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Monday, September 28, 2015

Reading IS thinking, Welcome Ms. Lawson, Graditude, and Reminders-Sept. 29, 2015

The purpose of today’s newsletter is to:
·       Share a bit of information about the importance of developing THINKING READERS
·       Introduce our new fourth grade teacher
·       Remind you about parking lot CHANGES
·       Remind you about safety-based snack policy CHANGES
·       Show appreciation for our amazing community members

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

More than once a concerned parent has told me, “my child reads beautifully but doesn’t understand or remember a thing he/she has read!”  Reading is a complex skill made up of many small skills and habits of mind that go far beyond simply decoding text.  My number one goal this year is to support teachers and families as they support students in building the range of critical thinking skills needed in order to be strong readers AND to provide as many opportunities as possible for students to fall in love with close reading.  If  our children love reading they will spend more time reading and this practice will increase their proficiency.  Throughout the school year, I will give you information about what we are doing to develop the habits of mind our kids need in order to become THINKING readers and thereby have futures full of options.  I will share the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading and show you what they look like at the elementary level.

Reading Anchor Standard 1-Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
As I visited classrooms Monday morning, students were hard at work! 

Some students were sharing their reading log.  They told others about what they’d read over the weekend.  By sharing, they were thinking about what they had read and telling the most important parts. 
Some students were reading with a reading response log nearby.  They had sticky notes  and were ready to make predictions or record inportant events as they read. 

Some students were working to find books of interest.  They thought about their interests and reading level and picked books they thought they’d enjoy.  By picking the right book, students will read for a longer period and they will build skills and stamina.  In all grade levels, students as a group are working on building Reading Stamina.  One kindergarten class is charting their progress.  Following the reading time, kids talk about what they learned from the books.  Students are realizing how much they can learn from illustrations, photos AND words as they spend time engaged in text.  It’s an exciting time at Sexton Mt. School!

You can help with this process at home by:
·       Read aloud to your child—Your modeling teaches them so much and provides a shared experience for discussion. 
o   Share not only the words but your thinking about the words and how you draw conclusions based on what you’ve read.  You might try some of these sentence frames to get you started.
§  The author said ___ which tells me…
§  The author said ___ which suggests….
§  The author said ____ which shows…..
§  I believe ____ because according to the text it states…..
§  I feel____ because according to the text it states…..
§  I think____ because according to the text it states…..
o   Invite your child to read to you their favorite parts of what they are reading.  Ask why they liked that part the most.  Help them build the language to describe their thoughts about books and let them know it’s okay not to love every part of every book.
o   Encourage your child to think about why they stick with some books and not others so they can put words to their feelings about characters, author’s style, word choice and more.  Model this for them as well. 
o   Try to visit the library or bookstore on a regular basis just to show all that’s available and get them talking and thinking about books.  As they select books to check out or purchase, have them tell you what they expect from the book based on their predictions.  Ask them, “Why this book?”

Welcome New Staff

I wanted to introduce you to the newest member of the Sexton Mt. family.  Stephanie Johnson Lawson (Ms. Lawson) has joined the 4th grade team. We were allocated an additional 4th grade teacher when our numbers grew to 33.  Students met Ms. Lawson last week and started in class with her today. 

For the 24 students who changed class 14 days into the school year this could be an emotional time.  I have been so proud of how our children and families have worked through the transition.  Thanks for your positive support even when things are different than what we expect.

Thanks also to the families of all fourth grade students who were so patient and caring during the time of anticipated change and the change itself.  The complexity of taking into consideration the needs, gifts, talents and unique qualities of 96 children was quite a task indeed, so your support through the change was very much appreciated.

Every single day I am filled with awe by what I see in your children.  The future of our nation is in school today and I’m so excited that the kind, caring, creative, compassionate, friendly, interesting, interested and resilient children you send to school every day.  Thank you for sharing your children with us. 


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

Reminder-Parking Lot Changes and Procedures
*Left Lane-Thru Lane
*Right Lane-Drop Off Lane
*Drop Off along Yellow Curb Front Circle AND along the curb near K and 4th Grade

Snack Safety Reminder

·       Peanut and tree nut products will no longer be allowed in classrooms. (see possible nut free snack ideas below)
·       Handwashing at home before school is always good but it is especially important if students eat peanut or tree nut products for breakfast. 
·       Handwashing after lunch is important if students had peanut or tree nut products for lunch.
Nut Free Snack Options include *any fresh fruit (apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, pears, plums, clementine’s, strawberries, melons, berries, etc.) * Fresh vegetables (baby carrots, celery sticks, grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, broccoli, pepper strips, etc.) * *Yogurt, String cheese or other cheese * Triscuits, Wheat Thins, Vegetable Thins (all flavors)* Saltines, Oyster crackers* Breton brand crackers* Goldfish crackers* Annie’s Bunnies* Graham crackers, Graham cracker sticks* Teddy Grahams or Teddy Graham character brand
Please note:
Food labels/ingredients may change over time, so it is always recommended that you read the label before purchasing snacks. Please read labels carefully to make sure that products are nut free. This includes labels that read “May contain traces of peanuts/nuts”.

Thank you!  WE can’t do the important work of educating our school alone.  WE appreciate our many volunteers and generous donors of materials and time.
Thanks to Lindsay Zobrist for making many phone calls for us as we worked to track down the best teacher for our fourth grade team.
Thanks to Holly, Cynthia, and Chloe for helping set up our new fourth grade classroom.
Thank you to the Paterson and McCloud families for donating kid’s magazines for our cafeteria book bins.
Thanks to Roger Goliver and Karen Stratton for sharing their telescope with families Sunday night. 

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.

Organizer Needed—If you are a great organizer, we would love to have you organize a work party to get our remote work room (near the 4th grade pod) and office workroom organized and easy to use.  This job would include organizing the supplies, labeling cupboards and making best use of the space and materials we currently have.  Please let Mrs. Z know if you would like to take on part or all of this project.

Donations of Sports Illustrated for Kids, Ranger Rick, Highlights, Lego Magazine, Zoo Books, American Girl and more will be put to good use.

Read to Me volunteers are needed.  Please email if you need more information.
Clothes Closet Volunteers Needed-Sexton Mountain Elementary will be staffing the BSD Clothes Closet on November 4th, 2015 from 9:30am to 4:15pm. All adults--including parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors, community members (but no kiddos, please)--are welcome to sign up for one or all time slots, no background check needed. We are in need of a minimum of 4-5 people per time slot, but more are welcome as well. Visit for a simple online signup page.  Spread the word and join us in this rewarding volunteer opportunity to help children in our community!  The Clothes Closet is located in a portable building off the west parking lot of the Beaverton School District Office at 16550 SW Merlo Road.  Those arriving at 9:30am will receive an orientation from the program director, and all following time slots will receive instruction from the group before them during the 15 minutes overlapping the time slots.  For more information about the Clothes Closet, visit their FAQ page at For any further questions please email Erin Eberlein
Upcoming Events
Sept. 29-Ice Cream Social Night for Ms. Lawson’s Class (our new 4th grade classroom)
Oct. 8- Fourth Grade Back to School/Curriculum Night-6:30-7:30pm
Oct. 1-Assembly at 8:30am-Students will go directly to the cafeteria at 8:25am.
Oct. 9-Teacher Learning Day (a.k.a. Professional Development Day)-No School for Students

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Remind 101--Text @drcleme to 81010 to receive text messages regarding “breaking news” for our school.

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