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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August Update 2012


Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                                         

Last spring Sexton Mountain parents learned the District would reduce $37 million from the 2012-13 budget.   After four years of reducing $105 million from reserves, central services staff, and infrastructure budgets, reductions to the classroom were not unexpected. In late July, the District announced 204 teacher layoffs and 365 teacher transfers.

There have been questions about why a teacher was laid off or transferred. The reduction in force process is governed by Oregon statute and the teachers' contract. Districts are required to preserve as many positions as possible based on seniority and licensure. The law and the contract do not allow exceptions for individual schools or programs. Reductions are made through "bumping" teachers from one position to another based on their licensure. For example, a senior math teacher who also holds a science endorsement will be moved to an open science position if it will preserve the job of a less senior math teacher with no additional endorsement. The transfer of teachers during a reduction in force is the result of this bumping process and does not allow for individual exceptions.

All Beaverton schools will look different this year. For our school, three teachers are being laid off and six teachers are being transferred. We will welcome eleven staff members from other District schools. We know class size will increase. However, we won't know the final impact until school begins. Depending on enrollment, teachers may be transferred or classes added in the fall.

I know this is difficult news for Sexton Mountain parents and students. However, it is important to remember all District schools have excellent teachers who have been affected by these reductions and transfers. It is the result of a struggling economy and reduced state school funding.

Principals and District leaders are committed to ensuring our new teachers are welcomed and all teachers are supported so that your child will continue to receive an excellent education. I ask you to join us in this commitment. We will need to work together more now than ever. Change comes in many fashions, and it is never easy. Through this change we will demonstrate strength and resilience. Our schools in Beaverton will not just survive. We will thrive!

Though we lost exceptional staff, we are lucky to be getting exceptional staff members from other schools.  Below you will find information about the changes.

Cathy Watson will join the SRC team. Cathy will serve as our upper SRC teacher.  Cathy previously served students in a self-contained program at Bonnie Slope.

Joel Miller will serve as our PE teacher.  Joel comes to us from Greenway School.

Stan Davis will serve as our Music teacher. We will share him with Vose School. Stan comes to us from William Walker School.

Megan Smith will serve as our Response To Intervention teacher.  We will share her with Errol Hassell.  The RTI position is new to our building but she will work with instructional assistants Carol Lenox and Becky Douvris to work to meet the needs of students at risk of not meeting grade level expectations.

Kim Stoecker will serve students as a kindergarten teacher.  Kim previously served students at West TV.

Karen Grant will serve in kindergarten as a long-term sub for Kristin Hiatt through November.   Karen joined us as a long-term sub last May and June in first grade, so she will be a familiar face.

Melanee Lucas will join the fourth grade team. Melanee previously served students at Terra Linda.

Kristin Antich will join the second grade team.  Kristin previously served students at Oak Hills.

Holly Cohn will join the first grade team.  Holly previously served students at Hiteon.

Meghan McGill and Mark Tsakistos will join the fifth grade team.  Mark previously served students at Chehalem.  Meghan comes to us from Mt. View where she served students as a 7th grade Humanities teacher.

Catherine Wadleigh will join the SRC team as an instructional assistant.  She previously served students at Beaverton High School.

Dannadee Calflooking will join our custodial team as our evening custodian.  She comes to us from Aloha High School.
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Dawn Kimball will serve as our media assistant.  She did her student teaching in our library last year.

Robin McConnell will serve students as our ESL teacher this year.  Robin served our students most recently as a fourth and fifth grade teacher but also served as the Sexton Mountain ESL teacher before so will be a familiar face.

Several of our instructional assistants will shift to different roles this fall.  Julie Fryer will serve as our Resource Room Instructional Assistant.  Julie previously served our students as an RTI instructional assistant and did some work in the Resource Room.  Mary Kramer will serve as our technology assistant.  Mary previously served our students as an RTI instructional assistant.  Carol Lenox will serve as an RTI instructional assistant.  Carol previously served our students as an ESL instructional assistant.

Several other staff members will be teaching different grade levels this year.  Kristin Hiatt will teach a session of morning kindergarten. Lynne Martin will teach first grade. Carone Weigel will teach second grade. Kelsey Baldwin will teach third grade. Jan Hunt will teach fourth grade.

We have some staff that will not be returning next fall.  The included FAQ sheet provides answers to some of the questions you might have about the complex layoff and transfer process.   Aki Mori, Jocelyn Cubley, Michele Solberg, Kristi Skiba, Joel Parker, Susan DiResta, and Johanna Johnson were transferred to other schools.   Susan Goei, Jerry Morgan, and Pam Duhkroop relocated out of state.  Dema Blood, Pam Cook, Kyla Zworski, Kim Parson, Britta Jaques, and Nadina Sweigel were temporary employees and their positions ended in June.  Mary Ellen Clark, Maggie Cunningham, Staci Ellison, and Mary Ferraro retired last spring.  Stephanie Jenkins and Debbie Simmons resigned to pursue other adventures.

Robin Malinosky-Rummell will be returning as our school psychologist.  We have yet to be assigned a counselor.

As you can see, there will be a lot of change at our school this year.  I am optimistic about the change and have appreciated the very positive attitudes of the teachers who will be joining our team.  We are rolling up our sleeves and are ready to do our best work for your kids.

Aside from staff changes, I do have other things to share at this time.  Hopefully, the information below will help your family prepare for the upcoming school year.

Sexton Mountain PTC Ice Cream Social

Please mark your calendar for the PTC Ice Cream Social.  On Thursday, August 30 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. students can drop school supplies by the classroom and families can enjoy reconnecting with other families over treats.  Thanks to the PTC for sponsoring this event and to teachers who’ll be working late even before school begins.

Classroom Placements

By August 27, each child should have received a letter from his or her 2012-2013 teacher.  Included with the letter will be bus route information, details about the school day and a MEMO TO TEACHER for you to complete before school begins.  We have a commitment to challenge every child in our school to high standards, whatever that child’s strengths and areas for growth.  It is our goal to have the make-up of all of our classrooms balanced in terms of gender, abilities, talents and challenges.  Last spring, the teachers and I spent many hours putting together this complex puzzle in order to provide an optimal learning environment for every child. I am confident that we created balanced classes.  Our teams will work closely together so that all children in a grade level are working toward meeting or exceeding the same targets. Please rest assured that your child’s best interests were at the heart of our work.  Classroom placements are final.   

School Hours
School begins at 8:30 am. Morning Kindergarten students will be dismissed at 11:00am.  They can be picked up from the kindergarten porch or will be dropped at their assigned mid-day bus stop, but only if an adult is present.

At the 3:05pm dismissal time, students in grades K-5 will exit to the bus or daycare van waiting area on the covered area of the playground, through the front doors to wait for parents or they may walk or bike home if they have permission. At the end of the day, bus riders will be released at their bus stop (if an adult is present or not) so please make sure that if your child is a bus rider, he or she knows where to get off the bus and how to get home. 

Supply List

A general school supply list is available on our school website or from our office. 

Cafeteria Information

Breakfast is served each morning from 8:10 until 8:20am.

Lunch Schedule Changes-Volunteers Need

Children may bring healthy meals from home or they may purchase meals at school.  Our mid-day lunch and recess schedule will change a bit in hopes of maximizing learning time and reducing recess conflicts.  Students will play first and then wash up and eat mid-day
First Grade       Playground 10:55-11:15           Lunch 11:15-11:35    
Second Grade   Playground 11:15-11:35          Lunch 11:35-11:55    
Third Grade      Playground 11:35-11:55          Lunch 11:55-12:15    
Fourth Grade    Playground 11:55-12:15          Lunch 12:15-12:35                
Fifth Grade       Playground 12:15-12:35          Lunch   12:35-12:55   
Rationale: Across the country, schools with recess before lunch are seeing positive results.  By having recess BEFORE lunch, kids eat more because they are not trying to hurry to the playground, less food is wasted, students return to class calmer, we have fewer post-lunch tummy aches, better behavior, and as a result instruction time is increased. Additionally, reports indicate that there are fewer recess discipline incidents when recess is prior to lunch. 

As with any change for kids, explicitly teaching expectations and procedures will be an important part to setting the stage for success. Before students come to lunch, teachers will teach the procedures.  We hope to have extra adults there to reteach and reinforce what has been taught.   If you can help in reinforcing new routines and procedures the first week of school between 11:15am and 12:30pm please let me know.

PTC

Our amazing PTC is set for a productive 2012-13 school year. The first PTC meeting will be held September 7 at 9:30 in the new PTC portable.  From Family Fun Nights to fundraising, the PTC does many things that enrich the experience for students at Sexton Mountain.  One of the new things the PTC will be sponsoring this year is THE PASSPORT CLUB.  Heidi Elliott and Koree Minor have volunteered to be the Chair of the Passport Club and to pilot this special experience with our 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students thanks to funding provided by PTC.   The Passport Club is an individualized, sequential, geography program for schools. Its main purpose is to help students learn some, or all of the world's countries over the course of a school year, and to meet essential academic learning requirements for geography.  It also promotes strong parent involvement in the school.  Finally, the program introduces postage stamps as a valuable educational tool for teachers, and an interesting and enjoyable hobby for students.   Many schools in Beaverton have implemented this program over the past decade and it's a favorite of many students and families.  You can learn more at http://www.thepassportclub.net/index.html.  Contact Heidi at glacierlodge@comcast.net if you'd like to learn more about how you can help with this special opportunity for about 350 of our students.

The 2012-2013 school year promises to be full of new and exciting things.  I am confident that we are set for a great school year and I look forward to seeing you soon!

Fondly,


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



District Goal for 2010-2015:  All students will show continuous progress toward their personal learning goals, developed in collaboration with teachers and parents, and will be prepared for post-secondary education and career success.











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