It was a small little crew this month. As the majority of BSE was jetting off to Maui, we were discussing SERIOUS ISSUES. And not bitter. Not at all.
Budget Fudge-it. The Nightmare Begins. Or Will It?
Our budget woes are back again. Isn’t this a broken record? Feels just like yesterday when we enjoyed the bloodbath of losing all those teachers and librarians. Good times.
With the likely budget reduction for Beaverton School District from the state of Oregon in 2017-2018, Superintendent Grotting has committed there will be no class size increases in the Beaverton School District. Period. Class size/teacher allocation will not be touched or reduced. This is excellent news for BSE.
Curious how it works? Janet is provided a “lump sum discretionary fund” to use for fancy things like copy machines, paper, substitutes, library books, etc. Just riveting. The district reduced this school discretionary fund by 5% last month for the 2016-2017 school year across all schools in the district. The district is holding this at the central office for savings in anticipation of budget cuts next year. Janet believes there will be an additional 5% cut of this fund next year as well. Joy.
Unbelievably, the district believes Bonny Slope will be smaller next year and therefore has been allotted an 11% smaller operating budget. Janet expects for this to be reduced by an additional 5% next year as well. The smaller size is due to the gigantic graduating 5th grade class of ~125 students. Also, with the closure of open enrollment two years ago, BSE will have only 35 students that are open enrolled in 2017-2018 school year, a vast reduction from years past (we had 125 opened enrolled students in 2014-15).
Should we be worried yet? Janet isn’t. Even with a smaller budget, we’re fairly set with newer technology. With the amazing community of volunteers and support from BSCO, we lead a blessed experience here at BSE.
But what about Specials? BSE won’t lose music, art, and other specialists unless our enrollment goes down.
Let's chat student discipline. My favorite.
Recess and Brain Break
Let’s start with the monitoring at recess by the instructional assistants (IAs) and during Brain Break by teachers, who are all on watch for every student’s well-being as well as any foul language, inappropriate gestures, etc. The IAs rotate on the playground to monitor behavior. If there is an incident, the IAs report it to the teacher and principal via email describing the situation and discipline. If the behavior requires further intervention and discipline (Level 2), the teacher or principal will meet with the student. Parents are informed via email from the teacher or principal noting the student had a rough recess and the incident and it was taken care of school.
But what about monitoring relational aggression? Let’s face it-- kids can be cruel and sneaky. While the school watches out for relational aggression as much as they can, the fact is that kids are not reporting the situations to an adult (parent, teacher, aide, etc.) until it’s a huge problem. Janet’s feedback on behavior challenges is that to make sure the students understand it is safe to make mistakes and there is confidential follow through by Janet and Ali on behavior situations.
In perhaps the biggest news in awhile, Janet announced that she is working full steam ahead to bring a preschool right here to BSE’s campus.
I’m sorry… WHAT? Say that again?
Yes, Janet and BSD Superintendent Don Grotting are working together with NW Regional ESD to connect high-needs students in our area with a quality preschool experience that prepares them for their transition into kindergarten at Bonny Slope.
Let’s answer a few questions to get everyone squared away.
First, what is NW Regional ESD?
Northwest Regional Education Service District (NWRESD) assists local school districts and the State of Oregon in achieving Oregon's education goals by providing excellent and equitable educational opportunities for all Oregon public school students, providing services to 20 school districts with approximately 126,000 students from birth to age 21 in Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook, and Washington counties.
They serve, among other things, Special Student Services: Early Intervention (Birth to 3) Early Childhood Special Education (3-5);Behavioral Programs (K-12); Specialized Services (Birth to 21). Special Education is the largest area of service provided by the Northwest Regional ESD – they work with young children and students with autism; orthopedic impairments; vision impairments; hearing impairments; speech impairments; developmental delays, behavioral and emotional disturbances, and other mental health issues.
Okay. Got it. But why a preschool at BSE?
Superintendent Grotting believes every elementary school should have a preschool. Stats show that if students come kindergarten ready, graduation rates will be higher. Today, right now, every year, there is a HUGE range of students coming to kindergarten, both at BSE and across the district. Many of these students are not prepared to transition into a traditional kindergarten classroom and often, it can take months for BSD to find appropriate services for them. When children who are not kinder ready are forced into situations that they are unprepared for, it creates a difficult learning environment for everyone.
A few weeks ago Superintendent Don Grotting observed the Kindergarten classes. Janet also recently visited Portland Public and David Douglas school districts observing preschools in elementary schools.
BSE is a great option for a first preschool in the Beaverton School district as first, it is such a passion of Janet’s, second, we'll possibly have lower enrollment next year and finally, the former art room is an excellent location for a preschool and special education/resources room for children ages 3-5. Additionally, a preschool appropriate playground space would need to be added and fenced in – which could be done fairly easily on the west side of the school outside of the former art room.
What would the preschool look like? Can we all join?
Preschool teachers would be employees of NW Regional ESD. They specialize in services to help the child get a jump start not just academically but also learning student skills such as following directions, taking care of self (bathroom, put away coat, etc.).
To attend the preschool, priority would be given to children already receiving services from NW Regional ESD. The next priority will be given to children not already attending a preschool, or who don’t have access to early childhood education. There would be a nominal fee to attend (e.g. Portland public fee is $35 a month). Ideally there would be 15 children each in an AM and PM session, attending preschool 4 days a week, 2 ½ hours a day. This would give 25-30 children an early childhood education they wouldn’t have otherwise. Note the criteria to attend may change based on the number of applicants.
While this isn’t a ‘done deal’ that a preschool will open at BSE in September 2017, it is a true passion of Janet’s and this woman doesn’t rest until she gets what she wants! ☺
Here’s a quick round-up of the various safety circumstances around BSE. For the love-- please read!
- Front entrance update for enhanced security: A new architect was assigned and it will be taken care of this summer. Which means it’ll happen next fall.
- Emergency Response training: A week after the last day of school, Bonny Slope will again be the site for the emergency response training for police, fire and all first responders. BSE is the first elementary school that has been used for this training. First responders found it very valuable two years ago with all of the corners and hiding places an elementary school has.
- Parent Pick up at 3:20: Parents picking up at 3:20 are coming early and blocking the parking lot exit, double parking along McDaniel, and making it extremely difficult for outgoing parent to exit the parking lot safely. BAsically, cars are blocked in or can’t see around the double parked cars to turn onto McDaniel. THIS IS TRUTH. If you are picking up at 3:20, you should not be in the parking lot and should not be double parking along McDaniel. However, you can wait in the Bluffs and other neighborhoods until 3:20.
- No drop off at bottom of stairs: People. There is no dropping off of students in the morning at the bottom of the stairs. It backs up traffic and isn’t safe for anyone. Students are only to be dropped off in the turnaround in the front of the school unless they are walked up the stairs and across the crosswalk with a parent/guardian.
- Public Safety Meeting at BSE: At the end of April or beginning of May, the Sheriff Department will be holding a meeting open to parents and community discussing a variety of topics including lockdown and lockout procedures, mandatory reporting responsibilities by schools, bullying (cyber or general), and drug and alcohol early intervention tips. The date is still TBD. Stay tuned to Paw Prints for further updates.
And that’s a wrap! Join us for April's Principal Chat on Friday, 4/21 at 2pm.