Thursdays with North (and East) Oakview

    Arrival Time: 7:25 a.m.

    Beautiful Fall Morning

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

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

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

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

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

    Meanwhile Back at East Oakview…….

    I Love the Smell of Popcorn in the Morning!

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

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

    Today it was a popcorn day ceremony at East Oakview!

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

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

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

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

    Sincerely and With Great Respect,

    Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent


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