May 4, 2020

By Allan  

Hello Roadrunners,

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week and it’s like no staff appreciation week we’ve ever had. Our fabulous PTO was originally planning on feeding staff each day this week, but COVID-19 has left them undeterred. Teachers should look for a small appreciation in the mail from the PTO coming soon. Thank you, teachers, and a thank you to ALL staff for your hard work and effort during this stressful time. I know it’s appreciated more than you can ever imagine!

Seventeen items of note for this week as well as notes from last Thursday’s Staff Meeting:

UPDATED: Job Expo Updates – Howard had more applicants than any other school in 4J and I was the only principal who had to do two days worth of interviews. We’re quite popular! However, HR only filled some of our vacancies. Bryan is filling the 5th grade vacancy, Savannah was hired into her current kindergarten position but had since moved into Jessy’s vacant 1st grade position, and HR placed Crystal Thomas, who is coming off a leave, into our other 1st grade vacancy. SSD has also placed Kim Sullivan, Camus Ridge CLC-B Teacher, into our Learning Center position left vacant by Bryan.

Congratulations to Imelda, who was hired into the Spanish Immersion Program at Kelly, and congratulations to Jessy, who was hired as the new counselor at Willagilespie. For round two of the Job Expo, we will have a vacancy at kindergarten and two vacancies at 4th grade (Justine is moving back to 4th).

• Required Staff Meetings, May 7 @12:30 – Downtown is asking schools to resume holding required Staff Meetings, per the CBA. We will stick with our usual once a month required staff meetings for licensed staff. The required Staff Meeting for May will be this Thursday at 12:30. Zoom meeting info is in my email and a calendar invite, but not on my blog. We’ll vote at this meeting to schedule the remaining required meetings for the year and cover any other topics that come up. My proposal will be the first Thursday of each month be the required meeting, which is only one more meeting June 4th, believe it or not.

• Attendance Update, 12:30-4:00 Fridays & Contact Log – Teachers are to record attendance on Fridays between 12:30 and 4:00. It is also important to reach out to families that have not participated in class activities or made contact at any points during the week. Teachers are now required to record all attempts (calls, texts email, message, etc.) to connect with and engage families who are not participating in distance learning on a weekly basis. This is required by the state, but if you haven’t already kept a log, just start keeping one from this point forward. And when you call families, you do not need to pressure them into completing assigned work, as many families are struggling right now, but it can simply be a check in to make sure everything is okay or if they are needing any support.

Also, if you have students you have not heard from, please check with specialists (PE, Music, ELL, SPED, BEST, etc.) to see if they have made any contact with students or families before marking students absent. A few students participated in Music in PE last week who were marked absent because they hadn’t done any of their regular classroom work.

If you’re curious what our attendance rate looks like, only 33 out of nearly 500 students were absent last week. I’ve heard through the grapevine the district average is about a 50% attendance rate, so our 94% attendance rate is looking pretty strong! It’s actually better than our usual attendance rate, which tells me our students are missing you all and wanting to stay connected! (even if they’re not doing all their work)

• Interventionist Meetings District Requirement – Howard and a few other schools already started doing this, so we won’t have to change much, but downtown is now requiring meetings between classroom teachers and interventionists (SPED, ELD, Title) to collaborate, particularly so SPED teachers can consult with gen ed teachers in order to meet state requirements around specially designed instruction (SDI). Howard has documented our meetings one way, but one potential change we may have to do is SSD is considering having all schools use the same template to document meetings (a much more complicated one I’d rather not use, so we’ll stick with ours for the meantime).

• Sample Weekly Lesson Plans (Please Use!) – Related to the above, if classroom teachers use the Sample Weekly Lesson Plans, which already include as much Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as possible, you’ll save a lot of time at the above meetings since they are already designed to be accessible for students on IEPs. Another benefit is these lessons will scale up for more advanced students. My own kids are getting these lessons from their teachers are they’re really good. Please consider using these lessons and same yourself some time!

• Birthday Zoom Lunches With the Principal – This Friday at 12:00, I’m going to try a virtual Birthday Lunches with the Principal for March and April birthdays, which we missed out on. In my email, but not on my blog, are the Zoom links. Please let families know about this. I’d love to have a “Zoom Bouncer” or two help me keep an eye on things and any other staff are welcome to join as well. I’m sure the kids would love it. Below is a short blurb you can feel free to use:


March & April Birthday Lunches with the Principal

Each month, Mr. Chinn celebrates student birthdays with a Birthday Lunches with the Principal. We’ve missed the past two months birthday celebrations due to statewide school closure, but this Friday, 12:00-12:15, Mr. Chinn and a few special guests are holding a VIRTUAL Birthday Lunch Celebration for all the students who has March and April Birthdays. “Zoom” in if you have a March or April birthday to enjoy some corny jokes, magic tricks, and fun!

• Fun Friday! – Go to the Beach Day – Not this Friday, but Friday next week is a Fun Friday. Even though we’re not together, feel free let your students know that they can still dress like they’re spending the day at the beach or if you want to do any beach related activities with your students.

• Online Training for Stand-By Staff – Classified staff on stand-by will soon receive information regarding required online trainings, such as the Safe Schools Online Trainings. This requirement can be modified by supervisors if staff are currently working (i.e. assisting with meals and other jobs as they come up), so talk to me if you’re one of the folks currently working and would like this expectation modified.

• Student Belongings – Families still needing to pick up student belongings, swap out K/1 iPads, or return library books, they can still do all of that during meal distribution, Monday through Friday, 11:00-12:00. I’m emailing families this Howard Happenings on Monday, but teachers can feel free to share this info as well.

• Family iPad Tech Support – If families are experiencing challenges using the iPads or Seesaw or other apps, the Tech Department is asking for families to first reach out to teachers. To help teachers, they created these videos you can share with families having issues. It’s important to note that resetting school issued iPads fixes a variety of issues.

Accessing Clever & Dreambox from a Computer or Android Device
Accessing Clever & Dreambox from an iPAD
Video for families to model an iPad reset

If families continue having issues, have them follow up with Tech Department staff, sharing the information below. Their preferred method of communication is email.

For technical support on 4J owned devices, call 541-790-7770 or email

Para obtener asistencia técnica en dispositivos propiedad de 4J, llamaré al 541-790-7731 o enviaré un correo electrónico a

• Additional Filters on iPads – The Tech Department is taking additional steps to filter devices borrowed by families. See the linked email for details if you’re curious how they are able to filter devices not connected to the 4J Network.

• BEST Updates – Classroom teachers should look for a BEST survey coming that needs to be completed by the end of the month. Also, the state has given BEST guidance on how to implement their grant during distance learning. See the linked 21st Century Community Learning Centers Slideshow for details, but starting next week BEST is going to push out a supplemental BEST Choice Board from a BEST Seesaw Classroom.

• Memorial Day – No School – The current plan for Memorial Day, Monday, May 25th, is that this will be a non-school day, meaning there will be no distance learning and no meal services this day.

• Eugene 4J District Librarian Support – Amy Page, the 4J District Library introduced herself at the Optional Staff Meeting to share that staff can come to her Tech Help Sessions and email her with questions. See Amy’s The Library Lowdown blog for the latest resources.

• Remote Learning Is Breaking Parents – Chris shared this NYT Article with me and I think it’s a good reminder for us to give families grace when students are not completing assignments or doing everything we ask. For the adults in the home, trying to do their own jobs or simply trying to meet basic necessities, helping children with class work has become one of the most trying aspects of the pandemic.

• 22 YA Novels to Help Students Process the Pandemic (or Forget It for a Bit) – Not that we should be assigning novels right now, but I know there are quite a few avid readers on staff who might enjoy this Edutopia List. A former school librarian shares recent young adult novels to boost resilience or to give some laughs. Life As We Knew It is the only one on the list I’ve read, but it was a really good one!



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

May 4 (M)
Children’s Book Week
Teacher Appreciation Week
May the Fourth Be With You
10:00-11:00, Allan to Elementary Principals Meeting
11:00-12:00, Free Meals & Meal Deliver for M-V Families

May 5 (T)
Cinco de Mayo
11:00-12:00, Free Meals

May 6 (W)
11:00-12:00, Free Meals & Meal Deliver for M-V Families
1:00-1:30, Kindergarten & Interventionist Zoom Meeting
1:45-2:15, 1st Grade & Interventionist Zoom Meeting
2:30-3:00, 2nd Grade & Interventionist Meeting

May 7 (H)
11:00-12:00, Free Meals
12:30-1:00, Required Howard Staff Meeting
1:00-1:30, 3rd Grade & Interventionist Zoom Meeting
1:45-2:15, 4th Grade & Interventionist Zoom Meeting
2:30-3:00, 5th Grade & Interventionist Meeting
7:00, PBIS Howard Zoom Dance Party (Tentative)

May 8 (F)
11:00-12:00, Free Meals & Meal Deliver for M-V Families
12:00-12:20, March & April Birthday Lunches With the Principal
12:30-4:00, Classroom teachers take attendance

May 10 (SU)
Mother’s Day

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

May 12 (T)
9:00-11:00, Allan to All Admin Meeting
11:00-12:00, Free Meals

May 13 (W)
11:00-12:00, Free Meals & Meal Deliver for M-V Families
1:00-1:30, Kindergarten & Interventionist Zoom Meeting
1:45-2:15, 1st Grade & Interventionist Zoom Meeting
2:30-3:00, 2nd Grade & Interventionist Meeting
2:45-5:00, Allan to Pay Grade Eval Committee Meeting
4:00-7:00, PTO McTeacher Night Fundraiser (Tentative/Drive-Through)

May 14 (H)
11:00-12:00, Free Meals
12:30-1:00, Optional Howard Check-In Zoom Meeting
1:00-1:30, 3rd Grade & Interventionist Zoom Meeting
1:45-2:15, 4th Grade & Interventionist Zoom Meeting
2:30-3:00, 5th Grade & Interventionist Meeting
4:00-7:00, Allan to Job Expo Zoom Interviews

May 15 (F)
Fun Friday! – Go to the Beach Day
11:00-12:00, Free Meals & Meal Deliver for M-V Families
12:30-4:00, Classroom teachers take attendance

May the 4th be with. Always.