September 17, 2018

By Allan  

Howdy All,

If you’re wondering how our school homework policy was received by families when I sent it out last week, I’ve received nothing but positive emails and feedback, so families are definitely onboard with our new optional/family focused policy. Nice work, team!

Twenty-seven items of note for this week:

• Mission Statement Meeting, 9/27 – Mentioned in the BTS Staff Meeting Minutes, teachers generally liked the first sentence of our current mission statement a few tweaks, but wanted to add and/or change several pieces in the second sentence, particularly the part about exceeding state standards, and also adding some language around connecting to the larger community, while still maintaining high expectations for ALL students. If you are a wordsmithing type of person and are willing to help perfect the phrasing of the Howard Mission Statement, I’ll be holding an optional meeting on Thursday, September 27th at 2:40 in the Conference Room (I’ll bring snacks!).

• Grade Level PLC Information and Times – For classroom teachers, the first PLC day with roving subs is coming on Monday, September 24th (1st, 2nd, 5th) and Tuesday, September 25th (KG, 3rd, 4th). We’ll arrange for our regular team of roving subs this day, who will cover for 1-hour at each grade level during the times below. Some grades will need to shift their specialist day to a day later this week or the following week, and not all grade level meeting times were able to fall neatly during math instruction times. Let me know if you have questions on the schedule or see a better way to make it work. We’ll have four subs on Monday and three subs on Tuesday, so for Monday, let me know if any teachers could use an extra hand in your classroom between 11:00-12:30, when we’ll have one extra sub.

Monday. Sept. 24: (UPDATED, 1st & 5th swapped)
1st – 8:30-9:30
2nd – 10:00-11:00
5th – 11:15-12:15

Tuesday. Sept. 25:
KG – 11:10-12:10
3rd – 12:15-1:15
4th – 1:25-2:25

How this first meeting will work is that grade level teams will meet with Rebecca Boyd, Howard’s SDS, in the Conference Room to first develop group norms, discuss the four essential questions of a PLC (below), and determine the focus for your grade level.

To help teachers not schedule any conflicts with future PLC dates, below are the dates for all future PLC release days. Grades 5/2/1 will always be on Day #1 and grades KG/3/4 will always be on Day #2.

Sept. 24 & 25 (M/T)
Oct. 22 & 23 (M/T)
Nov. 26 & 27 (M/T)
Jan. 14 & 15 (M/T)
Feb. 19 & 20 (T/W)
Apr. 2 & 3 (T/W)
Apr. 29 & 30 (M/T)

I know making sub plans is extra work for teachers, so I wanted teachers to know it’s fine to break from your normally schedule activities and plan something easier for subs these days. Let me know if you have any questions regarding the upcoming PLC work.

• Optional SMART Goals – Related to the above, linked here are Optional 4J SMART Goals around math and our PLC work, which classroom teachers can enter into TalentEd. The percentiles, the assessment used to measure growth, the timeline, and the target group are left blank, but I’d advise choosing something related to your grade level’s focus, so it’s something you’re already doing and you’re not making extra work for yourself. My other advice would be to have one of your two smart goals be for your entire class (the state requires at least one be for all of your students) and the second goal be exactly the same as the first except that you change target population to a subgroup (i.e. students of color, students in special education, ELL students, etc.). Teachers are, of course, welcome to create your own goals, but I know folks have appreciated this in the past. I also made a sample version of the above SMART Goals Filled-In (revised) that I’ve submitted as my principal goals for the year. Non-classroom licensed staff are welcome to adapt the language of the above SMART Goals for any of your own related work, but please let me know if I can be of any assistance in crafting goal for anyone.

• Friday Early Release Meeting @2:30 – This Friday’s Early Release meeting will be Part 4 of the PBIS Behavior Framework. This meeting is for all licensed staff, although I may share this at a future Recess Supervisors’ Meeting because this module is on Active Supervisor and has some good reminders about the 3 Keys to Active Supervision: Moving, Scanning, and Interacting. Teachers, let me know if any of you would like to volunteer your classroom for the meeting. The next Early Release Meeting on 9/28 is a “Building Goals” meeting, so unless we’re unable to get through our packed Staff Meeting agenda this Tuesday, we won’t plan to meet and this will instead be time for staff to complete your TalentEd Self-Assessments, SafeSchools Online Trainings, and to review the District Back-to-School Policy Memo.

• Updated LearnZillion Curriculum Pacing Guides – Linked here are the updated LearnZillion Pacing Guides. These can help teacher know where you should be in the math curriculum so that you’re able to get through all of the units by the end of the year. There will understandably be units that take longer and others that are shorter (along with other interruptions throughout the year), which will take people off schedule, but do pay attention to the curriculum pacing guide to make sure you’re on track to get all of the material covered. These guides can also be found on the Howard Google Team Drive and the 4J Google LearnZillion Drive (see next item).

• Resources on 4J LearnZillion Google Folder – As a reminder to teachers, there are quite a few resources on the 4J LearnZillion website, but there are even more on the 4J LearnZillion Google Folder run by a number of the SDS staff. It includes the updated curriculum/pacing guides, assessment materials, Dreambox resources, exit tickets, parent communications, grade level specific resources, PDFs of the student workbook, and much much more.

• Tech Trot Info – The PTO will send home Tech Trot Information to families this week in Friday Folders, so teachers should look for these in your mailboxes. The PTO is also planning to stop by classrooms at some point this week to give a quick plug for the Tech Trot and to get kids pumped. And as a reminder, the Tech Trot will happen on the Kelly Track on Wednesday, Oct. 3rd at the following times:

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

• Color Printing and Laptop Print Settings – Quite a few unnecessary color copies come across the office color copier (i.e. emails with just a red 4J apple or a blue link). It’s fine to print in color for class projects, but please change your print settings to default to print in black and white for general printing. To do this, you’ll need to install the linked Canon Printer Driver (also located on the Team Drive) and after installing select the C2225 print driver. If you need help setting this up, let me know and I can help or you can email Peggy at 4jdesktop@4j.lane.edu or call the Technology Help Line at x7777.

• Do Not Reply to 4jdesktop – Speaking of emailing Peggy, if you ever need to follow-up on a tech support ticket, do not reply to 4jdesktop@4j.lane.edu. Instead email Peggy directly. Replying to 4jdesktop creates a new ticket each time you reply, which mucks up the system (I’m guilty of this one and am curbing my own behavior).

• Title 1 Groups Starting Monday – The plan is for students to come to Title 1 groups starting this week, although Title 1 staff are administering diagnostic tests all week to help form groups, which will start in earnest next week. Retired Title 1 Coordinator Cindy Hinton is subbing Corianne to help with testing and this Friday after testing is finished, I’ll put on my old Title 1 Coordinator hat and work with Title 1 staff to put students into groups.

• 2018-2019 Mandatory Elementary School Bus Safety Training – As required by OAR 581-53-002, all students must receive instructions on bus safety before the end of December 2018. The intent of the rule is to reach the occasional riders who find themselves on a bus because of a field trip, activity trip, etc. Linked here is Bus Training Info Sheet sent to principals, but all classroom teachers need to do is show one of two bus safety videos and then tell Lori the date you showed it. There is a new video option for elementary schools this year, so you can choose between the Newer Bus Safety Video or the quaint 1990s Bus Safety Video and pretend you’re watching an episode of Family Matters.

 

• Staffing Updates – Nigel, one of our two night custodians, is moving into a night custodian position at ATA starting this Monday. His Howard position should post soon and in the meantime we will have a substitute. The posting for our 12-month night custodian position closed a few weeks ago and Facilities staff is planning conduct interviews to permanently fill that position soon.

• More Power Outages – The building power outages originally scheduled for this weekend were cancelled due to the east coast storms delaying delivery of parts EWEB was waiting for. Instead, they are tentatively planning an outage this Wednesday from 10:00pm – 5:00am (we are waiting for confirmation from EWEB) and for sure on Friday from 5:00pm – 10:00pm.

• DHS Reporting Form – Sadly, we’ve already had to make a few child welfare calls to DHS this year, but I wanted to remind staff that when you make calls to be sure to notify me and to also complete an Abuse Reporting Form (Word and PDF) so I can track dates, concerns, and how many calls we’ve made for individual student. I’ve updated the form to require less information since most of what the old form asked for is already in Synergy. Forms are also available on the Team Drive and hardcopies are located in the office in the filing cabinet by Elizabeth’s desk. All school employees are mandatory reporters, so if you need to call, the phone number is (541) 349-4444. Feel free to talk with me if you’re ever unsure about how to handle a particular situation.

• Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program – The Fresh Fruits and Vegetable program will continue this year and is set to start this Monday. Nutrition Serivces is telling me they want to add an educational component to the program, which is “encouraged” by the grant. They are currently figuring out how they want to add this educational component, which is also the reason for the delayed start, but I told them that we really need it to start now, they allowed us to go ahead and start ordering fruit and vegetables. I’m also suggesting to the new Nutrition Services folks that for the educational component that they should just give us a script to read over morning announcements or articles to send home, since I’m loath to add more teachers’ already VERY full curricular plates.

• BEST EA Job Opportunity – I just saw that the 4J Jobs webpage is a posting for After School BEST EA positions if any classified staff are interested. They typically like to hire current building staff for these positions, so if you’re interested, you’ll most likely get the job! The posting closes Tuesday.

• REPEAT: 4/5 Strings Recruitment Assembly, 9/21 @8:45 – This Friday 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.

• REPEAT: PTO Meeting Tuesday @6:00pm – This Tuesday 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. Hope to see you there!

• REPEAT: Care Team Referrals Due Friday – The September Student Care Team is next week, so any new referrals are due to me this Friday. Linked here is the 4J Release Form (English and Spanish) to get signed, but you can also refer “hypothetical” student or family situations. Let me know if you have any questions.

• REPEAT: District & Howard Staff Orientation Check-Lists Next Week – The checklist acknowledgment forms (District and Howard) to indicate that you have read and understood the District Back-to-School Memo (PDF) and the Howard Staff Handbook are due to me Friday next week. I’ll plan to start bugging individual staff members next week who haven’t turned in their acknowledgement forms. This is a requirement of all classified and licensed staff.

• Enrollment Updates – Howard’s enrollment is back up to our original projection at 473 students (well, one student shy of our 474 projection), although still short of the 500 students we had at the end of last year and which I convinced downtown to give us an extra teacher for. Grade level totals currently are KG (53), 1st (72), 2nd (89), 3rd (73), 4th (88), and 5th (90). It’s worth noting this total is only 8 students below our Oct. 1st enrollment last year before our peak of 508 students towards the end of last school year. Although we’ll likely continue our trend of growing 20-25 students from the start of the year to the end, it’s pretty nice right now to have class sizes of 22-23 students at most grade levels, which I think is making for a much smoother and seamless start to the school year with teachers better able to focus on individuals and less on crowd control.

• District Admin Updates – Dr. Rob Hess is the new Staff Growth and Effectiveness Administrator, taking the place of Tryna Luton, who recently took a state level position. Rob has worked as a teacher, principal, superintendent and education consultant for more than three decades at all levels. Justin Huntley will serve as Interim Curriculum Administrator for Instructional Technology this year, as Kim Finch is retiring. Justin brings over a decade of school administration experience, most recently serving seven years as a high school principal in Sutherlin, as well at teaching high school social studies for several years before becoming a school administrator. He has strong experience with instructional technology and online learning programs.

• SELCO Spark! Learning Educator Grants – SELCO Credit Union has rebranded their mini grants to Spark! Learning Educator Grants and have also upped the amount educators can apply for to $1,000. See the above link on how to apply, as well as the scoring criteria. The deadline to apply is September 30th.

• RG, Need newspapers for your classroom? – The Register-Guard’s News in Education (NIE) program helps teachers and students use our print and digital publications as a learning tool. Print newspapers are available on Thursdays. Teachers who sign up for the program also have access to The Register-Guard e-Edition every day of the week.

• How to Teach Your Students Self-awareness at School – In an attempt to help her students become more self-aware, to recognize their feelings and to figure out ways to address them, this educator developed a practice that works in the classroom. See this Teaching Tolerance article for details.

• Strategies to Help Your Students Feel Heard – One way to cultivate a classroom culture in which students feel valued and respected is to focus on listening to them. See this Edutopia article for idea how to elicit students thoughts and how to listen as a way to create a positive class culture.

• 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 17 (M)
Title 1 Individual Diagnostic Testing Through Friday
9:00, Allan and Lori Meeting w/PTO (Office)
4:00, Allan to 4JMAPS Meeting

September 18 (T)
Mrs. Henry’s Birthday!
School Newsletter Articles Due
2:40-3:30, Staff Meeting (Angela’s Classroom, RM24)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Cafeteria)

September 19 (W)
Talk Like a Pirate Day
Operation School Bell Requests Due
10:00am-5:00am, EWEB Power Outage

September 20 (H)
Regular Day

September 21 (F)
Vision Screening (tentative)
8:45-9:15, 4/5 Strings Assembly (Gym)
12:40, Allan Meeting w/Title Staff to Make Groups
1:20-2:30, PBIS Meeting (Rae’s Room)
2:30-3:30, Early Release PD – Behavior Framework (Volunteer’s Classroom)
5:00-10:00, EWEB Power Outage

September 24 (M)
Title 1 Groups Begin
Half-Day PLC

⁃ 5th – 8:40-9:40
⁃ 2nd – 10:00-11:00
⁃ 1st – 11:30-12:30

2:40-3:30, Site Council (Conference Room)

September 25 (T)
9:00-12:00, Allan to All-Admin/Elem Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
Half-Day PLC

⁃ KG – 11:10-12:10
⁃ 3rd – 12:15-1:15
⁃ 4th – 1:25-2:25

2:40-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Erin’s Room, RM22)

September 26 (W)
BEST After School Program Starts
2:40-3:30, Student Care Team Meeting (Conference Room)

September 27 (H)
8:25, Fire Drill
2:40-3:30, Mission Statement Wordsmithing (Conference Room)
4:30-6:00, 4J Math Teacher Leaders Using Library

September 28 (F)
Vision Screening (back-up date)
7:30-9:00, Allan to 4JMAPS Meeting
10:30-12:40, August/September Birthday Lunches with the Principal (Community Room)
2:30-3:30, Early Release PD (TalentEd, SafeSchools, 4J Policy time)

Have a fab week, everyone!

Allan