April 18, 2016

By Allan  

Hello Howard Staff,

Seventeen items of note for this week:

• TalentEd Tasks Update – I need to correct myself from last week on the End-of-Cycle Goals Reflection. I do see teacher comments on this section. I also had some questions from teachers regarding goals since most people are using the spring benchmark as their end of year measure, I wanted to say that it’s okay to go ahead and do your reflection now and use the winter benchmark or other measures as an indicator of progress towards your goal. And like I said last week, I’d encourage teachers to begin working on the End-of-Cycle Goals Reflection sooner than later. Let me know if you have any questions on any of this or need any help with TalentEd.

• EEF Grant Applications Reminder – EEF sent an email reminder to principals that grant applications are due soon. Grant applications are due to me by Thursday, April 28th for Site Council approval (final grants need to be emailed to EEF by April 30th). So far I’ve received one $2,000 grant proposal for the annual 5th grade field trip and a STEM grant that could be either a $2,000 or $500 grant. Grants most favored focus on Arts, Literacy, and STEM, as do proposals that serve the greatest number of students. For technology focused grants (EEF has stopped funding hardware requests), EEF said they will only consider tech related grants if they have been coordinated with Kim Ketterer. If you are submitting a grant, be sure to use the linked EEF Application DOC file instead of the old online application on their website. Let me know if you have any questions or would like help with any potential grants.

• Visit from State Representative Nathanson Tuesday – Mark Szymansk met with our state representative Nancy Nathanson last month to talk about education issues and inform her about some of the things Pacific University is doing. He invited her to come visit Eugene and Mark will be bringing her to Howard Tuesday, April 19th from 2:00-3:00. Mark was thinking it would be good for her to see a school and some of the ways Pacific University connects and partner with schools. Howard came to mind because we have a number of Pacific alumni working here (including myself) and we also host a number of their students. Mark is planning to take Rep. Nathanson on a tour of the school and do a Q&A with her in the office or staff room. He’d love to have some teachers stop by as well if any of you have time and are willing. I did tell Mark that 2:00 is a crazy time since that’s dismissal and that we have a Staff Meeting at 2:30, so he’s checking to see if they can adjust their schedule earlier or later, but for now they are planning to be here at 2:00 if any teachers will be available after school or after the staff meeting to join them. CANCELLED – Her schedule got changed and she can’t make it.

• PTO Meeting, Tuesday at 6:00 – The April 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 group of regulars, so it’s great if any staff are able to attend and support the their activities, which for now are the Tech Trot and the Carnival. Hope to see some of you there!

• Fire Drill, April 27th at 9:15 – Our planned fire drill last week got rained out, so we’ll try again next week on Wednesday, April, 27th at 9:15. I try not to schedule Fire Drills during prep times (i.e. recesses, specialist times or lunch times), but that leaves a pretty small window of time on Wednesdays if you’re wondering why most all our drills this year have taken place Wednesday mornings.

• Staffing & Job EXPO Updates – We didn’t have any applicants for our counselor position, so that position will repost for the second round of the Job EXPO. Feel free to tell any internal counselors you know how awesome we are at Howard, though getting to interview external candidates with a building team might a good opportunity as well. We also have our 0.25 facilitating position posting next rounds too (HR accidentally left it off the first round list).

At round one of the Job EXPO, Allison was offered and accepted the half-time Science TOSA position and Erin was offered and accepted the half-time ELA TOSA position. To avoid having too many job-shares in our building, I’ve made a few shifts in job assignments for next year. Stephanie, instead of doing the part-time Title 1 position, will be Allison’s job share partner next year. Erin will move into the part-time Title 1 position along with her part-time TOSA position, which will leave a full-time vacancy at 2nd grade that can go to round two of the Job EXPO, along with our full-time counselor position and a 0.25 facilitating position.

• 2016-2017 PE/Music Update – We do not yet have our official allocation or specialist job assignments for this yet, but I did get the official word that there will be an increase in specialist and prep time next year so that full-time classroom teachers will get three 30 minute preps per week all year long. This will be done by adding music specialist time once a week to the PE semester and continuing to have PE once a week during the music semester. Also, and I’ve shared this before, the current plan is for all schools to flip flop which specialist they start the year off with next year, meaning that we’ll have music first semester and primarily PE second semester.

• Last Call for Peer Observations – If you didn’t let me know already that you’d like sub time to do some peer observations here at Howard or at another school, let me know by Tuesday. I’ll be connecting with Gretta this week to set those up.

• Artist in Residence Schedule – Linked here is the first draft of the Artist in Residence schedule for next month, when Alex Lanham will be here doing a tile portraiture project with students. The grant we received paid for three 45 minutes sessions with each classroom. This did leave some flexibility in our three week window, so let me know if you see any issues with your times or if you have times that would work better than what’s on the schedule.

• Tech Trot Updates– The TechTrot t-shirts are here and will be delivered to classrooms by Tuesday. DO NOT give students shirts before Wednesday. We want all students wearing their shirts when they go out to the track. When students begin returning envelops, teachers should bring the envelopes to the long counter in Lori’s office. Make sure the student name and teacher name are on the envelope. All envelopes are due back by April 29th.


• New Building Updates – Four items of note for the new building and move:

• No Building Visits for a Couple Weeks – Our project manager asked me to remind teachers not to unpack in the new building early, which he told me had started to happen in a few rooms. He’s asked staff to stay out of the new building until they are done with their contractors punch list which should be finished in another two weeks, with the exception of the tack boards (that one will take a bit longer).

• Story Cove White Board Added – Julie and I asked for a white board to be added to the Story Cove area, to make it more of a teachable space, so a board is being added to that space.

• Cell Phone Signal Repeater – I’m still fighting the fight to get cellular signal repeaters installed in the new building. Cell reception dead spots have been an issue at all of the last four new schools built (Chaves, Holt, Madison, and Cal Young) and I know that some of those schools have unsuccessfully made the same arguments I’m making now (mostly around safety) for repeaters to be installed. Facilities did research one systems that was too expensive, though it was a massive integrated system, but I do at least now have them going back to the drawing board to find a smaller system that will simply boost cell signals for all the major phone carriers. More to come on this and hopefully I’ll succeed in getting something here were other schools have not.

• “FREE” Piles in the Work Room – I’m very glad that staff are continuing the cull old and unused materials, though the “FREE” pile in the workroom has been getting quite large lately. If you don’t want something, probably no one else wants it either, so only put stuff out if it really is something you know other classrooms would use.

• Care Team Referrals – The Student Care Team will be meeting next week, which means referrals to the team are due this Friday. 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 potential referrals or questions.

• District Admin Updates – Molly Hammans has been named principal of Early College & Career Options (ECCO) next year. She is currently an assistant principal at Churchill High School. Molly has served as a CLC EA at Kelly; taught math, English language arts and social studies at Monroe; and completed administrative internships at Monroe and Holt. Greg Borgerding has been appointed as principal of Churchill High School next year. Greg currently serves as principal of Spencer Butte Middle School. He has been a middle school principal for the past five years. Before that, Greg was focused on the high school level, including overseeing CTE and AVID programs as a district director, serving as a high school assistant principal, and teaching high school English language arts.

• Supporting Critical thinking Through Philosophical Inquiry, May 20th & 21st – On May 20th and 21st at the Ed Center there will be a public forum for teachers, students, parents and administrators. Participants will have an opportunity to participate in philosophical discussions with kids and to take away useful strategies for leading critical thinking across the curriculum. See the linked flyer and scheduled for details. Also linked here is a 4-minute video about what the UO program. One interesting item of note, Paul Bodin, the guy behind this program and who’s in the video, is the same person who made the infamous weaving in our library (he actually told me he’d like to take the weaving if we don’t take it to the new building).

• Earth Day, Friday, April 22nd – Schools across the country will be celebrating Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22. Teach your students how to care about their world — and how they can make it better — throughout the year with these resources from Edutopia.


• Teaching Gifted Kids To Explain Their Thinking – It’s a weird trap: because a child is “so smart,” everyone thinks any gaps in their skills are a result of laziness or defiance. But sometimes the brightest kid needs small group instruction for a skill the rest of the class already gets. See this post from Byrdseed (a blog I quite like dedicated to better understanding gifted learners) for more on this topic.

• 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 18 (M)
Penny War Begins
Larry Soberman Covering for Allan to do Informal Observations & Summative Evaluations
7:50-1:00, Spring Creek Observing 1st Grade
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, Students to LCC Dental Clinic
2:00-3:00, Rep. Nancy Nathanson Visiting – CANCELLED
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

April 25 (M)
Progress Monitoring Week 12
2:30-5:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)

April 26 (T)
8:45-12:45, 1st grade to Mt. Pisgah
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Room 1)

April 27 (W)
Administrative Professionals Day (formerly Secretaries Day)
9:15, Fire Drill
1:30-2:30, PBIS Meeting (Room 21)
2:30-3:30, Care Team Meeting (Staff Room)

April 28 (H)
Papa’s Pizza Fundraiser for Howard Family (Coburg Road Location)
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
2:30-3:30, Site Council (Staff Room)
4:00-7:00, Allan to Elementary Job Expo (Ed Center)
5:00-6:00, 5th Grade Parent Preview of Planned Parenthood Course (Room 18)

April 29 (F)
10:45-12:40, Birthday Lunches with the Principal (Library)
3:30, Allan Touring Around New Building w/ Superintendent & 4J Directors (New Building)

Let’s hope for a nice sunny week!