Small and Large Miracles

    Very interesting conversations with students as they ate breakfast this morning.  It seems that young children are very much aware of the age of their parents and upcoming birthdays.  One young girl told me that her mom is 47 and dad is 51 but mom wouldn’t really like that she was telling me the “facts.”
     
    Another said his mom’s birthday was coming up real soon and that she would be 39…..again.  I’m not sure if she gave him the go ahead to discuss the “facts” with me. I did start the conversation that I would be 65 in a couple of weeks.  That is when one of the 2nd grade students said “wow, my sister can’t even count that high.”
     
    Another important “fact” for elementary students is when one of their parents agree to go on the field trip to the Grand Rapids Museum.  “My dad is something called a chaperone today and he gets to be with me while we look at the real old stuff at the museum” was the excited sentence shared with me by one second grade girl.
     
    Most of us remember gym/physical education class.  However, do any of you remember your gym teacher having a book talk about books that are available in the library that relate to exercise?  All of the classes at North will remember this as part of gym class.  They will also remember the basketball dribbling drill set to the music they had been hearing in music class.  Just think about the fun of dribbling a basketball to the music of “STOMP.”
     
    My coaching sessions with Travis are nearing an end for the year.  As I approached him at the drop-off line today it occurred to me that his backpack is almost as big as he is right now.  That proportion will change over the next several years as he grows physically.  The contents of the bag will help him grow academically.  The contents of the bag will also change.  He was also carrying a big blue bag that he said contained his lunch.  My question about the number of sandwiches in the bag was met with the quick response of “100.”  I told him that would result in being a heavy weight wrestler.  He just smiled and headed toward the school.
     
    A simple yet very elegant conversation with a first grade life coach topped by a smile.  This is what “remembering the important stuff” looks like when it happens.
     
    ♥Meanwhile Back at East Oakview………
     
    Kindergarten students entered the music room for practice on standing on risers and singing.  The task of standing on high steps without falling off is difficult for an “almost first grade” student.  If you add a song with movements it is even more challenging.  They were flawless as they sang “When I Make A Promise I Keep It.”  Memory, balance, a singing voice, and a life lesson …. all within the first five minutes of class.
     
    One second grade class was working on writing “a story about myself.”  This was just one of the objectives posted for the day.  Others included listen and follow directions; explain vocabulary from GR History; play WORDO; write poetry; and count coins with dollars.
     
    As I visited rooms and talked with staff today I couldn’t help but think about the interventions they had to make today (and many other days during the school year) to address the social issues confronting our young children when they are outside of our schools.  The social issues are serious and these at-risk factors that are created get in the way of student growth.
     
    Our Northview children/students are not “at-risk.”  They are sometimes placed in an environment that is “at-risk” and then those factors play out in our schools. They are children.  They are our students.  They are important. We care about them.  We will do anything to help them deal with the at-risk factors in their lives.
     
    Our staff perform small and large miracles every day.  As a result, every child has the opportunity to grow academically and socially.  Today, those miracles were in full force.
     
    By the way, the kindergarten kids thought my “red tennis shoes” were just like the ones Pete the Cat wears.
     
    This is what “remembering the important stuff” looks like when it happens.
     
    Thanks Coach…….red shoes, small and large miracles, and remembering the important stuff happened all day today.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
    Northview Public Schools

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