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Monday, December 17, 2012

Hugs, Relationships and Awesome Mathematicians-December 18, 2012

 Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                                         

Fourteen-year-old boys hate to be hugged.  When you say, “I love you!” their response varies from grunt to grumble.  I found myself hugging and expressing my love more this weekend than I might typically do with my son.  He and his friends may have been getting a little tired of me by Sunday.  My daughter and her friends were more understanding of my need to squeeze them tight.  My mom, a retired pre-school and primary grades teacher, parent of two educators and grandmother with 66% of her grandkids in school on Friday, spent more time checking in with us over the weekend too.  Though she’s 160 miles away, her virtual hugs to the 14-year old boy, were acknowledged in almost the same way as the real ones.  As the mom of a principal, the grandma of a 7 year old, and a former teacher of young children, I am sure she was connecting deeply to the tragic events. 

The many connections we are able to make is one of the special parts of being an educator.  While shopping Saturday, I ran into the parents of child I taught long ago when he was in first grade.  As Addy’s teacher, I knew his mom, dad and even grandparents way back when.  It surprised me that even after almost two decades, I was able to make the connection about which child these adults I bumped into at the store were connected to.  That is one of the very special things about working in education. 

School employees get to know children.   It’s our job!  We don’t ever get to know kids as well as parents do but we get to delight in special little things.  We hear their stories, know their plans, and likely have more details about your home life than you might care for us to know.  Children innocently share many of the tidbits they think are important and these unique little pieces of THEM stick with us. 

At Sexton Mountain, we are unique in that so many of the adult members of our families visit the school regularly too.  Not only do we get to know our kids, but we get to know YOU too.  From delivering forgotten homework, walking kids to school, volunteering, or picking up sick kids, we’ve also gotten to know moms, dads, grandparents, babysitters, and extended family.  I would guess that if you run into one of our staff 20 years from now, they would also remember your child.  Relationships are the heart of teaching and learning so educators value knowing YOUR CHILD and YOUR FAMILY!

Your children are important to us!  Our students are part of families, also important to us.  One thing I most appreciate about Sexton Mountain is that we know our SEXTON MOUNTAIN FAMILY.  We know the adults in our building.  When you come to visit the school, we recognize you.  We know which kid you are supposed to take home.  We more often than not know about play dates, parties, when grandparents come to town, and when business takes parents out of town.

This week, with parties and special celebrations, there may be extra adults in our building or adults that we only see on special occasions.  If we don’t recognize an adult visitor to our building, we will ask for identification to make sure that he or she should indeed be in the building. 

Speaking of celebrations, we have a lot to celebrate at Sexton Mountain School.  Mr. Shotola’s class had a special celebration last week.  They were the first class to collectively solve 900 equations in one minute.  All students have been steadily increasing in the number of problems they are able to solve so together they were recognized for their daily efforts to improve.  We had a special celebration for Mrs. McGill’s class early this week.  They solved over 1000 problems in one minute.   The ability to solve computation quickly and accurately is a foundational skill.

Over winter break, please encourage kids to keep skills sharp! By practicing just a few minutes a day, students can maintain the momentum they’ve been building this fall. Visit for access to practice sheets.  For free online computation practice, visit   We know that computation is just a part of math.  Thanks to Shuaib Muhammad for the reminder that is a free website that supports students in the area of mathematics with detailed descriptions of process for different content areas!

During the upcoming break from school, I’m sure you’ll be busy with the Winter Break Reading Challenge, Mr. Miller’s 60 minutes activity a day challenge and you might even find time for extra math practice.  You may also have more time to hug your kids.  I wonder if my 14-year old son wouldn’t mind being hugged so much IF I had spent more time hugging him when he was in elementary school.  I can’t go back in time but I can encourage parents of elementary school students to cherish this time with kids.  They grow up so fast and the memories we make today, we will cherish in the future.  Thank you so much for sharing your children with us! 

Take Care,

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

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.

Thank you!
  • §  Thanks to the PTC for purchasing ukuleles for the music room.  Now every child can play his/her own during the upcoming uke unit.
  • §  Thanks to Kristin Payne for the donation of hand soap. 
  • §  Thanks to Christine Leyva for taking charge of Battle of the Books.  A record number of teams have registered this year!
  • §  Thanks to Grace Campbell for organizing lunchtime Battle of the Books team captain meetings.  By teaching organization skills early on, our teams will be ready.
  • §  Thanks to Lindsay Zobrist for sharing content anchor charts with staff so that we have one more resource for teaching the language of mathematics.
  • §  Thank you Tinker family for the donation of hand soap.
  • §  Thanks to all who continue to send in food for the Canned Food Drive.  Our absolute last day for food collection will be Wednesday so that it can be picked up on Thursday.

Upcoming Events
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.
·          Scout/Researcher Needed-Scholl’s Heights is having an International Festival on January 25.  If you have friends at that school and can tag along to the event to get great ideas for a similar event at our school, please let Mrs. Clemens-Brower know.
·          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.
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.
The Beaverton School District recognizes the diversity and worth of all individuals and groups.  It is the policy of the Beaverton School District that there will be no discrimination or harassment of individuals or groups based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, marital status, age, veterans' status, genetic information or disability in any educational programs, activities or employment. 

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