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!
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 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.