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Monday, March 16, 2015

Safety Over Spring Break-March 17, 2015

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:   

Have I ever told you that I have the best job in the world!  Your children have a very special spot in my heart.  They have been busy telling me about plans for spring break.  Sexton Mt. families do amazing things during vacations!  From home projects or trips to the rec center to swimming to traveling abroad, our kids have a wide range of experiences that will be different than their normal routine. Because education is the pathway to the future AND college and career readiness, I often share things that families can do away from home to extend mathematical thinking or deep thinking around text.  Education is the foundation of much of public health too. Education can inform the public about potential risks and safety options and help people behave safely.  Because our children will be in new places, doing different things next week, I wanted to point the leading causes death or injury for children in the 5-11 year old age range and ask that you think about what conversations you need to have with your child to prevent risky behaviors or how to behave safely.

Vehicle Safety-In your car you likely have a properly installed car seat or booster seat.  What other vehicles will your child ride in during the next few weeks?  What needs to be considered?
§  Cars, Taxis, Planes, Trains
§  Bikes (Do rental bikes come with helmets that fit your child’s head?)
§  Riding Lawn Mowers
§  Pick Up Trucks
§  Snow mobiles

In addition to vehicle safety, there are other areas that can be dangerous for children.  Check out each of the categories below and think about where your child will be and what your child will be doing.  What conversations need to be had now in order to make sure they are safe in new situations?



Sports and Recreation
Creeks Rivers
Hot Tubs
Hotel tubs

(Spring is the time when there is a lot more debris in natural bodies of water so think about that too.)

Sleeping Surfaces

Play Surfaces

Cords from window coverings

Straps on backpacks or hoodies 


Household Products

Lawn and Garden chemicals

Jelly fish

Chemicals for art projects (ie model glue)

Camp Fires
House fires

Play structures

Snow sports (too little or too much snow)
Boogie Boarding
Water Parks
Theme Parks
Spectators in the Stands
Weapon Safety (archery, bb guns, paintball, unsecured guns)

In addition to accidents, think about tummy troubles that result from improperly prepared, treated or stored food or water.  More than once, students have returned from vacations with stories of visits to the ER due to dehydration.  My children are especially sensitive to some water, so on our trip next week, they will only drink bottled water in order to prevent issues.  The relatives we will spend time with have severe food allergies so we will be careful about the snacks we bring.  Additionally, we have people in our party who are highly allergic to bees so I’ll make sure I know where the Epi-pen is kept at all times.  Any time we travel we wash our hands more than normal and are careful about where we rest our heads to prevent the spread of the cold, flu or head lice.

Make sure your children also know how to contact you if they get separated!  Do they know your first AND last name or the names of people you are staying with?  Do they know your phone number?  If they don’t, do you have the info recorded and stored in a pocket on their person?  When I was 4 I got lost along a parade route and when people asked who I was looking for (as tears streamed down my face), my reply of “Rosie’s Mom” didn’t get me far, even in the very small town of LaGrande, Oregon.    Do your children know who to ask for help if they are lost? 

I look forward to hearing about your child’s adventures when we return to school on Monday, March 30.  Please feel free to send me pictures of your children being AMAZING!  I delight in learning about their lives away from school almost as much as I enjoy seeing them learn here at school.  Whether you stay at home or travel to another hemisphere, I hope your child will find time each day to read (see the chart attached to the newsletter that shows what a difference just 20 minutes a day makes) and journal.  Vacations are the perfect time to practice real life math skills too!  From covering a shoebox with paper to make a home for acorn people, to cooking or shopping, there are many ways that adults can remind children that math is all around.

Many kids are likely to start thinking about the upcoming Science Fair (April 23) over the break too.  Now is the time to start the projects!  Between Pinterest and Powell’s, there are many great ideas for investigations to get your creative juices flowing.

Report Cards will come home on Friday, March 20.  Because you met with teachers just a few weeks ago for Parent-Teacher conferences, I would guess that there will be no surprises.  If you have questions about information shared, please contact teachers directly.  When parents contact me with questions, I always forward the message directly to the teacher so you can cut out the middle-man by starting there first.

Wrapping up a newsletter with such a bleak theme is tricky.  We know that accidents happen and even with the best of intentions and planning, things don’t always go as expected.  The thing I love most about Sexton Mountain students is their resiliency.  When something doesn’t go as planned or when unfortunate things, happen, WE deal with it and move on.  Stick-with-it ness is an important life skill and we see the fruits of this labor daily!  Thank you for sharing your children with us!


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

·       If your child will miss school, please make sure you call the attendance line with the information at 503-259-7635.
·       As you’ve seen from our “wish list”, we are already busy getting ready for the 2015-2016 school year.  With the addition of three full-day kindergarten classrooms, we are making sure we have furniture, schedules, spaces and materials ready.  Thanks in advance to all who have helped with this.  In the upcoming weeks, I will get information on the number of teachers at each level we’ve been assigned for the upcoming year.  While I still don’t know who will be teaching what next year, I would like to ask NOW for parent input for next year. Between now and March 20, feel free to write me a letter.  Letters will be shared with current teachers.  Teachers, as well as current specialists, will be providing information regarding students' learning needs as we work to develop balanced classes at each level.   Please address the following points:
o   Your child's learning style. 
o   The type of teaching that best suits your child. Do not list specific teacher names as teaching assignments have not been determined.
o   Any special concerns that need to be considered.
  • ·       Oregon has one of the shortest school years in the nation.  It is vital that students attend school when we are in session.  Kids should miss school only if they have a fever or are throwing up.  
  • ·       Good things are happening at Sexton Mountain School!  Because of this it’s easy to forget that Oregon has one of the worst school funding ratios in the nation.  What is happening in Salem right now will make a difference to our students.  In fact, the next two weeks are critical for the Oregon K-12 Education Budget and the future of our children. Several influential legislators want to move quickly to determine the two-year state school fund for K-12. While this might sound like good news, it is not. The funding level they are proposing is $7.235 billion, which would result in reductions across the state. For Beaverton it means our schools would lose $90 per student, which translates to a loss of $4.1 million next year. This is an unacceptable level of funding. I am working with superintendents throughout Oregon on this urgent issue. Every community in Oregon needs to engage and advocate. We need to aggressively act now!  A loud and collective voice will make a difference! I invite you to voice your concerns about this level of K-12 Education funding. We need to our legislators with letters, emails, phone calls, and spread the word with every tool at our disposal.

·       Thanks to the Lindsay Maher, Kelly Jones, Emma Burlingame, and Anna Grass for helping with the Kindergarten Orientation.

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 are building a button collection for the fall for our new kindergarten.  If you can donate buttons to our button collection, please send them to the office.
·       Children’s magazines can always be put to good use in our cafeteria.
·       Antibacterial or disinfecting wipes are needed for the computer lab.  Mrs. Kramer cleans the computers regularly and wipes make her job much easier.
·       A volunteer to work magic with contact paper.  If you can do this, let Mrs. Z know.

Upcoming Events

March 18  5th Grade BizTown Trip
March 19 Passport Club
March 20 PBIS Assembly at 8:30am
March 23-27-Spring Break-No School
April 2  Cynthia Lord Author Visit
9:00-9:45 K, 1st, 2nd (PM kinders welcome to attend with adult)
10:35-11:30 AM Tsakistos, Simpson, Shotola, Baldwin, Olson
1:30-2:30PM- Stratton, Bartlett, Hunt, Tanksley, Pfaff 

April 9 Literacy Night-6:30-7:30pm
April 11 Run with the Eagles 5K
April 14 PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
April 15 Passport Club
April 23 Jog-a-thon
April 23 PTC Science Fair
April 24 Staff Development Day-No School

May 1 PBIS Assembly at 8:30am
May 4-6  Book Fair
May 12 PTC Meeting at 9:00am
May 13 Passport Club
May 15 PTC Carnival
May 21-Volunteer Appreciation-2:00pm
May 22 Assessment 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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