May 16, 2016

By Allan  


Chaplin A day without laughter


Hello Howard Staff,

Believe it or not, this week is the last 5-day student week of the year.

Sixteen items of note for this week:

• PTO Meeting, Tuesday at 6:00 – The May PTO meeting will be this Tuesday, 6:00-7:00 PM in the library if any staff are able to attend. The last few meetings have been pretty much me and the board, so it would be great if any staff are able to attend to show support for all the PTO’s work and show appreciation for their work in planning the school carnival coming up soon. Hope to see some of you there!

• Larry Soberman Covering for Allan Monday
– Retired Twin Oaks principal Larry Soberman will be covering for me on Monday so I can finish up End-of-Year Evaluations. I’ll still be in the building this day, but Larry will take care of all the routine principal matters.

• Care Team Referrals – The final Student Care Team meeting will be 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. This is our last chance for this school year to connect families needing assistance with community resources.

• Tech Trot Limo Rides – I emailed this out earlier, but as a reminder, this Thursday will be the limo ride reward for the Tech Trot. PTO folks already emailed teachers names of students who earned the limo ride and teachers should email the PTO their classroom limo ride drawing winner ASAP so we can let everyone know if you’ll be sending students in group #1 (mostly K-2) or group #2 (mostly 3-5). And as a reminder, the limo ride schedule will be:

Group 1
12:00-05, Group one loads limo
12:05-12:35, Ride around 30 minutes
12:35-1:00, Drop off at Dairy Queen. Group 1 eats while Limo heads back to get Group 2.

Group 2
12:40(ish), Group 2 loads limo
1:00, Arrive at DQ. Group 2 gets ice cream and Group 1 rides back to school (arrive back 1:10)
1:25-1:55, Limo arrives back at DQ for 30 minute limo ride with group two. Arrive back at school at 1:55.

• Building Leadership Opportunities – Please take a moment to look over the 2016-2017 Building Leadership Positions and consider signing-up. We still need leaders/reps for IPBS, PBIS, TLT, Site Council, School Garden, Social Committee and Carrying it Forward.

• Master Schedule Survey Results – Here are the results from last week’s master schedule survey. For the first question, how to schedule science, a majority wanted to rotate it with writing. In following up with Kim Finch, she said two 45 minute sessions per week would be sufficient (preferably two days in a row), which matches nicely with our writing blocks. And as was shared at our last staff meeting, downtown is getting a curriculum map done that aligns Journeys with the grade level science kits so teachers can do the hands-on activities each week, and reinforce it with reading and writing activities. Also next year, teachers are doing two kits for the year. The following year, they will have three kits.

For the second question, regarding using Wednesdays as a flex time for classrooms with no pullouts, a majority of respondents favored doing it every other week.

For the third question about 5 minute transition times between recess ending and groups starting, all responses were YES with two marking “Other” with comments or questions how it would work. Adding transitions would cut down on the number of groups and may complicate how everything fits together on the schedule, but we’ll see if we can get this to fit into the master schedule.

As shared earlier, a draft schedule will be shared with staff for additional input at the May 28th PD day. Following that meeting the schedule may or may not be revised and the schedule will be set for 2016-2017. Please keep in mind that the schedule will never be perfect or all things to all people, but we’ll do what we can make it as close as possible.

• PRIDE Assemblies, Wednesday, May 25th – Not this week, but next week is the PRIDE Awards Assembly for Excellence (“Doing your personal best!”). Before passing out the awards, the special activity for this assembly will be for a group of North Eugene High School students to present us with a Buddy Bench they built, which will go into the new school courtyard by the playground. We’ll explain to students how the Buddy Bench works and will show the a short news story video clip of how other schools have used their Buddy Benches. We’re doing three separate assemblies this time to work around 5th graders visiting Kelly and also working around the 4th grade musical. See the linked assembly map and directions for assembly details.

• TalentEd End-of-Cycle Goals Reflections Due Next Week – A handful of teachers have already completed their End-of-Cycle Goals Reflection, but for those who have not finished yet, a reminder that the deadline to complete the form in TalentEd is next week on Friday, May 27th. Let me know if you have any questions regarding the form or if you’d like a copy of the Grade Comparison Report.

• Artist in Residence Starts Monday – A quick reminder that Alex Lanham, our artist in residence, will be starting his tile portraiture project with classes this Monday. Linked here is the schedule.

• Friday, May 27th PD/Planning Day – Not this week, but next week will be the last Howard PD/Planning day of the year. We’ll meet in the library at 8:00 to go over some business items (master schedule, math adoption survey, leadership positions) and the twi main items will be a discussion of Title IIA PD funds next that may be available next year and also finalizing PBIS rules and teaching plans. I’ll send the agenda our later this week, but my plan is to again end the meeting early to give staff more time for packing. There are only 20.5 student days left, so the deadline to get everything packed very close!

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

• McKinney-Vento Coordinator at Howard – Deborah Daily, the McKinney-Vento Coordinator will be joining the Howard team next year, working out of the downstairs knuckle room near the 1st grade blue wing. This will certainly help us in coordinating support for our many homeless families. Another added benefit is that the McKinney-Vento program is adding an hour to Bianca’s time. That means Bianca next year will be in the building 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, meaning she’ll now be available the help staff and families before and after school.

• Workroom Packing Timeline – Cheri is going to start packing up the workroom on our last PD/Planning Day, May 27th. She’ll leave out the essentials, like copy paper, but if there are other things you’re planning to use after the 27th, like the die cut machine, the comb binder or other lesser use supplies, be sure to let Cheri or myself know before then.

• Farewell Event for Old Howard, May 25th – There was a mistake on the flyer that went out last week for our Farewell Event for the Old Howard, which had some conflicting times. Linked here is the corrected flyer, and has the correct time of 5:30-7:00. I’ll email the corrected information to families later this week when I send a reminder about the event. And if you’re a member of the North Eugene Alumni & Community Facebook group, the comments under this Facebook event are pretty fun to read with many past students sharing their memories, some the poster are former students and some are much much older than me, so it’s pretty fun to see how special a place Howard is to people over many generations.

• End-of-Year Checklist for Closing – Since staff have started cleaning and packing early this year, I thought I’d share the End-of-Year Checklist for Closing earlier than normal. It’s a bit different this year since we’re not so much putting things away as we are packing them up. Generally speaking, classrooms need to be completely stripped of anything on the floors, walls and ceilings and left with only boxes to move into the new building and furniture to be picked up by the warehouse. Let me know if you have any questions on any of this.

• District Admin Updates – I don’t usually share secondary assistant principal changes, but since Kelly Middle School is right next door and we’re their feeder school, I wanted to share that Charlie Jett, the assistant principal at Kelly, was hired back into his old school district in Springfield where he’ll be principal at Two Rivers–Dos Ríos Elementary, which means Kelly will have a new principal and new assistant principal next year.

• 403(b) Retirement Savings – I attended the district sponsored PERS training last week, and the presenter mentioned only a third of 4J classified staff members are taking advantage of the 403(b) retirement savings plans and that not all licensed staff are taking advantage of it either, so I thought I would highlight it here. For classified staff, the district will make a monthly district-paid tax- sheltered annuity (TSA) contribution in the amount of 1.25% of your monthly gross wages as long as you contribute at least.625% of your gross wages (essentially, 4J is matching what you contribute to your TSA). Every Classified employee is eligible for this additional retirement benefit and it only requires 3 easy steps: Set up a TSA account with one of the three authorized vendors. Complete a District 4J Salary Reduction Agreement, and then deliver to the Financial Services Department at the Education Center. For additional information see the March Classified Benefits Newsletter or visit the 4J website on 403(b)s, which has links to the authorized vendors and the Salary Reduction Agreement form. For licensed staff, linked here is a TSA Information Sheet for new licensed hires describing a similar process, but a different structure for how 4J will make a monthly contributions to employee TSAs based upon your years of service. This is a great benefit for both employee groups and something I’d encourage you all to investigate if you have not done so before. It can be a nice summer project.

• WordPress Class Websites – Speaking of ideas for summer projects, Apple stopped supporting iWeb five years ago in 2011 if you’re still using that or if you don’t have a class website and would like to start one using WordPress, let me or Peggy know and we can help you get started. If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person, here’s a WordPress Basics document by David Nelson.

• What’s All the Fuss About Coding? – It’s logic, not magic, that runs the world of code around us. Teaching students to code helps them become more logical problem solvers and empowers them as active, authoritative users of technology. Many teachers here have done the Hour of Code or used Code Academy or, but see this article from ASCD Express for more details and some additional resources like Tynker and the robotics programing company Sphero can be used in classrooms.

• 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 16 (M)
Artist in Residence Begins
Larry Soberman Covering for Allan to finish End-of-Year Evaluations
3:00-5:00, Allan to After ALICE Training (River Road)

May 17 (T)
12:20, Allan Touring Class (New Building)
2:30-3:30, Allan to Parent Meeting (Room 10)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Library)

May 18 (W)
10:00-10:15, 5th Grade Class Photo (Front of Building)
11:45, Allan Touring Class (New Building)
1:30-2:30, PBIS Meeting (Room 21)

May 19 (H)
12:00-2:00, Tech Trot Limo Rides (Front of School)
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Room 6)
3:45-5:00, Allan and KG Teachers to Full-Day KG Meeting (Holt)

May 20 (F)
All Library Books Due
10:45-12:30, May Birthday Lunches with the Principal (Library)
1:00, Allan Touring Class (New Building)

May 23 (M)
Artist in Residence Continues
Library Closes
2:15-5:00, BEST Skate World Field Trip
2:30-5:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
3:30-4:30, 5th Grade Teachers Meet w/Kelly Teachers

May 24 (T)
8:30-2:00, 3rd Grade to McGowan Creek
9:30-10:10, Kelly WEB Leaders meeting with 5th Graders
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Room 1)
6:00-7:00, ODE Reimagine Education in Oregon Community Forums (SEHS)

May 25 (W)
9:10-9:40, K-2 PRIDE Assembly (Gym)
9:15-10:00, 5th Graders Visit Kelly
9:40-10:05, 3-4 PRIDE Assembly (Gym)
11:15-12:00, 4/5 Music Performance (Gym)
12:00-12:20, 5th Grade PRIDE Awards (Gym)
2:30-3:30, Student Care Team Meeting (Staff Room)
3:00-5:00, 4J Retirement Event (Ed Center)
3:30-4:30, Allan to HR Report back on Recruitment/Hiring/Retention (Ed Center)
5:30-7:00, Old Building Farewell Event (Cafeteria and Around the Building)

May 26 (H)
Regular Day

May 27 (F)
TalentEd End-of-Cycle Goals Reflection Due
8:00-12:30, Howard PD Day (Library)

Have a great week, everyone!