May 18, 2015

By Allan  


Hello Everyone,

It’s hard to believe that this is the last five-day week of the school year! Lori wisely pointed out that this week is also the last regular Friday of the school year.

Fourteen items of note this week:

• 3/4/5 BEST Strings Academy Assembly, Tuesday at 1:05 – Tuesday at 1:05 will be a performance by Howard’s BEST Strings Academy for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. See the attached assembly map for logistical details.

• PTO Meeting, Tuesday at 6:00 – The May PTO meeting will be this Tuesday, Wednesday 6:00-7:00 PM in the library if any staff are able to attend. Meeting attendance tends to shrink as we get closer to the end of the year, but PTO events are ramping up with the Tech Trot and the School Carnival, so it would be great if there are any staff who are able to come to weigh in on these events and other topics. They’re also looking to elect some new PTO Board members if there are any extra ambitious staff who’s like to run for PTO President, Treasurer or Volunteer Coordinator. Hope to see you there!

• Tech Trot Schedule, Wednesday, May 20th – The times I shared in last week’s announcements for the Tech Trot are now official with PTO. The flyer sent home by the PTO had last year’s times on it, so I’ll send an email to families on Monday reminding them about the fundraiser and also highlighting the corrected times. The fundraiser will run like it did last year. Classes will come out to the track at their designated time (or a little earlier) and students will run for 30 minutes. We’ll collect lap numbers and provide drinks and snack for students afterwards. The weather looks dry at this point, so keep your fingers crossed!

8:15-9:00, 4/5
9:15-10:00, 2/3
10:15-11:00, K/1

And one more reminder to recess supervisors from last week, Kelly will be using the track during lunch recess on Tuesday instead of Wednesday since we’ll be using the track during their usual time.

• PRIDE Awards Wednesday, May. 27th – Not this week, but next week will be the final PRIDE Awards for the school year. Teachers should pick a letter (Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Discipline, Excellence) to honor students and fill out the PRIDE certificates located in the office. Invitations to families are also in the office. There is no minimum or maximum number of PRIDE recipients per class, but it’s usually 1-3 per class. And remember, as you turn in your PRIDE nominations, be sure that you let Lori know who and why each student is being recognized so she can put their name up on the board.

• 2015-2016 Class Lists – With only 15 student day left in the year, it’s time to start working on next year’s class lists. If your grade level hasn’t done it already, attached is the class list form (PDF or MS Word) to create your class lists. Lists will be due to the office by grading day, Friday, June 5th.

• Master Schedule Survey Results – Linked here are the results of the master schedule staff survey which Suzy put together as part of her Site Council project. Robin and I will go over these results and do what we can to incorporate these ideas into the schedule, but know that the schedule will never be all things to all people (but we’ll do our best). We’ll plan to share a draft of the schedule at the May 29th PD/Planning Day.

• Construction & Furniture Updates – Attached are the minutes from the last Owner/Architect/General Contractor (OAC) Meeting and some notes from the the prior week’s Design Team meeting. Here are some highlights:

• Location of Video/Audio Ports – At the end of last week’s construction meeting, we did walkthrough of one of the classrooms and I made a few changes to their current plan. One was the location of the data port where you’d connect your video and audio cables from your computer or other device to the short throw projectors. The original location was centered directly below the white board, but I figured teachers would not want a cord sticking out in the middle of their teaching space and would rather have it to the side of the board where teachers would have their desks (which is the side of the board opposite the outer classroom wall).

• Location of Sound Control – There was also some debate among the architects and facilities over the location of the sound controls for the PA and AV. They were thinking it should be located by the door, but I though teachers would rather have it up front next to their teaching area. The current plan is to locate this near the teacher desk area instead of by the classroom door.

• Outlet Locations – One last update from the walkthrough is I made sure we didn’t have any outlets located behind the new permanently installed bookcases. The original plan had them behind where we’re now putting the bookshelves, so I said the outlets needed to be located above the shelf for pencil sharpeners or other electronics that might be placed on top of the book shelf.

• Furniture Budgets and Additional Storage – An ongoing concern of the Design Team is the reduced amount of storage in the new building classrooms. We’re planning to use the Mock-Up classroom that’s going into Erin’s room sometime next week as the test case for what storage will look like. We may be able to add additional storage, though we’ll also need to keep things within budget. One related piece of budget news we got is a major price difference in getting single desks vs double desks vs getting a mix of both. Getting school wide double desks is by far the cheapest option (and still allows for a couple single desks per classroom). School wide single desks were more expensive, but getting a 50/50 mix of single and double desks was significantly more expensive (almost double). The budget unfortunately won’t allow us to get everything we want, but we can look at some trade offs if, for example, making additional storage a higher priority than getting a 50/50 mix of single and double desks.

• Cantilever vs Four Legged Student Chairs – The Design Team’s original preference in chair style was the cantilever style instead of the traditional four legged style chair. However, we’ve heard from more than one source that after three years or so that the cantilever style of chair beings to squeak horribly. We’re looking into contacting schools who have the same brand as what we’re looking at to see if they have had this issue, but this may end up being a reason to go back to traditional student chairs (which also happen to be cheaper).

• Purge Your Old Materials! – Related to the new school, I wanted to remind folks that we’ve put out recycle bins in all of the hallways and out in the quad to make it easy to purge old or unwanted materials. If staff have any large non-recyclable items that won’t fit in your garbage can that you want to get rid of, let me know and Randy and can make a plan for their disposal. This is a good time to start disposing of materials you haven’t touched for a few years which will mean less to deal with when we pack up to move into the new school.


• Spring PBIS Newsletter – This is the last district PBIS Newsletter for the school year. Shasta Quigley and Kim Reinhardt took the lead on this one, which has some helpful behavior management tips and tricks for getting through the last few weeks smoothly.

• Student Care Team Referrals – We do have a student lined up as our main case for the May meeting, but I did want to extend the offer to staff if you have any student situations you would like brought up as hypothetical situations to the team. This can be a chance to find out from DHS staff their thoughts on a variety of situations, ranging from abuse/neglect situations or following up on prior DHS reports or potential resources for families in need of assistance or resources.

• Spring Writing Work Sample Reminder – Writing work samples are due next week by the May 29th PD/Planning day. Attached are the K-2 and 3-5 writing prompts for the spring writing work samples. Linked here is the teacher script and directions. One change of plan for intermediate grades, which 3/4/5 teachers already know about, is that after checking on OAKS rules we found out that retaining copies of the ELA writing performance task is a test security violation, which means we cannot use those as a writing work sample. I was loath to have 3/4/5 lose any more instructional time administering yet another test, so I told intermediate teachers to forge having students do the spring work sample and instead come to the PD day to help grade work samples for primary grades. Let me know if you have any questions on any of this.

• Foundations in Mathematics K-5 – Howard had the most elementary staff members attended the Math Foundations class this past summer, so if you did not get a chance to attend this quality training it is again being offered this August. It’s a voluntary training, but extended contract is available for teachers who attend. It would be great to have another team of Howard teachers attend this summer! See the linked flyer for information on the class or you can get the candid scoop to one of our past attendees (Carla, Erin, Linda, Lupe, Mellissa or Shelly). You can register for the Math Foundations class on the 4J Workshops webpage.

• Many Kinds of Families – With Mother’s Day behind us and Father’s Day around the corner, here are some elementary age activities from Teaching Tolerance to help your students appreciate all family structures, including those that may not include mothers or fathers.

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

May 18 (M)
Last Day of BOGO Book Fair
Penny War Begins
Tail Feather Challenge Continues
Artist in Residence Begins (see linked schedule)
Smarter Balanced Testing Continues?
Reading & Math Spring Benchmark Testing
3:30-4:30, 5th Grade to Kelly for Transition Meetings

May 19 (T)
Election Day
Library Return Week
Kelly MS using Track at Lunch Recesses
10:20-10:50, Kelly Students Visit 5th Graders
1:05-1:25, BEST Strings Assembly (3/4/5)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Room 7)
3:45-5:00, Allan and KG Teachers to Full-Day Kindergarten Implementation (Ed Center)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Library) Moved to Wednesday

May 20 (W)
Penny War Ends
9:00-12:00, Tech Trot (Kelly Track)

8:15-9:00, 4/5
9:15-10:00, 2/3
10:15-11:00, K/1

9:00-11:00, Allan to Construction Progress Meeting (Construction Trailer)
9:30-10:30, Kelly WEB Leader Presentation to 5th Graders
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Library)

May 21 (H)
11:30-12:30, Allan to Super Boundary Policy Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30, PBIS Meeting (Room 21)

May 22 (F)
3:00-5:00, 4J Retirement Celebration (Ed Center)

May 25 (M)
No School – Memorial Day

May 26 (T)
Library Movie Week
Tail Feather Challenge Continues
Artist in Residence Begins Continues
Reading & Math Spring Benchmark Testing Continues
1:25, Fire Drill
2:30-3:30, Site Council (Staff Room)

May 27 (W)
9:00-11:00, Allan to Construction Progress Meeting (Construction Trailer)
10:55-12:30, PRIDE Awards at Lunch (Cafeteria)
2:30-3:30, Student Care Team Meeting (Staff Room)
4:00-6:00, Allan to Nutrition Services Community Advisory Meeting (Ed Center)

May 28 (H)
Last Day of BEST
10:55-12:30, May Birthday Lunches with Mr Chinn (Library)
2:30-4:00, Design Team Meeting (Library)
2:20-2:50, Allan to Summative Evaluation Meeting

May 29 (F)
No School – PD Planning Day
8:00-12:30, Professional Development (Library)
12:30-4:00, Planning Time
1:00-1:30, Allan to Summative Evaluation Meeting

Have a great week and have an even better three-day weekend!