May 22, 2017

By Allan  


Hello Awesome Staff,

A big thank you to teachers for going with the flow on the visit from Roseburg SD staff last week. They were quite impressed with what they saw and it’s a nice reminder of all the good instruction going on in our building that I think we often take for granted. They were impressed with how classrooms they used small group instruction for Tier II and Tier III reading and also for math booster , not to mention all of the technology integration (Robin told me one person even asked to take a picture of the directions she’d quickly typed and projected on her screen). Nice work, everyone!

Twelve items of note for this week:

• Staffing Update – HR has filled our vacant 5.75 hour Title 1 EA position for next school year. HR said we’re getting someone good, and it’s Chelsea Norris from Family School, who’s been a Kindergarten EA over there the past two years. Please welcome Chelsea to the Howard Team!

• District Math Updates – Maddie Ahearn shared several math updates at last week’s elementary principal meeting:

• Primary/Intermediate Math Teacher Leaders Needed – Maddie is opening up the math teacher leader positions for next year and those leaders do do not have to be our traditional teacher leader. They are also asking to have two reps this coming year, preferably a primary and intermediate rep. Linked here is a job description and a list of responsibilities (meetings, trainings, and trainings you would lead). Follow this link to the 2017-2018 Rep and Leadership Positions Google Sheet if you’d like to be a math teacher leader and/or any of the other positions.

• Math Manipulatives Coming in August – Math manipulatives have been ordered for the LearnZillion rollout next fall and are set to arrive in August. They have been ordered for both gen ed and SPED teachers.

• Revised April 3rd Math PDU – One last math update, the previous PDU certificate given to teachers incorrectly shorted you on PDU hours and a revised form will be put into mailboxes this week.

• PTO Meeting Updates – Thank you to the staff members who came to last Tuesday’s PTO Meeting. Parents definitely appreciate it. Here are three updates from that meeting:

• Fundraising District Policy Changes – Andrea Belz from Financial Services shared a draft fundraising policy that is most likely going into effect next year. The main changes are that if a fundraising event is held during the school day and students are pulled (such as the Tech Trot), the money has to go through the school accounts and not PTO accounts. Cookie Dough, Popcorn, or other fundraisers that don’t have an event type of activity stay the same.

The other change is progressive prizes, will no longer be allowed, such as if you bring in $100 for a fundraiser you get a limo ride, and if you bring in $200 you get a helicopter ride, etc. This wouldn’t apply to events like the Cookie Dough fundraiser since there isn’t a jog-a-thon or River Walk type of event happening during the school day, but it would apply to our Tech Trot. However, for rewards we can still do raffles for participation, classroom competitions, or overall school progressive prizes like if we bring in $1,000 the principal will shave his head, or $2,000 the principal will camp on the roof, etc.

• Popcorn Day Moving Next Year – There was a vote at the PTO meeting and popcorn day are going to be moved to Fridays next year. This day is much easier for our volunteers and has fewer conflicts.

• Sponge in the Face? – The School Carnival planners were wondering if there any staff members are willing to get a wet sponge in the face at a carnival booth they are considering doing. I did this at a prior school and it was a big hit. Let me know if any of you are game to get wet for a 30 minute block the night of the carnival!


• EEF Grant Timeline – The EEF Board meets on June 14th to review the grants and will notify grant winners soon thereafter.

• No More Spinners – If you missed my announcement on Friday or my post on the Howard Facebook Page, I’ve now banned the very trendy, very annoying spinners, which are really just toys masquerading as fidgets. Here’s what I posted on Facebook and will send out in the June newsletter, along with a link to the article Whirring, Purring Fidget Spinners Provide Entertainment, Not ADHD Help. So from they point forward, treat spinners as you would any other toy at school (a warning the first time and then taking it away if it appears again).

Fidgets and Toys

A reminder to families that students should not bring toys to school. This would include spinners, trading cards, action figures, etc. These items quickly become distractions in the classroom and create problems when they go missing or are traded at school. Please remind your child to not bring these items to school.

For those who benefit from having a fidget-type device at school, that can be part of a plan that is developed between the teacher and the family. We have an ample supply of less distracting fidgets at Howard.

• June Newsletter – Speaking of newsletters, we don’t usually have a June Newsletter, but I’m sending one and wanted to highlight a couple resources I’ll be sharing in the newsletter:

• Free Summer Lunches for Kids Ages 2-18 – Food for Lane County operates one of the largest summer food programs in the state. They provide free meals to youth ages 2 to 18. Most sites open June 26. To see a list of lunch sites, please visit the FOOD For Lane County website, or email, or call (541) 343-2822. The closest location is right next-door to us at River Road Park (AKA Emerald Park), which will serve lunch 12:00-1:00 pm June 26th-August 25th.

• Direction Services Summer Directory – Each year Direction Service publishes The Direction Summer Directory with resource for recreation, respite, support, and service opportunities that families of children with disabilities can access during the summer months. Attached and you can also access it via the Direction Service webpage.

• Friday Beep, Beep Drawing Prize Cards – Remind your kiddos to use their Friday Beep, Beep Drawing prize cards and/or return used one to the office after cashing them in. Our selection of prize cards in the office is getting rather thin.

• Change in the Oregon Accountability System – A major change is coming in the Oregon School and District Accountability System (i.e. state report cards) that was included in the Oregon ESSA Implementation Plan submitted by ODE to the US Education Department. If that plan is approved by USED then starting next year, the proficiency rates to be reported by ODE in the report cards would count each non-participant student, those opting out to state testing, as not being proficient. In other words, proficiency rates will be defined as the number of students reaching levels 3 or 4 divided by total enrollment. This change does not affect the student growth scores also included in the report cards. If our district OAKS non-participation rate continues to be about 10% in ELA and 12% in Math this change in calculation method will lead to a 10% – 12% reduction in the proficiency rates to be reported in our school and district report cards. This change will also affect all information about schools that includes proficiency rates in state tests, so any students who opted out of testing this year are really going to hurt us on our next state report card.

• Google Expeditions – For anyone teaching Social Studies lessons, you should check out Google Expeditions. This is a really cool tool for students to “explore” places through a set of goggles and a virtual experience (I believe it also works with a tablet and no VR goggles). See the above link for details.

• Teaching Tolerance Guide: Serving ELL Students and Families – Teaching Tolerance recently posted a new guide, Best Practices for Serving English Language Learners and Their Families. With sections centered on instruction, classroom culture, policies, and family and community engagement, the guide is packed with recommendations that can be applied across buildings.

• What’s driving adoption of Google in schools? – I’m actually working with Kim Finch on getting an Apple Distinguished Teacher to present on how they use Google Classroom at our October Howard PD Day, so this is a timely article. Google estimates that 15 million primary and secondary school students use Google Classroom. This article highlights the company’s journey into classrooms and how educators in the nation’s third-largest school district use Google products.

• 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 22 (M)
Last Week for Library Checkout
9:30-10:30, Allan to Tech Alignment Meeting (Kelly MS)
2:30-3:30, Site Council Meeting (Conference Room)
4:00-5:30, Allan to All Administrator Meeting (Ed Center)

May 23 (T)
Bianca Out
10:30, 5th Grade Class Photo (Old Howard Sign)
12:30-1:00, Allan to Truancy Hearing (Office)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Mellissa/Sarah’s Room, B203)

May 24 (W)
Title 1 Progress Monitoring Day – No Groups
2:00-3:00, District EA iPad Basics Workshop (STEM Room, A101)
2:30-3:30, Student Care Team Meeting (Conference Room)

May 25 (H)
Towel Day (if you’re a nerd, you’ll know what this is)
7:30-5:00, 2nd Grade Zoo Field Trip
10:30-12:30, May Birthday Lunches With the Principal (Community Room)
1:45, Allan to Truancy Hearing (Office)

May 26 (F)
No Students, Howard PD Day
8:00-12:00, Staff Meeting (Cafeteria)

May 29 (M)
No School – Memorial Day

May 30 (T)
Book Fair Set-Up
Last week of Counselor Classroom Lessons
8:00-12:00, Dental Clinic with Robin Wellwood (LCC)
9:00, Kelly students visit with Howard 5th graders
12:30, Tech Trot Limo and Ice Cream Reward
2:15, Kelly Staff Meet w/Howard Staff for Transition Meeting

May 31 (W)
BOGO Book Fair
9:00, 5th Grader Tour Kelly
10:30-12:30, Tech Trot Pizza w/the Principal

June 1 (H)
BOGO Book Fair
PBIS Monthly Theme – Celebrating Your Success
9:00-11:00, Allan to ILT Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Angela’s Room, B204)

June 2 (F)
BOGO Book Fair

Look forward to your 3-day weekend!