March 14, 2016

By Allan  

Do Something Wonderful


Hello Howard Staff,

We’ve almost made it to spring break! Be sure to take some time for yourself over the vacation. Spring break can go by pretty fast if you let it!

Our OBOB Team did well at Saturday’s Regional competition, winning all of their games in the initial pool round of play, but sadly they did not earn enough points to move onto the Sweet Sixteen second round of play, even though they got a solid 30 and 35 points each round of play. Great Job, Human Bookworms and Coach Hopkins!

Fifteen items of note for this week:

• Safety Inspection, Friday at 12:30 – Our rescheduled annual safety inspection is coming up this Friday, March 18th. Please check your areas for the most common safety violations:

• Unlabeled spray bottles.
• 3 foot pathway to all of your exit doors.
• Cord covers for all power cords in walk ways.
• Power strips plugged into another power strip.
• Use of extension cords.
• Items hanging from lights or the ceiling.

If we have time, Crystal and I will do a pre-inspection walkthrough. Also, we’re really not supposed to have anything on our doors either, but as long as the fire marshall isn’t part of the inspection we’ll be fine there, so don’t bother taking down any door decorations at this time. Let me know if you have any questions on any of this.

• PTO Meeting, Tuesday at 6:00 – The March PTO meeting will be this Tuesday, 6:00-7:00 PM in the library if any staff are able to attend. The last few months have been the regular group of parents, so it’s great if any staff are able to attend and support the their efforts. Hope to see some of you there!

• Young Rembrandts Classroom Visit, Friday, April 1st – Young Rembrandts said they will be able to come Friday, April 1st. We tried to get them to come on Wednesday, but they said that’s their busiest day for their instructors with early release.  Once they get back to me on the number of instructors they’re sending out and how much transition time they need, I’ll put together a schedule for that day. I’ll send the schedule out to teacher before we leave for the break.

• Oregon’s recreational immunity and the Ninth Circuit decision – Risk Management sent an email to principals to let us know about a recent court decision that has the potential to impact public employees and potential liability. See the linked email and court decision for more details, but the plaintiffs argued Oregon’s recreational immunity statute does not extend to “employees” of public entities, because they are not the “owners” of the property. The Ninth Circuit agreed, which could mean we see an increase in claims against individual employees arising out of citizens/individuals injured while recreating on district property. Assuming the allegations arise out of the course and scope of the individual employees work, the public entity still owes a defense and indemnification to the employee. As always, be diligent in resolving safety hazards in and around the building. Minimizing exposure, injury, and harm is incumbent upon each of us.

• Tech Sharing from Staff Meeting – Here are links to the two tech items Angela and Erin shared at last week’s Staff Meeting.

• Quizizz – Similar to Kahoot! in that it’s a allows you to create and play multiplayer quiz games in class, but Quizizz does have several parts that are an improvement over Kahoot!.
• Quiver Quiver is the augmented reality app that brings your coloring pages to life in this educational entertainment app, though they are now beginning to focus more on education than entertainment.

• New Building Updates – Three items of note regarding the new building:

• Desk Book Bins/Cubbies – Last year we’d decided that student desks for grades K-2 would not have the under-table attached book bins/cubbies and that grades 3-5 would have book bin under desks. Somewhere along the line this became no book bins for everyone, but after some finagling with Facilities staff, they are now working to find enclosed book bins for the desks in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade wings. The wire book bins that go with our new Artcobell student desks are incredibly big and the Design Team did not like them last year when we looked at them. Facilities is instead seeing if there are enclosed, non-wire plastic book bins we can buy from another company and simply attach to the Artcobell tables. Worst case scenario would be be we use the Artcobell wire book bins, but even then we might be able to have a local company made some wire frames that aren’t as big as the Artcobell ones.

• Classes for New School Photoshoot – Later in April or in early May (after all the furniture has been delivered) the school district and PiVOT Architecture would like to do a photoshoot of the new building with students and teachers. I’d like to know now if there are any classes interested and/or willing to take their class our for a photoshoot in various locations around the building. Ideally, we’d get a few classes to rotate around different locations (classrooms, cafeteria, courtyards, library, etc.). This would be during the school day, so it does certainly interrupt instruction, but you and your class would get to be prominently featured in 4J and PiVOT promotional materials, so I think it would be a pretty fun opportunity. They said they’ll take as many classes as who want to participate, so let me know by the end of the week if you think you’re able to help or if you have any questions.

• Updated Map of Class Locations – Linked here is an updated map with a couple room assignment changes. One is moving the TSS area to a small group space on the second floor instead of a classroom. The other is a proposed classroom location for where the pre-school would go if the state grant comes through, which looks very likely. In working with the Technology Department, we decided it was better to have a secured space that would not be shared and also that an entire classroom was more space than would be needed. With the pre-school classroom, it needed to be one the ground floor, so I’ve moved one of the two Title 1 classrooms upstairs. Both Title 1 rooms will be in the green wing, but but one will be upstairs and one will be downstairs.

• District Title 1 Newsletter – Here is the latest district level Title 1 Newsletter that went out to Title 1 Coordinators and principals. As usual, this month’s newsletter is mostly coordinator specific information and tasks, but one item that may effect teachers next year is how the district will meet the School District Continuous Improvement Plan requirements. In the past this has been done with a meeting downtown, but parent participation in these meeting has been declining and they are not meeting this requirement, so the plan for next year is for schools to show some short videos at family nights (ie. Curriculum Nights, Literacy Nights, etc.). I’m sure more will be coming on this next year. In addition to that, there is also a good article and video on privilege from the Washington Post and also an infographic on the graduation gap.



• Literacy Night Dinner Orders Due Monday – If you haven’t done so already, dinner orders for staff here at Literacy Night on March 17th. Erin made a handy online Google Dinner Order Survey for people to place their orders. Choose a sandwich box, a salad box or a half-sandwich/half-salad box. See the linked Boxed Lunch sandwich and salad menu details. I’ll be buying an assortment of drinks, so if you have a particular favorite you’d like us to have, just let me know.

• Student STEAM Showcase, STEM Festival at the Fair, plus STEM Teacher Professional Development Opportunities & Resources – Linked here is an email from Kim Finch on several STEM and STEAM related events and resources.

• Content in Context SuperLessons Student STEAM Showcase – On June 4th at Cal Young Middle School, the STEAM Showcase will celebrate innovative teaching and learning through engaging students in Science Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. They are looking for student presenters K-12 to show the community how STEAM Projects are making a difference in their learning environment. Teachers can reserve a presentation space by signing up using this link.

• Content in Context SuperLessons, Cohort 3 – This PD series happening next school is year for 3rd through 8th grade teaches who are interested in improving your math and/or science teaching, leading your students in project-based learning, joining a network of teachers, content experts, and STEM industry professionals, mastering the new Math or NGSS Science standards, receiving classroom support to implement lessons, incorporating more technology into your teaching or learning 2 graduate level credits through the University of Oregon. See the linked flyer for details and for links to the application materials.

• Lane County STEM Teaching Resource Library – The Content in Context Resources Library is set up through the Springfield Public Schools online library system. Lane County educators can get access to the library by filling out this linked form so they can set up an account for you. Materials are delivered from the SPS Administration warehouse via the Lane ESD courier and are returned to Dara Brennan at SPS.

• Interested in presenting at Oregon Math Leaders this Year? – August 5-7 at Willamette University: While the overarching theme is “Engaging Students Through STEM” they do hope to have a mix of both STEM and non-STEM related sessions. The applicaiton form is linked here.

• STEM Festival at Lane County Fair – July 22-24 – They are now accepting applications for the 2016 Lane County Fair STEM Festival. The STEM Festival is part of Discovery Park located next to the main gate at the Lane County Fair. STEM Festival is a place to share your Science-Tech-Engineering-Math (STEM) related programs alongside schools, community members and organizations impacting our community and world with their work. The 3rd annual STEM festival at the Fair is Fri. through Sun., July 22-24 between the hours of 11 am and 8 pm with lots of flexible options for participants. Follow this link for details and application materials.


• Care Team Referrals – The Student Care Team will be meeting the week after spring break, which means referrals to the team are due this Friday. We only have one hypothetical situation, so I may need to cancel the meeting gif there are no other referrals at this time. Let me know if you have any questions about potential referrals, but if it’s a situation that’s on your mind, it’s probably a worth referring to the team. Linked is is the release form (PDF and DOC) for parents/guardians to sign for non-hypothetical referrals.

• Removing Barriers for Students in Poverty – The latest issue of ASCD Express focuses on educators who are not trying to “fix” poor students but are instead rooting out bias and revolutionizing the systems that serve them. This issue includes articles on How Teachers Can Counteract the Effects of Poverty on the Developing Mind, How Poverty Affects Classroom Engagement, working with homeless students and other articles.

• Data show gender bias in some textbooks Books – Textbooks may not include enough female characters or too often may portray women in submissive gender roles, according to data released by UNESCO. The data, released to celebrate International Women’s Day, revealed that women are underrepresented in textbooks and curricula, researchers noted.

• Educating “Those Kids” – From the latest issue of Teaching Tolerance; when a colleague told Jozette Martinez, “I’m not effective like you,” Martinez reflected on what exactly makes her an effective anti-bias educator. For one thing, she doesn’t view her students as “those kids.” Find out from this article the other principles that guide her practice.

• 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:

March 13 (SU)
Daylight Savings Time (Spring Forward)

March 14 (M)
Literacy Night Meal Orders Due
Progress Monitoring – Week 10
Book Fair
11:30-2:30, Allan and Robin to Title 1 Principal & Coordinator Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)

March 15 (T)
1:00-2:00, Allan to Fire Detection & Communications Training (New Building)
2:15, Allan to IEP Meeting (Room 10)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Room 1) CANCELLED
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Library)

March 16 (W)

9:00-10:00, Elevator Training (New Building)

March 17 (H)
St. Patrick’s Day
Last Day of Book Fair
1:00-2:00, Allan to Sound System Training (New Building)
1:15-1:45, Tail Feather/Grade Level Reward
2:30-3:30, Safety Committee Meeting (Staff Room)
3:45-5:15, Allan and KG Team to Monthly KG Meeting (Camus Ridge)
6:00-7:30, Literacy Night

March 18 (F)
No Students – District PD Day
8:00-10:00, Staffing Meeting/PD (Room 11)
10:00-12:30, Packing for Spring Break Move
12:30-3:30, Planning Time

March 21-25

Spring Break!

March 28 (M)
No Students – Howard PD Day
8:00-12:30, All-Staff Meeting (Cafeteria)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)

March 29 (T)
Classes Resume
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Room 1)

March 30 (W)
2:30-3:30, Student Care Team Meeting (Staff Room)

March 31 (H)
Regular Day

April 1 (F)
National Poetry Month
Open Enrollment Closes
10:55-12:35, Birthday Lunches with the Principal (Library)

And if you’re wondering if it’s just Howard students kind of losing it lately, I’ve heard it’s at every school right now. Barometric pressure changes? Phases of the moon? Spring break? Who knows, but you all are the best at taking kids as they come.