Fox Monthly

January 2018

New Format!

We have a new, electronic format for our newsletter starting this month! We will provide families with a paper copy of the newsletter, but will publish it electronically ONLY starting next month. If you would like to continue to receive paper copies, please contact our office.


  • Jan 12 Spirit Day-Hat Day
  • Jan 15 MLK Day- No School
  • Jan 29 Student of the Month Assembly 7:50 am
  • Jan 31 End of First Semester
  • Feb 1 Teacher Prep Day- No School
  • Feb 2 Grading Day- No School
  • Feb 5-9 Dental 3 Week
  • Feb 14 3rd Grade Field Trip to the Portland Youth Philharmonic
  • Feb 16 Spirit Day-Jersey Day

Letter From the Principal

Happy New Year, Free Orchards Families!

I hope that the new year finds you and your family refreshed and ready to start anew.

With the new year comes some exciting things that I am eager to share with you. First, I am pleased to share that we are participating with the AmeriCorps program, which provides us with an AmeriCorps Member to provide tutoring services during and after school. Our AmeriCorps member, Lupe, has been working with small groups during school and will begin a computer-based after-school program for 4-6th graders that focuses on Math and Reading. Participation in this after-school program is by invitation.

Because we are able to offer our after-school programming through AmeriCorps, we are able to support additional programming as well. In addition to our Art club, Science club, and Battle-of the Books clubs, we can offer a craft club and a service leadership club with support from some community groups. We would like to offer even more opportunities like a gaming club, folkloric dance, chess club – you name it! – but we need adult leaders to run them. If you are interested and available to lead an after-school group, please let our office know.

Karen Murphy

Principal, Free Orchards Elementary

Counselor's Corner

Character Trait of the Month


This month we are focusing on teaching students how to be flexible in their thinking. Being a flexible thinker is having the ability to change plans easily. In other words, we are trying to teach students the skill of "go-with-the-flow." Flexible thinkers also have an easier time with developing a "Growth Mindset" where they use challenges as a spring board to higher learning rather than as road blocks.

Often, and especially as children, we are asked to make changes in our daily plans when more important or urgent matters arise. For example, students may be asked to change their daily routine due to assemblies, fire drills, or substitute teachers. Some children experience difficulties when these types of changes are made and can act out because they experience discomfort.

As adults and as children, we are often faced with the unexpected and must adapt to ever-changing circumstances. Some adults and some children are able to do this with ease, while others have a very difficult time making changes. Children who have a difficult time with changes often tend to have a "Fixed Mindset" where they believe that their abilities and skills are fixed traits rather than skills that can be improved upon with hard work.

We teach the skill of flexibility in the hopes that as our students grow and mature, they will be able to easily adapt and change when faced with life challenges. Additionally, we want students to know that the abilities to face challenges and overcome roadblocks with a Growth Mindset will lead to higher levels of academic and social success for the rest of their lives.


Mrs. Sweatman

Peace Planet News

The Peace Planet has been seeing some peaceful behaviors and peaceful choices among Free Orchards students. Many students have discovered peace to be a source of personal pride and enjoyment, especially when it is achieved “on purpose”.

On January 2, 2018 the Peace Planet began a program of presenting “Zone Changer” awards to students who have demonstrated that they have learned they can "change their zone" -on purpose! This is no small feat, since there are many adults who have not yet learned this skill! (We have all seen these people driving their cars in an unsafe way.) Self-control is one of the most important life skills in existence. If your son or daughter earns a “Zone Changer” award, please understand how important and special it truly is!

To learn more about the Zones Of Regulation, which is being implemented schoolwide at Free Orchards, please visit:
Sabrina Eickhoff
Wellness Center Instructor

First Grade News

Welcome back and Happy New Year! Starting up in January, we will be revisiting proper school behaviors, school rules, and how to be a PAX leader. We will be wrapping up our science unit. We have been studying plant/animal adaptations and defenses.

Mrs. Scott and Ms. Spiegleberg

Third Grade News

Welcome back to school! During our writing time each morning students are allowed to bring a small healthy snack. Next month on Feb. 14th is our first field trip of the year! Parents, please make sure you are signed up on the HSD website to be an official volunteer for any of our trips this year! Students need to bring in their $10 as soon as possible to pay for the field trips. Thank you!

Mrs. Rooke and Mrs. Brubaker

Fourth Grade News

For our fourth grade class, we are studying the geography and history of Oregon in Social Studies, applications of multiplication and division in Math, and structures and processes of animals in Science, as well as reading and writing non fiction.

Mrs. Niemeyer and Mrs. Thorpe

Fifth Grade News

In the last week of December, the 5th grade did a simulation about what life was like for early European Explorers as they set out on a perilous journey across the Atlantic Ocean. This study has lead us into our new social studies unit on the European settlement of the United States and the Revolutionary War. Matter will be the focus of our science studies through January and February. In math, we are working hard to learn how to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators. Students are encouraged to practice their math facts each night. Thank you for checking your student planners nightly!

Mr. Kish and Ms. Rider

Sixth Grade News

6th grade is busy as always working on a variety of different activities and assignments! For math this month we are focusing on variables and ratios; more specifically, how to use variables to generalize and represent unknown quantities, and how to write multiple expressions to describe a pattern. We also are studying and researching the science of bridges. Students have picked a famous bridge to research and write about. They will learn how to take notes, cite sources and write a 5 paragraph research paper. Ask your child what bridge they are researching and what they have discovered! As always, thank you so much for your continued support at home and helping your child succeed in school!

Mr. Davis and Mrs. Washington

Library News

6th Grade Art Club and the Battle of the Books Tournament will begin in January!

Mrs. Upton

From the Office

Attendance Hotline


Please call when your child is absent!

Our office staff is very busy in the morning with parents and students who are in the office. Please use the hotline number rather than the school’s regular phone number when your child is absent. Your child’s absence will be noted shortly after the school day begins. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.