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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Prizes, Gratitude, Emergencies, Courage, Goal Setting and Dressing for the Weather-Dec. 15, 2015

The purpose of today’s newsletter is to:                                                                                                                    

  • ·       Celebrate because your child WINS a special prize
  • ·       Express GRATITUDE to voters and volunteers
  • ·       Update you on our EMERGENCY backpacks and encourage you to take action at home
  • ·       Tell about our school focus of COURAGE during the month of January
  • ·       Compel you to set reading GOALS as a family for winter break
  • ·       Share a new MOTTO I learned about outdoor activity in Oregon

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

The anticipation of receiving a special gift can be as much fun as actually opening it.  The joy of giving a special gift may even be more exciting than receiving a gift.  The act of giving and receiving is MAGICAL!  It seems that many people in my life have recently made reference to  a show about giving and receiving so I checked out the clip I wasn’t familiar with.

When I watched this, I wondered if there were any people who had planned to be there but didn’t show up that day.  How would someone feel if they missed the plane to Chicago and the next flight got them to Oprah after the show was over? 

While Oprah gave away cars, at Sexton Mt. we give the special prize of LEARNING!  Every day, our teachers look forward to sharing this gift.  When our students are here and ready, they are equipped with skills and habits of mind that help them be ready for tomorrow.  This is a gift that will last a lifetime.  While a car might get you places, it’s limited to roads and maybe 200,000 miles.  Learning can take one ANYWHERE!  The possibilities are endless and last a lifetime!    Like with all fabulous prizes, CHILDREN MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN!   Our learning plane boards daily and 8:25 and we take off promptly at 8:30.  Make sure your child is ready to be off to adventure!  You might even send them off with, “And you win the GIFT of learning!!!”

We have amazing teachers ready to share the gift of learning with our students.  Because of the support of our community the Local Option Levy passed a few years ago and our school has 5 classroom teachers and part of the Intervention Teacher position.  We have 20 classroom teachers currently with 3 or 4 at each grade level.  I can’t imagine how we would function with all our kids in just 15 classes.  Because it was passed several years ago, I sometimes forget about the very special gift our community gave our students (a.k.a. the future of our nation) by supporting children with extra funding for staffing.  Since less than 30% of our community has children in school, I know that voters know that great schools benefit more than just the students.  Strong schools mean strong communities.  I invite you to extend my appreciation to your childfree neighbors and co-workers.

Nicholas Boss’ Eagle Scout project invited countless community members to support our school with finances for Emergency Kits and tons of teens to donate time to get the project done.  Twenty-six community members contributed to the project and last Saturday, backpacks were organized and distributed to classrooms.  While we hope we will never need to use the backpacks, we now have “grab and go” supplies in case we need to exit the building quickly. Being ready for an emergency is an important LIFE SKILL!  Students will be learning how to grab the backpacks so they can go outside quickly while at school even though they spend less than a third of their time at school.  Now is a great time to make a grab and go pack at home too.  Each of my family members has a pair of shoes stored under the bed and a backpack with a rain jacket, flashlight, essential medication, important phone contacts, a few bucks and a bottle of water just in case we need to get out fast.  What do you have in your emergency “grab and go” bag?

We know that what we focus on grows.  Over winter break, kids will have 14 days away from school.  If it were up to my son, he would focus entirely on video games during the time off.  As a parent, I have to help my son set specific goals for how he will spend his time and help him track progress in a public place.  Somehow, our youngest child mastered the art of invisibility early in his life so he’s good at slipping under our radar for hours if we are not diligent.  I invite you to be mindful of the supports your kiddos will need in order to do brain and body healthy things over the break.

During the month of December we focused on COMPASSION as a school. We celebrated the compassionate actions of our students and recognized compassion in others.  During the month of January, our school will focus on COURAGE!  Courage is the ability to do something that frightens one.

School is a great place to practice being courageous.  During the month of January, we are going to ask students to show courage in safe ways.  Our first goal will be for all children to enter the building INDEPENDENTLY.  By Wednesday, January 13th we would like all of Sexton Mountain’s children to say good-bye to parents at the front door and proceed to their classrooms.  Mountain Guides will be in the hallway to count independent students showing courage as they make their way to their morning choice then classrooms without being accompanied by parents or grandparents. (We realize this might be harder for parents than kids.  Check out Dad's First Day by Wohnoutka if you need biblio-therapy.  We hope adults will show COURAGE too.

Thank you for sharing your very special children with us.  I delight daily in students’ stories and growth.  Last week I shared info about my observations about kids and rain.  Later in the week, a safe routes to school representative shared more research about the benefits of students getting to school by their own power or by taking provided transportation (like school buses).  My new MOTTO is going to be that the weather in western Oregon seldom makes it impossible for us to walk to school. She noted, “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BEING TOO WET TO WALK TO SCHOOL.  THERE IS SUCH A THING AS NOT HAVING THE RIGHT CLOTHES FOR THE WEATHER.  DRESS WISELY.  This week, a student shared his observation that the air closest to the school smelled foul due to all the exhaust fumes produced by cars (as they dropped one child at a time).  He noted that air near school should smell refreshing.  The observation of a ten year old made me wonder how the world will be different as OUR kids make OBSERVATIONS about needed changes then DO something to right the wrong. 

Thank you for sharing your thoughtful, compassionate, courageous, solution-oriented children with us.   It is indeed an honor to know your children!  I hope you have a great vacation

Happy Reading,

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.
Thanks to…
Thanks to the Vogel family for the donation of Highlights magazines.
Upcoming Events
Dec. 18-PBIS Spirit Assembly at 8:30am
Dec. 21-Winter Break Begins
Jan. 4-School Resumes
Jan. 18-Martin Luther King Jr. Day-Holiday-No School
Jan. 28-Bingo Night-6:30pm
Jan. 29-Staff Development Day-No School
Feb. 15-Presidents’ Day-No School
Feb. 19-Talent Show 6:30pm

*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.   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 staff members.

Teresa Clemens-Brower, Ed.D.
a.k.a. Mrs. C.-B.

Sexton Mt. Elementary School

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