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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Personal Safety, Evacuation, Compassion, Ethics-News-November 24, 2015

November 24, 2015

The purpose of today’s newsletter is to:
·      Remind you about the importance of TEACHING PERSONAL SAFETY SKILLS at home and school
·      Inform you about EVACUATION Drills and invite you to participate in a positive change
·      Tell about our school focus of COMPASSION during the month of December
·      Provide information about the ETHICS policy for public employees

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

It was Friday, November13 and his work was done.  He was in Paris and had  16 hours before he would board a plane back to Oregon.  He didn’t know that his daugther had been telling the Sexton Mt. principal about his travels and how eager she was to see her dad.  His girl was counting the hours too.  For him,  it was time to be a tourist!  He enjoyed the views, visited catherals and had a late dinner.  He was 500 meters away from the concert venue but didn’t hear gunshots.  When he returned to his hotel he got a text from his sister.  The city was on curfew.  Some areas were on lock down.  The borders were sealed.  As news unfolded, he was planning and considering choices.  Land borders or air borders closed?  Shuttle bus, taxi, uber?  Away from the windows, doors locked, he made a plan and by Monday, he safely walked his child to school. 

Though he had not planned or rehearsed what to do if in this situation, he did have the mindset of being aware and being responsible for personal safety and well-being.  This very important life skill of situational awareness needs to be developed early in ways that are kid friendly and promote confidence.

A few years ago, there was a serious car accident near my school just before dismissal time.  The route that some kids took home was blocked.  We rerouted kids just two blocks so they wouldn’t see the mangled metal.  I was shocked by how taking a slightly different route caused panic in some kids.  We led them around the accident to the same street they would have walked on every day but some felt lost.  They didn’t have practice at confidently rerouting so were in a dither!

What opportunities does your child have to safely figure out every day dilemmas?  Are you allowing them to fail in safe ways so they learn the power of trying again a different way?  Are you building confident, solution oriented kids who will someday be ready to navigate safely locally and globally?

Last Friday when we had our Lock Out, parents who were in the building commented on how smoothly students and staff responded.

Parent Noticing--I was locked out with the students and staff while I was reading to kinders and I have to say, the staff did a WONDERFUL job! Thank you for everything you do to not only teach our kiddos, but keeping them safe. It was business as usual, and other than not getting a recess, I don't think the kids even noticed anything was going on. Great job!
Parent Noticing--I was LOCKED IN too...and despite my own panic at the thought of being locked in with 500 kids for the day, :) it was so calm, and focused. Mrs. CB, Margaret, Diane, Mr. Shotola (I was in his class)...were so efficient, professional and prepared...just the right tone...everyone did what they do. No drama. Just smart, aware people taking care of the intellectual and emotional needs of our kids and keeping them safe. Kids hardly disrupted. Even after when the phones were ringing off the hook, the staff was professional and patient and nurturing. Seriously, these people at the school our kids are lucky enough to go to, have got it going on.

A dad arrived following the Lock Out and was breathing heavy.  He’d heard the news, jumped in his car and sped from the Pearl District to school.  He arrived in time for the Lockout to be done.  I walked him to the classroom where his child was happy and learning.  He didn't even notice that dad was there.  The dad left smiling knowing that his son is well cared for.

I was reminded again and again last Friday of several important things.

Parents need to know what each of our EMERGENCY PROTOCOLS are and what to do if we are experiencing something.  If you are in the building, follow the directions on the signs posted around the building.  If you are home or at work stay there.  Following our Lock Out on Friday, I had several parents and community members with great questions or ideas.  I've included parent/community thinking below in italics and my response in plain text.

Resource from a Parent-5-0 Radio Police Scanner App--As a parent we wondered what was going on so we installed an app on our phone called "5-0 Radio police Scanner" to listen to the Washington County Sheriffs doing an amazing job tracking down the fellow who stole something from a woman in our neighborhood. I think parents should realize there are resources to answer their curiosity beyond school personnel who have a lot to do. (we are a highly curious community ). Just wanted you to know one option for answering our own questions without calling or going to school.   
Mrs.CB's Response--Great idea!  

Question from a Parent-Website?--I appreciated the text this morning (especially the follow up text) and I was one of the parents that were able to remain calm and not get in the way, despite the fact that you had in your presence one of the most precious things in my life. However, when I did go to the BSD website this morning there was nothing about the lockdown. The info didn’t seem to appear until after the lockout was clear. :/  Would that be normal procedure?
Mrs.CB's Response--The District website will always have the most up to date information.  Here is a screen shot of the ALERT on our District Webpage.  The Public Safety page has all past posts as well so if there is nothing here, check the Safety Page at: at 

Question from a Parent-Medical Issues?
My child's medication is stored in the office.  If he or she had to stay in the classroom for a long period of time, how would the school handle that?
Mrs.CB's Response—We have contacted the nurse and will make sure that we have plan for each child.

Comment about Sparky's Facebook Page?It might help to get this type of info up on Sparky’s page as well.
Mrs.CB's Response--Sparky's Facebook Page is run by the PTC so it's not an official district site.  Parents on Sparky's Page are welcome to pass along info from our District website info but users should assume that the District Website has the most up to date information. 

Kids spend less than 30% of the day at school so please make sure you have plans for home and other places as well.
To Learn about the Standard Response Protocol, go to:
Fire Safety at Home and School

To Help with  Sexton Mt. Evacuation Kits:

This is the season when many families will show how much they appreciate staff members for the work they do during the year. We are fortunate in the Beaverton School District that students and parents/guardians hold our teachers and staff in high regard. This alone is a significant acknowledgement and sign of respect. At times, parents may wish to give a gift to a classroom teacher or other staff member. Doing so puts our staff in a difficult ethical situation.

District employees are subject to Oregon ethics laws that govern the receipt by employees of gifts that may not exceed $50.00 from any individual giver on an annual basis. Employees must be aware of any gifts they are offered or receive from any source.  Cookies and lattes have value and the little kind things you do add up.

Parents/guardians should refrain from giving gift cards or other items of significant value to our staff.
Instead, we encourage you to write a note of thanks to the classroom teacher or staff member. We appreciate your understanding and as always, your ongoing support.

I am grateful to work in such a caring and supporting community. 

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

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 Sports Illustrated for Kids, Ranger Rick, Highlights, Lego Magazine, Zoo Books, American Girl and more will be put to good use.
Upcoming Events
Nov. 25-School Closed-27-Thanksgiving Holiday-No School
Nov. 30-Grading Day-No School for Students
Dec. 21-Winter Break Begins
Jan. 4-School Resumes

  Lock Out Learning-We realized that PARENTS have not been as well trained in these events.  We’ve sent information before but today is a great day for a reminder.  Please know the procedures we follow so you can support your kids. 

To Do
Not To Do
Be calm.  Calm is contagious. 

Check the District Website.  Emergency messages are posted there.

Watch the video about what you SHOULD do and know what you will need to have when it’s time to pick up your child if that needs to happen.

Know the Standard Response Protocols.

Keep ALL your contact information up-to-date.

Do not call the office!  The office staff needs to listen for direction from our Public Safety Office or Local Law Enforcement.  During our short LOCK IN today, over 30 people called with questions.  This is a HUGE disruption to the work we need to do.  When the phone rings we don’t know if it’s Law Enforcement with directions or parents with questions until we answer. Do not call school!

Do not come to the office.  If you are in the building, stay in that area and support the students and staff there.  We will let you know if help is needed.  People talking and asking questions in our office is a disruption.

Do not pound on the doors.  During Lock Outs we will not let anyone IN or OUT.  As a grown up, you are responsible for your personal safety, so get to a secure spot. 

Do not hang out around the doors.  If a person of concern (a.k.a. the bad guy) was outside and you were at risk, we would not put our 500+ students at risk by opening the door for you.  Do NOT put us in that situation. 

Following the event, don’t call the school.  Our #1 priority is to care for kids.  If we are in Lock Out due to police activity, we will know there is police activity—nothing more.  It disrupts our ability to care for your children if you call.
 Facebook-Are you on Facebook?  Stay connected by liking the Principal CB’s Facebook page. at

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

Twitter--Are you a Twitter user?  Follow us at


Monday, November 16, 2015

Joel Miller-2015 PE Teacher of the Year

Congratulations Mr. Miller!  At the School Board Meeting Monday night he was honored for earning the special title of Oregon PE Teacher of the Year!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Safety Drills, Student Behaviors, Learning Teams-November 10, 2015

Dear Sexton Mt. Families: 
Volunteers in the first grade area were curious about the group of my colleagues who visited classrooms last Thursday. Though the adults in the area noticed the increased observers, our first graders just kept working.  My Southside Principals’ Learning Team met with the purpose of improving our practice.  A learning team is a group of educators who regularly collaborate to analyze evidence of student performance to improve both student learning and instructional practices.  Teacher Learning Teams meet twice monthly after school for this very important work.  My group meets once a month and our focus is coaching for instructional improvement with an emphasis on Culturally Responsive Practices.  The Sexton Mt. first grade team was gracious enough to open their doors for our learning last week.  My team’s focus this time was on English Language Arts instruction.  We gathered information, analyzed the trends we saw across the team and I got some powerful strategies for providing feedback.  Thanks to the first grade teachers and students for allowing us to think about my learning. 

On Friday of last week we had a Safety Drill.  "It's great that it's sunny during your fire drill.  That was lucky!" During this fire drill we had many extra volunteers in our school because of a BizTown event.  The dry weather comment was heard multiple times. A fire drill on a sunny day wasn’t lucky.  Drills happen when it's dry so we don't have 533 soaked kids.  Soaked kids are uncomfortable and they don't learn when basic needs (like the comfort of dry clothes) aren't met.

LUCKILY, we control the timing of drills.  If there were a real need to evacuate immediately (all 533 students were out and accounted for in less than 3 minutes Friday), we would like to have grab and go supplies including rain gear.  Currently, we have items in large rolling trashcans so supplies can make it easily to the classroom porch but not down the stairs.  For his Eagle Scout project, Nicholas Boss has taken on making our emergency supplies mobile.  His plan is to make EMERGENCY BACKPACKS that staff and kids can grab and go.  Rain ponchos, snacks, water, and other things will be ready to grab and go at the completion of this project.   He has canvassed the community and is working to get what we need.  Learn more about his project at:

During the past six-months two of our families have had house fires. Thankfully, everyone got out okay. We practice drills at school and have a plan for a wide range of scenarios.  Does your family practice and have a plan for a wide range of strategies?  

How we practice at school may be different than your plan for home.  It will be one of the many differences between HOME and SCHOOL .  How we play at school may also be different than what happens at home.  When I was a child, my brother and I spent hours playing outside and we almost always ended up playing a game where the sticks we found became swords or guns and our actions resembled a wild west film.  Like in the picture below, my brother usually had a toy that often resembled a weapon in one hand.
  My childhood took place  long before before Sandy Hook, Columbine, Thurston High or other acts of violence around our nation had schools rethinking how we play at school and the words and actions that are simply not allowed here. 

I met with a group of second graders recently and had them look at these pictures and answer the following questions.   What does the audience do at each even? How do audience members behave? Why?

We compared different types of events with behaviors in a classroom and talked about how behaviors change depending on where you are and the purpose of the event, as well as what others are doing.  Most of the second graders knew that you clap differently at a symphony than a Timbers game.  Though the purpose of both might be entertainment, the expectations of those at the event, changed how one might respond.

We applied the idea that behavior expectations change based on location.   

Wrestling at home may be okay but wresting at school is not. We talked about how certain words, when used in a school setting, result in different consequences than they would at home or elsewhere.   Talking about a game where we hope the other team “kills them” may be okay in some spots but at school, it is absolutely not okay to say “my team will kill you” or “I will kill you”.    Our students seem to understand this concept HOWEVER, for some kids, it’s very hard to transition from one place to the next and therefore, some words or behaviors should not be used anywhere in order to ensure they don’t happen at school. 

Historically the weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break we see an increase in student’s unsafe, disrespectful or irresponsible behaviors.  We know that if we pre-teach, reteach and reinforce positive expectations, we can make a difference.  This year, it seems that the behaviors typical of December are already appearing so I ask that families partner with us in getting a jump on letting children know our expectations.  Additionally, keep in mind that routines, sleep patterns, and a healthy balanced diet are more important than ever as days get shorter, colder, and darker.

As the mornings and our parking lots are get darker, I want to remind families that getting to school on time and ready to learn sets the stage for the day. We want to teach safe, independent habits in the loving, safe environment of the school so that children learn the habits of mind to navigate locally so they’ll be ready to go into the world later in life. 

Thank you for sharing your very special children with us and supporting the learning that happens in our school every day.


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

Thank you!
*Thanks to Lindsey Zobrist for doing such an amazing job of helping our school access Donor’s Choose grants. 

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 Sports Illustrated for Kids, Ranger Rick, Highlights, Lego Magazine, Zoo Books, American Girl and more will be put to good use.
A volunteer is needed to organize our storage space in Portable 6 into a useable learning space.  If you like to inventory, pack or label, please email for directions.
Upcoming Events
Nov. 11-No School Veterans’ Day
Nov. 12-Parent Teacher Club (PTC) meeting at 3:05pm
Nov. 25-School Closed
Nov. 26-Thanksgiving Holiday-No School
Nov. 27-School Closed
Nov. 30-Grading Day-No School for Students
Dec. 21-Winter Break Begins
Jan. 4-School Resumes

No Dogs on Campus -Service Dogs Only at Sexton Mt. School
animals, even when on leashes, coupled with 500+ sometimes-unpredictable children, can create unsafe conditions even with the nicest dogs.

8:08 is GREAT
Supervision in the cafeteria begins at 8:05am and at 8:10 students can also go to the gym, playground or library, if space is available.  Traffic is very light at 8:05am. Please make being on time and ready to learn a habit.  Children who are frequently tardy in elementary school are more likely have poor grades in middle school, drop out in high school, and even experience employment issues later in life.  Plan ahead for congestion and let kids know that the start of the day is a lot like the scheduled departure of an airplane to Disneyland, in that if you arrive late, you may miss something important, no matter what the excuse. 

Yellow Curb Drop Off Zone
IF students are able to independently get in and out of the car on the passenger side, they can be dropped off at any point along the yellow curb.  Students will exit the car on the curb side while drivers remain at the wheel, then vehicles will pull safely into the through lane. IF students are not yet able to be dropped curbside independently, drivers should park in a legal parking space then help the child out of the car and walk them across the crosswalk to the building. 

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