December 5, 2021
Topics Included in this Newsletter
- Note from Mrs. Spencer
- Mark Your Calendars, Bears!
- SBMS Yearbook PRICE CHANGE coming soon!
- SBMS Dress Code Reminders
- SBMS Outstanding Musicians!
- SBMS Outstanding Journalists!
- SBMS Outstanding Thespians!
- SBISD Transportation Holiday Party
- SBMS Finals Schedule
- Conoco Math Teacher of the Month
- Student Personal Device Reminders and Request
- Mark Your Calendars for SBISD Parent: Healthy Relationships Online and In-Person!
- Information from Nurse Mulvey for 6th Grade Parents
- SBMS PTA Information for 2021-2022
Message from Mrs. Spencer
Good Morning, SBMS Bears,
Ten more alarm clocks until winter break!
In this newsletter edition, we have several students and departments we are celebrating for their outstanding work and accomplishments. Throughout the year if you capture photos of athletic events, fine arts or other activities with our Bears, please send them to Sara Boyle, our Journalism teacher, or to me so that we can include them in the SBMS yearbook or this newsletter. You will also find information in our newsletter about our dress code, finals schedule, a mechanism to honor an SBMS math teacher and other previously published articles. Please encourage other SBMS Bear families to skim the newsletter each week so they feel informed and can access pertinent information. If each family skims weekly, we can reduce calls to the front office or other individuals and focus on other needs and questions that come up through the course of the year not addressed in the bulletin.
I have left the information related to checking in on your child's personal devices in this newsletter for a few weeks now. If you have not yet done so, please take the time to see what content/applications your child is viewing. Review their text messages, groups chats (particularly important), and pictures they are taking. This might be something you do after you ask your child to charge their device downstairs at night OR something you do with your child, together. It does not need to breed animosity or tension, but a chance to check in on their relationships and guide them to make healthy, boundary-driven decisions. Middle school is such a good time to correct missteps they are making, help them leverage their best strengths and see themselves in their best light. Sometimes we need a reminder of our strengths from mom or dad in small moments outside of school.
A few other things:
SBMS Tutorial Reminders:
- The tutorial schedule for SBMS is posted on the website, click here
- Each teacher posts their schedule near or on their classroomom door. When teachers are absent unexpectedly, other teachers will step in and help. Students should go to one of the teachers on that subject and grade level team and ask who is hosting tutorials in their absence.
- Students need a handwritten note from a parent or a pass/printed email from a teacher to attend tutorials.
End of Semester Schedules/Information:
- End of Semester Finals Schedule: You may access the schedule here.
- End of Semester Early Dismissal: Just a reminder that the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of our last week of our fall semester are Early Release Days for secondary schools. School will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 15th- Friday, December 17th.
Mark Your Calendars, Bears!
Mark your calendars for a few events, Bears:
- SBISD End of Semester Early Dismissal: Wednesday, December 15th- Friday, December 17th at 12:30 p.m.
- Parent U: Promoting Healthy and Safe Relationships Online and In Person: February 17th from 67 p.m. via Zoom.
Additional calendar tools:
- SBMS Google Calendars: SBMS uses a few calendars to help parents stay informed on events at school. The SBMS Public Calendar covers all academic and band/fine arts activities. The SBMS Athletics Activities Calendar covers the different athletic games we offer throughout the year. Please note neither calendar is up to date as of yet. Once game schedules are set by the district and other dates finalized by SBMS in relationship to Fine Arts, we will post these to the calendar.
- SBISD Calendar: English/Spanish
Spring Branch Middle school does not have a uniform policy like some middle schools, but rather a dress code that allows students some flexibility and choice. These freedoms are a great opportunity to stretch those good decision making muscles, but middle school is a time when parents sometimes have to intervene and help guide good thinking. Please review the SBMS Dress Code policy to ensure your child is dressed according to the expectations of our school. Students who are out of compliance may be held in the front office until a parent can come to school to provide them a change of clothes. Please be mindful that sometimes students are coming to school and bringing separate changes of clothes- you may wish to check in and be sure your child has an understanding of your expectations.
Below are the most common issues we see that are worth reminding all against:
- No midriffs should be observed at any time.
- No camisole/spaghetti strap tops should be worn.
- Jeans must be free from rips and tears. Current fashion does promote both, so we ask that rips and tears are near the knee and below to ensure modesty.
- Shorts for males and females should be at fingertip length (hands to side with hands extended, shorts should be at least as long as the end of the fingertips).
- NO pajama pants should be worn at any time.
- Leggings may be worn with t-shirts or sweatshirts as long as either are fingertip length.
- No flip flops or slippers should be worn as they are a fall/trip hazard in busy hallways.
- No hats or caps may be worn within the building at any time.
Oustanding SBMS Musicians!
Prior to the Thanksgiving break, SBMS band students took part in the All-Region Band Auditions. 17 SBMS students qualified to the All-Region Performing Bands and 2 made the non-performing District Band. Additionally, 3 of the students were selected to the All-Region Symphony Orchestra. They are as follows:
Camryn Do – 8th grade Oboe – 3rd Chair
Jonathan Wang – 7th grade Clarinet – 4th Chair
Ben Dixon – 7th grade French Horn – 1st Chair
This is the largest number we have had in a Region Band in the last 15 years. Kudos to the following kids, our SBMS Band Staff, Ms. Engelmann and Ms. Shaw and the parents who support our program! We are so proud!
Outstanding SBMS Journalists!
With money from the J. Landon Short Grant through SBISD, 7th graders Aubrey Wilson and Grace Martin were able to enter articles in the National Student Media Contests. Aubrey wrote a commentary article and Grace wrote a news article for the contest.
Both students wrote great articles, and Ms. Boyle is excited to report that Grace received an Honorable Mention! Not only was she one of the few middle schoolers competing against high schoolers from all over the country, but she was competing against high schoolers with years of experience on a newspaper or yearbook staff. There were 20 entries to the news writing contest total and she was among the 4 chosen for an award. Here’s a list of the awards given in every category; Grace is near the top: http://jea.org/wp/blog/2021/11/13/nsmc-awards-37-superior-ratings-in-fall-contest/
Aubrey deserves a lot of credit for writing a great commentary article about social media regulation in the United States. She challenged herself with this category and probably wrote a better article than most adults could write on this topic!
Many thanks to Ms. Boyle for her efforts to support our budding journalists and to SBISD for hosting the J. Landon Short grants. Since 2000, the J. Landon Short Mini Grant Program has enabled SBISD teachers to apply for $500 grants and teams of teachers to apply for $750 grants to enhance students' learning experiences. Over the last 21 years, SBISD has awarded more than 900 grants!
Outstanding SBMS Thespians!
Last week, the SBMS Drama Club presented their first play of the season: Thieves' Carnival (written by Jean Anouihl). Click here to view the playbill. The cast and crew did a fabulous job. Many thanks to our Production Theater for their prop building and design of the stage. Additional thanks to the support of parents of students in our SBMS Drama Club- your assistance helped Ms. Bruce pull off a very complex show!
Stay tuned for the SBMS Talent Show in February of 2022 and our Spring Musical in April of 2022!
SBISD Transportation Holiday Party
Each year, the Council of PTAs invites the community at large to help show our love for our SBISD bus drivers and transportation deprtment staff. This year, we are collecting $10 gift cards (any vendor) to distribute to the amazing SBISD transportation department team.
Use the Sign Up Genius link here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c48a5a82aa64-sbisd
Please drop off donated gift cards by December 9th to Mrs. Spencer at SBMS or look for the addresses within your PTA newsletter communications (they will take them on the 10th). Those delivered to Mrs. Spencer will be passed on to the individuals organizing this effort.
This link will take you to an amended schedule for the last week of the fall semester. During that week, seventh and eighth graders will take a final in all subject areas with few exceptions. Sixth graders will take their PSAs (Priority Standards Assessments) in reading, math and science. They may have unit or regular tests in their other subjects, as well. In the spring, all students in grades six, seven and eight will take finals in most classes.
Please note that on days where there are no finals posted, students will be completing work, submitting missing assignments and making sure their semesters are closed out in regards to their grade levels. Attendance is collected every day that week, so attendance expectations are the same for each day.
Conoco Math Teacher of the Month
Social Media Safety Request from SBMS
Each spring, we regularly see an increase in issues related to student social media interactions. Unfortunately, the increase in concerns has begun early. It would be helpful if every parent could review their child's cell phone and social media applications for the following:
- Ask your child to delete or stop subscribing to fake SBMS accounts (Instagram, maybe elsewhere) where content is unacceptable, unkind or dramatizing.
- Ensure that their accounts are set to private so no one you or they do not know can access their accounts.
- Ensure your children know every single person they are following and have connected with- some of our children haven't realized the need to decline friend requests from strangers. They may need assistance detecting fake accounts.
- Review their DMs (direct messages) in their instagram and their group texts on their cell phones. You do not want them to be part of messaging that cover unkind or inappropriate content.
- Ensure your child is not sharing an account or password with others.
- Review their pictures, as well.
We would strongly prefer that they receive this guidance from you at home so they can come to school ready to learn, free from the hurt feelings some of this is generating and the consequences that could result. It is important that students know that their technology footprint can hinder their options for admission into colleges, the military and possible job opportunities. There could be consequences at SBMS if their participation in something disrupts instruction or can be considered inappropriate or along the lines of bullying or harassment.
Conversations like this are difficult but necessary. They may not wish for you to review their phone, but doing so can prevent issues and actually help them make better choices. It is sometimes helpful to kids when they can say to a friend that they cannot participate in something because their parents monitor them. It is a nice excuse for them to have in their back pocket.
- Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND staff and students are required to stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
- Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
- If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
- Parents/guardians report absences to the campus following district/campus guidelines;
- If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
- Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
- Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms
A Word from the SBMS Library
Overdue Library Books
Please remind your students to turn in overdue library books. They receive an email notice each week with a list of overdue books. There is a cart located outside the library entrance for book returns.
Spring Branch Middle School
6th Grade Parents: A Word From Nurse Mulvey
6th grade Parents:
If your child gets any new vaccines this school year please turn in a copy to the nurse. This will help prevent any delay in enrollment for 7th grade.
A Word from the SBMS PTA
PTA hosts events that support all students, teachers & staff. The tireless volunteers are constantly working for us all. Our amazing fundraising volunteers are raising money to provide staff appreciation lunches, student social activities and teacher supplies. If you don’t have time to volunteer, no worries, you can join the PTA and support our school without any time commitment. Click here https://sbmspta.membershiptoolkit.com/packet/15401 to join today.
Missed Last Week's Bear Bulletin?
Please click below by date and you may access previous editions:
- November 7th Bear Bulletin
- October 31st Bear Bulletin
- October 24th Bear Bulletin
- October 17th Bear Bulletin
- September 12th Bear Bulletin
- September 6th Bear Bulletin
- August 29th Bear Bulletin
- August 22nd Bear Bulletin
SBMS 2021-22 Yearbook! PRICE CHANGE JAN 31st!
Hi SBMS Bears!
Yearbooks are now on sale for $60! Buy one here or go to tinyurl.com/sbmsyearbook to buy your book before the price increases on Jan. 1! So far, we have already sold far more books than last year by this time so we may sell out. Buy early to avoid missing out at the end of the year!
Tributes/ads for students are also on sale! When buying your yearbook, make sure you scroll to the bottom of the site and you can order a half page, ¼ page, or shoutout ad for your child. Make sure you order and finish designing this ad by JANUARY 31!
The yearbook staff would love your help gathering photos related to the following topics/events for inclusion:
-Fine arts concerts/shows or your child practicing/rehearsing for them (band, orchestra, choir, theatre)
-Your child dressed up for Red Ribbon Week
-Holidays: Thanksgiving break, winter break, Halloween, etc.
You can upload photos for the yearbook staff using the Balfour Imageshare app on your phone. You will create an account and can upload photos from your camera roll. Note: the project number is 209143 and there is NO upload code. You may also send any photos for the yearbook staff to yearbook adviser Sara Boyle, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep in mind we are trying to include as many students as possible so we are trying to include individual students a max of 3 times in the book!
Contact Sara Boyle, email@example.com with any other questions about the yearbook!
January 1, 2022: Yearbook price increases to $65
January 31, 2022: Last day to buy and complete an AD/TRIBUTE for your student
March 4, 2022: Last day to PERSONALIZE yearbook (purchase a name stamp or activity icon for your yearbook)
March 15, 2022: Last day to send in yearbook photos for inclusion in the book