January 4, 2015

By Allan  



Hello Roadrunners,

I hope you all had lots of time to rest and rejuvenate over the break, and to quote my wife, “I don’t think I could make it though the rest of the year if we didn’t get two weeks off at winter break.”

Twenty-four items of note this week:

• January 5th Workshop Sign-Up – If you haven’t already, licensed staff should sign-up for two PD sessions for the Jan. 5th training at Holt from 8:00-12:00. See Susan Penrod’s email for details. For classified staff, there’s a training that sounds good being held this same day at Chavez from 10:30-12:00 titled “Preventing and Managing Behavior Problems in Small Groups,” which is specialty designed for EAs who provide small group instruction. To register for either workshop sessions, go to the 4J Workshops webpage.

• Superintendent Visit Tuesday, Jan. 12th – Our superintendent, Gustavo Balderas, has been visiting schools all year and he’s scheduled to visit Howard the morning of January 12th, 9:10-1:00. He said he doesn’t need to attend a staff meeting, but would rather walk around unescorted after meeting with principals for a quick check in and then meet with the principal again at the end for a follow-up.

• PE/Music Transition Dates – Jan. 27th is the last day elementary PE and Music specialists will be teaching at their current locations (Tuesday, Jan. 26th is the last day for Howard). PE and Music teachers will use Thursday to pack/clean up at their first semester schools, Friday for grading day, and Monday to set up at their new schools. PE and Music classes will resume Tuesday, Feb. 2nd.

On a related note, Justine Delaine, our second semester PE teacher, will be at Howard Mondays and Tuesday, teaching classes on the opposite Monday or Tuesday classroom teachers have Music. Please let me know as soon as possible if your grade level is looking to change around who is going on which days. The assumption is that teachers’ current PE times will become your Music times, so let me know if your grade level is planning to make any changes.

• 2nd Grade Job-Share Update – We conducted interviews for Erin’s job-share partner and we have hired her student teacher, Sarah Singleton. Since Sarah has been in Room 7 all year, this should make for a seamless transition. Since Sarah just finished her teacher ed program, her license with TSPC is being expedited, so she should be able to start in the next couple weeks or as soon as her license comes through. Please welcome Sarah to the Howard Team!

• BEST Coordinator Update – Irene, our BEST Coordinator, has decided to resign her position at the end of the month to focus on her home business. The BEST Coordinator position (along with Madison Middle School’s BEST Coordinator position) was posted over the break and closes Monday. Molly Lajoie, the district BEST Coordinator, is planning to conduct interviews for Irene’s replacement later this week or early next week. Although I don’t yet have a date or time for interviews, if any staff are interested in being part of the interview committee, let me know and I’ll check in with Molly.

• PTO Updates Updates – The PTO held their December meeting the week before the break and here are three items of note:

• Movie Night – The PTO is planning to hold a Movie Night Friday, January 22nd, 6:00-8:00. The movie is still being decided upon, though it will likely be either “Minions” or “Inside Out.”

• McTeachers Night – Spring Creek has been doing this for years and the the Howard PTO wanted to give it a try, where staff work the cash registers at McDonalds for 3 hours on evening (in a 30 minute shift) and McDonald’s gives the school a sizable percentage of all sales. I told the PTO a lot of staff have young families and may not be able to volunteer, but said I’d do the entire 3 hours if staff aren’t able to work a 30 minute slot. The date is TBA, but it will be sometime after report cards.

• Parent Internet Safety Training – There will be more information coming on this from the PTO, but they are going to advertise a parent internet safety training on how to keep kids safe on social media and the internet at the January PTO meeting. Randi Bowers-Payne, the 4J Risk Manager, will be giving the presentation.

• Second Semester Schedule – There were two minor fixes to the Second Semester Schedule (Excel or PDF) that I emailed out before our last Staff Meeting (the 4/5 blend had the wrong PE & Math time, and 5th grade had the wrong writing time). Everything else is the same.

• “Taking it Up” Opportunity – There will be an opportunity next month for any staff member, licensed or classified, interested in attending “Taking it Up” who have not already attended. The two-day seminar will be February 18th and 19th. Downtown is paying all of the registration fees and I will pay for substitutes if any of you would like to attend this excellent two-day experience. Two graduate credits will also be available. For those not familiar with Taking it Up, it’s a provocative seminar focused on helping educators, school board leaders, and community members deepen their understanding of the institutionalized racist barriers that hinder elimination of Oregon’s racial achievement gap. This focus on working from the inside out will challenge participants to step out of their comfort zone and create new entry points for becoming aware of, understanding, and interrupting inequitable policies and practices in our schools. Quite a few staff members have attended in the past, so you can ask around for their experience with it. Space is limited and downtown would like everyone to register soon. Please let me know by the end of next week if you would like to attend this high quality, challenging workshop.

• Need Help from Crystal? – If you need any custodial assistance during the day, please contact Crystal directly on her cell phone at (541) 513-6005 or text if that’s easier. I know staff are used to going through the office for contacting the custodian since Randy didn’t use his cell phone for texts or calls, but Crystal uses her’s instead of a radio as her primary method of communication, so we can now cut out the middleman and get people help quicker. If you have a non-immediate custodial needs, you can also email Crystal or leave a note in her mailbox.

• Natives Program Information – Brenda Brainard, the Natives Program Director, shared this information at our last Staff Meeting, but linked is a scan of the Title VII Student Eligibility Certification form. Not posted here on my blog, but attached in the email is the list of our current students who are identified as native. And lastly, here’s a link to the 4J Natives Program website, which lists the different services available to students, classrooms and schools, along with contact information for how to access these services.

• Schools Showcase Volunteers, Sat. Jan. 23rd, 9:00-12:00 – School Choice season has begun and the School Showcase (see Kerry Delf’s email for details) will be held on Saturday Jan. 23rd at the Ed Center, 9:00-12:00 if any staff members are willing to help me brag about our school. This event is for interested families to learn about all 4J schools in one place at the same time. Last year they provided breakfast for staff helping at the event, including a vegetarian option. Let me know if any of you are willing to help promote Howard and tell families why they should come to our school!

• EEF Grants Update – Howard was awarded one of our four EEF grant applications this year, the 5th grade “A Day at OMSI” grant. In the past we’ve sometimes been awarded grants later on in the year, so hopefully that will hold true for this year.

• New Building Updates – Attached are the minutes (12/16 and 12/30) from the last two Owner/Architect/General Contractor (OAC) Meetings and below is one related item of note:

• North Park/Howard Ave Housing – I’ve heard the homes being built at the end of Howard Ave. on North Park are going to have a total of 40 homes and no commercial buildings, as was earlier planned. Their timeline is to be completely finished with the housing in 18 months (June 2017), but there should be around 15 homes done by June 1st this school year.

• January PBIS Focus: Be Your Best – The January PBIS monthly focus is “Be Your Best.” The PBIS team created a PBIS/CFK cheat sheet that matches our monthly PBIS themes with corresponding Caring for Kids class meeting lessons, which is a nice way to tie the two activities together.

• Synergy Upgrade – Principals received an email from the Technology Department that Synergy was upgraded over the break and when teachers log into TeacherVUE the home screen will look slightly different. A new feature with this latest upgrade is the way a teacher will change their focus when they first log in. See the linked handouts on how to change focus when logging in as a Teacher or as a Core User (teacher with core Synergy access). Should you experience any difficulties with this program, please contact theTechnology Department at sis@4j.lane.edu.

• MLK, Jr. March and Celebration – January 18, 2016 – In honor of Dr. King’s vision of America’s journey for justice, there will be a march on January 18th at 9AM, with a march beginning at 10AM from PK Park to the She’d Institute. See the attached flyer if you’d like to share this with students.

• PD/course opportunity for teachers – PBIS/Real Solution in Classroom Management
– Jeff Sprague, the PBIS guy at the UO, is completing the development of a professional development program/course for K-12 teachers, “Real Solutions in Classroom Management.” The course is an online and self paced, and provides teachers with the knowledge and skills to develop and sustain a classroom culture that supports student success. Interested teachers are invited to a “Beta Test Day” on January 9th. See the linked email and letter if this sounds interesting an you’d like more information.

• State of Black Oregon 2015 – Community Engagement, January 11th, Eugene, OR
– Lane, Linn, and Benton County parents, students, community members and educators are invited to join the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) for a community engagement meeting on House Bill 2016. HB2016 directs the Department of Education to develop and implement a statewide education plan for African American/Black students who are in early childhood through post-secondary education programs. See the attached flyer for details and also see the related State of Black Oregon 2015 report for more information.

• District Admin Update – Sara Green (formerly Cramer), 4J’s Director of Elementary Education, has decided to retire at the end of this school year. Sara has been in 4J for decades, first as a student and later as a building and district administrator. The district is planning to post this position and go through a hiring process before the end of the school year.

• Online Teacher PD opportunity- Winter 2016 – Kim Finch sent an email to principals about an online science PD opportunity for K-5 teachers, “Picture-Perfect Science: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry.” The contact is Ruth McDonald and her email address is in the email, should you have any questions or want to sign-up.

• When Grit Isn’t Enough
– Here’s an interesting article that challenges the notion that poor students and students of color do not have as high a degree of grit as middle-class and white peers. The author here posits that growth mindsets and social-emotional skills such as grit may be more applicable to students whose basic needs are already met. When asking the question of why some children succeed in school and others don’t, the author believes educators and administrators tend to overestimate the power of the person and underestimate the power of the situation (i.e. poverty, language, homelessness, abuse, trauma, etc.).

• Best of Teaching Tolerance 2015 – Which topics really got the Teaching Tolerance community talking this past year? Revisit the can’t-miss stories and blogs of the last 12 months in this post of the Best of Teaching Tolerance 2015.

• Edutopia’s Most Popular Posts of 2015 – It’s worth noting that the Most Popular Edutopia Posts of 2015 are not about instruction, or planning, or assessment (well, actually, there is one about assessment). They’re posts written by educators for educators about how to be more grounded, more capable, and wiser. They include tips on how to take better care of yourself, how to own your own power, how to assess more wisely, and how to help kids that are especially difficult to reach. Read on for practical, meaningful, and teacher-tested solutions for having an impact on your students while taking care of yourself.

• 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:

January 4 (M)
No School – Furlough Day
In District School Choice Requests Open

January 5 (T)
No School – Professional Development Day
8:00-12:00, District Professional Development Day for Elementary Teachers (Holt)
1:00, Allan meeting with district BEST Coordinator to review applications (Ed Center)

January 6 (W)
Classes Resume
Winter easyCBM Benchmarking Window Opens
9:00-11:00, Allan to OAC Meeting (Construction Trailer)
4:00-5:00, Allan to North Region Principals’ Meeting (Spring Creek)

January 7 (H)
Bianca Out 1/7-1/15
2:00-4:00, Allan to 4J Preschool Program Planning Meeting (Ed Center)

January 8 (F)
2:30-3:30, Allan to BSP Meeting

January 11 (M)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Pay Grade Evaluation Meeting (Ed Center)

January 12 (T)
9:30-1:00, Superintendent Visit to Howard
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Room 1)

January 13 (W)
Wacky Wednesday- Career Day
9:10-9:40, K-2 PRIDE Assembly (Time is Tentative)
9:40-10:10, 3-5 PRIDE Assembly (Time is Tentative)
10:10-11:00, Allan to OAC Meeting (Construction Trailer)
1:30-2:30, PBIS Meeting (Room 21)
3:00-5:00, Allan to Implicit Bias & Disproportionate Discipline Work Session (Ed Center)

January 14 (H)
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Room 7)
3:00-4:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting w/SROs

January 15 (F)
10:45-12:30, Birthday Lunches with the Principal (Library)

And if you didn’t notice them before the break, my dad made some additional picture frames for our 5th grade class photos, so stop by the office if you’d like to see the photos of Howard graduates going back to 2008.


Here’s a comic that accurately depicts my winter break.