March 13, 2017

By Allan  


Hello Roadrunners,

Along with the improved weather last Friday, student behavior seemed to improve as well. Hopefully both of those things will continue, but as we go into the last two weeks of school before spring break, keep in mind that student behaviors tend to ramp up. Staff should take time to do extra pre-teaching of school rules and expectations these next two weeks to help students be successful, rather than assuming “they should know this by now.” Give yourself permission to slow down to take those few extra moments for pre-teaching with the entire group and/or with certain individuals, which can make a world of difference for the better.

Twenty items of note for this week:

• 2017-2018 Staffing Updates – See the separate email for details on next year’s staffing plan that I’m planning to submit to HR.

• Staff Meeting Wednesday at 1:30 – On the calendar this Wednesday it was originally Grade Level Team Meeting time at 2:30, but I’m cancelling that to instead hold an All-Staff Meeting for both licensed and classified staff who are still on the clock at 1:30 in the cafeteria to go over a required district training on supporting undocumented students. I was originally hoping to do this at our April Staff Meeting, but that meeting will now be dominated by the district student safety drill training rollout. For teachers, your hour of uninterrupted prep will be from 2:30-3:30 this week and we’ll resume our regular Grade Level Team Meetings on Learning Targets in April.

• Taking It Up Seminar Returns – What is Taking It Up? It’s a 2-day seminar (May 1st and 2nd) focused on supporting educators deepen their understanding of institutionalized racism and bring to light the barriers that continue to exist for many of our students, fellow colleagues, and community members. See the linked email for additional details, but downtown is paying registration fees and for subs for two staff members (classified and/or licensed) to attend, though we may be able to send additional staff. The objectives of this seminar are to:

• Develop a deeper personal awareness about how “who you are impacts” your work in schools and with students.
• Deepen your understanding of Oregon’s history and context around race, racism and racial achievement disparities.
• Become more aware of your own attitudes, values and beliefs about race.
• Develop a stronger awareness of racism and its impact on yourself and others.
• Learn skills for talking to other staff, parents, and students about race and addressing issues you encounter.

If you’d like to attend, please let me know by the end of the week. If you have questions about the seminar, we have quite a few Howard staff who’ve attended and can share the experiences.

• Social Emotional Curriculum Inventory (Due Wednesday) – Downtown is gathering an inventory list of curriculum across the district for social emotional learning. Teachers, email me by Wednesday what social emotional curriculum materials you have and also email me if you have nothing. Examples would be Caring School Community, Second Step, Stop/Walk/Talk, Zones of Regulation, Steps to Respect, Bucket Filling, or any similar programs. Also, downtown is asking if there’s any specific curriculum you would like to have that you do not currently have.

• Caring School Community Materials – Related to the above, I’d asked downtown to order additional Caring School Community (Caring for Kids) kits earlier this year for classes who did not have them. They finally arrived last week, but I’ve now forgotten who needed them, so let me know if you need of a K-2 or a 3-5 kit. On a related note, I still have a couple copies of Closing Circles: 50 Activities for Ending the Day in a Positive Way to help with closing meeting ideas if anyone would like a free copy of this handy little guide.

• Night Custodian Interviews 3/17 2:15-3:45 – Crystal, myself, and the Lead Custodian from Kelly MS will be holding interviews for our 10-month night custodian position this Friday, 2:15-3:45 in the Conference Room. We don’t require additional staff for interviews, but the committee is open if anyone is interested in joining. Just let me know.

• 2017-2018 Preschool Applications – Although our preschool has not yet officially gotten funding from the state for next year, United Way and 4J are moving forward with enrolling students for next school year since we’re getting every indication that the Preschool Promise program will be part of the state budget. If you know of any families who are 200% below the poverty level with kids who will be 3-4 years old by September 1st, please encourage them to complete and return the linked Preschool Promise 2017-2018 Interest Cards (English and Spanish), which can also be found on the Howard Preschool webpage. Our goal is for most of the preschool students to live in our attendance area so that it will be serving families already planning to attend Howard K-5.

• Student Care Team Referrals – The March Student Care Team is meeting in next week, which means referrals are due to me by this Friday. Referrals can be for families seeking help for food assistance, incarcerated parents, counseling/mental health needs, parenting resources, transportation assistance, clothing needs, financial assistance, or most any other situation where a family is looking for help but does not know where to turn. 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.

• 2017-2018 Supply Lists – Yes, we’re actually getting ready for this. If teams want to start looking at their supply lists for next school year, we’re going to ask for updates to be completed by early next month. One thing I’m trying out this year is an option for families to order all school supplies online and have them delivered as a package to their homes. The prices seem pretty reasonable and it doesn’t cost the school anything, so we’ll see if it’s something worth continuing in the future. Linked here is the 2016-2017 Supply List if teams have updates to send to Lori.

• UO Opera Assembly About Bullying – I received an email from the University of Oregon about a free assembly put on by professional opera singers in April and May focused on bullying. Their goal is to create awareness about opera and social issues. Teachers, let me know if you’d be interested in your class attending such a performance and if I hear from enough people I’ll set it up.

• Unsupervised Kids in Community Room – We’ve had a few different instances of kids being given permission by staff to eat lunch in the Community Room and then left unsupervised. Along the lines of what Risk Management had principals share in last week’s announcements, students may not be in any unsupervised rooms/spaces in the building. It’s perfectly fine for staff to eat lunch with students in the Community Room, but staff must remain with students so they are supervised.

• Artist in Residence Update – The Rainy Day Blues will be our artist in residence this year. Our first choice, Laura Jackson (wire sculpture) is having a baby and is taking time off for the remainder of the year. Our second choice, Kelly Thibodeaux (fiddle music), was only available for a two week period, which would not have been enough time to get to all classrooms. That left us with our third choice, The Rain Day Blues in Schools, who I am currently working with to hammer out dates and a schedule. More to come.

• Building Out of Warranty – Our building is now officially out of warranty as far as Todd Construction’s responsibility, but please continue to let me know of any and all problems you encounter. Even though different parts of the building may not be under warranty, some parts are and there is still bond money Facilities can access to fix various issues that are not. On a related note, there are still quite a few punch list items that are waiting to be fixed later this school year and over the summer.

• BEST Communication – As a follow-up to Shawn’s email last week, if anyone has any areas of concern or suggestions for improvement regarding BEST, please email that to Shawn. Also CC me on your communications to keep me in the loop.

• Social Media Reminder – Principals were asked to share the following: In the age of social media the lines and norms of what is appropriate and what is not appropriate have been changing. This is a gentle reminder to pay attention to what you post and with whom you share your posts. Nothing is private in the social media world. It is important to never post photos, names of, or conversations about our students, on social media. We cannot, with absolute certainty, predict how photos and conversations will be used once they are posted. Thanks – in the words of Bob Dylan…. “The Times They Are A-Changin”.

I’ll add one additional piece advice. Never put anything in an email, text, or social media that you wouldn’t be comfortable seeing on the cover of The Register Guard.

• OEA Students in the Lead: Culturally Responsive Teaching – March 18 (registration deadline March 13) – Principals were also asked to share that on Saturday, March 18, the 7th Annual OEA Symposium, “Students in the Lead: Culturally Responsive Teaching” will be held at OSU. This year, they welcome educator and author Zaretta Hammond for a day of provocative dialogue, discussion, and learning. The event takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 18 at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center on the Oregon State University Campus. See the linked flyer for additional information. Visit their website to register and if you have questions about registration, contact Penny Hildreth at or (503) 495-2135.

• Free VR Headset – A potential reward for folks who diligently read my announcements, if any of you would like to be entered into a drawing for a Virtual Reality Glasses Headset that I’ll donate for use here at school (it can even just be a reward for kids to play with), reply to this email by Tuesday saying you’d like to be entered. The winner will get their prize Wednesday. A semi-interesting side note, I wrote a **1/2 star review on Amazon for this headset, mainly saying how I thought my View-Master VR headset was better, so the company contacted me and offered to refund my money and let me keep the headset if I deleted my review (which I did).

• The Racist History of Dr. Seuss & What it Means in Today’s Social, Political & Educational Context – David shared with me an article about clearly racist cartoons by Dr. Seuss done early in his career, which brings up questions about how we celebrate Suess on his birthday during Read Across America. If you read down past the article into the comments section there’s a pretty interesting debate that in many ways reminds me of the recent debate at the University of Oregon over the whether to keep the name on Deady Hall, with someone being honored who clearly held racist views at one time and who later changed their views. 

• Relationship Refresh – “Relationships are the 13-letter F-word in education,” says student voice advocate Russell Quaglia. He argues that education policies don’t do enough to elevate human connections, even though educators on the ground know this work is central. In this issue of ASCD Express, they revisit their popular “Relationships First” theme with even more strategies and success stories from educators living the adage, “They don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” Follow the link above for articles including Helping Defiant Students Make a Plan for Better Behavior, Relationships Bloom When Students Are Seen and Heard, and Why Being a Teacher Is Like Being a Stand-Up Comedian.

And speaking of stand-up comedians, one Howard parent, Alex Elkin, who recently won a major stand-up competition in San Francisco who’s past winners include Louis C.K., Robin Williams, Ellen DeGeneres and Dana Carvey, is filming a Netflix stand-up special here in Eugene on April 1st!

• 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 13 (M)
PTO Penny War Begins
8:40, Allan Observing Classroom
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
3:15, Allan to Dentist
3:30, 4J Technology Dept. Input Session (Madison)
4:00-6:00, EEA Outdoor Classroom Management Seminar Part 2 (A205)

March 15 (W)
Staffing Plans Due to HR
9:30-11:30, Zimmerman’s class at Museum of Natural History
1:30-2:30, Staff Meeting on Supporting Undocumented Students and Families (Cafeteria)
2:30-3:30, Teacher 1-Hour of Uninterrupted Prep
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
9:00-11:00, 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
2:15-3:45, Night Custodian Interviews (Conference Room)

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

March 20 (M)
1:10, Earthquake/Fire Drill
4:00-5:30, Allan to All Admin Meeting (Ed Center)

March 21 (T)
7:15-11:45, Data Team Meeting (Conference Room)
8:15-11:15, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Mellissa’s Room, B203)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Community Room)

March 22 (W)
Title 1 Progress Monitoring Day – No Groups
2:30-3:30, Student Care Team Meeting (Conference Room)
6:00-7:00, Howard Kindergarten Round-Up (Library)

March 23 (H)
1:00-1:45, Tail Feather Reward
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Angela’s Room, B204)
2:30-3:30, Allan to Eval Planning Meeting (Conference Room)

March 24 (F)
10:30-12:30, Birthday Lunches With the Principal (Community Room)

March 27-31
Spring Break – No School

April 3 (M)
No School — Professional Development/Planning Day
PBIS Monthly Theme – Encouragement
8:00-3:30, Elementary EA Extravaganza
8:00-12:00, District Math PD (Howard)

April 4 (T)
Students Return

Just two more weeks until spring break!