February 3, 2014

By Allan  



Happy Monday Roadrunners!

It’s a five day work week, but a four day week with kids.

Thirteen items of note this week:

• Design Team Update – We’re pretty close to settling on the general layout of the new building and are now looking more closely at the interior spaces of the building. Here are the latest building designs (and a much larger file size and higher res version of the same), which include a nice preliminary layout of the new library. Classroom spaces are the most contentious area between the Howard design team and the architects/district. Your design teams reps are pushing hard to get coats and backpacks out of the classroom and into the hallway, but we will have to wait and see who wins this battle. The classroom spaces are 900 square feet and are a rectangular shape (YES!). If you add a closet for student backpacks & coats, that adds 120 feet for the closet area and another 80 square feet in the entry area, which does give some additional classroom space to the 900 square feet. To give perspective on how this compares to current classrooms, our unofficial measuring of classes has west wing classrooms at around 810 square feet and east wing classrooms a bit over 900 square feet, so this design would give us slightly larger to comparable class sizes. I think one small victory is that the placement of the closet area by the hallway entrance (instead of the back of the classroom as at Holt and Chavez), which will minimize the amount of visibility (and distraction) for students looking out into the hallway. The team also let the architects know that we want adjoining doors between classrooms, which I’m pretty sure we’ll get. The team is also keeping in mind that we want to maximize useable wall space in classrooms.

For the overall site layout (where parking, bus, track, baseball field, etc. are located in relation to the new building), we preferred Plan A-3 of the site plans we reviewed, although there may be some water catchment issues, in which case Plan A-2 may be the next best choice. In both of these plans, we wanted the baseball/softball field flipped, so the outfield would be adjacent the playground, giving kids a grassy area to play in rather than a fenced backstop. We liked plan A-3 better than the others because it has close proximity to the track (and wasn’t at an odd angle like in plan A-1), the bus area would be closer to the Life Skill classroom for pick-up/drop-off, and there would be a larger sidewalk/front entrance area by the main office entrance.

If you have any thoughts, idea or opinions on any of this, please let me or your design team reps know. Decisions are definitely being made at this point!

• New School Design Community Open House, Tues. 5:30-7:00 – Related to the above, on Tuesday of this week there will be a community open house to hear about the current designs from the architects and also a chance to give feedback.

• Students Sent to the Office – Last Tuesday, about two dozen students were sent to the office because they weren’t feeling well and only one of them was actually sick. Please hold your students to “The Five Bs” standard before allowing them to go the office. Send students if they are:

• Barfing
• Bleeding
• Burning with fever
• Badly Bruised
• (or have) Broken Bones

If they do not fit one of these categories (note that tummy aches and headaches are not on the list), tell them they are good to be at school.

• EA Extravaganza – I know information about the EA Extravaganza (Elementary Grading Day, Feb. 7th from 8:00 to 11:35 at the Ed Center) has been sent out earlier, but I did want to let EAs know this training is optional. I’ve heard great things about last year’s Extravaganza, but use your discretion as to how best to use your time this day.

• Technology Bond Update & New COW – All 4J schools will be receiving a new COW of 36 student laptops. The catch is that all schools will need to give up 36 of their oldest computers, so if you have any ancient technology hiding in your classroom, please give it to me or James. I’d like to try to hang onto as much of our usable technology as possible. As to where this new COW will go, my initial though is to replace one of the 4/5 COWs since intermediate grades are pretty heavy users, and then use their “newer” COWs to replace one of the very old 1st grade COWs. However, this is just my initial thought and if people have other ideas, please let me know because this will be a topic at the next TLT meeting.

• Report Card Send-Home Date, 2/21 – For anyone who missed last week’s teacher report card training, we agreed to move the report card send-home date a week later than normal to give teachers more time to learn Synergy. Specialists should give their report cards to classroom teachers well before that date, so classroom teachers can build off of any of your comments and also so they have sufficient time to stuff report card envelopes.

• PBIS Focus: Cooperation – The February PBIS monthly focus is Cooperation and don’t forget about the PBIS/CFK Cheat Sheet, which matches our monthly themes with Caring for Kids class meeting lessons. This is a nice way to tie the two activities together.

• National School Counselor Week – This week is National School Counselor Week. Howard is very lucky to have such a rock star counselor in Jennifer, so if you have a moment, give Jennifer a nice pat on the back this week!

• Young Writers Contest – Wordcrafters of Eugene is hosting the first ever fiction writers conference in Lane County, the weekend of March 7th at the Eugene Hilton. New York Times best selling authors Terry Brooks and Elizabeth George will be keynote speakers. As part of the conference, they are having a young fiction writers contest that includes some great prizes like gift certificates to the University of Oregon Bookstore. The contest is for all school age students in Lane county, with separate elementary, middle and high school categories. See the flyer for details.

• Best of 2013 Multicultural Children’s Literature – Here is a book list of the Best Multicultural Children’s Books of 2013! The Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature put together this list of quality literature for teachers and students. The list covers PreK-12 and the levels are listed at the end of each title descriptor.

• Title 1 Newsletter – If you’d like to know what’s happening in Title 1 from the district perspective, here is the latest Title 1 Newsletter that went out to all Title 1 Coordinators and principals. This month’s issue includes several good articles (including one I already shared with folks).

• Black History Month Events – Here is a list of great opportunities at the UO for Black History Month, including “Race and Football: Humanities Context for Contemporary Understanding” co-sponsored by Intercollegiate Athletics and the Oregon Historical Society. And don’t forget to stop by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art to discover the amazing new “Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker’s Tales of Slavery and Power” exhibit.

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

February 3 (M)
PBIS Focus: Cooperation

February 4 (T)
2:30-3:30, PBIS Meeting (Room 22)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Gilham)
5:30-7:00, New School Design Community Open House (Cafeteria)

February 5 (W)
Last Day of PE
4:00-5:30, 3rd Annual National Digital Learning Day (Chavez)

February 6 (H)
2:30-3:30, Collaboration Time
2:30-4:30, Design Team Meeting (Library)
6:00-7:00, PTO – Parent Appreciation Night

February 7 (F)
Report Card Grading Day – No Students
8:00-11:35, 2nd Annual Instructional Extravaganza for Educational Assistants (Ed Center)

Have a great week everyone and enjoy the PBIS Assembly pictures below. I know there were more taken, so please send them my way if you have them!