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Monday, December 16, 2013

Doors, Play Structures, Learning and Gratitude-December 17, 2013

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:


As I visited classrooms this week it was certainly fun to watch kids at work!  First graders were analyzing the conclusions of different books to see how these “mentor texts” wrapped things up.  Other first graders were retelling stories using pictures for the story to put ideas in order.  In fifth grade, students used the strategy of generating a list of questions a reader might have in order to consider which details need to be added to work.  In another class, students were survey one another.  Our students are learning to think critically and creatively at all levels!  GREAT things are indeed happening in our school!

If you’ve been by the school lately you likely know that the talk here seems to be around the change of location for the unlocked entry door.  In order for office staff to more easily see people as they enter, the unlocked door has changed a bit.  Please look for the door with the green sign. 

If you haven’t been to school but have talked to our students, you likely know that students are very excited about the addition to the big toy.  Thank to David Harrison, Cynthia Neely and Roger Hill plus the other volunteers for getting the final piece of the playground big toy install this weekend.  The bridge makes it so that kids can go all the way around the toy without touching the ground.


In addition to the door and the bridge, students learned about the Winter Break Reading Challenge in library this week.  Look for the snowflake sheet and keep track of how much time your child spends reading.  Kids can return the sheet by January 10 for a small treat.    I look forward to tackling the stack of books on my nightstand over the break!  I hope your family enjoys great books too!

As we wrap up 2013 I look back with a heart filled with gratitude.  The Sexton Mountain community has been so generous with time and materials and as a result, our students have benefited.  Our PTC has purchased iPads and the new play structure and our students use each daily.  We have countless volunteers working from home and at school so that our students will have a great learning experience.  The Sexton staff works tirelessly to make each day positive for students.  I am grateful to serve in a community where so many come together for kids!  Thanks for all you’ve done to make 2013 awesome!  Have a restful vacation and a Happy New Year!

Fondly,

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

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 ISB student Nezar Awad and Mason Lunz for organizing all of the boxes for the canned food drive and for keeping things organized.
  • §  Thanks to the Isenhart family for Kerig coffee for our staff.  What a treat!!


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.
       Volunteers to help with our Canfield (Senior Citizen) Lunch Buddies on the last Thursday of every month from 11:15-12:15 as they have lunch with our second and third graders.  We need helpers on December 19.
       Mr. Miller would like tripods to mount ipads for students to use in PE.  They are using really cool apps to analyze performance but we need more tripods.  If you have a sturdy tripod to donate, please send it in.
       Donations for our teachers donorschoose.org projects. 
 
Reminders
  • ·          Pedestrians should cross 155th with the crossing guard at Sexton Mountain and 155th.   Thanks!
  • ·          If your child will be late or absent, please call the attendance line before 8:30am (when messages are checked each day).  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tests, Lollipop Ladies, and Reading Across the Content Areas-December 10, 2013


Dear Sexton Mountain Families,

I spent my Budget Reduction Day at the Sherwood DMV with a very nervous 15 year old. I was reminded about several things related to assessing a child’s knowledge and skills while there and made some connections to the report card (coming home in backpacks today).

  • §  Passing the knowledge portion of the test does not mean that skills are at the same level.  The last question on Jacob’s test had to do with how far in advance to put on the turn signal.  He aced it on the test but an hour later, could not remember to do so as we came to intersections in an empty parking lot. 
o   Scores on the report card reflect a students’ progress toward end of year targets.  It could be that they have the basic knowledge now (like my son on his test) but end of year expectations call for the student to apply the knowledge (like my son during driving).  Knowing the year-end targets will help understand grades.  Visit the link below to become familiar with the targets.
§  https://www.beaverton.k12.or.us/depts/tchlrn/lts/Pages/Browse-Learning-Targets.aspx

  • §  Reading comprehension, really understanding what is being asked of you, is essential on any government form.  Part of college and career readiness is being able to navigate locally and globally.  Strong reading and critical thinking skills make life easier near and far.
o   Reading grades on the report card include accuracy, fluency and comprehension.  Comprehension goes beyond recalling basic facts.  Evaluative and inferential comprehension require deep thinking. Reading skills are applied in every other content area. If kids can answer basic questions about a text (ie-what color is the dog) it doesn’t necessarily mean they are comprehending at the level they need to in order to score at the proficient level. 

  • §  A strong vocabulary is necessary for strong comprehension.  “Maiden name” was an unfamiliar term for Jacob on one of the forms.  There were many other words that I assumed he wouldn’t know but because he understood word origins, he figured them out. 
o   The academic vocabulary used in each content area along with the process vocabulary for describing and defending thinking are taught at Sexton Mountain every day.   When you check out the learning targets, check out the Speaking and Literacy targets in the Literacy section to see what kids are expected to do.

  • §  Friendly people make all the difference in the world.  Though he was very nervous, the greeter at the Information Station, the testing person and even the man who took his picture SMILED, joked and gave important information in a way that he understood.
o   Our teachers have worked very hard to transition to the new grading system.  Friendly conversations to answer questions are always appreciated as we figure out this new tool for communicating progress.

Because driving is the focus in our family right now and my son has such a strong desire to drive to school, school zone safety has been a topic of discussion.  For the first time in his life, he really understands why crossing at a corner is much safer than anywhere on the street.  He was actually irritated by a pedestrian when one crossed where he wasn’t expecting them to.   He is asking questions about the Lollipop Lady (a term our friends uses for school crossing guards) and why some intersections near schools have them and some don’t. (In Beaverton we get them for the more dangerous or heavily traveled streets like 155th).   He was shocked to find the survival rate for pedestrians (hit even at slow speeds-like at 20mph in a school zone) is not 100%.  In just one day, the number of questions asked, theories tested and big “ah-ha” moments have been too many to count. 



As our children grow up, we realize how critical the years, weeks, days, and hours have been in making sure they are ready for the next step.  All of their experiences prepare them for independence (or not) so we must use time wisely!  Thank you for sharing your child with us on this very special journey! 


Fondly,

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

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 ISB student Nezar Awad and Mason Lunz for organizing all of the boxes for the canned food drive and for keeping things organized.
  • §  Thanks to Xan Eriksson for a donation of kids’ magazines for the cafeteria.  Kids love to read these!
  • §  Thanks to the McColl family for Kerig cup cocoa and coffee for our staff.  What a treat!!
  • §  Thanks to Holly Medell for a generous donation of coffee grounds for the staffroom coffee maker.  What a treat!

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.
       Volunteers to help with our Canfield (Senior Citizen) Lunch Buddies on the last Thursday of every month from 11:15-12:15 as they have lunch with our second and third graders.  This month we need helpers on December 19.
       Mr. Miller would like tripods to mount ipads for students to use in PE.  They are using really cool apps to analyze performance but we need more tripods.  If you have a sturdy tripod to donate, please send it to Mr. Miller.
       Donations for our teachers donorschoose.org projects. 
 
 
Reminder
  •           Please cross 155th with the crossing guard.
  •           There are parts of 155th where a parked car can block traffic, causing quite a traffic jam.  Please avoid parking near the speed bumps and median.  A non-example is below.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Report Card and Food Drive-December 3, 2013


Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                                         

I hope that you had a nice Thanksgiving weekend. After we picked up my daughter in Corvallis, she started reading Collins’ Catching Fire to us as we drove to Bend.  We’ve always enjoyed books in the car and having her read to us was a special treat.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t read any of this series so by the time we got to my mom’s house I was hooked and had to read all three in the trilogy.  My family also enjoyed time together, food and football. 

Last week I was in classrooms as students learned about the national holiday or discussed family traditions.  It was interesting to learn about what students were looking forward to.  In addition to the holiday, we had one Budget Reduction Day and a Teacher Workday so it seemed like an extra long weekend. 

Teachers spent the day Monday working on report cards.  As you’ve read in prior newsletters, the report card has changed this year.  In addition to the new format, teachers also had to learn a new system for entering grades and the time entry process itself went a bit more slowly than we had expected.  I have been so impressed by the patience and understanding shown by all through the change. 

Teaching is a complex task and the assessment of each child’s learning, as well as recording and reporting each individual’s progress, only make it tougher.  Our teachers are incredible professionals, doing critical and difficult work, and producing amazing results.  I want to recognize their efforts and publically thank them, something not done often enough.  I encourage you to make time to thank them as well.

Next Monday will be another Budget Reduction Day.  Report cards are scheduled to go home Tuesday.  When you get your child’s report card, be sure to:
§  Look at the supporting documents included with the report card
§  Remember that scores are based on progress toward end of year targets so don’t be surprised if you see 1s or 2s.
§  Pay close attention to the Trimester Progress Key since it shows if your child is making the progress we would expect in order to meet end of year targets.
+  significant
   steady
  minimal
§  Ask your child’s teacher if you have questions.
§  Use the information to identify strengths, goals and areas of emphasis. 

This report provides you information on your child's progress in each of the Academic and Behavior Learning Targets.  We encourage you to become familiar with these targets and the rubric or scoring guides used to evaluate student progress by viewing all on the district web site.  Once there, follow these steps:
         1. Select the Parents & Students tab along the top
         2. Select the Standards-Based Learning tab on the left-hand side
         3. Select the Learning Targets tab on the left-hand side
         4. Select "Browse Academic Learning Targets"
You can also simply go to: https://www.beaverton.k12.or.us/depts/tchlrn/lts/Pages/Browse-Learning-Targets.aspx. 

In addition, please log into ParentVUE, also under the Parent & Student tab or at https://parentvue.beaverton.k12.or.us between December 13th and the 20th to take an online survey and provide feedback on our report card format.

The work students do in class and at home daily likely provide you with much information about strengths and weaknesses as well so continue to have your child share their daily work and be sure to ask them about each day.  . As you know, often when we ask our kids how their day went, we only hear “Fine.” When we ask what they learned, they say, “Nothing.” The trick is to ask a question that requires your child to reflect and give an answer that has meaning. Try some of these:
• Tell me about the best part of your day.
• What was the most challenging thing you did today?
• Did any of your classmates do something funny today?
• What made you smile today?
• Tell me about what you read in class.
• Who did you play with today? What did you play?
• What is the biggest difference between this year and last year?
• Rate your day on a scale from 1 to 10 and tell me why.
• What was one learning target in your class today?
• What did you do that was kind (respectful, or responsible) today?
• What do you want me to know about your day?
Often times a well worded question can get the ball rolling to a great conversation.  You might also allow your child to ask you questions too. Be prepared to listen. The greatest gift we can give our kids is meaningful attention. Playing a game or sharing a cup of hot chocolate provide the best quality time and allow for great learning opportunities-not just for our children, but us as parents too.

  




Throughout the year our students participate in a variety of service projects.  For the next two weeks, students are invited to bring in nonperishable food items for the Elks Food Drive.  These items will go to families in need in our local community. 

Great things are happening at Sexton Mountain School every day.  Thank you for sharing your children with us!


Fondly,

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

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 all of the families who provided items for the feast in Ms. Burnett’s and Ms. Yokom’s class last week.  The important life skill of preparing food coupled with the rich language experiences made it a very special day for students and staff alike!
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 for our teachers’ projects on donorschoose.org.
       Volunteers to help with our Canfield (Senior Citizen) Lunch Buddies on the last Thursday of every month from 11:15-12:15 as they have lunch with our second and third graders.