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Monday, September 9, 2013

Play Structure, Back to School Night and Enthusiastic Students-Sept. 10, 2013

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                    

Our kindergarten students joined us this week and it was an absolute delight for me to observe the Class of 2026 at work.  Ms. DiResta’s morning session had a group that introduced themselves to one another by sharing about parents’ ages.  I was reminded that our children may over share on occasion but they do so with great enthusiasm.  We had an amazingly smooth start to the year and I am wildly enthusiastic about what this year will bring for our students.  Great things are indeed happening at Sexton Mountain School.

Mrs. Zwetschke’s husband happened to drive by school last Saturday and he called her to check that our big toy was not being stolen but replaced.  She assured him that our PTC was providing our students with a new structure and that the truckloads of parts were headed to Far West Fibers for recycling or to storage for repurposing.   We had over 43 volunteers help with the tear down of our old structure so finished up earlier than expected.  Painters came on Sunday to spiffy up the parts that are being reused and this Friday and Saturday, teams will assemble the new structure.  We will celebrate the completion of the project with a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 16 at 8:45am.  Like last weekend, if you can give just an hour of time on Saturday, it will make a difference on getting this project done for our kids. 

We hope to see 100% of our families this Thursday, September 12 for Back to School Night.
This is a time for parents to learn about what will be taught this year.  Teachers will hold 2 similar sessions. Session 1 will start at 6:35pm. Session 2 will start at 7:10pm.    Grownups are the intended audience but we do have a plan for kids.

The PTC is holding movie night from 6:30-8:00pm in the cafeteria that night too.  Students may sit on the floor or bring a blanket to watch the movie Epic.  Free water is available at the drinking fountain.  This will provide a spot for kids to safely hang out while parents learn from teachers in classrooms.  The movie will begin promptly at 6:30pm.  Aloha High School Child Development students will supervise students as they watch the movie and I will be there to assist them.

While I am not doing a presentation as part of Back to School Night this year, I do have important information to share.  By Thursday at 8:00pm I will send a link to a video for you to view.  I’ll share info about what we are doing this year and why.  This is my first attempt at video presentations so use my first attempt as a pre-test of sorts and see how much I grow and change by next year at this time. 

As a school community, we are deeply committed to providing your child with the best education possible and that includes challenging every student to reach his or her full potential.  It is also essential that you have the best possible information about how your child is doing in school and what areas may need additional focus to make sure he or she has the strong foundation needed for future success.

There are some exciting changes going on in our school – and around our state – that will help us make sure that your child leaves our school ready for his or her next steps.  I wanted to share a little about these changes and about what you and your child can expect to see this year.

As you may have heard, Oregon has adopted the Common Core State Standards – rigorous, learning expectations developed by educators, parents, and experts from around the U.S.  and voluntarily adopted by the majority of states.  The Common Core State Standards are not a curriculum.  Our school and district will continue to select the books and classroom lessons to best meet our students’ needs.  The Common Core State Standards simply lay out what foundational skills our students should have mastered at each grade in order to be on track to graduate ready for college and career.  As a parent, the Common Core provides you with a clearer picture of how prepared your child is for his or her next steps.  And this knowledge provides you and your child’s teacher an opportunity to make adjustments as needed to ensure there are no surprises down the road.

This year, you may notice that your child is learning about things in a different grade than a sibling did or that homework may look a little different – students will be reading more non-fiction for example.

Teachers will share about the new standards at Back to School Night.  I encourage you to talk with your child’s teacher about any questions you may have about the new standards or about how to help support your child’s success in school.  In addition, you are invited to attend a parent informational night on the Common Core on Tuesday, September 17, 6:30-8:00 PM at Errol Hassel Elementary School (18100 SW Bany Rd, Beaverton, Oregon 97007), or on Thursday, Oct. 3, 6:30-8:00 PM at the Beaverton School District Central Office (16550 SW Merlo Rd. Beaverton, OR 07006). We encourage you to join us and learn more about these new standards and what they mean for your child.

I hope to see you this Thursday, September 12 at 6:30pm for Back to School Night.  We are off to a great start!  Our challenges have been minor and I’m reminded daily that I have THE MOST AWESOME JOB IN THE WORLD.  Last week a first grader brought her lunch tray to me and said, "Mrs. C-B, Look!" She had a face like a 6 year old has just before they puke or burst into tears. She'd just made a trip through the salad bar and was looking at her lunch tray in horror.  It looked fine to me.  "What should I do?" she asked. My expression must have let her know I needed more information. She nearly shouted, "The corn! The corn!"
On top of a pear were three kernels of corn. The rest of her tray had food neatly separated into compartments.

"It's okay. You can move the corn back with the other kernels when you sit down. It'll be fine," I assured her.

Her facial expression changed dramatically, "Really?!?  Hunh!"

She trotted off.  A few misplaced kernels were the tough part of the day.  Life is GREAT at Sexton Mountain School.  Thank you for sharing your children with us!


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

THANK YOU-We are so lucky to have an active and involved community, willing to do special things for our kids.  When we work together, our kids benefit.
     Thanks to the Arabzadeh family for making a class set of dry erase boards for one of our teachers.  Dry erase boards provide teachers with a quick and effective way to check for understanding as they teach so these individualized tools will come in handy!
     Thanks to all who helped on the play structure last weekend!  YOU WERE AMAZING!

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.
       Volunteer to organize and tidy our book room.  We had a lot of new supplies added this year and the room could use some organizing in order for the materials to be easily accessible. 
       Volunteer to open, unpack and label calculators that were given to our school.  This job can be done at home and we can send it home with your child through backpack mail.  Please let me know if you can do this job.
       Donations of gently used kids’ magazine for students to read following lunch.  Deliver these to the office.

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