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North Eugene High School Design Shaping Up

Design open house Jan. 21: Come see how schematic design of the new high school is shaping up

The new North Eugene High School building will be under construction soon, thanks to voters’ approval of the 2018 school bond measure. The new school building will open in 2023.

The new high school will be a high-quality building designed for safety and security, efficiency and sustainability, and 21st century learning including robust career technical education. The new school will be a community asset able to serve as a shelter after a natural disaster, with resiliency upgrades such as key areas built to an upgraded seismic standard.

Families, neighbors and other community members are invited to a community open house on Tuesday, January 21 to learn about initial design planning for the new high school.

North Eugene High School Design Open House
NEHS cafeteria, 200 Silver Lane
Tuesday, January 21, 6–7 p.m.
(RSVP or invite friends)

Meet the architects. Get a look at the initial design concepts. Share your comments and ask questions. Learn how your bond dollars will be invested wisely in a new flagship high school building in North Eugene to serve students now and for generations to come. 

Learn more 

• New North Eugene High School
North Eugene Program Moves
• More Bond Measure News
• Subscribe to Email Updates

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School Board Meeting Summary: Jan. 15, 2020

January 15, 2020
School Board Work Session and Regular Meeting

NOTE:  This is a quick summary of the topics and actions at a meeting of the school board. It is NOT the official minutes of the meeting. Meeting minutes are posted after they are drafted by the minutes recorder, reviewed and approved by the board at a following meeting. Recordings of meetings are posted the day after the meeting. School Board Meeting Schedule & Information  


On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the school board held a work session followed by a regular board meeting.

Work Session: Assessment

The board’s goals for 2019–20 were developed in the fall retreat on Aug. 14 and approved unanimously on Sept. 18, 2019. At the work session on January 15, board members discussed thoughts, priorities and next steps regarding board goal number 4:

Address policies and practices on student assessments
• Increase instructional time
• Focus legislative relief for the essential skills tests for high school seniors


Board Meeting

The school board’s regular meeting followed the work session.

The superintendent noted that January is School Board Appreciation Month and read a proclamation. He discussed significant increases in graduation rates, other measures of student success, and closing of opportunity and achievement gaps over the past several years.

Board chair Anne Marie Levis noted that this is the time of year when many “State of the …” statements are given, and shared comments on the “State of the District” — including rising graduation rates, extensive community engagement to inform Student Success Act planning, and more.

Information Items (no board action is expected to be taken)

Reviewed board goals for 2019–20 school year

Received an update on the the High School Success Plan

Received a report on the district’s Division 22 Assurances: School districts annually review compliance with Oregon Administrative Rules, and submit a report to the state, post it on the district website, and present it in a public meeting of the school board.

Board Actions

Approved board working agreements: The board voted 5–2 to approve the board’s working agreements, with an edit on page 4 (“supported by at least four three board members”).

Approved board policy updates: The board unanimously approved policy revisions, additions and deletions to conform to changes in state law and updates to policy best practices:

GBNAA_JHFF Reporting Requirements for Suspected Sexual Conduct with Students
JHFF_GBNAA Suspected Sexual Conduct (replacing previous policy JHFF)
BBFC Reporting Suspected Abuse of a Child (Board)
GBA Equal Employment Opportunity

Approved Ridgeline charter renewal: The board unanimously approved renewing the charter for Ridgeline Montessori Public Charter School, following consideration and a public hearing at a previous board meeting. (Ridgeline 2018–19 annual review)

Approved items on the consent agenda: The board unanimously approved the three items on the consent agenda: Interdistrict transfer limits for 2020–21, 2018–19 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), and 2018–19 KRVM 91.9 Financial Report (Report). Prior to approving the consent agenda, the board members who serve on the board’s audit and finance subcommittee, Jim Torrey and Gordon Lafer, expressed appreciation for the high quality and transparency of these district financial reports.

Items for Future Action (board action is expected at a later meeting)

• Considered proposed policy updates: The board considered proposed revisions to board policies to conform to changes in state law and updates to policy best practices:

GCDA-GDDA Criminal Records Checks and Fingerprinting
JHFE Reporting Suspected Abuse of a Child (replacing previous policy JHFE)
+ JHFE-AR Administrative Rule + Reporting Form

Public Input

17 people provided public comment to the board, including comments regarding:

• Student Success Act investments
• Standardized assessments
• Relocation of Yujin Gakuen to Kelly Middle School
• Relocation of Corridor to North Eugene High School
• Changes in state regulations regarding special education
• Human trafficking and youth sexual exploitation
• Airport Rotary scholarships
• Cyberbullying and sexting assemblies
• Proposed changes in LTD bus routes

Agenda and Materials

Jan. 15 agenda and materials
Jan. 15 work session recording
Jan. 15 board meeting recording


NOTE:  This is a quick summary of the topics and actions at a meeting of the school board. This document is NOT the official minutes of the school board. Official minutes are posted after they are drafted, reviewed and approved by the board. Recordings of meetings are posted within two days after the meeting. 

School Board Meeting Schedule & Information  

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Wondering About Weather?

How to know if schools are closed or delayed
No news = No change 

Learn More  | Get Text Alerts  |  Staff Info  |  Español  

When winter weather makes conditions hazardous, schools may be closed or delayed or buses may use snow routes. School districts decide early in the morning whether there is a need to change the school schedule or bus routes. These decisions are made districtwide and are the same for every 4J school.

There are several ways to find out if there is a change on snowy or icy days:

If there is a school closure or other change, the school district will announce it before 6:30 a.m. If schools and buses are on their regular schedule, there will NOT be an announcement.

Parents of students who ride school buses that have alternate snow routes have been informed of what to do. Snow route information is available on the snow routes page.

If school is in session, families are encouraged to consider road conditions in their areas and make their own decisions based on safety. Parents’ individual decisions about school attendance will be honored.

Learn more
Snow routes
Information for staff
Información en español  

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Special Education Parent Symposium Mon., Jan. 13

Special education visioning and investments

Parents and guardians of students receiving special education services are invited a symposium to learn more about 4J services, share your thoughts, and meet, network and collaborate with other families, 4J staff and community members.

The symposium on Monday, January 13, 6–7 p.m., will explore the district’s special education visioning process and Student Success Act investment priorities.

Special Education Parent Symposium 
Monday, January 13, 6–7 p.m.
4J Education Center
200 N. Monroe St., Eugene

RSVP or invite a friend

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School Board Meeting Time Change

Board moves to an earlier start time for meetings in January and February

The Eugene School Board is changing the time of its regular board meetings on a trial basis. The start time for meetings in January and February is 6 p.m. Previously, regular board meetings started at 7 p.m.

The board is experimenting with an earlier time to explore whether that is more convenient for community members. The board will revisit the time change in February to decide if it will continue for future meetings.

Upcoming school board meetings:

  • January 15, 6 p.m.
  • February 5, 6 p.m.
  • February 19, 6 p.m.

School board meetings are open to the public to attend and are often preceded or followed by shorter work sessions, also open to the public. Meetings are held at the 4J Education Center, 200 N. Monroe St., in Eugene. School board meetings and work sessions are broadcast live on the radio on KRVM 1280-AM and streamed online at 4j.lane.edu/stream.

School board meeting agendas
4J Board of Directors


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School Choice: Elementary School Showcase on Saturday

School choice info fair on Jan. 11, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.

Families considering their elementary school options are invited to attend a one-stop information fair on Saturday, January 11.

Elementary School Showcase
Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, 10 a.m.–12 noon
4J Education Center, 200 N. Monroe St., Eugene
One-stop school choice information fair
Talk with representatives from every 4J elementary school
Find out about school meals, transportation, special education and more

Get information about the school choice process
Spanish interpretation provided

Parents with students of all ages also are invited to attend school choice information sessions and tour schools in January.

School Choice Information Sessions
Saturday, Jan. 11, 10 a.m.–12 p.m., multiple sessions offered during the School Showcase
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 7 p.m.
4J Education Center, 200 N. Monroe St., Eugene
Information presentation about the school choice process
Spanish interpretation provided

School Visits
Visit your neighborhood school and more!
Each school offers times for parents to visit 

Activity Schedule

Apply Online 
District residents: Jan. 1–31, 2020
Out-of-district residents: March 1–31, 2020
Online Application


Apply Online  |  Learn More  |  Información en español 

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Classified Benefits & Wellness Newsletter January 2020 Issue #4

Published by:

Arthur Hart, Classified Benefits Coordinator

Phone: 541-790-7679 e-mail: hart_a@4j.lane.edu


4J Wellness Presentation

The 4J Joint Benefits Committee cordially invites you to a free health and wellness class presented by Cascade Health., Controlling Technology Use:  How to have a healthy relationship with your smart phone.

Do you have nomophobia?  Smart phones have brought many good things to our world; however, there is more and more proof that they are affecting our health and our relationships in negative ways.  In this training, we will discuss creating positive relationships and personal boundaries in a world run by technology.

  • Learn how your brain is affected by technology.
  • Examine your technology habits and motivations.
  • Create healthier behavior around and boundaries with your devices.

Controlling Technology Use will be presented on January 14th, from 5-6 PM in the Ed Center auditorium.  If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Arthur Hart at hart_a@4j.lane.edu or 541-790-7679.



No matter what you plan to do in retirement, preparing for retirement can be complicated. There are many things to consider for retirement, like PERS, Social Security, personal savings, health insurance, Medicare, and taxes.  It is never too early to start working toward your retirement goals.

Consulting a professional financial advisor specializing in retirement can make decisions easier for you, and help you avoid costly mistakes. The EAP has free (for 30 consecutive days) financial and retirement phone consultation available at 1-866-750-1327.  Use access code “OEBB” to utilize EAP services.

If you are looking to retire this year, please contact me regarding the 4J Classified Staff retirement process and benefits.  Arthur: hart_a@4j.lane.edu or 541-790-7679

4J does not give PERS advice. To get advice regarding your PERS retirement, you can visit the PERS website at www.oregon.gov/PERS/ or call them at 1-888-320-7377


Total Brain App

Understand your brain better and learn how to improve your mental health and fitness with the Total Brain App.  Total Brain is an innovative mental health and fitness platform powered by the world’s largest standardized neuroscientific database.  Total Brain is available free to OEBB plan insured members over 18.  Register at app.totalbrain.com/enter/oebb



A stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.

Though a stroke can be life-threatening and life-changing, a F.A.S.T. response to a stroke may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and even prevent death.  Fortunately, recent advances in stroke treatments have greatly improved survival rates over the last decade.

For the best chances of a full recovery, remember to spot a stroke F.A.S.T.

  • Face Drooping– Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm Weakness– Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty– Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 9-1-1– If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately!

Time is of the essence.  It’s not long before brain cells start to die. Once a stroke begins, you can lose about two million brain cells every minute.


Walk like a Penguin

Winter weather can be treacherous for slips, trips, and falls, and following the lead of our dapperly dressed, flightless friends can help reduce our chances of a serious injury while walking on ice.

To walk like a penguin, do the following:

  • Bend slightly and walk flat-footed, keeping your center of gravity over your feet as much as possible.
  • Point your feet out slightly and take short steps.
  • Watch where you are stepping. Be extra careful getting in and out of a car.
  • Keep your arms at your sides, with hands free and out of your pockets.
  • Go slow. Penguins do not hurry.
  • Tuxedos are optional.

Check out these CDC winter weather tips, perfect for well-prepared penguins.


The answer to every problem involved penguins.

Rick Riordan, The Throne of Fire


Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes in the summer can occur, but are less common.

Approximately half-a-million people in the United States suffer from winter SAD, while 10% to 20% may suffer from a milder form of winter blues. Three-quarters of the sufferers are women, and the depression usually starts in early adulthood. However, SAD also can occur in children and adolescents.

Signs and symptoms of SAD in the winter may include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed and withdrawal from social activities.
  • Having low energy.
  • Having problems with sleeping or oversleeping.
  • Weight gain and appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates.
  • Feeling sluggish, tired, or agitated.
  • Having difficulty concentrating.
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty.
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide.

It is normal to have some days when you feel down. However, if you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, it may be time to see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, you turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation, you feel hopeless, or think about suicide.


Save the Date

The 4J Wellness Fair will be on February 25th, 4-6 PM at the Ed Center.


Kaiser Members News

Dr. Arwen Mohr has recently moved away from our area and Dr. Sheila Jhansale has taken over her position at the Eugene Kaiser Clinic.  Dr. Jhansale recently met with our 4J benefits team, and she expressed enthusiasm for her new position.  She started her medical career in Oregon with Portland Kaiser, and after many years in Wisconsin is pleased to make Oregon her home again.

For those enrolled in a Kaiser Permanente medical plan, you have some new mental health resources.

  • Go to org/selfcare for self-care tools, tips, and activities.
  • Download myStrength, a personalized program that helps with depression, anxiety, sleep, stress, and substance abuse.
  • Click on “digital tools”, log into your www.kp.org account, create your personal account, download the app, and get started!


4J Wellness Clinic News

You may have already met our newest clinic nurse practitioner Shannon Micheel, who has been working part time at the clinic for a few months.  As of January, Shannon will be a full time physician at the clinic, and Jennifer Young will continue to work at the clinic only when coverage is needed.

Jennifer Young will continue to be a PCP360, and if you have selected her as your PCP360, you will not need to make a change; but, you may change your PCP360 to Shannon Micheel or Michelle Davila if you like.

To reduce waiting times, the clinic is adding 4 more afternoon counseling slots.  Benefits-eligible employees and their dependents who have not selected Kaiser Insurance are eligible for 10 free counseling sessions at the 4J Wellness Clinic.  To receive a referral for counseling at the 4J Clinic, call 541-686-1427 and schedule a visit with a primary care provider.


Healthy Hand Hygiene

The winter cold and flu season is upon us!  Protect yourself and others with these handy handwashing tips.

Wash your hands often:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food.
  • Before eating food.
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound.
  • After using the toilet, changing diapers, or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste.
  • After touching garbage.

Follow these five steps:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Clean hands save lives.  Check out the hand washing science at the CDC.


Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.

-Leo Tolstoy

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.

Posted in Classified Benefits Newsletter | Comments closed

Classified Benefits & Wellness Newsletter December 2019 Issue #3

Published by:

Arthur Hart, Classified Benefits Coordinator

Phone: 541-790-7679 e-mail: hart_a@4j.lane.edu


Wellness Clinic

During winter break the 4J Wellness Clinic will be closed from December 23rd, through January 1st.  The Wellness Clinic will reopen on Thursday, January 2nd.


PacificSource FSA

For those participating in a district Flexible Spending Account (FSA), this is still a good time to submit receipts for the 2018/19 plan year.  The district FSA plan year starts on October 1st, and goes through September 30th.  However, until December 31st, you may still submit receipts of eligible expenses to PacificSource for the 2018/19 plan year.  Remember, only $500.00 can carry over from one plan year to another, so check your balance before 2019 is over.  If you would like assistance with your FSA account, please call PacificSource at (541) 485-7488.


Accidents at Work

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  The best cure for an on-the-job injury is to avoid it all together.  Most worksite accidents are preventable, but since time travel technology is fictional, we must actively prepare to prevent accidents.  If you notice an unsafe situation at work, please alert a 4J Safety Committee member.

In case of an on-the-job injury, first establish if treatment is wanted or needed.  Then determine if the injury is minor or major.  A minor injury may be treated on-site, or may require treatment by a doctor.  In an emergency, call 911.

MedExpress is a first aid treatment service that gives 4J staff an option for a Cascade Health Solutions EMT or Paramedic to provide on-site treatment for a minor on-the-job injury.  Treatment on-site can entail up to a 30-minute wait for MedExpress to arrive. When contacted, MedExpress can:

  • Assess the severity of an on-the-job injury on-site or over the phone.
  • Treat on-site an on-the-job injury, up to first aid.
  • Transport the injured worker to a physician, if recommended and injured worker agrees.

Injury reporting:  Report all worksite injuries to your supervisor.  It is recommended that you fill out an incident report.  If a worksite injury requires treatment beyond first aid (when you want or need to see a doctor) please contact HR at 541-790-7670.


There is a point at which even justice does injury.



Safety Scavenger Hunt

Emergency evacuation map- Safety is the treasure this map will lead us to.  Look around for an evacuation map of your worksite complete with an assembly area, and arrows leading the way to the best exits.

Fire extinguisher- It’s best to know where the closest fire extinguisher is before you need it.  Extra points for those who look at the charge level, and inspection tag.

Worksite first aid kit- Knowing where your worksite first aid kit is located is a great way to be prepared.

AED- An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, and is able to treat them through defibrillation, allowing the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm.  A district provided AED can help save a life, but not if you can’t find it.

MedExpress information- MedExpress information can be found on the 4J website, but it’s even easier to find if placed next to the first aid kit (hint hint).


WW (Weight Watchers)

With the season of eating already upon us perhaps you are looking for a way back into the good graces of your favorite pants.  Fortunately anyone enrolled in an OEBB Moda or Kaiser medical plan (age 18 and older) is eligible to join WW at no cost.  Sign up with the WW OEBB enrollment web portal, or call 1-866-531-8170.

WW welcomes everyone who seeks to be healthier, not just manage their weight.  Utilize digital resources like the WW phone app, and in-person workshops to help you achieve your goals.


2019/20 By the Numbers

PEP Funds- $3,478.10 in PEP funds have been utilized so far this year.  $11,521.90 remains available for classified staff to use before June 30th.

Sick Leave Bank- This year 396 people enrolled in the Classified Sick Leave Bank.  The Sick Leave Bank has been able to assist three members so far this school year.

403b Matching Funds– About 50% of classified staff members have signed up for a 403b savings account and are receiving matching funds from the district.

For more information on any of these programs contact Arthur at 541-954-5251 or hart_a@4j.lane.edu.


Shingles Vaccine

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Although shingles can occur anywhere on your body, it most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso.  The same virus (varicella-zoster) that causes chickenpox causes shingles. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive.  Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.

People looking to receive the shingles vaccine have two options: Zostavax and Shingrix.  Zostavax, has been shown to offer protection against shingles for about five years. It’s a live vaccine given as a single injection, usually in the upper arm.  Shingrix is the preferred alternative to Zostavax.  It’s a nonliving vaccine made of a virus component, and is given in two doses, with two to six months between doses.  Shingrix is approved and recommended for people age 50 and older, including those who’ve previously received Zostavax.

Common side effects from the shingles vaccine include pain, redness, soreness, or swelling at the site of the injection, or other symptoms such as headache, muscle aches, fever, shivering, fatigue. People who have one of these reactions after the first dose of vaccine can still get the second dose. Serious side effects from the shingles vaccine are rare.

You should not get a shingles vaccine if you have a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine. In addition, women who might be pregnant or are breastfeeding, and people with a current outbreak of shingles should wait before getting the vaccine.

District Moda and Kaiser medical insurance do offer free shingles vaccines to adults 50 years or older.


Benefits Contact Numbers

Moda Health or Delta Dental benefits or claims:

Kaiser Health appointments, benefits, or claims:

VSP Vision benefits or claims:

  • VSP Member Services 1-800-877-7195

Willamette Dental Group appointments, benefits, or claims:

The Employee Assistance Program:

OEBB life or long term disability insurance:

Flexible Spending Plan:


Waking Up to Our Need for Sleep

A full night’s sleep is an essential ingredient for a healthy mind and body.  If your body doesn’t get a chance to properly recharge you’re already starting the next day at a disadvantage. You might find yourself: feeling drowsy, irritable or sometimes depressed, struggling to take in new information at work, remembering things or making decisions, and perhaps craving more unhealthy foods.

Are we getting enough sleep?  Maybe not.  According to the CDC about one in three Oregonians are usually getting less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep a night.  Not getting enough sleep is associated with an increased risk for a number of chronic diseases and conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, obesity, and depression.  Not getting enough sleep also contributes to motor vehicle crashes and machinery-related injuries.

How can I improve my sleep?  Sleeplessness can be complex and may ultimately require a doctor’s attention, but there are many things you can try yourself to improve your sleep.

  • Reduce blue light exposure in the evening. Exposure to light during the day is beneficial to sleep, but nighttime light exposure is not.  Blue light is considered the most detrimental light to a good night’s sleep.  Devices like smartphones and TVs emit quite a bit of blue light, and turning them off a couple hours before bed can make a big difference.
  • No caffeine after noon. Caffeine can stay in your system for 6-8 hours.  Caffeine can be found in lots of unlikely things such as decaffeinated coffee, so check carefully what you are consuming after noon.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can make you drowsy, but it also increases symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns.  Alcohol consumption can also reduce melatonin production.
  • Optimize your bedroom. Key factors for great sleep include: the right temperature (between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit), less light (softer room lighting and room darkening curtains), and less noise or white noise.

Sometimes an underlying health condition may be the cause of your sleep problems.  If making some simple changes aren’t improving your rest, it might be time to check with your doctor about a possible sleep disorder.


I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?                    Ernest Hemingway

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.

Posted in Classified Benefits Newsletter | Comments closed

Classified Benefits & Wellness Newsletter November 2019 Issue #2

Published by:

Arthur Hart, Classified Benefits Coordinator

Phone: 541-790-7679 e-mail: hart_a@4j.lane.edu


PEP Funds

The PEP Fund provides opportunity for professional development to help 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, conferences, and workshops. PEP funds are limited to staff development options initiated by employees.

This school year classified employees may make up to two requests, not to exceed a combined total of $500. Requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis until funds run out.

Please contact Arthur Hart at hart_a@4j.lane.edu or 541-790-7679 for questions regarding the use of PEP funds.


403(b) Vendor Fair

4J will be hosting a 403(b)/TSA Vendor Fair:

On Tuesday, November 12, 2019

From 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

At the Education Center Auditorium

A 403(b), commonly referred to as a Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) plan, is a retirement savings plan available to 4J employees.  By contract article 19.16, 4J offers classified staff a district contribution match.

Here’s how it works: The district will pay an amount equal to 1.75% of your monthly gross salary into your 403(b) savings account, if you commit .75% of your monthly gross salary into that same account.  You may elect to contribute more of your income into the 403(b) savings plan, but 4J will not contribute more than 1.75% of your monthly gross salary.

To get your 403(b) savings plan going you must first open a 403(b) account with an approved vendor.  Fortunately, we will have approved vendors at our district 403(b) vendor fair, and they can answer your 403(b) questions and get you signed up to start saving.

A 403(b) salary reduction agreement is on the 4J website, and will be available at the 403(b) vendor fair.


Exercise vs Depression

Nearly one in 10 adults in the United States struggles with depression, and prescription antidepressant medications are a common way to treat the condition. However, pills aren’t the only solution. Research shows that exercise is also an effective treatment for depression, although exercise alone isn’t necessarily enough for someone with severe depression.

How does exercise help depression?  Exercising has many health benefits, such as protecting against heart disease and diabetes, improving sleep, and lowering blood pressure. High-intensity exercise releases the body’s feel-good endorphins. However, for most of us, the real value is in low-intensity exercise sustained over time. That kind of activity spurs the release of proteins called neurotrophic or growth factors, which cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections.

Helpful exercise doesn’t require a gym.  Physical activity such as walking the dog, gardening, going for a bicycle ride or some sit-ups/push-ups at home can have a positive effect.  Any physical activity that gets you moving can help improve your mood.  Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression symptoms.  Even as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time may make a difference.

How do I start exercising?  Unfortunately, depression can affect our sleep, our energy levels, and our perception of pain, and all of this can really drain our motivation to exercise.  You may need to start small, and build up your exercise regimen over time.  Setting reasonable goals and meeting them can help you keep on track and motivated.  Consider asking someone to go walking with you.


Are You Sleepwalking?

The Food and Drug Administration is advising that rare but serious injuries have happened with certain common prescription insomnia medicines because of sleep behaviors including sleepwalking, sleep driving, and engaging in other activities while not fully awake. These complex sleep behaviors have also resulted in deaths. These behaviors appear to be more common with eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata), and zolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar, Intermezzo, Zolpimist) than other prescription medicines used for sleep.

As a result, the FDA is requiring a Boxed Warning, the most prominent warning, to be added to the prescribing information and the patient Medication Guides for these medicines. They are also requiring a Contraindication to avoid use in patients who have previously experienced an episode of complex sleep behavior with eszopiclone, zaleplon, and zolpidem.


Out, damned spot! out, I say!

William Shakespeare, Macbeth


E-Cigarettes and Vaping

In September of 2019 Federal health officials announced that they were moving to ban the sale of flavored liquids used in e-cigarettes.  E-cigarettes are devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales. The liquid usually has nicotine and flavoring in it, as well as other additives.  E-cigarettes are considered tobacco products because most of them contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco.

Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including:

  • ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
  • flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease
  • volatile organic compounds
  • heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead

E-cigarettes are very popular with young people. Their use has grown dramatically in the last five years. Today, more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults.  This has created a concerning national youth health epidemic.

It is clear that there is a lot about vaping we don’t know.  However, we do know the Food and Drug Administration has not found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit.  If you are interested in quitting smoking or vaping, you can try a cessation program available through your district health insurance.


A Breath of Fresh Air

NASA research has brought many down to earth health innovations to our planet bound lives.  However, NASA has also spent a lot of effort trying to find the best planet bound health innovations to take into space.

The NASA Clean Air Study of the 1980s discovered that several common houseplants were able to filter out toxic chemicals in the air such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia.  Though important for a closed system like a space station, recent studies have shown that health effects from indoor air pollutants may be just as serious here on earth.

Dr. B. C. Wolverton led the NASA study about 30 years ago, and according to its results, The Florist’s Chrysanthemum and Peace Lily are the best plants for purifying the air.  The Variegated Snake Plant, English Ivy, Red Edged and Cornstalk Dracaena, and Bamboo Palm are also notable for removing indoor air pollutants.  One plant per 100 square feet is recommended for efficient air cleaning.

More than just an air purifier.  A 2015 study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology suggests active interaction with indoor plants (like touching and smelling) can reduce physiological and psychological stress. This is accomplished through the suppression of sympathetic nervous system activity and diastolic blood pressure, and the promotion of comfortable, soothed, and natural feelings.

Plants can increase productivity.  Research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that plants in the office can significantly increase employee’s satisfaction and improve their self-reported levels of concentration and perceptions of air quality.  Furthermore, enriching a previously spartan space with plants served to increase productivity by 15 percent.

A good rule of thumb may be to exercise your green thumb.   If your green thumb is inconsistent, try starting with a plant that is forgiving and easy to care for, like a spider plant or a snake plant.  Be aware that some houseplants can be toxic to pets.  If you have a pet that loves to chew on leaves, you should consider a non-toxic plant.  Happy gardening.


ACT WorkKeys Testing

WorkKeys is a series of tests provided by ACT to measure foundational skills required for success in the workplace.

Highly Qualified status was created by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requiring individuals working as educational assistants, particularly in the Special Education and Title IA program, to have a basic set of “credentials.” The Act requires these types of educational assistants to either have, at a minimum, a two-year Associate’s Degree or 48 semester credit hours (72 quarter credit hours) of college credit.

If you would like to become highly qualified, but do not have enough college credit, you may take a WorkKeys assessment that tests your abilities in math, reading, and graphic literacy.  The district offers three WorkKeys tests, including Applied Math, Workplace Documents (Reading) and Graphic Literacy.

To sign up for the free WorkKeys testing offered by the district, please fill out the online Eugene 4J WorkKeys Test Interest Form.

The full test is offered regularly at the Ed Center, and takes about three hours to complete.  WorkKeys practice material can be found on the ACT website.  For more information about WorkKeys testing, please contact Arthur Hart at hart_a@4j.lane.edu or 541-790-7679


Here is a test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.                -Richard Bach

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.

Posted in Classified Benefits Newsletter | Comments closed

Classified Benefits & Wellness Newsletter October 2019 Issue #1

Published by:

Arthur Hart, Classified Benefits Coordinator

Phone: 541-790-7679 e-mail: hart_a@4j.lane.edu


2019/20 Medical Plan tips

Congratulations to everyone who completed their OEBB open enrollment!  Here are some tips for getting the most out of your district medical insurance this year:

For Moda members:   If you selected Moda Plan 3 or 4 this year you, should consider selecting Coordinated Care.  A PCP360 is a primary care physician that you choose from a list of qualifying physicians.  Selecting a PCP360 will place you in the Moda Coordinated Care program, which has lower deductibles, lower out of pocket maximums, and copayments with deductibles waived for office visits, specialist visits, and urgent care.  Selecting a PCP360 will not reduce your network size or require referrals for most specialist visits.  You can select a PCP360 online at the mymoda portal, or by calling 1-866-923-0409 before October 25th.

For Kaiser members: If you are new to Kaiser Insurance this year, please start by calling the New Member Welcome Desk at 1-888-491-1124.  The Kaiser network is still growing in Lane county, but most services should be readily available locally.  If you are having any difficulty accessing medical services locally, please call Hallie Todd with Kaiser at 541-431-9626 for assistance.  If you would like a 2019/20 Kaiser enrollment booklet, let me know and I will send one to you.

PERS Presentation October 24th

4J will be hosting the PERS educational presentation: Understanding Your PERS Pension. This presentation is suitable for PERS members just beginning their careers, for those within a few months of retirement, and for all members in between. The session will be presented by Kris Kartub of Valic, and snacks will be provided.

Topics will include:

  • Understanding the differences between Tier 1, Tier 2, and OPSRP
  • Pension benefit calculation methods
  • Understanding your IAP account
  • Retirement option choices

The presentation will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Ed Center Auditorium on Thursday, October 24th, and will last approximately one hour and 15 minutes.

To sign up to attend, please send an email to hart_a@4j.lane.edu or call Arthur at 541-790-7679. Be sure to indicate if you will be bringing a guest.


Flu Shot Clinic

A Free Flu Shot Clinic in the Ed Center Auditorium, at 200 N. Monroe St., is available to 4J Employees and their dependents.  In this case, “dependents” refers to spouses and domestic partners, as well as insurance eligible children age 10 or over.  Parents with children under 10 years of age should contact their pediatrician.  All children 10-16 years of age must have a parent or guardian with them for vaccination.

Ed Center flu shot clinics will be held on:

  • Thursday, October 10, 3–5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 15, 3–5:30 p.m.

Flu shot eligibility extends to:

  • All active employees (including those who are not insurance-eligible due to less than half-time status)
  • All insurance eligible dependents of active employees, including those who have waived coverage
  • All retirees and their dependents who are currently covered on the 4J insurance
  • Student teachers and substitutes (licensed and classified)

Flu shot eligibility does not extend to:

  • Retirees who are no longer on the 4J insurance
  • Retirees’ dependents who are not on the 4J coverage (even when the retiree is still covered)

The Influenza Immunization Consent Form is available on the 4J flu shot webpage.  If you would like to print it out and fill it in ahead of time, you are welcome, but not required, to do so.  Consent forms will also be available at the Ed Center.  Also available on the 4J flu shot webpage is a CDC Vaccine Information Statement.


Financial Workshop October 23rd

Near retirement? Still a ways off?  Learn about your options in a presentation given by John Van Ravenhorst, CRPC.  The workshop will be held at the OEA offices at 2815 Coburg Rd at 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23rd.  Partners are welcome, and light snacks will be provided.

Topics covered at the workshop include:

  • Current legislative and PERS Board changes
  • PERS retirement basics, including eligibility and payout options for each Tier and IAP
  • Retirement actions to take within five years, one year, and 90 days 

If interested, in attending please pre-register directly with John at 541-343-2928 or john@bridgeswealth.com.


Leave It or Not

It is the start of a new school year; here is a quick guide to understanding classified employee paid leave.  This is intended as a general guideline for paid leave use; please refer to the CBA for specific leave details.

Sick Leave- Article 13.1

  • 12 month employees receive 14 days a year, 11 month employees receive 13 days a year, and all other classified employees receive 12 days a year.
  • Two sick days are earned and credited to employee accounts on the first day of the work year, and the remaining sick leave is earned and credited throughout the year based on hours worked. Only earned sick leave is available for use
  • Sick leave may be used for the employee’s illness, injury, medical appointment, or serious health condition. Up to 40 hours of sick leave per year  may be used to care for an ill or injured family member.

Bereavement Leave- Article 13.2

  • Bereavement leave provides an employee up to five days of absence for the death of and/or services for a family member. These days do not need to be consecutive.
  • Up to two additional days of bereavement leave, because of extenuating circumstances.
  • OFLA eligible employees may take additional paid or unpaid leave per Article 13.5.5.

Personal Days- Article 13.3

  • Up to two personal days are granted to classified employee each fiscal year.
  • Personal days do not roll over from year to year, and will go away if not used within the same fiscal year that they are granted.
  • Personal days may be taken in hourly segments, and can be used for any reason except to extend school holidays or vacation periods.

Parental Leave- Article 13.4

  • Up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child.
  • Unused vacation and compensatory time at the time parental leave begins shall be used during the course of parental leave.
  • FMLA/OFLA may allow the optional use of earned sick leave for parental leave.

Family Medical Leave (OFLA/FMLA)- Article 13.5

  • FMLA and OFLA are federal or state laws ensuring job-protected leaves. If an employee qualifies, it may allow additional access to protected sick leave, bereavement leave, parental leave, and military leave.
  • All FMLA and/or OFLA leaves require a completed Leave of Absence Request form.
  • Though Family Medical Leave is unpaid, employees are entitled to use any accrued paid vacation, sick or personal leave.
  • The district will make its monthly contribution toward employee benefits while the employee is on a qualifying Family Medical Leave.
  • Qualifying for, and coordinating FMLA and/or OFLA, can be complex. Please contact the 4J leaves department at 541-790-7676 & HR_leaves@4j.lane.edu for specifics on individual situations 

Jury Duty- Article 13.6

  • An employee called for jury duty shall be paid regular pay for jury duty time if they are required to be present by the court.
  • Jury compensation payable to the employee shall be endorsed by the employee and made payable to the District. Mileage reimbursements made by the court may be retained by the employee.
  • Special jury duty rules that apply to swing shift employees are outlined in Article 13.6.3 

Court Appearance- Article 13.7

  • No deductions of an employee’s wages will be made when required for appearances in court or before any government body, except when an employee initiates the cause of action or is a convicted defendant.

Vacation- Article 18.3

  • 12 month employees are eligible for paid vacation. Two weeks a year for under four years of service, three weeks a year for over four years of service, and four weeks a year for over 14 years of service.

Further Considerations-

  • All paid leave days are counted as the number of hours in an employee’s regularly assigned workday.
  • Probationary employees are not entitled to use paid vacation, personal days, bereavement leave (except when subject to OFLA eligibility), and paid jury duty.
  • Each type of leave has a Notice Requirement which all employees are required to follow.
  • A Leave of Absence Request form is required for bereavement, and all leaves including family or medical absences of more than five working days.
  • The district has Attendance Expectations, and failure to meet those may subject an employee to disciplinary action.

Being healthy is the crown that only the sick can see. A lot of times, we take it for granted.         -Hasan Minhaj

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.

Posted in Classified Benefits Newsletter | Comments closed
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