On October 30, the roles of a student and teacher were reversed. The principals and I were looking to expand our knowledge of technology with regard to Google Docs and Google Apps. Many of us had experimented with Google Apps but really have not had any formal training. We briefly discussed how we might look “outside” NPS for training and of course when you do that, you end up spending money. Then it dawned on us… (thanks to some prodding by Mr. Francis) why do that when we have to look no further than our very own students for this expertise!
Alex Mercer, 11th grade student, spent one hour with the principals, Mr. Gormley, and me to show us some Google App basics and how practical the Google suite is in an educational setting. This introductory session was very helpful as Alex explained gmail accounts, Google Drive, how to share documents, how to create forms, and how he finds this useful in his own learning as a student at NHS.
Here at NPS, we have outstanding students and teachers. How wonderful is it that trust has been established so that we can learn from each other! In fact, we plan to have more students involved in Google Apps training for a larger audience (MS/HS teachers) in a session later in November.
Education continues to change. Teamwork with students and teachers continues to become more important as collaborative skills are what employers and colleges want in our students. NPS prides itself on being a learning organization and that was certainly evident as the teacher and student roles were reversed. The community should be proud of our students and staff who are life-long learners.
Several initiatives were in place in NPS buildings to highlight the impact of bullying, to educate students on what bullying is and how they can help put a stop to it. Some examples are described below. Many students have participated (or will in the near future) in the “Respect Effect” program which is a county-wide initiative to address bullying. The following is not all-inclusive but does give some examples of how NPS works to prevent bullying.
At Vera Wilsie Elementary School, a comprehensive Positive Behavior Support (PBS) plan is in place to reward students for being respectful, responsible, and safe. Pride Friday is earned by students and assemblies are held to create awareness. Students participate in the “Respect Effect” to learn the difference between bullying and being mean. Students at this level are also educated on “Bucket-Filling” and “Bucket-dipping” to characterize good and poor behaviors.
At Velma Matson Upper Elementary, the Bucket-filling program (2nd grade) is present. The anti-bullying pledge is recited, bullying literacy units are done in the classroom, and students participate in the “Respect Effect” program. Additionally, at this level, teachers incorporate anti-bullying concepts in their classrooms and lessons when possible.
At Newaygo Middle School, there have been all-school activities to highlight the definition and effects of bullying. Students have participated in the “Respect Effect” program and 5th graders spear-headed a photo gallery project to display efforts to combat bullying. Teachers also continue to emphasize these efforts in their classrooms.
At Newaygo High School, students completed a bullying survey. Administrators used this information to plan some programs for students. During the month of October, all freshmen participated in the “Respect Effect” program. Students in grades 10, 11, & 12 participated in small group discussions regarding social media safety and cyber-bullying. Newaygo Police Sergeant Georgia Stroven made a presentation to the students regarding the laws that surround bullying and cyber bullying.
Recently a letter was emailed to NPS by a football official commending our coaches and players. That letter is copy/pasted here with permission from the author.
I just wanted to take a minute and let you know how nice it was to officiate your Varsity Football Homecoming game on 10/4/13. We were greeted and taken care of with great hospitality and it did not go un-noticed. We even had some homemade cookies from Laurie and that was a special touch. At some games the officials are an afterthought, but you made us feel welcome and a part of the sporting event. In addition your public address announcer actually sought us out before the game to get the pronunciations of each of our names which was another nice touch.
I also wanted to commend your Varsity Coaching staff and players on how well coached and what great sportsmanship that was shown during and after the game. I actually had a student athlete come to me after I had a called a personal foul on him for roughing the passer and he asked me to let him know next time when the ball was away so he wouldn’t keep going and tackle the quarterback as he did during that particular play. They showed great sportsmanship, no cocky arrogant attitude, just great kids being led by a great coaching staff. Each week we actually leave behind a DVD and ask for the game film person to make us a copy which I did receive in a very timely manner. There was actually a hand written note from the head football coach and he thanked us for doing a great job. Again, nothing but class.
I don’t send this type of email very often, but I thought it was necessary with the great experience that me and my crew had at your school. We mainly work in the Central States League even though we mainly live in the Grand Rapids area. We enjoy the small town feel of the games and the experience of being part of a community event.
We look forward to working with your coaches and students in the future. Good luck the rest of the season and I will be cheering for the Newaygo Lions to go all the way to Ford Field.