September 16, 2013

By Allan  

Hi Everyone,

We all survived our first week of school and a Friday the 13th to boot!

Twenty-one items of note for this week:

• Fall Writing Work Sample Prompts & Guidelines – I’ll send a separate email with directions and the attachments, but teachers should be aware that the fall assessment window for writing work samples will open Monday, September 16th and will close on Monday, September 30. On Howard’s October 4th PD day, part of the time will be dedicated to scoring the work samples. See the email for more details.

• Howard Elementary School Design Committee Volunteers – This past Friday I met with Facilities and District staff to discuss details on the make-up the school design committee. It will be made up of the building principal, building secretary, two teacher leaders, a SPED rep (either building or downtown), two parent reps, Instructional Director (Sara Cramer), a School Board Member (Beth or Mary), CIP Manager (Ben Brantley), the Project Manager (TBA), District Architect and/or Engineer (TBA) and 2-4 Design Consultants from PiVOT/DOWA. I’m seeking volunteers from teachers to serve on the school design committee. I do not have exact dates, but meetings will be after school, likely on Thursdays, a couple times a month at first, but weekly later as construction nears later this spring. This committee will meet until the project is contracted out this summer. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please let me know by the end of the week. I have tentatively gotten an okay to add a third teacher rep if more than two people are interested in volunteering their time. Attached is the construction timeline if you’d like to see the current plan. And please rest assured that everyone will be given opportunity to have input, even if you are not on the design committee, although I haven’t actually seen what the process will be for non-committee members. Please let me know if you have any questions.

• Seeking Teacher Leaders for Saphier Cohort 2 – Another exciting opportunity (though also voluntary) is the district is starting a second cohort of teacher leaders for working with Jon Saphier on “Studying Skillful Teaching.” See the attachment for details, but Allison and Erin were both part of Cohort 1, so you can ask them for their thoughts on the experience. I know my time with Saphier has been one of my better PD experiences. If you are interested in joining this new cohort, please let me know by the end of the week. If multiple teachers are interested, there is a selection process also included in the attachment.

• Investigations Pacing Guides – Erin has been busy and created pacing guide templates for the new Investigations rollout. She’s updated the calendars to reflect the 2013-14 school year and grayed out dates Howard staff won’t be in session. The yellow boxes reflect the 100th day and last day of school. To complete the guides, grade level teams color the dates on the calendar to match the color of each unit on the guide. In some cases there are more lesson days than school days. A big thank you to, Erin for putting these together! You’ll fit right in here at Howard!

Kinder pacing guide.pages
1st grade pacing guide.pages
2nd grade pacing guide.pages
3rd grade pacing guide.pages
4th grade pacing guide.pages
5th grade pacing guide.pages

• PTO Meeting Tuesday, September 17th, 6:00-7:00 and PTO Meeting Sign-Up – First, a quick reminder there is a PTO meeting this Tuesday at 6:00 in the library. It would be great if we are able to have some staff representatives attend the meeting. Second, I’ve posted a PTO meeting sign-up for at least two staff reps to attend the monthly PTO meetings, which are generally the third Tuesday of each month. I completely understand people wanting to find balance between home and work, but it’s still nice if we can show support for the parents volunteering their time to support out school. Hope to see you there!

• Cookie Dough Fundraiser Kick-Off Assembly, Wednesday at 10:15 – The kick-off assembly for our annual cookie dough fundraiser will be this Wednesday at 10:15 in the gym. This is one of our bigger fundraisers of the year. K-2 classes will be called down by Lori and 3-5 classes will enter the gym when you walk back from recess. See the attached assembly map for details. And remember there is a solid Caring for Kids Class Meeting lesson on assembly behavior you can use in conjunction when you review Howard’s PBIS assembly expectations.


• Tardies & Attendance – Please remember that Lori will not give out any Tardy Slips or begin recording tardies in Synergy until after 8:00, so for any student arriving in the building before then, teachers will need to mark them down as tardy. For teachers new to the building, our staff agreement is that students are to be marked tardy if they are not inside the classroom before the 8:55 bell rings (though I’m sure folks were a bit more flexible for the first week of class).

• Howard Counselor Update – The posting for our counselor position went up on the 13th and will close this Thursday. I know the River Road counselor is interested and their principal and I have tentatively worked out a schedule that would work to share her between our schools (similar to the one we had with WillaG) if she is hired for this position. I’ll likely receive the final list of applicants from HR this Friday and my hope is to hire someone as quickly as possible. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or questions on this.

• TAG and 504 Students – Since our TAG and 504 Coordinator, Lee, is no long with us, I’ll take over these duties. I’m emailing out a list of TAG identified students to teachers this weekend. If you have any TAG identified students in your class, you will have received an email from me the same time as these announcements. We currently do not have any students on 504 Plans. Feel free to send any TAG or 504 questions my way.

• SPLASH Grant – As in the past, the City of Eugene is providing SPLASH curriculum this school year along with grant funding for instruction in science. “SPLASH! K-8” is a curriculum for grades kindergarten through 8th grade. Attached is an overview of the program. It includes contact information for new or replacement materials. All materials are free to teachers in Eugene.

Participating schools can receive a grant of $1,000. Schools are encouraged to use some of the money for the purpose of science/stormwater education. If you choose to participate, let me know the following information:

• A brief summary of how you plan to use the SPLASH curriculum
• Names of participating teachers
• Number of students who will be involved in the SPLASH curriculum and their grade levels

Please let me know by the end of the week if you are interested.

• District Mandatory Policy Review for all Staff – A quick reminder that all staff must review the policy memo and sign & return the acknowledgement form to Lori no later than Friday, September 27th. Hard copies of the acknowledgement form were placed into staff mailboxes.

• Howard Staff Handbook Review – Another quick reminder, all staff need to also review the updated Staff Handbook for 2013-2014. A signed acknowledgment form for the staff handbook must also be returned to Lori no later than Friday, September 27th.

• Emergency Sub Plans – A reminder to teachers that two days worth of “Emergency Sub Plans” are due to the office no later than two weeks after the start of school. This folder should contain at a minimum:

• A daily schedule, current seating chart, recess/lunch/bus or other duty
• Procedures for arrival/dismissal, classroom rules/routines, school procedures
• Lesson plans and the location of materials needed for the lessons
• Bell schedule
• Map of school including the locations of helpful staff members
• Pertinent information regarding children that need medication, have special needs, or receive special services
• Names of responsible students who can be counted on for assistance
• Important characteristics of the class

• Safety Week, Sept. 30 – Oct. 3 – I’d like to again hold a Safety Week at the end of this month to practice all of the most common safety drills. I think this is a good way to bring awareness to staff, students and families about the various safety procedures. I like to hold Safety Week near the start of the year and also on a week that is split between two months so we can take care of the monthly fire drill requirement for two months during the same week. The schedule for Safety Week will be:

Monday, Sept. 30- Fire Drill, 9:30
Tuesday, Oct. 1- Room Clear, time decided by teachers
Wednesday, Oct. 2 – Lock Down (Code Blue and Code Red), 10:30
Thursday, Oct. 3- Earthquake/Fire Drill, 8:15

We’ll review the procedures briefly at Tuesday’s staff meeting, but I wanted to let folks know the dates and times to help with your lesson planning. All of these drills are listed in the “Emergency Procedures Manual” which is the rainbow tabbed notebook that should be hanging in every classroom. Please let me know if you do not have a manual or if you have any questions.

• Lockdown Drill, Code Blue/Code Red Procedures  – As mentioned above, I want to take time to practice the Code Blue and Code Red Lockdown drills. The procedures are in your staff handbook, but they are also linked here for your convince. At 10:30 on Oct. 2nd, I will get on the PA to make a brief announcement about the drill. Right after we will conduct the Code Blue Drill. Soon after that we will move into a Code Red – Lockdown Drill. Please review the attached documents and also the rainbow colored Emergency Procedures Manual that should be posted in all classrooms. Please let me know if you have any questions.

• New BEST District Coordinator – We have a new BEST District Coordinator to replace Sharon Tabor, who retired at the end of last school year. Raquel Gwynn will be the new BEST District Afterschool Coordinator, though she will also wear her SDS hat half time.

• Free Space and Astronomy Resource – Find attached a flyer from Rick Kang about classroom presentations related to Astronomy and Space. They are free to schools in the Eugene Springfield area. 4th or 5th grade would probably be the best match.

• Emerald Empire Reading Council Workshops – ORA/EERC is offering another year’s worth of workshops for staff around literacy and reading instruction. See the attached workshop calendar and membership information for more details.

• Oregon Reading Association’s Patricia Gallagher Children’s Choice Picture Book Award – ORA nominates 5 picture books each year and encourages Oregon educators to read them to their students. Student then vote for a favorite at the end of the year. This year the theme for all five books is creativity and innovation. Our local council, the Emerald Empire Reading Council, can loan sets of these books to staff along with a 128-page packet of teaching strategies and activities aligned to the CCSS. Staff can email Karen Antikajian at to check them out. For more information and to see this year’s five books, here’s a link to their (very old school) website.

• Free Plastic Crates & Hanging Folders – Now that I’m in my 11th year as an administrator, I suppose I can start cleaning out some of my teacher stuff stored in my garage. I have quite a few plastic crates (see picture here) and also some hanging folders that fit inside if there are staff out there who could use them. Some of the crates are better than others, but let me know if you want any crates, folders or both. First come, first serve!

• Schedule of Events for the Week – See the Google Calendar for future events, but here are the events of note for this week:

September 16 (M)
K-5 Fall Writing Work Sample Testing Begins
PE Begins
9:55, Allan Reading to Class
2:30-3:30, Green Partnership Schools Meeting

September 17 (T)
2:30-3:30, Staff Meeting (Library)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Library)

September 18 (W)
Cookie Dough Fundraiser Begins
10:15-10:45, Cookie Dough Fundraiser Kick-Off Assembly (Gym)
2:10, Baby Shower for Suzy (Room 17)

September 19 (H)
Data Team Meetings
Talk Like a Pirate Day!
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Room 10)

September 20 (F)
8:00-11:30, Allan Helping with Interviews at HR

Wow! Twenty-one items is a new record, but I had a lot of info to share out. Have a great first full week of classes, everyone!