April 13, 2020

By Allan  


Hello Roadrunners,

Howard staff have totally “Apollo 13’ed” this whole school closure/quarantine thing! We’re the NASA engineers who saved the Apollo 13. No excuses. No whining. Just digging in, using the tools we have, and getting the job done. Kids are getting fed, learning is starting up, and people are working to get families’ needs met. Y’all are an amazing group of individuals to work with and I miss getting to see you all in person each day!



Fifteen items of note for this week and notes from last Friday’s Optional Staff Zoom Meeting:

• Elementary Distance Learning – Brooke Wagner emailed staff an Elementary Distance Learning Guide and although it’s long, it does provide a lot of clarity. It’s important, for reasons of equity, that grade levels, buildings, and schools across 4J are on the same page and giving students a similar distance learning experience.

This is the first week most students have devices, although many still do not have internet access, which means this week should focus on:

1) Reconnecting with students
2) Troubleshooting technology
3) Beginning to establish distance learning routines

And to highlight 3 important points in the guide:

• Teacher-Led Time – Do not exceed ODE daily maximum Teacher-Led times (K/1 45-minutes, 2/3 60-minutes, 4/5 90 minutes), though the above guide recommends starting with less. Teacher-Led includes synchronous and asynchronous time, as well as time students work independently to complete assignments.

• Essential Learning – With vastly reduced instructional time, make sure your activities and lessons focus ONLY on the essential ELA and Math skills for your grade level in the above guide.

• Office Hours – Let you families know your Office Hours and by which modes of communication you will be available (phone, text, email, Seesaw, and/or Zoom). Teachers should choose three 1-hour windows where they are available to parents, with one of the 1-hour.blocks being an evening time to accommodate working parents. And note that this is not a time for 1:1 tutoring, but is a time for parents to connect with teachers.

• 4J Message to Elementary Families – Principals were asked to share the linked Message to Elementary Families that was sent out by the district on Saturday, in both English and Spanish. It’s not new information to staff regarding distance learning expectations if you’ve kept up on emails, but just so you know what is being communicated to families and what they will be expecting.

• Tech Updates – Four technology related updates:

• Seesaw & Tech Message for Staff and Families – Principals were asked to forward the following message to staff. Linked here is a similar email that I’ll be sending out to parents on Monday.

Greetings, we have received communication from families, teachers, and others about issues accessing Seesaw.

1. In addition to the nation transitioning to Remote Learning and everything everything we have going on, Seesaw updated their App. We were unaware of this update until families tried to access it. Student iPads have been sitting idle for several weeks and therefor unable to process this update. Updates have been pushed out and this problem should be solved. If a family needs assistance, they should contact the 4J student helpdesk sts@4j.lane.edu or call (541) 790-7770.

2. iPad Mini 1’s are unable to receive Operating System updates beyond iOS 9. Any content utilizing the newer Seesaw features and created on a newer device or laptop cannot be accessed by devices running iOS 9.

Seesaw can be used on iOS 9 with more limited features including use of the previous version of creative tools, student journals, and messaging, but activities must be created on an older device running iOS 9. Teachers have successful sent out work on the iPad Mini 1, but it is clunky.

To use the Seesaw updates and features, devices need to be able to run iOS 10.3 or newer. (These include iPad Mini 2’s and newer)

We have Identified approximately 1000 iPad Mini 1’s spread out across the district.
Technology’s Plan to address Issue 2.

1. Technology will identity which students and families have requested and have received an iPad Mini 1. Schools will determine which ones need to be replaced.
2. For those that need to be replaced, a different device will be prepped by technology from our remaining inventory of student devices.
3. Schools will reach out to families to exchange devices. We will let you know when this will happen next week.

• Future iPad Distribution – Referenced above, we may be switching out the oldest iPad Minis in the near future and we’ll need to wait on the Tech Department for guidance as to timeline and communication. It’s not official, but I heard the Tech Department is planning to contact families who have the older devices and rot eplace them with newer one, possibly as soon as this week.

• Late iPad Family Request – If teachers have any families with late requests for devices, just email me the student name and their device number, and tell the parent they can pick it up during a meal distribution time Monday, Wednesday, or Friday between 11:00-12:00. If you’re interested, linked here is the Tech Department Email regarding the process for late device requests.

• Hotspots Update – If families ask about hotspots, the district ordered them over 30 days ago, but they have still not arrived. 4J is likely not the only school district to order these and there’s quite likely a backlog of orders. There’s no timeline as to when they will arrive at this point.

• Child Care Update – Brooke shared with principals that it’s very unlikely they’ll need to open any additional child care sites, which means Howard is off the hook for opening up as the next preschool child care site for essential workers. About a dozen Howard classified staff members were contacted last week they might be called up to work at a child care site, but the current sites have plenty of room at present.

• Grade Level Team Sharing – One suggestion shared at the Optional Friday Staff Zoom Meeting was that I heard the 3rd grade team was doing “specializing,” where one teacher prepares the math lessons, one the reading lessons, one the writing lessons, etc. which I though was an idea worth sharing with other team. I’m not a fan of this sort of specialization when kids are switching teachers in a brick and mortar school, but for online learning, this seems perfectly appropriate and nice way for teachers to help each other while we figure out this whole distance learning thing.

• HR Changes to Staffing Process – In the event that the state decides to pull Student Investment Act (SIA) funds, HR emailed principals on Thursday we had to submit a revised staffing plan by Friday that does not include SIA funds. ESSA and ESC funds are still in place. I have contacted the effected staff members ahead of time, but what changed with the loss of 1.5 SIA FTE from our previous plan is that we went down from four 1st grade classrooms to three, meaning we will only have one 1st grade vacancy instead of two, and that I had to shift funding around for Mellissa and Carla’s positions, which also required Carla’s position to be reduced from full-time to 0.8 FTE. The lost 0.5 SIA FTE was made up by eliminating a 0.2 FTE Title 1 licensed vacancy and a 3-hour Title 1 EA vacancy. HR is communicating directly with EEA and OSEA leadership about the changes to the staffing process, but please let me know if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns.

• Howard Roadrunner Car Parade, Monday! – Hey, let’s do something fun during quarantine! A huge hank you to Mellissa and Corriane for organizing the event! See Mellissa’s Emails for details, but this completely optional staff event will start with staff lining up their cars in the bus loop and pause parking lanes at 1:30, with the car parade following the linked Parade Route Map. With the super boundary, the parade will likely last two hours, so if you can’t come the entire time, come for the portion that you can.

• Optional Howard Check-In Zoom Meetings at 2:00, Tuesday & Friday – I’ll plan to hold Optional Howard Check-In Meeting Tuesdays and Fridays at 2:00. If there’s a decision that needs to be made or something that needs to be processed, I’ll hold a required staff meeting, but for now I’ll leave these optional since everyone is working from home and our personal schedules do not and cannot all align perfectly. I’ll continue to follow-up with an email summary after each meeting. See the email for the meeting link and phone number.



• 4J Wraparound Services – As staff hear about families needing resources, Howard has more supports already in place than most schools, but the 4J Wraparound Team wanted principals to disseminate the following Staff Resources, which you can share with families as need. And remember, you can use Language Link to communicate in various home languages. Sometimes, it is helpful to have a second person to think through support/resources, so please reach out to Matt, who is Howard’s Wraparound Lead, or myself. Also, linked here a more Extensive List of Resources shared with principals & Building Wraparound Leads, which is updated several times a week as service agencies open and close.

• More Distance Learning Resources – I do realize there is a glut of distance and online learning resources being thrown at people, but here are two more:

• New 4J Tech Tutorial Website for Teachers – Instructional Technology, the district Librarian, and high school Librarians have consolidated various resources on Google Classroom, Zoom, and other distance learning technology on a 4J Tech Tutorials & Guides website. If there is something you feel is missing, if you have a question, or if you have a resource you want to share, feel free to email Misty Jackson, Justin Huntley, Amy Page, Debbie Levy or Julie Vignoul.

• PBIS Resource for Remote Learning – If it helps, the district PBIS team share a resource the UO created around establishing and teaching instructional routines/ expectations for remote learning. It includes example matrices.

• District Librarian Help for Teachers – Amy Page (page_a@4j.lane.edu), the Eugene 4J District Librarian, is available to support teachers by:

1. Office hours, M-F from 10-12. Click link in the email to join the meeting for help with Seesaw, Zoom or other tools you’re using. If she doesn’t know the answer right away, she’ll find it for you.

2. Need help outside her office hours? Try this link to chat for quick questions.

3. Need help gathering resources? Coming up with a presentation tool? Research? She would love to partner with you. Click here for more ideas.

She’s also offering “after school clubs” for a Lego Club M/W/F @3:00 and a Book Club Tuesday @3:00 for students via Zoom, which you can pass along to families. (Links in email, not blog)

• District Admin Updates – Dana Brummett, current assistant princpal at Cal Young has been selected to be McCornack Elementary’s new principal, replacing Londa Rochholz when she retires. Dana has served as assistant principal at Cal Young since 2015, and before that was principal at Cascade Middle School and an assistant principal in Illinois.

• Interim Superintendent Timeline – Speaking of admin updates, here is the timeline for hiring an interim superintendent for next school year:

April 7 – ­Approve Interim Superintendent Characteristics/ Selection Criteria

April 8 – Position Opens and Is Advertised to 4J Administrators

April 17 – Position Closes

April 18 to 24 – RS2 will screen applications and conduct initial interviews and solicit feedback from employee groups (EEA, MAPS and OSEA)

April 25 – Board to determine finalists

April 26 – May 5 – finalist interviews with board; board deliberations; RS2 will solicit additional feedback from employee groups (EEA, MAPS and OSEA), board will make selection of finalist; public announcement of finalist

May 6 – Final Approval of Interim Superintendent

• SSD Newsletter – If you’er interested, SSD moved their updates to SSD staff into a newsletter format, which is linked here.

• Morning Meetings Provide the Ritual and Community Kids Need Right Now – The human connection made during morning meeting might feel different online, but it’s no less valuable and what a lot of our kids need right now. See this WeAreTeachers Post for tips on moving it online.

• Schedule of Upcoming Events – See the Google Calendar for future events, but here are the events of note for the next two weeks:

April 13 (M)
11:00-12:00, Free Meals & Meal Deliver for M-V Families
1:30, Howard Roadrunner Car Parade!

April 14 (T)
10:00-11:00, Allan at All Admin Zoom Meeting
11:00-12:00, Free Meals
2:00, Optional Howard Check-In Zoom Meeting

April 15 (W)
11:00-12:00, Free Meals & Meal Deliver for M-V Families

April 16 (H)
11:00-12:00, Free Meals

April 17 (F)
9:00-10:30, Allan at 4JMAPS Zoom Meeting
11:00-12:00, Free Meals & Meal Deliver for M-V Families
2:00, Optional Howard Check-In Zoom Meeting

April 20 (M)
11:00-12:00, Free Meals & Meal Deliver for M-V Families

April 21 (T)
11:00-12:00, Free Meals
2:00, Optional Howard Check-In Zoom Meeting

April 22 (W)
Administrative Professionals’ Day (formerly Secretaries’ Day)
11:00-12:00, Free Meals & Meal Deliver for M-V Families

April 23 (H)
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (that’s easy this year)
11:00-12:00, Free Meals

April 24 (F)
11:00-12:00, Free Meals & Meal Deliver for M-V Families
2:00, Optional Howard Check-In Zoom Meeting

As always, do not hesitate to call, text, email, or Zoom if you have questions or if there’s anything I can help you with.