Thursdays with North (and East) Oakview

    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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