August 23, 2021

By Allan  


Howdy Everyone,

The countdown to school has begun.

Thirteen items of note for this week:

• Staffing Updates – Two staffing update for this week and we are now fully staffed for the year!

• Annie Carpenter (4-hour EA) – Annie is currently working as a Life Skills EA at ESY (Extended School Year Summer Program) and prior to that she was the Hybrid Utility EA at Awbrey Park. Before that she worked as an elementary EA in Veneta and way before that, I was her principal at Yujin Gakuen (I’m old). Please welcome Annie to Team Holt!

• Holt BEST EA Job Opportunities – If any classified staff are looking for additional hours, or if you know of anyone good, there are two job posting up right now, Program Coordinator Assistant, BEST Afterschool Program (closes 8/24) and Educational Assistant, BEST Afterschool (closes 9/5). Holt will get a BEST Afterschool Program this year and are partnering with YMCA, where the programs will serve 50-80 students and run until 5:30 or 6:00, five days a week, also proving students with a dinner.

• Inservice Schedule Updates – I’ve sent the Staff Meeting Agendas in a separate email for portions of inservice week that I’m in charge of. The most current dates and times are at the bottom of my announcements and also on the Staff Zimbra Calendar. Downtown made a few changes to the week, including adding an optional KinderZone Meeting on Monday (in-person), a Heggery training for 2nd grade Tuesday (Zoom), a meeting on Thursday for SSD Staff (Zoom), a Heggerty Training for New EAs on Friday (Zoom), and I added a Leadership Team Meeting on 9/7 to touch base with last year’s team. Downtown hasn’t sent all of the Zoom links the district-led PDs, but I will add them to the Staff Zimbra Calendar as they come in. Here are some additional inservice week items of note:

• K-1 & Title EA Heggerty PD – Noted above, any K-2 or Title 1 EA who has not participated in a previous Heggerty training should attend one of the Zoom sessions on Friday, September 3rd at 8:00-9:50 or 10:00-11:50. Anyone wanting a refresher is also welcome to attend. Zoom links are on the Staff Zimbra Calendar.

• Optional Q&A Session for New Staff, Wednesdays @9:00 – I’ll be available Wednesday 9/1 and 9/ 11 at 1:00 in the library to check-in, answer questions, or provide any assistance for new staff. I can get busy during inservice week, so I like to set aside a time when I’ll be available for new staff. You can also always email, text, or call.

• Transition Day 9/9 – Thursday, September 9th will be a day for kindergarten only to be in the building. It’ll be all-hand-on-deck for helping this day. Classified staff will push into classrooms as well as licensed staff, though if classroom teachers want to use this day for personal phone calls to connect with families, that is an acceptable alternative. This item is also on the BTS Meeting Agenda.

• Care and Connection Week – ODE is asking schools to focus on Care and Connection the first week students return, and also for the first week when staff return, which is why I’ve hacked off and impressed some of the PD time, so people have more time to plan and prep. I think it’s pretty clear staff will need extra time to plan since you can’t recycle your usual start-of-the-year activities since this is not a usual start-of-the-year. If you’re interested, there are some resources on the ODE Care and Connection Week Website.

• ArtSpark Artist in Residence Survey – Holt will get two Artist Residencies this year funded by ArtSpark. One big change is we can choose from both visual and performing arts artists, which means we can ask for artist who do dance, drama, or music. I want to get your preferences early, so we can lock in an artist and date before the good ones are taken. Please fill out the linked Artist in Residence Survey to help start the conversation when we make a final decision at our Back-to-School Staff Meeting.

• REPEAT: Breakfast Burrito Orders Due 8/31 – Want a delicious breakfast burrito for our first meeting back with the whole gang together again? Fill out the linked Breakfast Burrito Google Form by 9:00am August 31st and I’ll have a hot burrito waiting for you Friday morning. You’ll need to log onto your 4J Google Account to complete the form. I’ll also have food for folks the first day licensed staff report back (8/30) and also the first day classified staff report back (9/2). Let me know if you have any trouble with the form and I can input it for you.

• Single Student Desk Raffle! – The single student desks are supposed to arrive this week! We have enough desks for 8 (maybe 9) classrooms. Please add your name to the Single Desk Lottery Google Form if you’d like something other than your current desks. A few classrooms already have some older single desks, so if any of those teachers win this raffle, their old single desks will be added to the raffle at the end.


• COVID Updates – The latest RSSL has come out and and downtown is mostly solid in their COVID protocols. For the most part, protocols are the same as in the spring, except we have 3-feet physical distancing instead of 6-feet, staff must wear masks at all times unless in a room by themselves (with a few exceptions), and masks are not required outside. Let me know if you have questions or if there are questions I should ask.

• Updated Class Capacity – Taking into account the new 3-foot instead of 6-feet distance guideline, linked here is the Updated Holt Classroom Capacity Sheet. I’ll update numbers posted on classroom doors this week. Looking at current Student Totals, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade will be slightly over capacity. I’ve notified Jeff and Melissa about this, but the exact language of the RSSL advises for “maintaining at least 3 feet of physical distancing to the extent possible.”

• Open House, Not Allowed – Parent, volunteers, and other “non-essential” volunteers are not allowed inside schools, so that means no Open House. However, I am putting on the 8/30 Meeting Agenda to discuss if we want to do some kind of virtual open house, maybe individual class Zooms, or one big schoolwide Zoom where we introduce staff and then parents can pepper me with questions, or maybe just stick with a welcome email when we email class lists (see next item).

• Class List Email 9/3 @3:00 – We’ll likely need to update Class Lists once we see who all is going to EOA or 4J K-5 Connect, which I predict will not be as many students as last year. We’ll get that list sometime later this week, but the district class list notification process will be the same as last year, with all classroom teachers sending a welcome email at the same time, which will be on Friday, September 3rd at 3:00pm. I’d advise folks to “schedule” your emails in Zimbra, so you don’t have to worry about hitting send two something times at 3:00. Let me know if you’d like me to show you how to use the schedule feature.

• Breakfast & Lunch – Breakfasts will be as we did them in the spring. Grab-and-go meals which students will eat in the classroom. Lunches will be eaten the cafeteria, but classrooms will have assigned tables and students will have spots 3-feet apart. Linked here is the 4J Breakfast & Lunch Consideration Doc if you want all the details. This doc says to pass out breakfast at entrances, but I’m going to check if we can do it how we did last year in classrooms, since that was folks preference.

• Area Carpets are Coming Back! – You won’t be able to seat your entire class on the carpet at once with the 3-foot rule, but teachers are allowed to have their carpets back in class.

• Separate Supplies for Students – There has not been a lot of transmission over surfaces, but 4J is playing it safe and all students should have their own supplies, using either desk cubbies or the book boxes from last year to store items.

• Mask Lanyards for All Students – Downtown purchased mask lanyards for all students, which should help when students transition from indoors to recess or other outside activities.

• Water Bottles are Coming – I ordered a new set of water bottles for students since drinking fountains are still off limits.

• Other Questions? – When I get a chance, I’m going to update the Holt COVID Protocol Handbook and will share that soon, but what are we forgetting? What haven’t we thought of? I’ve already gotten some good questions from folks, so keep them coming. A few lingering questions downtown is still working out include:

• If a student has to quarantine for two week, do they go to EOA, get a paper packet, Zoom into their classroom, or something else?
• If breakfast is in the classroom, what time are schools letting students in so that teachers don’t lose contractually guaranteed prep time?
• If we’re not as worried about transmission over surfaces, does that mean we do not need to assign cohorts to specific restrooms?
• Can we offer on-site tuition based after school programs, such as Young Rembrandts?

• Back to School Family Newsletter – Im going to finish the Holt Family Welcome Back Quick News later this Sunday and send it out Monday morning, but the link will be up on the Holt School Webpage before I email it if you want a preview.

• Make Sure Your Voicemail is Set-Up – All teachers should ensure your 4J voicemail is set up and working. See the linked 4J Phone Voicemail Manual or this Quick Start Voice Mail User Guide for how to set it up as well as info on other phone functions. If you have questions, please contact our TSS, Brian, at or call (541) 790-7777.

• REPEAT: Report Back Dates – Most staff report back the last week of August. Here are the report back dates:

• Licensed Staff – Monday, August 30
• Classified Staff – Thursday, September 2 (196-day on 8/27)

• REPEAT: 21-22 Master Schedule – Linked here is the 2021-2022 Holt Master Schedule and is also on the Holt Staff Dashboard.

• REPEAT: Who is A/B and C/D on the Schedule? – If you haven’t already, grade level teams should let me know which classes will follow the A, B, C, or D schedules and I’ll add names to the Master Schedule and PE/Music Schedule.

• REPEAT: Holt Staff Handbook – The Holt Staff Handbook includes most every relevant building policy and procedure. Please take time to review the handbook.

• SELCO’s Educator Grants, Due 9/30SELCO’s SPARK! Creative Learning Grant Program is now accepting applications for projects up to $1,000 that inspire curiosity, make learning accessible, and spark something new. Applications are open August 15–September 30. Visit the above link for details and to apply.

• FREE Google for Education Level 1 Certification – ODE and Google are partnering to offer educators their Google for Education Level 1 Certification. See this ODE News Release for additional info. The deadline to apply is September 15th.

• Podcast Suggestion: Jessica Lahey on Armchair Expert – Candace shared this Armchair Expert Podcast Episode (Spotify) with me where Dax Shepard interviews Jessica Lahey, a teacher and author. She speaks primarily about parenting, but nearly all of her advice also applies to teaching. Next time you’re working in your room, think about putting this podcast on in the background. It’s full of good advice.

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

August 23 (M)
Office Opens
August 26 (H)
6:00, PAHS (Parents at Holt School) Meeting (Zoom)

August 30 (SA)
9:00-12:00, Project Hope – Holt Clean-Up Day

August 30 (M)
Licensed Staff Report Back
8:00-8:30, Welcome Back Social w/Breakfast Treats! (Library)
8:30-10:00, Building Welcome Back & A.C.T. PD (Library)
10:00-11:30, 4J Keynote – Keith Jones (Zoom)
12:30-4:00, PLC Info & Business Meeting (Library)
4:00-5:30, Optional KinderZone PD (Ed Center)

August 31 (T)
8:00-11:30, 4J Instructional Tech (Zoom)
8:00-10:00, 2nd Grade Heggerty Phonemic Awareness (Zoom)
12:30-4:00, 4J ELA Adoption (Zoom)

September 1 (W)
Teacher Planning Day
9:00, Optional Q&A Session for New Staff (Library)

September 2 (H)
Classified Staff Report Back
8:30-9:00, Welcome Back Social w/Breakfast Burritos! (Library)
9:00-11:00, District Kick-Off (Zoom)
12:00-4:00, 4J Literacy PD PD (Zoom)
12:00-4:00, SSD Staff Meeting with SSD Dept. (Zoom)

September 3 (F)
8:00-8:30, Welcome Back Social w/Breakfast Treats! (Library)
8:30-12:00, Principal Led PD – Learning for All, Anti-Racism Instructional Strategies, SEL (Cafeteria)

September 6 (M)
Labor Day, No School

September 7 (T)
8:00-12:00, Staff Meeting, if needed (Cafeteria)
1:00-2:00, Leadership Team Meeting (Library)

September 8 (W)
Teacher Planning Day
9:00, Optional Q&A Session for New Staff (Library)
10:00, Classified Staff Meeting (Library)

September 9 (H)
Transition Day
2:30-3:15, IPBS Team Meeting (Library)
6:00-7:00, PAHS Meeting (Zoom? School Garden? Library?)

September 10 (F)
Classes Begin for All Students

See you all soon, but not too soon. Enjoy the rest of your summer!