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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Readers are thinkers-- November 29, 2016

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

Great readers spend time reading!  As children arrived this morning, I expected to hear about special football games or family meals but instead, I heard about the reading lives of children.  Jenna had a book emergency over the long weekend.  Because she was under the weather, she spent more time reading than expected so she finished her book and didn’t have anything new to read.  Her story ended with, “so we will be going to the library soon.”  Ryan enjoyed Magic Treehouse, Tucker enjoyed reading about monkeys, and Braiden enjoyed Baby Cats.  Kate shared about Squish, Sophia enjoyed rereading Bad Kitty and  Grace’s whole family enjoyed Charlotte’s Web. 

Great readers talk about what they are reading!  In addition to what they’d read, children also shared the conversations they’d had about books.  Jenna is encouraging her mom to write children’s books.  Briley shared about the lands that Thumbelina might visit. When readers talk about what they read, they build vocabulary and understanding. 

Great readers learn from other readers!  As students shared what they had read, others chimed in as they made connections about what they had read or planned to read. 

Great readers learn from books! Students shared that they’d learned about cats, monkeys and history through books.  They also learned about character traits they admire. 

Our goal is for all children to read well so that they can be on the trajectory for college and career readiness.  Thank you for creating places for children to practice reading, time for them to build reading stamina, and for talking to them about what they are reading. 

With appreciation,

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

Upcoming Events
·      Report Cards will be sent home on Monday, December 5

*Wish List-These are items we’d love to have donated.  If you have something on the list you’d like to donate, please send items to the school office.

  • Bilingual children’s books can be put to good use.  
  • Children’s magazines can be put to good use in the cafeteria book bins.
  • Pokeman cards or toys are needed for a behavior incentive program.    
  •  Coins (real or toy) are needed for a behavior incentive program. 
  • College pennants are needed for our College and Career bulletin board.

*Help Wanted-These are tasks that we’d love to have help with.  If you are able to help, email Mrs. C.-B. at and make sure your volunteer background check has been completed.

Reading buddies are needed from 2:30-3:00pm daily.  If you can come to school and listen to a child read, please let us know when you are available. 

 A volunteer or team of volunteers is need to organize the science supply room.  If you like to sort and tidy, this job is for you and can be done any time between 7:30an-4:00pm. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Building Your Child's Reading Life-November 22, 2016

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

We want kids to love reading! A sure way to nurture this love is to make sure books are readily available. As you prepare for the upcoming break from school (Nov. 23-28), make sure your child is ready to read.  Here are some suggestions.

* Check out E-books through the library.
* Enjoy audiobooks from the library or
* If you spend time with extended family or friends, encourage others to share favorite books with kids.
* Read aloud the first chapter of a book you think your child might enjoy.
* Challenge your child to read a book series before the end of winter break.
* Make sure your child’s nightstand always has a stack of “to read next” books and keep a list of books to read next.
* Stow a non-fiction book in every backpack and glove compartment so interesting material is always at hand in a book emergency. National Geographic Kids Almanacs are full of fun facts and can be ready in any order.
* Have a composition notebook on hand. This is a handy tool for capturing ideas about books.

Getting kids hooked on books can be as simple as finding just the right book or as difficult as finding just the right book. Over the years, I’ve noticed successful strategies getting kids hooked on books.

* Read aloud to your child. From chapter books to picture books and a wide-range of non-fiction text, saturate children with the flow of language.
* Take advantage of the marketing dollars bookstores have invested. Teach kids how to enjoy a bookstore visit without breaking the bank. Look at the covers of different books since so many are displayed cover-side out. When you visit the bookstore, make a list of books or authors you’d like read. Find “if you like this, you might also like…” displays and make notes. Remind children that books cost money and have value. Make a list of all the books that seem appealing, then head to the library.
* Visit bookstores when you travel. From airport stores to tiny musty, dusty shops in seaside towns, there are always treasures to be enjoyed!
* Remember that the MOST important part of reading is understanding what was read. Talking, writing, and thinking about the text can develop literal, inferential and evaluative comprehensions at different levels.

Maximizing Time

As we come upon our short months and holiday season, we are working to make every minute of the instructional time we have count. Because our teachers are charged with making sure that ALL children are on the trajectory for College and Career success, we need to closely monitor the progress of our students. We study data, plan interventions, design extensions, learn from one another and grow as adult learners so we can better meet the needs of our students.

Helping our students to see that we are beginning with the end in mind can be a challenge. Sometimes kids say they need to do well in school so that they can be ready to get a good job later in life but in reality, they need to do well today, so that they will be ready for tomorrow’s lesson, since each one builds on the next. This careful balance of thinking about them when they are 25, while planning for tomorrow, is important work. It’s complicated and challenging and very rewarding!!! I feel lucky to be in such an exciting profession! Thank you for sharing your children with us!

There is no school on November 23, 24 and 25 because of Thanksgiving. Students will not come to school on November 28 because it’s a teacher grading day. Please note that Report Cards will be sent home with students on Monday, December 5. Please note date change.  Happy reading!

With thankfulness and appreciation,

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Kind Kids, Report Cards, Gifts, and Learning Goals-November 15, 2016

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

Sexton Mt. children are caring. On Monday, a tired child returned to school; he reluctantly took my hand and walked into the building.  There, he was immediately greeted by a classmate.  Her warm welcoming smile and invitation to join her changed his posture and expression immediately! They walked hand in hand to the library.

Sexton Mt. volunteers are difference-makers!  Daily, countless small things are done for children and teachers to make our school a better place for children.  Many volunteers have found the work so gratifying, they apply for open positions.   We have many open positions in the district.

OBOB and Passport Volunteer Jen Fif-Adams is also a substitute Instructional Assistant

 Sexton Mt. is working to develop joyful, engaged learners!  The Beaverton School District’s mission is to engage our students in rigorous and joyful learning experiences that meet their individual needs so they can thrive, contribute, compete, and excel. Our goal is to empower all students to achieve post-high school success.  At Sexton Mt. we are working to make sure that all children achieve a minimum of a year’s growth in literacy ever the school year.  In order for students to be on the trajectory for post-high school success, we are paying particularly close attention to some groups of students and have even higher expectations and are working to ensure the right supports.  Our schools report card ratings show where we need to grow and this week I’m meeting with teams to dig deep into our data and to plan next steps.

Sexton Mt. employees work hard for the success of every child. Thank you for telling staff when you appreciate their effort.  Your words are TREASURED. The media would have us believe that the season of gift giving (in order to show appreciation) is upon us.   Please remember that school employees are public officials and therefore ethics laws regarding gifts apply.  In order to avoid both potential and actual conflicts of interests, employees must abide by ethics rules, Board policy defines gift as anything of economic value (including baked goods and coffee) so we encourage families to write a kind note rather than give gifts.  


I met with the third grade team and as a unit was planned, I realized that we have only 19 school days until winter break.  2017 will be here before we know it!  Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, the District will implement a 90-minute early release on Wednesday afternoons to allow teachers time to collaborate and participate in professional development opportunities. Over the course of the next three years, nine additional student contact days will be added to the District calendar.  An informational video as well as links to FAQs can be found at the site linked here  

Sexton Mt. is growing!  As our SRC class sizes have grown, we’ve added three new assistants.  Fabian Sifuentez, Kerri Truesdell, and Kammi McQueston have joined our SRC team.

Kerri Truesdell

Kammi McQueston

Fabian Sifuentez

Candace Larson will serve as our afternoon crossing guard on 158th and Rigert.   Elaine Smith will serve as Ms. Tanksley’s guest teacher when she is on leave during the upcoming months.  Ms. Smith has taught in Georgia and Illinois.  With fourth grade experience and background as a reading teacher, she is the perfect match for our team!  We have several student teachers in our building this year.  Allison George, Whitney Carlisle, Crystal Brooks, Madiha Guezguez, and Erin Kellenberger. 

Allison George, George Fox Student Teacher


Madiha Guezguez,  PSU Student Teacher

Katie Davison returned to California and we’ve hired Geri Ingalls to replace her.  She has been a frequent sub in our building.  She will serve on our intervention team, recess supervision team and as a morning crossing guard.

Geri Ingalls, Intervention Instructional Assistant, Playground Supervisor, Crossing Guard

Sexton Mt. students have been hard at work for almost ½ of the school year.  The first grading period will end next Tuesday.  Teachers will work on report cards on November 28.  Report cards will be sent home with children on December 2.  Remember that report card marks are based on end of year learning targets so it is not uncommon to see scores of 1 or 2 at this time of year.  Pay close attending to the learning progress marks to see if significant, steady or minimal progress is being made. 

Thank you for sharing your children with us!  Sexton Mt. School is a great place to learn and grow.




Teresa Clemens-Brower, Ed.D.

a.k.a. Dr. C.-B.


Remember that Wednesday is Wear College Gear Day!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Thoughtful Readers Set Goals-November 8, 2016

Sexton Mt. Families:

We are an active school!  We move throughout the day every day.  I happened to be in Ms. Weigel's class last week as students prepared for the Kidz Bop Shuffle.  The sudden, controlled burst of mid-morning movement helped them transition from one activity to the next.  By the end of the song they were breathing hard, yet focused and ready for the next part of their day.

In Ms. Bartlett's classroom, students are working together to set goals to improve or increase the activity they are doing.  Those specific, focused, attainable, and measurable goals help them to see the GROWTH mindset in action!  They know hard work pays off!
Our students apply this mindset to academic areas as well.  They set goals, find opportunities to practice, then celebrate as they figure out next steps and new goals.  Sometimes these small goals set the stage for others.  One of the things I LOVE about the kindergarten "READ TO ME" is that our 5-year old children imitate the more advanced readers who've shared books with them.  Whether it’s a third grader or a 30-year old, our kids adopt the voice of the ones who've read to them.

Books build shared knowledge and experience. Our children read together, share books and encourage next reads.  Kids suggest books to one another as they learn about common interests and authors.  I delight in listening to them make connections as they do this.  The relationships they are building over Piggie and Me, Pete the Cat or Gregor the Overlander set the stage for playing, writing and deeper thinking. 

In the mornings when children come to school, I often ask about their reading life.  Some tell me the latest updates in storyline and character development.   In addition to hearing about great books, I get to see kids show care for one another too.   We have such caring children and they invest in the success of others!   I've seen this as students look out for one another before school and as they part with younger siblings through a series of hugs and well wishes.  Sexton Mt. students and families rock.

Thank you for sharing your children with us!  It is indeed a delight to see them grow and change.  I have great hope for the future of our community and nation because of the children I see in our school today.


Teresa Clemens-Brower

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Language, Learning, Goal Setting and College Spirit-November 1, 2016

Sexton Mt. Families:

The way we talk changes the way we work.  As we focus on increasing students’ use of academic language this year, teachers started with a unit called The Art of Getting Along.  Children have been learning how to use increasingly complex language (words and language patterns) to make requests, ask and answer questions and respectfully deal with conflict.  They are learning to deal directly and confidently with peers as they build language skills to navigate locally and globally. 

I’ve noticed that many of our students are moving from the language of complaint to the language of commitment.  Instead of expressing what they don’t like, they express what they support.  In Ms. Lawson’s community circle this week, I noticed that kids were helping one another focus on articulating the positive and with just a slight shift in words, the tone went from a speaker sounding a bit whiny and critical to speaking with hope and conviction and this created a positive energy in the classroom. 

We’ve spent the first two months of school getting to know our learners so that we can help them set focused goals.  All students should be able to tell you a reading power goal.  As children get ready to read at home, ask them to think about what their focus will be.  In Ms. Olson’s classroom, Lieam told me that his goal is to understand the meaning of new vocabulary words by looking at context as he reads.  In Ms. Martin’s room, Ian shared that he’s working on editing and revising during writing.  In the piece he worked on Tuesday, he looked closely at how effective his transition words were in his opinion piece. 

This week I watched kids express care and support for one another.  As you may be aware, a parent in the Sexton Mt community passed away Friday.  Though it was not unexpected, as she's been fighting cancer for quite a while, it is impossible not be deeply saddened as we watch a family deal with such profound loss.   As adults, it is important for us to always remember that we serve as role models and examples for our children.   Thank you for demonstrating healthy, appropriate ways to deal with sad situations and to express sympathy and grief appropriately.  The Sexton Mt. community is special in so many ways. 

As a school district, we want our children to lead full and successful lives.  We prepare children for a wide range of post-secondary options. My hope is for children to enjoy school, have a growth mindset and grow into the kind of adults I would want as a neighbor, co-worker, or caregiver.  While our emphasis this year is on language, the goals we are setting focus on reading.  The ability to read deeply opens doors.  Conversely, the inability to read well in elementary school can be a predictor for high school dropout rates. 

My goal is for all students to make at least a year’s growth in reading.  For some students,  the trajectory needs to be even steeper in order to  college and career ready so the goal will be even greater.  Students in Sexton Mt.'s historically underperforming groups (English Language Learners, Students eligible for Special Education, students Living in Poverty) will make 1.5 year’s growth.  During the next three weeks, I will meet with teams (using sub release time) to strategically plan how we can make this goal a reality.   Additionally, as a school-wide team, we need to make sure that we protect learning time and maximize instruction. 

If you have ideas on how to support this goal, please share your ideas with me.  Our classroom schedules include time blocks for English Language Arts (90 minute), English Language Development (30 minutes), Writing (30 minutes), and Math (70 minutes) so that students have time to engage in the important work of learning.  We also build in brain boosts throughout the day and have time for other content areas as well. We need to make every minute count.

We are off to a great start and we will build on this foundation.  It’s going to be a great year of learning!  Now that we’ve set Student Growth Goals, look forward to updates on our progress in future newsletters.  As we partner together, great things will happen for kids!  Thank you for sharing your children with us!


Teresa Clemens-Brower, Ed.D.

Thank you to....

  • ·      Kate Kristensen for organizing a fun family dance night.  Kids had a great time!
  • ·      Our PTC for continually supporting our students and staff. 

Upcoming Events

Nov. 6-Daylight Saving Time Ends-Set Your Clocks Back
Nov. 8-Dining for Dollars – Hapa Grill
Nov. 10-Certified Staff Development Day-No School
Nov. 11-Veterans' Day-No School
Nov. 16-Picture Retake Day
Nov. 16- 5th Grade Field Trip
Nov. 17-Passport Club
Nov. 18-2nd Grade Taekwondo Belting Ceremony in Cafeteria-9:00-10:30
Nov. 23-25-Thanksgiving Break-No School
Nov. 28- Grading Day – No School
Dec. 2-Report Cards Go Home

Dec. 2-3rd Grade Taekwondo Belting Ceremony in Cafeteria-9:00-10:30

Every Wednesday is College Gear Day-Here are some schools we saw represented this week.