January 15, 2017


Greetings Roadrunners,

Thank you to all the staff who came out for the PTO Spaghetti Dinner/BINGO Night! It wasn’t a huge turnout of families, but there was yummy food and lots of fun!

Fifteen items of note for this week:

• Science Investigation #1 by March – One science item I left off last week’s science kit notes is the goal for all 4J elementary students to complete Investigation #1 before March 1st. Downtown is follow up with principals to measure Kit #2 implementation, as well as scheduling some times for school walk-throughs. Please let me know if there are supports that will help you with science implementation.

• PTO Meeting, Tuesday at 6:00 and Board Members Needed for 18/19 – Tuesday at 6:00 in the Community Room will be the January PTO meeting. On a related note, most of our current PTO Board is moving on next year, so if you know of any parents who’d be good, willing, and able to help out next year, please encourage them to become involved. We have a dynamite PTO right now who does a lot more than is necessarily expected, but we really just need one or two fundraisers and a school carnival. Hope to see you there and also any potential future board members!

• PE/Music Semester Transition – Ronny and Siera’s last day teaching will be Thursday, Feb. 1st (Ronny is headed to River Road and Siera going to Spring Creek) and starting Monday, Feb. 5th, Michelle Lampe will begin teaching PE and David Adee will begin teaching Music. The second semester schedule is the same as first semester except that PE and Music slots will flip-flop, meaning your PE time is now your Music time and your Music times are now your PE times. Linked here is an updated Second Semester Specialist Schedule (XLS and PDF) and is also on the Howard Google Team Drive. Ronny & Siera, we’ll miss having you here, and Michelle and David, welcome to Howard!

• Major-Minor Behavior Matrix – Linked here is the 4J Elementary Behavior Matrix, which includes a handy grid on pages three and four with guidelines on when we should respond to misbehavior with a Redirect/Reteach (Uh-Oh/Level 1), a Minor Referral (Level 2), or a Major Referral (Level 3). For example, for Disrespect/Noncompliance, a Level 1 is appropriate for passive refusal to participate, with very slow response to request, a Level 2 is appropriate for ignoring a reasonable request with a prolonged refusal to participate, and a Level 3 would be appropriate for repeated refusal that leads to substantial and ongoing disruption. Other guidelines are for Disruption, Inappropriate Language, Fighting/Aggression, Teasing/Harassment, Property Damage, and Lying/Cheating/Theft. And as we all know, the referral forms mean nothing and it’s all in our reteaching, reinforcing, and consistency that helps to improve student behavior.

• 19 Big and Small Classroom Management Strategies – Related to the above, this Edutopia article has some excellent behavior management reminders (even if it was written by a 12th grade English teacher). A good reminder I know I sometimes forget is #2, which said, “Keep your consequences as minimal as possible – When a rule is broken, assign the smallest consequence possible and see if that gets the job done. Don’t use up big consequences too fast.” There’s also plenty of good small reminders, like never punish an entire class or give students choices or publicly announce classroom management goals. Read on for more!

• TeacherVUE Synergy App for Attendance – The TeacherVUE Synergy app (iOS and Android) a few years ago was discouraged from being used to take attendance because of reliability issues, but Jenny gave it a try this week and it seems to be working now. Using the app on your phone or tablet can be easier for taking attendance than on your computer if teachers want to download and use it. In setting it up, just use the URL

• Copier Printing on Tag Paper – The downstairs printers were jamming multiple times last week and when Steve the repair guy came to look at it, he said it looks like people have been putting tag paper where regular paper goes and that is the cause of the jamming. If you want to print on tag paper, remember to put the paper in the tray for tag paper or select the specific setting to print from the drawers. It is happening with both printers downstairs and my guess is it’s happening with the printer upstairs as well.

• Staff Use of Library Computers – Two reminder for staff using the library computers to check email. One, remember to log out of your email so students don’t have access to your information (closing the window or tab does not log you out). Two, please leave the web browser how you found it (with the library student search webpage open).

• No Slime! – It’s okay for teachers to make or use slime in your classroom, but we can’t have slime leave classrooms. It’s getting to be a mess in the library, cafeteria, playground, and other areas around the building. If kids ask, you can tell them this falls under the no-toys-at-school rule.

• Superboundary Change for Next Year – River Road and Howard have a shared “superboundary” where students can get bussing to either school and receive a priority when doing school choice. For next year, the superboundary is opening up so that students living in either the River Road or Howard attendance areas can attend either school without having to go through school choice. For Howard, this means we may see a jump in the number of students coming here, as we have a few River Road student on our wait list. In the past, the school choice process allowed us to control our class sizes from getting too big, but for the past two years the expectation has been that we take all new non-Spanish speaking students grades 2-5 from River Road, so this change essentially matches the policy with the current practice. I did warn downtown that this could potentially open the flood gates (we get at least a couple calls a week from River Road families wanting to come to Howard) and that they need to be prepared to provide additional FTE.

• Seesaw Update & Tips – I wanted to let teachers know we’ve purchased a 3-year license with Seesaw for the pro version, so please feel free to use this amazing communication tech tool with your families! We have several teachers who are VERY active users of Seesaw who I’m sure have plenty of good advice for anyone wanting to know more, but linked here are some useful step-by-step grade-specific Get Started Guides that have everything you need to introduce Seesaw to your students including the Seesaw Student Challenge, task cards, badges, and certificates. Seesaw also offers an in-app, self-paced online course once your accounts is setup. I’ll likely plan to do a Seesaw review/training at a future staff meeting, but feel free to let me or any of your techie colleagues know if you have any questions.

▪ District Admin Updates – Cydney Vandercar, Director of HR, is assuming additional leadership responsibilities for the district’s operational departments in the reinstated role of Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services. As Assistant Superintendent, Cydney now oversees the district’s operational departments and services, including human resources, business services, financial operations, food services, technology, transportation, and facilities, while the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Dr. Charis McGaughy, oversees instructional services. Another change down the road from us is Spring Creek Elementary School’s principal, Raquel Gwynn, has accepted a position with the Oregon Department of Education and will be leaving 4J in early February. Larry Sullivan, 4J’s prior special education director, will step in as interim principal at Spring Creek for the remainder of the school year.

• REPEAT: Care Team Referrals Due Friday – The January Student Care Team is next week, so any new referrals are due to me this Friday. Linked here is the 4J Release Form to get signed, but you can also refer “hypothetical” student or family situations. Let me know if you have any questions.

• REPEAT: PRIDE Awards, January 17th – This Wednesday during lunchtime in the cafeteria will be our PRIDE Awards for Integrity. If you haven’t already, teachers should remind students about PRIDE and the meaning of Integrity (Being Honest), and then pick 2-4 students who have demonstrated this trait. Please get the PRIDE Integrity Certificates to me before Tuesday.

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

January 15 (M)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day – No School

January 16 (T)
Fluoride Varnish
Howard Winter easyCBM Benchmarking Begins
8:00-8:30, Allan Meeting with Parent (Office)
2:30-3:30, Staff Meeting (Ashley’s Classroom)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Community Room)

January 17 (W)
9:00, December Book Winners (Conference Room)
11:00-12:45, PRIDE Awards at Lunch (Cafeteria)
1:30, Allan to IEP Meeting (Conference Room)
2:30-3:30, PBIS Meeting (Rae’s Room, RM1)

January 18 (H)
9:15-9:45, 5th Grade Music Performance (Gym)
10:00-3:00, Allan to ILT Meeting (Ed Center)
12:00-12:30, KG Music Performance (Gym)
1:00-1:30, 4th Grade Music Performance (Gym)

January 19 (F)
7:30-11:30, 5th – Number Talks Peer Observations
7:30-9:00, Allan to 4JMAPS Meeting
10:15-10:45, 1st Grade Music Performance (Gym)
12:30-1:00, 3rd Grade Music Performance (Gym)
1:30-2:00, 2nd Grade Music Performance (Gym)

January 22 (M)
School Choice Week #2
9:30, Allan leading school choice tour
2:30-3:30, Site Council (Conference Room)

January 23 (T)
8:15-11:15, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Mellissa/Mariah’s Room)
6:00-7:00, School Choice Evening Presentation (Library)

January 24 (W)
7:30-11:30, 2nd – Number Talks Peer Observations
1:30-2:30, Allan to IEP Meeting (Conference Room)
2:30-3:30, Student Care Team Meeting (Conference Room)

January 25 (H)
February Newsletter Articles Due
7:30-11:30, KG – Number Talks Peer Observations
6:30-7:30, KG (Sugar) Read In Your Jammies

January 26 (F)
Howard Winter easyCBM Benchmarking Ends
7:30-11:30, 1st – Number Talks Peer Observations
10:30-12:45, January Birthday Lunches with the Principals (Community Room)

January 27 (SA)
8:00, Staff Social – Queens of the Stone Age/Eagles of Death Metal Concert (Hult Center)

Have a great week, everyone!


January 8, 2018


Howdy Everyone,

It was great seeing folks at the Staff New Year’s Party Friday night. Thank you, Angela, for hosting the shindig. We have a pretty fun crew of people working here at Howard!

Eleven items of note for this week:

• Science Kit Info – I wanted to highlight a few items were shared at the principal science training last week:

• Life Science is Optional – In an effort to be responsive to hearing how overwhelmed elementary teachers are feeling with new curriculums and materials, downtown is making the FOSS Life Science kit optional and simply a pilot this year for teacher who choose to teach it.

• When to teach science? – Principals discusses many of the barriers for teaching the kits. Schedule is often mentioned as a barrier, so I wanted to reiterate that it is okay to teach science during core reading time because science does include a good amount of literacy. Writing times would also be appropriate. For next year’s master schedule, I think we may want to look at creating an hour-long Writing/Science block to make this less of a barrier, but we should wait to get direction from downtown on the common start and end times that will be in place for schools next year before we wade into those weeds.

• Kit Priorities and Key Concepts – This has been shared before, but there is a wealth of information on the 4J Science Blog (vocabulary cards, word walls, learning targets, etc), but in particular is the Priority Matrix for each of the science kits. The matrix rates each lesson as a high, medium, or low priority, which if you’re not able to get to all the lessons can help you decide which ones are the most important.

• PTO Spaghetti Feed/Bingo Night – Be sure to pump kids up for the PTO Spaghetti Feed/Bingo Night this Friday, 5:30-7:30 in the cafeteria. Dinners are $5.50 a plate for the first 3 plates and $3.50 a plate after that ($1 for three meatballs and $1 for drinks). BINGO cards are $0.25 each and there will also be a 50/50 raffle. We had a great turnout last year and hopefully it’ll be the same this year!

• Care Team Referrals Due 1/19 – The January Student Care Team meeting is in two weeks and any new referrals to the team are due the Friday, January 19th. Linked here are the 4J Release Forms (editable PDF and non-editable PDF) to get signed if any situations where the Care Team might be able to provide assistance. Common referrals, though not limited to, are:

• Homeless or impending homelessness
• Medical concerns about the child or other family
• Counseling or mental health needs
• Death of a parent
• Incarcerated parent
• Unknown if open child welfare case
• Domestic Violence
• Extreme behavior issues
• Specific resource needed but unknown where to refer

Try to get a signature on the 4J Release Form, but if you can’t, you can also refer “hypothetical” student or family situations. Let me know if you have any questions.

• Wacky Wednesday – School Color Day – Blue and White are our official school colors, so remind student to show their school pride this Wednesday by wearing our school colors or by wearing their other Howard gear.

• Jan. 2nd SSD PD Materials – SSD staff were already sent this, but if others are interested, here is a Google link to all of the presentations from the SSD “Addressing Challenging Behaviors” training from last week. You’ll need to be logged into your 4J Google account (use your 4j email) in order to access the folder, but if you have trouble here’s a link to a zip file of all the materials and I also put a copy of the folder on the Howard Google Drive under Meetings > IPBS > Jan. 2 SSD PD

• PRIDE Awards, January 17th – Not this week, but next week on Wednesday, January 17th during lunchtime in the cafeteria will be our PRIDE Awards for Integrity. Teachers should remind students about PRIDE and the meaning of Integrity (Being Honest), and then pick 2-4 students who have demonstrated Integrity. Be sure to get the Integrity Certificate to me before the 6th so I can sign them and get them organized and also send home the PRIDE Award Invitations to parents before the event.

• December McKinney-Vento Student Data – Linked here is the district-wide December McKinney-Vento Student Report. These totals represent students for the entire school year, not necessarily who’s in buildings now. As was last year, Howard serves more homeless students than any other elementary or middle school in 4J (and only exceeded by two high school programs).

• REPEAT: School Choice Visitation Week – A reminder, School Choice Visitation Week is this week, so be prepared for families to drop by classrooms over the course of the week.

• REPEAT TaeKwonDo Demonstration Team Assembly Friday – This Friday the U.S. TaeKwonDo College Demonstration Team will hold their motivational assembly we discussed at last month’s Staff Meeting. The K-2 assembly is 8:10-8:35 and the 3-5 assembly is 8:45-9:10. See the linked assembly map and directions for details.

• The Big List of Educational Grants and Resources – Get a roundup of educational grants, contests, awards, free toolkits, and classroom guides aimed at helping students, classrooms, schools, and communities. Check this Edutopia page weekly to get the latest updates.

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

January 8 (M)
School Choice Week #1

January 9 (T)
8:15-11:15, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Mellissa/Mariah’s Room)
5:30-7:45, SSD Early Childhood Open House (English)
6:00-8:15, SSD Early Childhood Open House (Spanish)

January 10 (W)
Wacky Wednesday – School Color Day
9:30, Allan leading school choice tour
2:30-3:30, PIBS Meeting (Rae’s Room)

January 11 (H)
7:30-11:30, 4th – Number Talks Peer Observations
9:00-11:00, Vaughan & Silver to Firs Bowl
11:30-2:30, 3rd – Number Talks Peer Observations
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Angela’s Room)

January 12 (F)
8:10-8:35, K – 2 Taekwondo Assembly (Gym)
8:45-9:10, 3 – 5 Taekwondo Assembly (Gym)
10:00, Allan to DHS Hearing (Lane Circuit Court)
5:30-7:30, PTO Spaghetti Feed/BINGO Night (Cafeteria)

January 15 (M)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day – No School

January 16 (T)
Fluoride Varnish
Howard Winter easyCBM Benchmarking Begins
2:30-3:30, Staff Meeting (Volunteer’s Classroom)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Community Room)

January 17 (W)
11:00-12:45, PRIDE Awards at Lunch (Cafeteria)

January 18 (H)
9:15-9:45, 5th Grade Music Performance (Gym)
10:00-3:00, Allan to ILT Meeting (Ed Center)
12:00-12:30, KG Music Performance (Gym)
1:00-1:30, 4th Grade Music Performance (Gym)

January 19 (F)
7:30-11:30, 5th – Number Talks Peer Observations
7:30-9:00, Allan to 4JMAPS Meeting SKIPPING
10:15-10:45, 1st Grade Music Performance (Gym)
12:30-1:00, 3rd Grade Music Performance (Gym)
1:30-2:00, 2nd Grade Music Performance (Gym)

We survived our first week back and are onto our first 5-day week of the new year. Thankfully we have a 3-day weekend to help us readjust to a regular work week!


The School Secretary Grinch

January 1, 2018


Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you all had a fabulous winter break. My break got off to an unusual start, with the Chinn Family moving in with my in-laws for a week. Our house had some water damage to our hardwood floors in November due to a leak behind our dishwasher, so we had to move out of our house while the floors got refinished. Hopefully your break was not as atypical.

Seventeen items of note for this week:

• January 2nd PD/Planning Day Info – There was a rather confusing flurry of last minute emails from downtown regarding PD plans for January 2nd, but to recap, here is the latest:

• Classroom Teachers – See Sue Wilson’s email for info about the Jan. 2nd FOSS Science Training. It will be at River Road 8:00-11:30 for people teaching Earth Science starting in January and 12:00-3:30 for people teaching Physical Science starting in January. If you’ve forgotten which kit was sent to you, see the email I forwarded earlier.

• SSD Staff (licensed and classified) – See Marlee Litten’s email for info about SSD’s Jan. 2nd “Addressing Challenging Behaviors” training. All SSD staff will meet at the Churchill High School STEM Center from 8:00-11:25. Lunch will be on your own. Licensed SSD staff will have an additional meeting 12:05-1:15 for a job-alike meeting.

• Title 1 Staff (licensed and classified) – Corianne has organized an alternate Howard specific IPBS and Academic Language training for Jan. 2nd that was approved by downtown, so Title 1 staff do not need to attend the above behavior training as you were originally directed by downtown and should instead report to Howard for the training at 10:00.

• All Other Staff – For all other staff, this is a regular work day at Howard unless you’ve made prior arrangements.

• Staffing Updates – With Frank’s retirement, SSD has hired Tamera Berge to fill the vacancy. Her first day of work will be January 2nd, so please welcome Tamera to the Howard Team! I’ve also received notice from HR that Life Skills EA Susan Schueller, who was here part of September, is extending her leave and we will continue with a substitute filling her position.

• Winter Break Facilities Updates – Here are some updates on the work done over the break:

• Extra Rolling Book Shelves & Furniture – We have several of the low rolling book shelves that quite a few people had asked for last year (see picture below), so if you would like one, they are in the hallway along the library. Feel free to take one or tag it with where you’d like it delivered.

• Elevator Badge Reader – The elevator badge reader is finally working, so to use the elevator you will need to present a badge to the pad, wait for the beep, and then push the call button. Upstairs classrooms will now need to give students an elevator badge when they are going up or down with lunch baskets, library books, or other large items we don’t want carried up or down the stairs. I have elevator specific badges I’ll put in upstairs teacher mailboxes on Tuesday. Staff badges are all coded to use the elevator, but let me know if for some reason your badge was missed.

• Window Tint Update – Window tinting will be added for all south facing classrooms, both first and second floor, so hopefully that will help with the natural lighting issues. However, there is no definite timeline for when this will happen. In the meantime, let us know if you’d like help putting up butcher paper to block the sunlight.

• Classroom Audio Issues – Technology Department Staff and AMX contractors came out over the break to try to fix the classroom audio issues. I haven’t gotten an update on their progress, but do let me know if the problems are continuing.

• January PBIS Focus: Be Your Best – The January PBIS monthly focus is “Be Your Best.” The PBIS team created a PBIS/CSC Cheat Sheet that matches our monthly PBIS themes with corresponding Caring School Community class meeting lessons, which is a nice way to tie the two activities together.

• School Choice Visitation Week & Info – School Choice season has begun and the School Showcase will be held this Saturday at the Ed Center, 10:00-12:00 if any staff members are interested/willing to help me brag about our school. This event is for families to learn about all 4J schools in one place at the same time. Last year they provided breakfast for staff helping at the event. Let me know if any of you are interested/willing to help promote Howard and tell families why they should come to our amazing school!

Three related items: One, the first School Choice Visitation Week is next week, January 8-12, so be prepared for families to drop by classrooms over the course of the week. Two, all North Region elementary schools are doing one school choice evening event and Howard’s evening event will be Tuesday, January 23rd if anyone is interested/willing in helping me talk about our school. And three, the window for school choice applications has been shortened this year, so if families ask, they have until the end of the January to lottery into Howard. The out-of-district lottery will be March 1 – April 1, but those families are invited to attend tours at Howard this month.

• TaeKwonDo Demonstration Team Assembly, 1/12 – Not this week, but Friday next week, the U.S. TaeKwonDo College Demonstration Team will hold their motivational assembly we discussed at last month’s Staff Meeting. The K-2 assembly is 8:10-8:35 and the 3-5 assembly is 8:45-9:10. See the linked assembly map and directions for details.

• Howard Holiday/New Year Party, Friday! – See Angela’s email for details, but this Friday 6:00-8:00ish at Angela’s house is the Howard Holiday/New Year Party. Watch for the pot-luck sign up and we’ll see you there for the fun!

• Number Talks Info – Two items from our final Number Talks trainings.

• Developing Math Fluency with Number Talks Pacing Guide – Number Talks supports the development of students’ procedural fluency from conceptual understanding. Located on the 4J Learn Zillion website is a Number Talks Pacing Guide for each grade level (Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5), which lists the concepts that should be focused on in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. The pacing guides are on the 2nd or 3rd to last page of the above linked documents, which can be found on the 4J Learn Zillion website by going to Math full lesson plans (K-5) > your grade level > LearnZillion Pacing Guidance & Additional Supports.

• Number Talks Peer Observations – Subs are already taken care of for the peer observations. Information about the observer-as-learner protocol used for the observations can be found in the green Number Talks Resource Spiral. The dates for the half-day peer observations are scheduled for:

• Kindergarten: Jan. 25, 7:30-11:30
• 1st Grade: Jan. 26, 7:30-11:30
• 2nd Grade: Jan. 24, 7:30-11:30
• 3rd Grade: Jan. 11, 11:30-2:30
• 4th Grade: Jan. 11, 7:30-11:30
• 5th Grade: Jan. 19, 7:30-11:30

Let me know by the end of the week if these dates/times present any potential conflicts for you so we can reschedule.

• Artist in Residence Survey Results (so far) – Teachers, if you haven’t already completed the Artist in Residence Survey for your preferred dates and artists, please do so this week. Survey results so far are:

• First Artist Dates: February was the #1 pick and March the #2 pick
• Second Artist Dates: April was the #1 pick and June the #2 pick
• #1 Artist Choice: Ceramics — Andrea DiPalma Yansane
• #2 Artist Choice: Silk Painting — Merideth Ferrell
• #3 Artist Choice: Drawing for Everyone: Zentangle– Rosie Hill

• Front Entry Wall – I’ve taken down our Veterans Day display in the front entryway (I saved the stars if any students are wanting them back) and now it looks pretty empty. If any classroom would like to crate a display, just let me know and the space is all yours!

• Google Apps Student Access Tip – If a student is unable to log into Google Apps AFTER the permission form has been given to Lori and recorded in Synergy, email Permissions should become activate during the evening Synergy update process, so email 4jdekstop if it’s to working for a student the following day.

• Volunteer of the Month Nominations – The Register Guard would like to have more Volunteer of the Month nominations from 4J schools. There are a good amount of parents and other volunteers at Howard doing great things! This is an excellent way to highlight some of our amazing school volunteers and a nice way to encourage more volunteerism. Linked here is the Volunteer Nomination form. Feel free to submit the form yourself, but I’d be happy to submit it for you if you email me a volunteer’s name and what they do for you.

• School Board Behavior Presentation – This isn’t anything staff aren’t already aware of, since we live it day-to-day, but if you are interested, linked here is a presentation district staff shared at a community forum in December regarding rising student behaviors in schools. What I found most interesting was the data regarding the rise of challenging student behaviors both in our community and across the nation.

• Young Writers Fiction Contest – Here’s a fun contest to motivate students to do some creative writing. There is a K-2 and 3-5 category. See the Wordcrafters in Eugene website and linked flyer for details.

• School Garden Project Workshop Series for Elementary Teachers – The School Garden Project is presenting a free workshop series titled Deepening Connections in January, February, and March, to help 2nd – 5th grade teachers learn strategies to successfully take your classroom outside, and share simple lessons that help students connect with their school garden while learning math, art, writing, and science standards. See the above linked flyer for details.

• Howard Staff Social: Queens of the Stone Age Concert! – Hard rock fans, time to assemble! The Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal are playing the Hult Center on Saturday, January 27th. Matt, Becky, and I are in and we’ll be ordering tickets this Friday after school in Matt’s office. Meet us there and we’ll buy out a block of seats for all of the Howard Metalheads!

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

January 1 (M)
Winter Break – No School

January 2 (T)
No School — Professional Development/Planning Day
8:00-11:30, K-5 FOSS Earth Science Training (River Road)
8:00-11:25, SSD Staff (Licensed & Classified) “Addressing Challenging Behaviors” Training (Churchill STEM Center)
10:00, Title 1 Staff Training (Room 26)
12:00-3:30, K-5 FOSS Physical Science Training (River Road)
12:05-1:15, SSD Licensed Staff Job Alike Meetings (Churchill STEM Center)
1:00-3:00, Allan to Admin Science Training (Chavez)
3:00, Allan to Principal Goals Meeting (Ed Center)

January 3 (W)
PBIS Monthly Theme – Be Your Best
Classes Resume
easyCBM Winter Benchmark Testing Opens
In-District School Choice Opens (Closes Jan. 31)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Pay Grade Evaluation Meeting (Ed Center) CANCELLED
4:00-5:00, Allan to North Region Principals’ Meeting (NEHS)

January 4 (H)
12:00-3:00, Allan to ILT Meeting (Ed Center)
2:45, Allan to Early Childhood Open House Planning Meeting (Room 21)

January 5 (F)
2:15, Queens of the Stone Age Ticket Buy (Matt’s Office)
6:00-8:00, Howard Holiday/New Year Party (Angela’s House)

January 6 (SA)
10:00-12:00, Elementary School Showcase (Ed Center)

January 8 (M)
School Choice Week #1

January 9 (T)
8:15-11:15, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Mellissa/Mariah’s Room)

January 10 (W)
Wacky Wednesday – School Color Day
Title 1 Progress Monitoring Day – No Groups
2:30-3:30, PIBS Meeting (Rae’s Room)
5:30-7:45, SSD Early Childhood Open House (English)
6:00-8:15, SSD Early Childhood Open House (Spanish)

January 11 (H)
7:30-11:30, 4th – Number Talks Peer Observations
11:30-2:30, 3rd – Number Talks Peer Observations
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Angela’s Room)

January 12 (F)
10:00, Allan to testify at DHS Hearing (Lane Circuit Court)
5:00, PTO Spaghetti Feed/BINGO Night (Cafeteria)

January 15 (M)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day – No School

Not to end my first announcements of the year all sappy, but I’ve missed seeing my work friends over the break and was thinking of what I said at the end of the year last year; that years from now I want Howard to be know as “that geezer staff who’ve all been together over there forever.” See you, all, soon!


October 30, 2017


Greetings Howard Roadrunners,

I’m looking forward to our Halloween Staff Photo after school on Tuesday!

Sixteen items of note for this week:

• Dismissal Pick-Up line Moving – In an effort to keep the pause parking line moving better, we’re moving Mr. Matt’s student pick-up line closer to the bus loop, so please remind students of this new location.

• 4J Science Resources – Don’t forget about the many, many resources on the 4J Science Blog that’s managed by Howard’s own Allison Kreider. Just click the links along the right for grade level specific resources for each kit, including printable learning targets (single sheet or poster size), vocabulary cards, word wall cards, and more!

And are you having trouble figuring out where to fit in science lessons? The Title 1 Progress Monitoring days are an excellent day for science. Also, if you’re having trouble finding time to get to all of the lessons in your kit, know that it’s better to focus on teaching the high priority lessons and getting to the end of the kit than it is to teach lessons in order and not finish. No student is ever told they’re bad at science (there’s no tests, there’s no pull-out groups, etc.), so science is a great time to integrate multiple subject areas and make all kids feel successful!

• LearnZillion Tips – Principals had a mini-training at our last elementary principals meeting and were told what were the top “Power Moves” for successfully teaching the new math curriculum. They were:

• Learning Targets – How do teachers communicate criteria for success?
• Manipulatives/Visuals – How do teachers help make student thinking visible?
• Anchor Charts – How do teachers help make academic language accessible?

• Nov. 8 Number Talks Change for LEL & Math Info – I’ve had to reschedule Part 3 of the 4-Part Number Talks trainings. Originally we were doing part three at the Teacher Team Time Meeting on Wednesday, November 8th, but instead I’ll be presenting information downtown wants principals to share regarding the LEL (Learning About Learning) visit we’ll have the following week (November 15th). There is also an extended Math Teacher Leader update that downtown asked to be shared, which we’ll also do at this meeting.

• November PBIS Focus: Appreciations – The November PBIS monthly focus is Appreciations. The PBIS team created a PBIS/CSC Cheat Sheet that matches our monthly PBIS themes with corresponding Caring School Community class meeting lessons, which is a nice way to tie the two activities together.

• Supporting Undocumented Students – Principals were asked to share the linked FAQ for Staff – Supporting Undocumented Students. The most important point is 4J is committed to a safe, inclusive, and supportive school environment for all students, regardless of their national origin, immigration or documentation status, which in practice means we do not collect or share any information regarding immigration status. All schools held a training with staff on this topic last year, but please let me know if you have any questions.

• Student Care Team Resources – Below are a few community resources that were unused at last Wednesday’s Student Care Team that you can feel free to share with families should the need come up. Also, all of these along with others, can all be found on the Howard Google Drive in the Student Care Team folder.

• Dusk to Dawn Program – Families and adults in need of overnight shelter can access the Dusk to Dawn Programs administered by St. Vincent de Paul; families with children under 18 at First Place Family Center, 1995 Amazon Pkwy and adults at the Eugene Service Station, 456 Hwy 99N.

• Oregon Family Support Network, Lane CountyOFSN Lane County partners with families of children who experience behavioral, emotional or mental health challenges to help them succeed at home, school and in life. They work with parents, foster parents, grandparents and others, offering Parents Night Out (or respite care), System Navigation and Peer Support, Family Fun Activities, Support Groups, Wraparound Family Partners, Resource, Referral and IEP Support, Collaborative Parenting Series, Mental Health First Aid Training (Adult and Youth), and more.

• Central Housing ListLane County’s Coordinated Entry program is one central list that homeless families can get onto that will place them on the wait list for all of the community agencies that provide housing assistance (i.e. Catholic Community Services, St. Vincent De Paul, Shelter Care, Looking Glass, etc.).

• Oregon Telephone Assistance Program (OTAP) – Free phones are offered through the Public Utility Commission to qualifying low income individuals. People can apply by email, phone, or print out application from on the OTAP website.

• Ways to Support Howard – This is going out to families in the November newsletter but to highlight it for staff as well, here are a few easy ways you, your friends, and relatives can help support Howard!

• eScrip: eScrip works with merchant partners to contribute to groups like ours each time you shop with your registered debit or credit cards – at no cost to you!

1. Go to Enter the School or Group I.D. #500046355
2. Register your debit and/or credit cards.
3. Shop at eScrip merchants, including Safeway, Market of Choice and Amazon!
4. Use your eScrip registered cards for all your purchases.
5. A percentage of purchases will be automatically contributed by the merchant.

• Fred Meyer Rewards: You are now able to link your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to your favorite nonprofit by following the link below. Whenever you use your Rewards Card when shopping at Freddy’s, you will be helping Howard earn a donation from Fred Meyer. If you do not have a Rewards Card, you can sign up for one at the Customer Service Desk of any Fred Meyer store.

1. Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Howard Elementary School at You can
search for us by our name or by our non-profit number # 88934
2. Then, every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you are helping Howard earn a donation!
3. You still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates, just as you do today.
4. If you do not have a Rewards Card, they are available at the Customer Service desk of any Fred Meyer store.

• Target REDCard: If you have a Target REDCArd (credit or debit) Target will donate a percentage of all REDCard purchases made at Target and to Howard if you designate our school.

1. Go to
2. Log onto your REDCard account
3. Fill in the information under “Sign me up” to designate

Howard also participates in the following programs. Click on each link to find out how you can help the school earn more money through each program. Many of the programs just require you to sign up and will donate through purchases you are already making. Some of the programs require you to clip a code or label of some sort; these can be sent to the school.

• Box Tops
• Labels for Education
• Ticondaroga & Prang
• Tyson
• Amazon Smile (Howard Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization)

• Allan Out Thursday – Following the ALICE Lockdown Evacuation Drill, I’ll be out of the building at an all-day ILT meeting, but retired 4J principal Stephanie Cannon will be in the building covering for me.

• REPEAT: Safety Week This Week – This week is our annual Safety Week. The schedule will be:

• Monday, Oct. 30 – Earthquake/Fire Drill, 1:30
• Tuesday, Oct. 31 – Room Clear, time decided by teachers
• Wednesday, Nov. 1 – Classroom lesson on ALICE. Place Holder date for weather
• Thursday, Nov. 2 – ALICE Lockdown Evacuation Drill, 9:00
• Friday, Nov. 3 – Fire Drill, 8:30

See last week’s staff announcements for details and resources on each drill. Let me know if you have any questions.

• REPEAT: Halloween Costume Parade, Tuesday at 8:10 – The annual Howard Costume Parade is Tuesday at 8:10. Linked here is the Costume Parade Route & Directions. Upstairs Buddy Classrooms will join their downstairs Buddy Classrooms at 8:05. At 8:10 Suzy’s class will lead the “Parade Train” from Blue-Wing to Green-Wing to Yellow-Wing. After classes complete their parade loop, they will re-enter their classroom or stand along the edges of the commons area to watch the parade. Families may watch from the courtyards or commons areas (or join the parade). Classroom parties may be held at the teacher’s discretion. Students who do not celebrate Halloween are invited to participate in a fun acting in the Learning Center. Bryan will also offer a fun alternate activity 1:30-2:00 in the afternoon for any classes holding class parties at the end of the day.

• Voluntary Elementary EA Workshops – 4J added quarterly training opportunities in addition to the EA Extravaganzas. The quarterly trainings will be a 1-1/2 hours, on early release days. They will offer the same training on three different days to accommodate the various early release times/days in buildings across the district. Over the course of the year there will be four different trainings offered, two on behavior and two on math. These are voluntary trainings. If they go beyond an EA’s regular workday, you can check with me about using trade time. The first training topic will be focused on behavior during supervision and presented by 4J Behavior Consultants: Systematic Supervision: Creating a Safe and Positive Playground and other Common Areas. In this workshop, participants will learn to:

• Develop playground scanning methods that incorporate movement and proximity strategies
• Establish and maintain positive environments and relationships with students
• Focus on positive appropriate behaviors and Respond to problem behavior/take action

The schedule for quarterly trainings will be:

November 3, Auditorium 1:30-3:00 Behavior 1 (Supervision Focus)
November 8, Auditorium 2:00-3:30 Behavior 1 (Supervision Focus)
December 6, Tower room 1:30-3:00 Number Sense 1
December 8 Auditorium 1:30-3:00 Number Sense 1
January 10, Auditorium 2:00-3:30 Number Sense 1
February 7, Auditorium 1:30-3:00 Behavior 2
February 9 Auditorium 1:30-3:00 Behavior 2
March 7, Auditorium 2:00-3:30 Behavior 2
April 11, Tower room 1:30-3:00 Number Sense 2
April 13, Auditorium 1:30-3:00 Number Sense 2
May 9, Auditorium 2:00-3:30 Number Sense 2

Hold the date! – Elementary EA Extravaganza, February 2nd. Contact Marlee Litten if you have any questions x7586.

• Día de Muertos Celebration, Nov. 1 & 2 – The JSMA honors this annual celebration of life and death that takes place in Mexico, parts of Central and South America, and Latino communities in the United States. Altars with offerings, and traditional art, music, dance, food, flowers, and poetry remember and welcome souls journeying to the world of the living for a brief visit.

• 3 ways to boost brain function – It is possible to boost brain function and capacity in students, asserts Eric Jensen, a brain-based teaching and learning expert and former teacher. In this EdSurge Commentary, he shares three ways to kick-start this process to better serve students living in poverty.

• 10 ways to get your mojo back – October is an especially hard month for teachers, says Mike Anderson, author of “The Well-Balanced Teacher” in this ASCD article. “There’s so much positive energy at the beginning of the year … [but] after five or six weeks, reality starts to crash in.” Around this time, “student challenges might present themselves more prominently and the curriculum can start to feel overwhelming.” When the “October blues” bear down, what can you do to keep your momentum going? Turn to the CCSSO 2017 State and National Teachers of the Year for advice.

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

October 30 (M)
Safety Week
1:30, Earthquake/Fire Drill
2:15, 4th Grade Job-Share Interviews (Conference Room)

October 31 (T)
Safety Week: Room Clear Drills
8:10, Halloween Costume Parade
2:15, Staff Costume Photo! (Story Cove)

November 1 (W)
Safety Week: ALICE Drill Student Lesson
PBIS Monthly Theme – Appreciations
Title 1 Progress Monitoring Day – No Groups
Ewok Appreciation Day
2:30-5:00, Allan to Pay Grade Evaluation Meeting (Facilities)
4:00-5:00, Allan to North Region Principals’ Meeting (NEHS)

November 2 (H)
9:00-9:15, ALICE Evacuation Drill
9:15-4:00, Allan to ILT Meeting (Stephanie Cannon subbing)

November 3 (F)
8:30, Fire Drill

November 5 (SU)
Daylight Savings Time – Fall Back

November 6 (M)
Regular Day

November 7 (T)
8:15-11:15, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30 IPBS Meeting (Mellissa’s Room, Room 23)

November 8 (W)
Wacky Wednesday-Favorite Sports Day
2:30-3:30, Teacher Team Time Meeting (Ashley’s Room, Room 25)

November 9 (H)
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Angela’s Room, Room 24)

November 10 (F)
Veterans Day – No School

Have a terrific week, everyone, and look forward to a 4-day week next week!


September 4, 2017

Hi Everyone,

It was great getting to see everyone last week on our first week back to work. It’s going to be a busy week, but thankfully nowhere as crazy as last year opening a new building. Read on for this week’s news-you-can-use!

Thirty-three items of note for this week:

• Staffing Updates – Introduced at our BTS Staff Meeting, Lisa Dover has been hired as our newest Title 1 EA, filling the vacancy left by Debbie Miller when she retired. Lisa has been working the last seven year in Springfield as an Educational Assistant in Gen Ed and SPED. Over at the YMCA after-school program, Emma Knox is taking over at Site Coordinator and will be partnering with BEST this year. If you ever need to get ahold of her, her email is Lastly, we now have a new BEST Coordinator, Joshua Wrolstad, who has experience working as a Truancy Prevention Case Manager, a Youth Care Counselor, as well as at After School Programs. Please welcome these fine new folks to Howard!

• Updated 2017-2018 Master Schedule – Linked here is an updated 2017-2018 Master Schedule (XLS and PDF). Folks effected by any changes already know. And one tech-tip. Some staff told me they couldn’t see the tabs along the bottom of the Excel file to switch between the Master, EA, Music/PE, and Library schedule. If you don’t see them, go up to WINDOW and down to ZOOM WINDOW. You should then see the tabs along the bottom.

• PE & Music Start Date – Siera and Ronny have said they are ready to start seeing classes the first day of school, but they also understand if teachers want to wait a few days before starting. Please let them know if you WILL NOT be going to specialist times this week.

• Library Start Date – Classes will begin visiting the library at their scheduled times the week of September 11th.

• Meet Your Teacher – During Meet Your Teacher on Tuesday 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.

• First Day of School – 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 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 should again hold onto their class lists and maps from the day before to help guide families. Linked here is a map of where everyone will be stationed. Anyone who can’t flex their hours to come in earlier these two days, please let me know so I can adjust where people are stationed. See that attached First & Second Day of School Map for where people will be stationed.

• District Mandatory Policy Review for all Staff – Linked here is this year’s District Back-to-School Memo (PDF), which covers a variety of district rules, policies and guidelines. Section 1 is the portion that staff are required to review. I covered much of this at the BTS staff meeting, but as I shared there, all staff must review the memo and sign & return the check list acknowledgment form signifying that you have read and understand the memo. Forms should be returned to me no later than Friday, September 29th. I’ll place hard copies of the acknowledgement form in staff mailboxes this week. Looking over the memo, take note of updates to the Notice Requirements for Leave section, which is regarding sick days, personal days, various leaves, etc. An addition was also made to the district’s non-discrimination policy, clarify how the policy applies to supporting undocumented students, adding the policy, the PowerPoint, and a FAQ.

• PBIS First Week Teaching Plan – See Rae and Jill’s email for the PBIS teaching plan, which is very similar to last year. All classrooms should use the Recess Rules Slide Show (PDF and PowerPoint) before the first recess. Linked here is the PBIS Teacher Checklist, the PBIS Back-to-School Rules, and the PBIS Rules Matrix. This recess rules slide show linked above is different from the one emailed earlier and is the more specific of one we made in November after we’d lived with the new playground equipment for a couple month. Linked here is the earlier recess review emailed one which is also good for reviewing more general of playground behaviors, but make sure to teach the first more complete one first.

• New Level 2s and 3s – I shared last year that all schools across 4J will be using the same minor (Level II) and major (Level III) behavior referral forms. The new minor forms are finished and being sent to schools this week. The formatting is different from our form, but the content of what it’s asking for is pretty much the same. We’ll continue to use our own Level 1s referrals (Uh-Ohs) this year and the the major referral forms are almost ready to be sent to schools. Linked here is a preview of the new Minor Behavior Referral form (English and Spanish).

• School Bus PBIS – Just as last year, school bus drivers are handing out Transportation Dept. PBIS positive slips and schools are asked to treat them the same as our positive Beep, Beep slips. The same also goes for the bus Incident Reports, with teachers talking to student if they receive a Minor Referral and the principal talking to students if they receive a Major Referral.

• Student Bus Routes – Not linked here, but attached to my email is a Student Bus Route report. This report includes the bus routes for all students who the Transportation Dept. has a bus route for. I’ll run an updated report Tuesday and will email that to teachers in the afternoon, but I thought teachers may want this earlier.

• LearnZillion – Here are a few notes from Friday’s LearnZilion PD:

• Website – If you haven’t already, bookmark the 4J LearnZillion website. On this website is the 2017-2018 Pacing Guide for each grade level, individual lessons and units, the videos, additional supports, and other resources. Additional math resources can be found on the 4J Curriculum Server.

• Unit Zero – Unit Zero is a suggested (not required) lesson. If teachers have a different back-to-school refresher/team-building type of math lesson for the start of the school year, it’s fine to continue using that, although Learn Zillion Lesson Zero does introduce students to some of the LearnZillion routines.

• Pacing Guide Start Date, 9/14 – The pacing guide for Unit 1 starts on September 14th, so everyone should start the new math curriculum on this date.

• ThinkCentral – If anyone has tried to log onto Journeys’ web portal ThinkCentral, you likely noticed it did not work because students and teachers are being uploaded this weekend. It should be up and running by Tuesday.

• Science Notebook Orders – If you didn’t already click the link in Erin’s email, please enter how many science journals you need to order this year (zero or otherwise) on the Howard Science Notebook Order Spreadsheet.

• Principal Visits to Classrooms – I’d like to again visit every classroom sometime during the first few weeks of school to greet students. I’ll read a favorite story to your class and chat with the kids a bit. Teachers, please let me know a good 10 minutes block of time I can come and visit. Thank you!

• Classroom Newsletters – I’d love to have copies (email is best) of classroom newsletters when teachers send/email them home to families. This helps me get school events on the building calendar, keeps me up to date on what’s happening or going to happen in classes when families ask, and it also lets me know details of any class activities that I might be able to get the local media to come out and cover. I love promoting our school!

• Student Username/Passwords and Other TeacherVUE Reports – If teachers need a reminder how to find your students’ usernames and passwords, linked here is a quicksheet on Printing Reports in TeacherVUE. There are several reports teachers can generate from TeacherVUE. For example: To see which students have permission restrictions. A list of student user names and passwords for testing. To print a class list, student/parent directory, health conditions, emergency contacts etc. To print labels to send mail home.

• Seesaw App – Speaking of parent communication, the 4J Technology Department told me Howard has more teachers using Seesaw than any other school in the district. If you’re not currently using it, I’d encourage you to give it a try. Teachers sign-up for free on the Seesaw website. Parents download the free app and get access to your class from a secure code you share. From there, students can upload videos, audio, photos (approved first by the teacher), and and families then get a personalized window into their child’s school day! Teachers also have a fast easy communication tool to your families, where you can quickly push out a message to all families, where it shows up on their phone like a text instead of an email, getting their attention right away.

• Howard Google Team Drive – Wikis are kind of going out of fashion and Google Apps are increasing in usage across 4J, so I’m switching us over to a Google Team Drive for sharing meeting minutes, handbooks, resources, and other information. Later this week you’ll receive an email giving you access to the Howard Team Drive, which is essentially a shared folder that will show up in your Google Drive. To log onto your Google Drive, just follow this link to 4J Google Apples (also linked on my blog and under Links for Staff on the Howard webpage) and log in using your 4J email username and password.

• Staff Parking Areas (not the front row) – Starting this week, I’d like staff to go back to using designated staff parking areas, which is anywhere in the parking lot except for the front row of parking spaces, which I’d like to reserve for families. With 93 adults working in our building this year and 94 parking spots it’s a pretty tight fit.

• White Paper Copier Refill Reminder – With lots and lots of copies being made at the start of the year, please remember to keep the white paper tray filled so it doesn’t dip into the colored paper tray, causing copy sets not to match and have to be run over again. It’s also a good idea to keep the color paper tray empty so we can avoid unnecessarily running up our building copy count.

• Howard Staff Apparel to Jenny! – If you’d like an embroidered Howard Staff logo put on a shirt, jacket, pullover, hoodie, or whatever, give the clothing to Jenny and for (I believe) $7 her friend will put on the Howard Staff logo. Personally, I like going to Costco and getting something inexpensive and Howardizing it.

• Door Locks and Bells – I’m pretty sure I’ve got all the bells and door lock timers correctly set for this year’s schedule, but let me know if you notice any doors that are locked or unlocked when they shouldn’t or if there are bells that ring or do not ring when they should. On a related note, if anyone wants to change our bell sounds, it’s just an MP3 file that I can easily swap out, so feel free to scour the internet for a new 5-10 second bell tone.

• Howard/Kelly Track Use Schedule – We’re sticking with the same plan as last year for sharing the Kelly Track at recesses, cutting the track and field in half, where Howard uses the east end (the half closer to our building) and Kelly will use the west end (the half closer to their building) each day. The one exception is if Kelly PE classes are using the track and field, in which case Howard students should stay off the field.

• Morning Announcements Start Monday, 9/11 – I won’t do morning announcements the first three days of school, but we will start regular morning announcements the first full week of school on Monday, September 11th with a couple 5th graders who were trained up at the end of last school year. On a related note, I’m considering doing a YouTube livestream of morning announcements that teachers could project in their classrooms each morning instead of the intercom.

• Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program – The Fresh Fruits and Vegetable program will be continuing this year and is set to start on Monday, September 11th.

• KITS at Howard – As an FYI, the 4J KITS (Kids in Transition to School) Program is going to use our building on Saturdays 9:00-11:00 this month (Sept. 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th) as they finish up their summer program. They’ll be using the Preschool Classroom (Nollie, one of our preschool EAs, is teaching the class), the Family Resource Center (Room 5), and the Community Room. Howard was originally going to host KITS over the summer, but they had to move to Corridor due to the construction happening at our building over the summer.

• Enrollment Updates – If you’re curious what our enrollment looks like, we’re once again over our enrollment projection, but nowhere as much as last year. Our K-5 projection was for 478 students. As of Friday we have 496 students fully enrolled (along with a few packets still out), so including our preschoolers we can say Howard now has over 500 students. Grade level totals are PK (16), KG (73), 1st (85), 2nd (85), 3rd (81), 4th (83), and 5th (89). Holt and Gilham are still larger than us by quite a bit, but we’re creeping up on Willagilespie as the third largest school in 4J and would be even closer if we accepted all of the students on our waiting list (which I’m not planning to do). Everyone wants to come to Howard!

• 4J Vision 20/20 – I mentioned this at our Back-to-School Staff Meeting as being a major focus area of the school district this year. Linked here is the school district website 4J Vision 20/20 website as well as the 4J Vision 20/20 Strategic Plan Framework, which details the 3-5 year guiding plan. If you attended the District Back-to-School Event at SEHS, this was a major focus of Superintendent Balderas’ speech to staff. During his speech he actually used the What Do You Hope? video I shared at our meeting, but he ended his speech with a video I hadn’t seen before that I liked quite a lot, which was a nice reminder of why we all work in education.

• Learning About Learning Network – For several years, 4J has had Learning About Learning (LEL) Networks. Each school has the principal and two teachers participate, where a team of school meets at one school to onduct classroom observations, which this year will focus on math instruction. Teachers commit to the LEL for two years. Carla is rotating off this year and Ashley is continuing for her second year, so I am looking for a volunteer for this school year.

The purpose of a Learning About Learning network is to orient members to the Instructional Rounds process and to begin the process of building teams of leaders who are able to learn from one another around the craft of leading instruction. The goal of instructional rounds isn’t to provide feedback to the teachers being observed, but for LEL members to compare their own instructional practices with those of the teachers they observe. The chief benefit of this approach resides in the discussion that takes place among LEL members at the end of the observations as well as in subsequent self-reflection. This short post from Edutopia has a nice overview of what the process looks like. Feel free to ask Carla, Ashley, or myself if you have any questions. Let me know if any of your are interested.

• REPEAT: 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, unless you completed one at the end of last year.

• Setting Routines for the First Days of School – I shared this last year, but it’s a good one. In the latest issue of ASCD Express, UC Berkeley philosophy professor Alva Noë state “An environment, natural or human-made, reflects a compromise between design and habit.” When setting routines, teachers look for easily integrated procedures that relate to students’ needs but also help the class achieve some greater learning objective—whether that be setting expectations for independent practice, technology participation, or a respectful classroom culture. As Noë alludes, classroom habits will be shaped by the user experience. Use the first days of the new school year to draw a clear and flexible path to success for those who will travel it. This issue includes articles such as “Setting the Tone for Technology Use,” “Focus on Feelings, First,” and “Six Strategies to Support a Safe, Inclusive, and Respectful Classroom.”

• 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:

September 4 (M)
Labor Day – No School

September 5 (T)
8:00-10:00, Potential Staff Meeting CANCELLED
10:00, Q&A Session for New Staff – Optional (Conference Room)
10:00-12:00, Preschool Open House
1:00-2:00, Meet Your Teacher
2:00-3:00, Allan to Student Meeting (Conference Room)
3:15-3:45, PBIS for New Staff (Rae’s Room, Room 1)

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

September 7 (H)
Regular Day

September 8 (F)
10:10, Allan Reading to Class

September 11 (M)
Library Begins

September 12 (T)
8:15, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting CANCELLED
2:30, IPBS Meeting (Mellissa’s Room, Room 23)

September 13 (W)
Cookie Dough Fundraiser Begins
2:30, PBIS Meeting (Rae’s Room, Room 1)
4:00-5:00, Allan to North Region Principals’ Meeting (NEHS)

September 14 (H)
12:00-3:30, Allan to ILT (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Angela’s Room, Room 24)

September 15 (F)
9:00-1:00, OSEA Site Visit w/Members (Staff Room)

Let’s make the first week with kids a great one!



August 28, 2017


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!


May 15, 2017


Hello Fabulous Staff,

Photo credit goes to Suzanna for the above picture of the Staff Appreciation chalk drawings and writings in front of the school from last week.

Twenty-one items of note for this week:

• 17/18 Classroom Moves – Besides the classroom moves shared in prior announcements (Natalie, Robin, Carla, Erin, Stephanie, and EEP), I’m making a few other classroom assignment changes for next year. One is that Carolyn and the ELD classroom (A202) will be moving into the BEST classroom (B202), since that room is empty during the school day, and moving into the ELD classroom will be our new facilitating teacher, Rhonda Lawson. Also moving is the Early Childhood Team (B102) who will be moving upstairs into the YMCA classroom (B201), who will combine with the BEST classroom (B202) for after school use. Lastly, since our LC and CLC level of student need is continuing increase, Katie is going to set up her own classroom across from the CLC in the Early Childhood Team’s classroom (B102). Staff moving already know about these changes, but I wanted everyone else to know the plan. See the linked 2017-2018 School Map for a complete picture. 

• PTO Meeting Tuesday – The May PTO meeting is this Tuesday at 6:00 in the community room if any staff are available to attend. This meeting will be an interesting one because 4J is likely going to adopt new rules for school fundraisers, which may significantly change our fundraisers next year. Andrea Bela from Financial Services will be at the meeting to share what is being proposed. Hope to see you there!

• Updated Artist in Residence Schedule – Teri Robertson, our artist in residence, will start this Monday and linked here is what I believe will be the final version of the artist schedule. Let me know if you see anything on here that needs changed. And a couple notes to teachers from the artist:

• K-2 classrooms: Each child should have a black crayon.
• All classrooms: Each student should have a variety of colored crayons
• All classrooms: She’ll want to use the document camera for demonstrations.

• Tech Visit Wednesday – Nine staff members from Roseburg SD will be visiting Howard on Wednesday between 8:00-12:00. They’re wanting to see how classes integrate technology, run small group rotations without a lot of additional help (EAs, volunteers, etc), and also visit our preschool program.

Their curriculum director still hasn’t called or emailed me, so I don’t have a schedule as of writing this (i.e. what grades they want to see, for how long, tour in one group or small groups, etc.). Howard staff should plan to just do your usual thing. No need to put on a show. I’ll let folks know once I get more details from the Roseburg team.

• Student Care Team Referrals – The May Student Care Team meeting is in two weeks, which means referrals are due to me by Friday next week. Referrals can be for families seeking support for food assistance, incarcerated parents, counseling/mental health needs, parenting resources, transportation assistance, clothing needs, financial assistance, homelessness, impending homelessness, 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 where you have concerns but cannot get a signed release.

• 2017 Parenting Now! Resources for Families – Linked here is the 2017 Resources for Families Poster (English and Spanish) from Parenting Now! This poster is a very comprehensive resource guide sorted by area of need (i.e. Counseling, Financial Assistance, Legal, Substance Abuse & Recovery, etc.) if you are ever helping families look for Lane County agencies and resources.



• PRIDE Assembly, Discipline, Friday – This Friday will be our PRIDE Award assembly for Discipline (“Working hard at everything!”). The K-2 assembly will be 12:30-12:55 and the 3-5 assembly will be 1:05-1:30. See the linked assembly map and directions for details and be sure to get your awards to me before the assembly.

• PRIDE Integrity Bands – Speaking of PRIDE Awards, for the 3/4/5 Integrity Award winners who didn’t get a band last time, our replacement bands have arrived, so stop by my office to pick-up their white integrity bands.

• 3/4/5 BEST Strings Assembly Friday @8:45 – Also remember that the Strings Assembly is also this Friday at 8:45 in the gym. The assembly will be for grades 3/4/5 and for classrooms not already on field trips or with other conflicts. See the linked assembly map and directions.

• May 26 Howard PD Day – The last Howard PD Day of the year is in two weeks on Friday, May 26th. I’ll send out the agenda later this week, but a majority of the meeting will be dedicated to a training on the new math curriculum, LearnZillion, by Maddy Ahearn. I’ll also provide some time for licensed staff to complete the End-of-Cycle Goals Reflection form in TalentEd and for classified staff to complete the Classified Employee Self-Assessment assessment form (PDF or DOC).

• ALICE Lockdown Drill Debrief – This will be a business item on the agenda for our PD Day, but if you have thoughts you’d like to share regarding our Lockdown: Barricade and Lockdown: Evacuate Drills, whether it’s questions, concerns, or suggestions that are individual, for the entire building, or for the entire district that you’d like me to pass along, please let me know.

• Grade Level Meeting Wednesday at 1:30Anyone want to volunteer their room for this meeting? We’ll be meeting in Agnela’s Room (B204). A repeat from last week, I’ve repurposing the monthly Grade Level Meeting to discuss consumable orders for English Language Arts for next school year. Wednesday at 1:30 teachers will need to order materials for Being a Writer and Journeys (math materials are already being ordered) for next school year. Linked here is the Teacher Handout on Ordering Consumables that we’ll go over more at the meeting.

• Class Lists Parent Notification – I’m thinking we should wait until fall to notify families about classroom placements. Since we’re such a large school now and since we typically have around 40-something students move away each summer, I think we should not send out postcards announcing class placement in the spring as we have in prior years. Posting class lists like we did this year will be the plan for next year unless I hear otherwise from folks who think I should reconsider.

• Foundations In Math – Summer 2017 – The Foundations in Mathematics course is again being offered this summer and still has a few open spots. See the above linked flyer for details about the course and how to sign up. A couple of notes:

• It will be a 3-day course held from August 1-3.
• Teachers will be paid extended contract for 2 of the 3 days.
• Teachers can receive one U of O credit at a reduced rate.

• 2017-2018 School Leadership Positions – We still have some open positions for next year’s building leadership positions. Feel free to sign-up and we’ll make these official at the May 26th PD Day. If you would like to sign up for a leadership or rep position, follow this link to the 2017-2018 Leadership/Building Rep. Positions Google Sheet.

• Fresh Fruit & Veggie Program – Nutrition Services is watching the funding very closely with the Fresh Fruit and Veggie Program and it may be that they need to end this program on May 31st. The state is unsure of the amount of funding to complete this school year, as well as what next year will look like. Nutrition Services will let us know more information when they receive details from ODE.

• NEHS Senior Stroll – Clair Wiles from NEHS let me know that on Thursday, June 8th, North is having a goodbye assembly for seniors in full regalia. Following the assembly they are hoping to to load their graduates up on buses and bring them down to the feeder schools for a “senior stroll” through the halls of their old schools (or new halls for our school). They thought it would be cool for teachers to see the final product of your hard work and for our students to see the big kids off. Their assembly will end at 10:50, so we would likely be here around 11:15 or so. I did warn them that this is during lunch recesses, but that I thought this was a great idea for their students and ours and that they were welcome to come walk the hallways of Howard one more time this day.

• Free, Optional iPad Basics Workshop – In response to interest expressed by classified staff, Instructional Technology is offering four sessions of iPad Basics. The North Region session is being hosted here at Howard in two weeks on Wednesday, May 24th from 2:00-3:00 in the STEM Room. Follow this link to the 4J Workshops Website for further information and online registration. Any 4J employee, classified or licensed, is welcome to attend.

• Study: STEM stereotypes affect students early – Students as young as age 6 have gender-based stereotypes about computer programming and robotics abilities, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Young girls internalize stereotypes that boys are better-suited to study coding, researcher Allison Master said in this EdWeek article.

• Why it’s important to recognize unconscious bias – While it may be difficult to admit, “unconscious bias is a real phenomenon in all schools,” asserts former educator and principal Kate Gerson in this article. Gerson, who now works with nonprofit UnboundEd, challenges educators to engage in the uncomfortable work of evaluating unconscious bias.

• 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 15 (M)
Artist in Residence Begins
2:30, Allan to IEP Meeting (Conference Room)

May 16 (T)
8:15-11:15, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
3:00-5:30, District Elementary Librarian Meeting (Library)
6:00, PTO Meeting (Community Room)

May 17 (W)
8:00-12:00, Winchester Elementary Tech, Small Group, & Preschool Visit
1:30-2:30, Grade Level Meeting Time – Repurposed for ELA Consumables meeting (Angela’s Room, B204)

May 18 (H)
Bianca Out
9:00-11:00, Allan to ILT Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Angela’s Room)
7:00, BEST Strings Academy Concert (Kelly MS)

May 19 (F)
Bianca Out
7:30-9:00, Allan to 4JMAPS Meeting
8:30-1:45, Zimmerman and Kreider/Shadwick to McGowan Creek
8:45-9:15, 3/4/5 BEST Strings Assembly (Gym)
12:30-12:25, K-2 Pride Assembly – Discipline (Gym)
1:05-1:30, 3-5 Pride Assembly – Discipline (Gym)
6:00-8:00, PTO Family Craft Night – Crafts, Coneys, & STEM (Gym/Cafeteria)

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)
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 (Volunteer’s Classroom)

May 29 (M)
No School – Memorial Day

Have a good week, everyone! And did you realize this is the one of only three 5-day weeks left this school year?


April 17, 2017


Howdy Howard Staff,

Congratulations to Jill and Marguerite on their ACE Award nominations! Your work has impressed folks in our community enough to garner a nomination and we’re all quite happy of you. Plus, multiple nominations for Howard staff makes us look good!

Eleven items of note for this week:

• Job Expo Updates – Howard was once again a the most popular school in the district at the Job Expo, with more applicants than any other school in 4J, most applying for our 3rd grade job, and for that 3rd grade position we’ve hired Becky Robinson, who some of you may already know as Matt’s wife. She’s been teaching 4th grade at Gilham this past year and prior to that taught 4th grade in New Jersey. Becky will also add to Howard’s tradition of same-named-staff-members, giving us a trifecta of Rebeccas (Hanson, Robinson, and Schmidt).

I haven’t heard from HR yet regarding our temp kindergarten and part-time facilitating positions. How the Job Expo works is that after the “speed dating” style of interviews, candidates rank their job choices, principals also rank their top three candidates for each position, and then HR staff makes the decision who is offered which position, which entails placing all displaced teachers first.

• Tech Trot Updates & All-School Selfie – The Tech Trot is in two weeks on Wednesday, April 26th. Information will be going home this with students week. I’ve worked out times with the PTO for when classes will go out to the track, which will be:

• 8:30-9:15 – 2nd & 3rd Grade
• 9:30-10:15 – Kinder & 1st Grade
• 10:30-11:15 – 4th & 5th Grade

The same as in the past, kids will run the track for 30 minutes and will collect colorful bands as they run/jog/walk around the track to take count of their laps. Drinks and snacks will also be provided for students, along with free Howard Tech Trot t-shirts for students and staff who turned in their order forms.

Shirts should be passed out the day of the Tech Trot. I’m also thinking this would be a fun opportunity to take a new all school photo in our matching Howard shirts (with the Howard logo in the front this time). Last time we did it was four years ago and at that time we were a school of 314 students and about 30 fewer staff members, so I think we’re due. Unless anyone objects, I think we can all meet at 12:45 the day of the Tech Trot in the courtyard outside the cafeteria and take a picture from the green wing balcony. See the linked map and directions for where to stand, although we may need to adjust positions once we get out there. Let me know if you have any questions.




• PTO Meeting Tuesday at 6:00 – The April PTO meeting is this Tuesday at 6:00 in the community room, so if any staff are available to make attend the meeting, that’s always a nice way for us to show support and appreciation for our parent group’s hard work fundraising for us. They’ve really done an amazing job this year!

On a related PTO note, the PTO clarified with me that their asking teachers for help with carnival games is purely voluntary. Elizabeth Bond is actually going to take a couple minutes at Tuesday’s staff meeting to talk about it.

• Voicemail Set-Up – We’ve realized a number of staff have not set up their voicemail accounts and/or have a previous teacher’s voicemail message on their phone line, which often confuses parents. Linked here is a Voicemail Quickstart Guide on how to check your voicemail message and how to set it up.

• LatinX Alliance of Lane County Family Preparedness Train the Trainers – If any staff are would like to be part of a training to assist undocumented families creating family preparedness plans, there is a training on May 4th. If you’re interested, please let me know and I can provide further details.

• New Building Updates – Here are the items of note regarding our new building:

• Music Room Carpet – Over the summer the music room will be getting carpet. This is to help with the acoustics and also to help with some of the noise between the gym and music room. It won’t impact the movable wall if we ever want to move it.

• Playground Summer Work – Over the summer Facilities will be adding rubber matting underneath the swings and slides. They’ll also be adding a fence along with street side of the playground, with a large swing gate that could be opened if vehicles need to get through. This is also when they will install the wheelchair swing, and, I assume, when they will install the drums to replace the short-lived rainbow piece of equipment that had to be taken out. And best of all, we’ve finally won our battle to get benches added to the playground.

• No Back-Up Power for Curtains – Facilities has figured out that the back-up generators we have don’t have enough power to add the building curtains, which mean unfortunately blinds will be stuck in place if we have another power outage. Grrrrrrrrr!

• Water Faucet Replacement Complete – All classroom faucets now have the replacement style aerator installed, so folks should not see any more of the white water.

• Repeats from Last Week – Several reminders from last week’s announcements:

• 2017-2018 EEF Grant Applications Due April 24th – EEF grant applications are due to me by next Monday. Dream big! We can submit up to five grants in any amount up to $5,000! Grants focused on Arts, Literacy, and STEM receive a higher priority. Linked here is the application form and linked here is the EEF Grant Guidelines.

• Care Team Referrals Due Friday – Referrals for the April Student Care Team meeting are due the Friday. Try to get a parent/guardian signature on the release form (editable PDF and non-editable PDF), but know you can also refer “hypothetical” situations. Let me know if you have any referrals or questions.

• PRIDE Awards Assemblies Next Week – This Friday our third PRIDE Awards assembly. Grades K-2 at 12:30-12:55 and Grades 3-5 at 1:05-1:30 . See the linked assembly map and directions for details. Classroom teachers should pick 2-3 students who demonstrate the characteristic of Integrity (“Be Honest”).

• Eugene 4J North Region Staff Survey – I want to encourage staff to take the time to fill out your Eugene 4J North Region Staff Survey, which you should have already received an email. This information is important for the North Region, and district really wants to hear from you. Your voice and opinion matter as we move our region forward together.

• Physics Professional Development Opportunity, April 26 – Allison sent an email to cert_all earlier, but it’s worth highlighting an upcoming science PD that will focus on concepts found in the Physical Science sections of FOSS. The training will take place at South Eugene High School on Wednesday, April 26th from 4-6pm. Follow this link to register.

• Upcoming changes to guest access on 4jwireless – This won’t effect staff much, but if you’re ever helping a non-staff member connect to 4jwireless, the monthly guest passwords are being phased out. David Nelson sent an email to principals, secretaries, and TSS staff that said the new 4jwireless login page will prompt guest users to create an account of their own. Linked here are directions for the new process, which you can feel free to share with anyone who needs it, although it’s pretty straightforward.

• Arts Integration Conference – The Lane Arts Council is offering a conference for educators Saturday, April 29th with an interest or skill in integrating art across the curriculum. Follow this link for details, but pretension topics will include:

• Studio habits Mind
• Integrating Arts into Core Curriculum
• Visual Thinking Strategies
• Visual Narrative Writing
• Experimental Model
• Playshops: Hands-on Arts Integration Practices

• Teaching a Core Social-Emotional Skill: Perspective Taking – In this Kappan article, author Hunter Gehlbach says the current attention to social-emotional learning will have a longer shelf life than other trendy topics, but cautions that implementing social-emotional learning in schools raises some important questions:

• Which “soft” skills matter most? Students being caring, morally upstanding, purpose-driven, or empathetic?
• Which proficiencies can teachers actually change? For example, is it realistic that schools can make students more caring?
• Aren’t some social-emotional skills really values that should be addressed by families?

The danger with social-emotional learning, says Gehlbach, is that we’ll “get excited about it, implement a handful of versions, find ourselves daunted by the vast array of components that need to be taught and assessed, become frustrated, and then move on to the next big thing.” But Gehlbach believes this won’t happen if we focus on “a single, teachable capacity that anchors almost all of our social interactions: social perspective-taking, or the capacity to make sense of others’ thoughts and feelings. See the above linked article for what the Gehlbach believe are the four key steps and the three precepts for teachers to keep in mind.

• 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:

April 17 (M)
8:30, Allan Meeting with Pacific University

April 18 (T)
8:15-11:15, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30, Staff Meeting (Ashley Room)
4:00, Allan Touring Eugene Fire Department (Howard)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Community Room)

April 19 (W)
Fluoride Varnish (Community Room)
9:15, Backyard Farmer to KG Classes

April 20 (H)
9:00-11:00, Allan to ILT Meeting (Ed Center)
4:00-6:00, Allan Potentially to Elem. Job Expo (Ed Center)

April 21 (F)
7:30-9:00, Allan to 4JMAPS Meeting
12:30-12:55, K-2 Pride Assembly – Integrity (Gym)
1:05-1:30, 3-5 Pride Assembly – Integrity (Gym)

April 24 (M)
Volunteer Appreciation Week
ODE Title 1 School Monitoring Visit
EEF Grant Applications Due to Allan by 2:30
2:30-3:30, Site Council Meeting (Conference Room)
4:00-5:30, Allan to All Admin Meeting (Ed Center)

April 25 (T)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Mellissa/Sarah’s Room, B203)
5:00-7:30, ACE Awards (Hult Center)

April 26 (W)
Title 1 Progress Monitoring Day – No Groups
Administrative Professionals’ Day (Formerly Secretary’s Day)
8:00-11:30, Tech Trot

• 8:30-9:15 – 2nd & 3rd Grade
• 9:30-10:15 – Kinder & 1st Grade
• 10:30-11:15 – 4th & 5th Grade

1:30-2:30, Teacher Training for ALICE Student Training (Volunteer’s Room)
2:30-3:30, Student Care Team Meeting (Conference Room)

April 27 (H)
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
9:00-9:30, 3-5 Native Storytelling Assembly (Gym)
9:40-10:10, K-2 Native Storytelling Assembly (Gym)
1:30, Allan to Truancy Hearing (Office)
4:00-6:00, Allan to Elem. Job Expo (Ed Center)
5:00-6:00, Human Growth & Development Parent Preview (5th Grade Wing)

April 28 (F)
10:30-12:30, Birthday Lunches With the Principal (Community Room)

Have a great week, everyone!



April 3, 2017


Welcome Back, Roadrunners!

I hope you all took time for yourselves over the break and had time to recharge for the last part of the school year! Always remember to take good care of yourself so you’ll be in a good place to take care of others. “You can’t pour from an empty cup” (yes, I read that on a meme).

Twenty items of note for this week:

• SSD Staffing Update – I’ve already let SPED staff know, but we received our SPED staffing from SSD for licensed and for most classified staff. Bryan, Katie, Linda, and Rae will all be returning to their same positions and hours next year. For classified staff, we received allocations and job assignments for everyone except for one-on-one EAs, but all non-one-on-one SPED EAs will also be returning next year to their same positions and hours.

• Night Custodian Update – The Friday before the break we officially hired our new 10-month night custodian, Nigel Cottrell, who will start this week, but will be in and out with some required Facilities trainings. Nigel has been working as a custodial substitute and is also going to school right now to become a speech-language pathologist. Please welcome Nigel to the Howard Team!

• Job Expo Updates – Howard will have three positions going to the Job Expo next week, so please tell me if you know of awesome teachers who want to come to Howard. One position is a Carla’s 3rd grade job, now that she’ll be moving into ESC and job-sharing with Amber. We also have a half-time facilitating teacher position that we’re adding for next year. It will likely be to support 4th or 1st grade, but that could change. Lastly, and sadly, Kealy is taking a leave next year, so we’ll also have a vacancy at kindergarten and will be looking for someone to join Robin and Shelly. Please feel free to talk to any teacher friends and colleagues of yours and tell them that Howard is an awesome place to work!

• Erin’s Law Child Abuse Prevention Teaching Requirement – 4J is continuing to get into compliance with state and federal laws and one is the child abuse prevention law, Erin’s Law. Linked here is an Erin’s Law Info Sheet that we’ll be sending home soon to families. This requires that all classroom teachers annually teach students child abuse prevention strategies, including this school year. In the future, we should plan to add this to our annual Safety Week. The goals at the elementary level are to teach students:

• How to judge between safe and unsafe touch
• How to protect themselves
• Who to go to for help

To meet this teaching requirement, all classrooms teachers should should teach their grade level’s Michigan Model Health lesson on this topic. If you don’t have the Michigan Model curriculum, which is very likely between our recent move and our recent growth the past few years, linked here are the lessons for Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, and 5th Grade. These lessons do require a video from the curriculum, so if no one at your grade level has the DVD to share, let me know and I can get one for you from downtown. Let me know if you have any questions on this.

• PTO Updates – Here’s the latest from the March PTO Meeting:

• Penny War Results – You probably already heard that Jessy’s class won for the most point and Kreider/Shadwick’s class won for the most pennies. The fundraiser as a whole brought in about $1,449! If you’re interested, linked here are the classroom totals.

• Artist in Residence – Thanks for grants secured through LaneArts and $1,000 from PTO, we’re again able to provide local professional artists to work with Howard students. I’m working the the Blues in the Schools folks now on dates and a schedule.

• DreamBox Funding – The PTO said they can fund the $1,200 needed to license DreamBox for the rest of the school year once our two-month free demo is up. However, the funds would come out of next year’s PTO Teacher Funds, meaning instead of $17 per student, it would likely be around $14-15 per student for classrooms and specialists. We’ll plan to discuss this at a future staff meeting, although there is a possibility PTO will raise more funds than they are projecting, which is what’s happened for all of our fundraisers so far this year.

• 17/18 Staffing Shared – As an FYI, I shared the licensed staffing plan at the PTO meeting, so it’s officially public knowledge who will be teaching what next year. I’ll plan to put this in the school newsletter once vacancies get filled at the Job Expo.

• Tech Trot April 26th – Our Tech Trot fundraiser to support building technology (subscriptions, hardware, software, etc.) is April 26th. The collection envelopes and instructions will go home two weeks before the event. Free shirts will be available to all students, and if you’d like to have some say in what color of shirt is selected, classes can vote between LIME, RED, ORANGE SHERBET, ASH, or LIGHT PINK. Staff can also cast your vote on the PTO Facebook Poll. Go red!

• Ems Emazing Readers Incentive Kick-Off Assembly, 4/13 – Not this week, but Thursday next week is the kickoff for the Eugene Emeralds’ Reading Incentive program. The program will run the same as last year, which is classroom teachers set a reading goal for students and if students meet that goal they get two free tickets to attend an Ems baseball game this summer. For the assembly, the 3-5 assembly will be 9:00-9:25 and the K-2 assembly will be 10:00-10:25, where Sluggo will motivate kids to meet their reading goals (or at least get them wound up). See the linked assembly map and directions for details.

• Playground Rules: No Balls/Toys From Home – We’ve stated to see balls, hacky sacks, and other items from home make their way out to recesses. Please remind students that balls, games, and toys need to stay home and are definitely not be taken out onto the playground, which too often leads to problems when they get lost, stolen, damaged, or end up on the roof.

• March PBIS Focus: Safe Bodies – The March PBIS monthly focus is Safe Bodies. The PBIS team created a PBIS/CFK Cheat Sheet that matches our PBIS monthly themes with corresponding Caring for Kids (CFK) class meeting lessons. This is an easy way to tie the two activities together.

• White Water Fix Coming – An update on the classroom faucets causing “white water.” Replacement faucet parts are coming that are standard aerator style flow restrictors. Later this summer when Facilities Department staff replace these in the classrooms, the water will show air in the stream, but will clear immediately in a glass. The existing stream was clear flow, but had very fine air entrained bubbles when in a glass. There are no water quality issues, but this will fix the visual issue. I think we we got Facilities to fix this in part because the manufacturer offered to chip in on the cost.

• Monday, April 3rd PD Info – A quick repeat of previously shared information. All licensed staff who teach math (gen ed, Title, SPED) are required to attend the LearnZillion math training. All classified staff who teacher and/or support math instruction should also attend. K-2 will meet at Holt and 3-5 will meet at Howard from 8:00-12:00. See the linked Math PD Flyer for details.

• Instructional Minutes & Start/End Times Update – I mentioned in prior announcements that as a result of downtown discovering that elementary schools were not meeting required instructional minutes, there was talk of aligning recess, lunch, and start & end times across the district. Discussion on this is not over, but there will be no changes to Howard or other schools’ start and end times for this coming school year. This means we can plan on classes the same start and end times here at Howard for next year.

• School Choice Changes Next Year – The application window for school choice will change next year to just the month of January. This means we’ll have only one month of school choice tours instead of two, so fewer interruptions, and also more solid of school choice numbers before staffing allocations given out. Out-of-district applications would still be the same because those dates are part of the state laws governing inter-district transfers.

• District Admin Updates – Longtime Kennedy Middle School principal Charlie Smith is retiring at the end of this school year, as is Kennedy assistant principal Mark Bennett. Stepping into the Kennedy principal role will be Morgan Christensen. Morgan taught at Roosevelt Middle School and is currently assistant principal at Churchill High School. Casandra Kamens, current North Eugene High School principal, will move to Churchill to fill Morgan’s position. This leaves vacancies for a principal at North and assistant principal positions at Kennedy and ATA.

• First Friday Communities of Color Networking Event – Jill reminded me about the First Friday CCN Event that happens the first Friday of each month. The next one is April 7th, 5:30-7:00 at the Lane ESD. CCN is a safe space to relax, network, catch up, and meet new people of color and allies. All are welcome! See the linked flyer for details.

• Levi Strauss Community Day – Levi’s Strauss reached out to us about their 17th Annual Community Day on Thursday, May 4th. Their employees are looking for volunteer opportunities in the community this day, so if you could use a volunteer or volunteers this day, let me know before Tuesday.

• Eugene 4J 6K AVID Strides for Education Run/Walk – The 1st Annual Eugene 4J 6K Strides for Education run/walk to celebrate AVID and fundraise for the program will be on April 9th. This will be a professionally managed 6 kilometer run/walk on the bike path along the banks of the Willamette River. The proceeds will support having college tutors at our school, sending students on college visit field trips, and more. Online registration ($20 for adults; $10 for 4J students) is now available at the above link.

Many 4J middle and high schools are AVID sites (it’s being piloted at the elementary level this year at Awbrey Park and Spring Creek), a college and career readiness system that stands for “Advancement Via Individual Determination.” Hundreds of 4J teachers have been trained to utilize AVID strategies to improve instructional practice. You can learn more about AVID at

• 15 Resources on Sparking Student Creativity – Albert Einstein once said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Here is a curated list of resources just released on ASCD myTeachSource that offer different ways to promote student creativity using practical applications and classroom assessments.

• Integrating Literacy into STEAM Lessons – Although written by a middle school teacher, much of this article still applies at the elementary level. Both Common Core and NGSS emphasize the importance of speaking, listening and communicating about mathematical and scientific concepts. Integrating literacy tools into STEAM subjects does more than help students and teachers fulfill objectives. Better literacy helps students identify and more thoroughly understand key concepts.

• Growth Mindset Is Not Enough – The author of this Edutopia article asserts that to help students face life’s challenges, teachers should seek to help them develop a broad set of skills.

• 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:

April 3 (M)
No School — Professional Development/Planning Day
PBIS Monthly Theme – Encouragement
8:00-12:00, District Math PD (K-2 Holt, 3-5 Howard)

April 4 (T)
Students Return
8:15-11:15, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)

April 5 (W)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Pay Grade Evaluation Committee Meeting (Ed Center)
4:00-5:00, Allan to North Region Principals’ Meeting (YG/Corridor)

April 6 (H)
9:00-11:00, Allan to ILT Meeting (Ed Center)
12:00, Allan to Truancy Hearing (Office)

April 7 (F)
9:00, March Book Winners (Conference Rooms)

April 8 (SA)
10:00-2:00, PTO LulaRoe Multi-Consultant Pop Up

April 10 (M)
Regular Day

April 11 (T)
Lori Possibly Out for Jury Duty
8:00-1:00, LCC Dental Clinic with Robin Wellwood
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Mellissa’s Room, B203)

April 12 (W)
Wacky Wednesday – Mismatch Day
Title 1 Progress Monitoring Day – No Groups
ODE Family Survey’s Due
1:30, Allan to Review Diastat Training
2:30-3:30, PBIS Meeting (Rae’s Room, A101)
6:00-7:00, Howard Kindergarten Round-Up (Library)

April 13 (H)
9:00-9:30, 3-5 Ems Emazing Reading Assembly (Gym)
10:00-10:30, K-2 Ems Emazing Reading Assembly (Gym)
4:00-6:00, Allan to Elem. Job Expo (Ed Center)

April 14 (F)
2:30, Allan to IEP Meeting (Conference Room)

And to get you all in the mood to return to work, below are some pictures from the PBIS Tail Feather Reward Assembly that show Howard staff know how to have fun!

See you soon!



And we almost got to see a RipStik Riding Roadrunner at the assembly, but we’ll have to figure out this giant mascot costume head first.

January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

Well that was an unexpected way to start our winter break. The Chinn household never lost power or have any damage, so I can’t complain much, but we did lose a bunch of tree large limbs that are still piles next to my house and had a cherry tree split in half from the weight of all the ice.

I hope you all had a restful and rejuvenating winter break and didn’t have to deal with too many weather related issues during your vacation. 

Thirteen items of note for this week:

• Science PD, Tuesday, Jan. 3rd, 8:00-1:45 – All K-5 classroom teachers are required to attend, even if you don’t teach science this year. Grades K-2 will meet at Holt and grades 3-5 will meet here at Howard. See the linked science PD emails and updated agenda that were sent out to cert_all earlier.

SSD, Title 1, and PE/Music specialists have received direction from their supervisors regarding PD and expectations for this day. For all other staff, this is additional planning and prep time.

• Ice/Hazardous Weather Days & Rescheduled Events – With the three days of no-school due to hazardous weather, those days will be added onto the end of the school year, making Wednesday, June 21st the last day with students unless we have more snow or hazardous weather days. We also need to reschedule a few events we missed. Here are the updated dates:

• Roadrunner Tail Feather Reward, Friday, Jan. 9th – Same plan as before. If classes met their tail feather goal, teachers can hold their movie day reward this Friday at a time if that works for you, though your also welcome to hold it any day this week that works for you.

• Birthday Lunches, Friday, Jan. 9th – December Birthday Lunches with the Principal will be this Friday as well. Same plan as usual in the Community Room. Not linked here but attached in my email is a list of the December student birthdays.

• Monthly Book Winners
– We also missed the November Monthly Book winners, so the new plan will be to do the November and December Book Winners on the same date, which is next week on Wednesday, Jan. 11th at 9:00. We’ll put out the book winner sheet out later this week for teachers to write down your December winners.

• Fire Drill Reschedule, Jan. 18th – Since we had three evacuations in November I’m not worrying about missing our December fire drill, but our January drill will be Wednesday, Jan. 18th at 8:20. Hopefully it’ll warm up some before then.

• SMART Notebook Training, Tuesday, Jan 10th – When Misty went around the last few week to make sure everyone’s interactive white board was working properly (let me know if you’re still having issues) she received quite a few requests for a SMART Notebook training – beginning and advanced. Kellyclare Gardner is going to offer an optional training for teachers here at Howard on Tuesday, January 10th at 2:30 to review how to use SMART Notebook software, which is far superior to the built-in Epson software. We don’t have a room for the training yet, so let me know if anyone would be willing to volunteer their space. 

• Annual Safety Inspection, Tuesday, Jan. 10th – Not this week, but next week will be Howard’s annual safety inspection that was originally supposed to happen last month. The inspection will be on Tuesday, January 10th at 9:00. Please check your areas for the most common safety violations:

• Unlabeled spray bottles.
• 3-foot pathway to your exit doors.
• Cord covers for all power cords in walk ways.
• Power strips plugged into another power strip.
• Use of any extension cords (long power strips are okay, just not extension cords)
• Items hanging from lights or the ceiling.

Let me or Crystal know if you have any questions on any of this.

• January PBIS Focus: Be Your Best – The January PBIS monthly focus is “Be Your Best.” The PBIS team created a PBIS/CFK cheat sheet that matches our monthly PBIS themes with corresponding Caring for Kids class meeting lessons, which is a nice way to tie the two activities together.

• Lost and Found Clean Out – Let students know that at the end of the week we’re going to donate anything left in the lost and found. We’ll send an email to families and also make announcements this week.

• Don’t Let in After School Groups – I know staff are just trying to be helpful, but don’t let any Kidsports or other outside user groups into the building after hours. We’ve had problems with coaches and players coming into the building before their scheduled times and then getting into things they shouldn’t.

• 2017 TaeKwonDo Demonstration Team Assembly – I think I’ve shared this before, but I received an email from a local TaeKwonDo group who’ve offered a free assembly. See the linked flyer for details, but they offer a motivational assembly for students with a traditional demonstration of TaeKwonDo. If I hear from enough teachers who’d like to attend this assembly, I’ll go ahead and schedule them to come.

• Translation Coordinator/Latino Family Liaison – Vanessa Vasquez has joined the instruction department as the district Translation Coordinator/Latino Family Liaison. She has spent many years working in 4J as a BEST Coordinator, a high school career coordinator and at Chavez Elementary as a bilingual office assistant. Vanessa will be coordinating all aspects of translation services throughout the district, but staff are still being encouraged to use the Language Link telephone translation service. See the linked Language Link Directions for how to access this service. They offer translation for over 240 languages and/or dialects

• Sign Up for School Closure Text-Message Alerts – There’s unbelievably more snow in the forecast, so if you’d like to receive text message alerts regarding school closers, send a text to 40404, saying “FOLLOW 4Jweather” (no quotes). To unsubscribe, send “UNFOLLOW 4Jweather” to 40404.

• Snow Days: Resources to Share With Students & Families – Winter 2017 is here and this Edutopia article has some engaging science, reading, and writing resources to share with families.

• Parent Early Learning Resources – ODE’s Early Learning Division is promoting a new website that started last month. The Brain Building Oregon website features 12 resources that are meant to serve as helpful examples for parents and caregivers who are preparing children for kindergarten. Brain building is important in early childhood because the first five years of life show the most significant rate of growth for the human brain. During these early years, the groundwork is being laid for skills in literacy, language, math, and more.

• 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:

January 3 (M)
Last Day of Winter Break

January 3 (T)
No School – Professional Development/Planning Day
School Choice Opens
8:00-1:45, Science PD (K-2 @Holt, 3-5 @Howard)

January 4 (W)
Classes Resume
No Wednesday Popcorn
2:30-5:00, Allan to Pay Grade Evaluation Committee Meeting (Ed Center)
4:00-5:00, Allan to North Region Principals’ Meeting (NEHS)

January 5 (H)
2:30, Allan to IEP Eligibility Meeting (Conference Room)

January 6 (F)
10:30-12:30, December Birthday Lunches with the Principal (Community Room)

January 9 (M)
2:30-3:30, Allan to IEP Meeting (Conference Room)

January 10 (T)
9:00, Annual Safety Inspection
2:30-3:30, Optional SMART Notebook Training w/Kellyclare Gardner (Location TBA)

January 11 (W)
Wacky Wednesday – Pajama Day
Wednesday Popcorn Resumes
9:00, November & December Book Winners (Conference Room)
2:30-3:30, PBIS Meeting (Rae’s Room, A101)
3:30, Allan meeting with Federal Programs Coordinator (Office)

January 12 (H)
8:30-2:00, Allan to ILT Meeting (Ed Center)

January 13 (F)
9:05, K-3 Assembly – Adventures of the Tartar Patrol

January 15 (M)
No School – Martin Luther King Jr. Day

See you all soon!