January 2016 Principal Chat… REVEALED

Sit up and listen, BSE.  Our teens need us.

January’s Principal Chat begins on a serious note as Janet describes an eye-opening phone call from Sunset High School’s principal, John Huelskamp.  Sunset has identified that the current majority of struggling students dealing with drug and alcohol issues are Bonny Slope alums.  While we’ll leave the analysis and theorizing to the experts, we do know that Sunset is inviting elementary school families to a Drug and Alcohol Education Night on Feb. 23rd.  More information can be found here.  Janet has spoken to Kevin Sutherland in an effort to raise efforts here and see what BSE can do at an elementary level.  

Life’s too short.  And so is Art Class.

Several parents mentioned the need to extend the current 30 minute art class.  Janet described the current State of the Specials, if you will.  Music and PE are required for 90 minutes every six days.  Art and Spanish do not have a time requirement.  The current schedule allows for the grade level teams (teachers) to have common planning time of at least on hour a day, a very essential and vital tool in curriculum planning.  However, changing the specials schedule mid-stream is very tricky and requires a unanimous vote from the specials teachers and principal.  So… long story short… the schedule isn’t changing anytime soon.


You know what’s awesome?  Snow routes.  The icy streets, the half mile back-up of cars in both directions, the 5am phone calls/texts...  Indeed, we are truly living the dream on those few glorious days a year.  Janet has been working with Nancy Ryles’ Principal in order to come up with a better battle plan for when snow routes strike.  Bonny Slope and Nancy Ryles are the only schools who lose their entire bus service when BSD announces snow routes.  

Ideas thrown around included using the bus lane to drop/pick up kids (though BSD can’t guarantee it’s safety) and relooking exclusively at our neighborhoods in the afternoon.  As many BSE students simply can’t come when busses aren’t offered, it’s become an equity issue and Janet is continuing to work with BSD to find a better solution.

Also, BSD doesn’t have the manpower to clear all the sidewalks on our property during snow/ice days.  Feel free to bring a shovel and help a school out.

Tutoring our Teachers

Janet & Amy Mitchell (our PYP coordinator) attended an IB Training in California over the weekend as BSE prepares for its IB reauthorization.  We are lucky enough to have some amazing and respected consultants coming into BSE this Spring.  Ellen Alquist, a PYP Pioneer who literally WROTE THE BOOK, will be here in early Feb (thanks in part to BSCO’s Staff Development Line Item).  

Also, Jill DeGoode will be coming in March to offer up more excellent training for our BSE staff.

Other Juicy Tidbits

  • In order to calculate correct enrollment numbers, it is VITAL that kindergarteners sign-up early. BSD does not take into account any new construction until students have actually enrolled. A higher kindergarten enrollment allows BSD to predict higher class sizes in ALL grades.  So spread the word!
  • A suspected homeless teen has been seen loitering around the school property.  Sadly, schools can be a magnet for struggling teens.  If you see anything/anyone unusual, please call the Washington County Non-Emergency Line ((503) 629-0111.
  • How does Janet make decisions at BSE, you ask?  Easy answer-- if it improves learning and inclusive, then it’s a done deal.  
  • So many students earned the Jogathon awards that many classes were half empty during some award assemblies.  While totally unintentional, everyone recognizes the problem and will reevaluate for next year.  Having a school-wide prize (dance-a-thon) for any sort of participation was a huge success.  The Dance-a-thon in January went off without a hitch.

Please join us for our next Principal Chat on February 19th, with special guest, Amy Mitchell, BSE’s own PYP coordinator.

Have a question to be discussed?  Email Hannah with your suggestions.