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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Learning Together-November 13, 2012

Dear Sexton Mountain Families:

For the past few weekends, it seems that Saturdays have meant a road trip for the Brower family.  Now that my kids are getting older, I absolutely delight in spending time in the car with them.  They are trapped and I get to learn about their lives and their friends.  On a trip to Corvallis, my son and his friend transitioned from video games to flashcards for AP Human Geography and back several times.  On our Saturday trip to the Seattle area, my daughter talked about her struggles in Chemistry and how proud she felt with a B on a recent mid-term.  Talking about learning is powerful!

Our teachers are meeting regularly to discuss student learning.  Today, the fourth grade team met to discuss results of a recent end of unit assessment.  It was interesting to analyze student work and to think about when the important concepts would be retaught for those who had not yet mastered concepts and extended for those who had the skills solidly in place.  The team shared strategies for teaching concepts and planned next steps. Our adult Learning Teams are hard at work.

One of the ways we build time in for Learning Teams is by doing grade-level writing projects with the principal in the cafeteria.  Today I met with second graders while the teachers met with the Response to Intervention Specialist to discuss student progress in reading.  During the meeting, progress-monitoring notes were shared and interventions discussed.  They celebrated the success of some and strategized for others to make sure that we are providing all we can for kids to be on track for meeting grade level expectations.  Meanwhile, students were in the cafeteria with me.  They each received 1 teaspoon of rainbow popcorn kernels.  They sorted the kernels and wrote about what they did.  Some even tried to determine an estimate for how many kernels were in a 6-cup jar of popcorn kernels based on the teaspoon they counted. 

We know that time for the adults to plan and strategize means that time in the classroom is maximized.  This type of front loading is like making a list before you head to the grocery store.  It provides focus, intention and a more complete understanding of what is really needed.  So much has changed this year with budget reductions but your students continue to be the heart of our work.  I feel so fortunate to be part of a staff willing to work so hard for kids! 

Take Care,

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

Upcoming Events
November 14 Passport Club Check Day (Grades 3,4,5)
November 16 Family Dance 6:30-8:30pm
The Family Dance is intended to bring families together for a fun, social opportunity.  Parents will stay with children and enjoy time as a family so that everyone has fun.  The evening will start with a special time from 6:30-7:00pm just for kindergarten students.  Wiggles songs, the Chicken Dance, and songs targeted for the younger group will be featured during this time. The success of the event is dependent on volunteers.  If you can help, contact Kate at
November 21 Budget Reduction Day-No School
November 22  Thanksgiving Holiday-No School
November 23 School Closed-No School
November 30 Holiday BazaarPostponed to a Later Date
December 3  Grading Day-No School
December 2-7  Beaverton Elks Canned Food Drive
December 7 Barnes and Noble Family Literacy Night and Book Fair (at Tanasbourne) 4:00-8:00pm
December 7 Dining for Dollars Night at Red Robin Tanasbourne
December 19 Passport Club Check Day(Grades 3,4,5)
December 20 Spirit Assembly at 8:25
December 21 First Day of Winter Vacation (Yes this is a Friday with no school.)

Wish List--These are little things or jobs that will make a difference to our kids. Feel free to send them in.
·          Donation of benches for front entry. We’d love to have a spot just inside our doors for kids or parents to wait on rainy days at dismissal time.
·          Volunteers to help with a Career Day/College Day later in the year.  Would you be willing to share information about your career with students?  Later in the year we are going to have a day when kids can learn about different jobs in our community and how different colleges a better matches for some careers.
·          Volunteer to help with staff room clean up needed.  The parent who has been doing the ten-minute tidy up at the end of the day is going back to work so is no longer able to do this task.  The volunteer sprays and wipes down counters and tables, cleans the coffee pot, and does general tidy up work.  
·          Donation of liquid hand soap.  With recess before lunch, we have supervisors making sure that students wash hands before going to the cafeteria.  Hand washing is required by the Health Department.  We’ve found that if kids get a pump of hand soap before they go into the restroom, they leave the restroom with cleaner hands. 
·          Donation of bird’s nests (we have 6 but hope to collect 36 by January) for a school-wide writing project.  Please send them in a zip lock bag.
·          Donation of $10 Powell’s or Barnes and Noble gift cards for Ms. Kimball to use as prizes for the Adopt a Bookshelf Program.
·          Donation of photos of Oregon Mountain ranges.  We still need the Steins, Siskiyous, and Strawberry mountain ranges.  Did you know that in the early years of Sexton Mountain School, each pod was named after a mountain range?
·          One of our parents is putting to use broken crayons.  Feel free to send in your broken crayons instead of throwing them away.  There is collection container in the office.
Thanks to:
·           Thanks to Troy Peterson for sharing team building ideas used at Standard Insurance Company.  We put your idea to use on Friday.
·           Thanks to Debbie Simmons for a donation of a ukulele for the music room.
·           Thanks to the Hayes, Vondecamp, Weston, Jensen, Ingalls and Awad families for hosting exchange students from Katoh, Japan. 
·           Thanks to Christine Leyva for presenting Battle of the Books information to students in fourth and fifth grade last week.
·           Thanks to the Campbell family for donating a tremendous math resource for our fifth graders! will keep our kids focused on math.
·           Thanks to the Hodgkinson family for the donation of stamps and postcards.  Our teachers love sending notes to kids!
·           Thanks to Trisha Thompson for tidying up our staffroom at the end of the day during the first quarter of the school year.  

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