January 30, 2017

By Allan  


Hello Excellent Staff,

Sorry for being MIA so much last week, but thank you to everyone who helped step-up in my absence. It’s much appreciated!

Fifteen items of note for this week:

• 2017-2018 Staffing Timeline – Staffing allocations for next school year will be distributed to principals at a meeting on Wednesday, February 22nd at 4:00. Principals will also receive SSD and Title 1 allocations at this same meeting. I’ll email allocations to staff this same evening. Staffing plans will be due three weeks later on Wednesday, March 15th.

I’m planning to follow last year’s process for finalizing the 17/18 staffing plan. After receiving our allocations I will draw up potential staffing scenarios and will email those to staff for input. I’ll hold an optional staff meeting for people to discuss as a group the draft plans. I’ll also plan to stick with the change in process we did last year of not holding a second staff meeting to vote on a plan, which many staff felt was divisive, and instead I will make the final decision (so people can be mad at me instead of each other). I’ll still plan to meet with grade level teams for input before my final decision. Let me know if you have questions on any of this. 

• 2017-2018 Enrollment Projections – Last week principals received enrollment projections for next year and for the first time in my five years at Howard I’m agreeing with our projection. Our current total enrollment is 467 students (though that number fluctuates weekly) and for next year we are projected for 478 students. This means that as long as the staffing ratio stays relatively the same, we should be able to maintain our current level of staffing, both licensed and classified, and we may even see some increases. However, the needs index (poverty, mobility, ELL, etc.) can change and the district is looking at some budget reductions, though not as drastic as in the past, so we won’t officially know where we stand on staffing until Feb. 22nd. The projections by grade level are 73 (KG), 81 (1st), 92 (2nd), 73 (3rd), 85 (4th), 74 (5th). The district Title 1 budget sounds like it’s going to be reduced for next school year, but Howard’s Title 1 budget for this year was calculated based upon our original 413 student projection, so I’m thinking we’ll at least stay close to our current Title 1 budget levels.

• 2017-2018 Staffing Survey – With staffing allocations coming out in three weeks, I’d like staff to complete a short survey, either on this linked Google Form or on the linked Word file. I’d like to know staff members’ individual plans and preferences for the future as well as your thoughts on next year’s staffing plan and general ideas for the master schedule. Please complete the survey by Wednesday, February 15th so I can get input before drawing up potential staffing scenarios. All answers will be kept confidential and please let me know if you have any questions.

• Wacky Wednesday – Favorite Character Day – Not this Wednesday, but Wednesday next week is “Favorite Character Day” if you’d like to start planning your costume now!

• Free Book Set Loans from Eugene Public Library – The Eugene Public Library has provided picture book collections to kindergarten classrooms at Howard and Spanish language collections at River Road, and they are now ready to expand this service, providing picture book collections for primary grades and fiction and nonfiction collections for older grades (typically 50 books per classroom). They want to make it easy for you and can deliver boxes of books to the office. Teachers can use them this year and have the option of keeping them another year. If you’re interested, let me know by the end of the week and I’ll sign you up.

• Thursday Music Classes in Gym – I’ll be paying for a sub for Music classes this Thursday so teachers will get their prep time this during this transition day (actually, downtown told principals we had to, so don’t give me too much credit for being generous). Siera will be working in her classroom this day, so music classes will be held in the gym on Thursday. And I haven’t mentioned this since November, but David Adee will be teaching Music Mondays & Tuesdays and Matt Taylor (who’s new to 4J, but who has been teaching at Holt this past semester) will be teaching Music on Wednesdays. 

• Safety Inspection this Friday – For whatever reason, Facilities staff no-showed at our last scheduled safety inspection date, but our rescheduled time is this Friday at 9:00 10:00 (UPDATE, changed to 10:00). Please check your areas for any potential violations.

• Friday’s EA Extravaganza and Grading Day – A repeat from last week, but this Friday EAs are supposed to attend the annual EA Extravaganza at the Ed Center, 7:45-2:30. Teachers, HR did email grading day expectations this past week to principals, which is the same as in the past (Notify me if you’re working from home, make plans if you need to collaborate with colleagues, and do make sure you are working and not running errands around town, in which case we’ll lose this flexibility in the future.). Report cards will go home Friday, Feb. 17th, so specialists should give classroom teachers your reports by Feb. 14th, so they will have adequate time to stuff report card envelopes.

• February PBIS Focus: Cooperation – The February PBIS monthly focus is Cooperation. The PBIS team created 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.

• Free Atlas Class Sets – A parent in Linda Kirk’s classroom who works for AAA contacted her about free 2016 Atlases. He thought he may have enough to give a class set to almost every classroom. Let me know by Friday if you’d like a set. First come, first serve!

• Perfect Attendance Awards – Lupe asked me last week about recognizing some of her students who had perfect attendance first semester (no tardies or absences). I wanted to extended the same opportunity to other classrooms if you’d like me to give a 30-second award presentation to perfect attenders in your classroom (or even ones who you know are close to perfect). Attached in my email is a list of all the students with perfect attendance just four days shy of the semester break (Sorry Natalie, Kealy, and Justine. You didn’t have any qualifying students.). I’ll run the final list on grading day, but if you’d like me to recognize students in your class, just give me a date and time to come in next week and I can make a big deal about regular attendance.

• New Building Updates – Here are the items of note regarding our new building:

• Speaker Sound Levels – The AMX folks did a firmware update last week that fixed some of our sound issues, but it also reset the individual audio levels in classrooms and different areas around the building, making most of them very loud. They are working on it over the weekend, but please let me know if the audio in your classroom is too loud or too quite after this weekend.

• Water Issues
– I don’t have much of an update from Facilities, but they are working on figuring out what’s happening with the tap water from classroom faucets. They’ve had plumbers come out last week and they suspect it’s white water, which is where water comes out of the tap looking cloudy or milky and then clears up in a minute or so. According the above link, it’s completely harmless and is just bubbles, but in the long run it is something Facilities will need to fix. More to come on this. 

• Early Intervention Open House/Parent Night – If you’re wondering what this event on the calendar is, SSD is holding a district wide open house for families of preschool age students in SPED programs who will be entering kindergarten next year. The idea behind the open house is to give incoming families an idea of what SPED services look like at the elementary level, which are quite different from early intervention programs like EC Cares and Head Start, before these families go into their IFSP to IEP transition meetings. SPED teachers and primary grade teachers already know this, but families at these meetings often come with unrealistic expectations of what SPED services will look like and are available. 

• Study: Gender stereotypes start early – Gender stereotypes about intelligence form around the first grade, according to a study published in Science (see articles here from The Atlantic and NPR). The study of hundreds of children in Illinois ages 5 to 7 found that 6-year-old girls were less likely to play games for “really, really smart” people and to label other girls as “really, really smart.”

• 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:

January 30 (M)
7:50-11:45, Data Team Meetings (Conference Room)
2:30-3:30, Allan to IEP Meeting (Conference Room)

January 31 (T)
Regular Day

February 1 (W)
No Title 1 Wednesday
4:00-5:00, Allan to North Region Principals’ Meeting (NEHS)

February 2 (H)
Science Kits Due Back
9:00-11:00, Allan to ILT Meeting (Ed Center)

February 3 (F)
No School — Semester Grading Day
7:45-2:30, Elementary EA Extravaganza (Ed Center)

February 6 (M)
National School Counseling Week
Second Semester Begins
1:00-2:00, OBOB Games – All Teams (Library)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Pay Grade Evaluation Committee Meeting (Ed Center)

February 7 (T)
8:15-11:15, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)

February 8 (W)
Wacky Wednesday – Favorite Character Day
2:30-3:30, PBIS Meeting (Rae’s Room, A101)
6:00-7:30, Allan and SPED Teachers to Early Intervention Open House/Parent Night (Cafeteria, Gym, Community Room)

February 9 (H)
Regular Day

February 9 (F)
Deadline for Report Card Translations
1:00-2:00, OBOB Games (Library)

Have a good four-day week, everyone!