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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Welcome Back-January 8, 2013

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                                         

It is so nice to be back at school! I’ve enjoyed hearing about the adventures that students had over the break.  It sounds like kids enjoyed great books, time with family and learning new things.    When I visited classrooms Monday morning, kids were busy writing about their adventures.  In Mrs. Hiatt’s kindergarten class students were writing sentences about where they went over the break.  They were hard at work using their letter sounds to form words.  I was AMAZED by how productive our youngest students were.  In Mrs. McGill’s fifth grade class students were writing paragraphs about what they’d done.  At every grade in between students were busy and learning!  It’s so nice to be back in the learning groove!

My family went to visit my parents in Central Oregon over the break.  This summer, my parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary so we went through boxes and boxes of slides from the 1960s and 70s trying to find pictures of the early years of their married life.  I’m glad my parents took lots of pictures because it was so much fun going through them with my kids.  It reminded me of the importance of sharing family stories and the many family artifacts kids brought to school in December to describe what is important to them.  Even this week, Isabelle was sharing pictures of her family’s recent trip abroad.  A picture can be worth a thousand words.

As I dug through the boxes, I discovered pictures that represent my early beginnings in education.  The picture below on the right shows my first home.  If it looks a bit like a school it’s because it is!  My parents’ first teaching position was in Diamond, Oregon in a three-room schoolhouse.  My mom taught children in first, second and third grade.  My dad taught students in fourth through eighth grade.  They lived in the school too.  By my third day of life, I lived in school and by my third week, I was in the classroom as my mom and dad taught.  Both of my parents had a passion for teaching that was contagious and I’m sure their enthusiasm inspired my brother and me to go into the field of education.

The other picture shows a group of kids playing softball at recess.  My own children noticed that there were not neatly chalked baselines on the field.  The batter did not wear a helmet.  My parents noted that the picture did not show the horses behind the makeshift backstop or really capture the fact that this was nothing more than a place where the weeds had been worn down by playing kids.  I enjoyed looking through all the pictures and seeing how much in education has changed and how much has stayed the same.

With only 18 students at the school in Diamond, I’m sure their parent group was pretty small.  I’m certain they didn’t have PTC like ours.    With David Harrison at the helm, I’m sure a state of the art playground would have been provided or at the very least some cool equipment. Our PTC will meet this Friday at 9:30am.  Items on the agenda include playground improvements and technology for the classroom so hopefully there will be a great turn out for rich discussion!  Our Community Engagement Committee will meet just before the PTC meeting at 9:00am.  If you have ideas or strategies for increasing community engagement (especially the 80% of our neighbors without students in our schools) we’d love to hear your ideas then too!  Feel free to join either group.

We are off to a great 2013.  One of the resolutions that my family set this year is to find something positive in each day.  The idea (from Pinterest) encouraged recording small celebrations, surprises, accomplished goals, “LOL” moments, memories worth saving, the beauty of nature, accomplishments, or amazing things.  The original idea encouraged recording the ideas on small slips of paper then putting them in a jar to read at the end of the year BUT our family will read them more frequently.    I recently read that when kids are having a hard time going to sleep, it’s important to talk about positive things so they drift off thinking about joyful possibilities.  I may save our jar for times when we need a bit of joy.   The reason I’m sharing this idea with you is twofold.  First, your children bring me great joy so many celebrations that I record are about the great things happening at Sexton Mountain.  Second, your children accomplish important things each day and I hope that you will help them celebrate all that is going well at school.   Thank you for sharing your children with us!

Take Care,

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

Thank you!
  • §  Thanks to the Rawley family for a generous donation!  Thanks also to VMware for a generous matching donation!  These donations are earmarked to support economically disadvantaged students with special trips or projects!
  • §  Thanks to Grace Campbell for organizing   Sexton Mountain students are already ranked 1st in the nation and 39th in the world for their math work on this site!  Wow!
  • §  Thanks to Grass family for sharing their enthusiasm about and for informing me of our well our students are doing.
  • §  Thanks to the family’s of Zachary Williams, Preston Rouse, Rocio Tello, Jordan and Jacob Yan, Theo Daniel, Natalie Namdar, Nora and Anders Turman, Beck Johnson, Abbie and Emily Payne, Caleb Grass, Ava Kuhlman, Quinn Maher, Quinn O’Connor, Anastasia Mosely, Spencer Barnard, Esme and Harper Fife-Adams, Colin Hodgkinsons, Payton Wilson, Emmalyn and Marianna Stewart, Max Smith, Piper Neubert and Katie Becher for providing scholarships to!

Upcoming Events
January 11 CEC Meeting at 9:00am and PTC at 9:30am
January 15  Dining for Dollars Night at Pizziacatto
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 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 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.
·          HELP WANTED-With our economy as it is, we think there might be an untapped volunteer resource in our neighborhood that you might help us access.  We’ve heard that many recent college graduates are unable to find employment so have moved back home as they look for work.  We can provide wonderful volunteer experiences that might enhance resumes.  Does anyone on your block fit this description?  We would love to have some extra volunteers assist with kindergarten stations, technology, math games, community outreach and more.  If you know of someone who might benefit from this type of experience, please have them email and complete the District’s Volunteer Background Check.
·          32 Ounce Nancy’s Yogurt Containers Needed-We hope to collect 42 clean containers for an upcoming project. Lids are not needed.  Please send containers to the office.  The containers will be used as seating markers during assemblies.  We will need a volunteer to add labels.  This can be done at home.  Let Mrs. CB know if you’re interested in doing this project.
·          Organized Volunteer to Pack Boxes-We have a stack of teaching supplies in a storage area that need to be boxed up.  If you would like to pack items into boxes, we can put you to work. Several volunteers can share this work. 
·          Pennies Needed for Upcoming Science Project-We would love your donation of pennies for an upcoming science project.  Following the project, pennies will be donated to the Pennies for Patients penny drive.  Please send pennies to the office. 
·          Pinecones Needed for Upcoming Writing Project-We would love to get many different types, shapes and sizes of dry pinecones for an upcoming project.  Please send cones to the office by January 18.
·          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.

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