Creativity is key at Northside

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(Photo by MARY MALONE)Northside Elementary students Jorden Tyler, front left, and Brody Zachary, front right, received certificates of recognition from Lake Pend Oreille School District officials on Tuesday for their hard work and achievements in school. Also pictured is Northside principal Perky Smith-Hagadone, front center, and from top left, LPOSD trustees Lonnie Williams, Geraldine Lewis, Gary Suppiger, Cary Kelly, LPOSD superintendent Shawn Woodward, and trustee Purley Decker.

SANDPOINT — The mission of Northside Elementary is to provide a warm family atmosphere where all children feel appreciated while adhering to high academic and civic standards.

“We are a very tight-knit community,” said Northside principal Perky Smith-Hagadone. “Our parents are our biggest advocates. They are at every fundraiser, at every event, they volunteer in our classrooms — it’s really amazing.”

Throughout the school year, principals from each school in the district have presented to the board, answering two main questions: What is unique or special about your school? And what strategies are taking place this year that are different that the school is instituting to get more students learning more?”

Smith-Hagadone started off with telling board members how “incredibly proud” she is of the little rural school of Northside and its tight-knit community.

One of the “many” other reasons she is proud of Northside, she said, is that the school is one of the top 50 in the state for its strides in English Language Arts achievement, growth and goal makers, as well as math goal makers. The school also has a “really robust” Response to Intervention program, she said.

Equally as important, she said, is the commitment and drive to bring extracurricular activities to the schools. As such, she had sixth graders Jorden Tyler and Brody Zachary talk about some of the programs they have been involved with at Northside.

“I have always loved going to Northside because the staff is always fun, the teachers are always helpful and all the extra activities I have been able to do,” Jorden said. “One I really enjoy is MakerLab.”

In MakerLab, Jorden said he and the other students have learned how to use Google applications, including Docs, Drive, Sheets and more. They used these to design a restaurant, he said.

“We had to write a letter asking for funds, create a name, menu and logo for our restaurant, and then actually design our layout,” he said.

The kids also learned how to create and use Ozobots and Cubelets. The other thing in the lab Jorden said he enjoys is 3D printing. The youngster had just finished creating a 3D-printed chess set on Tuesday, which he said is “not your average chess set.” Most of the chess pieces, which were yellow and white, had slang terms printed on them, such as “bro,” “yeet” or “fleek.” Jorden said he was not the only student making a chess set, as the school hosts a four-week chess tournament each year, but he was the first one to finish his set.

“It takes a great deal of mathematics, problem solving and creativity was a big piece of it, because we didn’t give them very many constraints,” Smith-Hagadone said of the 3D printing efforts.

Brody also showed off some of his creativity to district officials on Tuesday in the form of a trout-shaped spoon rest he had made for his mom for Mother’s Day. While Jorden said he has been at Southside for seven years, Brody said he has been there about seven months.

“I really like it in every area, but art is one of my favorite periods out of all of them,” he said, adding a “special thank you” to the art teacher who comes in each week to work with the kids.

As the students finished up the presentation, Smith-Hagadone played a video made by the school librarian, Jamie Parnell, of the MakerLab and other activities the kids have done throughout the year. Before departing Jorden and Brody each received a certificate of recognition from district officials for their hard work and achievements in school.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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