Thursdays with North (and East) Oakview

    November 7, 2013

    7:25 a.m. Arrival Time

    One would think that the Thursday morning following a full evening slate of parent/teacher conferences would result in a few people being a little fuzzy and slow to get started.  That was not the case at North Oakview this morning.  In fact, I think the energy level of the staff was even higher than the normal high energy they give to our kids every day.

    As I discussed conference attendance with teachers, all indicated a great turn out, good questions from parents/guardians, and commitments to a parent-teacher-child partnership that would increase the likelihood of student success.  While there were a few no-shows from parents that teachers really needed to see, to a person, each teacher had a plan of action on how to connect with the parent who missed conferences.  High energy in action!

    Staff navigated the “tech glitches” with the new student management system and the ability of the system to print accurate data on the report cards.  Hopefully this will be worked out by the next trimester.  Staff told me they are used to “rolling with it” when things happen. High energy.

    Our master plumber, Denny, was finishing up a job at North this morning.  As he exited the boiler room I noticed he had a handful of wire scraps that had various color coatings.  He was on his way to the art room to drop off the treasures that would be used by students to create “wings or other art parts.”  Denny said he does this all the time in all of our buildings.  “Waste not, want not” was the phrase he used.  Denny understands and supports our mission of accelerating student academic growth and nurturing student social development.  By the way, he is is an outstanding fisherman in his spare time.  I have a strong hunch he has talked to kids about the value of fishing and not wasting anything.

    Over 70 students at North are served breakfast.  Waffles in a bag today.  Eating a good breakfast increases the likelihood that they will meet expectations to develop good reading habits (1st grade), understand characters and realistic fiction (2nd grade), and use their observation skills to listen (kindergarten).  By the way, one kindergarten girl informed her teacher that she (the teacher) would no longer need to point to the picture of the whale to give them a hint on the printed word – “we can read that word now.”

    You may or may notbe aware that all of those pieces of children’s clothing that parents are missing may be found on a table in the hallway.  During conferences, the clothing is folded much more neatly than the racks at Kohls on Senior Citizen day.  I always wonder how kids explain to their parents how a new winter coat wound up missing, how they forgot where they left the MSU sweatshirt grandma gave them for their birthday, or how anyone made it home with just one shoe.  I wonder who folded the clothes on the Lost and Found table?  They gave some of their high energy.

    Today’s drop-off line had the usual smiles, blown kisses good-bye (kids to their parents, not me blowing kisses to parents – I didn’t get any blown my way either, but I digress), and absolute joy at seeing the red and white striped, Dr. Seuss “Cat-in-the-Hat” hat perched on top of my head. A grown man wearing a funny hat can bring a smile to a child and, just as easily, to an adult.  I used to think it took so much more. 

    I was asked if it was “hat day” by one 1st grade boy.  My answer was, every day you choose to wear a hat is “hat day.”  He informed me it is only “hat day” if you can wear the hat in class all day and today is not that day.  I took the hat off when I entered the school.

    Thanks, North Oakview staff for your high energy, your willingness to roll with the glitches, your plans to talk to parents who didn’t show for conferences, for posting your goals outside your rooms, and for allowing me, each Thursday, to be a small part of what you do for our kids every day.  You don’t waste any time or talent or treasure.  Not even scraps of wire from a boiler room repair project.

    Sincerely and With Great Respect,


    P.S.  Life-coach Travis was wearing gloves in his kindergarten room.  He said “this is really funny, if you pull your fingers back in the gloves it looks like you  don’t have any fingers or thumbs.” He was right, it was funny.  Too bad he did this during class instead of outside – after all it wasn’t “fingerless glove day.”

    He taught me to laugh often – it doesn’t take much if you just pull your fingers back in a pair of gloves.


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