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Monday, April 30, 2012

Cultural Celebration and Budget Update-May 1, 2012

 Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

After my regular home chores on Saturday, I spent my day reading letters from parents about what they hope for in next year’s classroom teacher.  As you can imagine, there were some recurring themes in the letters.  Most families hope their child will love school and learning.  Most hope their child will be challenged.  They hope for teachers who will recognize and build on their child’s strengths while having high expectations and providing clear guidance.  I recognized many of my own hopes and dreams for my children in your letters.  Thanks for sharing and rest assured that though I’m making decisions for 600+ children, I do try to embed my parent’s perspective in all that I do.

Now that we have collected parent input, we will be moving toward the next steps in planning for the 2012-2013 school year.  Last week, I received a tentative staffing allocation so my plan is to move forward with this information.  Our classroom teacher allocation for the upcoming year is 20.5.  This means we will have three sessions of half-day kindergarten, three first grade classrooms, three, second grade classrooms, three third grade classrooms, four fourth grade classrooms, four fifth grade classrooms and two Structured Routine Centers (SRC).  As far as support staff, we’ve been allocated one PE teacher, a half-time music position, and an instructional assistant for technology and library. Our instructional assistant allocation for recess supervision, English as a Second Language (ESL), and literacy support has been reduced.  Our media specialist position has been eliminated and a certified half-time teacher has been added to support kids struggling in math or reading.  Because Mr. Mori’s position was funded through the Nike Innovative School Leadership Fund and that grant ends this year, the administrative intern/student supervisor position will also be eliminated.

With so much change, I’m sure there will be many questions about everything from class size to if students will get to have special classes like library, PE, music or technology regularly.  Because many of you are so close with staff, you may also be wondering what this will mean for them since we are clearly overstaffed.  I hope to address some of these questions below.

Class size will increase and kids will have specials.  The good news is that, based on projections, our largest class will be about 33.  Earlier in the year, some of the predictions about class size had some classes up to 39 so 33 seems much more reasonable.  Based on projections our Class Size Committee, made up with teachers from each grade level and departments, made recommendations for how our allocated staff members should be assigned. Our class size range will be from 25-33.  The good news is that based on our allocations of specialist, we will get to have music, PE, technology, counseling lessons and library.  Music class will be reduced by half so will not happen as frequently as it does now.  Library time will still include check out and a story but the lessons taught by a certified teacher will not be part of the experience.  Technology time will remain much as it has this year with students assigned projects by the classroom teacher and supervised by an instructional assistant in the lab.  At this point, I’m not sure what the schedule will look like, but I’m confident that we will strive to do the best we can for our kids!

The people in our building will be changing as there are moves around the District.  Mrs. Clark has served students in the Beaverton School District for 34 years.  She will be retiring at the end of this school year.  She is ready to spend more time with her grown children, pursue her own hobbies and sports (including masters bowling, soccer and softball), and spend time in her garden.  She shared this news with students last week.  She has agreed to step in to help our future PE teacher, one who will likely be appointed by the District as so many positions are being reduced elsewhere, with the transition.  She knows that Sexton Mountain has an excellent reputation, so many will want to come here and we are sure to get an excellent replacement.

Mr. Morgan and his family will be relocating to central Washington.  He has served students in Beaverton for the last eight years as a second and third grade teacher at Sexton Mountain and McKay.  He is excited about moving closer to extended family.

Ms. Cunningham will be retiring from teaching in Beaverton but she has teaching adventures planned in far away places.  She has served students in the Beaverton School District for the past two decades.  She also taught around the United States and in London.  She excited about her next adventure.

Family additions have also made for some changes.  Mrs. Jenkins has decided to stay home with her new baby next year so has resigned her position and will not be returning to Sexton Mountain in the fall.  Britta Jaques is serving as her long-term sub, so is on a temporary contract that will end in June.  Mrs. Hiatt and Mrs. Loumena will be on leave through the end of the year as they welcome new family as well.  Karen Grant and Kathy Moore were introduced to families in these classes during conference week.   Mrs. Parson is also on a temporary contract that will end in June.

Mrs. Simmons, our literacy instructional assistant, has been offered a position at Portland State University, so will return to the field of technical writing in the fall.  She has served students for the past 6 years in the area of literacy and mathematics support.

Mrs. Ferraro has served in our library for the past 22 years and  she’s decided to retire to spend more time with her grandchildren. She has also offered to help her replacement get settled in the fall.

With remaining staff, we have done surveys to determine which grade levels teachers would prefer and we will be working to match teachers with classes in the upcoming weeks.  We are trying to be proactive and productive in preparation for the upcoming year but recognize that there may be staff moves throughout the summer as other schools are staffed and adjustments made.  If you attended the “Class Placement” meetings, you know that the contract coupled with individual teacher licensure makes for a clear process but may mean for readjustments district-wide throughout the summer.  There will likely be more changes and moves as well as introductions in the upcoming months and I plan to keep you posted as we have information.

With so much uncertainty, we are continuing to try to do everything we can to create a positive, calm climate focused on learning. Thank you for supporting our school through these next few difficult months as we go through changes. Thanks also for all you are doing for Staff Appreciation Week next week.  I know Lori Laraway has planned a magnificent celebration.  Your kind words and acts make a world of difference to our staff.

In addition to Staff Appreciation Week and the Carnival, we also have another special upcoming celebration.  On Tuesday, May 22 we will be having a special day of learning.  Our 2nd Annual Cultural Celebration is planned as an opportunity for our students to learn about the many cultures represented in the Sexton Mountain community.  This is a time for families to come in and share about their own culture.  We will have six different areas set up for children to visit sometime between 8:45am and 1:00pm.  We are looking for volunteers willing to share.  Please contact me if you would be willing to help with this special day.


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

Upcoming Events
·       May 1-Incoming Kindergarten Math Night-6:30-7:15pm
·       May 10-Signal to Noise Media Festival-7:00pm at Sunset Presbyterian Church
·       May 11-PTC Meeting at 9:30am
·       May 18-Carnival 6:30-8:30pm (Volunteers Needed)
·       May 22-PTC Taiko Assembly  (Primary grades at 10:00am, Intermediate Grades at 8:45am)
·       May 22-Cultural Celebration-8:45am-1:00pm)
·       May 22-Incoming Kindergarten Writing Night-6:30-7:15pm
·       May 22- GoogleDocs for Families Presented by Pam LeLand at 8:45am in the Computer Lab
·       May 25-Furlough Day-No School
·       May 31-Volunteer Appreciation Day
·       June 3-Hayhurst Triathlon
·       June 5- Intermediate Music Program at 6:30pm (DiResta, Stratton, Skiba, Shotola)
·       June 6- Intermediate Music Program at 6:30pm (Krueger, McConnell, Tanksley, Parson)
·       June 7-Kindergarten Music Program
·       June 8-Field Day-9:00-10:50 (1st, 2nd, 3rd, Yokom and AM K.)  and 1:00-2:45 (4th, 5th, PM and Full-Day K.and Burnett)
·       June 12-PBIS Assembly at 8:45am
·       June 12-Mt. Guide Picnic
·       June 13-Fifth Grade Party
·       June 13-Last Day of School
·       June 14-Teacher Workday
·       June 15-Furlough Day
·       June 22-Canfield Art Fair and BBQ (Please let us know if you have student artwork to display and would like to attend the BBQ with your child between 11:00am and 1:30pm.)

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