May 5, 2014

By Allan  

Hello Howard Roadrunners,

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank ALL Howard staff for your work and dedication, which is absolutely what makes our school the wonderful place it is. I know kids and families really do love and appreciate the hard work you all do here every day of the year. Howard staff ROCKS!

Twelve items of note this week:

• Staff Appreciation Luncheon and Treats – Our PTO is organizing some nice treats for staff each day in the mailroom, so be sure to stop by there each day. They are also planning a delicious luncheon for staff in the Staff Room on Wednesday, which will go from 11:00-12:30. Ginger Ries is in charge, so it should be delicious!

• Breakfast Snack Bags – I mentioned this a couple weeks ago in my announcements, but these bags started going out last week. I don’t want them to become a problem for anyone, so here are the rules around the snack bags:

• The snack bags may be taken in place of breakfast if student choose.
• Food from the bags may be eaten on the playground blacktop area before school (which will lessen the number of students in the cafeteria) or at snack time in classrooms.
• Students may also choose to take the breakfast snacks home to eat later.
• Outside of classroom snack time or before school, the snack bags should be put away in backpacks during the school day.

• Music Performances Postponed – Our fabulous music teacher, Mr. Adee, has pneumonia and is under doctor’s orders to stay home next week. As a result of this and his being out last week, the performances schedule for May 22nd and 27th are cancelled. With the end-of-year calendar quickly filling up, David said he may instead do a performance of some sort at the carnival or do another sing-along assembly before the end of the year. Stay tuned!

• Tech Trot this Friday – See Robin S.’s email for details, but the Tech Trot Fundraiser to lower the student technology fee will be this Friday. Kids will run for 30 minutes and grades will come out at 9:00 for grades K-1, 10:00 for grade 1-2, and 11:00 for grades 4-5. Thank you, Robin, for working with the PTO to help organize this fundraiser!

• Spring Writing Benchmark – I’ll be sending out an email later this week with the directions and prompts for the Spring Writing Benchmark, which we will grade at our May 30th Howard PD day. I’ll run the prompts by our Literacy Team members first, but look for an email this week and let me know if you have any questions about the writing assessment.

• End of Day Music Playlist – Kids seem to like the music at the end of the day, so if any classes or staff have song requests, just send them my way. Alice Cooper has already been requested for the last day of school. :)

• Title 1 Newsletter – If you’d like to know what’s happening in Title 1 from the district perspective, here is the latest Title 1 Newsletter that went out to all Title 1 Coordinators and principals. This month’s issue is mostly a lot of coordinator compliance tasks, but there are a couple good short articles included, one is “A High-Level Classroom Checklist” and the other about “Responding Effectively to Incorrect Answers.”

• More District Admin Updates – The new 4J Chief of Staff position has been announced. See David Brewer’s email below for details. I haven’t heard the duties of this position yet, but I imagine it will be something of a Deputy Superintendent, like Tom Henry and Jim Slemp used to fill.

Dear Colleagues –

Human Resources is proud to announce our new Chief of Staff. Charis McGaughy will be taking on this key position for our district beginning July 9, 2014. Charis has had a “life-long commitment to public education” and eliminating the achievement gap. She started her career as a classroom teacher and went on to earn her Master’s degree in Public Affairs. She has worked at the state level in both Texas and Tennessee. She returned to school and obtained her PhD in Educational Policy, Leadership, and Organizations. She has spent the last 7 years as a director at the Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC). Her vast background in practice, policy, and research as well as strong oral and written communication skills will serve our district very well. Charis is passionate about supporting our mission to provide each student with an excellent education. She is a former 4J student and a current parent. Please join me in welcoming Charis McGaughy to 4J.


David Brewer
Interim HR Director

• Should educators look beyond technology, student engagement? – In this blog post, George Couros, a division principal in Alberta, Canada, reflects on the myth that technology is the magic formula for student engagement. He suggests educators are the key to student learning and they should aim beyond engagement to empowerment. “If we can develop meaningful learning opportunities that empower our students to make a difference, our impact will go beyond their time they spent in our classrooms,” he writes.

• 5 apps to enhance students’ social learning skills -“ Although it might seem counter-intuitive for educators to turn to apps and online gaming to enhance students’ social learning skills, we believe that when used in tandem with personalized instruction and an engaging curriculum, social learning games can be incredibly useful,” writes ASCD EDge community member Ryan Thomas. In a recent blog post, Thomas shares five apps that can help enhance students’ social learning skills.

• Study challenges stereotypes about female performance in math, science – On average, girls outperform boys across all subjects in school, including math and science, according to a recent meta-analysis by the American Psychological Association. The largest performance gap was in language, and the smallest occurred in math, the analysis found. “This contrast in findings makes it clear that the generalized nature of the female advantage in school marks contradicts the popular stereotypes that females excel in language whereas males excel in math and science,” the researchers wrote.

• Schedule of Events for the Week – See the Google Calendar for future events, but here are the events of note for this week:

May 5 (M)
EasyCBM Reading Progress Monitoring 13
Teacher Appreciation Week
Penny War Fundraiser Begins
OAKS Round 2 Continued (No groups)
8:30-10:00, 5th Grade Student Presentations
2:30-5:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)

May 6 (T)
EasyCBM Reading Progress Monitoring 13
Teacher Appreciation Week
OAKS Round 2 Continued (No groups)
2:30-3:30, Allan to IEP Meeting (Room 9)
2:30-3:30, PBIS Meeting (Room 22)
4:00-6:00, Allan to 4J Job Expo

May 7 (W)
EasyCBM Reading Progress Monitoring 13
Teacher Appreciation Week
OAKS Round 2 Continued (No groups)
8:30-10:00, 5th Grade Student Presentations

May 8 (H)
EasyCBM Reading Progress Monitoring 13
Teacher Appreciation Week
OAKS Round 2 Continued (No groups potentially)
8:30-10:00, 5th Grade Student Presentations
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Room 6)
2:05-5:00, BEST trip to Science Factory

May 9 (F)
EasyCBM Reading Progress Monitoring 13
Teacher Appreciation Week
Penny War Fundraiser Ends
Fluoride Varnish Day
Julie H. Out of the Building
OAKS Round 2 Continued (No groups potentially)
9:00-9:45, K-1 Tech Trot/Jog-a-Thon (Track)
10:00-10:45, 2-3 Tech Trot/Jog-a-Thon (Track)
11:00-11:45, 4-5 Tech Trot/Jog-a-Thon (Track)
11:45-1:45, 5th Grade Using Gym
2:05-5:00, BEST Garden Project Field Trip

And if you missed it our all-school photo (which somehow got dubbed a selfie) made the local news on KEZI and KVAL, who posted a video on their website if you follow their link. It was a lot of fun seeing all the kids in their new Howard t-shirts at the picture and definitely later at the Dance Party!

Have a great week, everyone!





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