February 2023, Volume 2
Information for Eugene School District 4J employees
In this message:
• School Calendar: Classes would begin after Labor Day under revised 2023–24 calendar
• Dependent Verification: Employees must take steps to confirm insurance eligibility of dependents
• New High School Schedule: Keep up-to-date on schedule implementation ahead of fall start
• Integrated Guidance: Help us identify best strategies for student success
• Budget Roadshow: Learn more about 4J's finances in upcoming presentations at middle schools
• School Board Goals: Increasing engagement, equity among top priorities for school year
• ACE Awards: Nominate your champion in education starting March 1
• The Water Cooler: Check out the latest district-level newsletters
New School Calendar: Classes Begin After Labor Day
You spoke. We listened. And based on your ample feedback, the district has made some changes to the proposed 2023–24 school calendar.
First and foremost, the revised calendar proposal sets the start of school after Labor Day weekend, returning to our traditional start date. Classes would start for kindergartners and grades 6 and 9 on Wednesday, September 6. Students in all other grades would start school the following day, Thursday, September 7. The final 2023–24 calendar will be announced before spring break.
The district is committed to more meaningful engagement with our 4J families and staff and considering their feedback before making major decisions. The revisions are the direct result of the nearly 700 comments we received! Please take a few moments to review the new calendar proposal and share your thoughts here.
Thank you for your input and continued support of 4J. We are listening!
Keep Them Insured: Dependent Verification to Begin
All employees who have dependents on their insurance plans provided through 4J must submit documents starting next month to verify their dependents' eligibility — or risk losing the coverage.
During the week of March 1, the Oregon Educators Benefit Board will mail out information detailing how employees can verify the eligibility of dependents active in the MyOEBB system, even if they are not currently enrolled in coverage. Dependents include spouses, domestic partners and children.
It is important that you follow OEBB's instructions and turn in appropriate documentation to the state board so that your dependent's coverage is not terminated. For example, OEBB requires employees who list a spouse as a dependent to provide a copy of their marriage certificate AND the first page of their most recent federal tax return. Employees have until April 28 to file the required documentation. OEBB can terminate coverage on any dependents that are not verified during the review.
Each OEBB entity is required to go through a dependent review at least once every five years. If you have questions about the dependent eligibility review process, eligibility requirements, or forms of acceptable documentation, you may contact OEBB at 503-378-2954 or OEBB.email@example.com.
NEW! Take 10 with Dr. Dey
In an effort to enhance timely and meaningful communications, Dr. Dey will be hosting a series of recorded conversations speaking with 4J experts within our district to answer the top 10 questions in 10 minutes on hot topics!
The first in the series will feature answers to your questions about the ongoing high school scheduling process. Submit your question about the process here.
New High School Schedule: Stay Informed and Heard
As the district implements a new high school schedule this fall, we want to keep you up-to-date about the progress and also provide a way for you to share your thoughts.
The district is sharing details online about the internal work group that's been convened to flesh out the details of the new schedule, ahead of its start date in September. The work group has established four subcommittees to work though the new schedule's major facets:
• Flex Day — Possible advisory and affinity group use, academic intervention
• Professional Development — Curriculum, protected collaboration time
• Scheduling — Ensuring full schedules for students in ninth and tenth grades, high school student enrollment forecasting, etc.
• Logistics — Specific bell schedules, transportation, attendance
(Click on the links to learn more about the subcommittees' work plans and review the agendas for their upcoming meetings)
Have a questions? Want to comment? Visit the Let’s Talk page to submit your feedback as the process unfolds.
This process of sharing information not yet complete can be unnerving for everyone, as it often generates more questions than we’ll have answers to immediately. Ultimately, however, this change will demonstrate that meaningful feedback is important, valued and heard. We are not looking for consensus but for additional input to make the best decision possible for our students, families and staff.
Help Us Identify Top Strategies for Student Success
Eugene School District 4J is seeking your help as it drafts a comprehensive plan that spells out how the district will unify, innovate and improve six major programs funded by state and federal dollars. Guiding that work is the Three Big Rocks, the trio of major priorities identified by Superintendent Andy Dey and the school board.
The district has identified three main outcomes it wants to achieve from this work as both the state planning effort, known as Integrated Guidance, and the Three Big Rocks share many similarities: Engaged Community, Equity Advanced and Well-Rounded Education.
The district has outlined various proposed strategies to help achieve each of these outcomes. We want to hear which of those strategies you believe will have the greatest impact on ensuring student success. There are many important strategies and limited funding available so we appreciate your help in prioritizing strategies that wisely invest those dollars in helping the greatest number of students. Please take a moment to learn more about each outcome and review the list of strategies for each outcome at the following links. We look forward to reviewing the comments and suggestions you provide.
• Engaged Community
• Equity Advanced
• Well-Rounded Education
More information can be founded on the 4J website. Thank you for your time and input!
4J Budget Roadshow Starts February 21
Superintendent Andy Dey and Finance Director Matt Brown will hit the road starting next week to lead a series of presentations on the district's budget process.
The sessions are intended to provide employees with a high-level review of the ins and outs of how the district prepares and adopts its budget each year. The sessions are optional. All the sessions begin at 4 p.m. on the following dates:
• Tuesday, February 21 — Arts & Technology Academy
• Wednesday, February 22 — Kelly Middle School
• Tuesday, February 28 — Roosevelt Middle School
• Thursday, March 2 — Monroe Middle School
• Monday, March 6 — Kennedy Middle School
• Tuesday, March 7 — Spencer Butte Middle School
• Wednesday, March 8 — Madison Middle School
• Monday, March 13 — Cal Young Middle School
There will be time for questions after each presentation. We look forward to seeing you there!
School Board Approves Goals for 2022–23 School Year
The Eugene School Board unanimously approved its board goals for the current school year at its regular meeting on Wednesday, February 15. The board goals are the major priorities that the elected board will focus on. They are:
1. Increase quality engagement between all involved with 4J
3. Support and expand creativity and innovation
4. Cultivate wellness and belonging for students and staff
5. Engage in board development
6. Finalize a long-term plan for the current North Eugene High School building, and the Kelly Middle School and Yujin Gakuen programs that ensures the viability and success of each program
7. Work to stabilize the 4J budget to reduce dependency on reserves, including consideration of appropriate reserve target
At or before the final board meeting of the school year, the superintendent and/or board chair will provide a progress report on these goals.
We've reached the halfway point! Read Superintendent Andy Dey's mid-year message to staff.
Didn't catch the school board meeting on Wednesday? Here's some of the highlights:
• Received an introduction to 4J's new Center of Applied Learning and Community Engagement
• Received an update and discussed options for the Kelly Middle School and Yujin Gakuen Elementary School programs
• Approved the purchase of new school buses
Video recordings of the school board meetings are posted:
Who's Your Champion in Education? ACE Award Nominations Open Soon
Nominations for the 2023 ACE Awards are opening soon.
Nominating a valued educator for the ACE Awards is a wonderful way to honor the incredible talent and dedication of our amazing teachers, classified staff, administrators and volunteers. Stay tuned for more information about submitting nominations.
The 2023 ACE Awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 4, the first in-person celebration in four years! Every nominee will be recognized, and one nominee in each category will be named the ACE champion and receive a $250 grant for a school or program of their choosing from the Eugene Education Foundation. One nominee also may be recognized with a special lifetime achievement award.
The Water Cooler
- NEW! Student Services Department Newsletter, February 2023
- The Equity Extra, February 2023
- The Library Lowdown, February 2023
- EdTech (technology tips, teaching strategies and more)
- Hadley Herald (tech tips for 4J educators)
If you would like your newsletter in The Water Cooler, please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your subscription list.
Coming Up in 4J
2/20 No School: Presidents Day
3/1–31 ACE Awards Nominations Accepted
3/15 School Board Meeting
3/16 No School: Middle & High Only (Grading Day)
3/17 No School: Staff Workload Relief Day
3/27–31 No School: Spring Break
4/3 No School: Professional Development/Planning Day
4/19 School Board Meeting
5/5 No School: Middle & High Only (Progress Reports/Professional Development)