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Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Break Writing, OAKS Testing, Science Fair and More-April 2, 2013

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                 

When I asked students about vacation highlights on Monday I got a range of answers.  Feeding eels, swimming with dolphins, camping on the John Day, earning go-cart certification, visiting Seattle’s Central Library, time with family (including Australian hard core heavy metal band members and grandparents), and Oregon Coast taffy were among the highlights of the break.  Drew surprised me by sharing that completing the Oregon Assessment of Skills and Knowledge Reading and Literature Practice test was among his most exciting moments of the break. In addition to traveling and time with family, reading was also a highlight for many.  Most seemed well rested and ready to resume learning! 

Many students were writing about their adventures when I visited classrooms Monday too.  In kindergarten students were writing about vacations.  Learning to ski and swim without help were two highlights.  Partner work during a badminton game, sailing, making perfect pancakes and navigating rough rocks at Devil’s Lake to jump in the water repeatedly were a few of the things third grades enjoyed.  Sea World, Disneyland, Slappy Cakes, Klamath Falls, Eagle Crest, Mt. Hood, British Columbia, Walla Walla, and Hawaii were a few of the destinations kids shared about.  We had a busy group of kids! 

My family enjoyed time with relatives, great books and my husband and I took a salsa-dancing lesson. My mom had me do a sewing project that stretched my skills tremendously.  Between the dancing lessons and the sewing, I was pushed out of my comfort zone and have great empathy for students as a result of my new learning.  With the sewing project, I realized that practice does indeed move one towards proficiency.  As I was repeatedly stepping on the toes of others, I realized that good teachers, good partners, and a big smile can help even the most reluctant learner want to improve.  I am glad that we have great teachers, great students and many smiling faces at Sexton Mountain School. It is indeed a great place to learn.

Our students jumped right back into learning this week.  As I visited classrooms I saw many examples of great learning.  In kindergarten kids were working on short vowel sounds. In first grade, students were analyzing words and sorting them into short and long vowel categories.  Mr. Pfaff’s students were sharing strategies for remembering math terms.  Mr. Tsakistos’ class was reading a non-fiction text to learn about colonial life.  Ms. McGill’s students were practicing “persuasive sandwich” writing using evidence, examples, reasons and quotes to support thinking.  Mrs. Krueger’s class learned that you can’t believe everything you see on the Internet as they watched a breaking news story on the BBC about flying penguins on April Fool’s Day.  Students in Ms. Watson’s class were following written directions, telling time and labeling parts of plants.  Ms. Yokom’s students shared sentences about spring break travel and sleepovers.  As students visited specials this week, they got to play ukuleles in music, play a football free flag football type game in PE, and make book recommendations in library. We also celebrated the return of Mrs. Kramer in the computer lab. GREAT things are happening at Sexton Mountain School.  Thank you for sharing your children with us.

As Drew’s comment about taking the OAKS practice test hinted at, our third, fourth and fifth graders are beginning statewide assessments this month.  All the hard work and learning students have done since kindergarten can be applied to these assessments.  Attention to detail, stamina, and critical thinking are a few of the skills students will apply.  Plenty of rest and a healthy breakfast EVERYDAY prepares students for the next steps in learning, whether it be assessments, projects, or acquiring new skills. 

Also during April, many students are preparing for the Science Fair.   The Science Fair is coming up and we need volunteers to help with setting up the gym on April 10 from 2:15-3:05pm.   If you can help, let Grace Campbell know by emailing,  On Thursday, April 11 you will get to see many interesting projects and kids will get to enjoy the animals from Hart’s Reptile World.  It’s going to be a great night.  At 8:00pm, we will begin clean up and volunteers are needed to put tables away that evening too.

In addition to the Auction, Family Science Night and all the learning that is happening during the day, April promises to be a busy month for Sexton Mountain School.  Though we are deeply engaged in learning now, I’m also starting to work on planning for the 2013-2014 school year.  From volunteer jobs that will help prepare for summer mailings and fall teaching to information from parents regarding learning environments that best suit students, there are several things listed below that you can do to help us prepare for the upcoming year.  Thanks for all your support!

Take Care,

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

Classroom Placement Info
As we plan for the 2013-2014 school year, we are asking for parent input regarding the learning environment that fits your child.  We want to achieve the best possible balance and learning for all students at our school.  It is very important for us to get a complete picture of your child as a learner.  Current teachers will be providing information regarding students' learning needs as well as current specialists.  Your information, in addition, will be of great value in understanding individual needs for all of our students.  If you desire, please write a letter commenting on the following points:
*Your child's learning style. 
*The type of teaching which best suits you child. Please do not list specific teacher names as teaching assignments have not been determined and as we know from last year, many things could change between now and September.
*The type of classroom environment you prefer. 
*Any special concerns that need to be considered.
Please drop letters by the office or send letters to by April 30. Much thought and care go in to building balanced classes.  Your input is one valuable piece of the process.  By the time we have finished this procedure, we have created an intricately woven community of children.  Your information allows us to meet your concerns while doing what is best for all children at Sexton Mountain.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you!
§  Thanks to Sally Clemens  and MaKaylee Brower for making fabric panels to cover our doors during lock in drills.  Seventeen panels have been completed.  As fabric is donated, we’ll continue to make these for use during drills.
§  Thanks to the Sadek and Johnson family for donating fabric for window coverings to be used for lock in drills.
§  Thanks to the Sliva and Wilson families for donating fabric and postcards.
§  Thanks to Polly Campbell for providing snacks for the staff at our March 18 staff meeting.
§  Thanks to Kate Kristiansen for working with the PTC to get ipad covers for the 30 ipads the PTC purchased for our students.
§  Thanks to Steve McKoy for collecting nests for us throughout the winter.  Kindergarten students got to make observations of these treasures recently and they LOVED it!

Wish List--These are little things or jobs that will make a difference to our kids. Feel free to send items in or let Mrs. CB know if you are willing to do a project.
§  Donations of KIDS MAGAZINES for lunch table book boxes.  Kids love Ranger Rick, Sports Illustrated for Kids and other age appropriate magazines.
§  Photographer needed to take pictures of students as they model routines and procedures on the playground and in the lunchroom so that we can put together a teaching slideshow for the fall.
§  Volunteer needed to attach about 700 sticky labels to cards.  We will send postcards this summer announcing class placement but they all will need return address labels.  This can be done at home with all supplies delivered via backpack mail.
§  Teachers will have two team building activities during the upcoming weeks and we’d love donation of small prizes for a staff spirit prize basket to make these activities extra special for staff.  Gently used books, special office supplies, magazines, gift cards or any small treats will be put to good use.
§  Tongue depressors are needed for an upcoming project.

Upcoming Events
April-OAKS Statewide Assessment for 3-5th grade this month during technology class
April 5-PTC Meeting at 9:30am
April 10-Science Fair Set Up-2:15-3:05pm-Volunteers needed to set up tables
April 11-Science Fair Assembly (Thank you PTC!)
April 11-Project Set Up-Students and parents may set up project between 7:50-8:30am.  Students will continue to set up projects until 9:30.  Children may not enter the gym unless accompanied by an adult.
April 11-Science Fair and Family Science Night 6:30-8:00pm-Students will take home their science projects when they leave     that evening so our volunteers can put away the tables.  Volunteers are needed at 8:00pm to help with clean up.
April 12-Staff Development Day-No School-Thanks to all who have volunteered to bring in snacks for the 90+ teachers we will be hosting on this special training day.
April 13-Learn and Play Auction
April 16-2nd Grade Field Trip
April 22-25-Earth Week
April 24-Passport Club Check Day
April 25-Spirit Assembly
April 29-Budget Reduction Day-No School
May 3-Community Engagement Committee meeting -- 9:00 am
May3-PTC meeting -- 9:30 am
May 6-10-Staff Appreciation Week
May 15-Passport Club Check -- 8:30 am -- 12:00 pm
May 17-PTC Carnival
May 23-Volunteer Appreciation Day
May 23-PBIS Assembly-8:25am-Students go straight to the cafe on these days.
May 24-Assessment Day
May 27-Memorial Day Holiday-No School
May 30-Cultural Celebration Assembly- Grupo Condor-   (Thank you PTC!)
      8:30-9:20-Olson, 4th and 5th Grad
     9:35-10:35-Baldwin, Pfaff, K, 1st, 2nd Grade
May 31-1st Gr. Field Trip
June 7-Community Engagement Committee meeting -- 9:00 am
June 7-PTC meeting -- 9:30 am
June 7-Field Day
June 7-4th Grade Human Growth and Development Lesson
June 12-Mt. Guide picnic
June 13-PBIS Assembly-8:25am-Students go straight to the cafe on these days.
June 13-5th grade party at Conestoga Rec Center
June 13-Last day of school

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