August 29, 2022

By Allan  


Hi Everyone,

It’s the week we get the gang back together!

One pro-tip for new folks accessing some of the links below. Make sure you are logged onto you 4J Google account (using your 4J email and password to log onto Google) and not your personal Gmail account. This often trips folks up.

Thirty-three items of note for this week (sorry there’s so many):

• Staffing Updates – Four staffing updates:

• Nurse (Eden Van Bloem, RN and Hailee Ritter, LPN) – Eden has worked with 4J in the past and we are happy to welcome her back as our RN. I’m also pleased to announce that Hailee, who was with us last year as our LPN, will continue to help support students here at Holt this year.

• Title 1 EA Interviews, Tuesday 9:45-11:15 – We’re holding interviews this Tuesday for our 6-hour Title EA if anyone would like to join me and Jenny. We need a classified rep on the committee, but if any licensed or classified staff would like to joint the committee, let me know and I’ll send you the interview materials.

• Title EA Vacancy and Hire – Lori Tingue, who was returning to her EA position after a temp teaching position at Gilham last year, has accepted a teaching position in Junction City. Earlier in the summer we conducted interviews for another 4-hour EA vacancy, where we had a strong pool of candidates, so I submitted to hire one of the candidates from that pool. Hopefully HR makes a job offer soon and this person can start later this week!

• Darrin Heffington Leave Extended – I learned late last week that Darrin is planning to extend his leave, so we’ll sadly have to wait a while longer for his return. He’s asked for privacy around why he is out, but is still hopeful he’ll be able to return this school year, so for now we’ll start the year with a substitute in his SPED EA position.

• New Staff Email, Calendar, Google Access? – I think I’ve given all our new folks access to the Staff Zimbra Calendar, the Staff Google Drive, and added folks to Staff Email Lists. Let me know if I’ve missed one of these for any of you or if there are other things, such as access to digital curriculum materials you need help accessing.

• Back to School Meeting Agenda – Linked here and on the Staff Google Drive is the Back to School Staff Meeting Agenda. Depending how much discussion we have on some of the business items, I’m hoping I can get folks out early. For some of the decision items, if there’s not an easy clear consensus, I’ll plan to table some of those items to discuss later. Following the all-school staff meeting, I’ll have a short Classified Staff Meeting to go over some supervision items. Let me know if you have any additional agenda items.

See you in the cafeteria at 8:00 for socializing and breakfast snacks, with the meeting starting promptly at 8:30. And free to roll down a comfy teacher chair if you’d rather not sit on a bench.

• Team Sign-Ups – If you’d like to sign-up to be a member of one of our building teams, please add your name to the Team Sign-Up Sheet (2022-2023). Leadership Team (monthly), PBIS Team (monthly), IPBS/SEL Team (twice a month), and I added an Equity Team Meeting (monthly). Teams can be big or small, so doing be bashful about adding your name.

• Inservice Week Updates – Downtown has made more changes to the Inservice Master Schedule Google Doc, but it’s now pretty much complete with Zoom links and most of the conflicts resolved.

• SPED EA Zoom PD Tuesday Morning – We have a staff welcome back gathering at 8:30 in the school garden and SPED EAs have a PD on Zoom that also starts at 8:30, but you all have my permission to show up 15 minutes late for the Zoom if you want to come join everyone in the garden for snacks and socializing.

• Restorative Justice PD, Tuesday, 8/30, OPTIONAL – Principals were told this PD is open to all staff, but is intended for classified staff who may be leading Restorative Circles, so staff should note it’s optional and not required, which is not stated on the above spreadsheet. See this email for details.

• PD Conflicts, Thursday 9/1 – SSD staff should note that Joel Lavin’s Email (telling staff on 9/1 to work in buildings) conflicts what’s on the spreadsheet (attending a Wit & Wisdom PD), but I’d say go with whichever you feel is more useful to you. There’s another conflict this day for Kindergarten teachers and EAs, but I’ve already connected with them.

• District Back-to-School Event Space Limited – If you missed it in the district email, the 4J Back-to-School Event on Thursday has limited space and seating only for 300 attendees. Attendance is optional, but if you do attend you may want to get their early or bring your own camp chair.

I’ve kept the Holt Staff Zimbra Calendar current with the document for classroom teacher and classified staff, but specialists should check the above linked spreadsheet for your meeting dates and times.


• EA Help this Week? – Title EAs have PD the same time as teachers Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, but will have other times they can help out where needed. Just fill out the linked Dynamo Assistance Spreadsheet if you can use any help and we’ll see if we can connect you with someone.

• Friday PD Time Change (5-min.) – When we have district led PD, the start time will now be 1:25-2:25 instead of 1:30-2:20. For consistency, I’m going to leave it the same for the monthly building led dates, but let me know if you think this is something we should discuss as a staff.

• Health Curriculum Delivered & Into Video Coming – Teachers may have noticed on Friday that The Great Body Shop Teacher’s Guides were delivered left with your Wit & Wisdom items outside classrooms. Also, you’ll soon start receiving a monthly “Student Issue” magazines each month. See the linked email for details. Downtown is also planning to send a short (15-20 minutes) voice-over slideshow that will introduce teacher to the GBS curriculum, which they want you to review before Thursday and Friday’s Health PD. Here’s a link to the GBS Slideshow w/out Voice-Over if you want to review it without that part. 

• DRAFT EA Schedules – The 2022-2023 Master Schedule now includes the EA Schedule, though it is still VERY much in draft form depending upon whether Title 1 groups are 4 or 5 days a week, which I’m hoping to decide at Wednesday’s Staff Meeting. If there’s not a clear consensus, we may table this decision when we have more time, since Title groups don’t start until later in September.

• REPEAT: 22-23 Master Schedule – Linked here is the 2022-2023 Master Schedule, which is also on the Holt Staff Dashboard.

• REPEAT: Who is A/B and C/D on the Schedule? – Grade level teams should let me know which classes will follow the A, B, C, or D schedules and I’ll add names to the Master Schedule and the PE/Music Schedule tab. GOLD STAR to 1st grade who let me know their times first!

• Principal Visits to Classrooms – I’d like to visit every classroom sometime during the first few weeks of school to greet students and introduce myself. I’ll read a favorite story to your class and chat with the kids a bit. Teachers, please let me know a good 10 minutes block of time I can come and visit sometime this month. Thank you!

• Classroom Newsletters to Allan – I’d like to have copies of classroom newsletters when teachers send or email them home to families (CCing me on your email is best). This helps me keep up to date on what’s happening or going to happen in classes when families ask and it also lets me know details of any class activities that I might be able to get local media to come out and cover. I love promoting our school!

• PAHS Meeting Updates – Three updates from the first meeting by our parent group, Parents at Holt School (better known as PAHS).

• Holt Bolt (Oct. 19) and Spring Carnival – Pre-COVID, PAHS was planning to swap the school carnival (Holtober Fest) and jog-a-thon (Holt Bolt), and are carrying through with those plans this year. The Holt Bolt will be Wednesday, October 19th. Times are TBA, but we’ll try to run it in morning similar to how we did it last spring. The date for the Spring Carnival is TBA.

• PAHS Budget – If you’re curious, linked here is the PAHS Budget. They did make one change to add $50 in classroom funds for new teacher. There was one other addition, but didnt’ write it down and it’s escaping me now, but it wasn’t anything major.

• PAHS Table at Meet Your Teacher – Parents will have a table out near Kona Ice to help recruit volunteers more family involvement. They’ll have some games for kids to play while they wait for Shave Ice. They’re also planning to have a table at Curriculum Night, once we settle on a date for that.

• Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program – I have an email to the Nutrition Services Department about when this program will start, but wanted to remind teachers that starting this year Holt gets to participate in the Federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, where a raw fresh fruit or vegetable will be delivered to your classroom daily for kids to have as a snack. Stay tuned for more details once I get them, but I wanted to remind folks about this.

• Insurance Open Enrollment Deadline, Sept. 15 – A reminder that you need to choose your insurance plan by September 15th or else you will lose your health insurance benefits for this year. See the 4J Open Enrollment 2022-23 Website for details.

• Check Your Paycheck – 4J is currently transitioning their Finance Department budgeting and payroll systems to a new one, so there’s a possibility for errors on your paycheck, either under or overpaying. I got overpaid one year and had to pay back a bunch of money, which was not at all pleasant.

• 2022-2023 COVID Info for Families – Below is the district message to families on COVID protocols this year, which I’ll put out in the next Quick News:

We are pleased that COVID-19 cases are declining in Oregon; however, we must remain vigilant as the virus is still widespread throughout the state. Masking is optional. If your student tests positive, please call your student’s school to let the staff know. Students who test positive are required to isolate at home for at least 5 days before returning to school. To calculate the 5-day period, Day 1 is the first full day after the symptoms developed or the positive test result is received. Isolation may end after 5 days if the individual is fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine and other symptoms have improved. It’s recommended, but not required that individuals should wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public, including at school, for 5 additional days (Day 6-10) after the end of the required 5-day isolation period.

Brush Up on COVID-19 Protocols: Masks are optional—either way is OK! COVID-19 vaccines are readily available and encouraged, but not required. Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds regularly can keep you healthy and prevent the spread of germs. 4J will offer free rapid COVID testing onsite at all schools for students who develop symptoms. Parent consent is required and forms are available at all schools. coming-up: We are again partnering with the Oregon Health Authority and the University of Oregon to offer free weekly COVID-19 testing to all 4J students during the 2022–23 school year. Information on how to opt-in will be shared with families as soon the program reopens, sometime next week. Check with your school or the district website.

• Color Paper Shortage – 4J has more colored paper on order, but as of right now, the colored paper schools have is all the paper there is. Try to use white paper if you can and please don’t hoard colored paper like it’s toilet paper circa spring 2020.

• Large Print Orders to InstaPrint – If you are doing a large print order (i.e. a grade level class set), you’re encouraged to put in a print order through InstaPrint. Just complete the Print Work Order Form found in the main staff workroom and give that to Melanie.

• Field Trip Info – I shared earlier that field trips are once again allowed, but wanted to remind staff of the linked 4J Field Trip Approval Process. See the link for full details, but you need to submit a Field Trip Request Google Form to HR 30 days before a trip. Linked here is a PDF of the Google Form if you want to see what all info you need to collect before submitting a request. It’s fairly extensive, such as needing to include your volunteers (though HR said you can add that later closer to the field trip date). Also, due to the bus driver shortage, all bus field trips need to start after 8:30 and return to school by 1:15, so drivers can run their regular bus routes. This is a pretty onerous process and was new the year before the COVID shutdown, so I’ve put this on the Back to School Staff Meeting agenda if people have any questions. These links can also be found on the Holt Staff Dashboard and on the left column of my blog under District & State Links.

• 4J Tech Subscriptions – Linked here are the current 4J Technology Subscriptions. Sadly there is no BrainPOP or Mystery Science this year, but let me know if there are others you think we should consider purchasing as a building or looking to write some grants for.

• Pizza Parties (Not allowed, but…) – This rule isn’t new, but Nutrition Services is cracking down on Pizza Parties, which are not allowed at school because they compete with the school meal program. However, teachers are allowed to do a pizza part if you purchase pizza through the school kitchen. Staff are also allowed to have a pizza party if it happens after a grade level’s regular lunchtime. Check in with me or Deb if you’re planning a food related party to make sure it’s within guidelines.

• VISITOR vs VOLUNTEER Badges – When a non-4J employee signs in at the office, they should have a visitor or volunteer sticker, though at this point, we are not allowing visitors and are only allowing approved volunteers, so if you spot anyone with a “Visitor” sticker, send them back to the office.

• Medication Lock Boxes Available – 4J schools are receiving 5-6 medication lockboxes (they look like cash boxes) that are to hand out to a family that would like to securely store medication. See the linked email for details, which also contains information on obtaining free gun lockboxes as well. Let me, Darla, or Felicia if you know a family in need of one of these and we’ll get them connected.

• REPEAT: Welcome Back Burritos, Coffee, & Supplies! Tuesday @8:30! – Join us for burritos, coffee, school supplies and socializing with school friends! Brought to Holt Staff by the amazing group at The Hope Project on Tuesday, August 30th at 3:30 in the School Garden!


• REPEAT: 2022-2023 Class Lists – Here’s the link to the 22-23 Class Lists that were created last spring, which are now all in Synergy. Please adjust this document as needed for any rebalancing of classes.

• REPEAT: Holt Staff Fun Facts – If you haven’t already, be sure to fill out or update your info on the Holt Staff Fun Facts Spreadsheet.

• REPEAT: Class List Email Friday Afternoon, Sept. 2nd – Teachers should plan on sending a welcome letter to families of all students in your class the afternoon of Friday, September 2nd. We can decide at our BTS staff meeting on a general time teachers will send the email, but you may want to start writing or updating your letter now.

• REPEAT: ArtSpark Artist in Residence Survey [LINKS FIXED] – Please fill out the linked Artist in Residence Survey to help start the conversation for when we make a decision at our Back-to-School Staff Meeting or which dates and artists we want. ALSO, I got a hot tip from another principal that Jen Hernandez’s Story Crafters & Comics was super good!

• District Admin Updates – See the linked email for details, but Jenna McCulley is the new Director of Communications, Matt Brown is the new Director of Finance, Lisa Fjordbeck is the new Department Operations Coordinator, and Steve Roberts is the new Warehouse Supervisor.

• Melissa & Lori Love Literacy Podcast (Wit & Wisdom Episode) – Candace found a podcast, Melissa & Lori Love Literacy, hosted by a couple teachers who talk about when their school district switched to Wit & Wisdom. Here’s a link to Episode 69 where they talk specifically about the rollout and the shifts they had to make in their teaching. I asked the trainer on Friday if she knew about this podcast and she gave it a thumbs up as good practical information. If you scroll through their episodes, there are several that involve Wit & Wisdom.

• Schedule of Upcoming Events – See the Holt Staff Calendar for future events, but here are the events of note for the next two weeks:

August 29 (M)
8:00-4:00, Wit & Wisdom ELA PD – Day #2 (K-3 @Zoom, 4-5 @Cafeteria)

August 30 (T)
Protected Teacher Planning
Classified Staff Report Back
8:30, Welcome Back Burritos, Coffee, & Supplies! (School Garden)
8:30-12:00, SPED EAs to SSD PD (Zoom)
2:30-3:30, Allan to IEP Meeting (Zoom)
9:45-11:45, Title 1 EA Interviews (TBA)

August 31 (W)
8:00-8:30, Breakfast Stacks & Socializing (Cafeteria)
8:30-12:00, Holt Back to School Meeting (Cafeteria)
4:30-7:00, Learn to Ride a Bike – Family Event (Ed Center)

September 1 (H)
7:30-8:30, 4J Staff Back-to-School Gathering Social Time (Churchill HS)
8:30-10:00, 4J Staff Back-To-School Gathering (Churchill HS)
1:00-3:30, EAs (Title, SPED, KG) Wit & Wisdom PD (Zoom TBA)
1:00-4:00, Health for Grades K-2 (Zoom)
1:00-4:00, Math for for Grades 3-5 (Zoom)
3:00-4:00, KG Teachers & EAs to Kidnerzone Meeting (Zoom)

September 2 (F)
9:00-12:00, Classified & Licensed Universal Design for Learning PD (SEHS Auditorium)
9:00-11:00, Allan to Library Planning Meeting (Chavez)
1:00-4:00, Health for Grades 3-5 (Zoom)
1:00-4:00, Math for for Grades K-2 (Zoom)

September 5 (M)
Labor Day – No School

September 6 (T)
Collaborative Planning Time for Lang Arts Adoption
8:00-10:00, Staff Meeting – If Needed
10:00-11:00, Optional New Staff Orientation and Q&A (Cafeteria)
2:00-3:00, Meet Your Teacher
2:00-4:00, Kona Shave Ice Fundraiser (Hard Play)

September 7 (W)
Classes Begin – First Day of School
7:00-9:00, School Board Meeting (Zoom)

September 8 (H)
Regular Day

September 9 (F)
1:30-2:30, Classified Staff Meeting (Library)
1:30-2:30, Friday PD – Individual Educator Choice


Looking forward to seeing everyone!



FUN FACT! Leonard Skinner was a no-nonsense, flat-topped basketball coach who didn’t even like rock ‘n’ roll and often sent students to the principal’s office because their hair was too long.