Pony Express

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER OF O. HENRY MIDDLE SCHOOL

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What is Happening This Week!

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

This week: A, B, A, B, B


  • O. Henry MS will be providing free breakfast and lunch for the entire school year. On campus learners may also bring a lunch from home including food that can be cooked in our cafeteria microwaves. We will not be able to accept food from an outside delivery or a parent dropping off a lunch from a restaurant.
  • Please send your student to school with a re-usable water bottle. While our drinking fountains are closed, our re-fillable water bottle stations all around school are ready for water bottles! We do have cups available in the office if someone forgets their water bottle.

Thank you!


OTHER NOTES:

  • STAAR Testing Information and Survey
  • Choices for Families- Returning to On-Campus Learning or continuing with Remote Learning--updating student learning options.
  • AVID--Seeking Applicants for the 21-22 School Year
  • OHMS Chromebook Exchange/Request
  • Athletics News- Golf Team Sign Up
  • Cheer Tryouts
  • PTA-PTA Meeting April 13, Austin Ed Fund Event April 27, PTA Nominations, Senior scholarships
  • RACE TALKS for AISD Parents
  • AISD Community Conversations
  • RAVE Recognition
  • Mental Wellness Resources for Families

STAAR Testing Survey

It is very important we know your student's plan for the STAAR tests. Please fill out the STAAR testing survey. You can CLICK HERE to let us know your plans.

STAAR Testing- Spring 2021

O. Henry is encouraging all of our Mustangs to take the STAAR tests this spring. We do also understand if your family does not feel comfortable doing so and want you to know there will be no lasting repercussions for this choice.


Below is some information about STAAR and the testing parameters. Do know that these dates are not set in stone (yet) and may change based on information from TEA, AISD, and/or our own survey.


  • All STAAR tests will be taken online on a school issued device. If you plan on taking the STAAR and do not have an AISD issued Chromebook, please contact the office immediately.
  • If you currently have an AISD Dell Chromebook, please contact the office as these devices are end of life and cannot run the TESTNAV software necessary for the exams.
  • All online tests must be taken on campus, in a room/area with a trained proctor monitoring. This means no student will be allowed to take the test outside or individually. Individual testing will only be allowed if listed under a special accommodation in the student’s IEP or 504 plan.
  • Students who are remote learners and do not wish to take the STAAR tests will have their regularly scheduled classes with synchronized activities.
  • We are planning for all of our on-campus learners to take the STAAR tests unless otherwise notified.
  • All makeup days will occur 1 week after the original test date.
  • All dates and times for the tests are subject to change.

All students will take math and reading tests, while 7th graders will also take a writing test and 8th graders will take a science and US History test as well.


Our campus has scheduled STAAR tests for your student for the dates and times shown below:

April STAAR

7th grade writing - Tuesday April 20 (make-up testing April 27)

May STAAR

8th Science - Thursday May 6 (make-up testing May 10)

8th Social Studies - Friday, May 7 (make-up testing May 10)

6th, 7th, 8th Reading - Friday, May 14 (make-up testing May 17)

6th, 7th, 8th Math- Thursday May 20 (make-up testing May 24)

Algebra EOC- Friday, May 21 (make-up testing May 24)

*Algebra EOC is a required test for high school graduation.

CHOICES FOR FAMILIES

As we approach the transition to on-campus learning, we wanted to assure families they will have the flexibility to change their choices throughout the school year.


Both remote off-campus learning and on-campus learning will be offered for the 2020-21 school year, for as long as health conditions allow. After the phase-in period, if a family decides to transition from remote off-campus learning to on-campus learning, they must first communicate with their campus. The request will be accommodated as soon as possible, but not to exceed five school days. START DATES will be every MONDAY for the Spring 2021 school year.


We respectfully ask that when your student returns to on-campus learning, that it is a Monday-Friday commitment.


If a family decides to transition from on-campus to remote off-campus learning; a transition period will not be required after parents/guardians communicate their decision with their campus.


You can communicate your learning preferences using this Google form: On-Campus Learning at O. Henry It will send us an email and we will be able to update your choices. START DATES will be every MONDAY for the Spring 2021 school year.

Is the AVID for College Readiness Elective right for you?

AVID stands for Advancement via Individual Determination and is a program designed to help students build college readiness skills, push themselves to a higher potential, and expose young students to college and career experiences. AVID is designed to focus on the students "in the middle" and to push these students to take challenging classes and understand what college has to offer. AVID provides students with skills, tools, and resources to get there.


People sometimes believe that AVID is a class only for students needing support because they are failing all of their classes. This is not the case! At. O. Henry, our AVID students push themselves in higher level, advanced classes and high school credit classes like Algebra, World Languages, and Project Lead the Way engineering classes. They are honor roll students, athletes, artists, cheerleaders, mentors, Student Council officers, musicians, and most importantly....when they join AVID, they are family. Our AVID students sometimes struggle because challenging yourself isn't always easy. The AVID class becomes a place to practice having a growth mindset, advocating for help, and problem solving.


AVID is more than a class to help you get through middle school; it also helps you get prepared for high school, college, career, and life. Read and watch below for more information on the type of candidate we look for and the unique experiences AVID offers.


Click HERE to watch our 2021 AVID leaders tell you why they love AVID!


If you and your child think this is the right fit for them, make sure to have your child select AVID as one of their top three choices on their choice sheet this week AND have your child fill out the application HERE.


AVID student characteristics

We have an application to help us make sure that you have the individual determination needed to be successful in class. We look at a variety of data and characteristics but understand that you may not meet every single requirement listed below. After all, that's what AVID is here for - to help you push yourself to the next level.


AVID students should:


  • Want to do well in school and are willing to work toward that goal
  • Be willing to take challenges and learn from their mistakes
  • Have a C or better average
  • Pass/Show improvement on their STAAR tests
  • Want to go to college
  • Good attendance and behavior
  • Want to join AVID



AVID experiences

The AVID curriculum focuses on college readiness strategies that include writing, reading, inquiry, collaboration, and organization skills. In addition to this curriculum, AVID students:


  • visit a variety of colleges each year
  • learn about careers through guest speakers and research
  • participate in weekly collaborative study sessions with college aged and community tutors
  • take the PSAT 8/9 as an 8th grade and a practice test as a 7th grader
  • practice working in collaborative groups
  • practice public speaking and interviewing skills
  • develop leadership skills
  • build a family-type relationship with their classmates in a smaller class size setting


Middle school AVID students who apply for and continue AVID in high school not only build on these opportunities but work with their teacher on standardized test support, and college and scholarship applications.



If you are a current 8th grader interested in applying for AVID at Austin High School, please fill out the application HERE.

OHMS Chromebook Exchange/Request

OHMS Chromebook Exchange/Request: Please fill out this form - http://bit.ly/ohmschromebook - if one of the following conditions applies to your child's computer. After filling out the form, you will be contacted about a time you can pick up a replacement.

1. Your child has an old Dell brand Chromebook (not touch screen)- these are no longer being serviced and we have brand new replacements for you!

2. Your child does not have an AISD issued Chromebook and you would like to request one for school use

3. Your child's Chromebook is non-working and broken

ATHLETICS NEWS

GOLF TEAM

O. Henry Golf

Spring 2021


When: Wednesdays and Thursdays after school until 5:00 (if they are playing the course they may stay later but coaches will be gone).

  • 1st Practice will be Wednesday, April 7th. Season will last until mid-May.
  • Where: Lions Municipal Golf Course
  • What: Students will rotate through Driving Range, Putting/Chipping and playing the course (dependent on availability)
  • Cost: $60. Covers the student player pass and all of the expenses for driving range and golf for the season. Please make checks payable to “O. Henry Middle School Golf” and give them to Coach Wolfe at your earliest convenience. Sign Up


Other Details:

  • Students may drop their clubs off in the front office or at the golf course before school.
  • Students will need to arrange for a ride to and home from the golf course. It is very difficult to try and make the late bus at O. Henry after being at Lions Golf Course.
  • ALL levels of golfers welcome! There isn’t a tryout and everyone is encouraged to come out and learn the game.
  • If you have any questions please contact Coach Wolfe at jerrod.wolfe@austinisd.org .

Go Mustangs!!!


Fill out this form if you are interested in GOLF this season: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/169QGJgSGTMiTkEzZDxgBcqrXofSgJSNYxKvHRoajCU0/edit?ts=604b853f

CHEER TRYOUTS

Cheer Tryouts

Cheer tryouts are happening now! Please see the linked flyer for all the details about virtual cheer tryouts. Please sign up here at tinyurl.com/ohmscheer2021 Read over this virtual tryout video information VERY carefully and share your tryout video with Coach Shack by April 29! If you have any questions, please email Coach Shack at michael.shackelford@austinisd.org


O. Henry Cheerleaders performing at UCA Nationals this week!

This week the current O. Henry cheerleaders will be performing their Game Day routine for the Universal Cheerleading Association Virtual National High School Cheerleading Championships! They will be filming and uploading their routine to compete virtually against the best of the best teams from around the country! Congratulations on making it to Nationals, and good luck in this year's competition! Go Mustangs!



Michael Shackelford

O.Henry Middle School Instructional Coach

Cheerleading and Track Coach

Twitter and Instagram: @ohms_cheer

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COUNSELING CORNER

Austin Child Guidance Center Parent/Caregiver Support Group

Austin Child Guidance Center Parent/Caregiver Support Group

We know parenting during COVID-19 is overwhelming and stressful. Take an hour to focus on your well-being. Get and give support. And explore ways to reduce YOUR stress, as well as, your children’s.

  • Who: Caregivers for children and adolescents of any age.
  • When: April 7th- May 26th
  • Time: Wednesdays from 12:00-1:00 PM
  • Where: Video Conference.
  • Cost: Free

Click here for more info. and to register: https://www.austinchildguidance.org/what-we-do/our-services/group-therapy.html

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PTA Meeting- Tuesday, April 13th

Does interacting with your teen or teens feel like a minefield? Join Wanda Montemayor, O. Henry Wellness Counselor, on how to make the unavoidable conflict with your teen less painful. Learn how to avoid the Four Horseman and the antidote.

We will vote on the 2021-2022 PTA Board slate at the beginning of the meeting.

The 2021-2022 slate is:

President – Nikki McCormick, President Elect – Rachel Elder

Secretary – Sarah McCalla

Treasurer – Natalie Maloney, Treasurer Elect – Laura Pigford,

VP Fundraising and Means – Delaine Teeple, VP Support -Vera Muniz,

VP Communications - Kate Fyda


Tuesday, April 13

12-1:00 p.m.
Stay tuned for Zoom Link

As a valued supporter of the Austin Ed Fund, we want to invite you to join us on April 27th at 4:30pm for a community-wide, virtual event featuring Dr. Bruce Perry, a renowned brain scientist and trauma expert. Learn about how the traumatic events of last year affect the functioning of a child’s brain, and how you can help foster communities of healing for a strong future generation.

Registration is FREE and you can find the link to register here.

Interested in supporting this important event for our community?
Please view sponsorship levels and supporting levels here.

Want to learn more?
View Dr. Perry's COVID-19 stress, distress and trauma series here.

2021 OHMS MUSTANG ALUMNI SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS

2021 OHMS MUSTANG ALUMNI SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS

Each year the O. Henry Middle School PTA awards two $500 scholarships to graduating Stephen F. Austin High School seniors who have excelled in academics, extracurricular activities, leadership and citizenship. Graduating Stephen F. Austin High School seniors who wish to apply for this award must meet the following criteria:

*Minimum GPA at Austin High School of 3.0

*Must have attended O. Henry at least 2 years
*Must have participated in extracurricular activities, shown leadership and good citizenship qualities
*Must submit written essay


Applications are available through the AHS College and Career Center or by emailing Laura Van Slyke at laura@vanslyke.net. Completed applications should be emailed to Laura Van Slyke or submitted to the College and Career Center no later than noon on Friday, April 30, 2021. Recipients will be notified by the end of May.

RACETALKS: FOR AUSTIN ISD PARENTS & CAREGIVERS

RaceTalks: For Austin ISD Parents & Caregivers


RaceTalks is a community gathering on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. focused on having conversations about race. RaceTalks is offered to the community through a partnership with ACPTA, AISD Race Equity Council and the office of Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness. Check out the RaceTalks website at racetalksatx.org for resources and to register for the next conversation which will occur Tuesday April 20th, 2021.


Let’s keep the conversations about race going …

In this month’s RaceTalk (ATX- Austin,TX) we will continue to engage in conversations about race. Come prepared to listen and share. Let’s agree to stay in the conversation.


  • WHAT: RaceTalks for Austin ISD Parents + Caregivers
  • WHEN:Tuesday, April 20 at 7:00pm
  • WHERE: Zoom (with Spanish interpretation + ASL, other)


Register now:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUsde2przstGNeGz3t9jkqJZt4-OWBh_yR-

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RAVE: Recognizing All Valuable Employees

Parents, are you looking for a way to give back to teachers and staff at O. Henry Middle School?


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 O. Henry (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 O. Henry's Staff Directory :

https://www.austinisd.org/schools/ohenry/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

https://www.austinisd.org/hr/customer-service/rave


Thank you!