5/11/20 Weekly Update

Happy Mothers Day to all you moms!!  I hope you took some time for yourself for whatever you need this weekend.  You deserve it.

The following quote really struck me;

“Distance learning requires us to be humans in an inhuman situation. We can’t simply provide lessons and assessments; we have to bridge this digital gap and carry some sense of humor and goodwill and community through the cold wiring. If we’ve succeeded in even a modicum of that task, we owe that to the success in the months prior when we created something special. A school family. A community that could rely on itself, that could flourish even in isolation.”

           Daniel Parsons in “I See Education and Humanity in ‘Full Bloom’ in My Covid-19 

Classroom” in Education Gadfly, April 24, 2020, https://bit.ly/3aZe7Or

Not-so-fun-thought:  Just think…we could be starting SBAC today!  Let’s take a moment to enjoy that small silver lining….although, if I am being honest, I would happily trade the inconveniences of SBAC testing over remote learning any day.

Staff Appreciation: It felt weird not to jump in and participate this past week with all the other schools, but please know this is not forgotten and our PTO has never disappointed our staff in this area.  You are sooooo appreciated and there is an army of parents who are incredibly emotional that their opportunity to express their appreciation is tainted by COVID-19.  

PTO Update – the PTO board met last week so I thought I would share some information from the meeting;

  • First, they wanted me to express their deepest appreciation and share virtual hugs with all of you.  
  • The giving campaign fund is sitting with approximately $19,000 remaining in the budget.  During this emergency time, the bylaws freeze almost all budget/spending decisions until a time when normal school operations pick back up.  Any outstanding bills can still be paid, but there will not likely be any new requests and this remaining balance should not be treated as an unrestricted fund.
  • There is a strong likelihood that we may need to suspend 2020-2021 Giving Campaign until a time when it feels appropriate.  Right now all schools are directed not to fund-raise and this also suggested for parent groups as well.  When to start that process is really questionable until the economy picks back up.  Starting too early would show really poor form and could cause long-term damage to the effort, so it’s a tricky situation.
  • The board also made the decision to postpone elections of new officers until a time when this can happen safely.  Fortunately, everyone is agreeing to stay on with their current positions until a successful transition can happen.

Social Distancing reminder whenever on campus.

  1. Stay 6 feet apart.
  2. Wash hands often.
  3. Wipe down the surfaces you use.
  4. Know you can report anyone to me who is not observing these guidelines.


  • All Staff  – Wednesday 3:00 
  • Grade Level Check-Ins;
    • 5/12 Tuesday – 2nd/3rd -2:45
    • 5/13 Wednesday – 4th/5th- 1:00
    • 5/14 Thursday  – 1st – 3:00
    • 5/15 Friday – K – 1:00. Changes to Mondays @ 1:00

Class Placements:  Thank you so much for you input on this process and I really appreciate your openness and willingness to this new program.  After meeting with each of your teams, I will make some final adjustments to our characteristics.  Once this is done, you should receive an invitation to complete your student surveys (these are virtual cards).  You should have your parent input forms ready on Tuesday.  I will also send a separate email to summarize the meeting input refected in the process.  All in all, I feel we did a great job streamlining and calibrating our characteristics, so I think you will be happy with it.  My hope is we can put a deadline to complete the student surveys by Wednesday 5/20.  If you think this is going to be a difficult deadline, then let’s discuss.  We can be flexible.

TAG Letter–  This is just FYI – This letter was sent to parents of third grade TAG students last week.  The district will  see how many commit to the program before sending invites to anyone else.   We are still in holding pattern in terms of identifying students who still need a 97th %ile or above on a standardized test.  If you have parents asking about this, please talk to me or encourage them to talk to me so I can explain our situation.  (a.k.a., it’s a pickle!)

National Boards- National Board certification recruitment has begun!  Heather and Michele, working alongside OEA and TSPC, have 3 virtual recruitment sessions set for May.  If you have teachers who are interested in pursuing National Board, please share the OEA flyer that is in the google folder.  There are also several resources available for you.  Teachers who are “shoulder tapped” by an administrator are more confident and eager to grow their professional learning in this way and become teacher leaders in their buildings.


Three key points of information:

1) HB2763 will reimburse teachers for the cost of certification once they certify

2) OEA has a grant to support teachers of color and novice teachers (first 5 years) in their pursuit of NB certification

3) MidOregon Credit Union is offering zero interest loans for our candidates in order to support in the upfront cost.

Last Week of School Draft Plan – June 

Remember what I wrote last week???  Well forget it.  On to the next plan…TBD

The following factors have changed on me;

  • We may not have to collect iPads.  This is still not a 100% decision-made, but it is likely.
  • I cannot invite students to the campus.
  • You are going to be providing end of year conversations for your families, so you will likely need the time to make this happen.

Distance Learning Resources

Paraeducator Professional Development webpage- The HDESD is excited to share the Paraeducator Professional Development webpage, compiled by the Culture of Care Coaches (link below).

For leaders and administrators, there is a catalogue of opportunities at the top of the page, that allows you to view the comprehensive list of PD in the event you want to plan and organize specific content for certain programs/staff.  In addition, there is a Professional  Development Reflection Document that can be used by staff.

All of the content is then divided into categories on the webpage, with a variety of resource links/videos for paraeducators to access.  It will be updated weekly with new resources/links.


Why Teaching in a Virtual Space is Draining

            In this National Geographic article, Julia Sklar reports that many K-12 and university teachers are finding remote instruction more exhausting than in-person teaching. Cognitive scientists say that virtual interactions are more taxing on the brain – because we’re trying to make up for the copious information we get, without knowing it, during face-to-face interactions. 

When we’re physically with others, we’re listening to the words, but also picking up dozens of non-verbal cues – facial expressions, whether the person’s body is facing us or slightly turned away, their fidgeting, perhaps a quick inhalation as a prelude to an interruption. “These cues help paint a holistic picture of what is being conveyed and what’s expected in response from the listener,” says Sklar. “Since humans evolved as social animals, perceiving these cues comes naturally to most of us, takes little conscious effort to parse, and can lay the groundwork for emotional intimacy.” 

            During a video call, seeing people from the shoulders up, very few of these cues can be perceived, which puts much more cognitive load on listening to what’s being said. We search for non-verbal cues that can’t be seen, and eye contact on the screen can be disconcerting if held too long, which would seldom be the case in a face-to-face conversation. 

“Multi-person screens magnify this exhausting problem,” says Sklar. “Gallery view – where all meeting participants appear Brady Bunch-style – challenges the brain’s central vision, forcing it to decode so many people at once that no one comes through meaningfully, not even the speaker.” One psychologist called this attempt to multitask “continuous partial attention,” like trying to cook and read at the same time. A regular telephone conversation is much less taxing because we’re only expecting the voice and we’re not looking for visual cues.

            Interestingly, says Sklar, video calls can be a boon for people for whom in-person conversations are challenging – for example, many with autism. However, for others on the spectrum, video calls can be disconcerting because of sensory triggers such as loud noises and bright lights. 

            It’s possible, concludes Sklar, that “Zoom fatigue will abate once people learn to navigate the mental tangle video chatting can cause.” In the meantime, one trick is turning off your camera and concentrating just on the words, saving video images for when they’re really necessary – or when we want warm fuzzies from a loved one. Another idea is using a phone for a chat and walking around. There’s evidence that meetings on the move can improve creativity. 

“‘Zoom Fatigue’ Is Taxing the Brain. Here’s Why That Happens” by Julia Sklar in National Geographic, April 24, 2020, https://on.natgeo.com/2Wxl0BI

Julie’s Weekly Update from 5/8/20

Once again you have traveled through the week with resilience and grace. Below are some resources and ideas to support you in the coming weeks:

Teacher Appreciation Week – https://teachersbooksreaders.com/2020/04/29/dear-educators/

Here are some ideas to shelter instruction during Distance Learning.

“We are not just working from home…We are at home during a crisis trying to work.”  Through the HDESD Culture of Care Coaches, learn how to create an online Wellness Circle for your school team. 

“Any time we are presented with change, our stress response is activated.”  – Bruce Perry

  • Join Bruce Perry during his office hours M/W/F at 11:00 a.m. to learn more about Trauma and the Neurosequential Model in Education.  A thought provoking journey through Virtual Education.  Bruce Perry Office Hours Webinar

More resources from Bend La Pine Behavior Coaches and Culture of Care Coaches:

Teacher’s lifeline 

Culture of Care Coaches Wellness Circles Presentation

Staff Wellness Circle Materials

Here are some ideas to engage students in some fun activities to keep them coming back to meetings during this warm weather. Continue to add your ideas to this document.

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