseled me, I am hoping this month’s letter calls your attention to some “important stuff” about our public schools – locally, State-wide, and nationally.  Do you know how the implications of the public school education reform movement are impacting local public schools?

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

Northview News February 2015

Dear Northview Families, Community Members, Students and Staff,

Our current 4th grade students are “digital natives.”  Their entire lives have been influenced by the availability of information at the touch of a button.  In fact, they can access more information in one hour than William Shakespeare could access in a lifetime.   We have the responsibility to help our young people understand how to determine if an information source is credible and valid.

The appropriate use of the information and determining if the source is credible requires a process that involves all of us as partners.  The process involves knowing what we care deeply about as individuals and as a community.  It also involves a clear understanding of what we expect and need from our public schools.

What will our fourth-grade, digital natives need when they reach 11th grade?  What will our new kindergarten students need when they reach high school?  Will the most recent solutions created by the national public school reform movements meet the needs of Northview students?  Will the education bills and actions of our Michigan Legislature reflect what the Northview community cares deeply about?

Corky O’Callaghan, author of America’s Schools at a Turning Point, And how we THE PEOPLE can help shape their future, (2006), states that “today, most of us are in the dark about the extent to which the education reform movement in our country is impacting our local schools.  We are unaware that our children are being over-tested, our teachers are physically exhausted and emotionally demoralized,  and our tax dollars are being diverted by our elected representatives to replace our public schools with a privately managed, free market system of education.”  Corky’s book illustrates what has happened over time to our public schools.

We are at a crossroads.  Very specifically, do we care deeply about the role the Northview Public Schools will fill in the upbringing of the children in the Northview community?  Are our public schools relevant partners in the development of citizens or are they simply a service that provides only the skills necessary for a student to be considered grade level proficient on a designated test?

Members of the Northview community are very bright and dedicated to the improvement of the community at large.  They have done their part over and over again to provide the necessary tools our schools need to accelerate student academic performance and to nurture the social development of our children.  The strong emotional and spiritual connection between our schools and community has increased the likelihood that our students become solid citizens as well as respectful and productive members of society.

What will our kindergarten students need to be solid citizens who are respectful and productive members of society?  The Northview community has always had a sense of urgency regarding this question and has responded to create an environment that increases the likelihood of success.  Our community knows what “local control” means and has acted locally over and over again to improve the learning environment for its children.   Maintaining our strong emotional and spiritual connection is both important and urgent.  It is this relationship that provides the foundation for the shaping of the future of the Northview Public Schools.

O’Callaghan states, “Two conditions are needed to successfully initiate and sustain a movement as ambitious and important as shaping the future of our schools.  One is a sense of urgency that needs to be addressed and the other is providing citizens with an opportunity to talk among themselves.”  The citizens of Northview meet the two conditions.  I urge all of us to “get smart” about what is happening to public schools in Michigan, in our nation, and the implications for the Northview community.

As you are aware by now, I have informed our Board of Education that I plan to retire effective July 1, 2015 after 40 years serving children, staff, families, and community members in my various roles in public education.  While my formal role serving you as Superintendent of Schools will end, my voice will remain strong in an effort to keep our public schools relevant partners in building strong citizens.

Our Board of Education has begun the process to select the next Superintendent.  I am confident that you, as citizens who care deeply about the Northview Public Schools, will keep in mind the needs of our children and support our Board members during the process.  This edition of Northview News has information about the search process.  You may also find additional information on our web site, www.nvps.net, as the process continues.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of Corky O’Callaghan’s book or hosting a coffee for a few citizens to talk with each other, please contact me directly.

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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Every Day Evidence #43 for 2014/15 – Is the $.01 Sales Tax a True Net-Operating Increase for K-12?

Every Day Evidence #43 for 2014/15

January 19, 2015

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

and Afendoulis

Thank you Senator MacGregor, Representatives Hooker and VerHeulen for spending a full day in your school districts.  Northview, Wyoming, and Kenowa Hills appreciate your time and your interest.

Now the challenge exists for our other Kent County Legislators – when do you plan to spend a day in your school district?

Questions for Your Consideration:

You have a great responsibility to govern our State.  As you enter the the new legislative session I am asking you to consider the following questions:

  1. Will the $.01 sales tax ballot issue – Roads and Schools – produce a “net-operational increase” for K-12?
  2. If third grade reading proficiency is really important to you as a legislator, are you willing to align new operational revenue to the process?
  3. How do you know if your legislative actions match what people really care about?

Every Day Evidence

Today’s EDE comes from a Northview citizen who recognizes how our students and staff give back to their community.  They literally “give their blood” to help.
“Dear Ted,

Thanks to you and your students for sponsoring the Blood Drive last week.  I walked in to donate and was amazed at the flurry of action in the gym.  Michigan Blood staff were almost running to keep up with the students in line to donate.  While I know blood drives at NHS have been happening for decades, I remember in May 2013 that NHS students had donated over 2300 pints since 2002.  You are now pushing quickly toward 3000!  When I arrived they said there were over 100 persons and it was only 12:30.  One MI Blood staff person said your blood drives are always among the largest.

As a resident of the Northview, I am very proud of the service these students provide – they are truly saving lives.  The “after donation” conversation with high school students at “the cookie table” made me proud to be from Northview.  What wonderful students and wonderful neighborhood public schools!

Fun Fact:

In 2013, Northview was granted AdvancED School System Accreditation from the AdvancED Accreditation Commission, the national commission that confers the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement accreditation seal.  This means that the systemand all of its schools are accredited and that Northview Public Schools District is recognized across the nation as a quality school system.

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

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Thursdays With North and East Oakview – “Just Ask Siri”

January 15, 2015
Arrival Time: 7:40 a.m.
EDE #42 for 2014/15 – “Just Ask Siri”
Are you aware that our elementary students are “digital natives?”  They have never known anything else. What they will see and experience over the next 20 years is yet to be invented.  I wondered today what will be the phrase that causes them to admit they have never really used that part of learning.
My phrase today was “Just Ask Siri.”  It all started in the drop-off line at North this morning when a third grade boy approached me and shared he and his dad were learning about weird animals like “Tasmanian Devils and Ligers.”  He went on to tell me that he and his dad were using dad’s smart phone while sitting on the couch.  They simply “Asked Siri” and all kinds of information came up including things to read and videos.
I must admit I know a thing or two about Tasmanian Devils because of my time in front of the television as a child watching cartoons on Saturday mornings.  I had no idea what a Liger is or looks like but according to the 3rd grade student it is a cross between a lion and a tiger.
Feeling a little out of things that are important to elementary kids, I checked in with my life coach, Travis –  a first grade student.  He was working on forming the letter “K-k” and announced that they were the very best “k’s” he had ever made.  He asked if I knew that king and kangaroo started with a “k.”  I knew that answer and didn’t have to Ask Siri.  I did ask him about smart phones and did he know how to find information using one.  “Of course, everybody knows how to do that” was his matter of fact answer.
The fourth grade classes at North were traveling to Pando for the annual tubing experience.  They are taught all of the safety precautions in their Physical Education classes and how to dress warmly in layers.  Most importantly they are taught how to hang on to the tube and get out of the way when you reach the bottom of sliding hill.  When I asked a few of the kids if they knew anything else about Pando and where they found the information the answer was in “digital native” vocabulary – “we ask Siri or do a Google Search.”  I was pleased that one child said he asked his older sister if it was fun.  I wanted to ask if his sister’s name is Siri.
Students at North, and in all of our Northview schools, understand the value of reading well.  This is because the partnership between our staff, students, and families.  You can stop any student in any grade at any school and have a “book talk” about what they are currently reading.  It might be the collection of 52 different poems in a first grade room or “To Kill a Mockingbird” being read by a high school student.At North all of the books everyone read over the winter break are listed  on two bulletin boards in the hallway.

Meanwhile back at East Oakview……….Students in a second grade classroom at East Oakview were deep into a “non-fiction” reading lesson.  Kids were spread out in groups throughout the classroom.  One group was reading about snake.  Other groups were learning about lizards, how to be a veterinarian, ocean animals, and monkeys.  The students were asked to take a risk and agree upon two questions they wanted answered about their topic.  “This means it is okay to say that you don’t know something about your topic” encouraged their teacher.  “No one can know everything” she said.  I wondered if she knows about “Siri.”

One boy had three books on his desk – monkeys, apes, and gorillas.  I asked him why he picked monkeys as his topic. “I started liking them way back in first grade because my teacher had 1,800 monkeys in her room.”  I wasn’t sure about the number of monkeys in a room but I did make a mental note to visit that room next.  I asked him where else he could get information about monkeys and he said he could ask his older sister and brother who are in fourth grade. “They are really smart and even know their times tables!  I also could ask my mom, she is even smarter than they are.”
I moved on to the next group.  They were studying Big Jungle Cats.  “Do you know what a Liger is?” I asked with a small smile on my face.  Two of the kids didn’t know but the third boy did.  He found out about Ligers by searching the internet.  The other two students immediately jumped in on how you could find out by using your I-pad or your parent’s smart phone.  “You can just ask Siri” said one of the group members.  “Do you have a smart phone Dr. P?”  I pulled the phone from my pocket and admitted that I have never used “Siri.”  Suddenly I had three second grade teachers.
“You push that big button on the bottom and hold it, then you say ‘what is a Liger?’ and Siri will give you an answer.”  Sure enough, up came a voice that said “here is what I found.”  There was a picture of a Liger and a short explanation that they don’t live in the wild because tigers and lions don’t live in the same places.  I asked them how they knew about the “Siri” application and the response was that of a confident digital native -“Everybody knows how to ask Siri” they said.Tomorrow, the kids in the class are using lap top computers to research their topics.  The fact that East Oakview (and all of our schools) have wireless internet connections is an expectation of our digital natives.  Thanks go out to the Northview community for making the connections possible by your approval of building and technology bonds.

As I moved to leave the classroom one of the Big Jungle Cats group followed me with a final piece of advice about Siri.  “You can ask Siri about directions too.  Just say where you want to go and Siri will tell you.  Then you go to your GPS app.”I wanted to ask Siri where to find the first grade classroom that has 1,800 monkeys.

Down the hall outside a third grade classroom, students were working on a technique used in our reading workshop model.  They were writing about their reading and posing questions for members in their small group.  One student was reading and writing about Cellist Yo-Yo Ma.  He had never heard the musician’s music.  I told him I had a CD by the musician and would bring it in next week.  He said that he could just look it up on the internet or ask his mom to ….. you got it ….. “Ask Siri” or download it from I-Tunes.
Students in first, second, and third grade learning in traditional methods and in methods that will be seen as traditional for digital natives in the future.  This has huge implications for all of us.
Thanks Travis for reminding me that making good “K-k” letters is still important.  Now that I know how to Ask Siri I can find even more stuff that is important to digital natives.
 
Sincerely,
Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
Northview Public Schools

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World Wide Wednesdays With West Oakview – EDE #41 – I Can’t Find My Arms

January 14, 2015
Arrival Time:  11:10 a.m.
EDE #41 for 2014/15

My arrival at West was delayed today due to a previously scheduled assessment meeting with one of our principals.  It was not because it would be – 8 degrees during “drop-off line” duty.  I arrived at lunch time for students.

Ever since my time as principal at Fountain Elementary School (Grand Rapids Public Schools) I have enjoyed lunch time with students.  They are happy to be free for a few minutes to talk with friends, laugh, trade food, eat, and have recess.  The eating part seems to be the least important part of lunch time.

Today, the weather forced indoor recess.I found out that a first grade classroom hosts a dance contest during indoor recess, complete with trophies for the children who danced the best.  I also found out that I would not qualify for the contest simply because I am not a “first grade kid” and probably don’t know how to dance anyway.  One of the kids informed me that I would need to be able to “break dance” and “spin on my head” if I wanted a chance at a trophy.  Last time I slipped on the ice it was similar to that description but there was not trophy awarded.  The person walking with me that day did award me a 6.7 for style.

One second grade boy told me that his mom packs the best lunches.  He had a doughnut, pretzels, snow caps, carrots, crackers, a candy cane, and a boxed drink.  I asked him what it would mean if he found fried liver strips, pickled frogs eyes, and broccoli in his lunch bag.  His look told me that would never happen to him but he did say that it would mean that “my mom is really mad at me.”

Two of the 3rd grade kids told me I look like a principal.  When I asked them what that meant they said “you smile a lot, you kneel down when you are talking to us, you open our packages, you laugh, you correct the kids who are goofing off, and you have a nice tie.”  I wondered what a Superintendent looks like.
Our secondary students have exams during the morning hours this week and are off in the afternoons to study and to give teachers a chance to correct exams and post grades.  One of our 7th grade students was at West today, working with her mom in the lunchroom.  One of her exams was in PE today.  Two sets of “Wildcat Exercises” and a 10 minute run more than likely gives her an “A.”  She also asked me if I would do a “selfie” with her.  You bet I replied as we stood next to each other and she raised her phone.  I countered and asked if I could take one with my phone.  I got a nice picture of the ceiling and one of my foot before she taught me how to push the right button.

How do children who are deaf learn to read?

As lunch was near the end, our Director of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) Program started a conversation about how kids who are deaf learn to read.  Since they have no phonetic clues available a big part of learning to read is memorizing the word and the meaning.  Think for a minute if you had never held a coconut or heard the word pronounced and yet you had to read the word.

She shared with me some details of a trip our 4th/5th grade DHH students took to the Meijer Produce Department.  There are at least six different kinds of apples available for purchase.  How would you be able to read and understand words such as Delicious, Braburn, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, or Honeycrisp.  After all they are each an apple.  Literally, the students would need to memorize the word with the specific apple next to it before being able to read the word.

Can you imagine how you might grasp reading information about how maple syrup comes from tapping a maple tree but you don’t get apple juice from tapping an apple tree?  How about reading and understanding the meaning phrases like “getting up on the wrong side of the bed” or “having butterflies in my stomach” or “feeling a little under the weather” or “don’t open that can of worms.”

At West, and our other schools that provide learning for kids in the regional DHH Program, our staff has great success in teaching kids who are deaf how to read.  Just today, a kindergarten class was in the art room.  The teacher was explaining the lesson by saying the word, placing a picture on the board with the word, and then demonstrating each word.  “Name, Glue, Cut, Recycle, Drying Rack, and Draw.”  A five-year old that is able to hear has a phonetic base along with all of the other clues.  A deaf student uses the visual and tactile clues to help memorize the word.

Several kindergarten kids in the art class had their arms pulled up into their shirts.  As they moved past me to their tables they announced they had lost their arms.  As I walked out of the room I replied that it would be tough to do the art lesson unless they found their arms.

One boy came to the door and yelled down the hall “look, I found my arms.  Tell you twin brother too.”

As I left West today “I was as happy as a puppy with two tails.”

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Northview Public Schools

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Baby It Is Cold Outside – World Wide Wednesdays With West Oakview

January 7, 2015
Arrival Time: 7:40 a.m.

EDE #38 for 2014/15

 

“Baby It Is Cold Outside”

Drop-off line duty was an indoor activity today.  On cold days like Wednesday, students come directly into the school and head to their classroom or to the lunch room for breakfast.  The aroma of cinnamon rolls drifting down the main hall to the front door made it quite difficult to stay put and let people in as they arrived at school for the day.

One dad sent his daughter into the school and stated that all of our teachers “need a big raise for their work with kids at West.”  This is not an unusual comment in Northview.  There is a strong emotional and spiritual relationship between our staff, students, parents, and community members.

My tour around the school started in one of our Developmental Kindergarten rooms.  The first daily activity for children is to “sign-in.”  Within minutes of arrival our students are engaged in the proper formation of letters contained in their first names.

As I moved on to the kindergarten rooms, children were busy taking off their winter coats, boots, and mittens.  I asked several if they had seen my twin brother.  One girl asked “what doe he look like?”  I responded “just like me but without glasses and a suit coat.  Let me know if you see him.”  The kids laughed and agreed to watch for him.

Of course I couldn’t let this opportunity fall to the wayside.  I went down the hall and into a room, took off my glasses and suit coat (I recalled how cool I thought it was that Clark Kent would go into a phone booth and turn into Superman and was a little sad that five year old students have no idea what a phone booth is).  I then headed back to the kindergarten room.  I asked the kids if they had seen my twin brother.  They laughed and said he had headed down the hall “that way” they shouted with point of small fingers.

 

Most of you who know me well, understand why I headed down the hall and changed back to the guy with glasses and a suit coat before heading back to the kindergarten room.  The laughter of children is sweet music and it filled the room.  I finally admitted that it was really just me playing a trick on them.  One boy said “you didn’t trick me, I knew it was you both times.”  The teacher began her usual start to the day and as I walked out of the room I heard a girl say to her teacher “have you seen my twin sister…..?”

The laughter filled my heart and was very sweet music.

I did visit with two “real twins” in one of the classrooms.  I learned about their holiday trip to Bay City, green pancakes with chocolate chips, American Girl dolls, who needs teeth spacers in the family, and why they do math activities to start the day in their classroom.  I shared my little trick on the kindergarten students.  They told me they were “book buddies” with the kids in that classroom.  I asked if the kindergarten kids ever get confused when the two of them enter the room.  Their answer was so interesting – “of course not, we each have a different kindergarten book buddy.  They know us by who we are with.”

One fourth grade boy greeted me with a statement when I entered his classroom – “I hear you are retiring.”  I asked him if he knew what that meant (remember that my first grade life coach, Travis, told me that “retirement must be a made up word because he had never heard it before).  He didn’t hesitate with the answer – “it means you won’t be here any more after June.”

Not quite the right answer.  A part of me will always be in Northview and with the kids we serve.  Sweet music never leaves your heart.

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

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Every Day Evidence #37 for 2014/15 – Citizen Voice

Every Day Evidence #37 for 2014/15

January 5, 2015

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

and Afendoulis

We Are Back with even more evidence that our public schools work.
Thank you Senator MacGregor, Representatives Hooker and VerHeulen for spending a full day in your school districts.  Northview, Wyoming, and Kenowa Hills appreciate your time and your interest.  Now the challenge exists for our other Kent County Legislators – when do you plan to spend a day in your school district?

Questions for Your Consideration:

You have a great responsibility to govern our State.  As you enter the the new legislative session I am asking you to consider the following questions:

  1. Will you state your support for the $.01 sales tax ballot issue in public settings?
  2. If third grade reading proficiency is really important to you as a legislator, are you willing to align new operational revenue to the process?
  3. How do you know if your legislative actions match what people really care about?
  4. K12 Virtual School, LLC is the “for profit” provider for the Michigan Virtual Academy.  Do you know their contractual management fee is set at 15% of the program revenue and their technology fee is 7% of the program revenue?

Every Day Evidence

Today’s EDE comes from a “Concerned Parent Citizen” in Northview written during the Lame Duck Legislative session.

“Northviewers, 

 
I have shared with you a small slice of info I have seen over the last week about the legislative path we are on. It is up to each of us to be the voice of support for our traditional public schools which are working so well and are supported by the community, especially in Northview. This week Amy & I had coffee in the high school with other parents for an update at Northview High School. We continue to be impressed by how good this school is and we fully support it and our amazing educators and support staff. I wish Lansing felt the same way. I feel like the Senate is taking the potholes from our roads and trying to them in our schools. 
 
Dell Todd
Concerned Parent Citizen”

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?

Sincerely,

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
Northview Public Schools

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