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As we begin the new school year, it is important for students, parent, and teachers to remember that third grade is not adulthood, it is a place to still make mistakes that can be fixed, and it is a place to learn about how to set a goal and achieve it.  Kids are no different from adults in that no one wants to feel stupid, feel that can't do it, or feel that others can do better so why try?  Adults, and kids alike, will exhibit anger, anxiety, embarrassment, and even a will to not try or give up if made to feel inferior.  Well, good news, not in my class.  We learn to accept who and where we are, and then work to be who and where we want to be.  Setting a goal to change diet and exercise for an adult is no different than for a child to set a goal to master equivalent fractions or write a level four narrative essay.  Each seems doable and desirable to the person setting the goal, it is the consistent commitment to learning from failure and not accepting it, that will make that change in us.

Practice becomes habit, and habit become routine, and routine becomes a norm.   We can be who we want to be if we learn that early. If time is given every day to "upload" what is being learned, it can be connected to other things and short term understanding can move to long term learning. In the ten months we spend at Ridgewood in a given school year, learning will take place. So, I close with two thoughts from my grandparents I heard more times than there are seconds in a 30 day month, (which in case you're wondering is over 2 and a half million seconds), "If doing the right thing was easy everyone would do it. It ain't and they don't," and my grandmother would always politely add, "Your today was decided by your yesterday, how do you want your tomorrow to be?"  Smart folks who I still listen to in my head every day.

The number one thing that can generate academic success in a student is making the most from the time spent out of class, by understanding and using what was taught in class.  The positive working partnership between school and parents can be the single most impactful thing we do over the course of the school year for your students achievement.  All areas will improve when this partnership away from school and back at school works together connecting the value of what is learned and what needs to be learned.  

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. "Michelangelo.

  • Mr. Jensen Bio:
  • I received my teaching degree from the University of Portland in 1992, after serving in the US Army previously, and switching majors from Economics/Finance. My master's degree is from Lesley University.
  • I taught in Oregon, Texas, and Washington in the early 1990's in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade.   After several years out of the profession, I returned to teaching  in 2010, after working as the National Investigations Manager for the Nordstrom company.
  • I have been married for 27 years, and am the father of three wonderful daughters aged 26, 22, and 17, and at times, the fill in parent for a great kid from Middlesbrough, England...Go 'boro! We love to go places and  in past year's  one or all of us have been to South Africa, France,  Italy, England, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Mexico, Canada, and 41 of the 50 states ( missing Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, W. Virginia, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama).  We are currently making plans for our 2019 adventures. Maybe LA to visit our oldest daughter?  Overseas?     As a family, we also enjoy reading, going to movies, being outdoors, golfing (My middle daughter Kennedi and I go as often as we can...she's really good and beats me every time), visiting friends old and new, checking out new places and revisiting old, and spending time at our small (700sqft) family cabin in Grayland; it has been in Mrs. Jensen's family since the 1960's.  This summer was spent on major remodel work, fingers crossed one more summer worth of work and it is done!
  • I grew up in the Portland  area attending Whitman Elementary and Marshall High School-graduating in 1983. As a kid, I spent  all of my spring/summers/winter breaks in Minnesota; learning about my Scandinavian/Prussian roots (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, German, and  French), and how to survive in a place that gets REAL cold in the winter. How cold?  My family would build small "fish houses" and then drive them out on the frozen lakes to fish out of. That's right...DRIVE a car out on a frozen lake! I learned to drive the first time when I was ten on a frozen White Bear Lake. I have hunted, trapped, and fished in every area of Minnesota.  I have also eaten more unique things than most people; thanks to grandparents who "lived" off the land and survived the Great Depression of the 1930's with a, "just put it in a stew, and it will taste fine",  view.  I have an allergy to onions of all things...crazy...and a real pain, literally, and one that greatly restricts what I can eat these days (onions are in everything).  They do taste great though.  I can make up for it with a love of Dr. Pepper, dark chocolate, and peanut M&M's.  Mrs. Jensen has said I need to eat more healthy, so I toss in an occasional Bai Bolivian Black Cherry -  add some chocolate nibs from Trader Joes...and for me, close enough to eating healthy. :-) Potato chips are from a vegetable right?
  • I have been a lifelong fan of the Cincinnati Reds, and the New York Giants.  Of course, I also never miss a chance to cheer for the University of Portland Pilots!.  If you're ever looking for a great college, check it out! 
  • Within our community I  have served on several boards, councils,  and committees with the Kent School District (Bond-Levy-Education-High School field/track replacement initiative, Leadership), King County (Citizens Oversight Board for Parks Levy), and Kent Youth Soccer -now Kent-Covington Youth Soccer (Raised the $1.6 million used to build Petrovitsky Park soccer fields), I partnered with  the city of Covington on Phase I of Covington Park, worked on the city of Kent  levy committees, as a Kent Parks youth coach, and worked tirelessly to raise awareness, funds, and community support in helping KSD replace fields at all four high schools, and  the city of Kent replace Wilson fields.   I served as an appointed  member of the city of Kent's inaugural Parks and Recreation commission.  I have also served on the Washington State Youth Soccer board of directors, and many other community non-profit and youth based boards.  Within the building I have served as the Battle of the Books Coordinator, the District Science Cadre Representative, the Edge Technology Representative, the district  Hi-Cap steering committee, the Professional Development Committee, the LIT team, the PLC Leadership team, the HiCap committee, the Leadership Team, and the Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Math (S.T.E.A.M.) committee.  At the moment, with the girls older, Mrs. Jensen and I spend more time helping various non-profits make our community a better place.
  • Volunteering is a great way to "pay it forward" and help everyone. My family and I feel it  is important to give back to the community we live in.  My wife and daughters have given and still give to a variety of community programs  and charities.  For me it is an obligation owed to  my  own community of parents and volunteers, who in my youth, helped shape who I am today.  Thanks to all my coaches, teachers and extended neighborhood parents who made sure I was headed in the direction I was supposed to go. 
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