February 16, 2015

By Allan  


Hello Howard Staff,

I hope you all has a nice three-day Presidents Day weekend. I spent mine with sick kids. We’d taken them to the after hours clinic last Monday and the doctor said they both had the bug going around. We thought they were getting better, but their fevers came back on Thursday and the doctor had said to bring them back if they still had a fever after five days, so we did that on Friday after school and found out they both now had ear infections. However, Amoxicillin is a miracle drug, so I only had to spent part of my weekend holding sick children and typing my weekly announcements with one hand.

Twelve items of note this week:

• PRIDE Awards Wednesday, Feb. 25th – Not this week, but next week will be the February PRIDE Awards. Teachers should pick a letter (Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Discipline, Excellence) to honor students and fill out the PRIDE certificates located in the office. Invitations to families are also in the office. If you think families are interested, there’s a coupon for a free adult meal on the February Menus. Students will receive their certificate and wrist band during their lunchtime. There is no minimum or maximum number of PRIDE recipients per class, but the general rule of thumb is 2-3. And remember, as you turn in your PRIDE nominations, be sure that you let Lori know who and why each student is being recognized so she can put their name up on the board.

• PTO Meeting, Tuesday at 6:00 – The February PTO meeting will be this Tuesday, 6:00-7:00 PM in the library if any staff are able to attend. It’s always a nice show of support for the PTO’s work if some staff members are able to attend. Hope to see you there!

• Fire Drill, Wednesday at 9:00 – The weather forecast looks good for this Wednesday, so we’ll plan to hold our February Fire Drill on Wednesday, February 17th at 9:00. If we’re unexpectedly rained out, we’ll try the same time next week.

• Construction Updates – Attached are the minutes from the last Construction Progress Meeting. I skipped this meeting since I was out of the building with sick kids part of the day before. There isn’t much of interesting in the minutes, but here are a couple related items:

• Furniture Ideas for New School – Mentioned at Friday’s staff meeting was one style of mobile student chair desks combination. It’s the Steelcase Node which gives teachers some pretty nice flexibility in how they arrange their classroom and the ability to easily rearrange seating quickly and easily. I could see this working well at the older grades.

• Return of the Mysterious Room 3 Leak – Linda mentioned at the staff meeting the growing crack in her wall, but I thought you might also be interested to know the leak underneath her rug that I mentioned in last week’s announcements also returned, along with a new leak in another spot. Facilities came out to fix it again and the theory is all the rattling and shaking of our old building from the construction reopened the sealed cracks.

• Classroom Visits – One class has already visited the construction site. Just let me know at least a day or two ahead of time so I can check in with the site superintendent that it’s a safe time for classes to be on the construction site.

• Math Information – Just a quick item, here are the links to the Math Questions and Math Tasks along with the following websites that were shared at Friday’s staff meeting:

Illustrative Mathematics
Illuminations: Resources for Teaching Math
You Cubed Tasks

• Proposed Math Placement Guidelines – Principals were sent the attached draft district Math Placement Guidelines to address parent requests for a student to move up a grade level in their math instruction. Pages 3-6 is the proposed elementary process. I think the policy looks pretty good and it’s definitely a good idea for 4J to have a uniform policy. Although this is not an issue that comes up very often at our school, let me know if you have any thoughts on the draft policy that you’d like me to pass along.

• School Assembly or Cultural Event Opportunity – I was contacted by the Taekwondo College on West 11th and Washington who are offering a free assembly by their demonstration team, made up of kids, teens and adults. They said they have been doing assemblies and demonstrations in the Eugene area years. They say their presentation has a positive “I can do it” message and shows kids the value of exercising self-control, respect and discipline. Attached is a flyer about the Demo Team and here is the email I received. Let me know if this an assembly you’d like me to set up for a Wednesday one morning. If I hear from enough people, I’ll set this up for interested classes.

• News from the EERC Literacy List – Here’s the February Newsletter from the Emerald Empire Reading Council. This month’s newsletter includes a writing contest for 3rd-5th graders, professional development opportunities, grant opportunities and other items. If you’d like more information, visit their (1990s style) website.

• Study explores role of teacher bias in STEM gender gap – This NYTimes article explores how elementary school teachers’ biases can discourage girls from math and science. A new study points to the influence of teachers’ unconscious biases, but it also highlights how powerful a little encouragement can be.

• What to Say About “That’s So Gay” – When this elementary school teacher heard students saying, “That’s so gay!” she had to think carefully about whether her interventions promoted or hindered an inclusive classroom culture. This Teaching Tolerance article discusses how asking “Why would you choose that word?” or “Tell me why you think being gay is an insult” or “How do you think that would sound to a gay person?” went a lot further than just shutting down the conversation.

• How a number line can help ease anxiety about fractions – This EdWeek article describes how number lines may be a better way to teach fractions, and how more teachers are pinning numbers to clotheslines to demonstrate fractions rather than divvying pizzas and fruit pies.

• 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 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)
10:50-11:30, 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

February 23 (M)
School Choice Visitation Week #2
12:00-3:30, Allan to Research for Better Teaching Training (Ed Center)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)

February 24 (T)
9:00-10:00, School Choice Tour
2:30-3:30, Student Care Team (Staff Room)

February 25 (W)
9:00-11:00, Allan to Construction Progress Meeting (Construction Trailer)
10:55-12:30, PRIDE Awards at Lunch (Cafeteria)
4:00-6:00, Allan to Nutrition Services Advisory Committee (Ed Center)

February 26 (H)
10:55-12:20, Birthday Lunches with Mr. Chinn (Library)
2:30-3:30, PBIS Meeting (Room 21)
2:30-3:30, Allan to IEP Meeting (Room 9)
7:00-8:00, BEST Strings Concert (Kelly MS)

February 27 (F)
School Choice Application Deadline

Have an excellent week everyone!