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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Academic Language, On Time and Ready to Learn, Halloween, Head Lice and More!-October 18, 2016

Sexton Mt. Families:

At Sexton Mt. we are focused on increasing students use of academic language.  How we talk, changes the way we work.  Students are expected to think at high levels so the language they use to describe their thinking should reflect the rigor of their thoughts.  

You can help by asking your child about their day and expecting them to respond using complete sentences.  Ask about the learning targets for math, reading, and writing.  Ask about their learning goals, what they are working on and how they know if they are making progress. 

I get to see kids at work every time I visit classrooms.   Let me tell you about what I am noticing.  

Two of our first graders  are working on getting their mouth ready to say the first sound.  Another is working on checking for understanding as she reads.  Josie says if it doesn't make sense she rereads and looks at chunks of the word and uses her knowledge of letter sounds to figure it out.

Our fifth graders are explaining strategies, respectfully questioning one another and showing support as they defend thinking around multiplication related to the power of 10.  Elijah was working on using the distributive property to explain multiplication equations.  Morgan talked about powers of ten as she deconstructed her math thinking and explained it to a peer.  Emmalyn shared how she uses the standard multiplication algorithm to solve multi-digit math problems(814 x 39).  She was able to use her knowledge of place-value to deconstruct the equation in her head to 814 x 9 and 814 x 30.  She explained what she was thinking and what "carry the one and put down the zero" represented.  

When you visit classrooms for conferences, look for the different types of supports around the room kids might use to support collaborative, academic language use.


On Time and Ready to Learn
Kids should stay home when they are sick but should otherwise be in class. Instruction begins at 8:30am so kids should be in class, ready to learn at that time. Kids should be in the school by 8:20 so they can go to class at 8:25 and be ready at 8:30.  Our counselor, Mr. S. will be contacting families to see how we can support kids being here on time and ready to learn.  Oregon Department of Education defines chronic absenteeism as missing more than 10% of the school year, so Mr. S. will contact families of students who have missed part or all of 10% of our learning days so far this year. See page 10 of the Student & Family Handbook for more information.  https://www.beaverton.k12.or.us/schools/sexton-mountain/for-parents/Pages/default.aspx

College Gear Wednesday
Across Beaverton kids are encouraged to wear college gear on Wednesdays.  Today during the 4th grade lunchtime, kids talked about college and one of the eighty-eight students had a college shirt.  I wonder how many we'll see tomorrow.  Also during lunch, one student had a note they enjoyed reading.  While we haven't set aside a special day for love notes, positive notes of encouragement are always enjoyed by children!
  





Upcoming Events
October 20-21-Conferences-No School For Students
November 10-Staff Development Day-No School for Students
November 11-Veteran's Day-No School for Students
November 23, 24, 25 and 28-No School
Find more information about upcoming events at:
https://www.beaverton.k12.or.us/schools/sexton-mountain/calendar/Pages/home.aspx


Volunteering and Confidentiality
Sexton Mountain School is supported by hundreds of volunteers. From high-school students working to build community service hours to parents, grandparents and community members willing to give time to make a difference in the lives of our learners, we enjoy GREAT support. From playing with kids at recess, joining them for lunch, working with students in classrooms or pods to supporting students by preparing materials or doing other behind the scenes work, volunteers learn so much about our school and students as they serve. As stated in the Beaverton School District Volunteer Handbook:   “Volunteers must protect the teachers’ and students’ right to privacy. You may not disclose school affairs or personal matters which have come to your attention. Discuss student problems or concerns only with the teacher or staff member with whom you are working; discuss other concerns with the teacher or principal.”



Student Dress and Accessories Info-Planning for October 31

Over the past few years, I get the same questions asked over and over regarding attire for October 31 so I assume others are wondering the same thing.
  • Most Asked Question #1-May I wear my costume on Halloween?  Answer: Check with teachers for exact expectations but know that on October 31, the day is a school day so most (if not all) of the day will be learning and school as usual.  Many of the fall parties won't take place on October 31 so this won't be an issue for many classes.  If teachers give the green light for costumes during part of the day, costumes may cover clothes but not faces or heads.   Students are expected to be safe, respectful and responsible all day, every day even when they are wearing costumes. One aspect of safety is being able to clearly see and identify who is in our school. Faces should not be covered in the school so no masks or head coverings unless it is part of regular religious dress. Clothing worn during the party should reflect our expectations as well as the expectations outlined in the Beaverton School District Student/Parent Resource Handbook.  Dress and grooming are primary responsibilities of students and parents/guardians. However, students may be directed to change dress or grooming if it interferes with the learning process or school climate, is unclean, or threatens the health or safety of the student or others. Clothing, jewelry, or wording/graphics on clothing or on the person that is sexually suggestive, drug or alcohol related, vulgar, which depicts violence, insulting, gang membership related, or ridicules a particular person or group may be prohibited.
  • Most Asked Question #2-My costume comes with a little pretend weapon (i.e. bow and arrow, gun, sword, knife, bomb). Can I bring that?  Answer: No. Weapons, play-weapons or look-alike weapons are NEVER allowed at school.  In keeping with our safety theme, students should know that weapons as accessories are not acceptable at school. Toy Weapons or Look-Alike Weapons are NOT allowed at school. The use, threat of use, or possession of these at school may result in disciplinary action. The expectations outlined in the Beaverton School District Student/Parent Resource Handbook are below.  The use, threat of use, possession, or sale of knives and/or look-alike knives of any form and/or length will result in disciplinary action. If the knife is a dangerous weapon (readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used, threatened to be used, possessed, or sold) or a deadly weapon (Specifically designed for and presently capable of causing death or serious physical injury) then expulsion is required.  The possession, use, or threat of use of a look-alike explosive device, firearm, or other dangerous or deadly weapons will result in disciplinary action.
  • Head Lice and  Costumes--District policy requires us to share with families if three or more unrelated head lice cases occur in a two-week period but I wanted to pass along this information now since this season brings unique challenges. During the costume season, I predict that kids will have cool clothing items that friends might ask to try on. Now is the perfect time for you to teach or reteach your child why they should say, "No."  Just as we prevent the spread of germs by not sharing food or utensils, we prevent the spread of lice by not sharing brushes, hats, masks, costumes, coats, hoodies, and other items that come into contact with heads. As we assume that others’ blood or other body fluids may carry harmful germs and we thereby take universal precautions, we must also assume that others’ hair or things that come into contact with hair may also carry things we hope not to catch and practice precautions. With the potential for trying on others' costumes, I wanted to remind adults to remind kids to be mindful of how easy it is to spread lice when clothing items and hats are shared between kids. This note is not intended to cause panic but instead provide a reminder about the importance of teaching children prevention techniques.  We expect that parents will check their own children regularly for lice or nits. Students must be lice free at school. Some experts believe that checking your child's head weekly is a good practice because it helps you to catch outbreaks early and interrupt the life cycle.

Parties
Each year the PTC provides classrooms with funds for three parties.  Students look forward to these special days and always appreciate the hard work of the volunteers who do the planning and implementation. Expectations for parties are based on safety and maintaining an environment focused on instruction. The information below may be useful to party planners and other volunteers. 

  • Several students in our school have severe latex or peanut/nut allergies. Latex balloons are not allowed. Balloons of any kind cannot be taken home on the bus. Strict avoidance of peanut/nut products is the only way to prevent a life threatening allergic reaction. If exposed to peanut products or nut products through contact or ingestion, the student may develop a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires emergency medical treatment. In an effort to maintain a safe environment for all, students at our school will not be doing art projects that include nuts or nut products.  With so many projects available, this should be an easy task.
  • Party snacks cannot include any peanut or nut containing products. Because there are so many nut free products in our world, maintaining a nut free environment should not be a problem. We also have kids with dairy and egg allergies or gluten intolerance so please plan accordingly.
  • Be sure to park in designated parking spaces when you come to school. Our parking lot has been known to be rather unsafe on party days due to so many illegally parked cars. In order to maintain a safe parking lot, I expect all parties to end by 2:55 p.m. so teachers can help students return to calm before dismissal and bring closure to the learning of the day. If you take your child home with you at that time, please sign him or her out in the office.
  • Check with your teacher to determine whether parties will take place. Fall parties might begin as early as mid-October or extend well into November. Winter parties might take place in December or January. In all decisions, our first priority is safety followed by what is best for student learning. Sometimes this means that to maintain instructional integrity on certain days, we continue learning as normal and move parties to days that work best for teaching and learning. 
Teaching and Learning
With so many things not really related to teaching or learning in this newsletter, I want to emphasize the importance of creating a safe and inclusive environment as the foundation for great learning. The structures and systems we have in place show our best thinking and use of resources as of today. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, Oregon has fewer school days per year than other states and we have among the largest class sizes.  Things have gotten better with recent changes as the Local Option Levy has passed and state revenue forecasts have improved, but in order to level the playing field for our students, we need to use every minute well because of the larger classes and  fewer days of school than students in 40 or more other states. We need to do our very best work in schools while state leaders work for stable funding. Thanks for helping us to maximize instruction!


Fondly,

Dr. Teresa Clemens-Brower
a.k.a. Mrs. C.-B.
Principal
Learning Options Information for 2017-18

The Beaverton School District is nationally recognized for high student achievement and innovative programs. Beaverton students in grades 6-12 have the opportunity to investigate learning options that best fit their academic needs. Students can choose their neighborhood school or one of a number of small learning options. Transportation is provided.  
Applications will be available starting Monday, October 24, 2016. All applicants must reside within the Beaverton School District boundaries. Beginning October 24 current Beaverton School District students are able to apply online using their student ID. Resident students not currently attending a Beaverton school will need to complete a paper application available online, or at any school office beginning October 24, 2016.  Below is a link to this year’s open house schedules.

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