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Monday, December 1, 2014

Family Traditions, Gifts and December Stressors-December 2, 2014

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

When I was a child my family spent two days of every winter vacation in Salem. We spent one of the days eating lutefisk and lefse bread with my dad’s family. When lutefisk was mentioned in Frozen, it was the first time I’d ever heard our family’s holiday food mentioned in a Disney or mainstream media for that matter. It’s funny how my whole family squealed when we heard our favorite fish referenced. Though not the main part of the movie, it was MY favorite part! As a middle-aged, white female living in an Oregon suburb it seems that many of my experiences are represented in television shows, books, or movies. Lutefisk has always been an item that not many relate to so at times I’ve viewed this as special or isolating depending on the response of others.

Students have been eagerly anticipating the upcoming break. My two-day trip to Salem seems so small in comparison to the vacations kids are so excited about. Snowshoeing, sleigh rides, surf, sand and long plane rides or drives seem to be the norm or many of our children. Some students are already thinking about how they will miss the social aspect of school, the two meals provided in our cafeteria or the structure a school day brings. This can be an exciting but stressful time of year.
Over the next three weeks, our students are likely to be very excited about winter break traditions or travel plans. In addition to all of the possibilities a two-week break from school holds, students are also being bombarded with different sights, smells and sounds as they visit different areas (including shopping centers) and they often have more late nights or special activities. Ms. Yokom wrote a special article for her families to draw awareness to the sensory overload students might experience this time of year too. You might want to check it out at

As students learn about the lives of others, they may feel special or they may feel isolated, just as I did with my family’s lutefisk tradition. I hope that as your child brings home stories about what others are doing, you will find ways to make connections or build your own sense of family specialness in positive ways. Children in our school represent families from five different continents so we have rich and varied backgrounds. How cool is it that we can learn from one another? Of our 509 students, 119 are bilingual. Sixty-five percent of our bilingual students are fluent English speakers, as measured by the English Language Proficiency Assessment, and the others are in the process of learning academic English. At our winter program on Friday night, you’ll hear some of our students singing in different languages. How cool is it that our students are learning new songs from other cultures? I am continually amazed by how much I learn from those around me. It’s exciting to be part of a learning community where individual gifts and stories are celebrated. Thank you for sharing your children with us!


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

Report Cards will be sent home with students on December 9. Please check to see how many days your student has been
absent or tardy. Most students miss fewer than 6 days the whole year. When parents choose to take their children out of
school for extended periods, they assume all responsibility for their child’s education during the child’s absence.
Attendance Tips
90% of your On-Time success starts the night before!
1. Make lunches night before
2. Set clothes out night before
3. Have backpacks ready with homework and accessories near your exit door the night before
4. Establish night-time routines that allow for an appropriate bedtime.
5. Set an alarm!
6. Have a clear morning routine- use a timer if need be as a 'get going' motivator!
7. Add in extra time if you live in high-traffic or encounter commuting hang-ups.
For tips to getting out the door on time, check out Mrs. Yoshida’s website.

 Thanks to the Oakes-Harada family for donating a wagon to our school.
 Thanks to Walmart for providing a $100 gift card for our fifth grade students to use on their shopping trip last week
for supplies for the homeless. Between the book sale and the Walmart donation, students were about to make care packages for over 50 people!
 Thanks to Toni Fisher who spent her "day off" compiling a book order to fill some gaps in our Book Room. This was a huge task, and we appreciate her expertise in helping us move forward with this project.

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.
 We need 2 wagons to add to our LUNCH WAGON collection.
 Donations of the small bubble wrap will be put to good use in our “sensory boxes”.
 Donations of kids’ magazines will be put to good use in the cafeteria.

Upcoming Events
December 5-PTC Music Program (Thanks to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sexton Mt. Drive and 154th for
opening their parking lot to us for overflow parking for this event.)
December 9-PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
December 22-January 2-Winter Break- No School
January 5- School Resumes
January 13-PTC Meeting at 9:00am
January 18-Martin Luther King Jr. Day-No School
January 26-Staff Development Day-No School
February 10-PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
February 16-Presidents’ Day-No School
February 18-PTC Art Fair 6:30-8:00
February 19-20 Parent-Teacher Conferences-No School
March 7-PTC Learn and Play Auction
March 9-12 Book Fair
March 10-PTC Meeting at 9:00am
March 12 Kindergarten Orientation
March13 Grading Day - No School
March 23-27-Spring Break-No School
April 9- One School One Book Literacy Night
April 14-PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
April 23-Jog-a-thon
April 23-PTC Science Fair
April 24 Staff Development Day-No School
May 12-PTC Meeting at 9:00am
May 15-PTC Carnival
May 21-Volunteer Appreciation Day
May 22 Staff Development Day- No School
May 25 Memorial Day-No School
June 5 Field Day
June 9-PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
June 12 Last Day of School

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