October 16, 2017

By Allan  


Howdy Everyone

Open House was a terrific success! Minus running out of pizza, that is, but we ordered almost 700 slices (same s what we ordered last year) and were out by 6:30! Still, it was so great to hear from many, many families how their kids are loving Howard and love their teachers and the staff. It’s at these types of events where you really hear how much families appreciate all of your hard work. You all are amazing!

Nineteen items of note for this week:

• Google Classroom and Read&Write Follow-Up – A quick follow-up to last week’s Google Classroom and Read&Write Training:

• Google Classroom Quicksheets – Linked here are the quicksheets Kellyclare shared on Thursday for Google Classroom Basics, Google Doc Basics, and Google Drive Organization. If you don’t have this bookmarked already, here’s a link to former Howard TSS extraordinaire David Nelson’s Tech Tools for Schools webpage, which has an entire section of quicksheets on Google, including general tips, team drives, forms, and so on.

• 4J Google Link – There is now a link to 4J Google Apps for students on the Howard website Links for Learners, which is where students would log in to Google Classroom.

• Student Google Classroom Log-In – Students log in using their 4J email and their Mealtime PIN. These can be found in the Synergy admin report “Class List (Elementary) with Student Usernames – School.” Linked here are directions for Printing Reports in TeacherVUE I shared earlier. You can also use this to see which of your students are already approved to to use Google apps. Let me know if you need help. I can also run the report for you.

• Google Student Permission Forms – Linked here is the K-8 Google Permission Form (English and Spanish). We’ll add this to our registration packet for new students and I’ll leave copies of English and Spanish forms by mailboxes for teachers if you’d like to send them home with students who do not already have permission.

• Read & Write Info – Here is the link to the Read & Write Resource Page Kelly Moriarty (wilson_ke@4j.lane.edu) and Jordan Gentzkow (gentzkow@4j.lane.edu) shared at Thursday’s training. Read & Write is already installed on all student iPads. On the laptops, students just need to open Chrome and log into their 4J account. The plugin is associated with their account and will automatically download. Kelly and Jordan said to feel free to contact them if you have any questions.

• Read & Write iPad Training Thursday at 2:30 – If you’d like to learn how Read & Write works on iPads, Kelly Moriarty is coming back to Howard to Thursday’s Technology Leadership Team Meeting at 2:30 in Angela’s Room (RM 24). Everyone is invited to attend!

• Charis McGaughy, 4J Assistant Superintendent, Visiting Howard Wednesday – Charis, 4J’s Assistant Superintendent, is visiting Howard on Wednesday from 8:30-11:00. She’s planning to meet with me for a bit and will then wander the school and visit classrooms, so don’t be surprised if she stops by your classroom this day.

• Conferences Info Coming Soon – Believe it or not, it’s time to start getting read for Parent/Teacher Conferences. Lori is prepping parent sign-up sheets for conference to go home soon and she will again schedule conferences for everyone, coordinating translators, siblings, specialists, and such, but to do this teachers will need to take the same breaks, lunches, and dinner times. We’ve grown too large as a school with too many variables for teachers block out different times, as some folks have done in the past. Let me know if you have any questions.

• Halloween Costume Parade, Oct. 31 – We’re not doing Thrill the World this year, but we are continuing the annual Howard Costume Parade. One suggestion I heard that I liked quite a lot was to move the parade to the start of the day at 8:10 instead of the end of the day, which might allow for more families to attend. Linked here is the Costume Parade Route & Directions, but we’ll do the parade entirely on the bottom floor to be inclusive of students who can’t use the stairs. 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. Linked here is a flyer we can send home to families (Bianca will translate it when she returns).

• Classified Comp Time & Trade Time Clarification – Several folks had questions after my classified comp time item in last weeks announcements, so here are some clarifications and additional notes:

• Comp Time vs Trade Time – “Trade Time” is what staff most often are really using, though most people refer to it as “Comp Time.” Trade Time is when you work extra one day and then trade those hours out working less another day. Trade Time is hour for hour and not figured as time and a half which “comp time” does when it goes above the 40 hours of work per week.

• Using Trade Time – From article 11.3 of the contract: Trade time is equal time exchanged within the same workweek. Trade time is available by mutual agreement of the supervisor or building administrator and the employee.

• Work Beyond Regularly Scheduled Hours – From article 11.1.3 of the contract: Work time beyond scheduled work hours will be pre approved in writing, and where pre-approval is not possible, the administrator or supervisor will be informed in writing by the end of the employee’s next work day.

Contract language can be confusing, so let me know if you have any questions on this.

• PTO Wayback Burgers Fundraiser Monday 5:00-8:00 – Need dinner plans Monday night? Head over Wayback Burgers at Santa Clara Square between 5:00-8:00 and a percentage of all sales will be donated to Howard!

• Music & Dance Assembly with Los Arribeños – Through her work with the annual Día de los Muertos event at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Jill has again arranged for a group of musicians and dancers to perform for us next week, the morning of Friday, October 27th, with a K-2 assembly 8:10-8:35 and a 3-5 assembly 8:45-9;10. See the linked Assembly Map and Directions for details.

• Student Care Team Referrals, Oct. 25 – The Student Care Team will meet in two weeks, which means student/family referrals to the team are due this Friday. DHS has been great about helping quite a few of our families, pointing them towards resources for a variety of different situations (homelessness, assistance with bills, incarcerated parents, counseling resources, and many others), so please consider referring a student or family in need. Try to get a signature on the 4J Release Form (editable PDF and non-editable PDF) so we will be able to openly discuss the student(s) by name and also so DHS can research the family situation to see what services they would qualify for. If there’s a situation where you can’t get a signature for whatever reason, you can refer “hypothetical” student or family situations. Let me know if you have any questions about potential referrals, but if it’s a situation that’s on your mind, it’s probably a worth referring to the team.

• SMART Readers in New Year – Now that we have Alicia Longoria, the 4J Family Resource Coordinator, located in our building I’ve been working with her on some opportunities and one thing Howard used to have back when I was a teacher here is we had SMART Readers, who were community volunteers who would come in a couple days a week to read one-on-one with primary grade students picked by teachers who might need extra reading practice and/or time supportive adult. Alicia contacted the organization and found out Howard is actually the most requested school in all of 4J by volunteers! All we need is a parent or community volunteer to coordinate the readers. If we find someone soon, we might be able to get started as soon as January. I have some ideas who we might ask, but me know if you have ideas for who might be able to take this on.

• ODE School Report Cards Released – As an FYI, ODE is released school report cards last week. Linked here is the ODE Report Card Download website. I already shared some of this data at our back-to-school staff meeting. In terms of overall achievement (students meeting benchmark), we’re about the same as or better than similar 4J schools, but our Academic Growth (how well student scores improve 3rd to 4th grade and 4th to 5th grade) and in Student Group Growth (our subgroup data) is where we are lagging. I have additional data I can share at a future Staff Meeting, but let me know if you have any questions.

• Howard Staff Social: Movie Night! – It may not be Janet Jackson, but see Matt’s email if you’d like to join in on some pre-Halloween fun! This coming Sunday, October 22nd at 2:00 is a showing of the 1984 Wes Craven horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street, which features Johnny Depp’s film debut! The following weekend Saturday, October 28th at 9:30 PM is the 1974 Tobe Hooper grindhouse classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Both are showing at the Cinemark 17 at Gateway with reserve seating in their luxury loungers. Click the above links to reserve your seats now! And maybe we’ll do this too.

• REPEAT: PRIDE Awards, Perseverance, Oct 25th – The first PRIDE Awards will be Wednesday next week. Teachers should start talking to their class about PRIDE (Perseverance “Never Quit,” Respect “Honor Yourself and Others,” Integrity “Be Honest,” Discipline “Work Hard at Everything,” Excellence – “Do Your Personal Best.”) and thinking about 2-4 students who have been demonstrating Perseverance and a “Never Quit” attitude and behavior. Be sure to get certificate to be before the 25th so I can sign them and get them organized.

• Bring an artist into your classroom – Patricia shared with me a flyer from Clayfest offering a FREE opportunity to have an artist come lead a project with you class, though a regional non-profit named Local Clay. They offer demonstrations, workshops, and art projects. See the linked Local Clay Flyer for details.

• Produce Distribution Day, Oct. 27– Fresh produce is available for FREE to families once a month out of River Road Elementary School. This month’s distribution will be on Friday, October 27th from 3:00- 5:30. It is open to all 4J families but is advertised in the North Region. Feel free to spread the word.

• Know Your Rights Workshop – Thursday, October 26th, 6:30 p.m. Churchill Auditorium is a workshop intended for immigrant families and support staff interested in knowing the rights of undocumented families. There will be a 30 minute presentation on the rights of immigrant families followed by a question and answer time with a local lawyer. Families will also have the opportunity to pick-up a family preparedness kit and to sign-up for a one-on-one appointment with a district employee to organize their family preparedness folder. For more information or to make an appointment contact: Marcos 541-790-5151 (at Churchill) The office of Equity, Instruction & Inclusion is planning a follow-up to their Know Your Rights Workshop for an event to take place in Mid November or Early December, but feel free to share the Churchill event with interested families.

• From Dull To Creative With One Simple Trick – From the blog Byrdseed, which is focused on gifted learners, but is really great stuff for all learners. This Brydseed post discusses how building a creative and complex task seems like it should take enormous work, but teachers have found great success with this simple trick: ask students to personify things that don’t have a personality. Here’s a close-ended and boring (but very common) question students are asked: What is Brian, from Hatchet’s, main character trait?

• It’s close-ended because everyone will answer with the same word: perseverance.
• There’s no room for creativity or fun final products.
• It’s boring, because kids who have mastered this already know how to do the thinking. They’ve done it since 1st grade.

Add A Point Of View – What would Darth Vader think about Brian? Suddenly we have a question with many right answers. Students who want to go deeper can go deep. Now there’s the possibility for lots of cool products (imagine a comic book, a skit, a piece of art, or a short movie), not just a one-word answer. Bonus: switch Vader to another character (or real person) and the question reinvents itself! What would Hamlet, Susan B. Anthony, or Katniss think about Brian?

• Math Creativity Warmup Resources – Here’s another post from the October Byrdseed Newsletter titled Math Creativity Warmup Resources that pairs nicely with Number Talks, providing four different ways to frame math questions in more interesting ways that require students to justify their answer. This post also links to a related earlier post on Creative Math Warmups that’s also worth checking out.

• Halloween: Characters Dressed As Characters – Last Bryrdseed blog post. Here’s a fun activity that can span all grade levels and can be taken in a variety of directions. It’s Characters Dressed As Characters, which could be a simple art project or an opportunity for students to compare, contrast, discuss, and debate character traits.

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

October 16 (M)
First Day of BEST
9:00-1:00, Swift (2nd grade) to Mt. Pisgah
4:00-5:30, Allan to All Admin Meeting (Ed Center)
5:00-8:00, PTO Wayback Burger Night Fundraiser

October 17 (T)
Fluoride Rise Starts
2:30-3:30 Staff Meeting (Ashley’s Room, Room 25)
3:30-5:00, Allan to BEST Coordinator Interviews (Conference Room)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Community Room)

October 18 (W)
Title 1 Progress Monitoring Day – No Groups
School Pictures
8:30-11:30, Charis McGaughy, Assistant Superintendent, Visiting Howard

October 19 (H)
12:00-6:00, Cookie Dough Fundraiser Order Pick-Up (Gym or Community Room)
9:00-1:00, Larsen/Pond (2nd grade) to Mt. Pisgah
2:30-3:30, iPad Read&Write Training/TLT Meeting (Angela’s Room, Room 24)
2:30-3:30, Allan to SPED Eval Planning Meeting (Conference Room)

October 20 (F)
7:30-9:00, Allan to 4JMAPS Meeting
10:00-12:15, KG/Life Skills Field Trip to Deterings

October 22 (SU)
2:00, Howard Staff Social – A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984 (Cinemark 17)

October 23 (M)
2:30-3:30, Site Council Meeting (Conference Room)

October 24 (T)
8:15-11:15, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30 IPBS Meeting (Mellissa’s Room, Room 23)

October 25 (W)
11:00-1:00, PRIDE Awards at Lunch (Cafeteria)
2:30-3:30, Student Care Team Meeting (Conference Room)

October 26 (H)
2:30-3:30, Optional ALICE Staff Refresher Training (Conference Room)

October 27 (F)
8:10-8:35, K-2 Assembly with Los Arribeños (Gym)
8:45-9:10, 3-5 Assembly with Los Arribeños (Gym)
11:00-1:00, Birthday Lunches with the Principal (Community Room)
1:00-1:30, Tentative Musicians and Dancers from Mexico Assembly (Gym)

October 28 (SA)
9:30, Howard Staff Social – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974 (Cinemark 17)

If any of you are wondering when the next short week is, we have three full weeks until Veterans Day Nov. 10th. Have a fab week, everyone!