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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Learning from the Stories of Others-April 29, 2014


Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                  

When my daughter was 3 she didn’t understand how dangerous our street could be.  It wasn’t until a squirrel was run over and she examined its flat, lifeless body that she realized how fast cars could fly around the corner and even very fast critters weren’t safe if they played in the street.  I’m glad that she was able to learn through the experience of another and not her own. 

As Holocaust survivor, Alter Wiener spoke to our fifth graders on Monday afternoon, I was moved by the power of his story and thankful that my children could learn from the experience of another. Watching our students listen to an 88 year old man tell about his 1050 days in German work camps then concentration camps, I was again reminded of how thankful I am that our children can learn from the stories of others without having to experience such horrific events.  While our students won’t likely know the true importance of Mr. Wiener’s stories until much later in life, they did understand the themes he shared including those of hope, learning, open-mindedness and forgiveness.  Students were reminded about the importance of learning from the past so as to aim to live better.  Mayor Doyle introduced our guest and told the children, “We have to know where we have been so we don’t go back.” 

Our children learn from the thoughts, actions and words of characters in books and the people they meet.  Thanks for sharing your children with us and for connecting our kids to great examples.

Exciting things are happening at Sexton Mountain School.  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 Lindsay Maher organizing and implementing a great Science Fair.  From set up to clean up it was a great experience for our students.
  • §  Thanks to the Jaber family for a generous donation of hand sanitizer to our computer lab.
  • §  Thanks to the Neely, Naseem, and Fogg families for the donation of teacher snacks for our meeting Friday.
  • §  Thanks to the Murray-Scholls Starbucks for providing our staff with highly discounted coffee on Friday.
  • §  Thanks to Kate Kristiansen for organizing the guest speaker visit for our 5th graders.
  • §  Thanks to Safeway for the generous donation of baked treats for our meeting Friday.
  • §  Thanks to Geri Ingalls for making a Costco run for needed items and for scheduling the OMSI assembly.
  • §  Thanks to Dave Duncan and InFocus for donating a special projector for a classroom.
  • §  Thanks to Tiffany Hellum for organizing The Music Workshop experience for our students.
  • §  Thanks to Cheryl Contreras for organizing a Fire Safety visit for our students.
  • Thanks to the amazing math volunteers!  This group has corrected thousands of problems this year.  Thanks to Amy Stratton, Amy VanCauteren, Claire Moore, Debbie Stout, Kristen Hayes, Lindsey Link, Adria Eilers, Shirley Yau, Susie Wilson, Booma Murali, Judith Yan,  Tanya Hellerstedt, Sweta Uchil, Renee Wilkins,  Susan Wallin, Tiffany Culligan, Danelle Isenhart, and Abeer Ahmed.    


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.
       Mr. Miller can put donations of yoga mats to good use in the gym
       Mr. Miller would love donations of no-longer-needed clothes, hats, shoes, etc. for a Field Day activity…the funnier, goofier, more unique the better, but he will take it all (preferably sizes that can fit all body types and ages from 5-105—examples: sweatpants, Hawaiian shirts, shorts, sunglasses, crazy hats, flippers, slip-on shoes)
       Donations of large refill type bottles of hand soap will be put to good use.
       Donations of sugarfree gum will be make testing a bit more enjoyable for kids who may need to have a second try at OAKS.
       Volunteers needed to help with classroom management during our Fire House visit on the morning of May 6.  If you are good at helping kids get from one spot to the next and for staying focused during presentations and you are available, let Mrs. CB know.
       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 workroom (near the green pod). 
 
Reminders
·          Report off campus traffic issues to https://apps.beavertonoregon.gov/secure/bpd/TrafficComplaint.aspx
 
Upcoming Events (bold items have been recently added)
§  May 6-TVFR Visit 8:30-Noon-Fire House and Engine will be in our parking lot.
§  May 6-Mrs. Krueger’s class will be honored at 6:00pm at the Beaverton City Hall for their entry in the Human Rights Expression Contest.
§  May 8-Signal to Noise Awards Ceremony at Sunset Pres. Church 7:00-9:00pm
§  May 14-Passport Club (note date correction)
§  May 22-Volunteer Appreciation Celebration 2:00pm
§  May 23-Assessment Day-No School
§  May 26-Memorial Day-No School
§  May 29- Canfield Lunch Buddy Visit 11:20-12:15
§  May 30-Spirit Assembly 8:30am
§  June 4-After School Club Drama Performance 6:30pm
§  June 5-Kindergarten Celebration 10:00am and 2:00pm
§  June 6-Field Day
§  June 12-Last Day of School and 5th Grade Send Off Party
§  June 12-Report Cards will be sent home in backpack mail or mailed.
§  June 16-Beaverton Party in the Park at Sexton Mountain (After School)
 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Science, Celebration and More-April 22, 2014


Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                                         

Traffic was a bit slower this morning because so many kids were wrestling science display boards from the backseats or trunks of cars.  Children were certainly enthusiastic about their projects.  I can’t wait to see what questions our scientists investigated and what they discovered through the process.  My most memorable discussions with kids so far this week have been about what they have learned from failure.  When things didn’t turn out as planned, our young scientists have learned important lessons.  I know the positive responses from potentially frustrating situations are the result of family.  Kids learn by example and when we point what has been gained by the unexpected we build a growth mindset in our kids. Thanks for helping kids analyze success and failure so that they can learn from both.

I hope to see you Thursday for Family Science Night between 6:30 and 8:00pm.  If your child didn’t complete a project this year, know that they will be expected to do so someday.  Checking out the projects now plant the seeds for future projects so I hope you’ll come and get some great ideas!

Students may set up projects in the gym on Wednesday, April 23 between 3:05-4:30pm.  Student can also set up projects before school on Thursday starting at 8:05am.  There will be a work party at 2:30pm on Wednesday in the gym so if you are able to help set up tables between 2:30 and 3:00, many hands make the job easier for all.

Friday is a Staff Development Day so while there will be no school for students, teachers will spend the day learning.  Our focus this time will be developing a deeper understanding of Common Core State Standards in mathematics.  Our teachers will work with teams from four other elementary schools to develop a better understanding of what kids need to know and be able to do in order to master a standard, how to assess the standard and how to teach it.  Because the Common Core State Standards are a set of expectations we want ALL students to master, teachers will also discuss strategies for reaching 100% success and what to do if students have already mastered a standard.  This is a complex task that teachers spend time daily working on but it’s a special treat when they have several hours at a time to focus on the work with other teachers with similar positions from around the district.  Teams will continue to work on this later in the spring and math standards will be our focus next year too. 

We continue to have many things to celebrate at Sexton Mountain. 
  • §  Esme represented our school last week in the District Spelling Bee and she won first place!  She also received an honorable mention award for her essay for “Letters About Literature”, an Oregon State Library writing contest.
  • §  Our school had many semi-finalists for Letters About Literature, an Oregon State Library writing contest. Connor H., Will Z., Maire C., Julia V., Abbie P., Alayna J., Emma K., and Rachael O were amount the top writers in the 4th-6th grade group.
  • §  Jackson T., Elizabeth O., and Brendan C. will represent our school at the Oregon Writing Festival at PSU this spring.


Great things are happening at Sexton Mountain School.  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 the Jaber family for a generous donation of hand sanitizer to our computer lab.
  • §  Thanks to the Neely and Naseem family for the donation of teacher snacks for our meetings Friday.
  • §  Thanks to the Murray-Scholls Starbucks for providing our staff with highly discounted coffee for our meeting Friday.
  • §  Thanks to Tiffany Hellum for organizing The Music Workshop experience for our students.
  • §  Thanks to Cheryl Contreras for organizing a Fire Safety visit for our students.


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 will host a meeting for 100 teachers on April 25.  If you can donate any of the items below, please let Mrs. Z. or Mrs. CB know.  They will be very much appreciated!!!
o   Bananas  (about 4 pounds needed)
o   Tangerines  (about 6 pounds needed)
o   Cheese sticks (about 40 needed)
o   Juice (2 gallons needed)
       Donations of large refill type bottles of hand soap will be put to good use.
       Volunteers needed to help with classroom management during our Fire House visit on the morning of May 6.  If you are good at helping kids get from one spot to the next and for staying focused during presentations and you are available, let Mrs. CB know.
       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 workroom (near the green pod). 
 
Reminders
·          Report off campus traffic issues to https://apps.beavertonoregon.gov/secure/bpd/TrafficComplaint.aspx
 
Upcoming Events (bold items have been recently added)
§  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 23-Science Fair Project Drop Off-3:05-4:30pm
§  April 24- Science Fair Project Drop Off-8:05-9:00am
§  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
§  April 28-Regular School Day (this is a restore Budget Reduction day)-Class as usual
§  April28-Holocaust survivor Alter Weiner to present to 5th Grade 1:45pm
§  May 6-TVFR Visit 8:30-Noon-Fire House and Engine will be in our parking lot.
§  May 6-Mrs. Krueger’s class will be honored at 6:00pm at the Beaverton City Hall for their entry in the Human Rights Expression Contest.
§  May 8-Signal to Noise Awards Ceremony at Sunset Pres. Church 7:00-9:00pm
§  May 14-Passport Club (note date correction)
§  May 22-Volunteer Appreciation Celebration 2:00pm
§  May 23-Assessment Day-No School
§  May 26-Memorial Day-No School
§  May 29- Canfield Lunch Buddy Visit 11:20-12:15
§  May 30-Spirit Assembly 8:30am
§  June 4-After School Club Drama Performance 6:30pm
§  June 5-Kindergarten Celebration 10:00am and 2:00pm
§  June 6-Field Day
§  June 12-Last Day of School and 5th Grade Send Off Party
§  June 12-Report Cards will be sent home in backpack mail or mailed.
§  June 16-Beaverton Party in the Park at Sexton Mountain (After School)
 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mindfulness with Technology in our World-April 15, 2014


Dear Sexton Mt. Families:  

This morning on the news, there was a segment about an accidental Tweet that had been sent by a business to thousands of people.  It was one more reminder about how technology is changing our world and was a great opportunity for me to discuss with my son what to do the second one realizes a message is inappropriate. Over my past ten years as a school administrator discipline issues have been pretty similar until the past year or so.  Changes in technology have opened a new world to kids and I wanted to alert all families to some of the things I’m seeing so that you can have a proactive role at home in these changing times.

As a parent, I realize that my own experience as a child have shaped the things I think about.  When I was a child, if I wanted to talk to my friends privately on the phone, I had to stretch the phone cord to the laundry area, sit on the washing machine and close myself into a tiny closet.  There were three television channels to pick from and if it was windy, fewer because our large antennae would be blown around and not pick up the signal. If I wanted to look up the spelling or definition of a word, I would use a dictionary.  If I needed to do research, I’d pull out an encyclopedia.  To access books, I’d go to the library.  To find a location, I’d look on a map.  The Sears catalog provided an opportunity to shop without going to a store.  When I was a child, issues with friends were face to face.  Drama between friends happened in person.  Graphic images were not an option because they were sold behind the counter at a store or in theaters that didn’t allow children.  Life is different for our kids.

For our students today, the world is in their pocket.  With a smart phone or tablet, students can access information, entertainment and other people.  With such easy access a wide range of possibilities is now available to our children.  There are many positive things about having the world at our fingertips but also dangers as well.  While there is a lot of information available for parents on Internet safety, I wanted to share a few things that I’ve noticed over the past year and some thinking around it.  Many families may already be aware of these things but most families I’ve shared info with, after something has been brought to my attention at school, have been genuinely surprised that kids might be having experiences at such young ages.  Please note that these are my personal observations and I offer no solutions BUT I think it’s important that families are aware and I’ve given some things to think about.  Know that students as young as 5 have been referred to the office for almost every area noted.

§  Passwords-Students share many things but passwords should not be something they share.  You may want to talk about this with your child and share strategies you use for keeping important passwords secure.

§  Devices-Some kids have phones or tablets and some don’t.   For the most part, phones have been stolen more than any other item this school year.  When phones are brought to school, they need to be off and away.   When kids brag about phones, show them to others or if they ring during class, this alerts others to the device’s presence.  You may want to teach our children to be mindful of their own property.  For the many students who do not yet have phones, families should let them know why your family has made that decision.  I predict that in the near future, kids will be invited to bring their own device to school for projects.  You may want to think about how you keep your devices secure as you are out and about and share these strategies with your child.  When kids share their devices with others they need to be mindful of how it is being used.  I have had conversations with students when their phone sent bad words to others’ phones when it was not in their possession.  You may want to think about how you will teach your child to prevent things like that from happening.


§  Texting -Kids love to text.  They love to take selfies and send them to others.  Teach children that any message they send can be forwarded to others. Unlike the paper notes of my day that could be passed around to a few, texts can be sent to thousands in a short period of time.  Teach children to be mindful of their words and the images they send.  Remind children that any body part covered by a swimsuit should not be photographed.  Think about how you will teach your child to set limits.  Texts don’t just distract drivers but they can distract during homework, learning, family time, playing and more.  You may want to think about how will you teach your child about what is urgent or important? Think about what you would like your child to do if they receive an inappropriate text.

§  Social Media-If you have a social media account you likely know that some users are positive, some are negative and some are downright mean.  Again, most anything posted can be shared so teach children to be mindful about what they post.  Too many times to count, kids have been shocked when I pull up a message they have sent.  They are amazed that the principal can see their words and they clearly have not thought about who might see it.  You may want to think about how you will share this message with your child.  Some families say, if you wouldn’t write it to Grandma you shouldn’t write it to a friend.  A middle school colleague sent me a picture with guidelines for users.


§  Visual Images-The first time one of my elementary students told me he and a group of friends had viewed pornography, I was almost physically ill.  A group of kids had been at home looking something up and somehow stumbled across it but it pulled them in and they watched it several times.   It was brought to my attention because they were talking to one another about it at school.  All of the families involved had the same response, “I never thought I’d have to worry about this in elementary school!”

§  Advertising-There is so much advertising on different sites.  Teach kids to be mindful.

§  Relationships-Online “friends” through gaming sites, social media sites or elsewhere seem to be popping up more and more. For some, the whole idea of what it means to have or be friend has changed over the years.  Is your child starting with human-to-human contact first then adding the online component?  Have you talked to your child about the friend of a friend and how to know if that person is safe?   Do their friends know?  Do kids know what to do if something unkind is posted or if exchanged words make them feel uncomfortable?

§  Words-Kids are intrigued by unknown words.  Off limit words (i.e. swear words) are very tempting to look up.  Definitions in paper dictionaries are often confusing for younger readers so they don’t really understand the meaning of a word if they look it up.  Online dictionaries, on the other hand, sometimes add graphic images to show meaning so students have a much better understanding of what the word means.  I tell students that if it seems like a questionable word, talking to a trusted adult is always the best route. 

§  Access-Parents will often have strict guidelines and safeguards in their own home and assume that others do too.  Access to dangerous things, whether virtual or real, may be a reality when your child goes next door.

There are many web-based resources for parents regarding safety.  Though much has changed since I was a child, I know that it was easy to talk with my mom about a wide range of things because we talked often.  Establishing open communication with your child now will certainly make it easier as they grow older and the topics become more complex. 

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 who provided our teachers with yummy treats during conferences days last week.   We had teachers arrive as early at 6:00am and leave as late at 9:00pm so it was nice that they could have breakfast, lunch and dinner during their long day.

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 will host a meeting for 100 teachers on April 25.  If you can donate any of the items below, please let Mrs. Z. or Mrs. CB know.  They will be very much appreciated!!!
o   Bananas  (about 4 pounds needed)
o   Tangerines  (about 6 pounds needed)
o   Cheese sticks (about 40 needed)
o   Juice (3 gallons needed)
       Donations of hand sanitizer will be put to good use in our computer lab. 
       Donations of large refill type bottles of hand soap will be put to good use.
       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 workroom (near the green pod). 
 
Reminders
·          Report off campus traffic issues to https://apps.beavertonoregon.gov/secure/bpd/TrafficComplaint.aspx
 
Upcoming Events (bold items have been recently added)
§  April 16-Passport Club
§  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
§  May 18-Passport Club
Please note:  We do have school on April 28.