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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Perspective, Equity and Learning-Sept. 23, 2014

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

The best part of working in an elementary school is getting to see the wide range of  learners.  In the fall especially, kids come to school having had a vast range of summer experiences.  I love learning from my students and seeing how they navigate the world.  I am constantly reminded that I view the world from my lens and that putting myself in the shoes of another can provide me with powerful learning.

The complexities of human interaction provide me with daily opportunities to learn new things.  I was recently chatting with a youngster about her summer and she told me about taking a trip to see grandparents.  She matter of factly shared that the kids had to stay indoors because of the bombing and fighting that took place near her family’s home.  I was visiting with another child who recenting moved to the United States and he told me about the differences between two corporal punishments. In a different situation I met someone and put out my hand to introduce myself.  The gentleman politely explained that shaking hands with me was not part of his culture.  I learned that some cultures prohibit non-essential touching and physical contact with a person of the opposite gender as a sign of modesty, humility and chastity. In addition, it is a form of respect towards the other person by acknowledging no one has the right to touch them except for their nearest and dearest. 

In all these interactions, I was reminded that my white, female, Oregonian perspective is just that;  MY PERSPECTIVE.  It is by no means the right perspective or the only perspective.  I feel fortunate to learn about others’ perspectives and realize that when I push myself to better understand the perspectives of others, I grow and change in positive ways. I value diversity and realize that my responses to the interactions I described above can demonstrate this value.  In fact, one of our District pillars is EQUITY.  WE EMBRACE EQUITY. 
  • Student success will not be predicted based on race, ethnicity, family economics, mobility, gender, sexual orientation, disability or initial proficiencies.
  • Diversity and bilingualism are honored as assets.
The diversity of the Sexton Mountaint learning community makes it extra special. We have VERY SPECIAL KIDS from very SPECIAL FAMILIES.  Over the next few weeks, I’m going to highlight different aspect of why WE are so special.

Students in our school have a wide range of abilities.  Some of the students in our school meet federal or state  eligiblity requirements as having a disablity in one or more of the eleven handicapping condition categories.  The law currently provides for the identification of children in various disability areas including learning impairment, hearing impairment and deafness, speech language impairment, visual impairment, learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disabilities, developmental delays, multi-handicapping conditions, orthopedic impairments, health impairments, autism, and traumatic brain injuries.  Some of our students have been identified as gifted. Some of our students are twice exceptional meeting the guidelines for disablity and gifted.  Though children have different starting points, we have high expectations for ALL students!

We have masterful teachers working tirelessly for your children.  This week I wanted to highlight one team in particular. Ashlee Yokom and Amanda Burnett are the teachers of our Structured Routines Center (SRC) classrooms. They work with a team of assistants and specialist to meet the needs of students in the SRC classrooms.  The SRC is a specialized program that provides services to students whose Individualized Education Plan demonstrates a need for communication, socialization, life skills and academic instruction as well as provision of sensory supports. Because we have special classrooms, our students school-wide know that sometimes assistants of the opposite sex will be in the restroom helping a child.  If that is the case, kids can use a different restroom.  Our students know that sometimes kids have bad days and if one doesn’t have the language to express feelings, crying or shouting might be their way of expressing emotions.  Our students know that sometimes, kids need extra help getting from one spot to another or showing safe behaviors so adults may lend a hand.  Our kids know the importance of smiles and encouragement.  Our kids know that we don’t mimic or imitate others.  Our kids know to tell an adult if they are worried or concerned.  Our kids know how to celebrate and notice growth too.  At our assembly on Friday, you can bet that our students will also show respect for sensory issues by doing the silent Sexton Mountain sign language applause. 

I am proud to be part of a district that 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.   We expect students to be respectful, safe and responsible at Sexton Mountain. 


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


Thank you!
·       Thanks to Rachel Cillo for working to organize celebration information.
·       Thanks to Katie Jenisen for updating our assembly cones.

       Wildlife in our Area
       As kids come to school today they often tell me about the wildlife they spotted on the way to school.  Coyotes, ducks, beavers, deer, nutria, and a range of other critters are sighted regularly in our neighborhood.  Our public safety office spoke with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  You can go to the below link for LOTS of information on coyotes. .  While coyotes are shy, if they are seen, make lots of noise, make yourself look big (stand up, raise your arms), pick up small children.  Remove food sources (do not leave pet food outside, keep garbage cans secured).  Fall is the time of year when male deer are more bold than typical as they try to woo doe. As a result of fall interactions, when fawns arrive in the spring, doe are more aggressive in their attempts to protect their young. 
       Head Lice--We expect that families will check their own kids regularly for lice or nits.  Students must be lice free at school.  If three or more cases of headlice are brought to our  attention, we will place  a notice in the Tuesday Newsday but it’s important to realize that we are likely aware of just a fraction of the cases in our school.  Some experts believe that checking your child’s head weekly is a good practice because it helps to catch outbreaks early and interrupt the lifecycle. In addition to teaching your child about the lifecycle of lice, teaching children to keep heads away from other heads, to only wear ones own coat or backpack, to keep heads off fabric furniture and to think ahead about slumber party behaviors are all good ideas. 
       Talented and Gifted-Every year students are considered for Talented and Gifted services in the Beaverton School District.  These services are provided by your child's classroom teacher(s).  If you think your child might qualify, you may wish to complete the Parent Information Form that is available in our school’s office.  Completing this form is not required, but gives our school TAG committee more information about your child.  All qualified students will be considered regardless of its completion. Oregon law and District policy define gifted students as those who score at or above the 97th percentile on a standardized, nationally normed test of mental ability and/or academic achievement.  Behavioral, learning, and/or performance information is also considered before a student is identified for TAG services.  The Parent Information Form must be completed and returned to our school’s TAG facilitator, Michele Cobain-Soto or the school’s office.
       158th Avenue Behind the School-The purpose for the No Parking zone behind the school is to provide drivers with easy visual access to our school’s exit.  If cars are not parked there, it reduces the chance of kids darting out between parked cars and getting run over.  Because our neighbors have noticed that this area is often clogged with cars, Beaveton City Police have increased patrols and we have started putting cones in the street to prevent cars from parking illegally.  Please know that the safety of our students is our number one priority.
       Deliveries-We won’t disrupt class learning time for late deliveries.  Let kids know if they forgot lunches in the morning and you plan to deliver them, lunchpails will wait for kids on the late lunch cart so they should check there.
       Please continue to look for the Important Documents in the Back to School Packet.  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.
       Are you on Facebook?  Stay connected by liking the Principal CB’s Facebook page at
       Remind 101 is an app that allows me to send texts to those who have signed up.  Text @drcleme to (971) 340-2104.   Important events, school closures, weather related delays and other “breaking news” will be shared this way. 
       Are you a Twitter user?  Follow us at

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 needed to set up cones in the no parking zone behind the school.

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