February 9, 2015

By Allan  


Hello Howard Roadrunners,

It was quite nice last week to have both Music and PE running at the same time. I’m not sure ODE will let us get away with not running PE five days a week, which is what the ODE PEEK grant was supposed to fund (nevermind that the mandate of 30 minutes of PE 5 days a week would only work if your school had 10 classrooms or less or if you were to double up PE classes and have 50-60 kids in PE at a time), but I’ll certainly try applying for for the grant again next year. In the new building, Rachel had the idea of having a movable wall down the middle of the gym, which would actually allow for two classes to run at the same time, so maybe one day we’ll be able to get to the state mandate of PE 5 days a week.

Eight items of note this week:

• Welcome New Life Skills Team Member – Rachael Dahlen, who has been subbing in Life Skills, has officially been hired by ESS to take Susan Popp’s old position. Besides already being familiar with the Howard Life Skills program, Rachael comes with a history of working in elder care and is also AVID trained, which is quite big at the middle and high school levels. Please welcome Rachael to Howard when she officially starts this Monday!

• Science A-Z Now Available – Erin wrote an EEF Grant for an online subscription to Science A-Z, which is a science website made by the same people who make Raz-Kids. The grant was able to fund licenses for all gen ed classrooms from now through the end of September. I’ll send a separate email to classroom teachers with the link to register your account. If your class is already set up in Raz-Kids, your class list should automatically transfer over to Science A-Z.

• State Testing Exemption (“opt out”) Process, Form and Information – This is more for 3/4/5 teachers, but if a parent requests to opt out of testing or asks for information about opting out of state tests, you can send them to me or you can give them a hardcopy or direct them to the opt out FAQ and form on the district website. This form also applies to the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, ELPA, PSAT and ACT. Attached is the email that was sent to principals, but here are a few key elements for you to know:

Opt-out option:

• Parents may request an exemption from state required testing to accommodate either:
– their student’s IDEA or Section 504 identified disability or
– their student’s sincerely held religious beliefs.


• To request an exemption, complete the district request form.
• Submit it to the superintendent’s office by March 30 or 2 weeks before the test date, whichever is earlier.
• The district will respond in writing.

We had one opt out request last year and one so far for this year. Downtown will notify schools when they receive any opt out requests.

• Construction Updates – Attached are the minutes from the last Construction Progress Meeting. I was at Data Team meetings, so I missed the construction meeting, but here are the highlights:

• Vests and Hard Hats are Here! – The hard hats and vests are now here so classes are now welcome to tour the construction site. Remind your students they must also have closed toed shoes. If you’d like to visit the construction site, let me know so I can contact the Site Superintendent at least a day ahead to make sure it’s a safe time to be out on the site.

• Mysterious Leak Under Room 3 – There was a wet spot in the carpet of Room 3 that was mysteriously growing over the course of last week. Facilities took a look at it and figured out that there was an exposed hole in the slab where Room 4 used to be, where rain water was getting in. The slab has now been caulked, so no more water will be getting into Linda’s classroom.

• Title 1 Newsletter – Here is the latest district level Title 1 Newsletter that went out to all Title 1 Coordinators and principals. This month’s issue is again mostly coordinator specific information and tasks, but there is a nice video that tries to answer the questions: How can student interest and creativity be leveraged to spark growth and achievement? It’s a follow-up story to the “Caine’s Arcade” story that went viral a while ago.

• Best Children’s Books of the YearDan Santat’s The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend won the 2015 Caldecott Medal for the best American picture book for kids. Here are a few of the American Library Association’s other big awards this year for children’s books:

Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover (John Newbery Medal for most outstanding contribution to children’s literature)
Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming (Coretta Scott King award for African-American author and illustrator)
Gayle E. Pitman and Kristyna Litten’s This Day In June (Stonewall Book Award for book relating to the GLBT experience)

Here’s the whole list of honorees.

• Google Earth Pro was $399. Now it’s freeGoogle Earth Pro lets you fly around our planet and zoom in really close to areas of interest. I was able to see some new patio furniture I bought this summer, so the maps are fairly current. A flyover tour of Tokyo us amazing. CNet has a good article about the features the pro version offers:

• Advanced measurements: Measure parking lots and land developments with polygon area measure, or determine affected radius with circle measure.
• High-resolution printing: Print images up to 4,800 x 3,200 pixel resolution.
• Exclusive pro data layers: Demographics, parcels, and traffic count.
• Spreadsheet import: Ingest up to 2,500 addresses at a time, assigning place marks and style templates in bulk.
• Movie-Maker: Export Windows Media and QuickTime HD movies, up to 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution.

• 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:

February 9 (M)
Reading and Math Progress Monitoring 8
12:30-2:00, OBOB Preliminary Battles
1:30-2:30, Allan to Title Coordinator & Principal Meeting (Ec Center)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
7:00-8:30, Allan to North Region 4J Parent Information Night: Smarter Balanced Assessment (NEHS)

February 10 (T)
9:00-10:00, January Book Giveaway

February 11 (W)
9:00-11:00, Allan to Construction Progress Meeting (Construction Trailer)
11:00, Allan to Truancy Hearing (Office)

February 12 (H)
Report Cards Sent Home
12:30-2:00, OBOB Preliminary Battles
2:30-3:30, Taking It Meeting (Staff Room)

February 13 (F)
Howard PD/Planning Day – No School

February 16 (M)
NO SCHOOL – Presidents’ Day

February 17 (T)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Room 7)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Library)

February 18 (W)
Exclusion Day
9:00, Fire Drill
9:00-11:00, Allan to Construction Progress Meeting (Construction Trailer)
10:05-10:35, OBOB Final Battle (Gym)

February 19 (H)
9:45-11:30, Apple Sponsored Visit
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Room 7)

February 20 (F)
7:30-9:00, Allan to 4JMAPS Meeting
1:30-2:00, OBOB Party (Library)
4:00, Staff Happy Hour at El Torito

Have a good week and look forward to that three day weekend!