August 28, 2017

By Allan  


Welcome Back Howard Roadrunners!

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone this week! Here’s the first edition of my weekly staff announcements. For new staff and as a reminder to Howard veterans, it’s my intent with these announcements to share informational and business items here rather than taking up Staff Meeting time. It’s also my intention to avoid cluttering up your inboxes throughout the week and to instead send only one email per week to all staff (though I don’t always achieve that goal). Typically I send these out Sunday morning and my hope is for staff read them by Tuesday evening.

A whopping thirty-one items of note for this week:

• Staffing Updates – Michelynah Anderegg is our new part-time Speech Teacher who will be working to help our full-time SLP, Shelley, with her growing caseload. Michelynah will also work part-time at Willagillespie. Over in Life Skills, SSD has hired Susan Schueller as a 1:1 EA, and has also hired Alison Stewart and Cindy Winkle as general Life Skills EAs, filling vacancies left by Rachel and Rebecca. In the CLC, SSD has hired Melva Smith as a 4-hour CLC EA, which is a new position to support our additional 0.5 licensed CLC time, and has also hired Melissa Lake as a 1:1 CLC EA, filling Cass’ vacancy. Linked here is the complete 2017-2018 Howard Staff List of all the folks working in our building this year, all 93 of them. We’re still waiting on HR to hear who our new BEST Coordinator and new Title 1 EA will be, but please welcome these fine new folks to the Howard Team!

• Updated 2017-2018 Master Schedule – Linked here is a slightly updated 2017-2018 Master Schedule (PDF and Excel). At the request of Kindergarten and 5th grade, some of their core times shifted around and one PE class changed times, but everything else is the same.

• Library Times Sign-Up – If teachers would like to set a time for your class to visit the library each week, please contact our stellar librarian, Julie Hopkins, in person or by email at

• Classroom Schedules to Lori – Speaking of classroom schedules, as teachers finish up your daily schedules, remember to give Lori a copy. The master schedule has most of this information, but it doesn’t always reflect Classroom Buddy times, Library times, or other regularly scheduled activities outside of the classroom.

• Class Lists Posted Friday, Sept. 1 – Like we did last year, class lists will be posted on Friday, September 1st at 12:00. This year I learned a trick from another school to stay in compliance with district privacy rules, while making it easier for families to see the lists, which is to post the lists on an exterior window, but only list first name and last initial.

• Meet Your Teacher Plan – During Meet Your Teacher on Tuesday next week, September 5th at 1:00, I’d like to repeat what we did last year, having all non-classroom staff available to direct families, passing out school maps with highlighters to help guide families, and also passing out a flyer about parking lot procedures. We’ll also arm people with a complete set of class lists to be used this day and also on the first day of school.

And since we got too busy with opening the new building to do this last year, this year I’m planning to copy this very cool viral video of What is your hope? and will be out front during Meet Your Teacher with a white board doing this.

• First Day of School Plan – Last year we had a fairly involved plan for the first day of school since we were opening a brand new building, but this year we can scale things back since kids and families are now more familiar with the new building. However, the morning of the first two days of school I would still like to have all-hand-on-deck. At 7:25, when the doors first open, all available staff should to be on hand help guide students to the cafeteria, help supervise on the playground, and then when the first bell rings at 7:50, help students find their classrooms. Staff helping in front of the building should again hold onto their class lists and maps from the day before to help guide families. In my announcements next week, I’ll have a map of where everyone will be stationed.

On a related note, at our Back-to-School Staff Meeting, I’d like to know if teachers would like to to some sort of all-school kick-off assembly the first day of school. It might be a good time to kick-off PBIS, PIRDE, the Roadrunner Pledge, or just a fun Let’s-Make-this-a-Great-Year type of assembly to launch the year. Feel free to let me know your thoughts or ideas on this before our Staff Meeting Wednesday.

• Classroom AMX Refresher/Into Training – The Technology Department is offering an optional training/refresher on how to use the classroom AMX System (cord set-up, connecting laptops for video/sound, whiteboard interactivity, voice amplification, ENZO, etc.) this Wednesday at 3:15. Any staff unfamiliar with these systems should attend and anyone wanting a refresher is also invited to come. The Tech Department wants to get an idea of how many people will be there, so let me know if you are planning to attend.

• New Room Number Plates Coming Late – We’re having trouble with the company making the name plates for our new room numbers, so it’s possible we won’t have them installed by the first day of school. In any case, we’re sticking with our simplified Classroom Re-Numbering and for now teachers should put a room number in your “Slide-In” name plate outside your classrooms.

• Preschool Promise Update – I think most people assumed our preschool program was continuing this year, but we actually were waiting with baited breath over the summer for the legislature to reauthorize the Preschool Promise Grant that’s funding our program. The legislature did reauthorize the grant and actually funded it for two years, so that is fabulous news!

• Artist in Residence – More good news! I don’t have to scramble to secure grant funds for an artist in residence this year and instead the Eugene Rotary is working with downtown to bring Artists in Residence to the ten schools in 4J with the highest poverty and to offer matching funds for the remaining schools. The only thing they ask for in return is that schools (or at least some classes) make a larger project instead of individual ones that the Rotary Club can auction off at a future Art Spark fundraiser to continue supporting artists in schools. I’ll get more information on this later, but in the meantime, feel free to browse the Lane Arts Artist in Residence website for artists we might want to select and also think about when you might want them to come. In the past we’ve scheduled artists toward the end of the school year. Feel free to let me know your thoughts on this.

• Classified & Licensed Goals and Self Assessment – All staff, both classified and licensed, need to complete a self assessment before the end of September. Licensed staff need to complete their self assessment in TalentEd. Classified staff need to complete the Classified Employee Self Assessment form. However, a welcome change for classified staff is that if you completed an end-of-year self assessment last school year, you do not need to do another self assessment this fall. I know all classified folks who were at Howard last year completed this form, but if you’re new to Howard, please complete the self assessment and return it to me or let me know if you completed the form at a prior school and I will contact that administrator.

• Building Google Calendar – For new staff, at the bottom of my weekly announcements is a two week calendar and also a link to the Howard Building Google Calendar for the entire school year. If you use Google Calendars yourself, you can add the Howard Building Calendar to your list of Google Calendars by clicking one of the calendar links in my blog and then clicking the +Google Calendar icon located at the bottom right of the calendar webpage. This will add the building calendar to your list of Google Calendars if you’re logged onto your Google account (whether that’s your personal account or your 4J Google account). You can also add this calendar to most any calendar app you might use. Let me or our TSS, Peggy, know if you would like any help with this.

• Friday Folders/School-Home Communication – Also for staff new to the building, we made an agreement last year that all classrooms will send home information the same day (Fridays) in the cleverly named Friday Folders. This makes communication easier for families and for people needing to send home school wide information.

• LearnZillion Resources – This may get reviewed at Friday’s math training, but linked here are the LearnZillion Handouts and LearnZillion Presentation from the introduction training we had last spring. One item to highest is the LearnZillion website for teachers at Just go to that address on any device and click “Log in with Clever.” Then enter your 4J email username (no and password. From there you will be able to access all of the units, lesson, and a variety of video, links, and other resources.

• Science Reminders – Last year, the district adopted the FOSS Science curriculum. You can access all teacher guides and student information through their website – You will first need to register for an account using your 4J email and password that you will create. Once you have registered, send Allison an email at with the grade that you will be teaching and she will send you a code that will allow you to view all of the “kits” that you will be teaching this year.

You can also access many valuable resources through the 4J Elementary Science Blog. One nice resource is the Questions/Answers page. These are all questions and answers that teachers had the first year of teaching science and hopefully will help you in your first year.

• PBIS Team Leaders – I accidentally left it off my final announcements last school year, but Rae and Jill will be the PBIS Team leaders this year.

• Monthly PBIS Focus: Safety – The September PBIS monthly focus is Safety, which all classroom teachers should take time review with students. Remember that you can use the PBIS/CSC Cheat Sheet, which matches our PBIS monthly themes with Caring School Community class meeting lessons. This is a nice way to tie the PBIS and CSC together!

• Relationships Matter More Than Rules – Related to the above, here’s an article from Edutopia on the importance of building positive relationships and creating positive community within the classroom at the start of the school year. Meaningful relationships matter for learning. The rules and policies you enforce are important for keeping a well-managed class, but rather than emphasizing control over your students, developing community and connection is a surefire ingredient for a good school year for all. Try the strategies in the linked article to begin forging strong relationships.

• Free Meals for All Students – Just as we did last year, all Howard students, along with Chavez, River Road, and McCornack, will receive free lunch and breakfast without their families having to complete any paperwork. This was a four year grant and does not need to be renewed until the 2020-2021 school year.

Frank sent me this photo from his summer travels of a principal at a Masai elementary school showing their free meal program of beans and maize, which certainly gives perspective.

• How to Hang Things on Walls – If you want to hang anything on the walls or other surfaces, be sure to use either tape (but not duct tape, which leaves sticky residue), sticky tack, command hooks, or most anything that doesn’t poke a hole in the wall or will leave behind imperfections when they’re removed. If you have something heavy you want to hang, like a picture frame, let our lead custodian, Crystal, know and she’ll install a district approved wall-hanger.

• Display Case Keys – We finally have extra keys for the glass display cases in the commons area of each wing. I’d like each wing to have a designated “Key Master” who will be the keeper of the display case keys, so let me know once folks in your wing have decided who that will be.

• Building Facilities Updates – Here are several facilities related items that are simply for your information:

• Window Tinting – An ongoing issue with the new building is too much light shining onto boards when when trying to use the projectors (and in the faces of students in classrooms with east or west facing windows). Facilities and PiVOT Architecture have been working on a solution over the summer and are now getting pricing. I’m still trying to get a clear answer from our project manager if this means dark curtains or window tinting or both (he’s pretty busy right now trying to get River Road to open on time). The timeline for this is also up in the air.

• Playground Numbers & Lines – Facilities is supposed to extend our number line around the playground to 100. Once they finish this I’ll make a new map of where each classroom will line-up, which will now allow us to space lines apart more easily.

• Playground Benches – Benches are going to be installed soon around the playground perimeter, which will be a nice improvement for recess and also for community use.

• New Fencing – Additional fences are being installed to enclose the playground area. There is one fence behind the school to limit traffic from the park entrance, one fence limiting access from in front of the school, and one small fence connecting the track fence and a neighbor’s fence. These should be completed this week.

• Playground Rubber Mats – Rubber mats are being installed under the swings, slide and the large spinner. This should be finished early this week. I’m waiting to hear when the wheelchair swing will be installed.

• Rain Swales – This is the fancy name for the ditches in the parking lot. They are going to get fresh soil and get seeded this week, so hopefully it will look nicer out front soon.

• Bongos on the Playground – The new Beat Club piece of playground equipment was installed over the summer where the rainbow ball piece of equipment was originally installed last year before it had to be removed for safety reasons.


• Putting in Tickets for Technology Help – As a reminder to staff, if you ever need assistance with anything technology related, you should send an email to or call x7777, but not emailing Peggy directly. The reasons staff staff are asked to put in tickets are numerous, including but are not limited to:

• To get an accurate accounting of the workload for your schools
• To obtain statistics on the overall workload for all TSS
• To justify the existence of site-based TSS
• To get statistics on the type of requests coming in, so they can target training and other resources.
• To see historical data for devices and problems
• Because TSS assignments can change at any time
• To better allocate TSS staffing.

This is important because a low number of tickets could indicate that a school doesn’t need as much tech support time as it is currently getting. In looking at current data, they believe this is because the staff at some schools may be emailing or talking directly to the TSS instead of putting in a ticket.

• REPEAT: Inservice Week Calendar – A repeat from last week, but below is a summary of Inservice week activities. Take special note of the district sponsored event on Thursday and Friday, as there are a number of required trainings for both licensed and classified staff:

August 29 (T) – Teachers report back and this is a protected planning day. I’ll have some breakfast goodies, coffee, and drinks in the Staff Room at 8:00 to welcome folks back and meet new staff members.

August 30 (W) – Classified staff report back this day, and all staff will be attending a PD session on Trauma Informed Practices, co-led by former Howard teacher Kim Reinhardt. We’ll be joined by Awbrey Park staff (Madison had to drop out but SSD may allow another school to join) and will meet from 8:00-10:00 in the cafeteria. Following that PD, we’ll hold a short Howard Staff Meeting, 10:00-12:00, for some nuts-and-bolts items. Later in the day at 3:15, the Technology Department is offering an optional training/refresher on how to use the classroom AMX System (cord set-up, connecting laptops for video/sound, whiteboard interactivity, voice amplification, ENZO, etc.). Any staff unfamiliar with these systems should attend. The Tech Department wants to get an idea of how many people will be there, so let me know if you are planning to attend.

August 31 (H) – The district Back-to-School Event at South Eugene High School is this morning, 8:30-10:30. Following that, there will be multiple trainings for licensed and classified staff (primarily specialists) this day. Linked here is the updated Back-to-School In-Service Schedule.

September 1 (F) – All licensed classroom, Title 1, and SPED staff will attend the the all-day Math/LearnZillion Training, 8:00-3:00. Grades K-2 will meet at Holt and grades 3-5 will meet at Howard. All Classified SSD (SPED) staff will attend a training this same morning 8:00-12:00 led by the Student Services Department staff. Location is TBA. Also, at 12:00 this day, class lists will be posted.

September 4 (M) – Labor Day, No School

September 5 (T) – I have a placeholder Staff Meeting from 8:00-10:00 scheduled this day if anything comes up that can’t wait for our first regular staff meeting. At 10:00, I’ve scheduled a Q&A Session for New Staff Members to meet with me in the office to answer any questions you might have. I can get busy durning in-service week and may not always be easy to find, so I’ve set this time aside to be available for new folks. Also, “Meet Your Teacher” will be from 1:00-2:00, when families can come see their classrooms, drop off supplies, and meet with staff.

• REPEAT: Breakfast Burrito Orders Due 8/27 – If you haven’t already, the deadline to order a breakfast burrito is today (Sunday, August 27th). On Wednesday we’ll have yummy burritos in the Staff Room from 7:30-8:00 before the Trauma Informed Practices PD. If you’d like a burrito, complete linked Burrito Order Google Form ASAP. If you’re having trouble getting access to the Google form, make sure you’re logged onto your 4J Google account using your 4J email address and password.

• FREE Architects in Schools Program – For over 40 years, the Architecture Foundation of Oregon’s Architects in Schools program has matched professional architects and engineers with 3rd through 5th grade teachers for a FREE 6-week classroom residency. The curriculum uses architecture and engineering concepts to teach math, science, social studies, language arts and other disciplines, includes sustainable design concepts and can incorporate the engineering and design standards. Follow this link for Additional Information and follow this link to the Teacher Application. Deadline to apply is October 6, 2017.

• Health and Safety Reminders – Downtown asked principals to remind staff of some health and safety reminders as we start another school year. See Risk Management’s email for the complete Safety Reminder List, but here some highlights:

• Rugs/Carpet/Mats – All throw rugs not on carpet should be adhered to the floor with custodial department approved tape.
• Linens: pillows, animals, blankets, etc. – Create a housekeeping plan to ensure proper hygiene (i.e. bed bugs, mites, and other allergens).
• Food/Storage – All food must be kept in an identified sealable plastic container. Alternatively, closed bags may be stored in drawers or other pest preventable areas.
• Clutter – Electrical panels need to have direct access and at least 36 inches of clear space in front of them. To prevent fire, power cords should not be “daisy chained.”

• District Admin Updates – Several admin changes happend around the district over the summer. Peter Barsotti is the new principal at Madison Middle School, as Scott Marsh moves to Edison. Peter was previously a middle school principal in Fern Ridge. Jim Moore is the new principal at Edgewood Elementary School, as Larry Williams moves to ATA. Jim was previously the assistant principal at Thurston Middle School in Springfield. I don’t usually share assistant principal changes, but since it’s North Region, Trinity Welch-Radabaugh is the new AP at North Eugene High School, as Tracy Ross is moving to Sheldon. Trinity was previously an assistant principal at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis. At the Ed Center, Susan Lorow is a new SSD administrator, taking the place of KC Clark as the HS SPED administrator. Susan comes from Frederick County Public Schools in Maryland where she was a principal, school psychologist, and most recently in a similar student services position. Sue Wilson will is joining the Instruction Department as a K–12 curriculum administrator, replacing Maddy Ahearn, focusing on math, science, health, and PE. Sue is had been working at ODE as the applied math/STEM education program specialist.

• Classrooms That Close the Digital Divide – “Overall, students who are black, Hispanic, or low-income are more likely to use computers for drill and practice, whereas students who are white or high-income are more likely to use computers for simulations or authentic applications,” says Molly Zielezinski in this article from American Educator. Her suggestions for more equitable outcomes:

• Use technology to engage students. Authentic tasks grounded in relevant, ongoing work with a real purpose. A few high-quality tools:

– Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) – An open-source platform for concept mapping and visual representations:

– Canva – A content-creation tool that allows users to design presentations, social media graphics, posters, book covers, and business cards:

– Declara – An educator’s tool to curate collections of learning resources and collaborate within collections by sharing insights and posing and responding to questions:

These types of applications are preferable to those that have students memorizing facts, applying rules, and drilling basic skills.

• Let students create original digital content. This might include crafting multi-media stories, filming and producing documentaries, designing posters, leveraging social media as a tool for teaching and learning, and publishing wikis, blogs, or websites.

• Pick digital tools that promote interactivity. Zielezinski recommends that teachers and administrators “engage with the digital tool – get your hands dirty with the technology and use it the way students will… Does the app or program allow students to construct their own understanding of complex phenomena? Does it encourage students to represent thinking in multiple forms (text, pictures, videos, digital interactions, or some combination of these)? Will students engage with data or true-to-life simulations? Will they use sensors to measure real-life phenomena? These are some of the markers of digital tools that support learning.”

• Let students share their expertise with an authentic audience. Students do better work when they are communicating with people outside the classroom, locally or globally, who have shared interests, questions, and goals.

• Find the right blend of teaching and technology. Teachers “must play a crucial role in supporting the content students get through digital learning,” says Zielezinski. This includes real-time feedback and orchestrating productive peer interaction.

• 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:

August 29 (T)
Teachers Return – Planning Day
8:00-8:30, Welcome Back Breakfast Goody Gathering

August 30 (W)
Classified Staff Return
7:30-8:00, Welcome Back Breakfast Burrito Gathering (Staff Room)
8:00-10:00, Howard/Awbrey Park Trauma Informed Practices PD (Cafeteria)
10:00-12:00, Howard Staff Meeting (Cafeteria)
3:15-3:45, Optional AMX Training/Refresher (TBA)

August 31 (H)
7:30-8:30, District Staff Back-to-School Breakfast & Social (SEHS)
8:30-10:30, District Staff Back-to-School Event & Speeches (SEHS)
10:30, Specialist Staff In-Services (Various Locations)

September 1 (F)
8:00-3:00, K-5 Math Professional Development (K-2 Holt, 3-5 Howard)
8:00-12:00, All Classified SSD (SPED) Staff Training (TBA)
12:00, Class Lists Posted

September 4 (M)
Labor Day – No School

September 5 (T)
8:00-10:00, Potential Staff Meeting (Volunteer’s Room)
10:00, Q&A Session for New Staff – Optional (Conference Room)
1:00-2:00, Meet Your Teacher

September 6 (W)
Classes Begin
PBIS Monthly Theme – Safety
7:15-8:00, Cup of Joe with the PTO (Front of School)

September 7 (H)
Regular Day

September 8 (F)
Regular Day

Enjoy your final Monday of the summer!