March 6, 2017

By Allan  


Howdy Everyone,

This week is Classified Employee Appreciation Week, celebrated each year to honor our classified employees. If you never realized it, there are far more classified staff in our building than any other employee group, which means our school could not function without these awesome folks. Thank you for your dedication and tireless work here at Howard! We have a rockin’ classified staff who are the best around! Look for some goodies in your mailboxes this week as a small thank-you.

Fourteen items of note for this week:

• 2017-2018 Staffing Updates – Still no word on our ESC or Classified SPED staffing, which are kind of holding up finalizing our staffing plan for next school year. The licensed classroom plan is fairly straightforward with three classes at each grade level, but the classified staffing plan is what’s up in the air until we get the rest of our allocations from downtown.

And I changed the time for meeting with Title 1 EAs to the end of the day on Wednesday at 1:10. I also added other classified staff and licensed specialists to this optional 1:10 meeting who’d like to weigh in on potential staffing scenarios

• District Safety Drill Trainings – At last week’s All Admin Meeting, principals were given information about a rollout plan for safety drill trainings for students. Principals will be trained and will then train teachers on how to teach evacuation and lockdown drills to students, incorporating ALICE tenants, although the student training will be nothing like what staff went through (it’ll be more like a tabletop discussion for students). I’ll have more details later, but in April there will be district communication going home with families about the safety drills. In May, teachers will do tabletop discussion exercises on these safety drills with students (not actually practicing the drills).

On a related note, principals also received a Care Team supply package (this is the district team who responds with on-site counselors if there is a tragedy, not our Student Care Team). The package is stored in the nurses office, though hopefully we’ll never need to use it.

• Buses and Student Dismissal – Several of the bus drivers have asked that teachers to please be timely with student dismissal. There have been a few instances lately of classes not being released until close to or after 2:10, which causes some of our buses who later have to pick up students at other schools.

• 10-Day Notification for Bus Requests – If teachers need to request a bus for field trips, the Transportation Department requires at least 10 business days prior to  the field trip in order to schedule a bus.

• DreamBox and SBAC Practice Test Links – From our PD Day on Friday, there is now a link to DreamBox on all the Links for Learners webpages on the Howard website. Also, Peggy pushed out the K-2 and 3-5 DreamBox Apps to all student iPads. She is going to check on Monday to make sure it finished installing. And related to the SBAC Test Security Training, remember there is a link to the New OAKS SBAC Practice Test on the 2-3 and 4-5 Links for Learning.

• Student Care Team Referrals – The March Student Care Team is meeting in a couple weeks, which means referrals are due to me by Friday next week. Referrals can be for families seeking help or community resources in most any area. Food assistance, incarcerated parents, counseling/mental health needs, parenting resources, transportation assistance, clothing needs, financial assistance, and any other situation where a family is looking for help. Try to get a parent/guardian signature on the release form (editable PDF and non-editable PDF, but know that you can also refer “hypothetical” situations.

• Care Team Resources – Related to the above item, below are a few new resources we learned about at the February Student Care Team Meeting if you know of any families who can use these:

• Family Preparedness Plan for Undocumented Families – Linked here is a Family Preparedness Plan for Undocumented Families created by the Oregon Law Center and LatinoNetwork.

• SNAP Training & Employment Partnership (STEP)STEP is for people receiving SNAP (food stamps) who need assistance with employment and/or training. DHS has contracted partners who can help with supports such as work related transportation, interview clothing, career advancement, training, budgeting, etc. The individual can contact any of the partners listed on the flyer. The back shows which partners may be able to help with what supports.

• Collaborative Parenting Series The Collaborative Parenting Series is a weekly group for parents and caregivers of children with challenging behaviors and/or mental health concerns.

• March PBIS Focus: Safe Bodies – The March PBIS monthly focus is Safe Bodies. The PBIS team created a PBIS/CFK Cheat Sheet that matches our PBIS monthly themes with corresponding Caring for Kids (CFK) class meeting lessons. This is an easy way to tie the two activities together.

• ACE Awards Nominations – In case you missed the Ace Awards nominations email, they are now accepting nominations for this school year. If you’d like to nominate any of your colleagues, either licensed, classified, or volunteers, follow this link to the Ace Awards website. Nominations are due the day before spring break, Friday, March 24th.

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

• Furniture Timeline – I keep getting silence from Facilities when I keep asking for an update on our furniture requests. I’ll keep you posted.

• Summer School Reprieve – I got word that Howard will not be the home of Summer School or KITS this year due to different repairs happening over the summer to the playground (adding rubber matting under swings & slides, and adding a wheelchair swing), and grounds work to the bus loop and parking lot areas (digging up the slews and also repairing the crooked lamp posts). I’m pretty sure we’ll be hosting summer programs in the future, but at least for this summer you won’t have to hide all of your valuables.

• 6 tips for better communication with parents – Empathy can help enrich communication with parents, educator Terri Eichholz writes in this blog post. She shares communication lessons for new teachers based on her 26 years of experience in the classroom, including being proactive, don’t take it personally, asking parents for advice, getting involved in the community, choosing your battles, and admitting when you’re wrong.

• People With ADHD Have Different Brains – Linda Kirk shared with me an article about the largest-ever brain imaging study on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that led scientists to say the condition should be considered a neurological disorder, not just a behavioral one. The research notes that certain brain structures related to emotion and reward are smaller in people with the disorder.

• Reading, play replace homework at one school – Howard tried this one year and it’s since faded, but this article notes that research shows homework in elementary school may not boost academic achievement. Educators at a Vermont elementary school are testing a “no homework” policy that instead encourages reading, play, and a good night’s sleep.

• 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:

March 6 (M)
Classified Employees Appreciation Week
2:30-3:00, Allan meeting with KG Team (KG Wing)
3:00-3:30, Allan meeting with 1st Grade Team (1st Grade Wing)

March 7 (T)
2:30-3:00, Allan meeting with 2nd Grade Team (2nd Grade Wing)
3:00-3:30, Allan meeting with 3rd Grade Team (3rd Grade Wing)
4:00-6:00, EEA Outdoor Classroom Management Seminar (School Garden)

March 8 (W)
Wacky Wednesday – Crazy Hair Day
Title 1 Progress Monitoring Day – No Groups
School Choice Lottery Results Emailed to Parents
1:00-1:30, Allan meeting with Title 1, SPED, and Building Classified & Licensed Specialists Staff (Title 1 Room)
1:30-2:00, Allan meeting with 4th Grade Team (4th Grade Wing)
2:00-2:30, Allan meeting with 5th Grade Team (5th Grad Wing)
2:30-3:30, Alan to IEP Meeting (Conference Room)
2:30-3:30, PBIS Meeting (Rae’s Room, A101)

March 9 (H)
8:00-4:00, Allan to LEL Meeting (Willagillespie)

March 10 (F)
Regular Day

March 12 (SU)
Daylight Savings Time – Spring Forward

March 13 (M)
PTO Penny War Begins
2:30-3:30, Allan to IEP Meeting (Conference Room)

March 14 (T)
9:30-11:30, Vaughan’s class at Museum of Natural History

March 15 (W)
Staffing Plans Due to HR
9:30-11:30, Zimmerman’s class at Museum of Natural History
2:30-3:30, Grade Level Meeting Time (Jenny’s Room, C203)
2:30-4:30, 4J PE Workshop (Gym)
3:30-4:30, 4J Technology Dept. Input Session (Madison)

March 16 (H)
8:30-2:00, Kreider/Shadwick to Museum of Natural and Cultural History
9:00-11:30, Allan to ILT Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30, Taking it Up/Carrying it Forward Meeting (Conference Room)

March 17 (F)
St. Patrick’s Day
7:30-9:00, Allan to 4JMAPS Meeting

March 18 (SA)
9:00-11:00, OBOB Regional Competition (NEHS)


Over the weekend Julie emailed me the results from our Book Fair. Total sales were $9,060.00 and approximately 500 books sold. Record sales and a record turn out! Thursday night sales alone were $4,700.00.

Thank you everyone who came out to help at Literacy Night! It was an amazing turnout of families and I think the night was a huge success. Thank you, everyone!