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Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Newman Elementary School as part of the Billings Educator for a Day 2018. Principal Joe Walsh hosted a few community members that day at the school.

It was amazing. From the beginning of the visit through the entire morning, I was inspired and intrigued and encouraged by the energy, passion and investment of Walsh and his entire staff. Our visit began with five fifth-grade greeters from the student leadership team. The students were polite and respectful.

A school assembly then was launched with students in five colored shirts, sitting in their different houses (houses are made up of students from all grade levels) Valor, Innovation, Amity, Forte and Tenacity. These five houses are used to create an environment in which students feel a sense of belonging, and where the values of respect, responsibility, trustworthiness and safety are taught.

New students were welcomed as were we as guests into one of these five “houses.”

The youth were energized to attend and to learn at this school.

Math was taught with music and a dynamic teacher. English class was taught with creativity, using a medical approach, with students being dressed in medical gowns and wearing mask as they dissected and examined different English language content. It was called a class transformation, using a hospital theme. Creativity and innovation were key tools I discovered throughout day. I was indeed educated.

I take my hat off to SD2 and to Newman School staff/students.

Mike Yakawich


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