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Monday, June 9, 2014

Reading and Research over the Summer, Fly Up and More-June 10, 2014


Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                                         

 My first job in education was volunteering in my mom's classroom.  She was the founder of a preschool for children with special needs and she was desperate for volunteers.  Each day during the summer after third grade, she brought me to work with her so I could read to students or help them practice skills.  When the kids would go home, my mom still had hours of work to do so she would send me next door to the library to get books for research. I would spend the long summer afternoons researching different states or animals or topics of interest.  While my mom was really finding a way to keep me busy, she was also giving me lots of time to practice writing, reading and critical thinking.  By the end of the summer, I had a large collection of writing.  In addition to non-fiction topics, I also enjoyed the entire Little House on the Prairie series.  I enjoyed familiar characters and seeing how they grew and changed from book to book.

I hadn't thought much about that summer until I visited the first grade classrooms Monday morning.  Kianna was reading and writing about raccoons.  Finn and Aiden were discussing a favorite series.   It's exciting to see this type of passion for reading, writing and research.    As you plan for the upcoming summer vacation, I hope that you will think about the opportunities your child will have to read and write.  Please schedule trips to the library and allow for chunks of time when kids might get bored and need to find something creative to do. Encourage them to write or draw daily.

    



You may want to use the supplies children bring home this week to create a writing kit.  Extra pencils, papers, markers and such can be put to good use in the upcoming months.  Children will bring home a school supply list Tuesday.  Over the next few days, as they empty out desks, you’ll likely find that many of the supplies can be reused next year.  Scissors, rulers, supply boxes and colored pencils are just a few of the things that some kids reuse year after year. You may want to label a box now so that kids know where to put these items once they bring them home.

On Tuesday, students in Kindergarten through Fourth grade will meet their next year’s classroom teacher and classmates.    This is an experience that is all about the kids so we ask that parents and grandparents stay away from classrooms and pods during the last hour of the day on Tuesday, June 10.  If you are in the building and volunteering during that time, you are welcome to come to the cafeteria to get to know our new families.  Because this event is for the kids, we appreciate your consideration.

Our staff has worked very hard to balance classes for optimal learning. We have a commitment to challenge every child in our school to high standards, whatever that child’s strengths and areas for growth.  It is our goal to have the make-up of all of our classrooms balanced in terms of gender, abilities, talents and challenges.  The teachers and I spent many hours putting together this complex puzzle in order to provide a strong learning environment for every child.  Please be assured that your child’s best interests were at the heart of our work.  Because students will know their future classmates and teacher Tuesday, it’s important for families to be enthusiastic and optimistic about the upcoming year. Some kids may be a bit disappointed because they didn’t get the teacher an older sibling or neighbor had.  Let your kids know that you have confidence that they will do well in the upcoming grade with the teacher they’ve been assigned. Help them find the positive.    It will be a great year for them with much to look forward to and all kids at a grade level will get to know all teachers over the year.


If your child will be moving to a new school next year, he or she will get an extra recess during the Fly Up time.  It’s important for kids who are moving to new schools to see that they are not alone.  Again, it’s important for families to be enthusiastic and optimistic about the upcoming year.  Let your kids know that you have confidence that they will do well in the upcoming grade at their new school.  Change can be stressful because of the many unknowns but by celebrating all that a child does well as a student, the child will know that he or she will use the same student skills in new places.

In the next few days we will continue to have much to celebrate!  Our kids are still learning and our teachers are still teaching.  Thanks 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 Judith Yan for organizing and unpacking the HUGE shipment of supplies.  We are set for fall.
  • §  Thanks to Susan Elliott for leading the after school drama club. 
  • §  Thanks to Tiffany Hellum for leading the after school Eco Club and Garden Club.
  • §  Thanks to Renee Wilkins for organizing the Tie-Dye day last week.
  • §  Thanks to Mr. Miller for working so hard on Field Day.  Kids had a BLAST!  Thanks also to the many volunteers who made the day special for our kids.
  • §  Thanks to Holly Medell for working so hard to organize our book room.
  • §  Thanks to ALL who made this year special for our kids.  We have countless volunteers who work at home and at school so that our children will have special experience.  We are so lucky to have such a committed group of supporters.


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.
       If you are interesting in spearheading an after or before school Chess Club next year, please contact Mrs. CB.  An organization wants to partner with our school on this project but we need a volunteer to organize the effort.  Because it will be a volunteer run project, you can make it what you’d like.
 
Upcoming Events (bold items have been recently added)
       June 10- Spirit Day-Super Hero or Oregon Duck Day (to honor Mrs. Krueger)-We will also do a cereal drive for the Sunshine Pantry. 
       June 10-Kindergarten Celebration 10:00am and 12:30pm (note change)
       June 10-PTC Meeting at 9:30am in cafeteria
       June 10-Fly Up Day
       June 11- Spirit Day-Sports Attire Day
       June 12- Spirit Day-Hawaiian Day
       June 12-Assembly 8:30am
       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 (Afternoon-Evening Event)
       June 19-Last Day to Pick Up Medication from the Office
       August 28-Back to School Picnic 4:30-6:30pm
o   Take your school supplies to the classroom
o   Visit the PTC info tables to learn about the exciting things our PTC has planned this year
o   Bring a picnic to enjoy with your family or purchase dinner from a food cart
o   Reconnect with other Sexton Mt. Families
       September 2-First Day for First through Fifth Grade Students
       September 8- First Day for Kindergarten Students
 
District Goal for 2010-2015:  All students will show continuous progress toward their personal learning goals, developed in collaboration with teachers and parents, and will be prepared for post-secondary education and career success.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Celebrations-June 3, 2014


Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                          

Taking the time to slow down and enjoy the minute is a treat indeed.  Over Memorial Day I spent time at my parents’ house.  In the early morning hours I noticed the coyotes yapping, roosters crowing, dogs barking and a donkey braying.  My parents’ house is ten miles east of Bend so it seems so quiet until I slow down and really listen. I am always excited this time of year when we can find a minute here or there to slow down and celebrate all that has taken place in nature and school during the last nine months.

Celebrate Learning

       Developmental Reading Assessments-More than once in the last several weeks teachers have stopped me to share how excited they are about the results of year end reading assessments.  Students have grown several levels and this is cause for celebration!  We know that the ability to read well opens a world of possibilities!  Please celebrate with your child and make plans to continue reading daily over the summer.


       Memoirs-Our fifth graders have been hard at work on their memoirs.  Listening to students share about their experiences from younger years has been interesting.  Arielle recently told me about an apple tasting experience she had in first grade and what she’d learned from the activity.  Instead of details about different types of apples, she shared about life skills she’d practiced.  She talked about being observant, noticing small details, comparing and contrasting and being willing to try new things.  While facts and details may seem like the important learning happening each day, it’s really the habits of thinking that are remembered.  These special projects will be on display in our hallways soon as kids are working hard to finish up.  Please plan to stop by and check them out.  Help our fifth graders celebrate their elementary years!

       Music-Our students have enjoyed a range of percussion instruments recently. Having two grade level music programs this year and a full time music teacher has been a gift.



       Student Growth Goals-Students finished OAKS testing last week.  Our school-wide focus this year has been on math and we saw great gains.  Last year, 30% of our at-risk 4th and 5th graders met their growth goals compared to nearly 70% this year.  While state assessments just show a snapshot of student achievement, we’ve also celebrated success on the regular end of unit assessments.  Our students, teachers, and volunteers have worked hard to achieve these results.  Thanks to the Local Option Levy we were able to add a part time math teacher mid-year to support our fourth and fifth graders in math.  Extra time built not only skills but confidence as well!

Celebrate Contributions
       PTC-Our PTC changed this up a bit this year by encouraging online giving during the Jog-a-thon and inviting community members to participate in the Run with the Eagles 5K.  They’ve earmarked some of the funds raised to support updating technology in classrooms and bringing new books to the book room. 

       Parents-We have many parents who generously give time to our students on a regular basis.  Volunteers have logged thousands of hours at school.  We know that many hours have also been served but not been logged so it’s likely that we don’t really know just how much time goes in to making our school such an exceptional place for learning.

       Community-A community volunteer stopped by my office recently to tell me about how much he’s learned about the gifts and talents of the first grade students he works with every Monday afternoon this year.  He’s noticed which student is detail oriented, who encourages and who is careful to observe others in order to confirm that she knows what to do.  He talked about how much he’s gained as a result of giving time to our students.  We have a number of high school and college students, grandparents, retired teachers, and friends of staff who give time to our kids on a regular basis.  We also have a number of local businesses that support our school with donations of time and materials.   When our students see others investing in them, it sends a powerful message!

       Voters-That Beaverton voters passed the recent Bond shows that our community values our children and knows that great schools mean great communities. 

       Eagle Scouts- Quintin did his Eagle Scout project for our school.  If you’ve been by recently you’ve likely seen the new benches in our front entry.  This will be a great place for adults to wait for kids at the end of the day.  Many people have already enjoyed it!


        


Celebrate the Future

       Fly Up Day-On June 10, students in grades K-4 will spend time visiting their 2014-2015 classroom, meeting classmates and the teacher.  Going into the summer knowing what to expect next fall will be a good thing for kids.  While there may be some changes over the summer, for the most part the changes will be minor.  Information will be shared with those involved if or when changes occur.  Children will bring home information on June 10. We will have several new families joining us for the event.  If you would like to help welcome new families, please contact Mrs. CB.

       Staff Changes-We are overstaffed for next fall so we’ve had some reconfiguring for the 2014-2015 school year.  Ms. Martin and Mrs. Antich will be swapping classrooms and grade levels.  Mrs. Tanksley is moving to 4th grade and Mrs. Lucas is moving to 5th grade.  Mrs. Krueger will be moving to Scholls Heights. Mrs. DiResta will teach two sessions of kindergarten and Mrs. Hiatt one session of kindergarten.


       Fifth graders will be moving to middle school and they are ready to go on from Sexton Mt. to do great things.  We have a group of hard working, creative problem solvers.   Kids will go to options schools, Mt. View, Conestoga, and Highland Park in addition to private schools.  These last days of elementary school will be a special time as they prepare to head off into many directions.  I will miss the special personalities of the individuals that made up our learning community this year. 

       The reconfiguration of SRC classes means that some of our students will be moving to schools and programs closer to their home.  While I’m happy that kids will get to be closer to home, I will miss the special personalities of the individuals that made up our learning community this year.


       Some families will relocate over the summer and we know that some kids will be moving to different states and countries and won’t be rejoining us in the fall.  Again, I will miss the special personalities of the individuals that made up our learning community this year. 

Celebrate Growth and Change

       Addition of kindergarten teacher-Some of you may know that we were projected to have just two sessions of kindergarten next year.  We would have had two large classes but thanks to Local Option Levy dollars and many families registering early, we had a third session added back.

       Addition of resource room teacher-Lacy Gray will join Marcia Frame in the resource room next year.   She will also serve as our intervention teacher.  Because she has a baby due in July, we she will be on leave until November.   She has served students in Albany and Beaverton at the elementary and middle school level. 

       More PE and Music time-As we work on the schedule for next year, it looks like students will get to have PE and Music once every three days.  Mr. Miller and Mr. Davis have both expressed their delight in what more time with kids might mean for them.

Celebrate New Beginnings

       Mt. Guides-Our 2014-2015 Mt. Guides started their training last week.  Luckily, the current Mt. Guides have done a phenomenal job this year and will train our new leaders well. 

       Mrs. Baldwin has a baby due in September.  While she will be with us next year, she will take time at home to welcome her new bundle of joy.

       Ms. Hoffman started the year as an intervention assistant and playground supervisor then transitioned into our long-term kindergarten sub for Mrs. Hiatt.    Ms. Hoffman will continue to serve students in Beaverton next year as a guest teacher.

       Mrs. Krueger has touched hundreds of lives during her time here at Sexton Mountain.  Next year she will be moving to Scholls Heights. In honor of her time here, a spirit day during the last week of school will have a superhero or Oregon Duck theme.   In her honor, our school will do a cereal drive for the Sunshine Pantry.

       Mrs. Malinosky-Rummel has served as our School Psychologist over the past three years and she too is off to adventure.  She will travel the world learning new things as well.  I know our students have enjoyed pictures and stories from past adventures so I’m sure she will collect new stories for future students.

       Mrs. Smith will be taking a year away from her role as intervention teacher to spend time at home with her new baby girl.  I got to meet her daughter last week and her proud parents are already thinking about early literacy development.  I would guess that by the time Mrs. Smith returns, she will know many new children’s books and authors.

       Mrs. Stanley joined us in February to teach math.  She has two young sons at home and while she’s enjoyed her time with our students immensely, she also looks forward to spending a bit more time with her boys next year.

       Mrs. Walker, our Speech and Language Pathologist, will be moving overseas soon so she will not return to Sexton Mt. in the fall.  I’m sure that when her family returns to Oregon, she will have many stories to share about her learning as she plans to work in an International School.



Celebrate Information

       Informal Bullying Survey-One of our parent volunteers is working with students in 4th grade to create anti-bullying posters for display in our hallways.  She did an informal survey and we found out about students’ perceptions about when and where bullying happens and had some great ideas for taking a stand.  Information is power and I’m sure that the information learned and discussions had will make kids more reflective.  The information provided will be used for planning.

     4th and 5th grade Survey - Each year the District surveys students and staff to gather information for planning, program evaluation, and assessment of progress on the District's Strategic Plan. The data gathered from the survey are anonymous.  Results will be presented only about groups. No individual data will be reported.  Results will be sent to me over the summer and the information will be used for planning.

     Listening to Community-Our PTC has heard that evening meetings are needed in order to include more parents in the planning and work of this group.  Next year meetings will alternate between daytime and evening in order to involve more families.

       Listening to Families-Letters families submitted earlier in the year describing the ideal learning environment for children have been used for better understanding parents’ hopes and dreams for upcoming years as well as worries and concerns.  We will use the information in a number of ways as we strive for a positive and productive school environment.

We have a lot to celebrate!  It has been an exciting year with more great things to come.  Thanks 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.
  • Tanks to Judith Yan for volunteering to help organize the supply room.  More volunteers are still needed.
  • §  Thanks to Darby Graziano, Tracy Peterson and the team of volunteers who helped with decorating, set up and clean up last week at the evening We The People Event.

  • §  Thanks to John Jones, Colleen Shoemaker, Robin Turner, Emilee Phounsavanth, Stella Sonu, Brenda Schwindt, Maureen Wheeler, Ika Hoon Jung, Catherine Carr, Jeannemarie Halleck, Barbara Rost, Glenn Graham, Sue Graham, Jerry Schmunk, Jeri Scmunk, Andy Smith, David Nieslanik, Roger Golliver, Bill Whitehead, Brenda Fitzgerald, and Shayna for serving as judges for the We the People evening presentations.  Time and time again the judges noted how our kids not only knew content, but could apply it thoughtfully as they answered questions.  





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.
       Volunteers are needed to organize and sort a very large order of office supplies in the supply room. Check with Cheryl if you’d like to spend a few minutes on this project. 
       Shade or rain canopies will be put to good use on Friday, June 6 during Field Day.  If you can bring one and set it up by 9:00am then take it down between 2:45 and 3:00pm, it would be greatly appreciated!
       If you are interesting in spearheading an after or before school Chess Club next year, please contact Mrs. CB.  An organization wants to partner with our school on this project but we need a volunteer to organize the effort.  Because it will be a volunteer run project, you can make it what you’d like.
 
Upcoming Events (bold items have been recently added)
       June 4-After School Club Drama Performance 6:30pm
       June 6-Field Day- Spirit Day-Hat Day
o   9:00-10:45am AM  Kindergarten,  SRC, First and Second Grade
o   1:00-2:45pm PM  Kindergarten, Third, Fourth and Fifth Grade
       June 9- Spirit Day-Wear Tie-Dye or School Colors (Black and Red)
       June 10- Spirit Day-Super Hero or Oregon Duck Day (to honor Mrs. Krueger)-We will also do a cereal drive for the Sunshine Pantry. 
       June 10-Kindergarten Celebration 10:00am and 12:30pm (note change)
       June 10-PTC Meeting at 9:30am in cafeteria
       June 10-Fly Up Day
       June 11- Spirit Day-Sports Attire Day
       June 12- Spirit Day-Hawaiian 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 (Afternoon-Evening Event)
       There will be many fun things for families to experience together this supper.  Check out the THPRD links below to learn about some of the things happening in our area.
       http://www.thprd.org/events/summerconcerts.cfm
       September 2-First Day for First through Fifth Grade Students
       September 8- First Day for Kindergarten Students