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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Owl Pellets, Outreach, and More-January 17, 2012


Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                  

Friday afternoon I visited Mrs. Parson’s classroom and the 30 scientists there were engaged in disassembling owl pellets.  They were making predictions about what parts of the skeleton they were uncovering and how the pieces fit together.    

There is so much going on at Sexton Mountain this month!  The classes are buzzing with energy and excitement and our parent groups are getting things done.  The interesting weather has added an extra layer of enthusiasm and challenge so Sexton Mountain is a fun place to spend the day! 

The Site Council had a joint meeting with the parents of Nancy Ryles and Scholls Heights to continue our discussion of the book Mindset.  Our hope is to have a presentation on this book sometime this spring.  I highly recommend that families read the book and I have copies to loan if you are interested.  Especially for gifted children, this book has strategies that make sense for ensuring children are on the pathway to college and career readiness.

The Community Engagement Committee (previously known as the Local School Committee) met with the
CECs of five other elementary schools in our area to discuss how we can engage our community in the most efficient way. We all have so much work to do but with everyone doing a little; we can accomplish our goals and learn from each other.  We discussed two types of community engagement including connecting within our school and with those outside our school.  One of the suggestions the team came up with was to build a “Welcome Committee” so that when families move in to our school, they get connected right away.  We hope to have one volunteer for each grade level who would be willing to call new families at that grade level and invite them to join you for school events like Movie Night or the Science Fair.  We hope to connect families with similar language backgrounds so if a new family has a home language other than English, we can connect them with families in our neighborhood with similar language backgrounds.  Please contact me if you are willing to serve as an ambassador for our school.  The other project the CEC discussed was reaching out to local businesses.  In March, we are going to begin teaching our local businesses about our Positive Behavior Intervention and Support system.  We will provide them with an equivalent of our Eagle Eye that businesses can used to recognize our kids if they are being safe, respectful or responsible out in the community. If you have a close connection with a local business, please let me know.  Our school is also setting up a business partnership with Canfield Place Leisure Center.  They will be sending volunteers over to help students practice math facts each Tuesday morning.  Reaching out to engage our community will make a difference for our kids.


The PTC met Friday and discussed all of the exciting things they are doing to support our learners.  We have an active group of parents willing to raise funds and plan events for families and students.  We are lucky to have such an involved group.  Heather Hough reported that Sparky’s Running Club has been a huge success this year. Over 500 of our 600 students have participated on some level.  We have more kids who’ve reached marathon status than past years and kids are setting regular goals.  We notice that the days we have the running club, we have fewer disputes on the playground and overall happier kids.  Thanks to all the parents who are willing to volunteer and keep record of the accomplishments of our athletes.  Because the program is so much more successful this year, they are running out of prizes so if you’d like to donate small prizes (like the ones from goody bags at kid’s parties) or gently used toys, we will be collecting them and putting them to good use.

We are so fortunate to have extra volunteers willing to make extra mid-day movement possible for our kids.  Brain researcher, Eric Jensen, notes that when there are short bursts of movement throughout the day, the increase in blood flow makes a difference to learning.  We are trying out some of the theories by implementing “Fitness Friday”.  On this day we encourage kids to wear clothes that are easy to move in (I am going to wear my track suit) so they can do fun bursts of movement throughout the day.  You may see kids and teachers doing BrainGym moves or something physical together when you visit classrooms on Fridays.

It looks like we may be experiencing some winter weather in the upcoming days.  While with any forecast there is some degree of uncertainty, if the District Office is advised that there is a chance of some accumulation of snow or sleet, officials from the Superintendent’s office and Transportation Department, drive the roads early to checkout the conditions first hand before making a decision about whether or not to hold, delay or cancel classes.  This information will be posted on the District website and local news stations will also report changes to the regular school day.  If school is canceled or delayed, I will also try to send an email to families.  Our phone message will be updated so you can call the school for the information too.  We did get about a bazillion calls today so you may have a hard time getting through.   If you feel like you can’t safely get your child to school on questionable days, please exercise your best judgment and call the attendance line to let us know they are safe at home with you.

Hopefully, the weather will be back to normal by Friday so we can enjoy Family Movie Night.  Again, our parent leaders have prepared an exciting night for you!  Thank you for sharing your children with us!

Fondly,

Dr. Teresa Clemens-Brower
a.k.a.  Mrs. C.-B.
Principal

Wish List--These are little things or jobs that will make a difference to our kids.  If you have things you'd like to share, feel free to send them in.
  • Gallon size ziplock type bags
  • Prizes for Sparky’s Running Club

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