Do you know the name Gustav Holst?

    The fourth grade students at North Oakview know him as a composer and musician who played four different instruments. They know why he finally settled on the trombone and how he composed the Mars Suite. They understand that John Williams was influenced by Gustav and his March of Darth Vader sounds very much like the work of Gustav.

    Need more information? Visit a fourth grade student at North and ask them about the Somerset Rhapsody and why Gustav had to settle on the trombone. Yes you can “ask Siri” by using your smart phone, but you may have more fun talking to a smart kid.

    Our staff is really engaged in the teaching and learning process on a daily basis. Do you know that our staff has established what our students need to know and be able to do. They assess on a regular basis to determine whether or not our kids have mastered the standards or not yet mastered the standards. They also know what to do if the students have mastered the concept and what to do if they have not yet mastered the concepts.

    ♥You would expect that in one of our schools. However do you also know that our staff has established a school safety plan complete with lock down procedures and it is practiced on a regular basis. Did you know that internet safety is built into every lesson that requires the use of the internet for learning? Are you aware that our kindergarten teachers track the weather for the upcoming day to make a decision on whether or not to cancel a filed trip to Meijer Gardens? All three of these tasks are done with student safety in mind.

    By the way, Travis informed me today that he is now on Reading Level 10. He plans to get to Level 14 and be ready for second grade. He said second grade is really hard and then made a face that looked a little like the painting “Scream.” He laughed and ran into the school.

    The coaching Travis has providedme over the past two years was featured in an article by School Communicators’ Network. I am thinking that he may be reminding a lot of people to “remember the important stuff.” Here is the link

    Meanwhile Back at East Oakview……..

    Our school resource officer Deputy Andy Kozal of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department is usually housed at our high school. Over the past few months he has taken his office on the road to each of our schools. Today, he was operating out of East Oakview. This is a very proactive approach to help increase the likelihood that our schools are safe. More importantly are the relationships that Deputy Kozal has formed with hundreds of our students and their families.

    “If you give a mouse a cookie…” was being read in one classroom I visited today. The whole point of the story being read was sequencing and word identification. As each page was read and spoken by the students, a tangible assist was pulled out of a shoe box and placed on the floor in front of the students. Great lesson to make words become real rather than abstract letters on a page.

    Later on in a 4th grade room math concepts were being discussed and a lesson on concrete and abstract ideas was added a fractions lesson. The teacher held up a pencil in each hand and told the class that this was a concrete idea – two pencils. She put the pencils down and held out her cupped hands and said “I have fear in my hands and this is an abstract idea.” She urged her students to make abstract ideas concrete and they would own the idea.

    I think the highlight of the visit today happened on my way out of the building. The building administrative assistant had a little extra time, picked up a bottle of Windex and started cleaning the office windows. I had been having a little pain in my right ankle and I thought about asking her if she saw the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?” and if so, would she mind spraying the magic fluid on my ankle.

    Maybe another day….

    Sincerely and With Great Respect,

    Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
    Northview Public Schools

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