September 3, 2018

By Allan  


Hi Everyone,

This weekend I put up our #whyiteach speech bubbles, and not to get too sappy, I felt so proud of our staff as I read each reason why each of us are here working with kids. Howard has an incredibly caring, thoughtful, and inspiring staff and I couldn’t be more happy to have everyone here on our team. I actually stopped in the middle of putting them up to type this. You all are AMAZING human beings!

Thirty-three items of note for this week:

• Updated 2017-2018 Master Schedule – A few more tweaks to the schedule and anyone effected already knows, but linked here (XLS and PDF) and also on the Howard Google Team Drive is the updated master schedule.

• Recess Schedule, 5-minutes shorter Fridays – Speaking of schedules, remember that with the new district Common School Schedule, we elected to do a 5-minute shorter recess on Fridays, so teachers need to remember to pick-up your class five minutes earlier at the end of both morning and lunch recess on Fridays.

• PE & Music Start Date – Siera and Michelle have said they are ready to start seeing classes the first day of school, but they also understand if teachers want to wait a few days before starting. Please let them know if you WILL NOT be going to specialist times this week.

• Missed Specialist Time Note – The Joint Contract Administration Committee (JCAC) will be addressing this in late September, but in the short term we will make-up PE/Music classes interrupted by events like assemblies/drills that are planned, using some of our open spots built into the schedule.

• Friday Early Release PD Meeting – Principals were recently told that on the early release Fridays (1:10 dismissal) schools have flexibility to decide if we want to do the protected one-hour of uninterrupted prep first (1:30-2:30) followed by the early release PD (2:30-3:30) or we can flip-flop the two. I’ve made a quick two-question Early Release Google Survey for teachers to state their preference. Our first meeting is this Friday and principals have not been give direction on what to present at this meeting, so at this point it will be a quick one-item agenda to decide if we want to meet each Friday at 1:30 or 2:30.

• Second Step Items – To editorialize for a moment, I’m hoping the adoption of Second Step, along with this year’s focus on the Behavior Framework and the prior rollout of the Caring School Community curriculum, signals a pendulum swing back towards valuing taking the time to build positive students relationships. Know that it’s always okay take time out of the “regular” curriculum to address the social emotional needs of students. But two items of note:

• Need More Posters? – Classroom teachers, let me know by the end of the week if you’d like me to order you any additional Second Step posters. One poster was sent with each kit and downtown sent principals an email that they are doing a one-time purchase of these posters, so let me know if you want one.

• Scans of Story Cards and Lessons – The Second Step website has the story card photos, videos, and songs that go with each lesson, but do not have the lessons themselves. The 5th grade team added scans of each lesson to the Google Team Drive to better facilitate sharing of the curriculum. If your grade level would like the same, give me your story cards and notebook and I’ll add them as well. To see 5th grades lesson, go to Howard Drive > Curriculum/Instruction > Social Emotional Learning (SEL) > Second Step > 5th Grade Scans

• Howard Staff Handbook Review – Linked here is the updated Howard Staff Handbook. All staff must review the handbook and sign & return the acknowledgement form to the office by Friday, September 28th. Both of these can also be found on the Howard Team Drive > MISC > Handbooks I’ll place hard copies of the acknowledgement form in mailbox on Tuesday. For Howard veterans, I made a few PBIS updates to match our current practices and a few other minor tweaks, but it’s mostly the same as in the past. Let me know if you have any questions.

On a related note, the District Back-to-School Policy Memo is still being finalized, so watch for that coming soon.

• easyCBM Benchmarking & Title 1 Updates – Four updates for teachers.

1.) Testing starts Monday, September 10th and goes through Friday, September 14th. Please get as much done as possible that week so Title staff can get the diagnostic testing completed the following week to form groups. I’ll be working with EAs on Friday, Sept. 21st to create the initial groups.
2.) Your easyCBM papers with labels will be in your mailbox early this week.
3. Try to finish math testing first so we can target BEST invitations to go our Friday, Sept. 14th.
3.) For KG and 1st only, keep track of whether or not kinders and 1st graders know their initial sounds, which we do using the phoneme segmenting assessment.
4.) If everything goes as planned, Title groups will start September 24.

• PBIS Rules Review – The PBIS team met and came up with a start of the year teaching plan, so PBIS Team Members can let me know if I’m not capturing any of this correctly.

Before the first recess on Wednesday, teachers should use the Playground Rules 18-19 Google Slide Show to review rules. In the days following, teachers should use the attached Quick Minute – Recess Rules Round-Up, where you’ll talk more in-depth about one piece of playground equipment each day, September 6th through 18th. The slideshow can be found at Howard Drive > Meetings/Teams > PBIS > 2018-2019 > Playground Rules 18-19

AdditionallyTeachers should also review our PBIS Rules for common school areas (i.e. restrooms, cafeteria, hallways, arrival/dismissal, etc.) sometime this first week, working off of the Howard PBIS Matrix, the PBIS Start of Year Lessons (taken from the staff handbook), or the Google Slides PBIS Back to School Refresher.

And a Google reminder, you’ll need to log into Google using your full 4J email username (i.e. and 4J email password to connect to the Howard Team Drive.

• No More Clip-Up/Clip-Down Charts – Speaking of PBIS, downtown has officially forbade Clip-Up/Clip-Down Charts. I don’t remember seeing many of these in our school anymore, but let me know if you have any questions on this.

• Principal Visits to Classrooms – I’d like to again visit every classroom sometime during the first few weeks of school to greet students. I’ll read a favorite story to your class and chat with the kids a bit. Teachers, please let me know a good 10 minutes block of time I can come and visit. Thank you!

• School Bus PBIS & Positive Slips – Bus drivers have their own version of a PBIS positive slip, which teachers should honor just the same as our PBIS positive Beep, Beeps for weekly class drawing, which will start the first full week of class. FYI, linked here is an email describing the procedures of the Transportation PBIS Program.

• Tech Subscriptions – As a reminder to staff, Howard has paid subscriptions to the following online resources. Students can link to these by going to the Howard Website and clicking their grade-level’s “Links for Learners.” If there are any links your grade level would like added or removed, just let me know and I’ll get it updated.

BrainPOP, BrainPOP Jr., and BrainPOP Espanol – Animated Educational Site for Kids; Science, Social Studies, English, Math, Arts & Music, Health, and Technology.USER: howardschool PASS: roadrunners

Dreambox – 4J purchased a K-5 subscription to the adaptive math program Dreambox, which has a unique link on the Links for Learners. Log-in with your 4J email and username to set up your classroom.

SpellingCity – We have paid subscription for grades 3-5. Let me or your TLT reps know if you need assistance setting this up.

RAZ-Kids – An online guided reading program with interactive ebooks, downloadable books, and reading quizzes.

TumbleBooks – The link on our Links for Learners take you to our subscription website.

World Book Online – World Book Online Reference Center includes World Book Encyclopedia in English and Spanish and is available to 4J staff and students and their families. A district-supplied username and password are required for home access. Building TSS’ should be able to provide these for you. UPDATE: 4J cancelled their subscription

FastMath & FractionNation – Adaptive math software program for students in Grades 4-8.

• Class Buddies – Teachers, if you haven’t already, let me know who you Buddy Classroom will be for this school year.

• Staff Parking Areas (not the front row) – Starting this week, I’d like staff to go back to using designated staff parking areas, which is anywhere in the parking lot except for the front row of parking spaces, which I’d like to reserve for families. With 93 adults working in our building this year and 94 parking spots it’s a pretty tight fit.

• No Scents, Fragrances, Perfumes – Please do not wear any scents, body sprays, perfumes, or such at school. We have a number of students and staff with allegories who can have serious potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.

• Classroom Newsletters – I’d love to have copies (email is best) of classroom newsletters when teachers send/email them home to families. This helps me get school events on the building calendar, keeps me up to date on what’s happening or going to happen in classes when families ask, and it also lets me know details of any class activities that I might be able to get the local media to come out and cover. I love promoting our school!

• Google Permission Forms – If you have students who do not have permission to use Google apps such as Google Classroom, linked here is the 4J Google Permission Form (English and Spanish). The forms can also be found online at the 4J Instructional Technology Resources & Links webpage.

• Voicemail Set-Up – Teachers, if you changed rooms this year or are new to Howard, please take time to set-up your voicemail by using the linked Quick Start Voice Mail User Guide. If you have questions, please contact Peggy at or call (541) 790-7777.

• Custodial Storage – Crystal has made some space in the custodial storage area is people have supplied needing storing, but two notes before you drop anything off. One, store things only on an open shelf, not on the workbench or other areas. And two, do not leave boxes or anything on the floor, so we can maintain clear walkways.

• Morning Announcements Start Monday, 9/10 – I won’t do morning announcements the first three days of school, but we will start regular morning announcements the first full week of school on Monday, September 10th with a couple 5th graders who were trained up at the end of last school year.

• Enrollment Updates – If you’re curious what our enrollment looks like, we’re below our projection by about 30something students, but district-wide elementary schools are about 580 students below projection and no elementary schools are above projection, so it’s a rather anomalous year for low enrollment. Our K-5 projection was originally for 474 students, but I convinced downtown to up our projection closer to our end-of-year enrollment of 500 students and to add another teacher. As of Friday we have 465 students fully enrolled (along with a few packets still out). Grade level totals currently are KG (53), 1st (70), 2nd (89), 3rd (73), 4th (86), and 5th (89).

• REPEAT: Meet Your Teacher – During Meet Your Teacher on Tuesday, September 4th at 1:00, I’d like to repeat what we did last year, having all non-classroom staff available to direct families, passing out school maps with highlighters to help guide families, and also passing out a flyer about the first day of school and parking lot procedures. We’ll also give staff a complete set of class lists to be used this day and also on the first day of school.

• REPEAT: First Days of School – Our first and second day of school routine has worked well the past two years, so we’ll once again want all-hand-on-deck to help at 7:25 on Wednesday, September 5th and Thursday, September 6th. Here’s the plan for the first and second morning with students:

First Day

• Students will come in at 7:25 and get grab-and-go breakfasts. The wall separating the cafeteria and gym will be open.
• Classroom teachers, also at 7:25 when the doors open, will be in the cafeteria, gym, and courtyard to meet students. Each teacher will have tall t-square signs with teacher name and room number (except for kindergarten, who’s doing something different this year). 1st – 4th grade will meet in the Gym. KG and 5th will meet in the cafeteria &courtyard.
• Non-classroom staff, also starting at 7:25, will be at the front entrance, the gym, and the cafeteria to help guide students and families. All staff will be given class lists to help guide students as well as a handful of building maps to pass out.
• After the first bell at 7:50 rings, Allan will make a brief announcement from the stage and then dismiss classes to go to their classrooms. Non-classroom staff will have assigned areas to help with student flow and for students arriving late. Staff will be stationed at the front entrance, cafeteria & gym, the hallway corners of the library, and one person in each wing (upstairs and downstairs).

Second Day
• Starting this day, students will follow our normal routine, but non-classroom staff should still to be available one more day 7:25-7:50 to help students with that routine of breakfast, 1st – 5th to the playground, and lining up right before the 7:50 bell (I’ll put out the T-square classrooms signs to help students know where to line up). After the 7:50 bell rings, non-classroom staff should again take their same places as the day before to help guide any lost students or families.

Staff helping should hold onto their class lists and maps from Meet Your Teacher and the first day to help guide families on the second day. Linked here is the First & Second Day Map & Directions for where people will be stationed. Anyone who can’t flex their hours to come in earlier these two days, please let me know so I can adjust where people are stationed.

• REPEAT: Technology CTL Reps K/1 and 4/5 – To support teachers with the transition to all iPads, the Technology Department has developed a 2-year PD plan. The first step in the plan is enlisting CTL reps similar to reading, math, and science. Schools will select three Technology Teacher Leaders (K/1, 2/3, and 4/5) who will attend district meetings/trainings to bring information and PD back to their schools. I had one volunteer for the 2/3 position, but let me know if you’re interested in being the K/1 or 4/5 rep. See the linked

• REPEAT: K-3 Smarty Ants Pilot Opportunity – Here’s a very cool opportunity! Susan Penrod asked if any Howard K-2 (and possibly 3rd grade) teachers are interested in piloting an online foundational reading program to accelerate students towards mastery (similar to DreamBox) called Smarty Ants. Although intended for K-2, they said it may also be useful for below grade level 3rd graders. Susan would provide a training on how to use the program later in September or October, but this sounds like a great independent reading activity for students during Reading Tier II or Tier III times. Let me know by the end of the week if you’re interested/willing to be part of the pilot.

• REPEAT: Artist in Residence Survey – Howard is again getting two artists in residence this year, thanks to The Eugene Rotary, EEF, and ArtSpark. This year they are requiring one artist to be first semester and one second semester. Classroom teachers, please complete the linked Artist in Residence Google Form and that way I can bring a proposal ahead of time to the September Staff Meeting for a decision. Please look at the Lane Arts Artist in Residence webpages for details on each artist and let me know if you have any questions. Survey responses due the Friday, Sept. 14th.

• Support Howard with eScrip, SmileAmazon, Fred Meyer Rewards! – An easy way you all can support Howard is by signing up for eScrip, Smile Amazon, and Fred Meyer Rewards. With eScrip, you link you debit and/or credit cards and when you make purchases around town at places like Market of Choice, Sizzle Pie, El Tapatio, or Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, it supports Howard. eScrip also supports purchases through a number on online retailers including Best Busy, Target, and Amazon if you first go through And speaking of Amazon, if you link your Amazon account to the “Howard Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization” through Smile Amazon, a small percentage of you Amazon purchases support Howard. Fred Meyer also has their own rewards program that Howard is a part of. Sign up for the Fred Meyer Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Howard Elementary School. You can search for us by our name or by our non-profit number #88934.

• Insurance Stuff – Two insurance relating items:

• OEBB Mandatory Open Enrollment – You’ve likely gotten multiple cards and emails, but OEBB will end all current medical, vision, and dental plans effective September 30, 2018 unless you enroll before the deadline on September 15th. See the 4J Employee Benefits webpage to enroll. With the Sept. 15th deadline, it might be wise to do it now before you get caught up in the start of the school year craziness.

• Almost Free Sunglasses! – Here’s something fun I just learned about. Most of the vision insurance plans provide a glasses frame allowance each year, covering up to $70 once every 12 months that can be applied towards non-prescription sunglasses if you go through VSP. I wasn’t quite clear if there was a $20 deductible.

• Lane 4-H Offers New Educational Resource (chicken egg incubators!) – Lane County 4-H are opening the Embryology program that brings a chicken egg incubator and fertile chicken eggs into the classroom to be hatched! It provides a hands on learning opportunity, and has been adapted for all age ranges (K – 12). See the flyer for details and if you’re interested. I will cover the $45 fee. Just let me know if you want to sign up.

• Free Clay & Ceramics Courses at Georgie’s – Georgie’s Ceramics and Clay is offering free classes Sept. 22, Oct. 27, and Nov. 17 from 10am-4pm, with a free lunch provided. We have our own kiln here at Howard that staff can use if you’re trained, so if you’re interested in getting trained, see the linked flyer. They offer both basic and advanced classes.

• Northwest Community Credit Union Mini Grants – The goal of Project Community is to help educators create learning experiences for kids that might not otherwise be funded by school budgets. Educators submit their funding needs/wishes (up to $1,500) to NWCU through a competitive, submission process. Submissions are being accepted now through October 8, 2018 with winners awarded in December. Grants can be for supplies (e.g.,calculators, dissection specimens, art materials, basic school supplies, etc.), books & materials ((e.g., books for classroom libraries or to support curriculum, funding for field trips, etc.), technology (e.g., iPads, Chromebooks, Boogie Board e-writers, headphones for listening centers, etc.), and more. Follow this link to submit your grant to the NWCU Mini Grant Program.

• Math Workshop Resource – At last Friday’s PD, I attended a session on Math Workstations that shared a video from Dr. Nicki Newton, an education consultant who works with schools and districts around the country on elementary math curriculum, where she had some great advice on how to set-up math stations at the start of the school year.

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

September 3 (M)
Labor Day – No School
Possible EWEB Work – Limited Power to Building

September 4 (T)
9:00-10:00, Homework Committee Meeting (Conference Room)
10:00, Q&A Session for New Staff – Optional (Conference Room)
1:00-2:00, Meet Your Teacher & PTO Welcome Back Event

September 5 (W)
Classes Begin
PBIS Monthly Theme – Safety
7:30-8:00, Cup of Joe with the PTO (Front of School)

September 6 (H)
Regular Day

September 7 (F)
Bianca’s Last Day
10:15, Allan Reading to Lupe’s Class
2:30-3:30, Early Release PD (Volunteer’s Classroom)
4:00, KG Class Lists Posted

September 10 (M)
easyCBM Benchmark Testing Beings
Operation School Bell Forms Available

September 11 (T)
8:30-12:00, Allan to All-Admin and Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
2:40-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Erin’s Room, RM22)

September 12 (W)
2:40-3:30, PBIS Meeting (Rae Room, RM1)

September 13 (H)
4:00-5:00, Parenting Now Presentation (Library)

September 14 (F)
easyCBM Benchmark Testing Ends
2:00-3:00, Medication Training by Nurse Robin
2:30-3:30, Early Release PD (Volunteer’s Classroom)

Have a great first week back and enjoy the Photo Safari pictures from last week below!


Photo Safari!

Team Charissa


Team Davina

Team Imelda

Team Jenefer

Team Racheal

Team Tyler