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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Rain, Routines, Readiness-December 8, 2015

The purpose of today’s newsletter is to:

  • Remind you of the importance of ROUTINES for children
  • Tell about our school focus of COMPASSION during the month of December
  • Reiterate the importance of PREPARATION- 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.

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

I LOVE my job!  Monday morning it was so interesting to see the kids’ rain response.  I noticed that those who were most prepared (rubber boots, raincoat and umbrella) had amazing attitudes whereas those who weren’t prepared seemed to grumble a bit more. More than once I saw a rain boot or a sneaker land in an ankle deep puddle.  I would guess that the soggy socks of the ill prepared might have impacted learning throughout the day.

Equipping kids with the right tools (habits of mind) and skills for college and career readiness is our District’s mission. Today I want to share several connections I made about the importance of preparation for wet weather and life.

Weather Preparation
Learning Preparation
Preparation allows for flexibility and choice.
When kids wear layers and rain gear, they can remove what isn’t needed when they are in class.  They can walk through puddles, build leaf boats to float in the gutter streams, and have a dry under layer for when they return from recess.  Dry clothes make it easier to focus on learning during class time.
When kids are prepared to think critically and creatively, know master content, can act in a self directed AND collaborative manner and are able to navigate locally and globally, they have lots of choices when it comes to what happens AFTER high school. 
Preparation saves resources.
When kids dress for the forecasted weather, they have what they need during the day so that parents or child care providers don’t need to make extra trips to school to deliver dry clothing.  Learning time isn’t lost.  Work time isn’t lost.
When students come to school each day ready to learn and are able to focus on learning throughout the day, they are investing TIME wisely.  Time engaged in learning or practice is essential!  Practice makes proficient.  Extending practice at home also makes proficient.  When kids don’t spend enough time practicing, they sometimes need remediation.  That extra support may mean time away from peers as kids get intensive intervention or instruction or fewer options for electives in middle school.  That extra support may also have a financial cost if families opt for tutors to help play catch up.  Preparation saves resources
Preparation influences attitude.
Prepared kids were able to enjoy the weather, recess in the weather and even the trip to school.  Prepared kids could take time out to make observations (new rivers, ducks, items clogging drains, depth of puddles, splash radius) because they weren’t worried about getting wet.
Prepared students are able to enjoy the learning process as they aren’t spending as much time playing catch up.  They are confident in knowing that they put in the effort and hard work pays off.
Preparation saves time.
52 students were late to school on Monday morning. That means at the very least 52 minutes of learning were lost if kids were just one minute late.  Collectively, every minute counts.
Prepared students save time in college by not having to take remedial classes.  Math 95 is a prerequisite class students have to take if they are not able to demonstrate proficiency to take higher-level classes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really count.  If students had to take this class during the first year of college, it would mean about 45 hours of seat time, perhaps the same number of hours of study time, plus about $400 for tuition.  If students learn to understand during middle school or high school classes, they won’t have to take Math 95 because the will be able to show proficiency.  If they learn just enough to pass the quiz, it’s likely they’ll get to take the class again. 

At Sexton Mountain Elementary School, we are working to prepare students with the academic skills they will need for later success.  We are also working on the habits of mind and social skills students will need for success later.  This month, our focus is compassion.  My favorite children's book is about a very shy lady who lives in a tree. When her town is flooded, she overcomes her shyness and invites everyone into her house. I shared the book with students in grades K, 1, 2 and 3 recently and followed it with a writing prompt about compassion. Monday, as our lovely local wetlands overflowed and nearly cut us off from the main road, I went out to remove debris from the storm drain. A red truck stopped and a guy jumped out with a shovel and made quick work of what I'd been using plastic gloved hands to clear.  He was “just a neighbor” who wanted our school and kids to be safe.  I am glad I get to read about compassionate people AND interact with compassionate people regularly. I am grateful to work in such a caring and supporting community. 

With the wind and the rain, the upcoming winter break and dark mornings and evenings, it seems that kids COULD be and often are a bit more wild or emotional than usual this time of year.  Time and time again, YOU (Sexton Mt. Families) have reminded me about how hard you are working to maintain a calm routine at home in order to maximize learning time here at school.  Thank you for understanding the importance of routine and how it sets the stage for kids to be prepared for learning. 

Stay dry,

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
Dec, 10-PTC Meeting at 3:15pm
Dec. 11-PTC Sponsored Assembly-“Zaniac” at 9:00am
Dec. 11-Passport Club
Dec. 12-Eagle Scout Safety Project in the Cafeteria 11:00-3:00-Come and help assembly safety kits.
Dec. 18-PBIS Spirit Assembly at 8:30am
Dec. 21-Winter Break Begins
Jan. 4-School Resumes

*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 the classroom teacher or staff member.

VALUABLES and TOYS (reminder from Sexton Mt. Student Handbook)
Sexton Mountain is an open school.  This makes it impossible to lock up or secure valuable (or treasured) items.  As a result, we ask that students not bring valuables or toys to school.  The school or district cannot be responsible for or replace personal possessions lost by students.  In addition, such possessions often disrupt the educational process and therefore, are not appropriate to have at school.

DOGS (reminder from Sexton Mt. Student Handbook)
We request that only service dogs come to school.  Unpredictable animals, even when on leashes, coupled with 500+ sometimes-unpredictable children, can create unsafe conditions.

BIRTHDAYS(reminder from Sexton Mt. Student Handbook)
The teacher or principal gives students special recognition during their birthday month. Do not send edible treats, balloons or flowers on your child's birthday. Their delivery interrupts the teaching and learning time.  Some students like to recognize their special day by donating a favorite book to the classroom library.  The child can write a special dedication inside the front cover and the teacher can share all or part of the book with students to enhance student learning.  Birthday invitations may not be given out at school. We do not give out student phone numbers and addresses.  Please generalize this and understand that families and students should NOT BRING FOOD FOR OTHER CELEBRATIONS either.

CLOSURE OR DELAYS DUE TO WEATHER (reminder from Sexton Mt. Student Handbook)
On occasion, weather conditions require that the opening of school be delayed.  On a delayed school day schedule, instruction will begin at 10:30 A.M. and buses will operate two hours late. Students should report to their bus stop exactly two hours later than their usual time.  If you live in a higher elevation, please know your bus service may not be available. Announcements of delayed school openings, or school closures, will be made between 6:00 and 7:30 A.M. on local radio and TV stations.  The District Website also posts this information and you can register for text alerts from the school district or the principal (see Remind 101). 

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

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