February 17, 2014

By Allan  

Hello Howard Staff,

It’s an almost record breaking nineteen items of note this week:

• Design Team Update – This was our first meeting since the Community Open House and our first meeting for a couple weeks since the last meeting was snowed out. Here are copies of the updated first floor and second floor plans. One change since the last version is that the courtyards have been widened to give more light to the first floor classrooms. This made the library a bit more narrow, but it will give us a lot more natural light throughout the building. Two more changes based on our previous feedback were also made, including the entryway into the building being widened, although I still feel it’s too small for 600 students, and a changing room was added next-door to the Life Skills classrooms. Some changes we asked for to these plans is included the health room in the office area needing to be bigger, that there should be a workroom added on the second floor and that we thought one unisex restroom adjacent to the playground would not be enough. We also had an extensive discussion about the classrooms, where teacher reps reiterated the desire for not having coat closets in the classroom. This notion met with a fair amount of resistance, and although we’ve mostly avoided L-shaped rooms, the architects and district did agree to work on some alternatives to the current design. Facilities staff did express concern that plans will need to be finalized soon if construction is to stay on schedule, so this will likely be settled at the next meeting. On a less contentious note, we looked at two options for the exterior appearance of the building, Plan A and Plan B. We unanimously preferred exterior Plan A, which we thought looked more welcoming and less institutional. Here are all the plans we looked at in one PDF file. Please let me or your building reps know if you have any thoughts or ideas on any of this. Reps are definitely sharing what they hear from staff at the design meetings. No question or thought is too small.

• PTO Meeting, Tuesday at 6:00 – This Tuesday is the February PTO meeting. It will start at 6:00 PM in the library. It’s always nice to have a staff rep or two there besides myself, especially since I’m double booked with the 4J Nutrition Services Community Advisory Council Meeting ending right at 6:00. Hope to see you there!

• New Copiers – James sent an email earlier this week on how to set-up your computer to print to the new copiers. He noted that the office copier is a color copier and not to print to it at this time. However, if staff need to print color copies from your computer, I would like you print to the office copier rather than the office color printer. The color printer costs about 20¢ per copy while the color copier costs 5¢ per copy. My one caveat for when you set up your print settings for the office copier is to save your default setting to print b&w. This will save us quite a bit of money by avoiding paying 20¢ for one blue underlines email address on a printout. After you’ve installed the print driver James emailed out, you can set this up by:

1. In a document you want to print, go to FILE down to PRINT (or press command & P) and make sure you’ve selected the office copier
2. Click the SHOW DETAILS button (if don’t see “Hide Details” button)
3. Click the bottom drop down menu and click on QUALITY
4. Click the COLOR MODE drop down and click BLACK AND WHITE
5. Click the DEFAULT SETTING drop down near the top and click SAVE THE CURRENT SETTINGS AS PRESET…
6. Name the setting something like “Office Copier B&W”
7. You can now safely print copies to this printer in black & white. If you need to print in color just change to DEFAULT SETTINGS for that one printout.

I’m sure there will be a more user-friendly David Nelson set of directions with pictures and arrows coming from downtown sometime soon, but I wanted to let people have a chance to set this up now if you wanted to try. Let me know if you’d like any help with this.


• UO Dragon Puppet Assembly, 2/21 – This Friday, Feb. 21st is the UO Dragon Puppet Assembly. Grades K/1/2 will have their assembly from 10:00-10:30 and grades 3/4/5 will have their assembly right after from 10:40-11:10. See the attached assembly maps (K-2 Map3-5 Map) for logistical details.

• Family Resource Coordinator Coverage – As you may know, Alicia Longoria had her baby last week and will be on maternity leave. Alicia is planning to return in late May, but while on her maternity leave, Vanessa Vasquez will be able to cover most of her duties. Vanessa has held a similar position in the past and has worked closely with Alicia while at Chavez. For the first month of Alicia’s leave, Vanessa will be available to translate communications between school and home including newsletters and parent meetings. She can also help with the school autodialer. By early-mid March, Vanessa will increase her time to 20 hours a week and assist with Parent Involvement activities. Vanessa will follow Alicia’s schedule, but will be at school in the afternoons. While at school, she can support parent communication through phone calls and/or assistance in translating verbal communication, much like Alicia did. She’s got big shoes to fill!

• New Life Skills Staff – Please welcome Brady Sage as the newest member of the Life Skills EA staff! ESS added 2.5 hours of EA time to our Life Skills program to help between 10:30-1:00. You may recognize Brady when you see him because he’s been working as one of our BEST EAs all year.

• Teacher Rep Needed for District Conversations – Downtown wants to start a dialogue with teachers about how we can best support each other through these hard times and how we might work together to make the stresses more manageable and retain the joy in our work. They are going to start this by facilitating some conversations among teachers. Each elementary school can send one rep who is able to “feel the pulse” of their building and who has a sense of some of what the district has been trying to achieve, and is willing speak honestly. Elementary teacher reps will be divided into two groups and will meet on on March 5th and 10th from 4:00-5:30 at the Ed Center. Teachers will be compensated for their time. Let me know by this Thursday if you are interested in being Howard’s teacher rep.

• We Won’t Stop Until… – I shared this at our January 31st meeting and I’ve heard from a couple staff member, but please take a moment to look at the “We Won’t Stop Until…” document and let me know by email or in person if there is anything on there that you thing should be added, changed or deleted if 4J were to create their own document like this. I’ll be sharing any feedback I receive at the next elementary principals meeting.

• Staff Meeting Rescheduled to March 4th – Speaking of elementary principal’s meeting, one just got scheduled on top of our February Staff Meeting this Tuesday, so I’ve rescheduled our meeting to Tuesday, March 4th. However, this date may change depending upon when I get the 2014-2015 staffing allocations. This past week I tried to find out from downtown when we’ll get staffing for next year, which was originally supposed to have come out by now, but that date is apparently yet to be decided, so the March 4th meeting may be rescheduled depending upon when staffing comes out.

• Literacy Night Dinner Orders – We’ll once again be providing a meal for staff working at Literacy Night next week on 2/27. We’ll be ordering individual Cornucopia boxed lunches for dinner. Choose your sandwich (which comes with fruit, chips and a cookie and the option of gluten free bread) and then decide if you’d like to add a pasta, fruit, potato or green salad. Email Lori your order by Monday, Feb. 24th.

• UOTeach Student Teachers Placements This Spring – The UOTeach program has 4 student teachers who need placements in classrooms with ELL students for the spring. The only grade they do not need is 2nd. For spring term student teaching, the student would be in your classroom 40 hours per week for 10 weeks, from March 31 – June 13. They would teach full-time for 5 weeks and create a 3-5 week work sample, which could include 4 lessons showing accommodations for the ELL students in the classroom. The student’s UO supervisor would set up a 3-way meeting at the beginning, middle and end of the term and would observe them 4-5 times during the term. The compensation to the cooperating teacher would be $217 and a UO reduced-tuition credit voucher worth 5 credits. This compensation is sent by UOTeach to the district which has a process for the teacher to access it. If you are interested see this email for details and contact Kara Whipple .

• CLC EA Interviews Wed. 2/26, 1:30-3:30 – To get interviews done sooner, ESS is letting me be the hiring administrator for our CLC EA positions that are currently sub positions being filled by Byron and Linda. Let me know if you’re interesting in helping with interviews on Wednesday, February 26th 1:30-3:30.

• OSPIRG Energy Education Presentations – OSPIRG is a student-directed nonprofit at Lane Community College and they are offering free educational presentations for students of all ages that focus on the value of conserving energy and promoting active environmental stewardship. Sample lessons can be found here and here. If you’re interested in having a presenter, contact Michelle Evans at (541) 505-1582 or .

• A Hidden History Feb 23rd – Have you ever wondered why the Black population in Oregon is so small? Oregon has a history not only of Black exclusion and discrimination, but also of a vibrant Black culture that helped sustain many communities throughout the state-a history that is not taught in schools. On Sunday, February 23, 2:00 p.m., the Downtown Eugene Public Library will host a free community conversation, “Why Aren’t There More Black People in Oregon: A Hidden History.” Author and educator Walidah Imarisha will lead participants through an interactive timeline of Black history in Oregon that speaks to the history of race, identity, and power in this state and the nation. See the Eugene Public Library website for more details.

• Illinois elementary school event teaches math’s role in the Olympics – Here’s an article about a fun way to engage students in math content. Third- and fourth-grade students at an Illinois elementary school recently participated in its first Math Olympics — a competition featuring Olympic-inspired games and math. Students participated in various competitions, including the long jump, and learned how math is used to determine the results of the events.

• Study shows benefits of deeper learning, student-centered instruction – A recent study finds that deeper learning and student-centered practices were shown to improve academic achievement among low-income minority students in four schools. Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education studied the schools, which used Linked Learning Alliance or Envision Schools models, and found that all are committed to personalized learning, strive for positive teacher-student relationships and are based on reflection and revision.

• Teachers tap social media for authentic learning experiences – Educators and advocates say schools increasingly are adapting to new technology and now are beginning to use social media, such as Skype and Twitter, in innovative ways to create authentic learning experiences for students. In this article, one example is a second-grade teacher used Twitter to help students practice their writing, including proper use of grammar and punctuation. Educators are cautioned, however, to ensure social media use is private, education-oriented and secure.

• Math Warm-Up: “My Favorite No” – This goes along nicely with our Number Talks training on the 31st. It’s a very cool idea for a quick warm-up to start a math lesson. Thank you to Lupe for finding this video!


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

February 17 (M)
President’s Day – No School

February 18 (T)
9:30-11:30, 3rd Grade to the Hult Center
2:30-5:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
4:00-6:00, Allan to 4J Nutrition Services Community Advisory Council Meeting (Ed Center)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Library)

February 19 (W)
Exclusion Day for students without up to date vaccinations
2:10-2:40, T-Shirt Design Meeting (Library)
2:50, Allan to Dentist Appointment

February 20 (H)
2:30-3:30, TLT Training/Meeting (Room 6)
7:00-8:00, BEST Beginning Strings Concert (Kelly MS)

February 21 (F)
Report Cards Sent Home
10:00-10:30, Dragon Pupper Assembly K/1/2 (Gym)
10:40-10:10, Dragon Pupper Assembly 3/4/5 (Gym)

Have a great week and keep your fingers crossed we don’t see any snow or ice Thursday or Friday!