Cougar News

The Weekly Newsletter of Clint Small, Jr. Middle School

Newsletter for October 17th - October 21st

Monarch Hero - Family Movie Night is tonight!

Don't forget to come on down for some family fun.

Click here for all the details

Letter from Principal Nelson

Greetings Cougars!

A few weeks ago I wrote about our campus-wide cold calling initiative and how it relates to No Opt Out. As you recall, cold calling is when teachers randomly select students to answer questions and assess, versus calling on the same kids each time when they raise their hand. If when called upon the student does not know the answer, teachers then follow our No Opt Out protocol. In a high-performing classroom, such as all of ours, a verbalized or unspoken “I don’t know” is a call to action for our teachers. When a student begins by being unable or unwilling to answer, we strive to make the sequence end as often as possible with the student giving a right or valid answer.

We ask our students to choose among four basic formats to respond:

  1. You provide the answer; your student repeats the answer.
  2. Another student provides the answer; the initial student repeats the answer.
  3. You provide a cue; your student uses it to find the answer.
  4. Another student provides a cue; the initial student uses it to find the answer.

No Opt Out is surely among the most helpful and efficient techniques for raising classroom expectations, especially if students tend to duck away from questions rather than answer them and students don’t hear themselves getting answers right. Nobody wants to have the last words they speak to be the incorrect answer, so this technique ensures students leave the classroom confident, versus with egg on their face.

Wheelchair Challenge Update: On Thursday we were lucky enough to host AISD dignitaries and school board trustees on campus in an effort to raise awareness about the hardships persons with disabilities face each day. We wanted them to experience the tribulations students, parents, and teachers in wheelchairs face when moving around our campus. Needless to say, their understanding reached a new level when they learned the difference between ADA Compliant and ADA Friendly. Our school, and the majority of schools in AISD are ADA Compliant, but there is so much more we need to do to ensure we have the ability to comfortably welcome all persons with disabilities to our campus. If you have any suggestions as to how we can improve, please let me know. We would hate for lack of mobility to be a barrier that would deter anybody from visiting our school.

As for our guests’ experience with our programs, classes, and amazing student body, they could not believe how lucky our students and staff are! It’s a wonderful thing to see so many smiling faces of students and teachers when all are working hard at engaging, kid-centered tasks and activities. All in attendance either commented that they wish they could have attended Small when they were in school, or that they were going to immediately research how to get their children, nieces and nephews here.

If you want to see the same magic our honored guests viewed on Thursday, please join me on Wednesday, November 9th, for a Parent Learning Walk at 8:30 am.

Have a great week! As per usual, if you ever have a question, concern, or even a kudos, feel free to email, call, or just drop on by.

Matthew Nelson


Small Middle School

(512) 841-6505


Don't Forget about the Community meeting tomorrow...

How many of you have heard of the FABPAC? (Facilities and Bond Public Advisory Committee)? If you haven’t, please watch the following video to give you an overview of what has been happening in AISD in conjunction with the FABPAC:

AISD is seeking input from all community members about what their version of the 21st Century school should look like and will be holding a Community Meeting here at Small Middle School on Saturday, October 15th, from 9:00 am until 11:00 in our cafeteria. This will be a drop in and out session, so you can provide your input anytime during the meeting. AISD is seeking feedback from all stakeholders in order to update and maintain our current facilities, as well as help plan for the classrooms of the future. If you are not able to attend the meeting on the 15th here at Small and want to contribute, then please follow the link below to see when and where other meetings are being held.

Attention 8th Grade Parents

8th Grade Students and Parents:

Plan to attend the highly engaging

Maroon and White Showcase Night at Austin High on November 30th!

This one-of-a kind event will allow future Maroons to explore all of the College and Career Ready programs that Austin High has to offer.

Tour the Culinary Arts Kitchen, the KAHS Film Studio, or learn more about the exciting opportunities in Project Lead the Way. Visit with teachers and students about the Academy of Global Studies experience, as well as our three newest academies, the Academy for Science & Innovation, the Academy for High Technology, and the Academy for Classical Studies.

The event will begin at 6:30pm in the Austin High Performing Arts Center, with a special performance featuring the many award-winning programs that Austin High has to offer. Families will then have time to visit with teachers and students representing all aspects of Austin High academics, electives, sports, and clubs. Mark your calendars for this exciting night!

Aaron Vohl

Austin High 9th Grade Administrator (M-Z)

(512) 414-7201

(512) 414-7373 fax

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A Message from our PTA

We are starting to plan our Fun Run that is set on November 18th. If you are interested in helping us plan please contact Jennifer Newell at

Need a Cougar T-shirt or other spirit wear?

Check out our online Store!

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Cowan Elementary Carnival

Looking for some family fun?

Does your Cougar need some volunteer hours? - Click here to sign up to volunteer

The Cowan Carnival is here to help!

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