TEAM Orenco Week of 9/19/16

Staff Newsletter: 36 More Weeks to Make a Difference

Principal's Message and Announcements

Dear TEAM Orenco,

Our first official week of school with all students, a staff meeting, and Back to School Night! This was a long week, my friends. I heard many positive comments about the format for Back to School night from different members of our community, such as teachers and parents. I hope you had a chance to connect with parents and they had a chance to get a feel for your personality and how you will work together to support their child this year. Our specialists lined the hallway and this afforded them engaging conversations with parents as they signed up for conferences.

Just as you have been building community in your classroom and refining structures and routines before you start tackling curriculum, I, too have been doing the same throughout the building with Teresa's help and our office support. We can have the best laid plans for recess, duty coverage, lunch schedules, classroom support, dismissal, and the list goes on and on. But, not until the students arrive do we get to see these plans in motion and refine those systems and processes. This year is not the same as last year--we have different people in place, classroom compositions change, more students--we adjust as our needs adjust or become visible. As we begin to settle in, our focus will be shifting to instruction and providing the best we can for all of our students--to be purposeful, to be engaging, and to use assessment and data to inform our instruction. A teacher commented to me, "Oh, is the honeymoon over now?" we settle in, the work begins and we will weather the good times and bad times together for the children. In the words and wisdom of Carol Tomlinson, "Like students, teachers grow best when they are moderately challenged. Waiting until conditions are ideal or until you are sure of yourself yields lethargy, not growth." I believe in you. I believe in our students. I believe in us. Do you believe?

Here's to growing this week,


Cultural Celebrations in Observance

I feel it is important to be aware of what our students may be experiencing outside of our predominantly white, Judeo-Christian backgrounds. I am no expert, but a mindset mentality offers me the opportunity to grow and learn. Connecting with our students and families and preparing all students to be global citizens is the motivation behind sharing this information with you. Celebrations of note during this time: Please reach out to students to see if they want to share, but there are cultures who prefer to not share what they do at home, at school.

  • September 5 GANESH CHATURTHI • Hindu Celebrates the birthday of Ganesha, the elephant-deity.
  • September 15-October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, or Mes de la Herencia Hispana! During this time, we recognize the histories, cultures, and contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period. Understanding about all cultures helps prepare our students for civic life and their work in a global society. I have included an amazing link to teaching resources from NEA for elementary grades in our newsletter below.

    3 minute video from Time for Kids (it is appropriate for students):

  • Eid ul Adha (evening Sept. 11 - 15) commemorates Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice everything for God, including his son, Ismael. God became impressed with Abraham's sincerity, and gave him a ram to sacrifice instead. For that reason, Muslims who can afford to do so also sacrifice an animal on any one of the three days of Eidul Adha. A third of the meat is kept, a third is shared with family members, and a third is given away to needy people. This is the second main annual festival in Islam (the other being: Eidul Fitr). The “Feast of Sacrifice” concludes the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), and is a three-day festival recalling Ibrahim‟s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God.

  • September 17 CONSTITUTION DAY AND CITIZENSHIP DAY Commemorates the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787. Also honors all who have become U.S. citizens.

  • September 22 AUTUMNAL EQUINOX The date when night and day are nearly of the same length. It marks the first day of fall.

Please note...

  • PBIS Expectations Through the School! Thank you for teaching the PBIS expectations through the building. Did you send your 4th Pillar to Teresa? It was "due" Sept 16. Mike Futter's class is going to "Be Inspirational" and Celeena Silva's Spanish Lit class will "Be Bilingual." Besides being safe, respectful, and responsible, what will your class BE?

  • Kinder Assessments--The window for this assessment is still taking place and closes next week. Mary Ann, Maria, and Mandy are supporting Kinder teachers with this state-mandated assessment and the data input. Please be patient and flexible as they finish their work with students.

  • ERC – Our ERC Team has been conducting observations, gathering information, creating schedules, and supporting students as needed. They will be working with you to support your students. Please be patient as they gather their information.

  • Paraprofessionals - As you know the first few weeks of school we monitor and adjust as needed. Thank you for your support and flexibility and patience (especially with the little ones on the playground and cafeteria). Charmaine has worked to complete supports for classroom push-in and they will be printed out for you on Monday. We will continue to assess and change as needed. Jeff will also have input for supports for ELD into classrooms.

  • Committees - Overall, there are many ways to be involved in the decision making process and to support our work at Orenco. If you are not on a specific committee please be sure to give input to your grade level representative and/or directly to Allison or Teresa. See below for committee members:

  • Leadership/Equity Team: Suzanne, Karen D., Julie, Justine, Margaret, Shelley, Lisa/Allison, Jeff and Kristin.

  • PBIS/Climate & Culture Team: Teresa, Ann, Judi, Janessa, Kim, Megan, Rachael, Jim, Joe and Mandi.

  • Math Leaders: Shelley and Justine, Lisa Rainey

  • Literacy Leaders: Karen, Margaret and Allison Schaefer

  • District Kinder Lead: Tammy

  • Webmaster - Maribel

  • Site Tech Experts - Celina Keane and Mike. Mike also runs ORCA Live.

  • Safety Committee is Lucy, Guillermo, Ann, Allison C, Tami McInnis

  • Social Committee – Shannon, Judy, Raynelle, Angie, Mary Ann

  • TAG Coordinator: Brett Cunningham

  • STEAM Coordinator is Nikki Beale.

  • Academic Seminar this week: OSP (Office of School Performance) Focus and Purpose. We will begin at 2:30 pm.

  • Library Specials: Kinder and 1st grade--please continue to support your students during Library Specials. I also have paras assisting with most Kinder Specials. Colleen requests grades 2-6 classroom teachers to drop-in and make eye contact with her when you bring students and then help with the transition of leaving the library at the end.

  • Care Team (Ann, Teresa, Allison) meets Friday mornings at 9 am. Every other week, Pam Sturtevant, our district CARE Team coordinator meets with us and Officer Emory Souza also attends these meetings most weeks. We discuss and track attendance weekly and we bring up students and families of concern and what kinds of support we can offer.

  • Health Protocols - Nurse Nancy Hawk sent you an email on retrieving this info from Synergy. Please be sure you know who your students are who have allergies and/or medical needs. It is super important that you memorize this information. Maintain confidentiality and share this information with substitutes and paraprofessionals who work with the student. The safety of our students is a top priority. Please be nothing but positive and empathetic with our students considering their circumstances. Their health should not be reflected as a burden on you.

  • Safety - All staff need to wear their ID badges. We are now asking parents/guardians/visitors to always have a badge with them if they choose to pass the fire doors. If you see someone without a badge, please remind them to stop by the office and get one. Booster Parents have special badges. Just to note, there are elementary schools who keep the fire doors closed/locked during school hours. The staff voted a few years ago to keep our doors open.

  • Emailing Parents - Just a reminder as we get the year underway. When emailing more than one parent or student at a time always BCC them and put your address in the TO line (have to have at least one address in the TO line). We need to respect the right to privacy of our parents and students and this is an easy way to make this happen. We work hard to get their email addresses, we want them to trust us with their personal information!


  • Thank you..for helping to communicate some common messages: parents to pick up students and sit in the front hallway by the gym windows, and to check in and get visitor badges. Parking on the side of the building is going great! We will put these in our parent newsletter and I ask that you include it in your communication, too.

  • Alternative Seating Reminder – Before bringing items into your rooms, please speak with Allison first. The focus is on safety and cleanliness. Items such as fluffy pillows or couches can be hard to clean and provide areas where lice can hang out.

  • If you need to reach Allison or Teresa, you can use our cell phone numbers: Allison: 503-333-0242, Teresa: 541-908-3088 (If you text, kindly tell me who you are; I don't have all your numbers in my phone!!)

  • The bells are still turned off after 8 am. Please re/teach :1 long whistle to freeze (hands on knees), wait for 2 short tweets to un-freeze and line up). Thank you for your help with recess (by arriving 5 minutes before student lunch recess ends). Please continue to help with supervision when you are out there by spreading out from other adults, supervising strategically. As the adult, please be ready to interrupt inappropriate behaviors and help with problem-solving. Don't forget, "When in doubt, Rock it out!"

  • Attendance: Please enter attendance by 8:15 am. Please be welcoming as students enter your classroom, even if they are late. Would you feel welcome and excited about coming to class otherwise? Do not chastise students for eating breakfast and being late. We can work on that part in the cafeteria. There are adults downstairs that are trying to get them to finish and be on time. It can be hard when buses are dropping off later than normal.

  • If you are interested in submitting student art for district display, it is needed by October 10 (returned in December).
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Upcoming events


  • Monday, Sept 19: Ann out for K-12 Counselor's Meeting 12pm
  • Wednesday, Sept 21: Principal-Led Academic Seminar, 2:30 pm
  • Thursday, Sept 22: 5th grade teacher social invite; see email from Shelley Applegate
  • Friday, Sept 23: Donuts with Dads, 7-8 am
  • Friday, Sept 23: Popcorn Bar sponsored by Boosters!


  • Monday, Sept 26-Leadership Team Meeting, 2:30, Allison's office
  • Tuesday, Sept 27 – Elementary Leadership Collaboration –Shelley, Karen, Allison, Teresa
  • Wednesday, Sept 28 - School Bus Emergency Evacuation Drill during morning bus arrival.

  • Lock-down drill required by September 30th
  • October 7-8 – Taking It Up Training
  • October 13 – No School for Students – ½ Day PD, ½ Day Teacher Work Day
  • October 14 – No School - Non Contract Day for Teachers
  • October 24th--Orenco Staff Meeting


  • Complete your online SAFETY trainings by 9/30. Please check in if you need help trouble-shooting.

"If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning." ~Mahatma Gandhi