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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Think-Know-Act-Go-December 16, 2014

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                   

Does your child know your phone number?  On Black Friday, one of our kindergarten students was separated from her mother at the mall.  Macy’s was going into something like a lock down, not sure if she had been abducted or was lost.  Luckily, the 5 year old knew her mom’s cell number so she found a phone and called mom.  When her mom told me the story, she said that the school had emphasized the importance of knowing the phone number so all of her children had practice and practiced.  Their practice paid off.

The goal of the Beaverton School District is for all students to graduate college or career ready.   We want our students to:
·       Think-critically and creatively
·       Know-master content
·       Act-self-direct and collaboratively
·       Go-navigate locally and globally

I tell parents at Kindergarten Orientation that college begins in kindergarten. We hope that our children are constantly developing the skills and habits of mind that will prepare them for the next level. Our lost kindergartener is a perfect example of a child who is developing the skills to go into the world to navigate locally and someday globally. 


Over the past few weeks I’ve met with most students for a special writing project.  Students in first through fifth grade, read an article from  National Geographic for Kids then wrote about it based on this writing prompt.  “What do you think is the author’s opinion of ____?  Use evidence from the text to support your thinking.”

I’ve shared in past newsletters the importance of forming ideas about text and using evidence to support those ideas is an important life skill.  About 31% of our 1st-5th graders were able to develop a strong topic sentence OR support their thinking using evidence from the text.  This will be a skill children continue to work on as they read across content areas.  This is an easy skill to practice orally first.  Last week I talked about the importance of developing a strong vocabulary in children by reading and discussing a wide range of texts.  Encourage your child to elaborate and provide evidence to support their thinking.   I found several sentence frame support posters on Pinterest that might provide the  perfect sentence start for students.  Check them out at:


Over your winter break, I hope that you have many opportunities to find quiet moments to enjoy a book with your child. Listen to books on tape as you travel.  During and following your adventures, talk about what you are doing.  Whether it’s playing in snow on the mountain, watching waves at the beach or just enjoying the lights on your street, there are interesting things to talk about.  Visit the library (http://www.beavertonlibrary.org/) or browse the bookstores for more things to talk about.

As I reflect back on 2014, I am thankful that I get to spend my days with your children.  I love their stories, observations and energy.  I can’t wait to hear about what they’ve read or done when they return on January 5.  Have a great break!

Sincerely,


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


Thanks!
·       Thanks to the Hunt, Quach and Oberg families for donating wagons.  We are ready for fall!
·       Thanks to the Culligans for donating brownies to the staff appreciation lunch last week.
·       Thanks to the Wilsons for donating cheesecake to the staff appreciation lunch last week.
·       Thanks to the Lent family for collecting Valley Times newspapers for our students who appeared in the December 11 edition.
·       Thanks to the Ingalls family for donating a booster seat to the office for emergency car rides.
·       Thanks to all who continue to contribute to the PTC’s Annual Giving Campaign.  I heard on the news that many people make donations to different organizations during the last two weeks of the year.  Thanks for thinking of us!
·       Thanks to the Lynk family for cutting out bubble wrap into manageable pieces for sensory boxes.
·        
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 kids’ magazines will be put to good use in the cafeteria.

Upcoming Events

December 19-Assembly at 8:30am
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 at 4:00pm
March13 Grading Day - No School
March 23-27-Spring Break-No School
April 9- One School One Book Literacy Night-6:30-7:30pm
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

  

  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Vocabulary Development, Progress Reporting and Super Heroes-December 9, 2014

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                          

This morning one of our fourth graders was walking his younger brother to school when a flock of geese flew over.  The geese were honking and were flying chaotically.  Ethan told his younger brother how he knew they were geese and not ducks. He described their shape, color and sound.  I caught just a snippet of their conversation but was reminded about the importance of experiential learning and the rich vocabulary development that takes place when conversations happen. 

One of my professional goals this year is to support oral language and vocabulary development.  I believe that if children have a strong vocabulary they will do better in all content areas.  On the Easy CBM assessment students take in the fall, winter and spring, there is a strand of the assessment that measures vocabulary on the 2nd - 5th grade assessment.  Student responses give us an idea of a child’s risk level and help us to understand who might need extra help.  On the vocabulary portion of the fall assessment, 34% of 2nd graders, 42% of 3rd graders, 31% of 4th graders, and 36% of 5th graders fell in the some or high risk range.  We will be doing many things at school to reduce the number of students falling in the high or some risk range but WE need your help!  Please TALK to your child and READ to your child.  Talk to your child about what you are reading.  Take advantage of time in the car to listen to an audio book.  When you take walks, talk about your observations.  When you go to the store, talk about what you see.  When you make dinner together, talk about the ingredients, where they come from or how they are made. 

Do you need inspiration?  Visit the links below:

Report cards will come home in backpack mail today.  Remember that marks are based on year-end standards so don’t panic if you see 1s or 2s.  Pay close attention to the Learning Progress (+ significant, = steady, ‐ minimal) section of each area. At school we are using every available minute to maximize learning.  Your teacher has probably already shared some of the interventions we are trying to implement for your child if he or she is not making the progress we’d expect. If your child is making minimal progress, you may want to put a plan in place to add more support for the upcoming term.  In most cases, more time on the task of practicing the skill or concept makes a difference. 

If your child is making minimal progress in reading, provide more time for reading practice at home.  Borrow books from the leveled book room near the stage so you can match books to their reading level.  Have your child tell you about what they are reading.  See if he/she can come up with a concise sentence to describe what was read.  Practicing this orally will make the transfer to writing later come much more easily.  Practice makes proficient! 

If your child is making minimal progress in math, provide more time for math practice at home.  Have your child share math homework and what they did.  Encourage them to use their words to describe what they’ve done.   The Learning Targets are posted on the report card.  I’ve included some links below as additional support.

Teachers and students have worked VERY hard during the first trimester and gathering information to show how your child is progressing is complex work.  In honor of their super effort, I am officially declaring Thursday, December 11 Super Hero Day.  I am making soup for our super hero staff.  I invite children to honor teachers on Thursday by dressing as a super hero (in a way that won’t distract learning) AND write a note of appreciation to a staff member.  Kids can play with vocabulary, language and higher thinking skills by comparing and contrasting staff to super heroes.  Sexton Mountain School exists to make sure the children in our area develop the skills and habits of mind so that they will be ready for a wide-range of post secondary options.  I am proud to work with such a dedicated group of people!

Sincerely,


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


Thanks!
  • ·       Thanks to the Chang family for donating a wagon to our school.  We need just one more.
  • ·       Thanks to Kate Kristiansen for donating bubble wrap to our school for sensory boxes.
  • ·       Thanks to all who volunteered to help with last week’s program.  
  •         Thanks to Jenny Tan for capturing the performance on video.  Check out the links below:

       1st Grade http://youtu.be/56WCuia0j4o

2nd Grade http://youtu.be/gZCdrN4F7HA
3rd Grade http://youtu.be/2_bmpms5Pwg
4th Grade http://youtu.be/bmk9JIug1Ys
5th Grade http://youtu.be/uu1Tvn7jFkY
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.

  • ·       Mrs. CB is providing soup for a staff appreciation lunch on Thursday, December 11.  If you would like to contribute a salad, bread or dessert, please send it to school by 10:00 on Thursday.  Thanks!

  • ·       We need 1 wagon to add to our LUNCH WAGON collection.  

  • ·       A parent to run to Air Delights on 5th Street to pick up Microburst refills (see Mrs. Z)


Upcoming Events
December 9-PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
December 19  PJ Day (Students have earned enough Eagle Eyes for a spirit day.  PJ Day will be December 19.)
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 at 4:00pm
March13 Grading Day - No School
March 23-27-Spring Break-No School
April 9- One School One Book Literacy Night-6:30-7:30pm
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