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Monday, September 2, 2013

August News-2013


                                                                                             

Dear Sexton Mountain Families:

This is one of my favorite times of the school year as I look forward to the endless possibilities a new year brings.  I can't wait to see what great things will happen for students at Sexton Mountain this year!  I am wildly optimistic about the upcoming year because of the added resources our community provided for us by passing the Local Option Levy.  WE are going to have a fabulous year!

I hope that you spent the summer creating memories to last a lifetime! My parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary party was the highlight of my summer as we entertained family and friends from all over AND got to relive memories through stories and pictures. I would LOVE to see pictures of your family’s summer adventures.  Our staff is starting the year with a DREAM theme.  Everyone who goes into education has a dream. My dream is that students will LOVE to learn at deep levels and be taught the skills needed in order to experience success in whatever they decide later in life.  In my office I have a wall full of pictures that many of you have provided.  I love to look at those faces as I dream and think about that child’s needs.  Please send me pictures electronically.  Feel free to add a word or two about your dream for 2013-2014.

The purpose of today’s note is to share details about the upcoming weeks to make the first days of school go more smoothly.

The first day of school for students in grades 1-5 will be Tuesday, September 3.  Kids may go to the classroom at 8:25am on this day.  Teachers will use every second up to that time to prepare for the big start.  Adults are welcome to come to Portable 6 (the PTC portable) for some donuts and coffee after they drop off students.  This will allow kids to get started on learning and parents time to reconnect or visit in a place that won’t distract the learners.  Before school, you may want to photograph your child with the Sparky statue in our front entry.  If you walk your child to class, remember that every time adults enter the building, they are expected to sign in and get a visitor or volunteer badge.  This will usually be done in the office but on the first day, we will have sign in tables in front of the school since we expect so many guests.

The first day of school for Kindergarten students will be Monday, September 9.  Morning students may go to the classroom at 8:25am on this day.  Afternoon students may go to the classroom at 12:30pm.  Parents are welcome to come to Portable 6 (the PTC portable) for treats following.  Please take time to get to know other parents.  Please do sign in at the office and get a visitor’s badge if you plan to walk your child to class.  Feel free to photograph your child with the Sparky.  You may want to make this a yearly tradition to see how your child grows. 

 

Staff Changes this year are minimal compared to years past. You can visit the staff section of our website to learn about the whole team but I want to introduce our new staff now.

q  Susan DiResta will be rejoining the staff teaching kindergarten. In addition to teaching intermediate grades here at Sexton, she’s also taught first grade at Hiteon and did her student teaching in kindergarten.     
q  Amanda Burnett will be rejoining our Structured Routines Center.  Amanda returns to us after time in the Gresham-Barlow School District and Whitford Middle School. Dalene Stark and Mary Bentley are also joining the SRC team in the role of instructional assistants. 
q  Alexa Hoffman will serve as an assistant on our reading intervention and recess supervision team.  Alexa recently graduated from SOU with a degree in education so we are so lucky to have her in this role. 
q  Jennifer Barbay will return as our school counselor.  She had been laid off last year so we are thrilled to have her back!!

Before school begins I am sure that you will be working on routines and procedures to make sure that your child is as ready and independent as possible before heading into the new school year.  The information below will help you know what to expect.
·          Our Ice Cream Social is Thursday, August 30 from 2:00-3:00 p.m.   
o   During this time, you can drop school supplies by the classroom then enjoy a treat (non-dairy available for those with allergies) in the cafeteria.  In preparation for the event, study the map and figure out how to get to each of the places you’ll need to go that afternoon.  When you arrive with your child, have them use the map to lead the way.  This teaches independence and promotes confidence!  Our school is one big loop so you really can’t get lost.
o   Our SRC teachers will be at a training on Thursday so they would like to invite students to enjoy the event on Thursday but then come back for another, more quiet time on Friday, August 30 from 2:00-3:00pm.  Again, this will build confidence in knowing their school!
o   Use the enclosed map to get familiar with the school and grade level pods.  When postcards from teachers arrive in the next week or two, use the map to find your child’s classroom. Help your child memorize the teacher’s name.
·          August is a great time to drop off MEDICATION for students.
o   Throughout the year, adults must deliver any medication (i.e.-prescriptions, inhalers, cough drops, Tums, Benadryl or Tylenol).  Never send medication with your child.
o   Medication authorization forms must be completed when medication is dropped off.
o   Adults can drop off medication during regular office hours- 7:30am-4:00pm.  The office is much less busy in August than it is when school starts so now is a great time to complete this task.
·          August is a great time to Know and Practice the After School Day Plan
o   Complete the enclosed MEMO to TEACHER so the teacher will know your child’s after school plan. Return the completed BLUE MEMO TO TEACHER at the Ice Cream Social or on the first day of school.
o   When kids know their plan, they are much more relaxed during the school day.  Before school begins talk about the plan and practice it if possible.
·          Know that there will be Important Documents for you to review in the Back to School Packet
o   Pick up packets from the classroom at the Ice Cream Social or they will be sent home on the first day.
o   Sign and return the student verification form and other necessary documents ASAP.  Make sure  the info on the form is correct and let us know if it changes throughout the year.
·          Know that Kindergarten students won’t come to school the week of Sept. 3 because of the statewide Kindergarten Assessment.  Students will be assessed during the week.  Teachers will contact families to make  30 minute appointments.  Expect to hear from Mrs. Hiatt or Mrs. DiResta the week of August 26th.
·          Know that there will be many exciting things happening this year for you and your student.  The activities calendar will be in the Back to School packet but for now, MARK YOUR CALENDAR for two upcoming events:
o   September 7th  and 14th -PTC Playground Replacement Workparty-Our current playground structure is 23 years old and our generous PTC will be replacing it with a new one this fall.  Adult help is needed.  More information will follow but save the dates now.
o   September 12th -Back to School/Curriculum Night and PTC Movie Night-6:30pm-We hope to have 100% of our parents attend Curriculum Night this year so are providing an activity for kids while parents attend teacher presentations.  Kids can watch a movie in the cafeteria while adults learn in classrooms from teachers.  High school students will supervise students during the movie so children must be independent with bathroom skills and be able to listen and follow the direction of our volunteers.   Parents can join kids after classroom presentations to enjoy the movie.

GETTING TO SCHOOL on time and ready to learn sets the stage for the day.  Now is a good time to discuss with your child what to expect depending on how your child gets here. Supervision in the cafeteria begins at 8:05am then at 8:10 students can also go to the gym, playground or library if space is available.
       BUS If you live more than one mile from school, your child may have the option of riding a bus.  Parents are responsible for making sure kids get to and from the stop safely and are monitored.  If your child arrives BY BUS the child will exit the bus (with all of his or her belongings) then go to the cafeteria, gym, library or playground until 8:25am.  Bus route information will be available soon.  Be at the bus stop 5 minutes early.  You will soon be able to find your child’s bus stop info through on-line application called eLink.  Instructions will be on the Beaverton School District Transportation website soon. 
       BY CAR- IF students are able to independently get in and out of the car on the passenger size, they can be dropped off in the front circle. Students enter through the door closest to the cafeteria then go to the cafeteria, gym, library or playground until 8:25am.  IF students are not yet able to do this independently drivers should park in a legal parking space then help the child out of the car and walk them across the crosswalk to the building where the child can then go to the cafeteria, gym, library or playground until 8:25am. If adults come into the building with children, they need to enter through the front door then go to the office to sign in and get a visitor or volunteer badge.
       BY FOOT OR BIKE- will walk their bike at crosswalks and on campus.  Kids should lock bikes at a rack (located in front and back of the school) then go to the cafeteria, gym, library or playground until 8:25am

Know that Instruction Begins promptly at 8:30am
       When the 8:25am bell rings, students walk directly to the classroom.  Teachers take attendance electronically at 8:30am then begin instruction so if a child arrives after the 8:30am bell, the child will be marked absent.  As to not interrupt instruction, children not in class at 8:30am need to get a pink slip from the office.  When they show this to the teacher, the teacher knows that the office has changed the electronic record to show the child is at school.  Please make being on time and ready to learn a habit.  Children who are frequently tardy in elementary school are more likely have poor grades in middle school, drop out in high school, and even experience employment issues later in life.  Plan ahead for congestion and let kids know that the start of the day is a lot like the scheduled departure of an airplane to Disneyland in that if you arrive late, you may miss something important no matter what the excuse. 

Mid-Day Kindergarten Dismissal
We have two sessions of morning kindergarten.  Morning Kindergarten Dismissal is at 11:00am.
       Adults will pick up students from the Kindergarten porch.  The two school buses will park along the straight part of the curb.  Parents should park in legal spots then walk to the sidewalk area to get their child.   Students will wait with the teacher until the teacher sees the adult so make sure your child tells the teacher when he or she sees you.  As you walk back to your car, make sure you use the crosswalk to set a good example for your child.  Later in the year, kids may be picked up curbside as they are ready to get in and out of the car independently and drivers know where to save room for buses.  Day care vans will pull in behind the buses then cars can pull in behind the vans.
       If your child rides the mid-day bus home, teach them to watch for their stop and to be ready to safely and quickly get off.  The bus schedule sometimes starts out a bit slow at the beginning of the year until children get into the habit of watching for their stop so don’t worry in the first week or two if it’s a bit behind schedule.  Do have your cell phone at the bus stop in case we need to contact you for some reason.  Mid-day kindergarten bus riders will be dropped at their assigned stop only if an adult is present, so make sure you are there and visible.  Bus routes will be mailed soon.

Mid-Day Recess and Lunch
       Children may bring healthy meals from home or they may purchase meals at school.  Lunch boxes are less likely to be lost if they are clearly marked with the student’s names and students remember to put them in the class lunch wagon.  Children should be able to open their own containers so practice this before school begins.  Gogurts, cheese sticks, thermoses and juice boxes can be tricky so plan accordingly.
       If students plan to purchase lunch or breakfast see the enclosed Nutrition Services flier for more info about this.  The money deposit boxes are in the cafeteria and office.  Make sure your child’s name is on the check (payable to Sexton Mt.) or envelope with cash. 
        Our mid-day lunch and recess schedule is below.  Students will play first and then wash up and eat.
o   First Grade                   Playground 10:50            Lunch    11:10        
o   Second Grade              Playground 11:10               Lunch    11:30      
o   Third Grade                 Playground 11:30               Lunch    11:50      
o   Fourth Grade              Playground 11:50               Lunch    12:10 
o   Fifth Grade                   Playground 12:10               Lunch  12:30    

Mid-Day Kindergarten Arrival
We have one session of Afternoon Kindergarten.  Afternoon Kindergarten Arrival time is different than morning.
       Drop students at the kindergarten porch between 12:30pm and 12:35pm.   If you are early, please wait with your child.  If late, walk child to the office, get a pink late slip and a visitor’s sticker, then walk your child to class.
       The mid-day bus schedule will be mailed soon.  The bus will drop students at the porch. 
       At 12:35 the teacher will take attendance electronically then instruction begins.

End of Day Routines
After school can be the most challenging part of our routine as we reconnect kids and families.  Dismissal Time is at 3:05pm. With 500+ students leaving school at the same time there will undoubtedly be traffic congestion at times. Please complete and return the “Memo to Teacher” so your teacher will know well in advance your child’s after school plan.  In the classroom, teachers line kids up based on these plans.
       The  BUS or daycare van waiting area is on the covered area of the playground
o   Kids should know their bus number or name of daycare.
o   The afternoon bus is different than the mid-day kindergarten bus because bus riders at this time, including our kindergarten students, will be allowed to get off at their bus stop if an adult is present or not.  Make sure that your child knows where to get off the bus and how to get home from the stop. 
       If students are being PICKED UP, the front traffic circle sidewalk is where kids are taken to wait for their ride
o   Students should look for their vehicle and alert staff members when the ride arrives.
o   Drivers will remain at the wheel in the driveway and traffic circle or park legally and wait for your child on the sidewalk near the benches or bike rack. Students are not allowed to cross the parking lot crosswalks without an adult.
o   Adults should wait outside for students.  Adults in the classroom or pod can be very disruptive at the end of the school day as kids see adults and think that learning is done.  We want to maximize every minute!
       Students may WALK or BIKE home with permission.  Indicate this on the Memo to Teacher.  Kids are expected to walk their bikes on campus, wear helmets and to be safe.

Class Placement-Postcards from teachers will be sent by August 23.  As we’ve had students move in or out over the summer, we are working to balance classes for optimal learning. We have a commitment to challenge every child in our school to high standards, whatever that child’s strengths and areas for growth.  It is our goal to have the make-up of all of our classrooms balanced in terms of gender, abilities, talents and challenges.  The teachers and I spent many hours putting together this complex puzzle in order to provide a strong learning environment for every child.  Please be assured that your child’s best interests were at the heart of our work.

WE will continue to need you this year.  We couldn’t have made it through the year last year without all of the support from our parents, grandparents, and community.  Though the levy was passed by our voters, our schools still have large classes and our students have needs that can only be met if our whole community collaborates. We need to be innovative for your kids.  I invite you to join me in celebrating the daily accomplishments of children this year and helping us find solutions for some of the daily struggles.   I look forward to a year of celebrations and learning as we strive for excellence and equity! There is power when WE team. We look forward to a great year!


Fondly,


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

Wish List-These are things or jobs that make a difference to our kids, teachers or school. Send in items or let Mrs. CB know if you can volunteer.
       Donations of paper, primary composition notebooks, spiral notebooks or other supplies can be put to good use.
       Volunteers to help with 1st  and 2nd  grade lunch during the first week of school. An extra set of hand and eyes is valued as students learn new routines.

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




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