April 2, 2018

By Allan  


Howdy Howard Staff,

I hope you all took time to relax and get ready for the final two and a half months of school. I relaxed with a short family trip to the coast and by binge watching the Hannibal TV series (which is an AMAZING horror series everyone should watch) and finishing Lovecraft Country (which is being made into an HBO series from the creator of the Oscar winning horror film Get Out). I can’t wait to hear about everyone’s spring break adventures!

Twenty-one items of note for this week:

• April 2nd PD Day Plan Update – Jaimee Massie already emailed the linked April 2nd PD Communication to licensed staff and I forwarded it to classified staff, but please see the attached document for details regarding the April 3rd professional development day. The short version is:

8:00-12:00, Classified Staff: Math Foundations PD (River Road)
8:00-12:00, Licensed Staff: Grade-Level Math (K-2 Holt/3-5 Chavez)
12:00-12:40, Lunch/Travel Time
12:40-2:00, Licensed Staff: Building Math Design Time (Howard Library)

For the licensed staff Math Design Time Collaboration time back at our building 12:40-2:00 we will start in the library. I went through a few different iterations of how to structure this time, but landed on having this time be more directed by grade level team needs/interests. We’ll start in the library, but most of the time will be for grade level and workshop teams to collaborate and share around math instructions (creating anchor charts for upcoming lessons, sentence frames around academic language, talk moves for the upcoming unit, analyzing unit assessments, sharing what’s worked, what’s been a challenge, etc.), and then returning to the library for a share-out of what you accomplished. Let me know if you have any questions.

• 2018-2019 Schedule/Calendar Updates – I CC’d staff on a district email that went out families regarding the draft schedule for next school year, which had some additional information about the proposed schedule. Below are a few FAQs I’ve gotten about the schedule:

What are other schools’ start/end times?
Linked here is the Draft Schedule of School Start/End Times for all 4J schools. The times by level are:

ELEM: MTWH, 7:55-2:35 or 8:30-3:10, FRIDAY, 7:55-12:10 or 8:30-12:45
MIDDLE: MTWH, 9:05-3:55, FRIDAY – 9:05-2:45
HIGH: MTWH, 9:05-4:10, FRIDAY – 9:05-2:55

What will be work hours be for an 8-hour employee?
Currently most full-time employees work 7:30-3:30 with our 7:55 start time. With an 8:30 start time, equivalent work hours would be 8:05-4:05.

Can we schedule a third recess?
To keep within mandated state requirements for student seat hours, buildings can schedule up to 60 minutes of lunches and recesses MTWH and 45 minutes on Fridays. These times can be divided any way schools choose, either 2 longer recesses or 3 shorter recesses.

What time will be the protected hour of prep?
The hour right after Friday early release will be the protected hour of prep. I haven’t seen it in writing, but was told at a principals’ meeting that it will start right at dismissal and that teachers on Fridays would not have any supervision duties, making Howard’s protected hour of prep 12:45-1:45.

Why Friday early release instead of Wednesday?
Friday was chosen to work better for more families, align with key early learning programs that operate Monday through Thursday, and minimize impacts on student learning—Wednesday is our highest-attendance day, so having the shorter day on Wednesdays means more students lose that learning time.

If you have any questions or concerns you’d like me to pass along to Brooke, let me know by this Friday. Also, if you missed it in the email to families, the school board is voting on the 2018-2019 School Calendar at the April 4th meeting if you want to take a peek at that.

• Staffing Updates – A few staffing updates for next year school year. One, Jill already announced that she is taking a professional leave next year to pursue a counseling degree, so we’ll have a 5th grade opening at the April 12th Job Expo. Two, over in the preschool, Megan is leaving her Preschool EA position at the end of the school year to pursue a teaching degree. Please wish Megan and Jill the best on their new adventures and also feel free to start recruiting excellent folks who’d make fine additions to the Howard Team! And one repeat from last week, please welcome Navneeta Medart, our newest CLC 1:1 EA staring Tuesday, to the Howard Team!

• Spring Artist in Residence Schedule – Linked here is Spring Artist in Residence Schedules. Grades K-2 and Life Skills will have Maiya Becker for ReUse Art, meeting for four 45-minute sessions from May 7 – May 18. Grades 3-5 will have Merideth Ferrell for Silk Painting in the STEAM Room for four 60-minute sessions from May 28 – June 8. I tried to avoid workshop times, specialists, and field trips as best I could, but let me know if you spot any conflicts with your schedule.

• April PBIS Focus: Encouragement – The April PBIS monthly focus is Encouragement. The PBIS team created a PBIS/CFK Cheat Sheet that matches our PBIS monthly themes with corresponding Caring for Kids (CFK) class meeting lessons. Besides being an easy way to tie the two activities together, this month’s theme also nicely dovetails onto our school-wide kindness campaign.

• Wacky Wednesday – Favorite Animal Day, 4/11 – Not this Wednesday, but Wednesday next week is Favorite Animal Day, so start getting kids pumped up for this day and starting planning your wacky animal shirt, hat, costume, or other animal themed regalia. Be sure to remind students that our Halloween no-mask rule also applies to this day.

• Fire Drill Wednesday, 4/11 at 8:30 – Not this week, but next week on Wednesday at 8:30 will be our April Fire Drill. If we get rained out, I’ll reschedule for next week. Only two more of these for this school year!

• EEF Grants Due to Allan by April 23 – A quick reminder that EEF Grant Applications are now open and grants need to be given to me by April 23 for Site Council to rank order our grant submissions. I haven’t seen an official email from EEF this year, but last year we could submit up to five grants in any amount up to $5,000. EEF puts a higher priority on grants related to Arts, Literacy, and STEM. One additional request from EEF was that if you’ve submitted the same grant for multiple years in a row, that you add in why that particular program is important and should continue. Linked here is the EEF Grant Application website, which contain all the details and can answer most any question you might have.

• PTO Meeting Updates – I’ve mentioned before that this year’s excellent PTO Board are all ending their terms this year and we are need of new board members. Please feel free to recruit any parents you think might be able to take this on. Classroom teachers can also feel free to include the short article below in any classroom newsletters:

2018-2019 PTO Board Members Needed!

Howard’s PTO Board is in need of a new President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer for next school year. We are encouraging any interested parents to come to the April PTO meeting, Tuesday, April 17th at 6:00 in the Howard Community Room. Nominations will take place at that meeting. At the May 15th PTO meeting, a vote to finalize the new the board will take place. If you’re unable to attend the April meeting, please email howardelementarypto@gmail.com or contact principal Allan Chinn. We would love to keep our amazing PTO up and running to provide support for Howard students, families, and staff. Without these positions filled, the PTO’s charter will sadly dissolve. Please consider applying for one of these positions!

• Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 16-20 – Volunteer Appreciation will is coming up in a couple weeks, so please take time to recognize any volunteers you work with this week. Last year Allison put on a fabulous doughnut themed appreciation, which we might make an annual tradition, but let me know if any of you have another idea we might try this year.

• Informal Observations – I’m close to finishing up all of my formal teacher observations for the school year, so heads-up I’m moving on to the final round of informal observations. I’m hoping to finish most of them up this week or next.

• Library News – Here are some dates of note from Ms. Hopkins, which are also on the Howard Google Calendar:

• School Library month (Normal check out for the kids all month)
• 4/6 – Find out if I have jury duty :)
• 4/8 – National school library week
• 4/30 – Children’s book Day!

• 5/14-18 – Last week of check out 1 book per student
• 5/21-24 – Book return week last week of classes (kids will receive a fun book mark for returning their books) working on a classroom reward for 1st class with all books returned :) I will reschedule Friday classes for earlier in the week since we have a PD day the 25th.
• 5/25 – Hopefully setting up BOGO fair
• 5/29 – Hopefully student preview (waiting to confirm dates with Scholastic)
• 5/30-6/1 – BOGO fair in the library

• 6/4-15 – Inventory and library close out for the year!
• 6/5 – All student library books due back to the library (this should catch up the stragglers from May)
• 6/12 – All staff library books are due back to the library

• Student Care Team Resources – Linked here are a few resources that came out the last Student Care Team, as well as a couple oldies-but-goodies that were shared with a family before the break:

• Little Children Big Challenges: Incarceration DVD packet – We’ve shared before about the Sesame Street Resource Packet for families with an incarcerated family member, but they also offer a DVD packet that is available for free, along with the mobile apps and printable activities for student service providers.

• Love Inc. – Their primary focus is to offer practical, hands-on assistance in a variety of areas. The type of help they can offer is ever changing as new volunteers step forward, desiring to help others with the talents, hobbies or skills they possess. They’re regularly updating their data base of volunteer teams of people willing to help in these general areas: prayer, meals, rides to appointments, yard work, packing, painting, firewood, and stocking pantry shelves as folks transition from being without homes. They can be contacted through their website or at Living Hope Church 2801 West 18th Avenue, Eugene, OR 97402, 541.653.8537 or email loveincclc@gmail.com to register. http://loveinclanecounty.com/index.html

• Bags Of Love – The sole purpose of Bags of Love is to provide necessities and comfort items to children who are in crisis due to neglect, abuse, poverty or homelessness. Through their unique distribution model, they address the immediate needs of these children and help support the community agencies caring for them. Bags include the bag, quilt or blanket, toiletry kit, toys, and clothing. The can be contacted at 710 Commercial Street, Eugene, OR 97402-5348, at (541) 357-4957, at info@bagsofloveinc.org, or http://bagsofloveinc.org/

• Food For Lane County – A county-wide distribution of emergency food that offers food boxes, no-cost meal sites, gardens, nutri- tion education, children’s and senior programs. They are located at 770 Bailey Hill Rd., Eugene and can be reached by email at info@foodforlanecounty.org or on the web at https://foodforlanecounty.org/get-help/

• Produce Plus – The Produce Plus program is in all of the DHS offices on Mondays. The program is for anyone living at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. There is no program enrollment; all who come can be served, as long as they sign the self-declaration statement that they meet the income requirement. https://foodforlanecounty.org/get-help/more-food-programs/supplemental-food-programs/

• Food For Lane County Map of Food Pantry Sites – Here’s a link to a complete list of Lane County Food Pantry sites. https://foodforlanecounty.org/get-help/foodboxes-meals/find-a-food-pantry/

• Walk & Roll to School Day “Walking School Bus” Opportunity? – For the May 9th Walk & Roll to School Day, the Safe Routes to School Program Manager emailed me offering to help organize a “Walking School Bus” where buses will park a short distance away from school and kids walk the rest of the way. To do this, we’d need staff stationed along the walking route, so I was wanting to know if there are staff members interested/willing to volunteer their time to do this? I was thinking buses could drop kids off at Kelly and they could then walk along the sidewalk to Howard. I’m thinking we’d need at least four volunteers. Let me know by the end of the week if you’d be willing to supervise 7:20-7:45 to greet bus riders as they “walk” to school.

• 4J Outdoor School Minutes & Info – Based on recommendations from the Outdoor School District Planning Team, which included one representative from every elementary and middle school, downtown has decided to meet the voter passed outdoor school requirement by having all 5th grade students attend outdoor school instead of all 6th grade students. This will start next year and many details are still being worked out, but if you’re interested, see the linked minutes for current details. The plan is to create a menu of options for schools. The minimum requirements is a 3-day camp (although not necessarily overnight). Next year downtown and EEA will go through a process to establish a memorandum of understanding regarding outdoor school. The plan will also includes designing something to go out to vendors, so teachers will not be required to create the curriculum or run the programs.

• Escalation Cycle Tips & Reminders – This is a long item, but please take a few moments to review the key points below from our training last month with Kim Reinhardt and Shasta Quigley regarding the Escalation Cycle and how we as educators can choose to respond. Below are the Cliff Notes version from the meeting and linked here is a copy of the Escalation Cycle PowerPoint as well as the Meeting Minutes.

Educator Mindset and Philosophy
• In order to change student behavior, we have to first look at our own behavior.

• All behavior has a purpose: get attention, avoid attention, get a desired object or activity, escape an activity, situation, or environment

• “Kids do well if they can.” This is contrast to the alternative of “kids do well if they want to.” It’s our job to figure why kids aren’t doing well and helping them move toward a place where they can do well.

-Find stressors and try to reduce them
-Find unmet needs and try to meet them
-Find skills deficits and try to teach them

• Our relationship with students is the single greatest influence in helping students to change their behavior. Kids who believe their teachers like them, do better across the board.

Escalation Cycle: Baseline, Trigger, Escalation, Crisis, De-escalation, Post Crisis Drain, Stabilization
1.  Most people will stay at Baseline 80% of the time.

• If you start your day with big stressors, you’re not as well able to make decisions, do your job, etc. and are more likely to escalate quickly
• We teach at baseline as kids will accept feedback

2.  When kids get Triggered, try removing or modifying to prevent further escalation. Reinforce what’s been taught (ex: take a break)

3.  As kids get more Agitated (get more off task, fidgety, withdraw), make environmental modifications (break, take a walk), provide reasonable options and choices. Don’t remind of potential negative outcomes. Offer two things that are reasonable (ex: you can do this or miss recess vs would you like to cross off 2 problems or have me help you get started)

4.  Acceleration happens as behavior intensifies. Intervention is focused on safety of students. Use safety plan if one is written.

5.  Peak is when students are at their most of our control. Don’t talk a lot. Use short, practiced phrases.

• Check your own reaction. Try and relax your body position. Remind yourself this isn’t personal to you. Take a deep breath and try to slow your own heart rate. Regulate yourself so you can help regulate the student.
• When a student is escalated, stop talking.
• Give a couple seconds of quiet and then give clear directions or visual prompts.
• When in doubt, give space and call for help.
• If someone asks you to step away or offers to swap with you, please do, especially if the student’s behaviors are directed towards you.
• You can tap out if you are frustrated. Ask someone else to take over. The kids know when you are feeling negatively toward them.

6.  De-escalation happens after the peak and students are confused but their behavior is decreasing.

• Don’t blame or tell what they did wrong
• This isn’t the time to teach.

7.  Recovery – student is willing to return to activities.

• This may not happen until the next day.
• Kids may need to sleep or withdraw until their back to baseline.
• Follow through with natural or logical consequences and focused on re-teaching.
• Positively reinforce any displays of appropriate behavior.
• Focus is to reteach a positive behavior, not to “stick it to them.”

• Future Howard Road Safety Projects – I’d recently contacted Safe Routes to School Program Manager about setting up a radar speed sign to slow down drivers in front of our school and Kelly and learned about a number of safety improvements in the works. First, we will be getting a temporary radar speed sign. The Safe Route Manager is also looking to potentially add speed cushions or some other kind of traffic calming, or perhaps even a sidewalk on the south side of the street where there are now very few large trees left. There is a neighborhood planning process happening over the next year, and that will guide bigger projects like the sidewalks. There’s support for a shorter sidewalk on North Park alongside Kelly. There’s also a sidewalk planned to go along Grove Street, though it’s not quite official.

• District Admin Updates – Two district admin updates. Sebastian Bolden will be the new Spring Creek principal next year. He is coming from Bethel, where he has been assistant principal of Meadow View (K-8) for five years and a middle school teacher before that. Andy Dey has been selected as 4J’s Director of Secondary Education beginning July 1, replacing BJ Blake when she retires. Andy has been principal of South Eugene High School since 2015 and has experience as a middle and high school teacher and administrator, K–12 curriculum director, track coach, and earlier as a non-profit conservation organization director.

• Extinct Versions of Animals – Just for fun, here’s a cool comparison of current animals and their extinct ancestors from the NPR Science Tumblr account, which kids might enjoy seeing. The “largest known rodent” is probably my favorite.

• Howard Staff Social: Alvvays Concert Sunday! – Last chance to get your tickets for the Alvvays concert this Sunday at 9 PM at the Hi-Fi Music Hall here in downtown Eugene. Come hang out with your colleagues while listening to some excellent indie pop! Hope to see you there!

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

April 2 (M)
PBIS Monthly Theme – Encouragement
No School – Professional Development/Planning Day
8:00-12:00, Classified Staff PD: Elementary Math Foundations PD (River Road)
8:00-12:00, Licensed Staff PD: Grade-level Collaborative Math PD (K-2 at Holt & 3-5 at Chavez)
12:00-12:40, Lunch/Travel Time
12:45-2:00, Licensed Staff: Building Math Design Time (Howard Library)

April 3 (T)
Classes Resume
Artist in Residence #1 (last day)
3:00, Allan Meeting with Carl Stubbs (Office)
4:00-5:15, Allan to Report Card Committee Meeting (Ed Center)

April 4 (W)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Pay Grade Evaluation Committee (Ed Center)
4:00-5:00, Allan North Region Principals’ Meeting (NEHS)

April 5 (H)
12:35, Matt & Allan at 5th Grade Safety Patrol Meeting (Community Room)
2:30-3:30, Allan to IEP Meeting (Conference Room)

April 6 (F)
Regular Day

April 7 (SA)
10:00-2:00, PTO Spring Bazaar (Gym/Cafeteria)

April 8 (SU)
9:00PM, Howard Staff Social – Alvvays Concert (Hi-Fi Music Hall)

April 9 (M)
National Library Week
2:30, Allan to FBA Meeting

April 10 (T)
Library Worker’s Day
Wacky Wednesday – Favorite Animal Day
8:15-11:30, Allan to Elem. Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Mellissa/Mariah’s Room, RM23)

April 11 (W)
Title 1 Progress Monitoring Day – No Groups
8:30, Fire Drill
1:15-2:00, Classified EA Supervisors Meeting (Room 26)
2:30-3:30, PBIS Team Meeting (Rae’s Room, RM1)

April 12 (H)
7:30-11:30, Data Team Meetings (Conference Room)
12:00-3:00, Allan to ILT Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Angela’s Room, RM24)
4:00-7:00, Allan to Elem. Jobs Expo (Ed Center)

April 13 (F)
Fluoride Varnish – Community Room

Now on with the sunny springtime weather!