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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mid Year Reflections-January 17, 2018

Sexton Mt. Families:

We are nearly half way through the school year.  At our Staff Meeting this week we took time to reflect on how our students are doing and what we've learned. 

The instructional core was discussed and we looked at formative assessment data to identify what is working well and what we could do better.  We talked about the importance of time in text during the 90 Minute Literacy Block.  Our students need ample practice in order to grow as readers.

Attendance Matters-We have a number of children who have missed more than 10% of the school year.  A generic letter will soon go out to the families of these children.  The purpose of the letter is to bring awareness. We know that families want the best for children including success in school and beyond.  Strong attendance enables children to build the social and academic skills needed for success. 

Community Support-We know that our families experience a wide-range of challenges.  We also know that Sexton Mt. families ROCK and they support one another during difficult times.  When it comes to attendance, I SO appreciate how our families reach out to one another during times of need.  Thank you for caring for the kids on your street, your child's friends and others. Every day I see these small acts of kindness and encouragement. 

Practice Matters-These daily small acts of kindness matter to families.  What we practice grows.  We hope that families will make sure kids practice reading away from school.  See the attached document for ideas on how you can support your child at their current reading level. 

Thank you for sharing your children with us! 


Teresa Clemens-Brower, Ed.D.
Wish List
Our fifth-grade classroom libraries need non-fiction titles. See the link below for specific titles needed for supporting analytical thinking.
Wish List-Non-Fiction Books for 5th Grade

Another Beaverton school is collecting donations for a new early childhood classroom.  If your children have outgrown any of the following items, please send them to Sexton Mt. and we'll make sure they get to the right space.

visuals/posters-(the alphabet, numbers, rules, calendar, shapes, I feel/need, emotions problem solving, etc.)
- a curtain or sheet that would work for a cozy reading cove
- stuffed animals
preschool aged audio books
- kinetic sand
-stress balls
-dry beans
-noise cancelling headphones
- weighted items (medicine ball, weighted vest, weighted lap blanket, etc.)
- playdough
- finger fidgets
- sand and sandbox
- magnetic sensory objects
- rice
- empty toilet paper/paper towel rolls
- marbles
- feathers
- any sensory toys 
-fire station characters
- mid-sized rug
- simple puzzles
- a timer
- body pillow
preschool aged games (alphabet/number learning, bingo, etc.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Community, Reading and August 27, 2018-December 29, 2017

Sexton Mt. Families:

I LOVE how our community comes together to help one another.  This morning, a student's shoe was stuck on his bike pedal.  He'd fallen off the bike several times on his way to school but had not been able to free his shoe.  By the time he reached campus, he was so entangled that he wasn't able to move.    Several concerned students reported that he needed help but by the time I reached him, three Sexton Mt. parents were gathered around and making a plan.  Together, they quickly freed the foot and the boy was on his way.  Time and time again, our families come together to support one another in times of need.  Thank you for modeling for our students what it means to be part of a community!

This morning, I visited classrooms during morning meetings.  Students gasped when Mr. Hayhurst asked his question of the day.  What would you do on a cold, rainy, windy day if there were no electronics?  After they clarified what "no electronics" meant (yes-even tablets), they shared ideas about how they would spend time.  Joseph would play the game of Life.   Aeris would practice jujitsu with her dad.   Others would play with pets, ride bikes (dressed for the weather), play Monopoly, play with siblings or friends, sleep, sit and relax, ask grandparents to come over and play, and complete a sphere puzzle.  One student hoped that the temperature would drop below freezing so that the cold rain would turn to snow. 

When I came to screen-free ways to spend a day, I was surprised that only Mr. Hayhurst mentioned reading in front of the fire.  I realized that the book I'm currently reading is on my Kindle app so I would have to go to the library or book store in order to read it.  Luckily, I have lots of other books in my home, car and office so if I had a reading emergency, I would be prepared.  I hope your children plan to read over the break.

Did you read the article about the boy who set a goal to read 100 books in a day? What an inspiration!  Practice with FAST, FUN and EASY books grows readers.  Older students might find if to revisit a favorite series.  Younger students might pull out their favorites (ones they know by heart).  Please encourage your child to set goals and read wildly over the break.

Coaching Your Child to Use Word Attack Strategies
Asking your child to "sound out" tricky words is not an effective prompt to support a striving reader. There are several more effective prompts to put your child in charge of their reading at the word level.

If your child is a 2G-2R level reader, you may experience frustration about how to help them decode or use word attack strategies. If so, you are invited to join our Intervention Teacher, Trina Simkins-Moore for a Parents as Reading Coaches session prior to the BINGO night on Friday, January 19th from 5:30-6:30pm. Pizza will be provided and you will have time to practice with your child.

Please RSVP to by January 12.

Planning for 2018-2019-August 27-First Day
The first day of school next fall will be August 27.  It's been several years since we've had a start date in August so please make note now.  The first week of school is always full of important information, routines and relationship building so kids should be in class every day.

Welcome New Staff!
Please join us in welcoming Kerri Truesdell and Teresa Merek to the Sexton Mt. team. Teresa replaces Chelsea Sanderson who moved to Arizona.  She will work with small groups to support reading and will serve as playground supervisor and crossing guard.  Kerri returns to our SRC team as an assistant in the upper SRC.  Kerry will replace Cheryl Jepsen who is moving to Montana.

Thank you for a fabulous 2017.
As I reflect back over the year, your children make up some of my best memories.  Thank you for sharing them with us!   Have a wonderful break!

Teresa Clemens-Brower, Ed. D.
Sexton Mt. Elementary School

8:08am is a great time for kids to get to school.  We offer supervision in the cafeteria, gym, library and on the playground from 8:10-8:25 so kids can spend time with friends before the day begins.
3:05pm is when the dismissal bell rings.  

Upcoming Events
January 4-School Resumes
January 15-Martin Luther King Jr. Day -No School
January 19 Family Bingo Night 6:30pm
February 2-Grading Day-No School
February 6-Kindergarten Orientation 4:30pm
February 19-President's Day
February 23-Talent Show 6:30pm
March 1 and 2-Conference Days-No School
May 31-Family Literacy Night/Summer Reading Kick Off at Beaverton City Library
August 27-First Day of 2018-2019 School Year

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year-December 12, 2017

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

"My mom let me eat all the broken cookies this weekend!"  The whole cookie he held up for me was a complete shape until he bit into the red and green sparkled surface.  It was the first thing that disappeared from his lunch.  

Our kids are  excited not only about cookies but also about many things happening in their world right now!  Frost on the bark chips, Amazon deliveries, the ACMA music program, Zoolights, Hanukkah, family photo shoots with Santa, visiting relatives from far away places and an upcoming 10 day break from school are all causing a special sort of energy in the air here at Sexton Mountain School. 

Our focus remains on academics and positive classroom routines.  We will maximize every minute of learning between now and the start of winter break.  Thanks for making sure kids are well-rested and on time for school.  Relationships are the heart of teaching and learning and our teachers spend the first 15 minutes of the day working to strengthen our sense of community.  Together we are better!

Though it's not even January yet, I'm already preparing for the 18-19 school year.  We are getting ready for Kindergarten Orientation.  Please let your neighbors know that our kick off for fall will begin with Kindergarten Orientation at 4:30pm on Tuesday, February 6.

Though we haven't yet made it through Winter Break, we are busy planning for a summer of student reading.  Our Summer Reading Kick Off-Family Literacy Night at the Beaverton City Library will be Thursday, May 31 from 5:30-6:30pm.  Like last year, we hope to showcase the many languages and cultures our school represents.  If your family would like to host a table, please email

Thank you for sharing your children with us!


Teresa Clemens-Brower
Sexton Mountain Elementary School

Screen Time-Many families have shared concerns with me about the amount of time kids spend on devices and how screen time impacts sleep, play and home literacy habits.  Check out a tool the American Academy of Pediatrics has come up with to help families make informed decisions.

Sleep-Remember that children need plenty of rest for brains to grow and thrive!  Kids in elementary school should get 9-11 hours a night.

Parking Lot Safety-Thanks for continuing to keep our parking lot safe for children, families and staff by exercising caution, patience and following traffic patterns and laws. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Personal Safety, Inclement Weather and Attendance-Sexton Mt. News, November 28, 2017

Sexton Mt. Families:

Over the long weekend my family went to Bend to visit my parents.  It was likely the warmest Thanksgiving we've experienced for a while so my brother gave my dad a hard time about the enormous snow blower my dad has parked and ready in the garage.  My brother recently moved back from Florida so my dad had to help him get ready for winter weather.  

Is your family ready for winter? Check out the website below to learn about how we respond or plan for inclement weather.

Personal Safety

At school we are reviewing expectations for safe, respectful and responsible behavior.  Because routines change and the people in a child's life are often different as extended family visits, now is a great time to talk about personal safety with your child at home too.  Stranger Danger, Pedestrian Safety, Being Separated While Shopping, Safe Touching and Fire Safety are all important topics to have ongoing conversations about with your children.

Attendance Matters

In the Beaverton School District, we know that attendance matters.  Research shows that chronically absent students (attending below 90%) can suffer academically.  We understand that some absences are unavoidable.  The important thing is to get your children to school as much as possible.  Whether absences are arranged ahead of time, or not, they can still have a negative impact on students because they represent lost learning time in class.

In the State of Oregon there are three types of excused absences.  They include the illness of a student, the illness of an immediate family member, or an emergency (ORS 339.065).  All other absences, even those that are prearranged, are noted as unexcused. 

Attendance matters starting in Kindergarten. By middle and high school many attendance habits have been formed.  Chronic absences are the leading warning sign that a student will drop out.  Please do not schedule vacations during school time.  Families should avoid activities that require your children to miss school.   Try to line up vacations and doctor appointments with the school calendar in order to avoid missing valuable learning opportunities.  Good attendance will help your children do well now and in the future.

Please refer to the following link for tips for families on building good attendance habits.

Thank you for sharing your children with us!  We look forward to a productive work period before our next break in December.

Teresa Clemens-Brower, Ed. D.
Sexton Mt. Elementary School

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Joy of a Great Book-November 21, 2017

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:
     On my nightstand right now, Ivan Doig’s The Last Bus to Wisdom sits finished. It looks so lonely.  Before I finished it, I couldn’t put it down. I was so sad when it ended. I hope that each of our students will leave elementary school knowing the joy a good book can bring.
 When I visited classrooms this week, I was delighted to see students engaged in reading!  I passed by the library earlier today and Anthony was in a rocking chair previewing a book.  In Ms. Burnett’s class, Caleb was reading Green Eggs and Ham.  In Ms. Cole’s room, students were comparing a video with a news article.  It’s that time of year when students are deeply engaged in a great text.   Students are working to build deeper meaning as they develop vocabulary, play with sounds, analyze characters and make predictions.    I am delighted that students not only seem to be eager readers but also understand the importance of understanding what they were reading at many levels.
I hope that your children will enjoy great books over the 5-day weekend.   On Monday, I will greet kids out front with, “Glad your back!  Tell me what you read!”  Based on what children have already revealed, I know that some have real adventures planned and others look forward to adventures in books.
            This afternoon I joined kindergarten in music and they were doing a snow dance with scarves.  I was reminded once again that I need to make sure my car is stocked with extra warm clothes, snowboots, and books just in case I get stuck in the snow due to weather.  Thank you for sharing your children with us!


Teresa Clemens-Brower, Principal

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Preparing for Winter-November 14, 2017

 Sexton Mt. Families:

Our students are active learners.  As I visited classrooms Monday afternoon, kids were dramatizing stories, comparing spelling patterns, comparing words with similar meanings, ordering words from least intense to most intense and cutting out power words from a kids’ newspaper. Some readers were reading just right books on devices (does your child know how to log into Bookshelf) and others were lost in paper copies of just right books.   Most kids were able to tell me how the activity they were doing related to their individual learning goal.

An essential part of learning any new skill is practice.  While our students spend at least 90 minutes a day engaged in reading or learning about reading, practice at home is important too.  By the end of kindergarten (Level 1G), students are expected to be able to read at home for at least 30 minutes each night.  Building stamina takes practice.  Thank you for making sure kids have lots of fun, fast easy books to enjoy at home.  By the white level, students should finish a chapter book every week.  Practice makes proficient!

Last winter when we had school closures due to weather, some children reported not having enough reading materials at their level.  When school closed early, one student took a stack of books home with her.  

 Not all were so forward thinking.  If you need to stock up on books at your child’s level OR if you need access to your child’s password for Bookshelf, please let us know. 

Thank you for sharing your children with us!

Teresa Clemens-Brower

Winter Weather Planning

Some forecasters are predicting a winter with lots of snow and ice.  Please make sure you have a plan for closures, late starts, mid-day closure and snow routes.   See the link below for general information regarding Inclement Weather.

Stay Informed
School closure or delayed start decisions will typically be made and posted on the District website by 5:15 a.m., then communicated to local media including TV, radio, electronic and print. Information is also sent to parents via SchoolMessenger and posted to BSD’s Official Facebook Page and Twitter .

2-Hour Delay
When there is a 2-hour delay in opening school, all schools will open two hours later than regularly scheduled.  The Sexton Mt. instructional day will begin at 10:30am.  The Sexton Mt. cafeteria will open for before school supervision at 10:05am   Students may go to class at 10:25am.  The school day will officially begin at 10:30am. 

Snow Routes
If buses are not able to safely navigate at higher elevations, buses will be on snow routes.  When buses are on snow routes, Bus Route 349 will be canceled.  If your child rides bus 349, plan accordingly for before and after school.  Send a note with your child telling how your child will get home after school and make sure your child is aware of the afterschool plans if conditions don’t change by afternoon.  Learn more at

Early Closure
If weather conditions change dramatically during the day, schools might close early.  Last year when this happened we had over 200 families pick children up very early.  Over 100 children were picked up well after dismissal time.  Our last bus delivered kids home after 6:00pm.  We encourage and support families to make attendance decisions for your child(ren) based on your own assessment of travel conditions at your location.  Please think now about how to support your child. 

Upcoming Dates to Note
November 22, 23, 24-School Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday
December 21-January 3-School Closed for Winter Break
January 4, 2018-School Resumes

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Routines, Rituals, Regulation-November 7, 2017

Sexton Mt. Families:

During “News and Announcements” time in Ms. Baldwin’s class today I learned some interesting facts.  One student shared that Christmas is in 48 days.  Another shared that two family members would be living with her for an extended period.  Another shared the weather forecast.   One student had gained a pet and another had lost a pet.   Exciting things are happening in the lives of our children.

The time between October 31 and January 1 can be especially stressful for children.  At school, we are trying to create a supportive, predictable environment where kids can stay engaged in learning despite all of the exciting or stressful things happening away from school.  We practice and reteach routines more frequently this time of year so that kids can rely on them when things get exciting or stressful.

Think about the routines and rituals your child relies on for success at home.   Think about what you do to set your child up to make it to school on time and ready to learn each day.   The nine-year old living at my house this fall had a morning routine that started the night before.
1.     Put completed homework in backpack. Wash and fill water bottle and put it in backpack.   Put backpack next to the door with shoes and coat.
2.     Pick out clothes and put everything on the chair in the bedroom.
3.     Take a shower and brush teeth.  Leave the toothbrush and toothpaste in a spot that will be easy to find in the morning.
4.     Ask about options for breakfast.
5.     Sleep then wake up and let mom know choice for breakfast. 
6.     Eat breakfast, brush teeth and hair, put on shoes and get backpack. 
7.     Leave for school.

When parts of the routine were left out, it could change everything and result in tears or crisis in the morning.  When a child is upset in the morning, it can change the whole day.   

Knowing that routines help children regulate and that regulated children are better able to engage in learning, I’d like to invite you to think about the routines your family relies on in order for kids to be ready to learn.  Before things get crazy busy, see if you can list the steps to your routines so that your child could have a non-verbal support if you weren’t available.  Perhaps you can approach it like a fantasy vacation opportunity.  If you were going to leave your child with a loving caregiver for a week so you could vacation in a tropical paradise, what would you identify as your child’s most important ritual or routine?  List the important steps of your child’s most important routines.   Have your child add a picture to represent each, then encourage your child to use the list.

When we can capture the routines of daily life, it’s easier to use the same skill to help kids develop routines for new or perceived difficult times or tasks.  Now might be a good time to think about your own healthy ways for dealing with stress and the routines or rituals you use to keep regulated during stressful times.  Does your child know that you experience difficult things but have ways for staying regulated?  Is there a way you could make your healthy strategies visible?  (i.e.- “I’m going to the gym because it will energize me before the meeting I’m dreading.”  “I feel grumpy and tired so I’m going to sing along with this song while I make dinner because it makes me feel HAPPY!”  “That driver made me mad so I’m going to inhale deeply and count to 4 to calm down.  Will you help me?”

Developing the skills and habits of mind needed in order to tackle daily tasks and challenges builds resilient children.   Helping our kids learn how to identify emotions and deal with them in healthy ways allows them to be ready for academics.  Whether it’s just an ordinary average day or a windy day after the clocks have changed and the beloved pet passed away and house guests have moved in, we are striving to provide an environment where kids can grow and flourish.  Thanks for partnering with us to provide a great place for kids to grow!


Teresa Clemens-Brower

Upcoming Dates to Note
November 10-Veteran’s Day Observed-No School for Students
November 22, 23, 24-School Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday
December 21-January 3-School Closed for Winter Break
January 4, 2018-School Resumes

 Help Wanted-Fun Volunteer Opportunity

 We are looking for a few volunteers to support our students in the lunchroom by:
                Modeling and acknowledging good manners.
                Praising students who eat efficiently and make good choices.
                Making personal connections with our students.
                Helping to wipe tables between classes.