The Sierra Monthly

Sierra Middle School - January 2021 Newsletter

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From the Desk of the Principal: Dr. L. King

As the Sierra Middle School principal, I am grateful to be able to share our first newsletter with you, and hope you enjoy reading updates and articles from our school. This school year has been unlike any other and will continue to be that way until June. In light of all the turmoil and stress, however, the students have done what kids do —they have listened, trusted, flexed, and adapted to all of it without incident. As COVID levels trend upwards then down again, we recognize the critical importance of having children in school and will maintain as many health and safety precautions as necessary to assure our students can return in person as soon as possible. Thank you for doing your part to help SMS reduce the spread of COVID and keeping everyone safe and healthy.

I want to acknowledge the incredible work our teachers and staff have done to get us to this point. Living in a pandemic is not what any of us expected in our lifetime. Their willingness to work in these uncertain times and provide meaningful learning opportunities for students despite the health and safety guidelines is greatly appreciated. I am so grateful for the Sierra Middle School staff and community — thank you for being a part of it and supporting the work we’re doing with students.

Mrs. Busby - Assistant Principal

2020 was a year like no other full of highs and lows and unprecedented circumstances. Despite all of the challenges, I have seen amazing things happen in 2020. I saw teachers pull together to do things different than ever before for the good of their students. I saw students using new skills and exploring their strengths during a difficult time. I saw wonderful communication between parents and teachers, even when things were tough. I am proud to be part of this Sierra family. Now we are in a new year and a new semester with brand new opportunities—we’ve made it halfway through the school year! I am looking forward to a great 2021 with all of you!

Mrs. Busby - Assistant Principal

Ms. Gutierrez - Assistant Principal

Dear Sierra Students,

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ms. Breezy Gutierrez and I am one of two Assistant Principals here at Sierra Middle School. I am not from Roswell, but I am actually from and grew up in a little town in northern New Mexico called Anton Chico. This is my second year in this role at SMS, and I love it! I haven’t been able to meet you all yet, but I know a lot of you by your name because I am in charge of APEX and I have helped many of you with your Chromebook or log in questions. I know this school year has been different and sometimes confusing, but know that I am here to help as much as possible and I know the teachers and all the staff at Sierra are doing their best to help you, too.

Yours in Education,

Breezy Gutierrez

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Third Quarter Schedule

  • February 8 - Mid. Nine Weeks Ends
  • February 10 - Report Cards Issued
  • February 15 - President's Holiday (No School)
  • February 18 - Reading Night 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
  • March 4 - Math Night 5:45 PM - 7:00 PM
  • March 16 - Nine Weeks Ends
  • March 22 through 26 - Spring Break (No School)
  • March 29 - Report Cards Issued

Sierra Middle School Return to In-Person Learning Survey

Sierra families, as we prepare for the possibility of returning to in-person instruction, it is important that we have information that is needed for our planning process. This will assure that we are able to fulfill the requirements necessary to resume in-person instruction. Please answer the questions below. If you have more than one student attending Sierra, PLEASE COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING FORM FOR EACH OF YOUR SIERRA STUDENTS. Thank you very much!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can I get access to my PowerSchool so that I can check my grades and attendance?

Your advisory teachers have your PowerSchool login information and should have sent it to your Canvas inbox. If you did not receive it, you can contact your advisory teacher, your team lead teacher, or Mrs. Busby to have it sent to you.

What do I do if I am having technology issues or problems with my school Chromebook?

Contact the front office at Sierra. We will try to help fix any problems that you may be having.

Why didn't I get my report card?

This year's report cards have been mailed to your home address. If you did not receive your report card, it is possible that the school does not have the correct address. Please let the office know if this is the case because it is very important that we have your correct contact information.

District Parent Survey

Parents: As we anticipate reentry, please take a short survey to help us prepare.

ECHO for Supporting and Inspiring Parents

The ECHO Institute in partnership with the New Mexico Public Education Department and New Mexico PBS will be presenting two no cost online parent learning sessions available to all parents in New Mexico. Come and have your questions answered by distinguished educators in New Mexico, learn about free resources from New Mexico PBS, and discover strategies for supporting your students during online and hybrid learning.
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Monday, February 8th at 6 pm

  • Do they hear you? Tips for talking to your kids (By: Leslie Kelly & Joe Dan Lovato)
  • Strategies for learning from home: the power of routines (By: Erin Armijo)

Monday, February 22nd at 6 pm

  • Balancing Technology and Tasks Day to Day (By: Janea Menicucci and Christina Nunez)
  • The struggle is real: coping strategies for stressful times (By: Joe Dan Lovato)

School Staff and Student COVID-19 Decision Trees

  • The first decision tree was created for families, students, and staff to better understand the steps that should be taken if an individual develops symptoms. Testing of close contacts (strongly encouraged) should happen 7–10 days into quarantine, or at onset of symptoms. A negative test for a close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual does not end the quarantine period.
  • The second decision tree was created for families, students, and staff to better understand the steps that should be taken if quarantine/self-isolation is necessary.

Featured Article

"Amazing Fact: January 20 also begins 10 days of palindromes! What’s a palindrome? It’s a number or word which can be read the same forward and backward. (Example: “Rise to vote, sir.”) Some cultures believe palindrome dates are lucky. And 1-20-21 starts a historic string of 10 palindrome dates!"

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NO DOUBT - 6th Grade

  • Ariana Ortega
  • Jerimiah Sambrano

NO FEAR - 6th Grade

  • Logan Urquides
  • Alyssa Byers

STORM - 7th Grade

  • Jazzlynn Morales is a great role model for Team Storm. She demonstrates respect and responsibility in the classroom. She is eager to participate in discussions and answers when called on. Jazzlynn’s hobbies are playing volleyball and hanging out with her family. Her dream job is to be a nurse. Jazzlynn’s advice to other students: Don't try and take shortcuts in life because you're just going to end up at the first step. Do what is right, not what is easy!!
  • Geovanie Lopez is a very respectful student. He is responsible with his work. He demonstrates good character and leadership skills. Geovanie likes to watch movies in his free time. His dream job is to be a screenwriter for movies. Geovanie’s advice to other students: School is hard but perseverance and determination are key.

TALONS - 7th Grade

  • Vianka Marquez
  • Zeke Burrola

RAPTORS - 8th Grade

  • Miliana Dominguez
  • Brian Ramirez

SHOCKWAVE - 8th Grade

  • Nevaeh Barraza
  • Jacob Palomino
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If you are a student using the APEX learning system, please know that it is very important to check your announcements everyday in APEX. APEX tutoring is available after school. To receive updates about school and other important information and activities, it is important to login to your Advisory Zoom from 8:00 - 8:30 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of each week. APEX students will not have grades posted in PowerSchool with the exception of mid nine weeks, nine weeks and semester. If you want to know what your grade is, you will use the Grade to Date on your Dashboard to be aware of what your progress is.


At the beginning of the second semester, we started utilizing a new tool in the Canvas platform: Zoom Integration. Previously, teachers would post the class Zoom links on the homepage, in the announcements, or in email. Now, all of the classes are the same! The image below shows how it works.
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Tips From Nurse Palomino

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Get enough sleep
  • Social distance
  • Exercise Regularly
Wash Your Hands to Stay Healthy During COVID-19

Book Recommendations

Life as we Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

"I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald’s still would be open.

High school sophomore Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like 'one marble hits another.' The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintery in northeastern Pennsylvania, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in a year’s worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. An extraordinary series debut!

Susan Beth Pfeffer has written several companion novels to Life As We Knew It, including The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon."

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

First published in 2001, Life of Pi details the life and adventures of one "Pi" Patel from his early life in India to his adventures on the ocean as the sole (human) survivor of a ship accident to Canada.....or was he? What really happened on the ocean waters for the 227 days young Pi Patel was stranded at sea? The book was adapted into a film in 2012. The movie received a total of 11 Oscar nominations for that year and won four, more than any other film that year, winning for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Original Score, and Visual Effects. Reading the book version is often like diving underwater to see the remainder of the iceberg. The title speaks for itself as in the book you come to better know Pi Patel as a person from his interactions with the interviewer who's writing a book on him to Pi's own accounts of his early life in India. For this week, I recommend the book (and film) Life of Pi.

Department Message - Fine Arts

  • Mrs. Fuss and her choir classes are working on Sight Singing and Note Reading. They are also working on a project to write their own music. They are trying to plan some solos so they can Zoom with a nursing home for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. Mrs. Fuss would like her choir students to know “Thank you. This isn’t what you signed up for, but you are doing a good job with the circumstances we’ve been given.”
  • Ms. Murphy says her art students have been working on drawing and using the Art Elements of line, shape, form, space, value, and texture, which they are using successfully and improving their work. They also draw fun things like an elephant playing a drum. Ms. Murphy would like her students to know “Much of the students’ work is worthy of being in an art show.”
  • Mrs. Gomez and her intermediate band students are learning about the different brass instruments in the wind band. Her advanced band students are preparing for All-District Honor Band auditions that will be held next week.
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Inspirational Quote

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Video of Inspiration

This compilation video uses inspiring speeches, video clips, and music to deliver the message to never give up.

Never give up , Believe in yourself!