September 10, 2018

By Allan  



Greetings Roadrunners,

We had an excellent start to school year last week, thanks to our amazing staff! Howard Rocks!

Twenty-six items of note for this week:

• District Mandatory Policy Review for all Staff – Linked here is this year’s District Back-to-School Memo (PDF), which covers a variety of district rules, policies and guidelines. Section 1 is the portion that staff are required to review. I covered key points at the BTS staff meeting, but as I said at the there, all staff must review the memo and sign & return the Check List Acknowledgment Form to signify that you have read and understand the memo. Forms should be returned to me no later than Friday, September 28th. I’ll place hard copies of the acknowledgement form in staff mailboxes this week. Looking over this year’s memo, downtown significantly shortened the Financial & Purchasing Procedures information (the old one had a lot of information that did not apply to school staff), the 4J Nondiscrimination Notice was updated, the FAQ for Supporting Undocumented Students was updated last April, the Student Discipline Procedures Summary had some updates (particularly new rules around suspensions), and the section on Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying, Cyberbullying, Hazing, Teen Dating Violence and Domestic Violence was updated to include information on  Domestic Violence as well as the new Student Reporting Form. Let me know if you have questions on any of this.

• REPEAT: Howard Staff Handbook Review – Related to the above, 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.

• TalentEd Goals, Self Assessment, & Standards Overview Conference – Probationary and Contract Year-1 Licensed staff need to complete the self assessment in TalentEd before the end of September. ALL licensed staff need to meet with me for a Standards Overview Conference, which I can do by meeting with an entire grade level at once, so let me know if there’s a good time for me to meet with your grade level (5-10 minutes max). I’ll connect with non-classroom licensed staff to meet at a separate time.

Regarding SMART Goals, all licensed staff need to have goals entered into TalentEd and signed-off by me by October 15th. For classroom teachers, Rebecca Boyd, our building Staff Development Specialist (SDS), told me SDSs are developing a set of goals around this year’s PLC work, so classroom teachers can wait to input your goals if you’re interested in adopting those goals as your own. Other licensed staff will need to develop your own goals, but please connect with me if you’d like any help or guidance. Please let me if you have any questions about the process.

• Early Release Friday Meeting – This week’s Early Release Friday Meeting is designated as a “Building Goals” meeting and I don’t have any pressing topics we need to discuss, so instead use this time to complete TalentEd tasks and/or the SafeSchools online trainings if you have not done so already.

• Attendance – AM and PM Reminder – Quite a few teachers are not getting both their AM and PM attendance entered. Please be sure to mark students absent in both columns. I’ll let teachers know this week if these are not get entered properly, so people aren’t left wondering if it’s you we’re referring to, but it’s almost everyone right now. Using the TeacherVUE Synergy app on your phone or tablet (iOS or Android) can be an easier for taking attendance than on your computer. In setting it up, use the URL

• Tardies Definition – Related to the above, just to make sure everyone is on the same page for when to mark a student as tardy, the agreement staff made a few years ago is that any student not inside the classroom before the 7:55 bell rings is considered tardy. Lori starts giving out tardy passes and recording tardies in Synergy after 8:00. For any students in the building before then who are not yet in class, teachers need to record that as tardy in Synergy.

• PTO Meeting Next Week – Not this week, but next week on Tuesday, September 18th from 6:00-7:00 will be the first PTO Meeting of the year. It’s typically the best attended meeting of the year by families, so it would be great if any staff can volunteer their evening to come show support for parents who are making time to be involved in their child’s school. Mark your calendars and hope to see you there!

• Tech Trot (jog-a-thon) Info – I’ll have more info next week, but the PTO is holding our annual Tech Trot/Jog-a-Thon this fall on Oct. 3rd instead of in the spring and in place of the Cookie Dough fundraiser. I’ve tentatively scheduled the jog-a-thon times for:

• 8:15-9:00, Grades K/1
• 9:15-10:00, Grades 2/3
• 10:15-11:00, Grades 4/5

I wasn’t able to work around everyone’s recess and PE/Music times, but this was the least disruptive schedule I could come up with (2nd grade will need to have morning recess with 3rd grade, Groshong’s 4th grade Music will have to move to Monday, and 5th grade will need to have morning recess with 4th grade). Let me know if you see any schedule conflicts I missed.

The PTO has again secured sponsors to provide free Howard T-Shirts (royal purple this year) for all students and staff thanks to a donation from Sentinel One. The PTO is also hoping to get ideas for incentives (pie in the face, lip-sync battle, etc.) as well as volunteers for some goofy rewards. More details to come, but let me know your ideas, thoughts, or questions.

• Student Care Team – Our first Student Care Team meeting is in a couple weeks on Wednesday, September 26th, so if you have any student situations you would like brought to the team, please let me know.

For staff new to Howard, The Student Care Team is part of DHS’s Self-Sufficiency Program. Meetings are intended for directing community resources and services to families looking for help, and avoiding families falling through the social services cracks. The goal of the team is to prevent child abuse and neglect by working together as a team to discuss concerns about children/families, problem solve solutions, collaborate, and assist in brokering resources for families. Families typically sign a disclosure form, which allows DHS to do a lot of research before we meet, looking into family history and what types of resources they would or would not qualify for. In addition to situations where families are seeking help, we’re also able to discuss hypothetical situations (not using names) with DHS representatives, which can be very helpful for how to address challenging situations where families will not sign a release. Our partnership with DHS’s Self-Sufficiency Program has been an extremely valuable resource for us and for our families.

Common referrals, though not limited to, are:

• Homeless or impending homelessness
• Medical concerns about the child or other family
• Extreme behavior issues – ­additional supports needed outside of school
• Mental health concerns (child or family member)
• Death of a parent
• Incarcerated parent -­ concerns about recent incarceration or pending release
• Unknown if open child welfare case but has concerns that were called in
• Domestic Violence
• Specific resource needed but unknown where to refer

DHS staff have been great about connecting families in difficult situations with various community resources and helping out with difficult situations, so please let me know if you have any students/families you’d like referred to the team. Linked here is the Care Team Release Form (English and Spanish) that families sign for their situation to be openly discussed by the team. 

• 4/5 Strings Recruitment Assembly, 9/21 @8:45 – Next week, on Friday, September 21st at 8:45 in the gym will be the annual strings recruitment assembly for the BEST/Eugene Springfield Youth Orchestra Program for 4th and 5th grade classrooms. See the linked Assembly Map & Directions for details.

• Fire Drill Info – Our September Fire Drill will be later this month on Thursday, September 27th (my birthday) at 8:25, but just in case we unexpectedly need it earlier, linked here is an updated Building Evacuation Map (a higher resolution version is on the Team Drive). The evacuation routes are the same as last year, but I’ve updated the spots where classes line up to include new classrooms and teachers. Evacuation procedures can be found in the Howard Staff Handbook (or ask a wily Howard veteran). Let me know if you have any questions.

• EWEB Power Outage Sept. 15 & 16 – EWEB has to turn off the power again this coming weekend starting at 1:00 on Saturday, Sept. 15th and also on Sunday, Sept. 16th. The same as last time, staff are welcome to work in the building, but there will be minimal lighting and power, although office copiers will have power and can be used.

• Updated 2017-2018 Master Schedule – There have been a few more tweaks to the master schedule, which has been updated on the Team Drive. If you see any changed not reflected on the schedule, let me know.

• No Students in Utility Courtyard – Some classes were cutting through Utility Courtyard (where the trash compacter and dumpsters are located) as a shortcut from the playground to PE and Music. For safety reasons, students are not allowed in this area, but classes are welcome to walk with their teacher around the front of the building.

• 2018-2019 Leadership Plans – HR emailed principals this year’s Elementary Leadership Plan Process, which are due to HR November 9th. The process is a similar to how it’s worked in the past. The current contract gives us 22 teacher release days not to exceed 7 teachers. Linked here is last year’s plan, which compensated teachers for School Climate, Technology, Math, and ELA leadership roles. If you have thoughts on this year’s plan, please email me by the end of the week. I’d like to share Leadership Plan proposals at next week’s Staff Meeting and then vote on a plan at the October Staff Meeting.

• BEST Coordinator Update – Helene Hancock was hired as Howard’s BEST Coordinator. Helene has a BA in Family and Human Services, and has experience working at Jasper Mountain and at Willamalane as a program leader and also at a rec program at Guy Lee. Please welcome Helen to the Howard Team!

• SPED 1:1 EA Job Posting – Thanks in large part to Nurse Robin, we are getting a 1:1 CLC EA to support a medically fragile upper grade student. If you know of anyone who’d be good for this position and who’d be a good match for the Howard Team, please encourage them to apply! The Job Posting closes this Friday, September 14th.

• Substitute Folders/information (EA and Guest Teachers) – Principals received and email from HR to give our yearly reminder regarding preparations for guest teachers and classified substitutes. Early  planning for substitutes helps everyone when someone is absent. This is important prep work to do BEFORE staff are absent. Linked here is a List of Suggested Sub Information/Items that staff should consider when preparing lesson plans and substitute folders. With the goal being seamless transition and a successful day when regular staff are out, it is essential that our Guest Teachers and EA Substitutes receive the best information possible. To highlight one need, be sure to provide info for substitutes how to have access to a laptop for instruction, research, and management. This laptop SHOULD NOT be the teacher’s profile on the teacher laptop as there may be a great deal of confidential information on that machine. Instead, set up a guest account. Sub folders are located in the office.

• ThinkCentral Help – Sarah Prater already sent an email regarding log-in information for Journeys online component, ThinkCentral, but I also wanted teachers to know that I have admin access to add/change student and teacher accounts (left over from when we piloted Journeys 4 or 5 years ago) if you ever run into any problems.

• REPEAT: PBIS Rules Review – Teachers should have now reviewed the Playground Rules 18-19 Google Slide Show. As a reminder, remember to also do the daily 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, as well as covering the PBIS Rules for Common School Areas (i.e. restrooms, cafeteria, hallways, etc.).

• REPEAT: Principal Visits to Classrooms – If you haven’t already, let me know a good 10 minutes block of time I can come and visit with your class to introduce myself and to also read a story.

• REPEAT: Artist in Residence Survey DUE Friday – Classroom teachers, please complete the linked Artist in Residence Google Form by the end of the week so I can bring a proposal ahead of time to next week’s Staff Meeting for a decision. Please look at the Lane Arts Artist in Residence webpages for details on each artist.

• Seesaw PD in Your PJsSeesaw, an excellent app I’d encourage all classroom teachers to use, offers free online training sessions where teachers can learn more about how to can use Seesaw in your classrooms. Webinars range from beginner to advanced and are broken out by PreK-2 and 3-5. See the link to September PD in Your PJs to sign-up.

• How to Remember Students’ Names – Instead of resorting to “Hey, you,” try these techniques in an article from Edutopia for retrieving names.

• Manage Your Classroom with Strong Relationships – Relationships are the core of a cohesive classroom, and even more so when working with students living in poverty. In the latest issue of ASCD Express, find strategies for connecting with students and their families, building key relationship-sustaining skills into your classroom culture, and reflecting on your own practice in ways that reconnect with this fundamental aspect of teaching and learning.

• 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 10 (M)
easyCBM Benchmark Testing Through Friday
Operation School Bell Forms Available
10:00, Allan Reading to Class
1:30, Allan Reading to Class

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

September 12 (W)
8:30, Allan Meeting w/Staff Growth and Effectiveness Administrator, Rob Hess (Office)
12:30, Allan Reading to Class

September 13 (H)
2:00, Allan to SPED Meeting (Conference Room)
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) – TalentEd & SafeSchools Time

September 17 (M)
Title 1 Individual Diagnostic Testing Through Friday
4:00, Allan to 4JMAPS Meeting

September 18 (T)
Mrs. Henry’s Birthday!
2:40-3:30, Staff Meeting (Volunteer’s Classroom)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Conference Room)

September 19 (W)
Talk Like a Pirate Day
Operation School Bell Requests Due

September 20 (H)
Regular Day

September 21 (F)
Vision Screening (tentative)
Allan Meeting w/Title Staff to Make Groups
8:45-9:15, 4/5 Strings Assembly (Gym)
2:30-3:30, Early Release PD – Behavior Framework (Volunteer’s Classroom)

Have an excellent first full week of school!