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Friday, November 30, 2012

Report Cards, College, and Upcoming Events-Dec. 4, 2012


Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                                               
Yesterday, teachers spent the day working on report cards.  With our new student information system, the process has changed so the work has changed a bit from past years.  Additionally, many of our classes have increased by up to 30% in size from last year so the quantity of work has changed too.  Change seems to be the one constant this year.  Though so much has changed, I am constantly impressed with how masterfully our teachers and staff are working to meet the needs of students.  In fact, I am quite certain that I’ve witnessed some of the most collaborative and thoughtfully designed instruction of my career this year.  Our students are learning and our teachers are teaching!  Great things are happening at Sexton Mountain!

From the parent perspective, it is important that you are aware of one important report card change.  The Beaverton School District’s elementary school report card will be undergoing revisions in the next few years to better align with new State of Oregon learning targets. This year you will notice teachers are no longer using plus (+) or minus (-) symbols to indicate student performance on academic learning targets, or on effort and personal work habit grades.  For academic targets, students will receive an M if they are meeting a target, a D if they are developing the knowledge and skills needed to meet a target, and an E if they are performing beyond grade level expectations on a target.

Report cards will be sent home with students on Friday.  This report is one attempt to communicate clearly with you so that you may partner with us regarding the academic and social progress of your child.  If you have questions or concerns, I encourage you to directly contact your child’s teacher via email.  Prior to entering into educational administration, I was an elementary school teacher for 13 years (grades 1-5).  During that time, I witnessed many parental practices that inspired, enhanced, and supported learning.  I am also the parent of three elementary school graduates.  As both a teacher and parent, I know the powerful difference that a positive home-school relationship can make in the academic success of a child.  Perhaps the single most important thing I’ve learned as a parent is the power of a growth mindset.  Remind your child of the importance of hard work and that effort makes the post powerful difference.  Model how to reflect, set goals and create a work plan for success. Know that gentle struggle in this phase of life, builds habits of mind and success stories so that if struggle happens later in life, kids know they can handle it.  Revisit Mindset by Dweck for more information on this topic.

Canned Food Drive to Benefit Beaverton Families-December 4-7
This week, students are invited to bring in non-perishable food items to be distributed to families in Beaverton.  Each pod will have empty boxes for students to deposit food.  Students have been reading Stone Soup and thinking about how the actions of a community working together can lead to important things. I wonder how much food will be brought in by December 7?

Barnes and Noble Book Fair/Family Literacy Night-December 7 from 4:00-8:00pm
At the Tanasbourne Barnes and Noble off 185th and Evergreen, you will have an opportunity do to several fun projects along with you book buying
·           More M&Ms Math station
·           Crystal Packages station
·           The Mitten and Missing Mittens station
·           It Looked Like Spilt Milk station
·           Santa will share The Polar Express by Chris VanAllsburg at 7:00pm
·           Kids are invited to show school spirit by extending PJ day to the event
·           Since it is a bookstore, families can also do some shopping.  If you let the cashier know you are from Sexton Mountain, a percentage of the proceeds will go to purchase books for our library.
·           If you would like to make donations to your child’s teacher’s classroom library, there may be books to purchase that would be the perfect fit.
·           This event kicks off the Winter Break Reading Challenge so families can pick up a reading log so that kids can see how many books they can read between December 7 and January 7.  Reading logs will be sent home Friday so kids can start recording all of the books they read during the next month.  Record the titles and return the form the week of January 7 for a small prize.

Learning About Our Learners—Celebration Survey
At Sexton Mountain School we want to create a culture where every student and every family feels welcome.  In order to celebrate all our families, we want to learn more about each student’s culture and traditions. 
Please answer the questions below and return the information to Mrs. Clemens-Brower in the office or through email.
§  What is your family’s name?
§  What holidays does your family celebrate throughout the year?
§  What are the dates of the celebrations this year?
§  Is there anything you want to share about your family background?
§  Would you be interested in sharing more information during our Cultural Celebration week later in the spring?
§  Would you be interested in participating in a focus group to better understand your family?

Dining for Dollars-Red Robin Tanasbourne Night-December 7
While you are in the Tanasbourne area our PTC has put together a Dining for Dollars event at Red Robin.  If you let Red Robin know that you are from Sexton Mountain, a percentage of the sales from your meal will also go toward supporting our PTC.  Thanks to Polly Campbell and Tonya Robson for organizing this event for the PTC.

Innovating Through Donors Choose
Sexton Mountain teachers are finding creative new ways to bring innovation and learning. Donors Choose is a website that allows teachers to create projects that they would like funded, and allows any donor in the world to bring these projects to life. Called "a revolutionary charity" by Oprah, Donors Choose allows both the teacher and the donor to see every step of the process. Teachers "shop" for their items online, and itemized price sheet is created for all involved to see. Teachers also write a narrative explaining their project and the impact they believe it will have on learning. Once a project is funding by donors across the world, Donors Choose purchases the items, and ships them to the classroom. Many teachers in our school have utilized this charity, and others, to bring supplies to the classroom and opportunities to students they might not otherwise have.  Information below describes Ashlee Yokom’s current project.  You can learn more by visiting:

Ashlee’s Project--Story time is brought to life for many students through pictures, imitation of motor skills, fun character readings and music. This is especially important for children impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder, that sometimes struggle with accessing literature through text… In order to engage my students, I use as many mediums as possible, such as music, movement and illustration. My students love school, and are so excited about their opportunities for story time….In this project, I am requesting an iPod nano, as well as a speaker system. At story time, I would like to engage students with a variety of formats. I would like to read stories, listen to and sing songs, and also have recordings of authors reading their own stories! With an iPod, I would be able to download these stories and songs to one common playlist, and play them (using the speaker system) during story time. We could then listen to the music and stories while looking at pictures, drawing pictures or even acting the stories out! …Story time is an essential part of the day for every kindergarten student. Giving children access to exciting stories and songs helps encourage a lifelong love of literacy and learning. Enriching those stories with music, pictures, special character voices and illustrations deepens that experience. If you donate to this project, you will be giving very deserving students the tools to make stories come alive, to give them powerful experiences with text, and to develop lifelong readers.

I would guess that when Ashlee went into education, writing persuasively to get donations was NOT part of her training YET she’s doing so beautifully and hopefully, her students will benefit. 

Math in the Workplace and Daily Life-A Call for Parent, Grandparent and Extended Family Help
We are putting together a display for students so they can see how math is used in the real world.  We need your help.  Please think about how you use math in your daily life.  Have someone take a picture of you at work utilizing math.  Since we have people working all over the world in many different positions, I would guess we’ll get great pictures.  Send the pictures electronically to Mrs. CB with a description of how you use math.  The pictures and words will be used to show students how important it is to have a strong foundation in mathematics.

Thoughts on College and Career—A Family Story and An Invitation to Share
Warner Pacific, George Fox, Seattle Pacific, Eastern Oregon, Pacific and Western Oregon graduates attended our tailgate party in Corvallis Saturday along with two OSU students.  When students see me in my orange and black, they often ask if I’m a Beaver fan but I tell them that one of my children graduated from OSU and one is attending Oregon State so a chunk of my paycheck goes to OSU each month thereby making me a supporter.  Others attending the game Saturday were also loosely associated with one of the Oregon schools like I am. 

As we slowly made our way home that evening on I-5, I was trying to figure out how my cousins came to wear green and yellow so loyally when they studied art, education, business and accounting at other colleges.  At a snail’s pace we crept up I-5, all of the college flags flying had me thinking about my friends and family and where they studied.  Because traffic was so slow, by Albany, I’d transitioned my thinking from friends and family to Sexton Mountain students. How many different universities will the class of 2025 attend?  What interests and hobbies they will pursue?  Will they love learning or see it as a task that needs to be done in order to get to the next phase in life?  Will they have the skills and knowledge needed in order to have a wide range of post-secondary options?  Will they have the habits of mind to stick with it when things seem difficult?  Of my 67 kindergarten students, how many will have the foundation needed in order to be a full-option graduate?  Will ALL my kids be College and Career ready?  We are certainly trying our hardest to make sure they are!  As I visit the kindergarten classrooms, I see minds at work.  Analytical thinkers, caring problem solvers, enthusiastic investigators and curious kids abound!  I have great hope in the future of our nation because of the work happening today in our schools.

Because our teachers are charged with making sure that ALL children are on the trajectory for College and Career success, we need to closely monitor the progress of our students.  Teachers are doing this during Learning Team time (when kids are at “extra specials”) and RTI meetings.  We study data, plan interventions, design extensions, learn from one another and grow as adult learners so we can better meet the needs of our students.  Helping our students to see that we are beginning with the end in mind can be a challenge.  Sometimes kids say they need to do well in school so that they can be ready to get a good job later in life but in reality, they need to do well today, so that they will be ready for tomorrow’s lesson since each one builds on the next.  This careful balance of thinking about them when they are 25, while planning for tomorrow, is important work.  It’s complicated and challenging and very rewarding!!!  I feel lucky to be in such an exciting profession!

I recently received letters from students in Mrs. Hunt’s class telling about their hopes and dreams.  Students wrote about hoping to attend BYU, UC and Uof O.  Some wrote about hoping to travel.  Alaska, China, France, Italy, New York, and underwater were just a few of the destinations mentioned.  Not surprisingly, many in this class hoped to go into helping professions.  Teaching and healing were very popular professions.  Acting, interior design, Olympian, soccer pro, running back, on pointe dancer, and gymnast were also among the aspirations.  Several children wrote about hoping to someday get a dog, having a family, or just enjoying the joy of setting goals and working towards them.  All in all, I was inspired by how visionary this group seemed.  Many indicated that hard work; focus and good grades will help them along the way. 

We do want kids to be thinking about the future and all of the possibilities that exist.  Later in the year we will have a College and Career Fair where students will have an opportunity to learn about different careers and the education paths that lead to success.  Fashion design and software development are just a few of the areas that we already have volunteers for.  Would you like to share your expertise with our students?  During the week of the Science Fair, we also hope to have guest scientists visit classrooms so that students can learn how many jobs are linked to strong science skills.  Please consider sharing then too!

Take Care,

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

Thank you!
  • §  Thanks to all who donated money for the Jog-a-thon!
  • §  Thanks to Megan McCue, Sally Ebanks and Ellen Moll for transforming our science storage room.  Materials are now accessible and organized!  We are so lucky to have such amazingly organized volunteers.  The room really did look like an episode of Hoarders and now it’s amazingly tidy!!!
  • §  Thanks to all who have turned in Boxtops for Education.  These certainly add up!
  • §  Thanks to Karyn Johnson for doing an emergency grocery store run for us last week!  Little things make our school so special.
  • §  Thanks to all the amazing math correctors.  Our team has such a fast turn around and kids LOVE seeing how many problems the class can solve in 1 minute.
  • §  Thanks to Kate Kristiansen for the donation of school supplies!

Upcoming Events
December 4-7  Beaverton Elks Canned Food Drive
December 7  CEC Meeting at 9:00am and PTC at 9:30am
December 7  PJ Day-This special spirit day was earned by the students.  The Eagle Eye collection bucket made it to the first line.
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)- Email Heidi  at if you’d like to volunteer.
December 20 Spirit Assembly at 8:25
December 21 First Day of Winter Vacation
January 7 School Resumes
January 7  Winter Break Reading Challenge Ends
January 11 CEC Meeting at 9:00am and PTC at 9:30am
January 15  Dining for Dollars Night at Pizzacatto
January 17  Parent Night at Highland Park
January 21  Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday Observed-No School
January 23 Passport Club Check Day (Grades 3,4,5)-Email Heidi  at if you’d like to volunteer.
January 25  Family Movie Night (if we get a volunteer to be in charge)
January 31  Spirit Assembly at 8:25
February 1  Staff Development Day—No School
February 14-Dress Your Best Day
February 18- Presidents’ Day-No School
February 20 Passport Club Check Day (Grades 3,4,5)-Email Heidi  at if you’d like to volunteer.
February 22 5th Grade Biz Town Field Trip
February 22-Art Fair 6:30-8:30pm

Wish List--These are little things or jobs that will make a difference to our kids. Feel free to send them in.
·           Photographer Needed-Are you great at catching action shots?  We are working on a project where we need to catch learners learning and teachers teaching throughout the school.  Pictures need to be taken by December 7.  Contact Mrs. CB for more info.
·           Gallon sized Ziploc bags—We are in the process of assembling math games for students to play with volunteers, at home or in the class. Having all materials together in one bag will save teacher prep time and student learning time.
·           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..  
·           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 $10 Powell’s or Barnes and Noble gift cards for Ms. Kimball to use as prizes for the Adopt a Bookshelf Program.
·           Volunteers to serve on our Community Engagement Committee.  Two-thirds of our volunteers have started new jobs so are no longer able to serve.  This job requires just 30 minutes of your time from 9:00-9:30am one Friday a month.  This committee makes decisions on building use requests, generates ideas for engaging the community, keeping our building safe and more.  Please contact Mrs. CB for more information.

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