Thursdays with North (and East) Oakview

    Let me begin with the “drop-off” line wisdom from my Life Coach Travis. I found out Travis took second place at his youth wrestling match the previous weekend. He informed me that the medals for 1st through 4th are all different but “the only thing you get for 5th place is a lot of people clapping.” He asked if I ever received any medals for wrestling. I told him no but I did get a bloody nose once during gym class in high school when I wrestled the State Champion. Nobody clapped that day.

    Travis made me think deeply today. How many great things happen on a daily basis that are not recognized by awarding medals or even clapping. Here are a few “award winning” things that happened at North:

    • A first grade teacher arranged for one of her students to get two sets of eye glasses – one for home and one for school. She found a way to help the family afford the cost. The smile on the student’s face as she showed me her new glasses is better than any medal.
       
    • A third grade teacher who cares deeply about all of her students and is finding a way to help a student who is currently having a hard time with behaviors. I read an article over the weekend that must have been written about this teacher – “An Open Letter – Dear Parent: I am the teacher of that kid you are so worried about.”
       
    • This scenario has been played out in every one of our classrooms throughout North and the Northview School District at one time or another over the years. Each time the support provided by our staff is incredible. The support is present for the student and for the staff member who is trying to find a solution to help the student.
       
    • A para-professional hit his head on a cabinet door causing a cut in his scalp. As he walked down the hall he asked me to move down to his room to help with coverage. This was before I could even ask if he was okay. He wanted to make sure we took care of the students in the room first and that someone was available to cover his recess duty. He ended up at the doctor.
       
    • Within minutes, one of our maintenance employees arrived at North to take care of the blood that hit the floor after the accident.
       
    • Every person at North (and our other schools) understand the amount of Holiday stress and excitement – some negative and some positive – that is present in our kids and their families. They are the picture of stability and calmness.
       

    Travis also let me know that the frost on the grass and the playground equipment would be a lot of fun at recess. I was the person who was designated to cover the playground duty for the paraprofessional who hit his head. The morning recess couldn’t come soon enough for me.

    Frost on playground equipment creates a slippery surface that is enjoyed by kindergarten and first grade kids in ways that would create aches and pains on my 64-year old body. The bridge on one structure was exceptionally slippery which caused much laughter by over 12 kids who were slip-sliding away (yes the Simon and Garfunkel song was playing in my head and still is as I write this post). It was a game created by kids with defined rules and time limits for being on the bridge.

    The slides “are faster than ever” shouted one kindergarten boy who immediately launched himself down the slide into two passing kids who were three feet away from the bottom of the slide. All of them collapsed into a heap while laughing and shouting “go again.”

    No accidents or injuries were reported but one lost hat was recovered.

    I should have carried medals with me today. Everyone deserved a first place finish recognition. However, I did do a lot of clapping today……and everyday because our public schools work!

    Sincerely and With Great Respect,

    Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

    Northview Public Schools

    PS: I didn’t make it to East Oakview today as I covered recess duty. I will be at East this Friday, December 19, to play a small role in their Staff Holiday Program for Kids. I play my age and am required to “spring from the bed to see what is the matter.” I think the role is safer than going down a slide covered with new frost. Hope I don’t hit a cabinet door.

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