February 2018 Principal Chat

Quite a full house last Friday.  And by “full house,” we mean eight parents. But while the crowd wasn’t huge, the discussion was important.  Read on for a full recap.

Levy Perplexity

Beaverton School District has a levy on this May’s ballot.  This measure has been painfully misunderstood, so here’s a quick little recap to help educate the masses.

  • Levies are for learning. Bonds are for building.  Levies and bonds help make-up the gap between state funding and the actual cost of running a school district.  This levy funds STAFF ONLY. In fact, BSD says there are 300 staff positions on the line, including several at Bonny Slope. No construction projects are a part of this current levy measure, unlike the bond measure passed in 2014 which initiated the construction and repairs of many BSD schools.  Take a look here for the projects funded by the 2014 bond that have absolutely nothing to do with the upcoming levy.

  • This levy is a RENEWAL of a levy passed in 2013, which was a direct result of the bloodbath of 2012-13 when BSD lost 300 teachers, class sizes ballooned, and parents cried themselves to sleep.  How can we so quickly forget those dark ages? This 2018 levy will MAINTAIN your current level of taxes, not increase it, which for the average family in Beaverton, is less than $25/month.

Mazama Madness

While there were a few hiccups to the fifth grade’s trip to Mazama Science School (AWOL nurse, snow day, late busses), the experience proved to be a memory-making adventure.  The program was geared to the scientific method, having students create experiments and explore theories– everything from how to build a faster sled, how snowshoes work, and what would happen if all the snow melted on Mt. Hood.

However, BSD has recently laid down the hammer when it comes to elementary overnight trips.  Next year, elementary schools will no longer be allowed to have school-sponsored overnight trips and school sponsored overnight trips won’t happen over the weekend.

Walk Out Walkabout

Recent and continuing incidents of gun violence in American schools have galvanized many passionate Bonny Slope parents. March 14th’s National School Walkout is urging students to walk out for 17 minutes at 10am.  Can BSE participate? What would that look like? Several parents were on hand to chat with Janet and Ali about their hopes and expectations for what this could look like at Bonny Slope.

First, whatever action BSE decides to take, it needs to be mindful and appropriate for our children.  Secondly, it’s an incredibly important topic to many parents in our school community. Finally, it’s an excellent opportunity for our students to see the PYP “take action,” and to learn valuable civic lessons regarding free speech and the right to peaceful protest.

As one can imagine, green-lighting a school walkout is a tricky subject for elementary administrators, especially as BSD is still working on their official messaging and stance. UPDATE:  BSD has responded to possible school walkouts. Janet is committed to creating some sort of age-appropriate activity that will not include students actually walking out of the school and will focus on kindness, inclusion, and unity.  This will work perfectly with BSE’s current “Kindness Matters” campaign.

Other schools in the area are walking into the hallway, observing 17 minutes in silence, and/or creating different lessons for younger versus older grades.  Whatever BSE decides, together with parents and staff, it will not be political and it will protect our children’s innocence.

Other Juicy Tidbits

  • Conferences are coming up and while they are not being LED by students, many teachers want students present.

  • Friday’s day off from school is compensation for teachers working 12 hours days on Wednesday and Thursday.

  • BSD’s 2018-19 calendar has a LOT of full weeks next year, with the school year beginning 8/27.  Better double check your vacation plans, folks, ‘cause your usual week in Sunriver might be out.

  • While students don’t need to be totally silent when transitioning from recess into the cafeteria, they do need to quiet down and calm themselves to eat.  Students should not be losing lunch time due as a “punishment” for not being silent. IAs usually try and line them up a bit earlier to give them time to chillax.

  • Our flag takes a beating.  Due to the rain, wind, and ice, Janet replaces our flag every year.  Wondering why it’s often at half-mast? Well, Janet and Steve Sparks have a direct line to the governor, who communicates with all state employees when the flag should be down.

And that’s a wrap!  See you at our next Principal Chat on Friday, 3/23 at 2pm, with special guest, Cedar Park principal, Dr. Shannon Anderson.