April 11, 2016

By Allan  

Howdy Everyone,

It’s National Library Week, so in honor of this event, I’d like to recognize all the work Julie has put into our school library and all of her work coordinating with various folks for the move over to the new building. It’s a bigger job than you think! Also in honor of this week, here’s a video of two Chicago librarians recreating the Beastie Boys Sabotage music video.

Twelve items of note for this week:

• Fire Drill, Thursday at 8:30 – We’ll plan to hold our April Fire Drill this week on Thursday, April, 14th at 8:30. If we’re unexpectedly rained out, we’ll try for the same time next week on Wednesday.

• TalentEd Tasks Reminder – I’ve sent an email to individual licensed staff members who are missing or overdue on required items in TalentEd. Every licensed employee, regardless of where you are in the evaluation cycle, whether you’re Temp, Probationary, Contract Year-1 or Year-2, will need complete the End-of-Cycle Goals Reflection and schedule a time to meet with me. I’m available now to being meeting with teachers as soon as you’ve completed the reflection form, which asks you to evaluate how you’ve done towards meeting your goals. This form, like the start of the year Self Evaluation form, is something I don’t have access to see, but only see whether you completed it or not. I would encourage teachers to begin working on the End-of-Cycle Goals Reflection sooner than later since our end of the school year is going to be busier than most. Please let me know if you have any questions on any of this or need any help with TalentEd.

• Staffing Updates – I’ve already talked with all staff involved here, but wanted to keep everyone else up to date. We received our SPED staffing from ESS last week and it was a mixed bag of increases and reductions. Starting with Classified Staffing, Life Skills saw a decrease of 20 minutes for four staff members, leaving all Life Skills EAs at 6 hours, meaning a reduction of 80 minutes total EA support. For CLC staffing, Suzanna’s position was eliminated and Maria’s time was increased by 30 minutes. All other CLC EA and 1:1 time remained the same. Learning Center EA time was doubled, where we’ll have two 5 hour LC EA positions. Janet Rapport, the LC EA at Awbrey Park, will be taking one of the LC EA positions and the other position is vacant. For licensed SPED staffing, Life Skills and the CLC remained the same. The Learning Center will have an increase of 0.5 FTE. Bryan will continue as the full-time LC teacher and the 0.5 LC position is currently vacant, though it may be combined with another position to make it full-time.

Stephanie, instead of being displaced, will shift into our 0.5 FTE Title 1 position. HR said she can take the Title 1 position as long as she begins working towards earning her reading endorsement, so that’s great news that we’ll be able to keep Stephanie in our building next year.

This leaves two vacancies for us. One is an 0.25 FTE facilitating teacher to support 5th grade. I’m leaving this FTE unattached to any other part-time positions because I want to make it easy for downtown in the event that they add back staffing. Our other vacancy is the full-time counseling position. These position will both go to the upcomming Job EXPO.

• Ems Emazing Readers Assembly Incentive Assembly, 4/13 – This Wednesday is the kickoff for the Eugene Emeralds’ Reading Incentive program. The program will run the same as last year, which is classroom teachers set a reading goal for students and if students meet that goal they get two free tickets to attend an Em’s baseball game this summer. For the assembly, the 3-5 assembly will be 8:40-9:5 and the K-2 assembly will be 9:15-9:40, where Sluggo will motivate kids to meet their reading goals. See the linked map and directions for logistical details.


• New Building Updates – Furniture is still being delivered and assembled, but a few classrooms now have all their student desks and tables set up. The three large pieces of mobile classroom storage have also been delivered to all classrooms, though I haven’t seen teacher desks yet. Four items of note for the new building and move:

• Classroom Blinds – I attended a training last week on the classroom blinds. The biggest (and bad) news is that the the blinds on the interior will be set to only come down in the event of a lockdown. The control panel in the classroom will only control the exterior window shade. The reason I was given for this is districts new standard for maintaining visual line of sight into all classroom. However, we do at least have an okay to place our big mobile furniture in front of the glass, which will help some.

At our back-to-school staff meeting in the fall we’ll take a good chunk of time to go over all the new building systems, but to give you a preview for operating the blinds, if you’ve seen the blind control panel already, the Preset 1, 2 and 3 buttons are set to drop the blinds 20% of the way, 40% of the way and 60% of the way. The arrow down button will send it all the way down. To prevent kids messing with the controls, if multiple buttons are pushed at the same time it will do nothing. To make it go, you have to press one button hard enough to hear it click and see the light go on. The exterior shades will also be on a timer. They’re set to come up in the morning at 7:00 and go down at 6:00 at night, and will stay closed on the weekends, though they can be overrode at the control the classroom panel. And if you were working late one night and forgot to close your blinds after overriding the system, the school-wide system programmed to reset every hour to close all blinds if they’re not already closed. There’s even a feature to connect the system to a weather station that would adjust the blinds up or down depending on temperature and sun levels, though the district didn’t pay for that feature. If the blinds get smears or stains, they said Clorox Wipes work fine to clean them. But my favorite factoid about the blinds is that the motor that raises and lowers the blinds is strong enough to lift a 50 pound kid off of the ground if they were to hold onto it (but let’s not test that out).

• Map with Correct Room Numbers – I haven’t gotten a clean map of the new building with the correct room numbers, but here is a hand drawn map with classroom numbers that is correct and for people to reference when you’re packing and labeling.

• Rules Round Up in New Building this Year? – I was going to run this by the PBIS team, but I though I’d mention it here, since the new building is finished, I’m thinking it would be a good idea for us to do a Rules Round-Up with student this year to walk them through all of our updated expectations and also the different routes they will take to and from their classrooms to the cafeteria, playground and for arrival and dismissal. We’d certainly have to repeat it in the fall, but it couldn’t hurt to maybe take individual classes or grade levels out to go over PBIS expectations.

• River Road Design Update – If you didn’t catch the the Register Guard article last week and are curious about River Road’s construction updates, their capacity was changed so that it could potentially accommodate 600 students if needed, with the School Board thinking it would be much cheaper to add additional classrooms now rather than later if they were needed. In order to pay for this addition, they eliminated several add-ons including a ball field, a covered play area, rain water capture and air conditioning.

• End of Day Music Playlist – In continuing my tradition of playing songs over the PA system at dismissal on some Friday and playing songs more often at dismissal as we approach the end of the school year, I wanted to open it up to requests if staff or classrooms have any song requests/suggestions. And for a laugh regarding last Friday’s song, Dire Straits’ Walk of Life, there’s a website called The Walk of Life Project, which has the goal of testing the hypothesis that Walk of Life is the perfect song to end any movie. Check out the their clips from “The Graduate” to “Max Max: Fury Road” to “2001: A Space Odyssey” and decide for yourself.

• Tech Trot T-Shirts – If you’re curious what the Tech Trot T-Shirts will look like, here’s a mock-up you can share with your class. The shirt includes our standard Howard logo along with “Tech Trot 2016” and the sponsor who paid for all of the staff and student shirts. I wish the Howard logo was in the front and the sponsor on the back or on a sleeve, but hey, it’s a free shirt.


• Care Team Referrals – The Student Care Team will be meeting soon, which means referrals to the team are due Friday next week. The Care Team can help with a wide variety of stations. The DHS Self Sufficiency Program staff can also provide us with updates for any reports we’ve made. Linked here is the 4J Release Form (PDF or DOC) if you can obtain a parent or guardian signature, but you can also refer “hypothetical” student or family situations. 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.

• 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 School Calendars – In my 21 years in 4J, this is the first time I’ve seen the district put out the school calendar for the next TWO years, with the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 School Calendars! As a building, this will certainly help us in planning out our CAP plan for the next 3-years, so we’ll possibly be able to calendar out our building calendar for the next two years as well.

• Shop with a Cop 2016 – I received an email from a local law enforcement wives group called Sisters in Law. They are working on getting applications out for their Shop with a Cop for School Supplies event this August. Linked here is the application as well as a flyer about the event. This is for students K-5 only. They are looking specifically for children who have had unfortunate experiences with Law Enforcement (being removed from their home, experiencing a parent being arrested, etc.) or who are headed down a not so positive path in life. They are only accepting 20 children from Lane County and they will be chosen to participate based on a set of criteria. Feel free to share this program with any families you think meet the application criteria. The application can be filled out by a legal guardian or a staff member (please notify the family first so when they are contacted it’s not a surprise).

• Tips for teaching coding in early grades – Coding lessons are reaching students earlier, sometimes as early as preschool. Educators are using tools such as robots and apps to engage students in these lessons. See this article from the School Library Journal for more details.

• 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:

April 11 (M)
National Library Week
National Volunteer Week (AKA Volunteer Appreciation Week)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)

April 12 (T)
8:30-2:30, Site Council CAP “Retreat” (Staff Room)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Room 1)

April 13 (W)
8:40-9:05, 3-5 Ems Emazing Readers Assembly (Gym)
9:15-9:40, K-2 Ems Emazing Readers Assembly (Gym)
4:00-5:00, Allan to North Region Principal’s Meeting (River Road)

April 14 (H)
7:30-4:30, 2nd Grade to Oregon Zoo (Portland)
8:30-8:40, Fire Drill
4:00-7:00, Allan to Elementary Job Expo (Ed Center)

April 15 (F)
9:00-12:30, Barnes & Nobles Fundraiser Begins (ends Sunday)
12:00-4:00, Allan Helping with Technology Director Interviews (Ed Center)

April 16 (S)
9:00-12:30, North Region Kindergarten Orientation (NEHS)
10:30-12:00, 4J Future Chefs Competition (Sheldon HS)

April 18 (M)
Penny War Begins
Larry Soberman Covering for Allan to do Informal Observations & Summative Evaluations
2:15-2:45, Allan to Formal Observation Post Conference
6:30-7:30, Superintendent Meeting w/North Region Families (NEHS)

April 19 (T)
8:30-1:00, 10 Students to LCC Dental Clinic
2:30-3:30, Staffing Meeting (Library)
6:00-7:30, ACE Awards (Hult Center)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Library)

April 20 (W)
9:15-10:00, K/1 Tech Trot (Track)
10:15-11:00, 2/3 Tech Trot (Track)
11:15-12:00, 4/5 Tech Trot (Track)

April 21 (H)
8:30-2:30, Site Council CAP “Retreat” (Staff Room)
3:45-5:15, Kindergarten Teacher Monthly Meeting (River Road)
4:00-7:00, Allan to Elementary Job Expo (Ed Center)

April 22 (F)
Earth Day

Have a good week, everyone!