Cougar News

Week of 2/22/21 - 2/26/21

Letter from Mr. Sammon

Dear Smallville Community,

I hope all of you were able to get through the challenges of this past week. This winter storm created so many issues for us all both physically and mentally and many of us are still dealing with the damage the storm left. Our goal is to help transition our staff and students back into school and find ways to provide a safe haven for them as we make our way back into a more regular routine. The pandemic paired with the impact of a storm system that Texas does not usually endure created a week of struggle. Good news is that the beautiful weather is back with lots of blue skies ahead.

This will be my last newsletter, thank you all for taking the time to read them and finding ways to support our campus while Mr. Nelson was gone welcoming his new baby into the world. The past months have been filled with lots of challenges and triumphs. Our dedicated staff and the perseverance of our students and community is what made it possible. I will continue to be around and find ways for us to make this campus the best it can be. Thanks again for allowing me to be a part of the leadership team here at Small.

Speaking of Mr. Nelson, he will be back on campus starting tomorrow, Monday February 22nd. It has been awhile since he has been on campus so I have arranged for a New Employee Orientation for him that will include a scavenger hunt for people and places, a name tag so people will know who he is, and lots of planned breaks since a full day of being a Principal is very exhausting. We welcome him back and will continue to give him a hard time because that’s how we show affection (and it’s fun and easy to do with him).

Reminders / Announcements

  • First and foremost, teachers and staff will be working hard to allow students opportunities to make up any missing assignments and to most importantly support them as we transition back to school

  • Monday and Tuesday- NO SCHOOL (remote staff workdays that include planning, grading, meetings, etc.)

  • Wednesday-Thursday are REMOTE SCHOOL DAYS with synchronous instruction

  • Friday is an asynchronous day

  • NO NEW CONTENT in classes until March 1st for our students

  • In person students will NOT be back on campus until March 1st

  • Kids first, grades second. We will continue to do all that we can to support your kids, please reach out to admin, counselors, or staff if you have any additional needs.

David Sammon


Small Middle School

(512) 841-6708

Motion Cameras

Update: We are up $718.00 towards our goal of $4392. Thank you to those of you that have donated. We can now purchase 13 more cameras!

As Mr. Sammon said, we are hoping to get enough money to purchase 1 motion camera per classroom. These camera's follow the teacher around the classroom so they can interact with the kids in the room AND the kids at home at the same time. Our goal is to get 80 Cameras we have 8 and they are $55.00 each. If you can, please click the button below to donate to this project.

SEL Mural Project

Another Project you might want to get involved in is the Murals the couneslors are working on.

The Small Middle School counselors are super excited to star a special community project. We are hoping to paint two murals in front of the counseling office in collaboration with Small Middle School families. The murals will be made in efforts to promote unity and celebrate diversity.

We are in need of donations that will help in painting the murals and are looking for volunteers to come in shifts and help collaborate in making the murals come to life. Please review the available slots below and click on the button to sign up to donate or to volunteer. Thank you!

Click here to check out the murals we will be recreating

Click here to see what they need and/or to volunteer to help:

Snow on Smallville

Our very own Mr. Poehl was able to capture these amazing images during last weeks snow.

Green Academy Blog

In case any of you are interested, here is our Green Academy Newsletter. We call it the Green Leaf. It is just a basic updated on projects and fundraisers.

We are also beginning to take orders for our Handmade soap. We are calling it "Clint's Small Batch". We have 22 different options. They are in relative short supply, as we only have about 12 of each type. If the soap sells well we will make some more. We will also try and make more of the "best sellers". The soap still needs a few more weeks to finish curing. We will begin selling start March 8, the week before Spring Break. Bars are $5. If you have friends or families interested, please share the link. I will be willing to ship bars in packs of 2 for $5 to cover shipping and packaging. Order Soap Here:

Thank you for your interest and support!

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McCallem Expo Knight

Here are the most recent updates to our upcoming Expo Knight event for Thursday, February 25th from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm via zoom.

Expo Knight is our annual event for rising 9th grade course faire and choice sheet night. If you have any questions, please contact our

Academy Director, Gabe Reyes at 512-937-0430.

Expo Knight:

EXPO Knight invite:


MS FLYER EXPO KNIGHT | Piktochart Visual Editor

Expo Knight Flyer:


McCallum HS EXPO KNIGHT 2021 February 25, 2021 6:30 - 7:00 PM: Welcome Interim Principal Nicole Griffith and course presentation by counselor Cristela Garcia- VIA ZOOM

Zoom code:

Meeting ID: 946 1196 1617

Passcode: GoMac 7...

Pathways information:

2021-22 Choice Sheet CORE PATHWAY ONLY

Sheet1 McCallum High School Core Pathway MATH SEQUENCE,ALGEBRA 1 (Advanced or Reg*) * Must take with SLHM,GEOMETRY (Advanced or Reg), ALGEBRAIC REASONING,ALGEBRA 2, 1. Pre-Calculus 2. College Prep Math 3. AP Statistics ALGEBRA 2 (Advanced or Reg), 1. Pre-Calculus (Advanced or Re...

Choice Sheet for Incoming 9th Graders:

Texas Rent Relief

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Texas Rent Relief Program 2/15/2021

New funding for Rent Relief and Support just approved in Texas. Please see the link for specific information to share with families, starts 2/15/21. (Spanish)

The Texas Rent Relief Program can help renters with the following costs starting as far back as March 13, 2020 (this means you could potentially request assistance for up to 11 months of past due bills):

  • Past due, current and up to 3 months of expected rent costs
  • Past due, current or up to 3 months of expected utility and home energy expenses
  • After the initial 3 months of forward assistance, you can apply for 3 additional months of assistance if funds are still available
  • If renter has received assistance in the past, they can apply for assistance again as long as it does not cover the same time period which they already received assistance.

When does the Program begin and what is my deadline to apply?

The Program begins accepting applications Monday, February 15, 2021 at 8 a.m. Central Time and will remain open until all available funds have been committed. The duration of the Program will depend on the number of eligible applicants. Applicants that think they may be part of the priority groups should apply no later than February 28, 2021 for priority review.

For all applications received by Feb. 28, TDHCA will first review and commit funds to applicants who meet one of the two priority groups below:

  • Have incomes at or below 50% Area Median Income, OR
  • Households where one or more household members are unemployed as of the date you apply for assistance, AND one or more household members (this can be the same household member) were unemployed for 90 days prior to the date you apply for assistance.

How to Apply

Complete an online application at OR

Call a program representative at (833) 9TX-RENT (toll free) to apply over the phone. The toll free number offers access to assistance in multiple languages.

General Eligibility:

Renter households must have an income no more than 80 percent of area median income (AMI)

AND one or more members of the household must attest in writing that they have either:

  • qualified for unemployment benefits, OR
  • due to or during the pandemic:
    * experienced a reduction in income,
    * incurred significant costs, or
    * experienced other financial hardship.
  • AND one or more individuals within the household must demonstrate they:
    * are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which may include a past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice, OR
    * live in unsafe or unhealthy housing conditions.


As part of the Program application, all tenants and household members must submit the following documentation so we can confirm eligibility:

  • Government- or current public school issued ID for at least one household member on the lease
  • Copy of rent or lease agreement (or rent receipt)
  • Notices of late rent payment or notice to evict, if applicable
  • Copies of past due utility bills, if utility assistance is being requested
  • Income Documentation for all household members above the age of 18 (or head and/or co-head of household if all members are under 18) must be provided from one of the two options below:

Acceptable annual income documentation:

Other acceptable income documentation:

1. If you have completed your household’s federal income taxes for 2020, you will need to provide one of the following:

  • Filed 2020 IRS Form 1040
  • Filed 2020 IRS Form 1040-A
  • Filed 2020 IRS Form 1040-EZ

  • 2. If you have not yet completed your federal income taxes for 2020 OR you are not required to file a federal income tax return for 2020, you will need to provide all of the applicable income documentation under one of these two categories:
  • 2020 IRS Form W2
  • Current Social Security Benefits letter or 2020 Form 1099-SA (including benefits paid to minors)
  • 2020 Form 1099-R
  • 2020 IRS Form 1099-MISC for contractor income
  • Check stubs from your employer for the previous 30 days
  • Current unemployment benefits letter including gross benefit amount
  • Current letter from your employer verifying gross wages (pay rate, hours/week, pay date)
  • Current Pension/Retirement Benefit letter (if applicable)
  • Current Annuity Payment letter
  • Current Interest Statement 1099- INT
  • Current Dividend Statement 1099- DIV
  • Certification of Income Form (for Self- Employed or Cash Income)
  • Zero Income Form


Congratulations to this year's NJHS inductees!

  • Miles Leifeste
  • James Peterson
  • Drake Farris
  • Landen Schipper
  • Braden Hawn
  • Sebi Segura
  • Lily Phelan
  • Mateo Sanchez-Olazaran
  • Harper Lang

Please congratulate these students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship. Mark your calendars for the evening of May 20th where we will celebrate via Zoom the induction of NJHS members from this year AND inductees from Spring 2020. More information on this event will be forthcoming.

Parents may pick up certificates at CSMS curbside on M-F from 8am - 4:30pm, or if you'd prefer to have the certificated mailed to you, please email

Have You Registered Online for the 2021-2022 School Year?

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For all families registering new or returning students, a Parent Cloud Account must be created before you can access the online registration system.

Please visit to create a Parent Cloud Account.

For specific questions regarding online registration, contact

Parent Support Line at 512-414-9187 or

For all other registration questions, contact

Giovana McGettrick 512-841-6710 or

Parent Guide to Online Registration: English Spanish

*Registration must be completed annually.

Help! Yearbook Pictures

We would love to have each student in this year's yearbook. We have been brainstorming all different ideas on how best to do this, and the winner is... You!

Please take a quick moment to upload a current picture of your student into this form and we will put that picture in the yearbook. Enter your pictures here:

Questions? Email

Advanced Art

6th and 7th graders who wish to apply for Advanced Art for the 2021-2022 school year should contact either Mr. Tabares fred.tabares@austinisd.orgor Ms. Levine for an application.

Applicants must have had at least 1 semester of art

Ordered a Yearbook Yet?

Our amazing Librarian Ms. Sylvia is so good at recommending books and fostering the kids' love of reading, that she has a whole blog about it! She updates it every week. Be sure to click the link below each week for her new installment of her Living Room Library.

Check out this week's Living Room Library from Ms. Sylvia.

Lasa Event

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LBJ High School Information

Early College Program Application and Information

Essentially, the ECHS program at LBJ gives our Jaguars the opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit (the first two years of ANY major) at Austin Community College (an Associate's of Arts in General Studies degree) by the time that they leave high school, all for free, including books, supplies, and transportation (when we're finally not virtual anymore)! This means that, if they successfully complete the full program, they'll be entering their 4 Year University as a junior! Additionally, each ACC class is considered an AP class, in terms of a GPA boost, so our ECHS students rise up the high school ranks fairly quickly and most end up Top 10 percent, which allows for automatic admission into all Texas public universities, except for UT Austin, which is Top 6 percent for automatic admission right now, but who knows what it'll be by 2025, right?

The benefits to ECHS for your awesome students go far beyond that, though! Taking ACC classes while still in high school prepares them BEAUTIFULLY to tackle their 4 Year University! While most 18-year-old freshmen entering college for the first time usually struggle with getting acclimated to the differences between high school and college, our ECHS graduates, on the other hand, are ready to go right away, and they know the drill! It's also just a great experience to be sitting in college classes with adults, and to be exposed to such advanced material at that young age is an absolute game-changer for them.

Here's the link to my ECHS Application:

TSI Information

To begin taking college classes at ACC, the kiddos will have to pass the TSI, and it's been very recently changed to TSI 2.0! It's still a reading and writing exam (plus math a little later down the road), but they've changed the format a bit! Here's a link to student information and sample questions for the new TSI:

Texas Success Initiative Assessment 2.0 (TSIA2) – ACCUPLACER | College Board

Learn more about the TSIA placement tests for students enrolling in public colleges and universities in Texas.

If you could also post/send that link, I'd SO appreciate it! Once the students apply using the ECHS application, I reach out to them to introduce myself and to make arrangements for them to TSI test with me ASAP!

Transfer Information

If the students are coming on transfer, parents will need to complete the transfer request under the parent portal. They should look for the application called: Online Student Transfer Request and choose LBJECHS. They should TOTALLY feel free to call or email me for help on that!


Here's the link to the tribute video that I made for my 2020 ACC Degree Earners. They clearly didn't get to walk across the ACC stage, so I brought their ACC graduation to their houses! This video will give you a good idea of where our ECHS students go to finish their degrees after graduating from us!

My 2020 ECHS ACC Degree Earner

The Austin ISD 2020–21 Family Survey

The Austin ISD 2020–21 Family Survey is now available and is accepting responses online through March 5, 2020. Please click the link below to access the survey.

Families are encouraged to participate so they can share input on district and campus performance. The survey includes questions about how well school staff and leadership communicate with parents, as well as how easily parents may communicate about their students and how families learn about programs offered at their school. Due to COVID-19, it is especially important this year to provide your opinion to ensure we are providing a great experience for you and your child.

The results will help district leadership learn how to best to improve services for our students.

To take the survey:

Yearbook Pictures

This is the announcement requesting pictures from Small families:

Please send pictures of your students or share them to Google Drive:

  • camp outs
  • trips
  • backyard gardens
  • next to Austin landmarks and murals
  • with pets
  • baby pics with name of student
  • anything celebrating student success and creativity:
  • costumes
  • customs
  • sports
  • art
  • 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.

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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.

Small PTA Info

PTA Hassle-Free November Fundraiser

Click here to donate

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!

Donate to the PTA here

Join the PTA here

Questions about the PTA? Contact

Address the CAC Committee

If you are interested in speaking to our CAC using our Citizen Communication time, please email our CAC chair Co-Chair Chasee 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.


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

Thank you,

Small Parents

Green Academy Blog

Did you know the Green Academy has a blog? Check it out!

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