Week of 12/21/20 - 1/6/21
Letter from Mr. Sammon
This marks the end of our first semester and so many lessons were learned on our journey. Never in the history of education have so many obstacles been placed in front of us ranging from tech issues, COVID safety, staffing, missing lunches, and about a hundred other things. Through it all one thing remained constant and that was finding ways to make it work or at least make it the best it could be. One of the best non academic lessons that we can teach our kids based on this experience is that no matter what you are faced with in life, it is your attitude and effort that will pull you through. We cannot shy away from the challenges ahead of us but rather plan to make things the best they can be by being resourceful and creative. I thanked our staff this morning with an email that focused on being a part of a team. That team has one goal and that is to serve the needs of our students whatever that need may be. We all understand and have accepted the fact that things are hard and it will require an extraordinary effort to keep things moving forward.
We all have many questions left unanswered as we go into our break. What will school look like in the Spring? Will all of our teachers and staff return? When will the vaccine be given to educators and students? We are well aware of these questions and have prepared the best we can with the resources we have to make things work. Thank you all for your continued support of our campus and understanding the challenges that we are facing while we continue working together for our kids. My years of being in athletics have taught me many life lessons and I shared the teamwork lesson with the staff this week. We have a remarkable team here at Small and they are unwavering in their commitment to our students. I have seen so many go above and beyond by taking on multiple roles to make it all work these past few months. I thank them and all of you that have helped us during this time. Our opportunity to get better and be better is ahead of us and as we reflect on this semester I know that better days will come. Our ability to focus on our successes and still learn from our mistakes is what makes us not only human but resilient as educators. I wish all of you and our staff a well deserved break and hope that we can all return with a renewed sense of purpose and focus. Everyone at Small wishes you the best in the new year and we look forward to our continued partnership as we support our students in 2021.
Small Middle School
Reminder Jan. 5th is a Student Holdiay
Happy Holiday's from CSMS Music Dept.
Dear Smallville Community,
Currently our plans for the Spring semester includes a few changes that will support our campus for both in person and virtual learners. Those changes with information are included below.
Lunch will now be in the cafeteria during three different time periods lasting 30 minutes each (A,B,C) lunch periods.
Currently, lunch during each of those periods based on our estimated in person students will be around 60-80 students. In years past our cafeteria housed over 400 during one lunch.
Students will still be using social spacing by skipping seats and using lunch shields for additional safety precautions. Additional cleaning wipes and sanitizer will be provided in the cafeteria.
We will also be bringing back our traditional schedule to accommodate lunches in the cafeteria which does provide teachers and staff time to eat lunch duty free and for students to use the cafeteria for their lunch time.
The schedule does include (asynchronous time in each class period) and that time will be 30 minutes of each 90 minute class period.
Teachers will provide directions to each student in their classes to provide this support during 30 minutes of each class.
We encourage all learners to use the asynchronous allotted time to help support their learning in each class period.
We know that the need for information is important and wanted to share what we know at this point in time. Many changes are still possible since we do not know what the district may require for safety, instruction, or staffing concerns at this juncture. Please know that we are always actively working to respond and create the best possible environment for your students.
The final bell schedule is being finalized and will be sent out over break.
Spring Computer Science Classes + Private Tutoring (Small discount!)
Hello World, a virtual computer science program, will be offering after-school classes for Small Middle School students this spring (use discount code SPRINGAISD15 for 15% off tuition). Each course spans six weeks and includes weekly 1:1 private tutoring sessions, goal-driven independent learning, and time for creativity and passion projects. Courses are designed by PhDs from MIT, Stanford, and Rice University, and all courses are taught by professional engineers. Learn more here: www.helloworldstudio.org/hello-world-institute
PARENTS CAMPAIGN TO RAVE!
Parents, are you looking for a way to give back to teachers and staff at Small Middle School?
We (A handful of Small Parents) have found a free and very effective way to show some love and thought we would share it with you all.
RAVE: Recognizing All Valuable Employees
Let's send some sparkly gratitude to our faculty & staff this holiday season with an AISD RAVE submission!
- Does your student have a favorite teacher?
- Has someone at Small (or any other AISD School) gone above and beyond for you and your family?
- Do you want to support teachers and let everyone (Teacher, Principal, AISD District) know about it?
All of our faculty and staff have gone above and beyond this semester. The best free, easy, sparkly way to show our gratitude is via the RAVE form on the AISD website (link below.) It only takes a couple of minutes to complete!
This form is received by AISD administration. RAVE submissions mean a lot to teachers and staff. It's equivalent to a virtual hug! And, there's never been a better time to remind the Superintendent how indispensable they all are.
Please submit a RAVE for any teacher or staff member (current or from school years past.)
Maybe send one or two a day! You do need the first and last name of the employee you wish to RAVE about. Those can be sourced on Small's Staff Directory :
Flooding AISD administration with positive feedback will make an important and lasting impact. Let's make this holiday season sparkle a little extra with RAVES!
RAVE: Recognizing All Valuable Employees
Small Choice Fair Video
Small PTA Info
PTA Hassle-Free November Fundraiser
This has been a crazy year for all of us, and Small’s PTA is no exception. Our Spring Carnival, which provides over half our annual budget didn’t take place, and it’s unlikely to happen in 2021. Our school store, the Cougar Cage, is closed indefinitely. We need your help more than ever!
The PTA budget will be used to fund unique supply needs of pandemic-era classrooms like chargers, extension cords, and headphones. We’ll provide guest speakers for parents - coming November 18th, Dr. Mike Brooks on screen time - and we’re working on creative community-building events that can be done virtually.
We hope to raise $30 per child. We know it's a hard time for many families in our community, and we appreciate any donation you can make. And don’t forget corporate matching if your employer participates. Thank you for your ongoing support!
Questions about the PTA? Contact SmallPTA2020@gmail.com
Clubs at Small
There are a lot of Clubs To choose from. Click Here to see a list and how to join.
Remember that these clubs are an extra service the teachers are offering you and that all school rules apply. Please come and take advantage of the extra social time with other students who are interested in the same thing as you are!
If you have questions, please email the club sponsor.
Check out this week's Living Room Library from Ms. Sylvia.
Save the date! Wacky Winter Week is coming soon!
Attention 8th Graders
Green Tech Academy 21-22 School year
This is the announcement requesting pictures from Small families:
Please send pictures of your students or share them to Google Drive:
- camp outs
- backyard gardens
- next to Austin landmarks and murals
- with pets
- baby pics with name of student
- anything celebrating student success and creativity:
- playing an instrument
- holding up a favorite book
Our yearbook will be a colorful keepsake of the good things that happened this year.
It will be unique. But, this year our campus is Austin, our neighborhoods, cougar homes, and wherever our cougars roam.
We are looking into doing a drive by Picture Day - Look in future newsletters for more details.
Address the CAC Committee
If you are interested in speaking to our CAC using our Citizen Communication time, please email our CAC chair Emma Renault-Varian firstname.lastname@example.org or Co-Chair Chasee email@example.com for the meeting Zoom details.
Citizens Communications. For all regular and other plenary meetings of the CAC, time at the beginning of the meeting shall be set aside for citizens communications. This time is specifically for non-members to make comments to the CAC. The Co-Chairs may limit the time for citizens communications and the time given to individual speakers. The Co-Chairs shall ensure that the district’s “Citizens Communications and Visitor Guidelines” are applied. Under these guidelines, except for requests for clarification, dialogue shall not occur between speakers and members. If the CAC is interested in hearing more from a speaker, the speaker may be invited to a future meeting and placed on the agenda specifically for that purpose. Or, the CAC may call a special meeting specifically for the purpose of open dialogue with non-members (e.g., a “community conversation”), but it must be posted for discussion on a specific topic or topics.