June 11, 2018

By Allan  

Hi Everyone,

We’ve made it! The final week of the school year! Thank you, everyone, for making Howard such a great school for our students and families (and for us to work at). And thank you to everyone who was able to come out to help support our wet school carnival on Friday, which despite the rain had a great turnout. Here’s the final announcements of the school year.

Twenty-five items of note for this week:

• End of Year Ice Cream Celebration – After kids leave on the last day of school at 11:30, we’ll have our annual end-of-the-year ice cream celebration in the cafeteria. There will be root beer floats, ice cream sundaes with all the fixings, and it will also be a chance for us to wish well those staff members leaving us this summer, which is a fair number of folks this year, with Allison S. Chelsea, Esther, Jackie, Jill, Linda K. (again), Mariah, Megan, Melva, Sam, Tami, and Zach bidding us farewell. See all you there!

• PE and Music Updates – Downtown has finally decided how PE and Music will work for next year, which is that students will get two PE classes and two Music classes each week, all year long. For Howard, that means we get to have a full-time PE and full-time Music teacher all year long, and we are also lucky that we will get to keep Michelle and Siera as out PE and Music specialists for next year.

• Master Schedule Updates – Now that PE and Music is settled and the Common School Schedule was finally approved last week, we can in earnest get to finalizing next year’s master schedule. At the optional master schedule meeting a couple weeks ago, we agreed to generally follow the Draft Sample Master Schedule regarding the time allocated for each subject area, which is pretty close to what we already do. We also discussed creating a 60-minute “Integrated Studies” block of time that could be used for writing, science, art, social studies, or another subject area. I do have a draft master schedule that’s not quite ready for prime-time, but I do hope to have something to share before people leave for the summer. Most years we’re able to start working on the schedule much earlier and have it finished by this point, but we’re much further behind than usual this year due to the above mentioned factors. More info to come soon!

• Fire Drill Tuesday at 10:00 – While a few classes are away on field trips, we’ll hold our June Fire drill at 10:00.

• Field Day, Wednesday & Tech Trot Reward – Field Day is this Wednesday, with K-2 starting to the field 8:30-10:00 and grades 3-5 going 10:15-11:45. PE classes are cancelled this day. Linked here is a Field Day Map of the nine stations and where each classroom should start. There are a couple differences in stations between the K-2 and 3-5 stations. Classes will rotate by number, so if you start on 1 you’ll go to 2 and so on. PTO is providing Otter Pops at the end of each Field Day session. If any classrooms are missing your morning recess and want to make it up, please have your classroom join your Buddy Classroom’s recess time, which should cover all missed morning recesses.

Also, the Trot brought in enough money for students to give a whip-cream-pie-in-the-face to a staff member, which will be done out on the track as soon as Otter Pops have been passed out. Natalie, Suzanna, Julie, Zach and myself volunteered for this and we’ll have protective garbage bags to protect your clothes (hair may be another matter). Let me know if there are any other willing victims.

• Homework Committee Update – We had a good mix of grade levels reps at the homework committee meeting last week and we came up with the following guiding beliefs:

• All classes will send a weekly reading/math log of some sort. Teacher are welcome to come up with their own method of collecting this information, but we’ll create a half-sheet teachers can use to send home.
• Teachers may send games or other activities home for students to optionally do with their families.
• Classes may send worksheets home with all students, but may not have an expectation that students return the work.

The main thing we DO NOT want is for students in one class to be getting something significantly different from another class. We’re currently editing a draft letter that we’ll do final approval on in the fall.

• Class Lists Review & Transition Meetings – Class Lists should all be finalized by this point, so non-classroom teaching staff, please review the linked 2018-2019 Class Lists. If you see anything that you think may be an unwise placement, please let me or the sending grade level teachers know of your concerns. Also, if receiving grade levels would like to meet to discuss incoming student class lists, please contact the sending grade level to set up a time to meet. My suggested time would be Tuesday after school where I originally had a placeholder Staff Meeting on the calendar.

• 2018-2019 Leadership/Building Rep. Positions & Memberships – We’re still looking for a PBIS and Social Committee Leader. If you are interested, visit the Leader/Building Rep. Google Sheet to add your name. Also, if you’d like to be a member of one of our building teams or committees, add your name to the sign-up sheet in the Staff Room.

• Library News from Julie – The bulk of the inventory has been completed (shelves are still closed for the summer). Thanks to a few very helpful volunteers! The library will no longer sound like a game show. ha-ha It appears we have a few books that have escaped the library & Ms. Lawson’s classroom and are currently on an adventure. As we are cleaning and packing up, emptying book boxes and desks please keep an eye out for any sneaky library books. They usually turn up in interesting places. If you are a 3rd, 4th or 5th grade teacher and would like to check out George for the summer, I will have copies available by the middle of the week. Thank you and have a great summer. Relax with a good book! – Julie

• Room Move Updates – Linked here is a 2018-2019 Classroom Assignment Map. The moves are:

• New 5th Grade Teacher to ELL/YMCA (Room 22)
• Carolyn/YMCA to Rhonda (Room 22 to Room 17)
• Rhonda to Becky (Room 17 to Room 19)
• Becky to Erin (Room 19 to Room 27)
• Erin to ECT (Room 27 to Room 21)
• Imelda/Jill and Katie swapping rooms (Room 6 and Room 7)

One note on the ECT Room (Room 21), SSD is currently deciding where to relocate this team, so they are going to be in the building through the end of July and there’s a remote possibility they will stay if SSD can’t find a location, although last I spoke with SSD they had a couple of strong leads on possible locations at some under-enrolled schools.

• Summer Program Classroom Use – I shared earlier where KITS (Preschool, FRC, Community Room), ESY (all other downstairs classrooms), and EEP (upstairs blue wing) will be over the summer, but a two items of note:

• Technology Needs – Classrooms hosting ESY will need to leave out your HDMI cables and adapters. Document cameras and ENZO keyboards should be locked up. Classroom hosting EEP can lock all tech up.

• Furniture Labels – I’ve heard from another school that furniture moves around a fair amount during summer school, so put a room number on any furniture you want to make sure makes it back to your classroom.

• 5th Grade Interviews, Monday 3:00-5:30 – Imelda, Lupe, and Suzy and I will be conducting interviews this Monday from 3:00-5:30 in the Conference Room. If any staff would like to join in on the interviews, let me know so I can have a packet of interview questions ready for you.

• Facilities Updates – Here are two building updates:

• Light Issues & Window Tinting – The darker tinting that was piloted in Erin’s classroom made a marked improvement, so over the summer Facilities will be installing the darker tinting to the two windows closest to the whiteboard in all south-facing classrooms.

• Conference Room Echo – Sound paneling was installed on the ceiling of the Conference Room this past Friday. If this doesn’t fix the echo in the room, Facilities is going to add additional sound paneling on west wall.

• 2018-2019 PLC Info & Free Book! – At our final Academy Day a couple weeks ago, I shared with teachers about the Professional Learning Community (PLC) model teachers will be participating in next school year. Principals have been reading the book Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work, and if there are any teacher interested in also reading the book to learn more about the process, I thought I’d offer to purchase the book for you for your summer reading list. Let me know by the end of the week if you’d like a copy of the book and I’ll get it ordered for you. On a related note, to support the PLC rollout across the district, downtown added another Staff Development Specialist (SDS), which has made for some SDS re-shuffling, so for next year Rebecca Boyd has been assigned to our school.

• Summer Lego Robotics PD at Lane ESD – Teachers, there is a summer professional development around Lego Robotics and Coding happening at Lane ESD, August 1-3. If our building sends at least one teacher all three days and fills out the paperwork on your plan for how to use it with students, our school will get a complete LEGO EV3 Core Set (a $400 value)! I would be able to cover the refundable $50 registration fee to reserve your spot. If any teachers are interested, let me know by the end of the week. See this workshop link for additional information.

• 4J book giveaway June 11-13 – Library Services is moving out of their space at the Ed Center and has hundreds of gently used ex-library books to give away. There are books for all age levels, from preschool through high school, fiction and nonfiction. This is a great opportunity for teachers to add to their classroom libraries. When: Mon-Wed June 11-13, 1:00-5:00 Where: Library Services, Ed Center (straight from the main door, jog left, follow the signs) What: books, bookends, posters

• Care Team Summer Resource – Linked here is a List of Summer Family Activities sent to me by our contact at DHS. The document is in both English and Spanish.

• Changes to District TAG Identification for 18-­19 – Sarah Prater Eichner, the District TAG Coordinator, let Building TAG Coordinators and principal know about some changes coming next school year. Her email has all of the details, but the short version is that next year there will be a fall TAG testing window for students to be referred for testing, similar to what Howard has already done the past couple years. There will also be a spring testing window for students scoring in the 97% on OAKS. Sarah is also planning to visit schools to share information about the process for identification of underrepresented populations. And lastly, linked here and on the Howard Google Team Drive is the Revised Student TAG Plan, which has updated language and format, which focuses on differentiation strategies in the classroom for TAG students based on current level and rate of learning.

• District School Improvement and Professional Development Surveys – Downtown is surveying licensed, classified, and administrators regarding district professional development and school improvement plans. Linked here is the Classified Staff Survey and Licensed Staff Survey.

• Survey on the future of assessment in 4J – Oscar Loureiro sent an email to teachers and Title 1 EAs earlier, but if you haven’t already, please complete the linked Criteria to Choose a Universal Screening Assessment for 4J. One of the district goals on the 4J Vision 20/20 Strategic Plan is to have a balanced system of assessments that supports effective teaching and learning, informs continuous improvement, and promotes equity in student access and outcomes. See the above linked email for additional details.

• REPEAT: 5th Grade Clap Out – The clap out for 5th graders will be the day of their promotion ceremony this Thursday. It will run the same as last year. 5th graders will start their walk in the cafeteria, walk around the courtyard gate to the 1st grade wing, past the library, and out the front entrance. Linked here is the Clap Out Map and Directions (the map isn’t so pretty, so let me know if you have questions where your class should stand). Here are the details:

• Thursday, June 14th, classes begin lining up in their spots at 1:50
• At 1:55, 5th graders will begin their final walk through the 1st grade hallway.
• Students should clap and cheer appropriately as the 5th graders walk past.
• Staff members not assigned to students are invited to join and give a final farewell.
• Once the 5th graders have made their way to the end of the clap out line, remaining students can be dismissed.

• REPEAT: “Grab & Go” Sack Lunch Schedule, Friday – For lunches on the last day of school, Friday next week, students will enter the cafeteria as usual. They will put together their own sack lunch, assembly line style. As students pass through the line, they should form a new line at the an exit door of the teacher’s choosing. Once all the students have gotten their lunches, teachers can walk students back to class. This process should takes about 5-8 minutes.

10:00 KG grade
10:10 1st grade
10:20 2nd grade
10:30 3rd grade
10:40 4th grade
10:50 5th grade

If staff not supervising students are available to help during this time, that would be terrific!

• REPEAT: End of Year Checklists (with Summer Tech Checkout Link) – Linked here is the End-of-Year Checklist for staff who are in charge of a classroom or other area. This form needs to be completed and signed off by me before you start your summer. Outside of some date changes, this is the same form as last year. A sign-up sheet for checkout dates and times is in the Staff Room and copies of the checklist are under the staff mailboxes. If you need any boxes, just let Crystal know. For checking out technology over the summer, please visit the Google Technology Equipment Checkout Contract 2017-18 Form.

• District Admin Update – Peter Tromba is returning to 4J to be principal of Spencer Butte Middle School, as Tasha Katsuda departs for a role as a district curriculum director in Bethel. Peter has been principal at North, Monroe, and at Spencer Butte nearly 20 years ago. He’s also been the 4J Technology Director before he was recruited to work at ODE. His son also goes to school with my kindergarten daughter at Adams.

• Schedule of Upcoming Events – See the Google Calendar for future events, but here are the events of note for the rest of the year:

June 11 (M)
easyCBM Testing Closes
3/4/5 Artist in Residence Continues (STEAM Room)
3:00-5:30, 5th Grade Interviews
3:00-6:00, Bike Rodeo – Bike Safety Activities (Cafeteria & Gym)

June 12 (T)
All staff library books due back to the library
Silver & Vaughan to Emerald Park
9:15-1:00, SPLASH Field Trip for Grades 3/4/5
10:00, Fire Drill
2:30-3:30, Grade Level Transition Meetings

June 13 (W)
Wacky Wednesday – Day at the Beach
Preschool’s Last for Students
8:30-10:00, K-2 Field Day (Track)
9:55-10:10, 5th Recess w/3rd Grade
10:15-11:45, 3-5 Field Day
11:50, 3rd Grade Lunch w/4th Grade and Recess w/5th Grade

June 14 (H)
PE Classes Outside
9:00, Monthly Book Winners (Conference Room)
10:30, KG Family Picnic (Front Grass)
12:00-12:15, 5th Grade Lunch
12:15-12:35, 5th Grade Recess
12:45-1:45, 5th Grade Graduation (Gym)
1:50, Clap Out for 5th Grade

June 15 (F)
Last Day for Students, Early Release
Last Day for 192 & 196 Day Classified Employees
Sugar field to Emerald Park
10:00, Grab-n-Go Sack Lunches (Cafeteria

“Grab & Go” Sack Lunch Schedule
10:00 Kindergarten
10:10 1st grade
10:20 2nd grade
10:30 3rd grade
10:40 4th grade
10:50 5th grade

11:05, K-5 Dismissal
11:30, Staff Last Day of School Root Beer Float & Ice Cream Sundae Party and Staff Farewell Celebration (Cafeteria)

June 18 (M)
Last Day for Licensed Staff
2:00-4:00, Allan to ILT Meeting (Ed Center)
4:00-5:30, Allan to All Admin Meeting (Ed Center)

June 28 (H)
Allan’s Last Day

July 26 (H)
Allan Reports Back to Work

August 28 (T)
Licensed Staff Report Back

August 29 (W)
Classified Staff Report Back
Howard Staff Back-to-School Staff Meeting

On Monday, look in the Staff Room for nachos! I heard the PTO is planning to unload carnival leftovers.

Also, please enjoy Staff Summer Book Picks below!

Have a fabulous summer everyone and I’ll look forward to seeing you all in the fall!





Staff Summer Book Picks!


I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State by Michelle McNamara

Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess by Rachel Hoffman

The 38 books Judy Davies just gave me

Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker by Christianne C. Jones

Coco Chanel (Little People, Big Dreams) by Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

Maybe Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight if I have time.



Professional reading:

Literacy Essentials for English Language Learners: Successful Transitions by Maria Uribe and Sally Nathenson-Mejia

How the ELL Brain Learns by David Sousa
A note re. How the ELL Brain Learns: “This is not just a ‘how-to’ book. It is a ‘why-because-how-to’ book.” It’s loaded with strategies, including subject-specific, but explaining the principles behind the strategies also allows teachers to understand what works and why so that they can adapt their teaching to be successful.

Why Do English Language Learners Struggle with Reading? Distinguishing Language Acquisition from Learning Disabilities by Janette Klingner, John Hoover, and Leonard Baca

English Language Learners: Differentiating Between Language Acquisition and Learning Disabilities by Janette Klingner and Amy Eppolito



Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker



All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire

Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students’ Potential through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching by Jo Boaler



George by Alex Gino

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins



OBOB books, I would recommend reading George :)

The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner (Book 1 and Book 2)

Nemesis by Catherine Coulter



Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver



Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult


Linda K.

Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig



The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
It is the second novel in the Neopolitan quartet. I read My Brilliant Friend last summer, and it was wonderful. Apparently, HBO is making a miniseries of the book, so I am anxiously awaiting that!


Robin V.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith



Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten.
A thriller about a deep sea diver and a megalodon shark. The movie is due to be released in August. My favorite movie of all time is Jaws, so we’ll see how this one compares!

Creative Quest by Questlove
The bandleader/drummer of Jimmy Fallon’s late night show writes about how to unlock your creativity.

Kids First from Day One: A Teacher’s Guide to Today’s Classroom by Christine Hertz and Kristi Mraz
love anything published by Heinemann.




Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant Sheryl
Sandberg is the COO of Facebook. A few years ago, her husband died suddenly leaving her a widow and her children without their father. Her “Option A” was gone and she had to figure out what to do what she was left with, “Option B”. She co-wrote the book with her friend who’s a psychologist. She writes about her own personal experiences, but also touches on how people (including children) can build resiliency and eventually joy in life-changing experiences. I think this is a must read for anyone who has lost someone or knows someone who’s lost someone and are trying to figure out how to best support them. This book is also for teachers who are working to help our students build resiliency in adverse circumstances (which I know we hardly have any of here at Howard :).

The Dry by Jane Harper
This is a suspense novel that had me hooked from the very beginning. The story takes place in rural Australia. It’s about a murder-suicide that takes place when a husband (Luke) kills his wife, child and then himself, but leaving one child left alive. His friend, Aaron, who is a federal agent comes back home to the funeral, but soon realizes that the case might not be as it seems. The story goes back and forth between what happened with Aaron 20 years ago that made him leave his hometown, as well as him working towards solving his friend’s possible murder. A great read!

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
Another book I couldn’t put down and I kept thinking that there was no way it could be a true story! But it is, and it’s written about an unknown hero, Pino Lella. The story takes place in Italy during WWII. Pino is sent by his parents to live in the Alps during the war to keep him safe. There in the Alps, he ends up secretly (and with his own mountaineering skills) getting many Jews to safety on the other side to Switzerland. It also then follows him back in Milan when he is old enough to be a soldier. In Milan, he ends up becoming the personal driver to a General who is very close to Hitler. He then realizes that this is a perfect opportunity to spy for the Allies. In Milan he also falls in love with a girl named Anna whom he had met years before. If you’ve read the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, which I personally nicknamed “Unbelievable” since it was so hard to believe that one person could go through so much and survive, then this book is for you.

Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh
The story takes place in British occupied Kenya after WWII. Rachel has been sent back to England for 6 years after her mother suddenly dies. She has always longed to return back home, but when she arrives she finds that the father she knew, as well as the country she loves, have both changed drastically. It is during this time in Kenyan history that a secret group called the Mau Mau plan an uprising to unite native Kenyans and overthrow the whites. Rachel struggles during this time to find her own voice in a place that is no longer what she once knew.



Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions by David Quammen

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight]

The Month that Changed the World: July 1914 and WWI by Gordon Martel



2000 AD Back Issues
I’m almost a year behind on this British weekly sci-fi comic book anthology series I subscribe to and need to catch up on. Judge Dredd is the most famous character to come out of 2000AD, but if there are any comic book nerds out there, major comic book writers like Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Ian Edginton, and Alan Moore all got their start at 2000AD.

George by Alex Gino
My older daughter, Grace, is very interested in reading this book, but I’m making her read Charlotte’s Web first since the plot of George hinges on the title character wanting to play Charlotte in the school play.

Ghost Walk by Brian Keene
Brian Keene is a an unabashedly pulpy horror writer and whenever I read his books, I cannot put them down until I’ve gotten to the end. This is the second book in his Levi Stoltzfus Series, which is an occult detective series of sorts. Keene is not for all tastes, but I like his books.

Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown
I’ve always been kind of obsessed with the 1980s movie “Red Dawn” and this story of the US degenerating into warring territories has a similar vibe that intrigues me.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
And one that I’ve read a few times and I’d say is my all-time favorite book. A Pulitzer Prize winning novel that you’ll either love or abhor. I read this in a UO 20th Century Literature course and the class was deeply divided over the book, with half loving it and half hating it, and we eventually figured out it boiled down to whether you were rooting for the main character (those who loved it) or if you found him an awful human being (those who hated the book). Read if you dare!

And some from prior summers I intended to read, but didn’t

Z-Burbia by Jake Bible
A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3) by George R. R. Martin
The Explorers Guild: Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala by Kevin Costner, Jon Baird, Rick Ross