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Monday, April 7, 2014

Everyday Efforts, Assessments, Celebrations and More-April 8, 2014

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                                         

I can remember my first standardized test from when I was a child.  The teacher sent home a letter reminding my parents to make sure I came to school the next day well rested and had a healthy breakfast.  I remember my mom reading the letter and saying, “Do they assume we send you to school tired and hungry for learning every OTHER day of the year?”

As my mom implied and through my work as an elementary school teacher and now principal, I know that it’s the actions that happen every single school day that prepare kids to do well on assessments.  Making sure they are in class and engaged in the work to their fullest (without the distraction of being too tired, having a grumbling tummy, or having the crash from a sugary breakfast) every day develops the habits of mind for success in most academic areas (including assessments).

Third, fourth and fifth graders have started OAKS testing this month.  The Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) test is a multiple-choice test.  Third, fourth and fifth graders take the reading and math test.  Fifth grades also take a science test. All students work to meet or exceed expectations. Fourth and fifth graders also work to meet their own personal growth targets in reading and math.  Growth targets are set for each child based on their score the prior year.  If a student did not meet last year, the growth target will be set on the trajectory for the student to meet standards in three years.  If a student met or exceeded standards last year, the growth target is set at a similar level to last year’s performance.  For instance, if a child exceeded expectations last year and their score put them in the 50%ile, the target score for this grade will also be at the 50%ile.    If a score last year was at the 90%ile, the growth target this year will also be at about that level. 

At every grade level at Sexton Mountain, teachers and students are working so hard! In her book Mindset, Carol Dweck talks about how important it is for learners of all ages to realize the importance of effort, learning from failure and learning to love the process of learning.  These habits of mind are also important when testing.   From OAKS to the driver’s permit test, knowing how to do your best, work hard and fail with a great “what do I need to do in order to do better next time” attitude are all important skills.

In addition to reading, math and science this week, exciting things are happening around the school.  In music, students have been learning how to play the ukulele.  Buddy classes got together last week for an art project and to read.  Our third graders are learning about a wide range of weather related events.  Fifth graders are getting excited about a trip to Salem in conjunction with a study of government.  Fourth graders have been studying Oregon geography and will make salt-dough maps to show what they’ve learned.  First graders had special science teachers come to team-teach an inquiry lesson last week about pill bug habitats. 

We also have things to celebrate!  Last week 30 students participated in the school-wide Spelling Bee.  Esme was our top speller and will represent our school at the District Spelling Bee later in the month.  Congratulations to Mrs. Krueger’s class.  They were the official runner-up for the Human Rights Art Contest and will be honored by the Mayor’s Office at an evening ceremony on Tuesday, May 6.

Exciting things are happening at Sexton Mountain.  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 our Mt. Guides for the work they do daily to keep things running nicely.  Recently we added a few new jobs and I’ve been so impressed with how traffic flows much more smoothly as a result of having our Mt. Guides out front.  They are even passing out treats on occasion for those who pull all the way forward.  Additionally, they are counting cars and have noted that 141 cars pulled as far forward as possible on a recent morning.  

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 hand sanitizer will be put to good use in our computer lab.  Please send donations to the office or computer lab.
       Donations for our teachers’ projects are still appreciated! 
       Donations of large refill type bottles of hand soap will be put to good use during our lunchtime hand-washing routine.
       Volunteers are needed to organize and sort a very large order of office supplies in the supply room. 
       Volunteers are needed to organize and stock the remote work room (near the green pod). 
Upcoming Events (bold items have been recently added)
§  April 9-Disco Bingo Night 6:30-8:30pm (think Bingo plus movement-aerobic Bingo)
§  April 10-11-Parent-Teacher Conferences-No School
§  April 17-2nd Grade Music Program at 9:00am and 6:30pm
§  April 21-24-Scholastic Book Fair in the Library
§  April 23-OMSI Science Assembly 8:30-9:30-3rd-5th Grade and 9:45-10:45-Kindergarten-2nd Grade
§  April 24-Canfield Lunch Buddy Visit 11:30-12:15
§  April 24-Family Science Night-6:30-8:30pm
§  April 25-No School-Staff Development Day

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