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Monday, February 6, 2017

Raising Critical Readers-February 7, 2017

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

“But is it real?!?!”  He wouldn’t let it drop.  It was February 1 and his teacher had shared a story about Groundhog’s Day then asked the students to make a prediction about whether a shadow would be seen.   Most students got right to work. It was clear that many were tired of winter.

One student kept questioning the text.  “Is it real?”  Do people really believe that an animal could predict upcoming weather?

The Sexton Mt. five year-old was already developing the oral questioning skills needed to be successful with English Language Arts College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard, “Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.”

If he searched for more information, in less than a second, Google could have generated 2,840,000 on the topic.  The photographs alone might lead a reader to believe that many people consider the information to be true.  One could infer from an NPR article that “a large crowd” thought the event to be important.

Our goal is to prepare our students for an ever-changing world.   You can support this work at home by asking questions.  Building the habits of mind to help a reader think deeply starts early.  Thank you for encouraging your child to think as they read or listen to stories.  Simply by asking questions as you read with your child, you can help us develop critical thinkers.
·      What did that make you think?  Why?
·      What did you learn?

As your child responds, expect your child to share ideas using complete sentences.  Expect your child to use correct grammar.  Depending on your child, you may want to encourage the use of more descriptive words in order to elaborate explanations OR you may want to encourage your child to be more concise.  Encourage your child to use evidence from the text to support their developing ideas.

Great things are happening at Sexton Mt.  Thanks for sharing your children with us!


Teresa Clemens-Brower, Ed. D.

  • ·      Early Release Starts Fall of 2017-When planning for next year, please remember that the District will implement an early release model
  • ·      Thanks for keeping the office informed of any updated contact information.  Thanks also for making sure your list of emergency contacts is up to date.
  • ·      Make sure your coats and outerwear are clearly labeled with your child’s name.
  • ·      All medication (including cough drops) must be signed in to the Health Room and delivered by an adult.
  • ·      Feb. 20-No School Presidents’ Day
  • ·      March 27-31-No School-Spring Break
  • ·      May 26- No School Assessment Day
  • ·      May 29-No School Memorial Day
  • ·      Due to the restoration of instructional time due to winter weather, Spring report cards will be sent home on March 24.  Spring conferences have been eliminated.  Parents should direct questions or concerns to their teachers via email or phone call.

Upcoming Events
·      February 10-Kindergarten Orientation 5:30-6:30pm

*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.
  • ·      Diapers, Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, Hygiene Products for families in need
  • ·      Cereal, canned fruit or vegetables, shelf stable milk, snacks, soup for families in need

*Help Wanted-These are tasks with which we’d love to have help.  If you are able to help, email Mrs. C.-B. at and make sure your volunteer background check has been completed.
  • ·      Translators Wanted-If you are willing and able to translate school documents from English to Arabic, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian or Kurdish we would love to have key messages translated in order to better communicate with our whole school community.
  • ·      Service Project Organizer Needed-We have a growing need in our community for weekend food backpacks and family care kits (diapers, feminine hygiene supplies, laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning supplies).  If you would like to organize collecting items for the kits or sorting items for home delivery, please let Mrs. CB know.
  • ·      Declutter Expert or Organizer needed—We have one volunteer but need more in order to turn the Science Storage Room into an organized supply room for a future Maker’s Space. If you like to sort and tidy, this job is for you and can be done any time between 7:30am-4:00pm. 

Appreciation to:
  • ·      Thanks to Jen, Lindsay, Olivia, Polly, Adria, Leah, and Lu for taking on the Weekend Food Backpack and Family Care Kit project.
  • ·      Thanks to the Hurd family for the donation of diapers for Family Care Kits.
  • ·      Thank you to the Biado family for donations of bilingual children’s books to our school.
  • ·      Thanks to Adria for volunteering to take on the Science Room.

Walk + Bike: it’s good for your heart!
And, it’s fun! Walk and Bike with friends and family: choose roads with low traffic, dress to see and be seen, cross at intersections/ corners.

  1. Stop at the curb or edge of the street.
  2. Look for traffic to the left, right, behind and in front before starting to cross.
  3. Wait until no traffic is coming and begin crossing.
  4. Keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing.
We also really like our crossing guards. Our crossing guards work hard every day to help our children and students get to school safely. Whether on the school property or out in the community, if you see a crossing guard, please do what they are asking you to do. And slow down! Be sure to thank them for helping us get to school safely.

Walk and Bike to School Safety Reminders
Please reinforce with your children some safety tips as they walk or bike to or from school and in our neighborhoods.

• Discuss safe routes to school.
• Walk to school in pairs or groups. There is safety in numbers.
• Do not talk to strangers.
• Immediately report any suspicious activity or person to an adult at home or school.
• Ask your child the 3 Ws: who are they with; where they will be; when they will be home

We take our children's concerns seriously. We work cooperatively with our law enforcement partners to investigate concerning incidents or individuals. We appreciate your partnership to ensure all of our students are safe.

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