March 28, 2016

By Allan  


Hi All,

Spring break always goes by too fast, but I hope you all made time to relax and rejuvenate. At the Chinn house, Josie was sick the week before the break, so we started things off with a sick 3-year old, but thankfully Grace didn’t catch Jo’s pneumonia and Jo get better in time for her 4th birthday party and a trip to the coast (though sickness did cancel out Seattle trip). So overall it was a good break for the Chinn family.

Eighteen items of note for this week:

• PTO Meeting Updates – The PTO has been busy lately and here are some notes on their various activities and from the meeting before the break.

• Young Rembrandts Friday, April 1 Schedule – I’ve been communicating with Young Rembrandts over the break and they will send three instructors to teach a drawing lesson to students this Friday. It’ll be a 55 minute lesson with a 5 minutes transition between classes, so it’s a pretty tight schedule. I managed to avoid specialist and pullout times for most grades, except for Kindergarten 3rd Dose and 3rd grade ELD, but this this is kind of a fun tradeoff for one day of a unique art lesson. Also, Young Rembrandts cut their price in half for us, charging the PTO what they bill Page instead of what they charge Gilham.

• Tech Trot T-Shirt Orders – Over the break the PTO was able to secure a donor who’d cover the cost of a Howard Tech Trot t-shirt for all students, so in order to get sizes, shirts made and then delivered before the event, we’ll need to get student shirt sizes by the end of the week. The plan will be to do this like the last time for a school wide shirt order, sending home a half sheet in English and Spanish on Tuesday and have them due Friday (with teachers making a best guess for any students who don’t return their flyer).

• Tech Trot Packets Coming – The PTO said they’d work on these over spring break, so once they are all put together and information translated, we’ll distribute packets to classrooms. For prizes this year, they are planning to do a limo ride for any student who raises over $150 (another $100 for a sibling) and also one person from every classroom who raises at least $10 will be entered into a drawing for a limo ride, so likely ever classroom will have at least one student who gets to go on a limo ride.

• PTO Family Movie Night, April 8th – Friday, April 8th at 6:00 will the the last PTO Family Movie Night of the year. They will be showing The Peanuts Movie and will also be selling the usual snacks and refreshments.

• K-2 and 3-5 PRIDE Assemblies, Wednesday, April 6th – Not this week, but next week is the PRIDE Awards Assembly for Discipline (“Working Hard at Everything”). The PBIS Team will be sending out the details, but the K-2 assembly will be 9:10-9:35 and the 3-5 assembly will be 9:40-10:05, both in the gym. See the linked map and directions for details and watch for further information on email soon.

• April PBIS Focus: Encouragement – The April PBIS monthly focus is Encouragement. Linked here is a PBIS/CFK Cheat Sheet that matches our monthly themes with corresponding Caring for Kids class meeting lessons. This is an easy way to tie the two activities together.

• 2016-2017 EEF Grant Applications Now Open – This year’s Eugene Education Foundation (EEF) grant application cycle is now open. As I shared in earlier, the grant timeline is now so that grants for next school year will be applied for in the spring and awarded by the end of the school year, so schools and staff can plan accordingly. Grant applications will be accepted between now and April 30th, but all grants sill need to be rank ordered and prioritized by Site Council before they can be submitted, so let me know if you are planning to apply for a grant.

Also, don’t use the old on-line application process found on our website and instead use the linked EEF Application DOC file, which has the same types of questions, but the on-line system has been difficult for many folks and is due for a change.

• New Building Updates – Todd Construction has taken their trailer and site superintendent David Haggard had his last day of work last Friday. The only construction work left to do is fix the many punch list items and all the ground work around the new building, which will mostly happen this summer once the old building is demolished. Furniture is going to be delivered starting next week on April 4th! Eight items of note regarding the new building, moving and related events:

• Classes for New School Photoshoot – I asked about this last week, but didn’t hear back from anyone, so I’m hoping someone will volunteer their class. 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.

• Classroom Punch List Items – A number of teachers had questions about different items when we went on a tour of the new building after last Friday’s PD. If you didn’t email me your questions, do so soon.

• Photography of Old Building Monday – The district hired a photographer who will be visiting Howard on Monday to take a number of photos, exterior and interior, as part of our effort to preserve the history of Howard Elementary School. This work will be ongoing for a period of time, but she’ll be here on Monday and I wanted staff to know what was happening when you see her walking around the building.

• Preschool Promise Grant Approved – I shared earlier that Howard was part of a state grant application with the Lane Early Learning Alliance to start a preschool at our new building. The week before the break it was announced that we were one of only five applications in the entire state of Oregon to be approved! This program will serve families in our area who are 200% below the poverty level (Head Start serves families 100% below). Tami Walkup from the Early Childhood Team (ECT), who are also be located in our new building, will be the main school district person in charge of the program. I’ll share more information as nuts and bolts planning begins.

• Notes from Spring Break Move – Pam Wescott and Facilities staff moved two and a half truck loads worth of boxes into the new building over the break. They did have a couple reminders for packing from this point forward. One, put labels on the long side of the box, not the top or short side. And two, if a box is not labeled Facilities will not take it and if a box is not sealed shut they will not take it.

• Room Numbers vs Numbers on Map – From this point forward, staff should use the actual room number posted outside your new classroom and not use the architectural numbers that are on the map I shared earlier. I’m working on getting a map with the right room numbers, but in the meantime, linked here is a handwritten map of all the room numbers.

• Boxing Files and File Folders – I was asked how we’re supposed to pack files currently stored in filing cabinets. Staff should use the same boxes we’re currently using, but make sure that the box is full so it does not collapse. You can used wadded up newspaper or recycle paper to fill a box if necessary or put something on the bottom of the box and then stand up the file folders, so it doesn’t collapse when other boxes are piled on top of it.

• Howard Grand Opening & Closing Events – I’m working with the 4J Communications Department on two separate events. One that will happen in either April or May is an opening event for the new building where PiVOT staff will highlight different features of the new school at different stations around the building. Linked here is a letter describing some of what they will be highlighting. The other event will happen in May and is a goodbye event for the old building. I’ve proposed a few dates to downtown, but am waiting to hear back from them since they want to make sure the date works for district leadership and board members. That event will be more low key. We’ll have old photos on display, let people look around the building, maybe have a few words from former Howard principal Don “Voice of the Ducks” Essig, open the buried time capsule and then end with a tour of the new building. Feel free to let me know if you have any ideas for either of these events.

• Foundations in Math Summer Workshop – The Foundations in Math class is offered again this summer from June 22-24 and only has 10 seats remaining. Linked here is the flyer for this year’s class. Lupe, Erin, Linda K., Shelly S., Mellissa, and Carla have all attended in the past if you’d like to ask what others thought of the training and Robin has already signed up for his summer’s class, so you wouldn’t be the lone Howard attendee if you sign up now. You can register at the 4J Workshops webpage.

• Carrying it Forward (formerly Taking it Up) Seminar Opportunity – Last call for staff who’s like to attend the final Carrying it Forward seminar of the year on Thursday & Friday, April 7th & 8th. AJ, Angela, Ann (maybe), Cyria, Jessy, Rae and Sarah are all planning to attend, but we’d love for more staff to come, particularly classified staff since it’s most often out on the playground or in the cafeteria when student-to-student issues around race most often come up. The deadline to let me know if you’d like to attend is Wednesday, March 30th.

• May 3rd – North Region Night at Swede Stadium! – To help build community in our region, the North Eugene baseball game on Tuesday, May 3rd at 5:00 will be a North Region Night for NEHS vs. Ashland at Swede Johnson Stadium. Principals in our region were hoping to each do a little something between inning, like they do at Ems games, but there are some OSEA rules that we have to work around to do that. In any case, I’m thinking I’ll definitely need to bring the Howard Roadrunner mascot to the game!

• NEHS Book Drive – I heard from a few teachers the week before the break, but if you’d like to add any books to your classroom collection for the NEHS Key Club fundraiser they are putting on for us, email me the book titles ASAP. The fundraising event will happen at Barnes & Noble on April 15, 16 & 17.

• Superintendent to visit NEHS Parent Group – Everyone Invited – More info is coming on this, but North Staff invited Dr. Baldaras to visit with their parent group on Monday, April 18 at 6:30. Gustavo would like to include the whole region in his visit, so we’ll send something out to families once North get us that information.

• How to Know if Your Child Has a Concussion and What to Do About It – 4J’s very own Wendy Friedman recently published an article on the important issue of concussions. Please see the link to this article for some good information.

• Welcoming Substitutes into your School’s Community – HR asked principals to share this article on making substitutes feel welcome when they come to schools. We have our regulars who know Howard well, but this article has some good reminders for when we do have new or non-regulars come to our building.

• Intercultural Exchange resources at the University of Oregon – The International Cultural Service Program (ICSP) recently published their winter newsletter. Read on to find out more about the fantastic intercultural learning opportunities they have created for their free school visits this year. Visit the ICSP website for more information and to request a presentation.

• Get your students to participate and VOTE with HMH resources – I’m not sure if staff got this email too, but Houghton Mifflin and Channel News One have a number of election resources for classrooms if you’re interested in teaching this topic to students. I was a political science major for my undergraduate degree, so I was always kind of obsessed with teaching about elections to my 2nd and 3rd graders.

• Should students watch videos in class? – Content-rich educational videos can help support learning in elementary classrooms, writes Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. In this commentary, he suggests integrating such videos into center-based learning models.

• Washington Post Article: What happened when my school ended useless homework – Erin came across a good Washington Post article about homework. This may be a topic we want to revisit as a staff since research has found that there is no evidence that homework in elementary school leads to an increase in student achievement. The teachers at this school reviewed the research and came up with a homework agreement that seemed quite reasonable and a pretty good compromise.

• Questioning Payne – Dr. Ruby Payne may be popular, but is her advice advisable? Read Teaching Tolerance’s examination of Payne’s “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” to see what they determined. And be sure to check out their recommendations for alternate ways you can support students in poverty.

• 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 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) Cancelled
7:00, District Community Input Forum – English (Chavez)

March 31 (H)
7:00, District Community Input Forum – Spanish (Chavez)

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

April 2 (SA)
12:00-12:15, BEST Strings Performance at 4J Artfest (NEHS Cafeteria)

April 4 (M)
Progress Monitoring – Week 11
2:30-5:00, Allan to Pay Grade Evaluation Meeting (Ed Center)
4:00-6:00, Allan to All Admin Meeting (Ed Center)

April 5 (T)
10:00-11:00, Allan to Water Treatment System Training (New Building)

April 6 (W)
Wacky Wednesday – Crazy Hat/Hair Day
9:10-9:35, K-2 PRIDE Assembly (Gym)
9:40-10:05, 3-5 PRIDE Assembly (Gym)
2:15, Allan to IEP Meeting (Room 9)

April 7 (H)
10:00-11:00, Kindergarten Orientation (Library)

April 8 (F)
6:00-7:30, PTO Family Movie Night: “The Peanuts Movie” (Gym)

And if you didn’t catch it earlier, our very own Shelley Watson was featured in a recent OEA story on the state of SPED in Oregon.