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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Practice, Vocabulary and Review-February 13, 2018


Sexton Mt. Families:

As I watched the Olympics, the snowboarder from my hometown sparked a conversation.  Within seconds, our phones were out and three of us were searching for facts about the boarder from Bend.  Between commentator comments, my family's phone research, and the advertisements that showed athletes starting young and working daily to build skills, I concluded that practice makes proficient.

One of the themes I noticed as I read report cards last week was the importance of practice.  It takes focused practice to grow as a reader.   Just by reading widely, students grow their vocabulary by 1500 words per year or more.  When kids pay attention as they read, they notice new words and are able to use the clues in the text to understand meaning.  By third grade (white level texts) books will have 1 or 2 words per page that are not in students’ every day speech. By this level, readers are learning to notice these words and think about synonyms, literal and non-literal meanings and understanding the difference between words that mean almost the same thing.  Thank you for encouraging your child to read every day and to pay attention to their thinking as they read.  Practice makes proficient.

Last week I shared information about the assessments that students take to show how they are progressing towards the standards.  I tried to kill two birds with one stone by including content about parking lot safety (always an issue at Elementary Schools).  Several people expressed surprise about the complexity of what was expected by fourth grade.  If you haven't recently explored the reading anchor standards  http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/CCRA/R/  you might be surprised by the depth and complexity of thinking required by students.  Our children have the world at their fingertips and they must know how to navigate thoughtfully (ie-my Bend Olympian search generated 3.9 million results). We must prepare students to thinking critically and creatively as they engage in all of the information they are exposed to daily.

The BEST part of our school is the people!  We have children, families and staff with a wide range of background experiences so we have a rich learning environment.  Our District Goal is to empower all students to achieve post-high school success.  One way we do this is by providing a safe, positive and inclusive learning environment and by defining clear academic and behavioral expectations for students.

Just as there are surprises about academic expectations for children, some of the behavioral expectations and how we talk about the behaviors have also changed.  

Because our community is so diverse,  the purpose of the next part of today's newsletter is to provide some general information and a link to a resource about a few important topics;  suicide, threats and sexual behaviors.  I hope that this brief reminder will help us be better aligned so that we can be more consistent in how we approach reports of words or behaviors involving these things at school. 

Our District has developed protocols so that we implement a systematic approach to investigate and assess concerns.  Please see page 23 of the Beaverton Student Family Handbook (https://www.beaverton.k12.or.us/PS/Pages/handbook.aspx) for specific information. 
  
Threats-When words (face to face/online) or actions place others in fear of serious bodily injury, it is considered a threat.  Threats should be reported to an adult and are always investigated.  

Suicide-When a student makes any suicide gesture and/or talks about or shares thoughts of suicide, staff are expected to take immediate action. If you have concerns during non-school hours, please call the 24 hour Washington County Crisis Line at 503-291-9111.

Sexual Incidents-When incidents of a sexual nature occur, we are responsible for ensuring that adequate supervision, safety planning, and interventions are put in place.  Our goal is not to sexualize developmentally ‘normal’ behaviors, however, some sexual behaviors are normative, but socially inappropriate. If the inappropriate, but normative behavior continues in spite of adult intervention, we increase support.

Because our school serves students ranging in age from 5 to 12, our interventions and responses will be age appropriate.  We trust our students to be safe and make healthy decisions regarding their behavior.  We know that families and staff will work together to teach skills, academic and behavioral, that have not yet been learned.  We appreciate partnering with you. 

Thank you for sharing your children with us!

Sincerely,


Teresa Clemens-Brower
Principal

February 19-Presidents' Day-No School
August 27-First Day of School for Students

Mark Your Calendar
If your child will someday have access to technology when you are not around, I encourage you to attend a special event at the Beaverton City Library on March 13 from 6-8 pm. Our PTC and the Beaverton City Library are partnering to feature the movie Screenagers.  

Book Club Wish List
We are continuing to collect books for our Mo Willems book club.  While donations of all books by this author will be put to good use, we are trying to grow our Pigeon collection.  Check out the link below for specific titles we need.
Mo Willems Book Club-Sexton Mt.

Thanks to:
Thanks to the DeMartino, Hamilton-Kerr, and Schilardi families for their generous donation of Mo Willems books.
Thanks to Lisa Van Netta, Mindy Lary, Jennifer Schmidt-Elkins, Katie Gallagher, Suzanne Peerenboom, Jackie Gruginski, Jenna Mumba, Yana Blinkova, and Andrea Treu for sharpening pencils for our school!  
Thanks to all who continue to send items for the new early childhood classroom at another Beaverton School.



Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sexton Mt. News-January 30, 2018




Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

Friday is a Grading Day so students won't come to school but staff will be hard at work on report cards.  As I've visited classrooms this week, I've noticed that teachers are teaching and students are learning.  It's exciting to see how much progress children have made since fall.

When you get your child's report card on February 9 (delivered via backpack mail or available on ParentVue) keep in mind that marks will reflect how your child is doing at the half-way point.  

When thinking about proficiency grading, imagine a student hiking to the top of a mountain
that represents an end-of-year target.  At the mid-way point through the school year, teachers
will be sharing information with you about the distance they have traveled toward the mountaintop (or the target), as well as the rate at which they are progressing.

Our hope is for every child to have a mountain top experience by June. 
Thank you for sharing your children with us!

Sincerely,
Teresa Clemens-Brower

Wish List
*Donations of Clorox wipes will be put to good use in classrooms.  Send them to the office.
*We need a volunteer to sharpen hundreds of pencils for us.  If you have a sharpener at home, we can send them home in backpack mail with your child. Email Mrs. CB if you can do this job.

Thank you!
*Thanks to the Devereux family for a generous donation of books for classroom libraries.
*Thanks to Jen Fife-Adams, Roger Golliver and the whole OBOB team for all of the energy they've put into OBOB. Now that battles have started, kids are in the thick of competition!

Save the Date

August 27-First Day of School for 1st-5th Graders and Kindergarten students with last name A-L
August 28-First Day of School for Kindergarten students last name M-Z

Teresa Clemens-Brower, Ed. D.
Principal
Sexton Mt. Elementary School
503-356-2470

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Learning Continues! January 23, 2018



Sexton Mt. Families:

The cafeteria was packed Friday night as families enjoyed Bingo Night.  Thanks to Toni Fisher for organizing this time for families to come together and have fun together.  Thanks to our PTC for providing fabulous prizes.  Thanks to Jim Hayhurst and Kaela Munoz for volunteering their time to call numbers.  We have a very special community!

Also on Friday night, Ms. Simkins-Moore held a "Coaching your Reader" class for families.  Families learned ways to help children grow in their independence as readers beyond the "sound it out" coaching adults often provide.  Thanks to Ms. S'Moore for providing such powerful information for helping readers develop agency.  We recognize parents as partners!

As I've visited classrooms this week, I've seen students engaged in important work!  The experiences our teachers provide can't be replicated!  Attendance matters and we hope kids will be here every minute of the instructional day.  Our teachers have reminded students that in order for students to be in the classroom by 8:30 they need to be in the doors of the school by 8:24am each morning.   Remember that supervision begins at 8:05 in the cafeteria and 8:10 in the library, gym and on the playground, so 8:08 is a GREAT time to arrive.

Our students are engaged in learning academic skills and strategies as well as social and emotional skills.  As I've met with teachers over the past few weeks to discuss assessment results in reading and math, we've celebrated in the growth in our students.  We've also done some analysis of kids who are not on the trajectory for learning we'd expect.  As we talk about the students we're concerned about, it seems that many haven't yet developed the confidence needed to independently monitor how they are doing.  They look to adults for assurance or encouragement.  I've included a link about the topic below.
http://www.gettingsmart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/inflence-of-teaching-feature-964x670.png
www.gettingsmart.com
By Tom Vander Ark - Student agency may be as important an outcome of schooling as basic skills according to a new Harvard study.

The Sexton Mt. team is dedicated to your child's success.  Thank you for being our active partners in keeping them excited about learning!  Thank you for sharing your children with me!

Fondly,

Teresa Clemens-Brower, Ed. D.
Principal
Sexton Mt. Elementary School
503-356-2470

Appreciation
Thank you to those who purchased books for our fifth-grade team last week!  Teachers were so excited about adding books to their classroom libraries! 

Thank you to those who provided supplies for a classroom at another school.
Wish List
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.
- preschool aged audio books
- kinetic sand
-pinwheels
-dry beans
- playdough
- sandbox
- rice
- marbles
- feathers
- sensory toys 
- puppets
- mid-sized rug
- simple puzzles
- a timer 
- preschool aged games (alphabet/number learning, bingo, etc.)


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! 

Sincerely,

Teresa Clemens-Brower, Ed.D.
Principal
 
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
Link: http://a.co/56qD7aK
a.co

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
-pinwheels
-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 
-puppets
-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? http://abcn.ws/2yuhLN5 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 katrina_simkins-moore@beaverton.k12.or.us 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.
Principal
Sexton Mt. Elementary School
503-356-2470

Reminders
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 Teresa_Clemens-Brower@beaverton.k12.or.us.

Thank you for sharing your children with us!

Sincerely,

Teresa Clemens-Brower
Principal
Sexton Mountain Elementary School
503-356-2470

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. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Announces-New-Recommendations-for-Childrens-Media-Use.aspx

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.

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

Sincerely,
Teresa Clemens-Brower, Ed. D.
Principal
Sexton Mt. Elementary School
503-356-2470