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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gratitude, Enrichment and Celebration-May 29, 2012


Dear Sexton Mountain Families:

As students came to school this morning they looked relaxed and happy to be back after the long weekend. Kindergarten students were excited to share about their field trip last week and our third graders were ready to go off on a learning adventure this morning. By 8:30am, kids were already hard at work in classrooms.  Students in Mrs. Parson’s class and in Mr. Shotola’s class were busy with math routines as I visited.  Ms. Cobain’s first graders were writing about weekend excursions.  Half our office staff was gone this morning so it was busy, busy, busy as the remaining folks responded to sick kids and the typical first day of the week rush.  I have a feeling that our days between now and June 13 will continue be a flurry of activity as special events are embedded into our already full days.  Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding.

Over the weekend, I got to spend time with my family in Bend.  My mom and I went on several long walks and I realize that my theme for our discussion was one of gratitude about all of the great things happening here at Sexton Mountain.  My parents and brother are educators so they have a unique understanding of the work that goes on in schools.  I told my mom about how hard our volunteers have worked to plan field trips and year-end events.  I shared how our teachers are hard at work on making the last weeks of school packed with learning while honoring school traditions.  I told my mom how hopeful I am about next year because our families and staff have been so positive and proactive even though we face huge reductions.  My mom is usually very creative so I hoped that she would be able to help me come up with a way to recognize those who have made such a difference for our students this year.  Unfortunately, as I continued to list all those who had contributed to the success of our school year, she was as overwhelmed by the enormity of the task as I was.  She suggested having some sort of Volunteer Appreciation event and simply saying, “Thank you!”

Luckily we have just such an event planned for this Thursday at 2:00pm in our cafeteria.  This will be my first Volunteer Appreciation event here at Sexton Mountain and I know that Sally Ebanks and Mrs. Z. have a special time of recognition planned.  Our students will perform and hopefully, our volunteers will know how much they are appreciated!  Thanks to our amazing community of learners (parents, staff and students) for their work in planning and implementing the extended learning and enrichment opportunities This morning, parents looked as enthusiastic as the students as they embarked on their journey.  Last Thursday, parents looked even more exhausted than the kids as they returned from Camp Tillikum.  From our special events to the day-to-day activities, great things are happening for students at our school!


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

Wish List
·       Soil for the Garden Project
·       Boxes for moving
·       Student Artists willing to participate in Art Show at Canfield on June 22
·       Volunteers to participate in a “Packing and Moving Party” on June 14

Upcoming Events
·       May 31-Volunteer Appreciation Celebration at 2:00pm in the Cafeteria
·       June 4-Spirit Day-Wear Red and Black
·       June 5- Intermediate Music Program at 6:30pm (DiResta, Stratton, Skiba, Shotola)
·       June 5- Spirit Day-Tie-Dye Day
·       June 6- Intermediate Music Program at 6:30pm (Krueger, McConnell, Tanksley, Parson)
·       June 6- Spirit Day-Sports Attire Day
·       June 7-Book Swap Day 8:30-9:30am
·       June 7- Spirit Day-Pajama Day
·       June 8- Spirit Day-Hat Day
·       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 11- Spirit Day-Mismatch Day
·       June 12- Spirit Day-Class Matching Day (classes wear matching clothes)
·       June 12-Third Grade Music Performance at 1:45 in the Cafeteria-Portland:  The Musical
·       June 12-Mt. Guide Picnic
·       June 13- Spirit Day-Hawaiian Day
·       June 13-Fifth Grade Party
·       June 13-Last Day of School
·       June 13-Assembly at 8:45am
·       June 14-Teacher Workday
·       June 15-Furlough Day a.k.a. Budget Reduction 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.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Carnival, Culture Fair and OAKS-May 22, 2012








Dear Sexton Mountain Families:

Thanks to Tonya Robson and Noel Tyner for planning a fabulous Carnival for our students.  If you were one of the hundreds in attendance Friday night, you know that we had MANY amazing volunteers working hard to create a very special experience for our students.    Kids had so much fun!  Our final volunteers left way after dark and the Scouts finished clean up on Saturday morning.  Once again, I was impressed by how so many came together for the good of our kids. Thank you!

On Saturday, I attended a meeting with a group of school administrators from around the Pacific Northwest.  As I listened to the challenges others are facing, I was again appreciative about how hard our staff and families are working to make the best of our new budget realities.  Thank you for being so positive and supportive in spite of the cuts and changes.  We are moving forward with the best information we have right now but it is likely that things will continue to change over the summer as staff around the District are moved based on vacancies and licensure.  Last week, I announced the tentative teaching assignments for next year but I wanted to reiterate this week that things are still uncertain as there will be District moves. 

This week the residents at Canfield Place will finish up their year serving our students.  Their group has visited weekly to work with students in several classes on learning math facts.  Some of our students have done service projects there too.  Because of their close proximity and all of the benefits we’ve enjoyed by partnering with them, we hope to continue the work in the fall.  They have invited our students to participate in their annual Art Show.  If your child would like to provide artwork to be displayed on June 22, Canfield would love to showcase their work.  The children and families or childcare providers will also be invited to a BBQ that day.  I will take the work to Canfield and return it to students following the show.  As students bring home special pieces during the end of the year, please consider submitting them for display.  We do have amazing artists here at Sexton Mountain.  Congratulations to Alia in Ms. Cunningham’s first grade class. The artwork she submitted has been selected for the Energy & Resource Conservation 2013 Student Art Calendar.   

Also this week, we have over 20 families who will be sharing with our students in the second annual Culture Fair.  Thanks to Susan Goei and Aki Mori for organizing this very special learning opportunity for our kids.  Thanks to all the families who will be sharing with our children!  The kids are very excited to tour the displays and to learn about the cultures represented in our school.

Last week, our students in grades 3-5 finished up the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS).  I had the opportunity to proctor the online assessment during the last week or two and it was a delight to see how seriously students took testing.  They used great strategies like reading passages multiple times to really determine what was being asked of them.  It was fun for me to celebrate with students as they completed assessments.  This year some of the expectations have increased compared to last year, so applying the learning from September through May so thoughtfully was important for kids.

As I visit classrooms, I see the learning continue!  Some grade level teams have started planning Camp Learned A Lot.  I’ve not experienced this before but I understand it will provide opportunities for celebration and learning.  I understand that grade levels will participate and different levels.  Our fifth graders will have their very own celebration as they prepare to leave us for middle school.    I can’t wait to see what is in store for our learners!

On a different note, we had a call from a concerned neighbor about pedestrian and bike safety.  With the nicer weather, more students are walking or biking to school.  A number of our students exit our school grounds behind the building to 158th.  A concerned neighbor noted that the area is often congested with cars and that students cross mid-street instead of at an intersection.  We reminded students at our Thursday assembly how to cross safely.  We have also alerted our Public Safety Officer to the problem to see if that department has any suggestions.  Thanks for obeying traffic laws and for using extra caution around our school.  We have over 600 very special kids and their safety is important to us!

On Sunday, I participated in the Inaugural Portland Rock ‘n Roll Half-Marathon.    Because I’m a slow walker, I have lots of time to think during my 13.1 miles.  There was so much emphasis on this being the “first” event in our area, I thought a lot about all of the firsts I’ve had this year.  This week, my first Carnival and my first Culture Fair have provided me with opportunities to learn about how the Sexton Mountain community gets work done for kids.  I feel privileged to work with you and your children!

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

Wish List
·       Soil for the Garden Project
·       Boxes for moving
·       Student Artists willing to participate in Art Show at Canfield on June 22
·       Volunteers to participate in a “Packing and Moving Party” on June 14

Upcoming Events
·       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  This event has been postponed until fall.
·       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 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-Rescheduled to last day of school
·       June 12-Mt. Guide Picnic
·       June 13-Fifth Grade Party
·       June 13-Last Day of School
·       June 13-Assembly at 8:45am
·       June 14-Teacher Workday
·       June 15-Furlough Day a.k.a. Budget Reduction 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.)

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. 

Sexton Mountain Elementary School n 15645 SW Sexton Mountain Drive n Beaverton, Oregon 97007 n Office: 503.672.3560 n FAX 503.672.3563

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Culture Fair, Room Moves and Signal to Noise-May 15, 2012


Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

Last Thursday night I attended the Signal to Noise awards ceremony.  It was the closest to a red carpet event I’ll ever get.  Watching the stars from Sexton Mountain get out of the limo and walk by the flashing cameras and cheering fans was a hoot!    “Writing is Life” by Presli and Ellie in 5th grade won top honors. We had many teams represented.   It was indeed a special evening culminating months of work.

We have a lot to celebrate here at Sexton Mountain.  Next week we will have our Culture Fair on Tuesday, May 22.  Our PTC is bringing a Taiko drumming group for two assemblies.  We have a number of families who will be sharing information with our students during the morning.  Dancers are coming from Aloha High School.  While this is the day that will highlight some of the rich cultural backgrounds represented in our school, we know that our school is a special place because our students bring perspectives from a wide range of backgrounds and that we learn from one other another every day. 

We continue to have changes with our staff for the upcoming year.  Stacy Ellison announced her plans to retire at the end of this school year. Stacy has served students in our resource room for many years.   Pam Duhrkoop, our evening custodian, has accepted a position more closely related to her field of study and will be relocating closer to our nation’s capitol this summer. Though there will likely continue to be more changes in the upcoming weeks, we are tentatively moving forward with plans for the upcoming year.  Last week, teachers learned about tentative teaching assignments for the upcoming year. Ms. Loumena will teach kindergarten along with Mrs. Cubley or Mrs. Hiatt (yet to be determined).   Ms. Martin and Ms. Cobain will be first grade teachers along with Mrs. Cubley or Mrs. Hiatt (yet to be determined).  Ms. Goei, Mr. Hayhurst, and Mrs. Weigel will be our second grade teachers.  Mrs. Baldwin, Mrs. Olson, and Mr. Pfaff will teach third grade.  Ms. Hunt, Mrs. McConnell, Mrs. Stratton and Mr. Shotola will teach fourth grade.  Mrs. DiResta, Mrs. Krueger, Mrs. Skiba, and Mrs. Tanksley will teach fifth grade.  Ms. Yokom and Ms. Burnett will teach SRC. Again, these are our tentative plans and subject to change but we are moving forward in preparation for the upcoming year based on our best thinking and planning with the information we have now. 

Because we will have fewer classes of students (we are going from 25 classes to 20) ALL of our classrooms will be housed inside the building.  Because we will have three sessions of some classes and four of others AND we want all teaching teams to be in close proximity, we will have many moves.  SRC, Kindergarten and First Grade will remain in the same pods.  The ESL class will move into the first grade pod and music move in to the building next to kindergarten along with technology.  Second and third grade will be in the purple pod at the north end of the building where fourth and two of the fifth grade classes are currently located.   Fourth grade will move to the green pod where the second grade team currently resides.  Fifth grade will move to the green pod where most of the third grade classes are currently located.

Because there will be so many moves across the District between schools, resources like boxes for moving items between classrooms won’t be available.  I shared this info with parents at our PTC meeting on Friday and by Saturday, I was already getting emails with ideas about how to support our teachers with the move.  Our greatest need right now is boxes.  Paper boxes with lids, moving boxes, or banker’s type boxes with lids would be ideal.  We have started collecting boxes now so that teachers can pack up materials as they finish with them for the year.  A total of 20 teachers will be changing locations so if you like packing, you may want to let teachers know of your availability. 

As always, I am already impressed by just how hard our families are willing to work in order to support our staff and students!  Last week’s “Staff Appreciation” gestures were over the top fabulous!  This week’s Carnival will be amazing!  Thanks in advance for being so positive and solution oriented as we make changes and move forward.  Sometimes when things change we focus on our loss.  Other times when things change, we find new ways to innovate. We discover hidden pleasant surprises.  I am thankful for all of the positives that are already coming out of the change.  Thank you for making our school such a special place!

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

Wish List
·       Soil for the Garden Project
·       Boxes for moving
·       Student Artists willing to participate in Art Show at Canfield on June 22

Upcoming Events
·       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
o   As you know, Google Docs is a powerful learning tool that is now available for every Beaverton School District student.  We have scheduled a joint parent training about Google Docs here at Sexton Mountain at 8:45 on May 22.  Please join us.
·       May 25-Furlough Day-No School
·       May 31-Volunteer Appreciation Day
·       June 3-Hayhurst Triathlon  This event has been postponed until fall.
·       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 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 a.k.a. Budget Reduction 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.)