The North Platte Public Schools Foundation in conjunction with North Platte Public schools is excited to announce that Brandy Buscher and Brandon Petersen have been recognized as the BIG “Bulldog” staff members of the month. Both award winners are employed at NPHS where Brandy is the student services coordinator and Brandon is a Business Teacher.
Brandy was nominated by Associate Superintendent Tami Eshleman. Her nomination read. She collaborates with our building principals, counselors and teachers to provides resources to our students. Brandy represents NPPSD at court hearings and on community boards. Brandy works directly with the Backpack Program and recently, developed our high school pantry of food and necessities. Mrs. Buscher is responsible for implementing the Dare to Go Five Below program focusing on reducing absenteeism with our students. Brandy is our district Homeless Liaison and advocates for students at the state and local level. Brandy Buscher advocates for students and families of North Platte Public Schools. She is worthy of our BIG award by helping to eliminate barriers to learning.
Brandon Petersen was nominated by NPHS administration. They told the foundation that besides being a great teacher in the classroom, Brandon goes above and beyond in performing duties that help to improve both our high school and the district. Brandon has created numerous multimedia materials used to celebrate student, staff and our school. Brandon has been teaching for North Platte Public Schools since 2004. He teaches computer science and technology classes in the Business Department at North Platte High School. These classes include Information Technology, Information Technology 2, Digital Media, Advanced Digital Media, Graphic Design, Advanced Graphic Design, and Programming. Our mission in our department is to help students become problem solving, career-ready individuals who can make positive contributions to society. In addition to teaching, Brandon does the school’s newsletter and creative content for the “Bulldog Vision” video board in the gym.
The North Platte Public Schools and North Platte Public Schools foundation developed the BIG Staff recognition promotion to provide incentives for deserving teachers and support staff. The program is designed to recognize outstanding teachers and support staff for their contributions to NPPS. The nomination symbolizes the esteem and appreciation that everyone has for our school district employees.
Teachers are rewarded with a gift basket, balloons and a gift card to the Bulldog store at NPHS. The North Platte Public Schools Foundation is facilitating the program and takes nominations from principals and administration. Staff members will be awarded monthly throughout the school year and recognized at the end of the year Education After Hours on April 7th, 2017.
The Elementary Music Department is using a new music series, "Quaver's Marvelous World of Music". We are excited to announce that students have their own individual Quaver accounts and can log in using a mobile device or computer. Students can learn, practice and create music, anytime and anywhere! Please follow the directions below to get started!
Braiden Ruffin, champion again.
After finishing his junior season with just two losses, the North Platte junior topped the podium at the CenturyLink Center. As one of five NPHS wrestlers at this year’s tourney, he became the school’s first back to back champion.
Ruffin breezed through his first three matches, defeating Noah Ethen of Elkhorn South via fall, Nathan Lenz of Omaha Burke by a 14-8 decision, and scoring a tech fall-the calling of the match when one wrestler leads by 15 points-against Zach Baldwin of Columbus.
Those three wins brought Ruffin to the championship match where he faced Braden Trimble of Millard South. Ruffin had faced Trimble just a week prior at the District tournament where they met in the final of the tournament, Ruffin grabbed the upper hand there.
Ruffin emerged on top a second time, getting the pin and his second State championship medal. “Even though it didn’t look like the hardest, just the getting ready for it was harder than all the others,” he said.
Pre-match Ruffin was dialed in on his goals. “[I was thinking] this is something I can do. It’s something I’ve always been looking forward to doing,” he said. “I wasn’t nervous, but I did feel the pressure on myself.”
Looking ahead to next year, Ruffin isn’t backing down. “Knowing that it’s my last year, I just want to end it on the right page,” he said. Ruffin will start to write that last chapter in a little under a year, but for now, he’s Braiden Ruffin: back-to-back State champ.
Ribbons of Remembrance
“My grandma died [on] the day of my brother’s wedding…I was the one that had to break the news to my mom,” English teacher Tuyette Van-Sansone said.
If you’ve seen Sansone since Thanksgiving, you may have noticed the white headband she’s worn every day. Sansone has been wearing the ribbon across her forehead as a tribute to her deceased grandma. As a part of her Vietnamese culture, white represents sorrow and loss. Immediate family members of the deceased symbolically wear a white headband for a significant period of time. “I’m wearing this for 100 days. Traditionally, it’s supposed to be worn for a year for women,” she said. “It is a sign of respect and an observation of mourning, so if you follow the culture, this is a sign that you’re mourning somebody that has recently passed away,” she said.
During the funeral, Buddhist monks waved incense across the bands and handed them out to family members before everyone related to the deceased walked around in a procession. “We went around the casket while the monk is saying his prayers, and is sending the soul back up to the afterlife,” Sansone said. Sansone and her family were then arranged into an order by the monk and began to leave the funeral. At the crematorium, the body of the deceased was put into the incinerator, and the white headband ceremony began. “At that time, if you’re not directly related to the deceased, you are supposed to take off your white band and throw it with the casket, Sansone said. However, everyone in her family threw in their headbands as well. “[It was] such a tense, almost flurry of activity because all of the white bands were collected and thrown in.” The significance of throwing the white headband with the body is symbolic. “It’s supposed to go up with the person as an offering. We all got a new one after the ceremony to wear,” she said.
Many people have noticed Sansone’s headband, but she said the majority of students haven’t asked her any questions. After learning about the headband’s significance, students were curious to learn about the culture. Freshman Jade Vak said, “I look at her differently now because at first I thought it was a fashion statement, but now it gives me insight into who she really is.”
Although the observation is lengthy for Sansone, she believes it is all well worth it. “I just think that because it was my grandma, and she’s kind of the matriarch of the family. This is the way she had planned her funeral, and this is the thing they do in the culture. I’m doing this to honor and respect her wishes.”
Recently, I decided to look at our high school from an entirely different view. I wanted to experience the typical school day of a high school student.
I spent two entire days shadowing North Platte High School students. My purpose was to get an in-depth view at what it’s like to be a student in 2017 and to address some of the misconceptions that exist regarding the learning environment of high school students I have read about in multiple media sources. I went about this experience with an "open mind" to learn the reality of what a student experiences throughout the day.
Myth: High school students are sitting passively and listening during approximately 90 percent of their classes.
I shadowed students through four 90-minute classes, and in each class all the students were engaged. All students were tuned in and responded well to feedback. The classes involved some lecturing, small group collaborative activities, small group presentations, and pair-sharing conversations about the topic. I believe many adults assume students sit in straight rows listening to the teacher lecture. This was not the case. In every class I observed, students were involved in engaging discussions, having conversations and debating, problem-solving, presenting and learning new applications.
At the end of the day, I was not bored or exhausted. The teachers engaged the students in dialogue, class discussions, group discussions and activities, note taking, presentations, and provided active learning throughout the day. Some teachers had students moving about the room and interacting with each other.
Myth: Students are disrespectful toward teachers and other students.
Not once did I hear a teacher tell the students to be quiet and pay attention. Overall, student behavior was excellent! Students were respectful to each other and to the teacher. Again, not once did I witness a teacher redirecting a student due to behavior. I did not hear sarcasm or snarky remarks by any student. Students were respectful in responding to teachers’ questions and working collaboratively with classmates. Students asked questions freely and respected the classroom rules set forth by the classroom teacher.
Myth: Students don’t like their teachers and don’t care about school.
During lunch, I sat and ate lunch with the students. We engaged in good conversation. I asked what they liked about the school. They like the teachers and believe teachers care about them. They like the block schedule, 90-minute classes and the school environment. I asked them what they did not like about the school. Most of the students said they don’t like the closed campus for juniors and were hoping they would be offered open campus as seniors. The majority of the students said they were going to a two- or four-year college after graduating and/or the military.
Myth: Students are troublesome.
During the transition between classes, students were respectful. I didn’t hear any vulgar language. There was no pushing, shoving or bumping into each other in the hallway. I saw very little cellphone usage during instructional time. I did not witness any students arriving late to class without permission. The transition between classes was swift, smooth and non-disruptive. Before school, students were gathered in the school commons area mingling with their peer groups, playing card games and socializing good-naturedly before classes began.
What surprised me most about the school day?
There are misconceptions about how school is boring and not challenging our students. The misconception that students don’t care about school is not true; it’s just the opposite.
I observed throughout the day that students do care about their education, their teachers and their school. Overall, students were happy with being part of the school and working with the teachers. They liked the school culture.
How is school today different from when I was in high school?
I believe students in high school today have so many more opportunities to prepare themselves for the transition after high school. There are multiple programs for students as well as the use of modern technology. Students have numerous options in choosing their college and career pathways via dual credits. If every student takes advantage of all the learning opportunities available, they will be able to choose whatever career path they desire. It is all about being prepared to have a choice after graduation.
Summary: The teachers and principals of the school should be commended for their hard work and for being role models for our students. The students deserve recognition for their willingness to learn and embark each day with a positive attitude for learning. The perception that students are not engaged and are bored with school was certainly not evident during my shadowing experiences.
Describe the experience in one word? Enlightening
The students and staff at McDonald Elementary may be a little biased, but we do believe that Jami Roader and Heather Axtell are the two greatest lunch ladies of all-time. Jami has been with the schools for 13 years altogether with the last three at McDonald Elementary. Heather has been with the North Platte schools for seven years, and she has been with McDonald Elementary for the last four years.
Each and every day Jami and Heather work hard to provide a lunch service that is friendly and inviting to the students and staff. They both love to laugh and make each person feel important when doing their job. Breakfast and lunch is one part of their profession, but their relationship building is really what makes them so special. When Jami and Heather were asked what their favorite part of their job was without any hesitation they both said the children.
McDonald Elementary is very lucky to have these wonderful ladies in our school each and every day. They provide some good food, but it is their love that makes it great!
North Platte Public Schools will be offering an Extended Learning Opportunity for students. This invitation only program will be offered at Cody Elementary. This opportunity will be available for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. This 19-day program will begin on and will end on . It will run from with free breakfast and lunch being served daily. For more information contact your school’s principal. Individual elementary schools will not be having their own summer school program.
Seniors William Stone and Kort Steele are getting paid to go to school. Both students are now gainfully employed, thanks to the new internship program.
They started their internship the usual way by working for free in exchange for experience. Within weeks, they were both hired on professionally. Stone now works as a sport reporter for The North Platte Telegraph, and Steele is doing design work at Pro Printing and Graphics.
Stone says he’s doing exactly what he wants to do with his life. “It couldn’t get any better, I get to write about games and get paid,” Stone said. Internships are more valuable with work experience said managing editor Joan von Kampen. “Reporting is such a hands-on job that Will has to get some first hand experience,” she said.
Steele thinks that it is awesome how the internship turned into a job. “It is helpful how it is a hands-on experience for the future,” he said. Pro Printing was happy with his work. “He was the employee we were looking for,” owner Judy Pederson said.
Being hired is atypical. However, according to the National Association of Colleges more than half of students completing an internship received at least one job offer afterwards, compared to less than 37 percent of students with no internship or experience.
Business teacher Samantha Pavelka organizes the trial program. In order to qualify, students have to complete two courses in a career field with a C or better. They also have to have good attendance and behavior records. “We are allowing Kort and Will to do this, and then have some kind of say in what went well and what didn’t in the end,” Pavelka said. In the fall, the program will be opened up to all interested and eligible students.
To see the full story visit npbulldogger.com