Dear Glencoe Families,
I hope this newsletter finds you enjoying your first few days of summer. With the privilege of working from home this summer I am trying to work more as I sit outside in the fresh air. I never realize how much I miss being outside until I have the opportunity to do so.
I promised to keep you apprised of any changes this summer which is the purpose of this newsletter. As a reminder, districts across the state had to readjust their budgets at the beginning of June due to the decrease in budget projections. All schools in PPS were asked to redo their programming for the 2020-21 school year based on changes to the staffing formulas. You may have heard that PE was going to be cut across the district from 90 minutes a week to 60 minutes a week for many schools. Fortunately, this did not materialize and all students will continue to have 90 minutes of PE a week. However, there were changes to teacher:student ratios and the amount of SIA funding being provided to districts. Originally, the Student Investment Account (SIA) funds from the State were earmarked to support social-emotional supports like counselors and social-workers in all schools and were being used to reduce class size in some schools, like Glencoe. Thankfully, we are still allocated funds for a half-time counselor but we will be losing one teaching position originally given to alleviate class size in the 4th grade. Due to projected numbers of students and a change in the staffing formula, we will now have two sections of 4th grade (not three) that will be taught by Ms. Bernt and Mr. Webster. With Ms. Richards’ retirement, we will not lose any current staff at Glencoe thankfully. Mrs. Maestas will stay in Kindergarten for this coming year and the person we hired to fill that Kinder position, will return to a teaching position at her school.
At this point we know what our staffing will look like and we are waiting for clear guidelines for a fall opening. All school districts are required to make Operational Blueprint(s) for all of their schools no later than August 15th, submit them to ODE and post them on their websites. Our district is partnering with several health and community organizations such as OHSU, Keiser and the local MESD to ensure health and safety requirements are followed. In addition, the district has organized several planning committees that are working diligently to create a blueprint specifically for our district. Each committee has a particular focus that includes health/safety, staffing/union relations, equity, operations, curriculum/instruction/professional development, daycare and after school programming. The hope is that we have a few plans to review and provide feedback by mid-July before a final blueprint is established.
With a variety of things still up in the air one thing is for sure, the opening of school will look different than it ever has before. Due to this and the many unknowns, we are holding off on sending our mid-summer mailing that includes class assignments, school supply lists and teacher introductory letters. I know we are all anxious to know what the future will bring for our school community. Once again, we must practice patience and grace as we wait for a clear plan to be established. So for now, let’s just enjoy our summer and additional time together with our families.
Dear Glencoe Families,
Well, we made it to our last day of school. What an interesting year. As we look back, there are a lot of good things that happened this year, even during this last quarter of distance learning. Students continued to enjoy virtual spirit days, the Storybook “Parade”, class meetings with discussion topics, games and dance parties. We were even able to pull off a modified 5th Grade Celebration with a promotion video and family parade. And yes, of course, there was a great deal of teaching and learning going on: reading, writing, math, 5th Grade’s Wax Museum, 4th grade’s Edible Maps of Oregon, science projects, read alouds, Music and PE live classes, as well as Counseling, Library, Music and PE lessons. One of the students’ class activities from last week was to brainstorm things they were grateful for and their best memories of this year. The students generated some great lists with items from both in-building and out-of-building school!
It is hard to remember, but the majority of our school year was typical. We were in classrooms, coming and going without masks and gloves, able to have large play dates, and participate in after school activities. It is true that we are ending the school year a little differently. We tried our best to keep some things in place, just adapted for the world we are living in right now.
Typically, during the last week of school we have an end-of-the-year all school assembly where we thank our student helpers (work crews and Safety Patrollers), watch a slide show that recaps the school year and sometimes the staff prepares a skit, dance or video. Even with distance learning, we couldn’t go without our June Monthly Assembly.
I want to thank all of the staff and students who participated in making this assembly come to life and a special shout out to our counselor, Sara Gardner, for putting all the pieces together in a wonderful way! Your child may have seen the assembly video already from their teacher but I invite you to sit with your child(ren) and watch the video. It is a special treat that was clearly a team effort.
This week we are in the process of wrapping up the school year with students, returning student belongings and lastly, closing down our physical classrooms. Teachers are also finishing up report cards to go out next week. As a reminder, according to Oregon Department of Education Guidelines there is one mark for the entire quarter and it is “evidence” or “no evidence” at the elementary level. All students will move to the next grade level and teachers will be making adjustments to their curriculum to address some of the holes that may be in place due to distance learning.
Due to the economic downturn, the state budget for education is not as strong as it was predicted to be back in February. Therefore, districts around the state are having to readjust based on new budget projections. If you are curious how this will directly impact PPS, you can watch the Town Hall Meeting that was held on Monday, June 8th with the School Board. Next week, all PPS schools will be in the process of redoing their staffing for next year. Once I have a clear picture as to how the budget reductions impact Glencoe, I will let you know.
This morning ODE announced guidance for the 2020-21 school year. PPS has a team working to create a plan for next year based on the 2020-21 guidance from ODE. Typically we send out class assignments and school supply information in mid to late July. We will ask for your patience in this area as things may change through the summer. When we have a clear picture of what our staffing and school process will look like next year in PPS (and specifically at Glencoe), we will get class assignments and school supply information out to you.
I’d like to close by acknowledging all the work that went into this last quarter. I have heard from a variety of families about how this experience was for your family and your child specifically. PPS will be surveying families about their experience in the near future. I believe schools will have access to that data as well. Rather than creating another survey for you to complete, I want to strongly encourage you to complete the one from the distinct. In addition, feel free to email me and share your experience - the ups and downs. We are open to learning from this experience.
I’d like to thank all of you: parents, caregivers, Glencoe staff and students for coming together as best we could as a community. Parents are always important partners in their child’s schooling experience and that was even more true this last quarter. Thank you for partnering and supporting us in this most unusual academic journey during these last nine weeks. Some of you have asked about how students can continue to access some of the online resources like Lexia, Dreambox, Khan Academy etc. Most of the learning apps will be live through July 31st. However, things are expanding as contracts get renewed. Here is a link to the district page that identifies the learning apps and length of service time.
I hope you have a wonderful, healthy and safe summer. I look forward to us coming back together, in whatever way possible, in the fall. I miss US!
Dear Glencoe Families,
Wow, what a week. There is so much going on in the world right now, much of which is sad and anger-producing for me. I am trying to limit my news and social media intake as I can get a bit carried away “surfing” and lose many hours of my evening. I finally realized last night that I needed to step away and just sit with my emotions. I woke up this morning excited to see teachers and kids during their Storybook Parade meetings today. Nothing makes me feel better than seeing our students.
This week all of the classes took some time to celebrate their favorite Storybooks and between the two of us, Ms. Gardner and I managed to attend all of the meetings and capture some great pictures. Thankfully, the classroom teachers helped us out by taking pictures too. It was great to see so many kids sharing their books and some dressed in costumes or had props with them. Obviously, it was not the same as walking in the neighborhood but I did enjoy hearing from kids why they chose the book they brought to the class meeting. This is something I am not typically able to do during the parade.
There were great books and characters this year. Some traditional stand bys of course, and some new titles too. Here are a few we had the pleasure of seeing this year: Harry Potter, Elephant and Piggy, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Six of Crows, Katniss from Hunger Games, Sunnyside Up, Dog Man, The Hungry Caterpillar, The Giving Tree, A Boy Called Bat, The Hobbit, The Ballad of Song Birds and Snakes, Lumber Janes, Ralph S. Mouse, Robin Hood, Mia Mayhem, and Narwhal. Some of the upper grade students even decided to write their own books to share.
My most favorite moment was during Mrs. De Ville’s class when she shared her book, We Belong Together, a book about adoption. After reading, she surprised her students by introducing Etienne Moon De Ville, the son that she and her husband had the pleasure of adopting earlier this week. He was born May 30th and came home on Sunday the 31st. Watching the expressions of her students and their families, who soon joined on screen, was priceless. A wonderful thing to celebrate in the world right now!
Next week is the last week of school. Students are still in school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Teachers will be bagging up student materials and items left in lockers at some point on Monday/Tuesday. You should have received an email earlier today informing you how and when to pick up your child’s items on Wednesday, June 10th. If you cannot come during that time, feel free to have a friend/neighbor pick up items for you. They just need to give us your child’s name and classroom teacher.
We still have a lot of unanswered questions about next year. At this time the district is working to create and approve a budget. The new budget will require some adjustments to staffing in many schools for next year. We are expected to receive our staffing allocations within the next two weeks. At that point, I will see what Glencoe is allocated, make any adjustments necessary, communicate those to staff and then share them with each of you. Due to the timeline, this will not happen before the end of the school year but I will communicate by email once I have the information prepared.
Have a wonderful weekend. I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday when you pick up your child’s personal belongings.
Dear Glencoe Families,
In light of everything that has been going on in our country and city this past week, I feel compelled to communicate with you before our newsletter at the end of the week. What has been tratranspiring in our country is heartbreaking. The death of yet another black male in our country, at the hands of a white police officer has left me sleep deprived, saddened and angry. I realize, as I write this that I am speaking from a place of privilege, not because of where I was born, how I was raised, or how hard I may work but purely due to the color of my skin. Today’s world allows us to see some of these overt acts from all over the country through television and social media sites. However, there is so much more subtle racism, implicit bias, prejudice and outright acts of hatred that people of color endure every day that white people may not even recognize or notice.
As a white woman, I recognize that I have the privilege to decide if, when and how I want to talk about race. I am also aware that staying silent or not talking often enough to my family, friends, colleagues and students about race, justice and equality contributes to the problem. As a white woman in the field of education I feel even more compelled to speak out and speak up for our students and families of color who may not feel safe to do so, especially at this point and time. We are all responsible for effecting change and for doing something to dismantle the systemic racism that prevails in our country, state, city and community.
We say Glencoe is an inclusive community that cares, collaborates and perseveres and we teach and honor the acts of inclusion that we witness. But inclusion isn’t just including or inviting others to be in a community. A true inclusive community takes acts of courage and moments of speaking up and standing with those who are oppressed or are made to feel less-than. To be an inclusive community that cares and collaborates we must educate our students (and ourselves) so we understand the true meaning of justice, equality and inclusion and the acts that must be taken to make these a reality in our current world.
As educators, we have the duty to examine our own biases, listen to those who are impacted, make sure our youth are taught about the history of race and systemic injustices and actively support social justice movements. If we were in our school and classrooms this week, our students would be talking to us and to each other about what is happening in our world right now. They would be asking questions and sharing their thoughts and fears about Covid-19, the deaths of people like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, police brutality, Black Lives Matter, protests, riots and city curfews.
As teachers, we would be holding class meetings, reading books and allowing students to dialogue, to speak up and protest in their own ways what is happening in our world. These conversations are not always easy, but they are important and necessary. It is not too early to have conversations about race and injustice with elementary children. On the contrary, I would say it is imperative to have those conversations. I applaud children and their willingness to ask questions and speak for what they believe to be true no matter who is listening. Our children are curious and wise and I believe, it is our job as adults to give them the knowledge and tools they need to help make the world a much better, stronger and more just place.
I understand that our families of color or families who are raising children of color, do not have the privilege to wait or not address these issues because they live them each and every day. I invite you, if you haven’t already, to start talking to your child about these challenging topics. If your child hasn’t been exposed to anything that is happening lately, you may want to start by reading some children’s books as a catalyst for the conversations. If you are someone who is not sure where to start or how to respond to your child when they are asking you questions about race, inequality, injustice or any of the other topics that may arise, I have listed some resources for you below. There are plenty out there so this is in no way an exhausted list. Just a place to get started.
Black Books Matter found on Conscious Kids website
Embrace Race - book list
Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
Kamala and Mayas Big Idea by Meena Harris
Muslim Girl Rise
Mixed Me by Taye Diggs
Get Up, Stand Up by Cedella Marley
Say Something by Peggy Moss
Under My Hijab by Hena Khan
Same Difference by Calida Rawles
Be a King by Carole Boston Weatherford
Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins & Ann Hazzard
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson