……But Wait, There is More

    I arrived at North Oakview at 7:40 a.m. on a beautiful spring morning where the only evidence of winter clothing was in the Lost and Found. I always wonder how the conversation goes when a 3rd grade student arrives at home wearing only one snow boot and a coat that they didn’t have on when they left for school.

    Flip Flops, tennis shoes (some red, some much more colorful), spring dresses, shorts, ball gloves, soccer balls, and smiles were the order of the day. The only draw back of the morning was being down one substitute teacher. Since the job wasn’t picked up by anyone, the classroom teacher came in even though she was not feeling well. Eventually, as is the case in each of our schools, staff members divided up students and this allowed the ill teacher to head home.

    ….. a side note

    On Friday morning, the high school principal rushed through the hall heading to sub in a math class. He didn’t seem worried at all when I reminded him he had an undergraduate degree in English. His reply was similar to all of our staff when they live the belief that We Are Northview – “I can’t wait to be with our kids.”

    Travis had some great words of wisdom for me during our time together at the drop-off line. He told me about his baseball game last night – the good, the bad, and the really good. It seems that a player on the opposing team had a ball hit him in the head and nose. According to Travis it hurt enough that the player couldn’t play any more during the game. The good part was the other team was down one player and it was easier for Travis’ team to win the game. The bad part was another kid got hurt and that is “never a good thing.” Travis went on to say “no matter what, when someone gets hurt you need to care about them. You need to care about other people even when they don’t get hurt.” I think my first grade life-coach is getting some great coaching from his parents and he then coaches me.
    The 4th grade students who were in the library/media center participated in a exceptionally good book talk. “Echo” was the book of the day. Students listened intently as their teacher explained it was four stories in the 500 page book. The stories were connected by the characters’ love of music. The stories were set in 1933, 1935, 1942, and 1951. When I arrived back at the office I ordered a copy of the book for each of our elementary libraries and one for myself. It was one powerful book talk.

    ♥Meanwhile back at East Oakview…….

    We were down a substitute teacher at East also. Just like at North, a classroom was divided up between teachers so that our students didn’t miss any instruction. Unfortunately, the bug affecting our teachers has also affected several students.

    Our office staff is so skilled at comforting students when they are not feeling well. The amazing part of the skill is they attend to the children while attempting to contact parents. This happens while phones are ringing, people are signing in to volunteer, mail is being delivered, teachers are asking questions, and the Superintendent is sitting in a chair next to a 4th grade student who has a rash all over his body.

    I have yet to visit one of our schools without witnessing large numbers of kids reading a book they chose to read. Some are reading informational text, others have found a love for poetry, while numbers of kids have favorite authors and can identify who writes the best fiction.

    Some of the staff were together off site working on the School Improvement Plan for the 2015/16 school year. The work includes identifying goals and measures we use to determine whether or not goals are being accomplished. They are increasing the likelihood that all East Oakview staff can answer four critical questions in the teaching and learning process:

    • What do our students need to know and be able to do?
    • How do we know if students know and can demonstrate the use of the standards?
    • What do we do if they don’t master the standard?
    • What do we do if they have mastered the standard?
       

    Our staff makes the complex process of learning look easy. Some outside of education, including some of our legislators and business leaders – not all of them, state “heck, I can do that.” I wondered about this statement as I sat next to the 4th grade student with the rash.

    But Wait There is More……World Wide Wednesdays With West Oakview on Friday

    I was double booked on Wednesday and missed my regular visit. There was a window of time on Friday morning and I used it to spend an hour at West. A couple of students reminded me that I had missed Wednesday and questioned why.

    One girl broke away from her art project to make a profound statement to me, “hey its not Wednesday, its Friday, you should have been here on Wednesday.” Then she asked if I had retired yet “because sometimes when you are retired you forget what day it is.”

    During this time of year our teachers are busy completing the required curriculum, doing end of the year assessments in reading and math, and this spring they are giving the new State test – M-Step. One 3rd grade teacher suggested I talk with two of her students who were completing a Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA). This assessment, given three times a year, shows student growth. The students informed me they were working on informational text, meta-cognition, and were on level 40 – 4th grade level at the end of 3rd grade.

    If you aren’t sure about “meta-cognition” ask one of the 3rd grade students at West. They will tell you it is thinking about thinking, knowing what questions you are asking yourself while reading, and what do you think about when you are reading.

    I didn’t have this skill in 3rd grade. Back then I was thinking about how to tell my mom and dad that I couldn’t find my winter coat and one of my boots.

    The dad who came into the office holding a $5 bill made my day. He handed it to the office manager and said “this is for any student who wants popcorn but didn’t have $.25.” No wonder the popcorn parent volunteers were making so much popcorn this morning.

    Several students asked me if I had read their “retirement advice yet.” Just for the record here are a few more pieces of advice:

    • “Ride on a helicopter.”
    • “Just go out and play tag alot.” I wonder if this is like Spamalot?
    • Robert thinks I should “go to your friend’s house and then go buy groceries.”
    • “Eat lots of food that you like.”
    • “Eat ice cream every Saturday.”
    • “Have a bonfire two nights a week.”
    • “Be in the Princess Parade at Disney World.”
    • “Play with your mom.”
       

    Really good advice. Especially that last one.

    Happy Mothers’ Day!

    Sincerely and With Great Respect,

    Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

    Northview Public Schools

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