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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fabulous First Day-September 2, 2014

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                                

Students were certainly excited to return to school this morning.  They were ready to reconnect with friends and get down to the business of learning. As I visited all classrooms this morning, there was a calm positive HUM!  It’s going to be a great year.  Here’s a bit about two of the rooms I visited.

Kids were seated on the carpet in first grade as Mrs. Cobain-Soto talked about WHY it’s important to be safe, respectful and responsible.  As Mrs. Cobain-Soto’s class discussed safety at recess, students talked about their past experience and why they appreciated a calm, orderly, and safe recess experience.  Students asked great questions about schedules and routines.  They walked calmly to line up.  They were careful to be in line and they quietly encouraged one another.  I learned that when the first whistle blows kids freeze.  At the second whistle they put away toys and carefully line up.  As they were on their way out one boy asked the most important question of all, “How long IS recess?”   I was delighted to learn that this group has strong opinions about treating others with kindness.

The fifth grade classes seemed absolutely TINY now that we’ve added a fourth session.  Late last week we learned that our numbers had grown so much that we got an additional teacher.  Claire Bartlett joined the team and was off to a strong start today.  By the time I made my rounds, her class was already in specials.  Mr. T.’s class has a special specials’ schedule so his group was in the room when I popped in.  After a “getting to know you” activity they, got right to work filling out their planners.  Students will be using planners this year to record their assignments and manage their time.    Mr. T. shared that his mom will call tonight to ask about his day so that having a run down of the day will be a nice reference.  Every time a pen lid came off this group seemed to delight in the smell of new school supplies. They talked about why it’s important to have an agenda or planner and what they anticipated it will help them with.

Audrey shared, “We can use them to keep track of our schedule.”  Mr. T. stressed the importance of being responsible for the schedule and knowing what is coming.   PARENTS SHOULD NOTE THAT WE ARE GOING TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO MINIMIZE DISTRUPTIONS TO CLASSROOMS THIS YEAR.  We are developing plans for late lunches and homework so that students and teachers can maximize every minute for learning.  Like Audrey noted, knowing the schedule will make it easier for kids to bring library books on the right day or have the right shoes for PE.

Morgan noted, “Planners are a good place to keep track of homework.”  Knowing what to do, when it’s due, and the importance of continuing skills at home is very important.   Mr. T. shared that everything sent home has a purpose.  We don’t send work home to keep them busy, rather to keep them thinking.  This year in fifth grade for instance, one VERY IMPORTANT piece of homework will be reading then responding in writing.  The daily practice of reading closely, then writing about what was read in a clear and concise way, is an important life skill.

Sam shared, “Planners help keep track of what is going on at home.”  We have busy kids with full lives.  Balancing practice and homework can be tricky, but learning how to manage time is an important life skill. 

There were great things happening in every classroom this morning and my letter could go on all day if I told you about all of the rooms.  I hope to capture the fun and learning in my weekly news, on Principal CB’s Facebook page and in future newsletters.  Please join me in celebrating the great things that happen at school by starting a new routine with your child.  As you reconnect with your child at the end of the school day, ask them to share three stars and a wish about the day.  The three stars are things that went well.  Celebrate these with them.  The wish is something that might not have been their favorite but by stating it in wish form, kids are already formulating what “better” would look like. 

We started three stars and a wish in my home when my youngest son was in first grade.  He tends to be one who can focus on the negative if we put our attention there, so when we asked him to first tell us three “stars” of his day, it got him in a positive and growth mindset.  Parents know that catching teachers at dismissal time is never the best time to check in about a child’s day.  By asking for three stars and a wish, it gives families time to process information thoughtfully.  Feel free to email your child’s teacher later if you need more details.

Please continue to look for the Important Documents in the Back to School Packet.  Make needed corrections, 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 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 11th -Back to School/Curriculum Night 6:30pm-8:00pm
§  Childcare will not be provided this year.
§  Kick Off in the Gym at 6:30
§  Teachers will hold two similar sessions in classrooms
·       Session A at 6:50
·       Session B at 7:30
o   October 23 and 24-Parent Teacher Conferences-No School for Students

Know that Instruction Begins promptly at 8:30am and ends at 3:05pm
       It is VERY Important that children are here for every minute.  As mentioned earlier, we are really trying hard to minimize disruptions to the day this year.  Every time a child arrives late or leaves early it impacts the whole class.  Please help us to protect learning time.

Our teachers have great things planned for your children this year.  We are excited about the next ten months and what we will accomplish.  It’s going to be a great year.  Thank you for entrusting us with your children.


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

Thank you!
       Thanks to Jenny Tan and Eric McElroy for buying the supplies for our earthquake kits.   It was so nice to have these things picked up so all we needed to do was restock.
       Thanks to Judith Yan for helping with interviews last week.  We were lucky enough to hire an additional fifth grade teacher, reducing class sizes from 34 to 25, and Judith helped with interviews on very late notice.
       Thanks to the Hodgkinson family for the donation of a red wagon.  This has been put to good use at a lunch wagon for our new class.
       Thanks to the Jones, Goff, Yau, Culligan, and Wilson families for helping stuff back to school envelopes.

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 itunes gift cards can be put to good use by our Speech teacher Mrs. Moreno.
       You have likely noticed that our school is much less cluttered this year.  We’ve moved a lot of furniture out to the storage portables.  We would love to have someone organize the portables for us.  If you like sorting and moving, this is the job of you.  It can be done anytime during the school day.  Contact Mrs. CB if you can help.

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