The Sierra Monthly

Sierra Middle School - October 2021 Newsletter

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From the Desk of the Principal: Mrs. Norris

What an exciting month we have had! Football and Volleyball are officially over, and Basketball is starting up. The first nine weeks has come to a close; we had an excellent turn out for parent teacher conferences. Thank You to those parents who came to see us! We had a fun Honor Roll activity including a SWEET treat for our A and B students.

Encourage your student to continue to strive for Eagle Bucks (our school's positive behavior incentive). Please ask them how they can earn them and what they have been doing for them? We have been working to get our Eagle Store up and running for them to purchase some items with the Bucks they earn. Three months in and things are looking great. We are glad your student is here and always look forward to working with you.

Assistant Principal: Mr. Garcia

Dear Sierra Eagles,

These have been tough times for all of us these past two years. I just want to say I am proud to be back here at Sierra Middle School. I just want ALL students to know we need to respect and care for each other because we have each other's backs! Let's learn to better ourselves, and let's respect each other!

Assistant Principal: Mrs. McDonald

Uniform Update
It’s getting chilly outside as we welcome the fall weather! Sierra sweatshirts and T-shirts are back in stock. Sweatshirts are $20 and T-shirts are still $10 each. Students may come during their lunch to purchase uniform items. Please remember no black sweatshirts and no hoodies are allowed inside the building. We will still allow solid color blue, white and gray sweatshirts. If they have an emblem, it can be no larger than a credit card. If your child is out of uniform you, will be called to bring them an alternate change of clothing. Thank you for helping keep our school safe for all students.
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First Semester Schedule

  • November 10 - 2nd Mid-9 Weeks Ends
  • November 12 - 2nd Mid-9 Weeks Report Cards Issued
  • November 15 - Picture Day
  • November 24 through 26 - Thanksgiving Break
  • December 17 - Semester Ends
  • December 20 through 31 - Winter Break

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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

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

What do I need to do to play sports?

  • Sign up with a coach
  • Get a physical
  • Complete paperwork
  • Complete concussion course
  • Check if you are eligible through your grades with your coach

When can I practice?

You can practice after eligibility is checked and all forms, your physical, and the concussion course are completed.

Where can I obtain my student's PowerSchool information?

You can visit with the office to request this information.

2021-2022 Sierra Middle School Yearbook

Capture Your Memories in This Year’s Sierra Middle School Yearbook.
  • Purchase by October 31st to get 5% OFF.

Customize your 2 free pages

  • Add photos from your computer, Facebook, Instagram, Google Drive & more.
  • Answer fun Memory Questions to help remember the year.
  • The 2 Custom Pages are FREE and are printed ONLY in your book.
  • Want more pages? Each additional 2 pages is just $0.99.

To purchase & customize your yearbook, you must be a parent or student 13 years or older.

  • Go to
  • Enter your school’s passcode: 101368052897701
  • Regular Price: $21.91 (Does not include sales tax). Hardcover copies will be an extra $6.95.

Parent PowerSchool Access

Watch "PowerSchool Parent Tutorial" to see how to gain access to your student's PowerSchool information.
Powerschool Parent Tutorial

School Staff and Student COVID-19 Decision Tree

The following 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 five days into quarantine, or at onset of symptoms. A negative test for an unvaccinated close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual does not end the quarantine period.

2021-2022 School Calendar

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Community Schools Update from Mrs. Salyards

Exciting things are happening at Sierra! Some of our after school clubs have kicked off this month. Coding/robotics, Harry Potter Club, Board Game Club, Math Club, MESA and Anime Club are going strong. For information on any of these clubs, please come to the front office. Many other opportunities will be starting soon. Listen to the announcements for details!

NMSU and SMS Computer Science Partnership

The New Mexico State University computer science department has partnered with Sierra Middle School by providing twelve student bundles containing a Galileo and an ELEGOO UNO Project Super Starter Kit in each bundle. NMSU is piloting this program at four schools across New Mexico. Their goal is for the students who are selected to receive the bundles to take them home and work on the lesson plans with their family. It is meant to be more about discovery and exploration rather than someone presenting the information to them. The students and their family will report back about the progress being made.

The UNO boards can be used as the brains behind almost any electronics project. UNO can interact with buttons, LEDs, motors, speakers, GPS units, cameras, the internet, and even your smart-phone or your TV! By connecting the UNO board with a personal computer via a USB cable and uploading programs to the board, users can create digital devices and interactive objects that can sense and control objects in the physical and digital world like robots or even honest fortune-telling machines. (Amazon)

Galileo is an Arduino compatible Microcontroller board. A microcontroller is an integrated computer on a chip.

“Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.” (c-sharpcorner)

Featured Article: October Facts

  1. The meaning behind October’s name is far from accurate these days. The ancient Roman calendar was based on the lunar cycles, as opposed to our current calendar which is based on the solar cycles. This meant that there were originally 10 months in their calendar, and October was the eighth month. Its name literally translated into “the eighth month” in Latin. In 451 BC the two months of Ianurarius and Februarius were added to the beginning of the calendar, making October the 10th month.
  2. There are seven months in the year with 31 days and October is the sixth of them. The amount of days hasn’t changed over the ages either, with the ancient Roman calendar also placing 31 days in October.
  3. The Anglo-Saxons’ name for October was Winterfylleth, with its name containing the words for winter and full moon respectively. It was named this because winter was said to begin from the first full moon of the month.
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NO DOUBT - 6th Grade

  • N.A. - N.A has an extremely positive attitude. Even when others are feeling down, she stays very upbeat and it is quite refreshing within the classes. N.A. takes the initiative to seek out missing assignments whenever she's out, rather than wait for the teacher to remind students. Her hobby is drawing. N.A's words of advice to her peers are "Always succeed."

  • Rorik North - Rorik is a steadfast individual; ready to work to the best of his ability and complete his missing assignments. Even if he is absent, he's ready to pick up where he left off. Where other students would complain about something, Rorik is ready to take on the work! His hobby is drawing. Rorik's words of advice to his peers are "Even if it's hard, just keep trying."

NO FEAR - 6th Grade

  • Kayla Dominguez - Kayla has been chosen as student of the month for Team NO FEAR. Kayla was selected by her peers on the character trait of TRUSTWORTHINESS. One of the reasons Kayla might have been chosen as a trustworthy student by her peers is that even when she is having a bad day she can be counted on to exhibit positive behavior. Trustworthiness is based on truth and Kayla is known for telling the truth. She is loyal, keeps her promises, and is reliable and dependable. Congratulations Kayla for being Team NO FEAR’s student of the month. Her words of advice to her peers are "Stay focused."

  • Noah Archuleta - Noah is Team NO FEAR’S pick for student of the month. The character trait Noah is receiving this honor for is TRUSTWORTHINESS. Noah has proven himself to be a trustworthy person. He can be counted on to have consistent positive behavior and his peers trust him, as they should. Noah is the kind of kid who goes out of his way to be there for others. He is also the kind of kid who would do the right thing even when no one is watching. Way to go Noah! Your outstanding character has earned you student of the month. His hobbies include playing sports such as football and basketball. Noah's words of advice to his peers are "Do the best you can."

STORM - 7th Grade

  • Nohely Juarez - Nohely is a very responsible student. She participates in class discussions and is willing to take a chance in the classroom. She has a positive attitude and always strives to do her best. Nohely likes to spend her free time watching videos and movies. She also enjoys facetime with her friends. Her dream job is to become a cardiologist. Nohely’s advice to other students: "Don't listen to people who try to bring you down because they are just going to make you feel dumb or not good enough ..... but you are ENOUGH!!"

  • Bryan Chavez - Bryan is a positive role model for Team Storm. He is always ready for his classes and demonstrates excellent responsibility skills. Bryan loves to spend time drawing. He also enjoys taking walks outside and playing games. His dream job is to be a mechanic but he is open to other options out there. Bryan’s advice to other students: "Try your hardest and don't give up!"

TALONS - 7th Grade

  • Ariana Ortega - Ariana shows strong initiative and leadership skills. She is a leader in the classroom and is well liked by her peers. She is very helpful, and always cheerful. She is an all around great student, both in her academics and personality. Her favorite hobbies are to play basketball, draw, go bike riding, and just to relax. Ariana's words of advice to her peers are “Try to be the best you can without others getting in your way.”

  • A.C. - A.C. shows strong initiative and leadership skills. He is a leader in the classroom and is well liked by his peers. His favorite hobbies are to draw, play video games, and to play soccer. A.C.'s words of advice to his peers are “Just be responsible. Don't let your peers get in your way”

RAPTORS - 8th Grade

  • Cadance Petterson - Cadance's strengths that helped us pick her for Raptor's student of the month include being helpful, having good behavior, having good grades, and always staying on task. Her hobbies are listening to music and drawing. Her words of advice to her peers are "Try your hardest even when you think you can't do it."

  • Elian Chaidez - Elian's strengths that helped us pick him for Raptor's student of the month include being helpful, having good grades, and staying on task. His hobbies are outdoor activities, and playing video games and watching tv. Elian's words of advice are “Don’t give up”.

SHOCKWAVE - 8th Grade

  • Paisley Wood - Paisley has a great work ethic, but she still finds time to help other students and help her teachers. Paisley is caring and responsible. It is easy to pick her out because of her bright smile. Being polite is part of who she is and how she treats others. Paisley sets quite an example for others to follow. Her hobbies are horseback riding and going to the shooting range. Paisley's words of advice to her peers are "Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today."

  • Tony Serrano - Tony stands out among the Shockwave students. His teachers selected him as student of the month because he is responsible, participates in class, and encourages his classmates. He has a sense of humor and brightens each class. Tony is a hard-worker and takes pride in his successes. Tony is conscientious, consistent, calm, and cool-headed. Tony is a diligent student who creates a positive class environment. His hobby is playing sports. Tony's words of advice to his peers are "Be yourself. Never change for anyone."
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7th and 8th grade students - Get your physical!

21-22 Athletic Participation And Physical Exam Forms

All participants need to obtain a proper physical. Please click the button above or come by Sierra Middle School for the required paperwork.

Concussion Course For Students

Please click the link above to complete the required NFHS Concussion Course. (Required by all athletes each year).


After nearly 2 years of dealing with COVID, Sierra football was back in full action this year. With a roster of over 50 players, we had an amazing season. Coaches this year included Head Coach Art Garcia, Defensive Coach Megan Patterson and Assistant Coach Frank Martinez. We played all of our normal city middle school teams as well as Artesia Jr High, and Carlsbad Blue and White. The Eagles took on their last playoff game against Houston Middle School from Hobbs, New Mexico, and came out victorious 19 - 12. Sierra football only lost 2 games this season which is, in the coach's eyes, an all-around win and championship team no matter the outcomes.

A message from Coach Patterson: This year the team overcame odds, climbed obstacles with skill-building and knowledge, teamwork, and dedication to the game. As a coach, I could not be prouder of the work, sweat, and tears the boys put in this year to achieve their place in the playoffs.

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Tips From Nurse Palomino

Help Stop the Spread by:

  • Handwashing: Please remember to wash hands with soap and water and or hand sanitizer for 20 seconds. For example, sing "Happy Birthday" while washing hands.
  • Make sure your mask fits snug and covers your nose and mouth.
  • Social distancing: Stay 6 feet apart.
  • Stay home when you are feeling sick.
  • Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing.
Know How to Wear Your Face Mask Correctly
Wash Your Hands to Stay Healthy During COVID-19

Book Recommendations

Baseball Genius 1 by Tim Green and Derek Jeter

An average kid with an above average talent for predicting baseball pitches tries to help his favorite player out of a slump in this entertaining novel from bestselling authors Tim Green and Derek Jeter.

Jalen DeLuca loves baseball. Unfortunately his dad can’t afford to keep him on the travel team. His dad runs a diner and makes enough to cover the bills, but there isn’t enough to cover any extras. So Jalen decides to take matters into his own hands and he sneaks into the home of the New York Yankee’s star second baseman, James Yager, and steals a couple of balls from his personal batting cage. He knows that if he can sell them, he’ll be able to keep himself on the team.

But like the best-laid plans—or in this case the worst!—Jalen’s scheme goes wrong when Yager catches him. But Jalen has a secret: his baseball genius. He can analyze and predict almost exactly what a pitcher is going to do with his next pitch. He can’t quite explain how he knows, he just knows. And after proving to Yager that he really can do this, using a televised game and predicting pitch after pitch with perfect accuracy, the two agree to a deal. Jalen will help Yager out of his batting slump and Yager won’t press charges.

However, when he begins to suspect that the team’s general manager has his own agenda, Jalen’s going to need his friends and his unusual baseball talent to save not only Yager’s career, but his own good name.

Baseball Genius Double Play by Tim Green and Derek Jeter

Jalen DeLuca and his hero New York Yankee James “JY” Yager must team up to prove themselves in this sequel to Tim Green and Derek Jeter’s New York Times bestselling novel, Baseball Genius.

Jalen DeLuca loves baseball. He’s playing for his summer travel team and trying to win a regular spot in the rotation. But Jalen’s got more than talent on the field. He’s a baseball genius who can analyze and predict almost exactly what any pitcher is going to do with his next pitch. He can’t quite explain how he knows, he just does. His unique ability helped him save the career of New York Yankee star baseman James “JY” Yager, and now Jalen figures he’ll be almost part of the team. Or will he?

After a power struggle with the Yankees GM and a failed negotiation with Cat, JY strikes out on his own to show he can still hit in the majors without Jalen’s help. Disappointed, but focused on his own baseball career, Jalen tries to carve out his own spot with the Rockton Rockets.

When things go wrong for both of them, JY works out a deal with Cat, bringing the pair together again. With JY’s help, Jalen and Daniel are able to join a travel team from a nearby rival town who will face off against the Rockets in the championship game of an elite tournament in Boston. With the pressure mounting for JY to perform at the Green Monster and Jalen intent on paying back his former team, they’ll have to pull off the ultimate double play if they’re both going to succeed.

Department Message: SMS Electives

Ms. Brittain's General Computer classes - What would you do if you invented a machine that could end war? We are studying Alan Turing and how he and a team of 5 other Englishmen built the very first computer that saved over 14 million lives during World War ll . But the worst part was having to keep it from the Germans who were using their machines that they called “Enigma”. For two years, the English were able to keep the secret and used mathematical statistics so the Germans would never know they had broken the Enigma. It remained a top secret project for 50 years and was not known to the public. The movie is called The Imitation Games and is available on Amazon Prime Video if you want to know more about it. The computers that we use today are possible because of “Christopher,” the computer that broke the German coding machine.
Mr. Busby's Yearbook and Exploratory Computer Science Classes -

My yearbook class has been very busy working on both the SMS yearbook and the Sierra Monthly newsletter. They are hardworking students that go above and beyond to create high quality material. During the week of October 18, the yearbook students did an amazing job capturing pictures of students and teachers as they participated in spirit week.

My first year Exploratory Computer Science students have been busy learning the fundamentals of Computer Science. They have been learning how to be good digital citizens, how to graph data, and how to program with block coding. The reason why the students start off with block coding is so they don’t become overwhelmed with syntax errors that occur during typing code. So far, the students have learned about sequencing, loops, events, and sprites. The students did a great job creating their binary bracelets during the data unit, where they coded their first names into binary code using beads on a bracelet.

My second year Exploratory Computer Science students have been working on web development. They have been learning HTML in order to structure their content on their webpages and CSS to style their pages. They just finished a project where they had to create a website from scratch. The results have been amazing.

In the next few months, my classes will start building and programming robots, as well as building objects using 3D printers. Exciting things are happening in our Computer Science program at Sierra!
Mr. Cannon's AVID classes -
  • S.L.A.N.T. -

    The AVID students are learning how to increase their individual attention and engagement as well as self-regulate and self-monitor their behavior in all classes by using the acronym we call S.L.A.N.T. SLANT means to ….
  1. Sit up with good posture and pay attention.
  2. Lean forward and listen.
  3. Ask important questions relevant to the lesson or learning concept of class.
  4. Nod your head “yes” when you understand or “no” when confused on the learning concept.
  5. Talk with and get to know your teachers on a more human level.

  • Student Organization and Classroom Preparedness - We are practicing classroom organization and preparedness by utilizing a student binder containing a homework section, needed supplies for all classes, subject dividers for AVID, each core class, and needed electives. Included in the organizational piece is a weekly student activity log helping students work around personal appointments and activities in order to make academic time to study and complete homework.

  • Polishing Word Choice - 8th grade AVID students are practicing to analyze and edit their writing focusing on word choices that add clarity and reader interest to their writing.

  • Focused Note Taking - All AVID students are currently learning this. Focused note taking is a five-phase process that can be used and adapted for many note-taking purposes. It embraces a variety of note- taking formats teaching students how to interact with their notes on a regular basis.

  • AVID University/College Tour - We are currently in the process of planning our first of two College/University Tours this year to take place in the coming weeks upon approval.

  • AVID Parent Night - The AVID program will be having a parent night in November. Date and times will be announced later.
Ms. Dawson's Library - Ms. Dawson has ordered 183 new fiction books, and she is in the process of ordering new non-fiction books. If anyone has any recommendations, please see Ms. Dawson in the library.

Mr. Dixon's Band Classes - There will be a combined band night at this Friday’s high school football game. This is an annual event for them to play. They have a winter concert coming up on Thursday, December 16th.

Ms. Ford’s Family and Consumer Science Classes - The Family and Consumer Science class is currently studying kitchen and food safety. We don't want any accidents or food poisoning at Sierra!

Mrs. Fuss's Choir Classes - We had our first concert on 10-25-21, which was a seasonal fall theme, including fall type music. The gym was completely full with a great audience. We are now getting ready for the veterans concert and also getting ready for a winter concert which includes orchestra, band and choir.

Dr. Montgomery's Orchestra Classes - We are working to play two concerts, one in December around the 6th or the 13th for our winter concert. We are also working towards a concert in November, the concert will be for veterans or the people that have served our country. The concert will include the orchestra, choir, and the band. We currently don't have the information for the concert at this time.

Ms. Murphy's Art classes -

In Art this year students are learning about the Elements of Art and doing weeklong projects relating to each element. We have just finished drawing in two point perspective and will next go onto drawing optical illusions.

We have explored and created Japanese Notan Masks, scribble art and are learning how to draw cartoons. Some of these works were on display at the ENMSF (Eastern NM State Fair.)

In November I will read the story of Sadako and the 1,000 Cranes while students fold 1,000 origami cranes that we will hang outside of the school when completed. The story is about a young Japanese girl who has leukemia from the bombing of Nagasaki and her hope that the fable of 1,000 cranes will help save her life. Keep an eye out for the hanging cranes; it's always a delight to see.

The annual Secondary Art Show will once again be at the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art beginning April 7 through May 1. We hope to see many of you there to view the best of student art at Sierra Middle School.

Ms. Sanders Depco classes - In Depco Studios, students learn hands-on skills to explore different career paths.

In Engineering structures, the students learn what important questions should be asked before designing and building a bridge. What safety features does the bridge need to have and what material should be used? Students then design and build a model bridge.

In plant science, students explore Kingdom Plantae and compare growth rates for different seeds placed in different environments.

In Residential Construction, students build a model size of the corner of a house using a construction kit with tools, materials and procedures.

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Inspirational Quote

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Video of Inspiration

Famous Failures - Never Give Up