May 2016 Principal Chat... REVEALED

Our FINAL Principal Chat of the year was another raucous affair with TWO new attendees, though the subject matter quickly turned serious.  The bulk of the conversations revolved around earthquake drills, active shooter training and school security.  

Practice Makes Perfect
Drills are a mandated part of our BSD calendar.  Students and staff practice everything from our nightmares —  fire drills, fire drills with a blocked exit, earthquake drills, lock-out drills (danger is outside building) and lock-in drills (danger is within the building). Bonny Slope is required to mix it up and run surprise drills during lunch hours, assemblies, and recess, unleashing the shrieking banshee of an alarm at inopportune times for everyone.

Reunited and It Feels So Good
BSD’s Safety Officer, Kevin Sutherland, has put Beaverton School District on the map when it comes to organizing and implementing schools’ reunification plans, which is the process in which students are reunited with parents after any sort of unexpected, traumatic event.  There are two types of reunification plans — one for when students remain at Bonny Slope and one for when students have been bussed to a second location.  Parents can expect filling out paperwork and waiting in a separate area until their children are brought to them.  

The Really Big One
If your Facebook feed exploded in the last year with dire predictions of epic proportion regarding the overdue earthquake in the Northwest, you weren’t alone.  Looks like BSD read that same article and have stepped up their preparation when it comes to earthquake safety.  Last month, Bonny Slope was given a list of necessary supplies in case “the big one” strikes while our children are in school, including tarps, tents, and reunification paperwork.  

In the event of an earthquake, students will be evacuated to the field, away from the building and massive trees.  Currently, Janet has a facility improvement plan to install a gate in that back corner, allowing greater evacuation access.  Cedar Mill Bible Church has heroically agreed to be our crisis team — willing to provide food/water in case of crisis as well as setting up a parent room with food and clergy for those needing additional support in case of any traumatic event.

Passive Victims No More
Unfortunately, school shootings have changed the face of school security and teacher training.  Not only have the recommendations changed in regards to teacher safety standards and protocols, but our physical campuses, including Bonny Slope’s, are changing as well. 

Instead of our teachers simply learning new reading and math standards this summer, they are also being trained in the best and most effective protocols in which to keep our students safe in the face of an active shooter.  Law enforcement no longer recommends for staff to remain hidden and silent, but rather to employ any tactic necessary to block, distract, and burden any threat within the school in order to create that crucial time barrier-- the three and a half minutes it takes for emergency services to reach us.  

The physical landscape of our building also plays an important role in protecting our students.  In the coming months, our front entrance will dramatically change, with doors automatically locking and visitors being forced to enter through the office.  Automated fire doors and other locked doors further protect our hallways, as well as a new badge entry system.  Bonny Slope was the site of a district wide Active Shooter training last fall.

Can’t Hardly Wait
Enrollment numbers for next year are still unclear.  

Of course they are.  

New building within our boundaries is not part of BSD’s official projections.  At this time, there will absolutely be five sections of fourth grade.  Two more grades (second and fifth) are on the cusp of a fifth section, but final decisions won’t be made until well into August.  

Consequently, there will be a reshuffling of classrooms.  Anything is possible, including the transformation of the current staff room into a classroom, forcing the parental loss of the upstairs production room.  The summer will tell how deep the changes unfold through our halls.

We’re lucky to have so many amazing learning opportunities here on the Slope.  Unfortunately, with only six and a half hours in the day and five days in a week, it’s challenging to fit it all in and still be sure everyone enjoys a lunch time that isn’t really a breakfast time.  

Currently 14 staff members are working to find the best possible scheduling solutions for 2016-17 that allows Art to be successful on a cart, gives 90 minutes of music and PE every five days, adds in Spanish, Library and Technology, provides enough contracted teacher common planning time, as well as opportunities for intervention services.  The nuances are SO much harder than you’d expect.

Other Juicy Tidbits:

  • Bonny Slope’s 2016-17 vice principal has been announced.  Allison Montelongo will be joining Janet at the BSE helm next year.  Over 250 applicants vied for administrative positions in BSD this spring.  Janet has worked with Ms. Montelongo on several committees and is excited for their new partnership.   
  • Jury is still out on Science Fair/PYP joint event this year.  Feedback?  Email Janet.
  • The Spanish curriculum continues to cause confusion amongst parents.  BSE is continuing to work with other PYP Spanish programs to create a universal curriculum.  Re-read our recap from September on this topic to get up to speed.  

Thanks to everyone who joined us this year. 2016-17’s calendar will feature three evening principal chats in order to better engage working parents.  We look forward to seeing you there.  Happy summer!