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Superintendent’s Message About School Safety

Supporting students after tragedy in Florida  

Mensaje en español a continuación 

Dear 4J community,

Our hearts are with the community of Parkland, Florida. Students and staff deserve to feel safe and be safe at school, and that safety was shattered in Parkland on Wednesday with a terrible act of violence.

Our thoughts also are with our own students and families. We know that at a time like this, many parents want to know both about how they can support their children, and about how schools work to keep students safe and secure.

In Eugene School District 4J, safety is a top priority. We believe in the importance of preparation and continuous improvement. We have safety procedures in place, hold training sessions with staff, and practice safety drills with students. Schools will notify students and parents in advance of any emergency drills in the coming weeks. We have made school facilities more secure through a number of bond-funded construction projects, thanks to the support of our community, and seek to do more in the future. We are fortunate to have Eugene Police school resource officers on our team, providing a highly trained, caring and visible presence in each of our four school regions.

As much as we proactively prepare for emergencies, tragic events like the one in Florida are shocking and hard to comprehend. Children look to adults for guidance on how to react. As parents you are the experts about what is best for your own children at home, but it can be challenging to know how to speak about the unspeakable. Psychologists have provided resources that may help.

In times like these, parents and staff can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security, talking with them openly about their fears, and reassuring them that schools are very safe places and dangerous events are very rare. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) also recommends the following strategies, detailed in the resource “Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers”:

  • Reassure children that they are safe and their school is safe.
  • Make time to talk.
  • Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
  • Review safety procedures.
  • Observe children’s emotional state.
  • Limit exposure to television and other media about these events.
  • Maintain a normal routine.

If your child is having a hard time, please talk to your child’s teacher, school counselor or principal. And please take the opportunity to talk with your children about the importance of speaking up right away if they ever become aware of a possible danger. We take every concern very seriously. Telling a trusted adult—a parent or a school employee—could save lives.

Eugene School District 4J will always work to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for all of our students. Thank you for partnering with us to keep our students safe.


Gustavo Balderas
Eugene School District 4J

Un mensaje del Superintendente Balderas acerca de eventos trágicos y la seguridad escolar

Querida comunidad,

Nuestros corazones están con la comunidad de Parkland, Florida. Los estudiantes y el personal merecen sentirse seguros y estar a salvo en la escuela, y esa seguridad fue destrozada en Parkland el miércoles con un terrible acto de violencia.

Nuestros pensamientos también están con nuestros estudiantes y familias. Sabemos que en un momento como este, muchos padres quieren saber cómo apoyar a sus hijos y lo que hacen las escuelas para mantener a los estudiantes seguros y a salvo.

En el Distrito Escolar de Eugene 4J, la seguridad es nuestra principal prioridad. Creemos en la importancia de la preparación y en mejorar continuamente. Tenemos procedimientos de seguridad en pie, llevamos a cabo sesiones de entrenamiento con el personal, y practicamos simulacros de seguridad con los estudiantes. Las escuelas notificarán a los estudiantes y a los padres antes de llevar a cabo cualquier simulacro de emergencia en las próximas semanas. Gracias al apoyo de nuestra comunidad, hemos logrado mayor seguridad en nuestras instalaciones escolares a través de una serie de proyectos de construcción financiados por bonos y trataremos hacer más en el futuro. Tenemos la fortuna de contar con oficiales de la escuela de policía de Eugene en nuestro equipo, proporcionando una presencia altamente capacitada, solicita y visible en cada una de nuestras cuatro regiones escolares.

Por mucho que nos preparemos para emergencias, los eventos trágicos, como el de la Florida, son impactantes y difíciles de comprender. La reacción de los niños depende de la misma reacción de los adultos. Como padres ustedes son los expertos acerca de lo que es mejor para sus hijos en casa, pero puede ser difícil el saber cómo hablar de lo indecible. Los psicólogos han proporcionado recursos que pueden ayudar.

En tiempos como estos, los padres y el personal pueden ayudar a los niños a sentirse seguros estableciendo un sentido de normalidad y seguridad, hablando con ellos abiertamente sobre sus miedos, y asegurándoles que las escuelas son lugares muy seguros y que los eventos peligrosos son muy raros. La Asociación Nacional de psicólogos escolares (NASP, por sus siglas en ingles) también recomienda las siguientes estrategias que aparecen detalladas en uno de sus recursos titulado: “Hablando con los niños sobre la violencia: consejos para padres y maestros“:

• Asegure a los niños de que están a salvo y que sus escuelas están seguras.
• Haga el tiempo para hablar.
• Mantenga sus explicaciones apropiadas para la edad de los niños.
• Repase los procedimientos de seguridad.
• Observe el estado emocional de los niños.
• Limite la exposición a la televisión y otros medios sobre estos eventos.
• Mantenga una rutina normal.

Si su hijo está pasando por un momento difícil, por favor hable con el maestro de su hijo, el consejero de la escuela o el director. Y por favor, aproveche la oportunidad de conversar con sus hijos sobre la importancia de hablar de inmediato si se han enterado de un posible peligro. Tomamos todas las preocupaciones muy seriamente. El decirle a un adulto de confianza — un padre o un empleado de la escuela — podría salvar vidas.

El Distrito Escolar de Eugene 4J siempre trabajará para proveer un ambiente de aprendizaje seguro y solidario para todos nuestros estudiantes. Gracias por colaborar con nosotros para mantener a nuestros estudiantes seguros.


Gustavo Balderas
Distrito Escolar de Eugene 4J


Infographic about talking to children about violence. Full text is available online at https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/talking-to-children-about-violence-tips-for-parents-and-teachers

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4J Benefits and Wellness Newsletter – February 2018 – Issue 302

Prepared by Julie Wenzl • 541-790-7682 • wenzl@4j.lane.edu • February 13, 2018 • Issue Number 302


Many people wonder, this time of year, if what ails them is a cold or flu. It probably doesn’t matter, since not much can be done about either one, but here’s a guide to some general differences in their symptoms.

Symptom Cold Flu
Fever Rare 101-104° for 3-5 days
Headache Rare Prominent
Aches & pains Mild Usual, often severe, affecting large muscles
Fatigue & weakness Mild Extreme, up to 2-3 weeks
Stuffy nose Usual Sometimes
Nasal congestion & sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore throat Usual Sometimes
Cough/chest discomfort Mild Common, can be severe

A few other things to keep in mind:

  • A cold will usually go away on its own within a week. If after a week, your symptoms are severe or persistent, seek medical advice, especially if you have a chronic condition such as asthma.
  • The flu typically comes on quickly and hard, as opposed to a nagging cold. If fever persists beyond five days, seek medical advice.
  • Both the flu and, more rarely, colds can lead to complications such as bronchitis, sinusitis, or pneumonia.


Do you know how to cope with falling temperatures and stay healthy? Some questions have more than one correct answer.

  1. True or false: Heart attacks increase in cold winter weather.
  2. It’s easy to get dehydrated when exercising in cold weather because:
    1. you lose water from breathing
    2. you lose water from sweating
    3. you lose water from stepped-up urine production
    4. the cold impairs the thirst mechanism, so you’re likely to drink less
  3. True or false: Hot drinks will keep you warm in the cold.
  4. True or false: When dressing for cold weather, you should opt for cotton clothing.
  5. You burn more calories when you are cold because:
    1. your metabolic rate speeds up
    2. you shiver
    3. your brain needs more calories when it is cold
    4. cold temperature activates brown fat
  6. True or false: If you regularly spend time in cold weather, you’ll adapt to it.
  7. A humidifier can do which of the following:
  8. prevent or alleviate dry skin
  9. ease symptoms of a cold
  10. pollute the air
  11. allow you to lower your thermostat
  12. Which are two of the most basic and effective ingredients in moisturizers?
    1. collagen
    2. glycerin
    3. petroleum jelly
    4. aloe
  13. True or false: Cold weather can make arthritis worse.


  1. Studies have found that cold weather increases the rate of heart attacks as well as strokes, especially in older people with cardiovascular disease. Cold temperatures can increase blood pressure and the tendency of blood to clot as well as stimulate production of stress hormones.  In particular, sudden drops in temperature or barometric pressure (as before the onset of a storm) appear to increase the risk. Frigid damp weather is generally riskier in regions where people are not used to cold weather than in places like Canada or Siberia. Dressing warmly may actually help save the lives of people at high risk for heart attack.
  2. As in the heat, you should make sure to drink plenty of fluids when exercising or working in cold weather.
  3. A hot drink will have little or no effect on body temperature, though it may make you feel warmer initially and can warm your hands when you hold it. You would have to drink a quart or more of hot liquid in a short time to affect body heat significantly.
  4. Cotton is a poor insulator when wet from sweat or precipitation. The key to staying warm is layering. Next to your skin should be a thin, long-sleeved base layer made of soft wool, silk, or synthetic material, which will keep you warm and help wick away sweat. Over this you can wear a middle layer made of synthetic fleece, thicker wool, or a combination of synthetic and wool. For the outer layer, depending on your activity level, you can wear an insulated zippered coat that you can vent if you become overheated. The outer shell should be wind-proof and waterproof, but breathable.
  5. a, b, and d. If you spend most of your time indoors and dress warmly when you go outdoors, you won’t need more calories in January than in July. However, if you are exposed to cold temperature and are inadequately dressed for it, you will shiver, which increases internal heat production and burns lots of calories. Even before you reach the point of shivering, you’ll start to burn extra calories because your metabolic rate will increase to compensate for your body’s loss of heat. Moreover, research suggests that prolonged exposure to cold stimulates brown fat, which is more metabolically active than regular fat, so it burns more calories.
  6. But the human body doesn’t adapt nearly as well to the cold as it does to the heat. It can take weeks to adapt to the cold, and even then the acclimatization is modest. Over time, heat loss through the skin is lessened, for instance, and shivering starts at a lower body temperature. If you regularly ski, skate, or hike in the cold, you may notice some gradual acclimatization. This usually takes about two to four weeks of frequent exposure, though in some people it occurs in just a few days, and in others (notably many older people) acclimatization never occurs.
  7. Adequate indoor humidity (25 to 50 percent) can help prevent or alleviate dry skin, eyes and nasal passages. Since you feel warmer in warm humid air than in dry air, you can keep your thermostat lower, which also helps prevent dry skin. A humidifier can ease symptoms of a cold, since cold dry air dries mucus, making it harder to clear from your nasal passages, while moist air helps loosen it. However, if not kept clean, humidifiers can be a source of indoor air pollution, microbes, and allergens. And if your water contains contaminants such as lead, the humidifier will spray them into the air.
  8. and c. Petroleum jelly is an emollient that helps prevent the evaporation of moisture from the skin. Glycerin is a humectant, meaning it attracts moisture and holds it against the skin. Collagen is a protein in healthy skin, but rubbing it on won’t help, since your skin can’t absorb it. Research on aloe gel as a treatment for various skin conditions has been inconsistent. In any case, nearly all commercial aloe lotions contain very little pure aloe. In general, expensive moisturizers are a waste of money.
  9. True, at least indirectly. If the inclement weather keeps you inside and thus prevents you from exercising, inactivity can worsen arthritis symptoms. For instance, a study from Northwestern University published a few years ago found that people with osteoarthritis living in the Chicago area averaged three more hours a day of sedentary time in winter than in summer. Many people think that cold, damp weather itself worsens arthritis symptoms, but studies on this have had inconsistent results.


Thanks to all the vendors and participants for making the 2nd annual 4J Employee Wellness Fair a success! In addition to the two Lane County Parks Passes and two Pacific Coast Passports given as door prizes, rewards were also offered up by these vendors: Oakway Fitness, Max Muscle, the YMCA, Anytime Fitness, Eugene Yoga, Run Hub, Willamette Dental, Reliant Behavioral Health, Body Fit Meals, Healthy Team Healthy U, Moda Health, and In Shape Fitness. Along with the prizes, many of the vendors also had small items to hand out so there was plenty of swag to be had!

Congratulations to prize winners Teresa Blanton, Tracy Collier, Ariana Landeros, Eloise Mueller, Teresa Mueller, Mimi Nolledo, Mel Olin, Maria Olono, Jasmin Quitta-Vetro, Ann Richer, Rena Robbins, Brian Watson, Carol Welch, and Brandeis Zaklan.

The information in this newsletter has been summarized. It is presented as information – not advice or counsel. In all instances, the benefits, conditions, and limitations as outlined in the 4J Master Contracts prevail over this representation. Please refer to your Benefits booklet or master contracts available at the District offices for additional information regarding your benefits plans.

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South Eugene “Axemen” Changing to “Axe”

New high school team name to maintain school tradition without gender-specific name 

"South will remain the Home of the Axe. Our boys’ and girls’ teams will step onto the field or court carrying with them more than a century of tradition, expressed in a way that will unify them as a single school community. And yet we are adapting that tradition to a new, more inclusive world." –Dr. Andy Dey, Principal, South Eugene High School, 4J

South Eugene High School’s athletic team name will change from Axemen to Axe, following a recent community input and consideration process.

The axe is a longstanding part of South Eugene High School’s history and tradition. The axe was the first symbol that students and athletes rallied around at the school, and the Axemen name had been in use for some teams since the 1930s, when interscholastic sports teams were all male. Over the years, and again recently, students, parents and community members have raised concerns that the Axemen team name is not inclusive of all athletes and students.

The school administration recently undertook a process to formally reconsider the team name. The school and district invited students, parents, staff, alumni, and community members to attend a community forum or complete an online input form—not a vote on the name but an opportunity to provide input. Thousands of community members provided comments and about one hundred attended the forum in January.

After considering all of the input, researching the school and team name’s history, and more, South Eugene principal Dr. Andy Dey recommended and Eugene School District 4J superintendent Dr. Gustavo Balderas approved changing the team name change from Axemen to Axe. The shortened name maintains the school’s history and traditions while removing the gender-specific suffix.

“Our goal has been to ensure all students, student athletes and teams are united under one name and one symbol moving into the school’s future,” says Dr. Dey. “I submitted this recommendation fully aware that it will not satisfy everyone, but with the hope that all members of our community will recognize that it expresses our shared values of tradition, inclusion and unity.”

“Historically team names and mascots have been a school-based decision, and I have been gratified by how Principal Dey has addressed this decision process with a great deal of listening, thought, patience and integrity,” Dr. Balderas notes. “I support this team name change both because I respect the consideration process that led to the decision, and because I have been convinced it is the right thing to do for our students now and for generations ahead.”

Dr. Dey adds, “South will remain the Home of the Axe. Our boys’ and girls’ teams will step onto the field or court carrying with them more than a century of tradition, expressed in a way that will unify them as a single school community. And yet we are adapting that tradition to a new, more inclusive world in which women compete just as aggressively and skillfully as men. ”

Becoming the Axe

Changes to or replacement of materials where the Axemen name appears will be implemented over time, rather than immediately replacing all materials. The school and district leadership will work together to develop a schedule and budget plan for replacing materials.

The Axemen name is used on uniforms for about half of the school’s athletic teams and is displayed in only a few places throughout the school. Most materials that include the Axemen name are items that are routinely replaced or replenished over time, such as school letterhead and athletic uniforms. A one-time change will be required for a smaller number of items, such as the seal on the front of the school, wallpaper in the gym foyer, and dies to produce class rings and graduation certificates. Historical materials such as yearbooks and trophies will not be changed retroactively.

Once this change is fully implemented, “Axemen” will no longer appear on athletic uniforms and other materials. Future uniforms will display “Axe” or “South Eugene.” Only the name will change; other aspects of the school’s brand, such as the purple and white school colors and the school symbol of two crossed double-bitted axes, will remain unchanged.

Athletic Equity

Gender equity in athletics is being addressed across the district in other ways beyond this team name decision. In a proactive undertaking unrelated to the Axemen team name or any complaint, the district has engaged in a full athletic program review with an expert Title IX gender equity consultant. The assessment of both athletic programs and athletic facilities is underway and will be completed this summer.

Principal’s Recommendation 

Fiscal Impact Statement 


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Coffee with the Superintendent

Let’s chat! District leader invites you for coffee and conversation

Coffee With the Superintendent
Tuesday, Feb. 13, 10–11 a.m.
Humble Bagel
2435 Hilyard St., Eugene
(invite your friends!)

Drop-in on Tuesday morning for coffee, morning treats and casual conversation with 4J Superintendent Gustavo Balderas!

This informal gathering is an opportunity for the community members to talk with the superintendent, learn about important things happening in the district, ask questions and share your ideas and feedback.

Several “Coffee With the Superintendent” events are being held throughout the school year. Meetings are being held at varying times and locations around the district to accommodate differing schedules.

Whether you have a specific question or idea, or simply want to hear more about the district’s biggest priorities, challenges and successes, please consider joining us at an upcoming coffee chat.

RSVP or invite your friends 

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Let’s Get Ready! Kindergarten Orientation Feb. 15–March 20

4J is welcoming new kindergarteners for fall 2018

Kindergarten orientation events are Feb. 15–March 20: Let’s get to know each other! If your child will turn 5 on or before September 1, please come to your school’s kindergarten orientation event (see schedule below). You’ll get to explore your school, meet the teachers and staff, enroll for fall 2018, and your child will receive a free goodie bag. We  look forward to seeing you!

If you have friends or neighbors with kids who will be in kindergarten this fall, please tell them about 4J’s kindergarten orientation events, or invite them via Facebook (links to individual school events are below and on Facebook).

What’s your neighborhood school? Visit www.4j.lane.edu/howtoenroll or click here.

Kindergarten Orientation Events:

School Address Date Time
Adams Elementary 950 W. 22nd Ave. Tue., March 20 6:00–7:15 p.m.
Awbrey Park Elementary 158 Spring Creek Dr. Tue., March 20 6:00–7:00 p.m.
Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary 1500 Queens Way Thu., March 1 5:30–6:00 p.m. English
6:00–6:30 p.m. Español
Camas Ridge Elementary 1150 E. 29th Ave. Thu., Feb. 22
6:00–7:15 p.m.
Charlemagne French Immersion Elementary 3875 Kincaid St. Tue., March 20 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Chávez Elementary 1510 W. 14th Ave. Thu., Feb. 15 6:00–7:00 p.m.
Chinese Immersion Elementary 1155 Crest Dr. Tue., Feb. 20 5:30–7:00 p.m.
Corridor Elementary 250 Silver Lane Tue., Feb. 27 6:00–7:00 p.m.
Edgewood Elementary 577 E. 46th Ave. Wed, Feb. 28 6:00–7:00 p.m.
Edison Elementary 1328 E. 22nd Ave. Tue., March 13 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Family School Elementary 1155 Crest Dr. Tue., Feb. 20 5:30–7:00 p.m.
Gilham Elementary 3307 Honeywood St. Tue., Feb. 27 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Holt Elementary 770 Calvin St. Wed., Feb. 21 6:00–7:00 p.m.
Howard Elementary 700 Howard Ave. Tue., Feb. 27 6:00–7:00 p.m.
McCornack Elementary 1968 Brittany St. Tue., March 13 5:30–6:30 p.m.
River Road/El Camino del Río Spanish Dual Immersion Elementary 120 W. Hilliard Lane Wed., Feb. 21 6:00–7:00 p.m.
Spring Creek Elementary 560 Irvington Dr. Thu., Feb. 15 6:00–7:00 p.m.
Twin Oaks Elementary 85916 Bailey Hill Rd. Thu., Feb. 22 6:00–7:00 p.m.
Willagillespie Elementary 1125 Willagillespie Rd. Wed., Feb. 21 6:00–7:00 p.m.
Yujin Gakuen Japanese Immersion Elementary 250 Silver Lane Thu., March 1 10:30–11:30 a.m. &
5:30–6:30 p.m.

Learn More:

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Kindergarten Orientation: Calling All 5-Year-Olds!

Starting kindergarten this fall? We want to meet you!

Let’s get to know each other! If your child will turn 5 on or before September 1, please come to your school’s kindergarten orientation (events start February 15, see schedule) or contact your school to enroll for fall 2018. If you have neighbors or friends with kids who will be in kindergarten this fall, please tell them about 4J’s kindergarten orientation events.

Starting school is an exciting time for kids and parents. For many children, kindergarten is the beginning of their education, the start of their developing love of learning, and even their first steps outside the familiarity of home. For many parents, it’s the start of a relationship with their public school system.

In Eugene School District 4J, we know how important the kindergarten year is. The 4J kindergarten program strives to give parents and students the right start in education by caring for and understanding each child’s needs and each parent’s concerns. Kindergarten is a full-day program in every 4J school.

Your child’s kindergarten experience will include:
• Full school day program
• Free breakfast every day
• Strong introduction to academics
• Caring, highly skilled teachers
• Social/emotional development
• Music and physical education
• Safe, secure, welcoming school environment

Kindergarten orientation events February 15–March 20: Every 4J elementary school has an event scheduled. Visit your school, meet the teachers and staff, and your child will receive a free goodie bag. We are looking forward to seeing you!

Kindergarten orientation schedule

Learn More:

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Public Invited to Bond Community Forums

Input sought on potential bond measure

Eugene School District 4J is holding a community conversation, and we want to hear from you! The 4J school board is talking with the community about how and when to replace or renovate buildings and materials that no longer serve our students well. The board is considering a potential bond measure to be placed on the November 2018 ballot.

The school board wants to hear from community members about their views on priorities and how to proceed. No decisions have been made yet. 

Community forums have been scheduled in different locations across the district so community members may choose a convenient time and location. Spanish interpretation will be provided. The forum on March 8 will be held in Spanish and English interpretation will be provided. 

• Tuesday, Feb. 20, 7–8:30 p.m., Roosevelt Middle School, 500 E. 24th Ave. (invite a friend
• Thursday, Feb. 22, 7–8:30 p.m., Kelly Middle School, 850 Howard Ave. (invite a friend
• Saturday, Feb. 24, 10–11:30 a.m., 4J Education Center, 200 N. Monroe St. (invite a friend
• Monday, Feb. 26, 7–8:30 p.m., Arts & Technology Academy, 1650 W. 22nd Ave. (invite a friend
• Thursday, March 1, 7–8:30 p.m., Cal Young Middle School, 2555 Gilham Rd. (invite a friend)
SPANISH/ESPAÑOL: Thursday, March 8, 7:00–8:30 p.m., Howard Elementary School, 700 Howard Ave. (invite a friend)

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Join Team Eugene: Special Educator Interview Day Feb. 3

Pre-apply or drop in to interview 

Special education teachers and specialists—we want YOU to join Team Eugene!

Eugene School District 4J will hold a special day for special educators on Saturday, February 3, conducting interviews in the following areas:

Special Education Teachers • School Psychologists • Speech Pathology • Physical Therapy

Special Educator Interview Day
Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
4J Education Center, 200 N. Monroe St., Eugene

To be pre-scheduled for an interview, please go to www.4j.lane.edu/hr/jobs, click the Browse Online Job Listings button, and apply to the active postings. You may apply to all positions of interest. In order to receive an interview, you must have a completed application.

Walk-ins are welcome, and computer stations will be available for walk-in visitors to complete an application and apply to the postings on-site. For more information or for assistance applying, please contact 4J Human Resources at 541-790-7660.

Do you know other special educators who may be interested in joining Team Eugene? Please invite your friends!

About Eugene School District 4J:

Eugene School District 4J is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to diversity and valuing the cultural, educational, and life experience of each student and employee, as well as equitable outcomes for all students.

As a student-centered district, we focus on creating a strong educational experience for every child. We do that in a culture that also nurtures educators and encourages them to collaborate, innovate and share with each other. We’re proud of the opportunities we provide to learn and grow—for both students and educators. Come join us in Team Eugene!

RSVP (optional!) or invite friends 

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4J Benefits and Wellness Newsletter – January 2018 – Issue 301

Prepared by Julie Wenzl • 541-790-7682 • wenzl@4j.lane.edu • January 17, 2018 • Issue Number 301


The 4J Joint Benefits Committee, in partnership with Cascade Health, will be offering a free Healthy Sleep wellness class to 4J employees and benefits enrolled retirees. This class was originally scheduled for October 26th, but was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. The rescheduled class will take place:

  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018
  • 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
  • Ed Center Auditorium

In this workshop you will:

  • Learn the science behind healthy sleep and why it is so important
  • Discover the important elements of a good night’s sleep and create your own “sleep plan”
  • Practice sleep enhancing techniques to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer

RSVP by Thursday, February 15th to Julie Wenzl: wenzl@4j.lane.edu or 541-790-7682.


The 4J Joint Benefits Committee, in partnership with Cascade Health, will be offering a free Retiring Done Well workshop to 4J employees and benefits enrolled retirees. The workshop will take place:

  • Tuesday, March 13, 2018
  • 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
  • Roosevelt Middle School Library

Retirement is not just about the money and insurance. There are other factors you will want to consider in order to create a graceful retirement for yourself. This workshop will help you:

  • Visualize your ideal retirement
  • Explore who you are now and where you are heading
  • Explore your use of time and social connections

An e-mail reminder of this workshop and RSVP information will be sent closer to the event.


There are many reasons for not accomplishing a New Year’s resolution, but one you may not fully appreciate is a lack of belief in your ability to be successful. You may want and hope to be successful with your goal, but a barely noticeable, negative self-talk script doubting your ability will make your goal elusive.

Fight negative self-talk scripts, which you can assume will creep up on you, by practicing affirmations that inoculate you against them. An affirmation is a positive statement that you declare to be true and that you rehearse frequently in a manner that allows it to sink in. Think of affirmations as “software for your brain.”

Assertiveness, determination, feeling that success is inevitable, quickly dismissing setbacks, and ignoring others’ negativity are critical skills in achieving any goal. A gut belief in your anticipated success, made possible by affirmations, allows these skills to carry you to the finish line.


If you want to test your hearing, one easy way is the National Hearing Test (NHT), which was developed by a scientific group through research in VA clinics and at Indiana University. The test was developed with the support of a research grant from the National Institutes of Health and was validated by a study done at VA centers, which found that the results correlated well with gold-standard hearing tests.

The NHT is done over the telephone and involves listening to a series of numbers spoken against a background of white noise, simulating the attempt to discern speech in a crowded room. If you are doing well, the test becomes more difficult by making it harder to hear the digits. If you are making errors, the test gets easier. This method provides a very accurate assessment of your ability to distinguish spoken words in different levels of background noise. The NHT can detect the most common types of hearing loss, those that are age-related and those that result from exposure to loud noises. It cannot detect hearing loss as a result of a problem in the middle ear or ear canal.

The NHT takes 10 minutes, and must be done on a landline in a quiet room. After you’ve completed the test, a recorded voice gives you the results for each ear as within normal limits, slightly below normal limits, or substantially below normal limits. If your hearing falls into the two latter categories, you’re advised to consult a hearing professional. Even if you pass the screening test, you should seek professional care if you have concerns about your hearing.

The NHT costs $8 but is free for AARP members. After you’ve paid online, you get a personalized code to access the test. Go to NationalHearingTest.org for more information, or call 844-459-0569.


OEBB offers a weight management benefit to help you achieve your weight-loss goals and improve your overall health. OEBB’s Medical Plans cover Weight Watchers Meetings and Online at NO COST to you.

OEBB offers up to four 13-week series per plan year. Anyone covered on an OEBB medical plan can enroll for the first 13-week series of the year. (Age limitations may apply.) Proof of participation in at least 10 of the 13 weeks of each series is required in order to enroll in the subsequent series at no cost.

You can choose the offering that best meets your needs: Weight Watchers Local Meetings, Weight Watchers At Work Meetings, or a Weight Watchers OnlinePlus Subscription

To enroll in any of these Weight Watchers offerings, or for more information, call 866-531-8170. If you live in Lane, Douglas, Coos, Curry, Josephine, Jackson or Klamath County call 800-651-6000 to request your initial At Work or Local meeting vouchers.


Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Laughter burns calories. It’s no replacement for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories—which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.

Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.

Laughter may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer.


As an OEBB member, you have a variety of wellness programs available to you through your OEBB medical plan. Whether you prefer in-person groups, one-on-one coaching, or self-paced online programs, OEBB may have something to fit your needs. To learn more please visit: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/OEBB/pages/wellness-resources.aspx

To access resources showing on the “Health Shelf,” you will need to log into your myModa account and then click on the Momentum link. From there, you will find a wealth of information on a variety of health topics.


Reminder – the 2nd Annual Employee Wellness Fair is coming next week and is open to all employees, retirees, and their families.

  • Thursday, January 25th
  • 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
  • Ed Center Auditorium

The information in this newsletter has been summarized. It is presented as information – not advice or counsel. In all instances, the benefits, conditions, and limitations as outlined in the 4J Master Contracts prevail over this representation. Please refer to your Benefits booklet or master contracts available at the District offices for additional information regarding your benefits plans.

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Input Sought on South Eugene “Axemen” Team Name

High school invites community input on longstanding team name

Online survey Jan. 12–31: English  |  Spanish
Community forum Wed. Jan. 31, 7–8:30 p.m. 

South Eugene High School’s athletic team name, The Axemen, is under consideration and the school is seeking input from students, parents, alumni and other community members.

To provide convenient ways to share input, the school has scheduled a community meeting and created an online form that asks specific questions and provides space for additional comments. This is not a vote on the name but an opportunity to provide input.

The online survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/southeugeneteamname and is open to responses through January 31.

Interested community members also are invited to engage in the community forum at South Eugene High School on Wednesday, January 31, 7–8:30 p.m.

The axe is a longstanding part of South Eugene High School’s history and tradition. The axe was the first symbol that students and athletes rallied around at the school, and the team name The Axemen has been in use for some teams since the 1930s, a time when interscholastic sports teams were all male. Over the years, and again recently, students, parents and community members have raised concerns that the team name The Axemen may not be inclusive of all athletes and students.

No decisions have been made yet, and the school and district are committed to considering input from all stakeholders. South Eugene High School’s principal, Dr. Andy Dey, will consider all input and make a recommendation to Eugene School District 4J’s superintendent, Dr. Gustavo Balderas, in February.

South Eugene High School seal




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