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Monday, September 29, 2014

Routines, Safe Kids, What Makes Us Special-September 30, 201

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                       

Last week I shared that one of the best parts of working in an elementary school  is getting to see the wide range of  learners.  Another great thing about working in an elementary school is how often I get to step into different roles.  Though my title is principal,  I get to do just about anything that needs to be done.  Last week I got to step into the role of secretary for a few hours and changing my perspective helped me to better understand why some of our procedures are so very important.

I wanted to share my key learning with you regarding attendance, late kids and informing the office if your child will be gone.

CALL THE ATTENDANCE LINE IF YOUR CHILD WILL NOT BE IN CLASS BY 8:30am.  You can find the number on the lovely school magnet the PTC provided or put the number in your phone now so you’ll have it handy (503-259-7635). MAKE SURE YOUR CHILD IS AT SCHOOL BY 8:20AM
·       Safety is our number one goal.  Knowing that each child is accounted for is our first step in school safety. Our school attendance system helps us know who is here and who is not.  We’ve learned from local and national missing children cases that notifying families early in the day if kids don’t show up is very important.  Here is how the process works for us:
o   Teachers take attendance electronically at 8:30am.
o   Any child arriving at or after 8:30am gets a pink tardy slip from the office and their name, teacher’s name and arrival time are marked.
o   At 8:31ish, staff check the attendance line (503-259-7635) and tardy list then make changes in the online system to show which children are accounted for.  If  families have left a message about a child’s whereabouts, the process goes much more quickly.  If we have no or few tardy students, the process also goes much more quickly.  During this time, staff are still attending to urgent needs (bloody noses and knees and sick kids) so these things can interrupt or slow this process. 
o   Next, staff attempt to track down children who have yet to be accounted for.  Again, urgent needs can also interrupt or slow the process.  On average we have about 15 students not in class each day.  During flu season the number can be much larger.  If families have called the attendance line  (503-259-7635) staff can do this much more quickly.
o   Finally, the automated system continues notifying families. 

On the day I got to serve in the secretary’s role 87.5% of absent children were accounted for because families had called us.  Even though it was a rainy day, only 3 students were late to school.  Because I don’t know how to make the changes in the attendance system,  Becky Douvris tracked down the children we hadn’t heard from (all while taking care of headaches, blood and bandages) and the I.T. department quickly made the changes for us.  I am so thankful that kids showed up on time AND parents had called in for those who were sick. 


WORK ON BUILDING YOUR NETWORK
I noticed the importance of the whole Sexton Mountain team from my perspective in the office.   I am thankful for the volunteers who were in for Passport Club and other things.  I don’t get to see the morning routine from the office perspective so I was thrilled to see adults helping other adults sign in and get visitor’s stickers.  In the main hallway, I even saw a parent direct another adult to the sign in clipboard when the adult was ready to walk the child he was dropping off to the classroom.  I noticed neighbors delivering a late lunch, extended family dropping off homework, and grandparents come in to volunteer.  I noticed volunteers showing genuine care for kids as they came in after a mishap on the playground.  A genuine, “I’m so sorry you’re not feeling well” acknowledged the child’s discomfort until staff were able to deal with the situation.  Our school is as special as it is because WE work together. 



Once again, 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 Mountain learning community makes it extra special. We have VERY SPECIAL KIDS from very SPECIAL FAMILIES.  Over the next few weeks I’m going to continue to share information  about who WE are and what we do. 

Students in our school come from many types of families. Some kids have one parent and some have two parents. Some kids have zero parents so live with grandparents.  Some kids have a mom and dad.  Some kids have foster parents.  Some have a mom and dad plus step-mom and/or step-dad.  Some kids have two moms.  Some kids have two dads.  Some students have a deceased parent.  The combinations are endless and the differences vast but the similarities even more important.  Though we have many different types of families, all of our kids have families who want them to succeed. 

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. 

Fondly,

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


Thank you!
·       Thanks to Tristan Kerbo for sorting and putting away all reader board letters.
·       Thanks to Lindsay Zobrist for helping teachers write donorschoose.org grants.
·       Thanks to the Ruelle family for noticing vandalism on the playground and covering it up before students returned on Monday.
·       Thanks to Heidi Elliott and team for successfully running the first Passport Club check of the year.

Reminders
       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 update the office with any email, phone or emergency contact info changes.
       Are you on Facebook?  Stay connected by liking the Principal CB’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Principal-CBs-Page-Sexton-Mountain-Elementary/227153960776053
       Remind 101 is an app that allows me to send texts to those who have signed up.  Text @drcleme to (971) 340-2104.   Urgent news will be shared this way. 
       Are you a Twitter user?  Follow us at https://twitter.com/PrincipalCB

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 jobs are sometimes posted in the workroom.  If you have a few minutes to spare, check out the back counter and see if you can knock out a task.  From sorting reader board letters to making copies, all these little tasks add up to make our school run efficiently.
       Volunteer needed to create a poster for the playground to notify students when the Play Structure is closed due to weather.  Let Mrs. C.B. know if you can do this job. Materials can be sent home via backpack mail
       Volunteers needed to sort through and change out books in the cafeteria reading boxes.  This can be done anytime between 8:30-11:00 or 1:10-3:05.

 

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. 




Fondly,

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


Welcome!

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

Reminders
       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.   http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/coyotes.asp .  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.  http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/deer_elk.asp 
       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 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Principal-CBs-Page-Sexton-Mountain-Elementary/227153960776053
       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 https://twitter.com/PrincipalCB

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.
 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Think-Know-Act Go- Sept. 16, 2014


Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                                  

When the phone rings in the middle of the night my heart always races.  In July, I was sound asleep when I bolted upright at the sound of my phone.  My crying daughter responded tearfully to my sleepy greeting.  “I’m stuck in the deck and I think I broke something.  I need help,” she sobbed. 

It took my sleepy mind a second or two to register that we don’t have a deck.  She reminded me that she was pet sitting for the neighbor.  She’d gone into the backyard after the dog.   Unfortunately, and unknown to her, the neighbor’s deck was literally falling to pieces due to dry rot.  The deck on a dark night got the best of her. She fell through in several places and both legs were scraped and bleeding.   A trip to the emergency room revealed a broken bone too.  While she got to work on the process of healing, I suffered from my own form of post-traumatic parenting stress.  All I could think about was, what if I hadn’t been there for her call. 

Over the next week or so, my daughter reminded me time and time again that I had raised her to be an independent problem solver.  While I worried what would have happened if I hadn’t been there, she knew that she called me first because I was close.  She would have called a neighbor or friend if I hadn’t answered.  She reminded me that my most important job as a parent, equipping her to be a capable problem solver, was done before she’d moved away to college.  She went so far as to say that I’d been raising her to be independent since birth so now that she is 22, I needed to chill out.

In the Beaverton School District, our goal is for students to graduate with the skills and habits to be successful in a wide range of college or career options.  We want students to develop the skills and habits of mind to:
·       Think critically and creatively.
·       Know content.
·       Act in a self-directed and collaborative way.
·       Go into the world and be able to navigate locally and globally.

Over the past two weeks of school, I’ve watched many of our parents, grandparents and caring neighbors promote these habits of mind in age appropriate ways.  It’s exciting to see the confident smiles on kids’ faces as you know they are thinking, “I’ve got this!”

Last week I had the chance to ride one of our buses in the morning.  One of our youngest students was worried about separating from family and was reluctant to get on the bus.  What I noticed was the team celebration, all of the parents cheering for him at the bus stop as he got on the bus by himself.  Seeing all the neighbors come together for one another made me smile.  WE collaborate in our school and neighborhood.  WE are there to cheer for one another.  When my daughter was injured, she reminded me that we had many neighbors that she could have literally called out to for help and they would have come because they’ve been looking out for her since she was five.  I love that the Beaverton community works so hard to support the success of students.  It warms my heart knowing that we have such a strong team in place.

Thanks for looking out for our kids.  Thanks for working so hard to make sure each and every child experiences success each day.  Thanks for teaching the habits of mind that will promote independence later in life. 

Fondly,

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


Welcome!
·     Christine Leyva was hired last week to serve as our intervention teacher.  She replaces Melanee Lucas who moved to Sunset High School.
·     Nathan Roshak was hired last week to serve as a fifth grade teacher.  He will job-share with Steve Simpson.
·     Ms. Leyva and Mr. Roshak will also serve in other classrooms throughout the year so they will become familiar faces.

Thank you!
·       Thanks to all who donated school supply boxes. 
·       Thanks to Holly Medell for repurposing left over supplies from last June into school boxes so that kids in need will have supplies when needed.
·       Thanks to Katie Jenisen for helping us to organize outdated professional development materials.
·       Thanks to Kate Kristiansen for creating “DOT” art throughout the school.
·       Thanks to all who continue to be respectful of the homes around our school.  Some of our neighbors have called law enforcement officers to remind people to not block driveways or parking in Tow Away zones.  Unfortunately, the actions of a few can draw negative attention so I wanted to thank the MANY folks who are parking legally and being respectful.

Reminders
       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.
       We have a number of students with life threatening food allergies.  Remind your child not to share food and to remove food from hands, faces, or clothing before going to the classroom.  Messy fingers and faces can accidentally bring food allergens into contact with classroom tools if kids aren’t careful.  Washing can prevent accidental contact.
       Are you on Facebook?  Stay connected by liking the Principal CB’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Principal-CBs-Page-Sexton-Mountain-Elementary/227153960776053
       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 https://twitter.com/PrincipalCB

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.
       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.