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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Health Room, High School Boundaries, and Critical Reading-Feb. 16, 2016

Feb. 16, 2016

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

I did my very best with the information I had.  I eliminated ovarian cysts as a reason for his pain but an Internet search coupled with my background knowledge could not conclusively diagnose his symptoms.  I had to remind him that my doctorate was in educational leadership, not medicine so he’d need to seek a second opinion.  I later got a bit more information about a very competitive basketball game he’d participated in at the family gathering Sunday and realized that his soreness likely had more to do with aggressive offense instead of the range of possible illnesses I’d read about on the web.  Just like at home, when students visit the Health Room at Sexton Mt., we do the very best with the information we have.  Just like the case with my husband, we sometimes don’t have all the information. I’ve asked our office staff to do their very best to contact families each and every time a child comes to the Health Room so that together, we can make the best decisions.  For those interested you can read more about our Health Room change below.

As I did my Internet research for causes of abdominal pain, the twenty-million possible sites (available in an instant) reminded me of the importance of critical reading strategies.  I thought about why I was more likely to look for answers at the mayoclinic.com instead of gutbliss.com.  How do we teach our kids to be skeptical readers or viewers?  I got to hear about some of the thoughtful planning our teachers do in order to elicit this critical thinking as our fifth grade teachers met this morning to plan for an upcoming unit.  They talked about citing sources and thinking critically as it relates to an upcoming project.  They also analyzed student work to learn what our students already know about this and how to nudge them to the next level.  I chuckled as they shared student work regarding the highly controversial subject of chocolate milk in school cafeterias.  Some of our students used fellow students as expert sources (according to Xxxxxx Xxxx, chocolate milk is like milk with a fun size candy bar included) while others cited information from articles and included the credentials of nutrition experts at the National Dairy Council.  If our ten year olds are able to write evidenced based claims, cite sources and make their work interesting by including examples, explanations, evidence, expert opinion and elaboration now, I would guess they will be ready to change the world in the future.  Thank you for having rich discussion at home about a wide range of topics so it’s easier for students to write about a wide range of topics in a thoughtful, concise way at school.

Several parents stopped me in the parking lot this morning to ask about the meeting tonight at Southridge High School regarding the High School Boundary Adjustments.  The homes in the Sexton Mountain attendance zone have been in the undecided location at times and assigned to Beaverton, Southridge and the new South Cooper Mountain High School at other times.  There is a meeting tonight,  -Tuesday, February 16th where public testimony will be heard.  Check out the map and public hearing information for the meeting on Feb. 16 at Southridge High School at 6:00pm for more information.  The process
www.beaverton.k12.or.us
This fall, the District will begin a process to redraw the District boundaries beginning with high school attendance areas. The process is expected to begin in mid ...


Our new phone system will be installed the week of February 29th. The new phone system will be operational on March 4th.  After the change over, we will have several new phone numbers and some new features.  When you call us, you will hear a new menu of options.  Thanks in advance for your patience as we make the transition.

With gratitude,

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



Reminders:
·      Family-teacher conferences are coming up.  Thanks in advance for your flexibility as we work to accommodate so many different factors when scheduling.
·      Oregon has one of the shortest school years in the nation.  It is essential that students attend school when we are in session.  Kids should miss school only if they have a fever or are throwing up.
·      We try VERY hard NOT to interrupt classrooms with phone calls.  Every time the phone rings, instruction is interrupted for all students.  When there are changes in end of day plans, make sure they are communicated to your child’s teacher and office staff (Diane_Holste@beaverton.k12.or.us and Margaret_Zwetschke@beaverton.k12.or.us) early in the day.
·      Parents are encouraged to do weekly head checks for lice or nits.  Catching them early and interrupting the life cycle are the best ways to avoid big outbreaks. 

Appreciation
  • Thanks to Rikki Anderson and Sandy Goff for assembling bookmarks for us.
  • Thanks to all who helped set up and clean up chairs last Thursday for the program.
  • Thanks to the amazing OBOB team of volunteers.
  • Thanks to all who donated toilet paper and paper towels for the Help Center.


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 a stuffed Spider Man or wrestling character will be put to good use in our student break room.
  • Donations of foaming hand soap containers (empty or full) will be put to good use.
  • Volunteers will be needed Friday night following the Talent Show to put chairs away.
  • Donations of gently used backpacks in the following colors are needed for a summer reading program-yellow, green, blue, red, white, black, orange.

Upcoming Events
Feb. 19- Talent Show @ 6:30pm
Feb. 29-Mar 4-Our school is scheduled to have our phone system updated this week.
Marc 3-4-No School-Parent/Guardian-Teacher Conferences
March 10-Kindergarten Orientation 5:30-6:30pm
March 11-No School-Grading Day
March 21-25-No School-Spring Break
March 28- No School-Staff Development Day

Health Room Change Rationale
As you know, we have a BUSY school office.  Mrs. Zwetschke and Mrs. Holste do a number of things*in addition to overseeing the Health Room.  Though we share a school nurse with several other elementary schools, our secretaries are responsible for dispensing medications, monitoring blood sugar levels for our diabetic children, comforting children when they have an ache or ouch, and making decisions about injuries and illness.  While they both hold first aide cards and have some training specific for schools, they are not nurses.  Between them, they have more than a handful of children so they also have a combined 60+ years of Dr. Mom experience too.  They both use their best judgment when it comes to how to treat sick or hurt kids.  They do their best to care for your kids.  They amaze me!
With so many kids coming to the office for a range of reasons each day, they prioritize to care for kids, communicate with families AND do all the other job requirements*.  We have always tried to contact home regarding gushing blood, head injuries, fever, vomit, or uncontrollable pain.   Most of the time, this has been sufficient, but sometimes it hasn’t.  Some families don’t realize their kids visit the office multiple times a day.   Some kids don’t express discomfort or pain as loudly as others so injuries or illness may not be treated the same at school as they are at home.  It’s our theory that contacting family when kids visit the office will allow families to make informed decisions about kids.  Our contact may come in the form of an email or phone call.  Most often, the contact will just be an FYI so please don’t be alarmed if we contact you more often than you’ve been used to.
*Other duties of office staff
  • Meet and interact with public and employees in routine situations.
  • Provide a variety of clerical duties involving all but the most complex matters.
  • Give information and interpretations of policies or procedures related to departmental or school activities.
  • Establish, maintain and monitor accurate, neat and efficient electronic and manual filing systems.
  • Sort and classify incoming mail and other information for efficient disbursement to appropriate recipients.
  • Prepare letters, memoranda, reports, bulletins, handbooks, questionnaires, requisitions and other materials from marginal notes, rough drafts, or verbal instructions.
  • Compile information from various sources on a variety of standardized forms.
  • Assist in the orientation and training of the substitute employees or volunteers.
  • Handle confidential information with complete security.
  • Gather and prepare appropriate attendance/accounting information.
  • Schedule and coordinate meetings.
  • Request monthly budget activity reports for program staff;
  • Assist with and log fire, earthquake and emergency drills.
  • Enroll and discharge students. Request records from prior schools, distribute school records.
  • Maintain classroom key distribution and record-keeping.
  • AND all other duties as assigned


Volunteers:
If you haven't already, please remember to fill out the new application to volunteer at Sexton Mountain.  This application is district wide and is REQUIRED for all volunteers.  If you filled out an application at the beginning of the school year, it is no longer applicable and a new one will need to be resubmitted.  It is required to complete the application and pass a background check in order to volunteer in the classroom, on field trips, for classroom parties or other activities at school.  Please fill it out in the next couple of weeks in order to have your background check completed by the deadline.  You can find the application at the following link:  https://www.beaverton.k12.or.us/depts/CCI/volunteer-engage/Pages/Volunteer-Impact.aspx 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sportsmanship, Joyful Readers and More-Feb, 9, 2016

Sexton Mt. Families:

My absolute favorite time of the day is from 8:05-8:15am.  As students arrive they are eager to start their day.  They are not so late that they are worried about rushing to class, so often take time to chat.  As minivans pull up and doors open, kids grab their backpacks and jump toward the school.  They remind me of skydivers as they leave the plane.  OFF TO ADVENTURE!!! 


On the sunny Monday morning this week, kids were very excited about the Super Bowl.  (Before I share my reflections on this experience, my husband would insist that I point out that I know very little about football and even less about the players.) Because so many of our students watched the game AND because we are having our own Super Bowl of sorts as the OBOB battles are well underway, I listened closely for what kids learned about SPORTSMANSHIP.

Did they learn about winning AND losing with grace?
Did they learn about celebrating best effort no matter the outcome?
Did they learn to be happy for their opponents’ success even while disappointed by their own loss?
Did they learn how to lift up teammates in positive ways even when frustrated?

As our students have enjoyed the double elimination tournament related to reading, the parent volunteer who has organized the OBOB tournament has sent reminders to families about sportsmanship. 

Jen Fife-Adams writes…Good sportsmanship is required; teams will be required to shake hands or high five at the end of every round. I've talked to many of the teams about what good sportsmanship means, and I think that most kids get it: we're a big family here at Sexton Mountain, and we need to take care of each other and our feelings. This means being sensitive to others' sadness at losing and comforting our classmates who are really bummed out about losing….Something I've talked about with parents and teams: good losing is a WAY MORE IMPORTANT skill to master than memorizing facts from books. Please talk to your kids about this, and that it's okay to feel sad about losing but still find the resilience to pick up and Carry On, as they say.”

If you were to do a Google search on the qualities employers look for in new hires, the most sought after characteristics in a life partner, or the attitudes of the collective whole in the communities where people most enjoy living, memorizing small details from a book would not make the top ten list.  Teamwork and communication would likely top the list.  Creative, innovative problem solving and the ability to find workable solutions would also rate right up there. 

Thanks for reminding our competitors about the importance of sportsmanship and helping them to practice graceful winning and losing. 

I hope that our OBOB teams have also learned about the JOY of reading.  Australian author, Mem Fox captured the recipe for joyful home reading in her 10 read aloud commandments.  Please check them out at:  http://memfox.com/for-parents/for-parents-ten-read-aloud-commandments/  Thank you for sharing your joyful readers with us.  

With gratitude,

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

Reminders:
  • ·      Family-teacher conferences are coming up.  Thanks in advance for your flexibility as we work to accommodate so many different factors when scheduling.
  • ·      Oregon has one of the shortest school years in the nation.  It is essential that students attend school when we are in session.  Kids should miss school only if they have a fever or are throwing up.
  • ·      We try VERY hard NOT to interrupt classrooms with phone calls.  Every time the phone rings, instruction is interrupted for all students.  When there are changes in end of day plans, make sure they are communicated to your child’s teacher and office staff (Diane_Holste@beaverton.k12.or.us and Margaret_Zwetschke@beaverton.k12.or.us) early in the day.
  • ·      Parents are encouraged to do weekly head checks for lice or nits.  Catching them early and interrupting the life cycle are the best ways to avoid big outbreaks. 


Appreciation
  • Thanks to the Paterson family for the donation of magazines for the cafeteria.


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.
  • A volunteer is needed to assemble bookmarks.  All materials can be sent home in backpack mail with child.
  • Donations of a stuffed Spider Man or wrestling character will be put to good use in our student break room.
  • Donations of foaming hand soap containers (empty or full) will be put to good use.
  • Donations of paper towels or toilet paper we can pass along to the Help Center.
  • Volunteers will be needed Thursday night following the music program to put chairs away.
  • Donations of gently used backpacks in the following colors are needed for a summer reading program-yellow, green, blue, red, white, black, orange.

Upcoming Events
Feb. 11-2nd and 3rd Grade Music Program @ 6:30pm
Feb. 15-No School Presidents’ Day Holiday
Feb. 19- Talent Show @ 6:30pm
Feb. 29-Our school is scheduled to have our phone system updated on this day.
Marc 3-4-No School-Parent/Guardian-Teacher Conferences
March 10-Kindergarten Orientation 5:30-6:30pm
March 11-No School-Grading Day
March 21-25-No School-Spring Break

March 28- No School-Staff Development Day

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Would you rather.......? Feb. 2, 2016


Teresa Clemens-Brower
Principal
Sexton Mt. School
503-367-8029

 
                  
Feb. 2, 2016

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

Students at a certain grade level have been passionately writing me letters about a rumored decision to ban chocolate milk from our school.  I unknowingly added fuel to the fire by sharing with kids that I have stopped consuming food and beverages with added sugar.  As you can imagine, kids feel PASSIONATE about their chocolate milk and they have been reading and researching in order to write evidence-based letters to convince me to keep it.  They are reading for a purpose and writing to persuade!  They are doing great work BUT I honestly don’t have anything to do with what is served in the cafeteria.   

When kids have a chance to talk, read and write about topics of interest, when they have a chance to explore different perspectives, and when they have opportunities to authentically problem solve, they develop habits of mind that will help them be successful later in life.

That chocolate milk is inspiring such rigorous discussion and thinking is not surprising. I expect that later in the week, there may be conversation about the qualifications of certain football teams.  It’s likely that presidential candidates will also be a topic in upcoming months.  I look forward to comparing the conversation and thought process of those who have practiced considering multiple viewpoints and building evidence based arguments to those who have not. 

One way to inspire conversation is to ask “Would you rather…..?”

Take a close look at the pictures below.  What do they have in common?


  

You might notice that both pictures have an item that costs about $5.99.  You might know the store well enough to realize that all of these items are on the same aisle.   While walking down this aisle with your child you might pose the question, “Would you rather spend six dollars on candy or toilet paper?”

On the surface this seems like an easy question for a child to answer but given a bit more information, it could lead to rich dialogue.  This aisle caught my attention last weekend because of a request I’d received from the Beaverton Help Center.  The Help Center has identified and provided support services to over 1000 homeless students and their families since school started in September. Fifty-two of the students have been unsheltered, living in cars, tents or even worse.   The Help Center had requested donations of toilet paper and paper towels. As I walked down the aisle, I put items in my cart for the Help Center. 

After paper products, we encountered candy.  I held my breath.  One of my goals this year is to avoid food or beverages with added sugar. If I don’t smell it or look at it, I don’t even miss it.   So far I’ve been successful with my goal but my husband wondered how I would do as February seems to be the month of candy.  He jokingly suggested I invite kids to bring toilet paper for the Help Center instead of candy.  If you typically send your principal a cookie for a treat, know that I would much prefer toilet paper I can pass along to the Help Center.  I don’t think I could convince kids to trade in the treats for TP but it may be an interesting discussion. 

Each and every day, your family makes choices.  You may consciously weigh the costs and benefits of every choice or you may not.  I would like to invite you engage your child in some of the easier decisions during the upcoming weeks.  Help them consider the different viewpoints and build arguments that take into consideration both sides.   Talk about viewpoints as you read fiction and non-fiction. 

Students at all grade levels have worked on building evidence-supported arguments across content areas.  From explaining their thinking in math, to defending their opinion on characters in a story, they are learning to persuade. 

Perhaps you’d like to start with a hypothetical discussion about whether or not to spend $6 on candy for Valentine’s Day or toilet paper for the Help Center.  Lots of practice developing decision making when consequences are not too important, builds the decision making muscle for when choices are much more difficult. Whether its talk about groceries at the store or characters in a book, your discussions matter!  Thanks for building language skills through each conversation!

With gratitude,

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


Appreciation
 Thanks to the Paterson family for the donation of magazines for the cafeteria.


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 foaming hand soap containers (empty or full) will be put to good use.
       Donations of paper towels or toilet paper we can pass along to the Help Center.
   
Upcoming Events
Feb. 11-2nd and 3rd Grade Music Program @ 6:30pm
Feb. 15-No School Presidents’ Day Holiday
Feb. 19- Talent Show @ 6:30pm
Feb. 29-Our school is scheduled to have our phone system updated on this day.
Marc 3-4-No School-Parent/Guardian-Teacher Conferences
March 10-Kindergarten Orientation 5:30-6:30pm
March 11-No School-Grading Day
March 21-25-No School-Spring Break
March 28- No School-Staff Development Day