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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Readers are Leaders-Feb. 21, 2017

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

I’ve shared throughout the year, that we are working very hard to make sure that all students make at least a year’s growth in reading.  As a result, we’ve celebrated student effort and progress more frequently.  An unintended consequence of their thoughtful, deep reading is that children have grown when it comes to interpersonal skills as well.

More and more, students notice when authors use different techniques to engage the reader in deeper ways.  Today, OBOB readers gave me examples of this.  In Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea, the author used the technique of using multiple perspectives for the reader to better understand the character’s feeling and traits.  In Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone, JK Rowling, used the flashback technique to provide context for background information.  We expect that students will be able to pull specific examples from the text enabling them to defend their thinking.    

As students learn from the characters in books or the people they read about, they are growing in self-advocacy skills and in their ability to advocate for others.    They are also acknowledging the great things that others are doing to make our school a better place and clearly describing the actions others are taking. 

One of our students recently noted that when kids label a behavior, it’s harder to understand exactly what they are talking about.  When someone calls someone “mean” or “rude” or even “kind” sometimes kids aren’t exactly sure which behaviors fit in the category.  On the other hand, when the behavior is described it’s easier to understand how the other person is feeling.

A group of students was recently asked to write about things that were going well and things that could be better during recess time.  The character traits they noted that they most appreciated in others were humor, good sportsmanship, and being inclusive and fair.  Students who show genuine care and put others first were appreciated.  Honesty was a high priority as taking outs and taking responsibility for actions that might hurt others was mentioned often.

The things that were least appreciated included people who push or shove, are rough or knock people down, people who leave others out, want to be the best, have their own set of rules, use unkind words, and those who don’t take care of the equipment.  Several students noted that kids who show these behaviors seem to think they “own the playground” so the surveyor inferred that self-centeredness was a trait that was least appreciated.  A few students said they least appreciated “rude” or “bossy” people.  We discussed how using specific words to describe the behaviors gives us a better starting point for addressing the behaviors.

Our children are learning to read and think about what they’ve read at deeper levels.  They are learning to think critically and creatively.   This week I encourage you to ask your child to think about the techniques authors are using and why.   As your child reveals their thinking to you, I’m sure you’ll delight in what you learn about your reader.

Thank you for sharing your children with us!


Teresa Clemens-Brower, Ed. D.

·      Early Release Starts Fall of 2017-IIn 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.
·      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 and inquiry to their teachers via email or phone call.

Upcoming Events
·      Feb. 27-Final OBOB Battle at 2:15
·      Feb. 28- PTC Meeting at 3:15pm
·      March 14- 2nd and 3rd Grade Music Program at 6:30pm
·      March 27-31-No School-Spring Break
·      May 26- No School Assessment Day
·      May 29-No School Memorial Day

*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.
·      Home volunteer needed to cut out laminating and assemble 24 home reading packets.  This job can be done at home and all materials can be sent home with a child.  Call the office at let Mrs. Z know (503 356 2470) if you can help with this project.
·      Translators Wanted-If you are willing and able to translate school documents from English to Vietnamese, Korean, Russian or Kurdish we would love to have key messages translated in order to better communicate with our whole school community.
·      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 the Planting Seeds Committee for taking on the Weekend Food Backpack and Family Care Kit project.
·      Thanks to Molly Banks and Roger Golliver for the countless hours they’ve spent assisting Jen Fife-Adams with OBOB battles.

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