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Coffee With the Superintendent

District leader invites community for coffee and conversation

Coffee With the Superintendent
Thursday, March 15, 1–2 p.m.
4J Education Center
200 N. Monroe St., Eugene
(invite your friends!)

You’re invited: Drop in on Thursday afternoon for coffee and casual conversation with 4J Superintendent Gustavo Balderas. This informal gathering is open to everyone.

Do you want to talk with the superintendent, learn about important things happening in the district, ask questions or share your ideas and feedback? Come to the coffee chat on Thursday.

“Coffee With the Superintendent” is a monthly event 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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New World Language Curriculum Open House

Drop in to review and provide input on curriculum options

World language curriculum open house:
Review new middle and high school options
Monday, March 12, 6–8 p.m. (drop-in)
4J Education Center, 200 N. Monroe St., Eugene
(invite your friends!)

New Spanish, French, Japanese and American Sign Language learning materials will be coming to middle and high schools next fall! Parents and community members are invited to review the options and provide input before final curriculum decisions are made.

Using bond funds approved by voters in 2013, the Eugene School District is in the process of adopting new world language curriculum materials, which were last adopted districtwide 15 years ago. Some materials still in use today rely on outdated technology and no longer align with state standards, which emphasize cultural competency, collaborative learning and analytical skills, in addition to communication proficiencies.

Teams of teachers, specialists, technology experts and other district staff have reviewed and piloted the new curriculum options and students have provided their feedback.

At the open house, visitors will see samples of both printed and online curriculum and have an opportunity to interact with online curriculum and supplemental materials.

Teachers who tried out the new curriculum options and other district staff will be at the open house to answer questions about the curriculum and the adoption process. Participants will be asked to take a short survey to provide their feedback.

Background & Process:

A curriculum adoption recommendation will be presented to the school board for a decision this spring. New materials will be in use in world language classes across the district beginning next school year. New language immersion curriculum will be adopted in the 2018–19 school year and implemented in schools the following year.

Invite Your Friends

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Classified Benefits & Wellness Newsletter March 2018 Issue #6

Celebrate Classified Employees Week
March 5-9, 2018

I want to give you all a very sincere thank you for the wonderful and caring ways you do your job each and every day.  You make a difference!  Please take time each day to care for yourself.

Retiring Done Well Workshop

The 4J Joint Benefits Committee, in partnership with Cascade Heath, is offering a free Retiring Done Well workshop.  The class will take place:

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

It’s not just about the money.  Are you concerned about how you are going 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, and consider your use of time and social connections.

Please RSVP by Tuesday, March 8th to Diana McElhinney:  mcelhinney_d@4j.lane.edu or 541-790-7679.

Retiring this Year?

Retirement planning is not something that can be done in a day, a week, or even a month. The best plans are the ones that provide enough flexibility to allow us to make changes if the need for doing so becomes evident.

To achieve this kind of flexibility and to come out with the best series of investments to help you achieve your goals, it is good to work with a retirement planner to make the process simpler and to help expose you to ideas and investments you might not be aware of.

Retirement planning can be a difficult and sometimes mysterious process, but professional planning can make the process a whole lot simpler.

Ready to Retire?  Please allow yourself plenty of preparation time. If you are considering retirement sometime this spring or at the end of the school year, there are three steps you’ll need to take:  contact PERS to begin your Service Retirement process, notify your supervisor, and then contact me to learn about your 4J benefits.

To get advice regarding your PERS retirement, you will need to work with your financial planner or directly with PERS.  To contact PERS call 1-888-320-7377, or visit their website at http://oregon.gov/PERS/.  You can find a wealth of information on the PERS website along with downloading forms and signing up for PERS education classes.

March is National Nutrition Month – Celebrate with the USDA’s MyPlate

Join MyPlate this spring in celebrating our favorite topic:  Nutrition!  If you are trying to eat a bit better, ChooseMyPlate.gov has resources to help you achieve your healthy eating goals this month, and all year long.

Here are some of the resources you can access:

  • MyPlate, MyWins Tipsheets: to discover healthy eating solutions for everyday life.
  • Interactive Tool: to use to set and achieve your goals.
  • MyPlate Videos: to watch and see how simple making healthy choices can be.
  • MyPlate for Schools: to find posters, lesson plans, and school meal resources.
  • MyPlate for Families: so that you eat better together with resources from this toolkit.
  • Stay Connected: to find inspiration through daily tips and resources.

There is more than one way to eat healthy and everyone has their own eating style.  Check out MyPlate today!

Eating Spicy Foods May Help People
Consume Less Sodium

According to a Chinese study recently published in the journal Hypertension, researchers found that, compared to participants who avoided spicy foods, those who had a preference for such foods and could best tolerate capsaicin (the key component of chili peppers) were more sensitive to the taste of salt in food and thus tended to consume less sodium – and had lower blood pressure, on average.  This may partly be explained by the fact that capsaicin increases activity in some parts of the brain that sodium stimulates, as seen on brain scans done by the researchers.

Classified Sick Leave Bank 2018-19
Enrollment Coming in May

Packets for the 2018-19 Classified Sick Leave Bank enrollments will be emailed on May 1, 2018.  Only benefits eligible employees (.50 FTE or greater) are able to participate.

The Classified Sick Leave Bank is intended to extend, to contributing members, additional sick leave days should a long-term illness or injury exhaust the employee’s own paid leave.

Get Healthcare from the Comfort of Your Home

Get healthcare from the comfort of your home, or wherever you like.  Introducing Virtual Visits – a convenient and secure alternative to going to an urgent care.

Virtual Visits are part of Moda Health’s Virtual Care offerings, which also include eDoc and the Registered Nurse Advice Line.  As a Moda Health OEBB member, you receive the Virtual Visit benefit for a $10 copay, not subject to deductible.

Virtual Visits connects you, via video on your computer or mobile device, with a licensed Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) healthcare provider.

OHSU providers can treat many adult and pediatric (age 1 year and older) non-emergency medical conditions.  They can also call in prescriptions.

Use Virtual Visits for the following, and much more:
Coughs, fevers, headaches, insect bites, and minor cuts/scrapes/burns

How it works:
Visit: Virtual Visits – Urgent Care.  Once there, you will be asked to use your OHSU myChart account to log in to their system and schedule your appointment.  If you do not have an OHSU myChart account, you will be able to create one.

To learn more about our Virtual Care, log in to your myModa account and see “Virtual Care” on the home page.  To schedule a Virtual Visit, go to www.ohsu.edu/virtualvisits

PEP Fund 2nd Request Available Now

There are still funds to help reimburse you for job-related trainings, activities, tuition reimbursement, registration or material costs, and conferences and workshops.   Second requests are now available.  Again, both first and second requests will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis until funds run out.  Call me to verify eligibility and funds today!

Wellness Clinic – Open Spring Break

The 4J Wellness Clinic will be open spring break! This may be a perfect time to get your yearly physical or gear up for allergy season.

Regular hours are Monday – Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  (The clinic is closed for lunch from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.)

To schedule an appointment please call 541-686-1427.

Reminder:  If you miss your scheduled appointment you will be charged $20.

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

Eight hours seems to be the standard for the required amount of sleep at night.  But does that number hold true for everyone?  It depends, according to a special report from the Mayo Clinic.

Infants and toddlers need the most sleep – nine to ten hours at night plus naps during the day.  School-age children, including teens, do best with nine to eleven hours a night.  Most adults required seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

While older adults need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults, older adults tend to sleep more lightly and for shorter periods than do younger adults.

Do some people just need fewer hours of sleep a night?  Yes, it’s estimated that somewhere between 1 and 5 percent of the population sleep six hours or less a night without ill effects.  The need for sleep tends to run in families, as does the need for more sleep, which suggests a genetic basis for sleep duration.

Sleeping less than six hours – or more than nine hours – has been associated with increased risk of health problems and greater risk of dying.

The most important factor in determining how much sleep you need is whether you routinely feel rested during the day.  Do you tend to feel drowsy, or does your concentration ability decline in low-stimulus situations, such as long drives, reading, watching television, talking on the phone or completing desk work?  If this sounds like you, you’re likely not getting enough sleep.
Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.
Thomas Dekker

This newsletter is reviewed and edited each month by the District 4J and OSEA representatives of the Classified Joint Benefits Committee (JBC).The information in this newsletter is summarized, and is not intended as advice or counsel.

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Open Enrollment for Non-Resident Students: Apply Now

Transfer applications due Sunday, April 1

Apply now

Eugene School District 4J welcomes families who live outside of the district boundary to apply to enroll in 4J schools. Open enrollment applications are due Sunday, April 1, at midnight.

The Eugene School District has a long history of school choice. The district’s school choice policy is that any student in the district may request to attend any 4J school, provided there is space available. Families who live outside of the district also may request a transfer to 4J.

Families will be asked to indicate which 4J schools they prefer. Lotteries are held each spring to determine the order in which requests are granted. Transfers will be accepted where space is available to meet the student’s needs.

Several 4J schools are open to requests from out-of-district students. Students seeking a transfer to 4J may request to enroll at the following schools:

Other schools and grades are not open to requests from out-of-district residents because they are expected to have more 4J residents who wish to attend than can be accommodated. Enrollment in certain programs, including the ECCO high school program and certain special education programs such as comprehensive learning centers, is by referral only and is not open to school choice requests from either district residents or non-residents.

Info night for out-of-district families
Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2018, at 7 p.m.
4J Education Center, 200 N. Monroe St.
Spanish interpretation provided 

Application period
Thursday, March 1–Sunday, April 1

Application system 

More information
4J School Choice
Out-of-District Open Enrollment

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Classified Benefits & Wellness Newsletter January 2018 Issue #5

2nd Annual 4J Employee Wellness Fair

Enjoy learning about our benefits in an informal drop-in style.  More than 20 vendors will be here to answer your questions, hand out swag, and get you energized. The Wellness Fair is open to ALL 4J employees and their families!

  • Lots of door prizes and vendor prizes
  • Raffles for Annual Lane County Parks and Pacific Coast Passport
  • Coupons and discounts for local fitness facilities
  • Food prep demos from Natural Grocers nutritional health coach Yaakov Levin, NTP

Thursday, January 25th 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Ed Center Auditorium

200 N. Monroe St., Eugene, OR 97402

Reminder about 4J Wellness Clinic Appointments: No-Show Means You Owe

4J Wellness Clinic Patient Appointment Policies

Arriving late for your appointment:   If a patient arrives more than ten minutes late for a scheduled appointment, he or she may be required to reschedule the appointment.  If a patient arrives more than twenty minutes late for a scheduled appointment, the appointment will be considered missed without proper notice, and subject to the cancellation policy.

Cancelling your appointment:  The Wellness Clinic recommends a 24-hour notice of cancellation.  A $20 fee will be assessed for failure to cancel within 3 hours of a scheduled appointment at the Wellness Clinic.

The $20 fee must be paid before the patient will be allowed to schedule another advance appointment.  In the event that three appointments are missed, the patient will be suspended from scheduling any advance appointments.  The advance appointment scheduling suspension may be lifted after 6 months if the patient has no additional missed appointments.

We appreciate your cooperation in calling the Clinic as early as possible when you can’t make an appointment. This will ensure the best access to Clinic services for all of us.
Regular clinic hours are Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  The clinic is closed for lunch from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.  The phone number for the clinic is 541-686-1427.

Happy New Year

The holidays are behind us now and the New Year is a time of hope and promise within our own lives, our families, our communities, our workplace and the broader world around us.  As part of this potential, 2018 also represents a time of renewed commitment to our goals for improved health and wellness.

Due to our hectic schedules we hardly get time to meet people and wish them Happy New Year in person.  Thanks to my newsletter, I am able to wish all of you a “Happy New Year” and the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

Classified Joint Benefits Committee

I would like to acknowledge and celebrate the members of the 2017-2018 Classified Joint Benefits Committee.  I am honored to serve with Belinda Wilton, Theresa Garnsey, and Ray Martin.
These folks attend monthly meetings and work hard to ensure that all benefits eligible classified employees receive the highest possible benefits while maintaining lower health insurance premiums.  Thank you all for your time and commitment!

Healthy Sleep Workshop

The 4J Joint Benefits Committee, in partnership with Cascade Health, is offering a free Healthy Sleep wellness class.  The 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

Please RSVP by Thursday, February 15th to Diana McElhinney:  mcelhinney_d@4j.lane.edu or 541-790-7679.

Shop Your Doctors and Treatments

Because healthcare costs have risen, most of us are paying higher premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.  It is possible to trim what we contribute out of pocket by comparison shopping our healthcare – i.e., finding out in advance what different doctors charge for, say, an MRI or knee replacement surgery.  We consumers may not know that doctors’ fee information is easy to find using the “cost-estimator” tools on most health insurance websites.  Moda Health has such a tool to estimate your costs for many medical procedures based on your plan and location.

You can find the “Treatment Cost Estimator” under Moda’s personalized member website – myModa.  The information found there enables you to partner more effectively with your provider to make the best health care decisions for you and your family.  You can compare costs for one or more providers and also obtain information about a specific condition or treatment.  The Treatment Cost Estimator makes navigating health care costs easier and may just save you some money.

Weight Watchers

Attention benefits eligible employees:  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.  There’s no better time to get on the path to a healthy lifestyle!

  • Weight Watchers Local Meeting vouchers:  call 800-651-6000 to request your initial meeting vouchers.
  • Weight Watchers at Work meetings:  If you have at least 15 people interested in an At Work meeting call 800-8-ATWORK and talk to a local At Work manager about setting up a meeting.
  • Online Plus subscription:  With an online subscription you can follow the Weight Watchers plan step-by-step online.  To sign up call 866-531-8170.

 Mark Your Calendar – Retiring Done Well

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, March 13th – 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. for a free Retiring Done Well class to explore who you are now and where you are heading. It’s not just about the money!  Watch your email and my March newsletter for more details.

Importance of District Email

Do you check your work email every day?   The District uses email as its main exchange tool to deliver essential communications and information portals to employees about district news, activities, training requirements, etc.

If you do not regularly read your work emails you may be missing out on news and updates relevant to your position and/or tasks that require action from you.

Forgotten your username/password? For password resets/changes call 541-790-7777.  For verification purposes, please be ready to provide your employee ID number.

Classified Professional Education Program (PEP) Fund Makes Learning Easy!

The potential benefits of learning are huge and very important for our self-esteem.  Developing a new skill keeps brain cells active and allows us to succeed and rejuvenate our work lives.

Mid-Year Reminder: We classified have a fund (as a result of collective bargaining) that helps provide opportunities in professional development and is intended to assist classified employees improve professional knowledge, competence, skills, and effectiveness relevant to their current district position.

The program allows for reimbursement for job-related training activities, tuition reimbursement, registration or material costs, and conferences and workshops.

Normal program rules allow one request per fiscal (school) year, up to $300 for workshops, classes, books or other expenses related to professional development.  Requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis until funds run out.

PEP fund requests can be found on the HR website: http://www.4j.lane.edu/hr/forms/

Send completed forms to:

PEP Fund, Ed Center

Attn.: Diana McElhinney

This newsletter is reviewed and edited each month by the District 4J and OSEA representatives of the Classified Joint Benefits Committee (JBC).The information in this newsletter is summarized, and is not intended as advice or counsel.

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Building 4J’s Future: Share Your Views!

 4J school board asks, “What’s your priority?”

The 4J school board wants to hear from you 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, and is asking community members about their views on priorities and how to proceed.

Please join the conversation by attending an in-person community forum or completing the online survey. Community forums have been held on Feb. 20 and 24, and four more are scheduled on Feb. 26, Feb. 27, March 1 and March 8. The forum on March 8 will be held in Spanish. Spanish interpretation will be provided at all community forums.

Community forums:

  • Monday, Feb. 26, 7–8:30 p.m., Arts & Technology Academy, 1650 W. 22nd Ave. (invite friends)
  • NEW: Tuesday, Feb. 27, 7–8:30 p.m., Kelly Middle School, 850 Howard Ave. (invite friends)
  • Thursday, March 1, 7–8:30 p.m., Cal Young Middle School, 2555 Gilham Rd. (invite friends)
  • SPANISH: Thursday, March 8, 7–8:30 p.m., Howard Elem. School, 700 Howard Ave. (invite friends)

Community survey:
open Monday, Feb. 26–Sunday, March 11 

Most of 4J’s school buildings were constructed in the 1940s to 1960s, and some are even older. Other capital improvements are needed due to changing enrollment, educational program needs and aging buildings and materials.

The district’s long-range facilities plan, updated in 2013 after significant community input, calls for bond measures in 2013 and 2018 to replace, renovate or remodel several school buildings and make other improvements. Voters approved a bond measure in 2013 and replaced four aging buildings—Roosevelt Middle School, Arts & Technology Academy, Howard Elementary School and River Road/El Camino del Río Elementary School—and make other building improvements, upgrade technology and curriculum, replace school buses, and more.

The school board is now considering a potential bond measure in 2018. No decisions have been made yet. Your input is important.

Online Survey 
Community Forums and Ways to Provide Input 
More About Potential Bond Measure 

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Weather (Thu. Feb. 22): Schools Open on 2-Hour Delay, Buses on Snow Routes

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — Eugene School District 4J schools will be open on a 2-hour delay due to weather conditions. Buses will use snow routes.

ECCO and other programs on LCC campuses are closed.

Evening activities are canceled.

Jueves, 22 de febrero, 2018 — Escuelas empiezan dos horas mas tarde. Los autobuses utilizan las rutas de nieve.

ECCO y otras programas ubicados en edificios de LCC estan cerrados.

Las actividades nocturnas están canceladas.


Snow route information
More information for parents
More information for staff

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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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