May 2, 2016

By Allan  


Hello Howard Staff,

Last week we had Administrative Professionals Day and this week is national Teacher Appreciation Week, though I would like to take the opportunity to recognize the efforts of ALL staff, both classified and licensed, and your tireless work to support Howard students, families, and each other. A school or program is really only as good as it’s staff and I count Howard among the best elementary schools in Eugene, which you can see by the growing number of families (including several current and former district level administrators) who are choosing to send their kids to Howard. Howard rocks and it’s all thanks to you!

A whopping nineteen items of note for this week:

• Teacher Appreciation Week PTO Plans – If you saw the flyer the PTO sent home last week, you already knows some of what is being planned, but they are planning to do a little thank you to staff throughout the week, including some goodies to eat in the office most days this week, but in addition to that they are going to have a buffet bar lunch of Mexican style food on Thursday for everyone in the Staff Room.

• Friday, May 6th PD Day – I send the agenda in a separate email, but I wanted to remind everyone that we’ll be meeting in the library at 8:00 this Friday. I’ll have my usual spread of breakfast snacks, drinks and goodies. The main agenda item is to finalize our updated PBIS rules and teaching plan for the new building, so this is a topic that may be of interest to both classified and licensed staff, but if classified staff have comp time coming this would be an okay time to cash that time in since there are only a couple more days this year when comp time could easily be used. Classified staff should connect with their cooperating teachers if you will be using comp time this day. I’ll also be giving staff part of the 5.5 hours of PD time to continue purging and packing (see the packing directions) since there are now only 29.5 student days left of school.

• Wacky Wednesday: Mixed-Up Clothes Day – This Wednesday is the May Wacky Wednesday and this time it’s Mixed-Up Clothes day, so remind you students to wear their wildest ensembles this Wednesday and start planning your own outfit as well to join in on the fun!

• Staffing Updates – Stephanie has been hired as our 0.25 facilitating teacher for next year, which she will do in addition to her 0.5 job-share with Allison at 3rd grade. If we were to receive additional staffing, my thinking if we got 0.25 more FTE, this could make Stephanie full-time between 3rd grade and facilitating teaching. If we got 0.5 additional FTE, that could become a new hire for Allison’s job-share and Stephanie could do 0.75 facilitating. If we got 0.75 more FTE (which if hoping for, but not holding my breath for), we could have an additional full-time classroom at 4th and 5th grade, which Stephanie could be moved into, and hire for a new 0.5 FTE 3rd grade job-share person.

Our counselor positions was still unfilled after the third and final round of the Job EXPO, but we do have a new counselor hire who we are stealing away from Adams, Matthew Robinson. Matthew was hired at the Portland job fair by Kevin Gordon, principal at Adams who had a part-time counselor position, and Karen Hardin, HR Recruitment Administrator (and former Howard teacher), who both thought Matthew was a very strong hire. Matthew is moving to Oregon from New Jersey where he has been a middle school counselor at Pennsville Middle School since 2011. He’s a graduate of Rutgers University and it sounds like he has a background in positive behavior support systems and was his building’s Intervention and Referral Services coordinator, which after some poking around sounds similar to our IPBS team, but also involved academic as well as behavior. Hopefully we’re getting a good one here, but based on talking with Karen and the disappointment from Kevin of not getting Matthew, I think we’re making out pretty well.

• TalentEd End-of-Cycle Goals Reflection and easyCBM Comparison Reports – I’d previously mentioned that all licensed staff, no matter which evaluation cycle you are on, have to complete the End-of-Cycle Goals Reflection form in TalentEd, but to help people easily compare your students’ benchmark scores, I have access to a “Grade Comparison” report which will give an easy-to-read breakdown of how your class is doing on reading and math benchmark assessments. Teachers can wait until spring benchmark testing if you want, but you’re welcome and encouraged to do it now and use the fall to winter benchmark information as an indicator of student progress towards your goal. Let me know if you’d like a copy of this report or if you have any questions.

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

• Opening and Closing Events – The Grand Opening Event I mentioned the last couple weeks has been cancelled. I was in the new building last week about some of the furniture items below and looking around the building it’s really just a mess with boxes piled in classrooms and furniture not set up yet, so I told downtown to postpone until a later date. The general timeline for a grand opening is now going to be either in June or in the fall, though I lean towards doing it in the fall.

Regarding a closing event for the old building, we’ll hold an evening event here at school on Wednesday, May 25th, 5:30-7:00, which I’ve now confirmed with downtown. I described the tentative agenda for the closing event last week, but please feel free to share this date and time with student, families and particularly with any past staff or families who have connections with Howard. I’ll be putting together a flyer to go home a couple weeks before the event, which we’ll also share before then on social media and with past staff members.

• 3-Month Waiting Period for New Furniture & Equipment Orders – 4J is taking the lead from a new industry trend for when new facilitates are opened, which is to have staff live in a space for 3 months before ordering additional items, furniture, and such. The idea is that after 3 months staff will have a better idea of what they really need and will avoid ordering things that people later realize they didn’t need. However, Facilities has been open to ordering some things, like locking cabinets for the TSS space and the classroom storage bins, so there is still a possibility if there was something critical that was missed.

• Classroom Storage Bins – Facilities has agreed to purchase the plastic storage totes that teachers said they wanted for classrooms. These are the totes that fit and stack neatly on the shelves that ended up being not as deep as we’d wanted. They will order 20 totes for each classroom, minus a few rooms like the after school program, which will fill most of the shelf spaces and leave a few open shelves for storing items that won’t fit in the plastic totes. On a related note, we’re also working on getting a 6 foot ladder for each wing, since our current step ladders cannot reach the top shelves of the new classrooms. I’m thinking these ladders can be stored in the specialist classroom in each wing.

• Security Pads and Alarm Zones – As I’ve said earlier, I’ll plan to go over all these new systems at the start of the year in the new building, but I’ll also plan to continue to share about them here as I learn about them. Linked here is a map of the alarm zones and PIN pad locations for the new building. In the old building we have four zones (portable, quad, main building, east wing) and the new building we will have three zones (gym & cafeteria, kitchen, and the main building, which included the office and all three classroom wings). Each zone has it’s own security PIN pad, which are shown on the map, but the main building PIN pad is located by the main entrance in the security vestibule (between the sliding doors), the gym & cafeteria PIN pad is located by the exterior door next to the music room/stage entrance near the front of the building, and the kitchen PIN pad is located inside the backdoor entrance to the kitchen. The PIN pads will work just the same as the ones in the old building, which is to flash your badge at the pad and then type in your 4-digit PIN number, though make sure you’re not holding your badge in the same hand that you’re entering your PIN, which is what’s usually happened when someone calls me on a weekend to say they can’t turn off the alarm. In that situation, the PIN pad keeps resetting each time the badge is close to the pad, so it never gets a chance to recognize your PIN.

• Mobile Classroom Storage Placement – While in the new building last week meeting, I took a second to place the mobile storage in front of the hallway glass to see how it would fit and it actually fits very well. We were given permission to place these in front of the class as long as this is done uniformly in all classrooms, which I think is the best place for the units for several reason (creating a visual barrier, blocking student access to the glass, maximizing classroom floor space, etc.). One item of note when placing the units by the glass and locking the wheels in place, be sure to leave space for the interior classroom curtains to come down because they are are set on a timer to go down and back up once a week.


• End of Year Timeline – If you’d like to know some of the key dates coming up regarding packing, moving and demolition of the old building, below are the dates we currently have. The dates through June 22 are solid, but there is a possibility the asbestos abatement timeline will be sped up in order to speed up the demolition timeline, which will give more time to complete parking and groundwork for the new building. There are no firm dates on when staff will be allowed to start setting up their spaces, but early August or possibly sooner is what I’m currently hearing.

• June 16 (H) – Last day for students
• June 17 (F) – 4J Salvage Begins
• June 20 (M) – One of Two Extra Paid Days for Packing
• June 21 (T) – Two of Two Extra Paid Days for Packing
• June 22 (W) – Everyone/everythign out of building – Asbestos Abatement Begins – East Wing
• June 24 (F) – Asbestos Abatement Begins – West Wing
• July 5 (T) – Demolition of East Wing Begins
• July 11 (T) – Demolition of West Wing Begins

• Tours Soon! – Project Managers said tour will be able to resume next week. They’re finishing a path and a gate near the gym/workroom hallway that should be done by the end of the week, so if you’d like to take you class out for a tour, let me know and I can take your classroom out to the new building. The 4J Communications Department actually wants to get some media coverage of classes touring the building, so if you can set up some tour dates with me now, that would be great!

• May PBIS Focus: Positive Attitude – The May PBIS monthly focus is Positive Attitude. The PBIS team created a PBIS/CFK Cheat Sheet that matches our monthly themes with corresponding Caring for Kids (Caring Schools Curriculum) class meeting lessons, which is an easy way to tie the two activities together.

• Skillful Teacher Summer Opportunities – I wanted to highlight a summer workshop opportunity that was in an email to teachers a couple weeks ago for the Skillful Teaching series. If you haven’t attended one of these excellent trainings before, you have to first attend module one in order to attend modules two, three or four. You won’t get paid to attend, but it doesn’t cost anything and you do get free books and materials. Participants can also get PDUs as well as college credits. These trainings are great for new teachers and veteran teachers alike. And if you’re wondering why this training is being offered over the summer instead of during the school year, downtown was trying to be responsive to teacher feedback that people do not like to be pulled from the classroom and having to plan for subs.

• North Region Night at Swede Stadium this Tuesday – To help build community in our region, the North Eugene baseball game this Tuesday at 5:00 will be North Region Nigh at Swede Johnson Stadium. There will be inflatables for kids if they get bored of the game as well as free popcorn and ice cream treats of some sort (though I was pulling for Fudgsicles). Kids can enter to throw out the first pict and can also run the bases at the end of the game or get their photo taken on the pitchers mound. And let me know if any of you (or know someone you can pressure into) dressing up in the Howard Roadrunner mascot for the game!

• Last Day for Title 1 Groups – After informally surveying a some teachers, the last day for Title 1 groups will be Thursday, June 9th, the day before grading day, which will leave the last three and a half days of school open for classrooms. On a related note, the last day for 5th grade and Kindergarten will be Wednesday, June 15th and the last day for all other grades will be Thursday, June 16th.

• BEST Activity Updates – BEST will be going on an end-of-the-year field trip to Skate World on Monday, May 23rd. They will load buses at 2:15 and will get back around 5:00. Another key BEST date is that their last day will be Friday, June 3rd.

• Family Summer Resources from Care Team – DHS staff shared a a great resource from Direction Services I thought I’d pass along, which is the Direction Services 2016 Summer Directory. The directory has a current lists of camps, diagnostic and treatment services, education services, employment programs, recreation, respite care and support, and website resources for families.

• Math Curriculum Adoption Process – Next school year will see the start of a math curriculum adoption process, with full implementation of the selected program the following school year, 2017-2018. Linked here is the draft math adoption timeline shared with the school board regarding the timeline and process for the adoption, but the short version is that all schools will send a math teacher leader rep to be on the committee and there will be a pilot in the fall, with a program selected in February for use the following school year.

• Science Adoption Update – If you’d like to know the latests news on the science adoption rolling out this fall, linked here is an Elementary Science Newsletter for Principals that was sent last week to elementary principals by Kim Finch, the district STEM Administrator (and former Howard principal). The short version is that the district adoption team unanimously recommended the district adopt FOSS NGSS. All of the district PD days this coming year will be focused on the science adoption.

• Artist in Residence Schedule Finalized – There weren’t any changes requested by teachers from the Artist in Residence schedule I shared last week, so this is now the official schedule for when Alex will be here in a couple weeks, staring on May 16th.

• District Admin Updates – Tasha Katsuda will be principal of Spencer Butte Middle School in 2016-17, replacing Greg Borgerding who will move to Churchill High School. Tasha has been the district Federal Programs (Title 1) Coordinator, but prior to that she’s been a middle school teacher, an assistant principal at Jefferson MS and a building principal at McCornack. Melissa Ibarra will be the new principal of Buena Vista, replacing Juan Cuadros when he becomes principal of Kelly Middle School next year. Melissa taught for several years at BV and after earning her administrator license, was hired as lead teacher at the Guy Lee dual immersion program. Lastly, Kathy Owen, principal of Twin Oaks announced she is retiring at the end of the school year. This currently leaves admin openings for a principal at Cal Young and Twin Oaks, an assistant principal at Churchill, the Equity Diversity Inclusion Manager, a Federal Programs Coordinator (though the Instruction Department is currently restructuring and responsibilities for this administrator may change), a Tech Department Director, an Instructional Technology Director, and a Facilities Management position (Harlan Coats’ old job, who’s now Director of Facilities).

• School To Prison Pipeline Seminar – Join the EEA’s Human & Civil Rights Committee for Harry Lawson, Chair of NEA Human and Civil Rights Committee, for a seminar on The School to Prison Pipeline, May 10th from 4:30 – 6:30 at the EEA Offices on 2815 Coburg Rd. Across the country, school districts and communities are moving away from zero-tolerance and other harsh disciplinary policies and practices that have created a school-to-prison pipeline and led to negative educational outcomes for children, especially children of color. This session will examine historical school discipline trends and their impact on educational outcomes; explore effective discipline policies, practices, and alternatives; and provide attendees with the tools to implement successful strategies within their schools and communities including how to access and examine their local data. If you have questions, contact Linda Smart, Chair HCRC, at

• Are stereotypes driving STEM gender gap? – There are two stereotypes that keep girls away from courses in science, technology, engineering and math, three researchers write. In this commentary, the researchers note that stereotypes persist that students who take computer science and other STEM courses are “geeky” and that boys are better at math and sciences.

• 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:

May 2 (M)
Teacher Appreciation Week
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Smarter Balance Testing Begins (No SPED/Title 1 Groups)
Children’s Book Week
National Physical Fitness & Sports Month
Progress Monitoring Week 12
1:00-2:00, Allan Covering Classroom

May 3 (T)
8:30-9:30, Tasha Katsuda Title 1 Visit
9:40, Allan Covering Recess Duty
5:00-8:00, North Region Baseball Event – Night at the Swede (NEHS)

May 4 (W)
Photoshoot in New Building
May the 4th Be With You
Wacky Wednesday – Mixed Up Clothes Day
1:30, Allan to BSP Meeting

May 5 (H)
Photoshoot in New Building
3:30, Allan to Grand Opening Planning Meeting (New Building)

May 6 (F)
8:00-1:30, Professional Development Day – No Students

May 9 (M)
Smarter Balance Testing Continues (No SPED/Title 1 Groups)
Spring Benchmarking Begins
2:30-5:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)

May 10 (T)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Room 1)
2:30-3:30, Allan to LEL Meeting (Chavez)
6:00-7:00, ODE Reimagine Education in Oregon Community Forums (SEHS)

May 11 (W)
Administrative Professionals Day (formerly Secretaries Day)
2:45-4:00, Allan and Lori at Attendance System Meeting (Ed Center)
4:00-5:00, Allan to North Region Administrators Meeting

May 12 (H)
7:30-4:30, 2nd Grade to Hatfield Marine Science Center
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Room 6)
3:00-4:00, Allan Taking River Road Design Team to See Furniture (New Building)
6:30-7:30, North Region Latino Family Night (NEHS)

May 13 (F)
7:30-4:30, 5th Grade Trip to OMSI
9:00, Fire Drill
10:45-12:30, Birthday Lunches with the Principal (Library)

Have an excellent week, everyone!