2020-2021 Back to Virtual School Edition
Letter from Principal Nelson
Greetings Cougar Nation!
What a long, strange trip it’s been...and we’re still not near our destination. We ended the 19/20 school year with uncertainty and unease, but are looking forward to starting this brand new school year with a plan and priorities firmly in place. The plan? Remote, synchronous learning for at least the first four weeks of school. The priorities? To engage our students in learning through rigorous, real-world activities that challenge them and allow them to achieve their own level of success.
This year when we launch the at-home learning phase of the school year will look entirely different than how we finished last year. With more devices and hotspots in our students’ hands, we are now able to meet as a class four times a day, which mirrors our face-to-face (F2F) bell schedule. Not only will students be meeting live with their teachers and classmates engaging in state-of-the art lessons and activities, the stakes and standards will also be higher than they were back in April. Yes, that means attendance will be taken each day for every period and that all assignments will count towards your student’s grade. For your student to be credited “present” for any of h/her classes, h/she will need to be visible via Zoom (or any other program the teacher uses; TEAMS, BLEND, etc…) and the teacher of record will mark accordingly as RS (Remote Synchronous). If your student cannot make it to the period, due to any number of reasons, h/she can still receive credit for attendance if h/she logs in throughout the day and completes an activity for the class. When this happens, your student will be marked RA (Remote Asynchronous) and still be given credit for attendance.
Obviously, we want your student there at the prescribed time so our teachers can render aid at the point of confusion and for the social aspect. Truly, the social aspect is the most important part of synchronized learning and we want our kids present for each of their four classes each day to meet with friends, socialize, and create new connections with their classmates. Attached (tentative class schedule) is the Virtual Bell Schedule for Remote Learning for Monday through Friday. Please start planning your days now, as well as your student’s workspace, for when we return to classes on September 8th.
Fridays will be different than Monday through Thursday to allow time for our teachers to plan and create lessons, for our students to catch up on any asynchronous assignments (homework), and for teacher office hours. We also plan on this day being dedicated to clubs, lunch bunches, and activities similar to CAT Day in the near future. Until those announcements, count on students attending PRIDE (advisory) for almost an hour, attending teacher office hours (optional) for help on assignments and tutorials, and for work on the iReady program for Math and Reading.
The above model is the only proven model that promises student and staff safety 100% of the time. The only way to completely avoid the spreading of the Corona Virus on campus is by ensuring all stakeholders work from home. True, we will have a few teachers who will be running their classes from campus (Science and Band for example) but the vast majority of our staff will be doing their part to end the spread of this horrific disease by working from home.
If your student is without technology or access to the internet, there is an option to attend campus for these purposes only. We know that the channels of communication have been spotty over the summer, so there very well may be students who still are without access to devices. This is why we will allow the student to return to campus, adhering to strict social distance guidelines and safety protocols, until we can get them access to a Chrome Book or other device so they can work from home. Again, this is for students without devices or access to technology and will only be used as a last resort until we can give them access to said devices.
After the first 4 weeks of 100% online learning, we plan to start gradually phasing students back into the building. When this transition occurs, it may resemble our on-line learning phase more than the traditional school day. Traditionally, middle school students transition several times a day from class to class and for lunches. While this is our typical approach for a typical school day, it also means that students interact with hundreds of different individuals in close proximity multiple times each day. Therefore, for the safety of our students, staff, and families, on-campus learning will look different until circumstances improve.
We will create cohorts of students who will remain together in one classroom for the majority of the school day. Cohorts will be assigned to a teacher or a small group of educators who will support their learning and ensure they are following all safety protocols. Lunches and breakfasts will be served in the classroom and breaks will be built into the day to support social and emotional learning and outdoor experiences whenever possible. During this time, 100% of content will still be delivered via online, but this approach will allow students to have safe, socially distant interactions with peers and rely on educators for support.
There’s a lot to take in, and trust me, by the time you finish reading this, some of what we are proposing will change. In fact, the one constant we can count on in this most unprecedented time, is that everything is and will continue to be in a state of flux until we can get ahead of Covid-19. It’s not a simple task, not by any means, but we as a society are known to be resilient, creative problem solvers, and are not prone to failure. Traits we hope to impart upon our students and are working hard towards modeling for them each and every day
Small Middle School
In order to screen students before school starts, we are asking families to do one of the following options 1. Drop off forms in-person On Wednesday, Sept. 2 students can drop off all forms at the Bus Ramp of Clint Small according to the following schedule: 9:00am - 10:30am All 7th Graders 10:30am - 12:00pm All 8th Graders Make sure all spaces and signatures are complete (in pen). Coaches will check the forms. We will keep the medical history and or the Physical form and remind you to complete the online portion. 2. Email documents and virtual health screening Alternatively, medical forms can be downloaded, printed, filled out, scanned, and emailed back. Female athletes to Melissa.firstname.lastname@example.org and male athletes to Joe.email@example.com. Coach Herndandez and Coach Moore will review the forms, if there are any issues the coaches will contact you. If you have any questions or concerns about any of the forms, please contact Coach Hernandez(Melissa.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Coach Moore(Joe.email@example.com) We will have blank forms for those who need a form on Sept. 2nd. Please wear your mask and follow all Covid guidelines. Do not leave your car, we will come to you.
Parent Information Meetings
Juntas para Nuevos Padres de Familia en Small Middle School:
- New Parent Camp: Monday, August 31st 4:00 pm - This is for parents that are new to Small Middle School
- New Parent Camp Spanish: Monday, August 31st 7:00 pm
- Principal Q&A: Wednesday, September 2nd 1:00 pm or 5:00 pm - Choose one of the times offered. This is for returning Parents to Small, Mr. Nelson will talk about what this school year will look like.
Please click here to register for any of these parent meetings. Once you are registered, we will email you the zoom link a few hours before the event. If you have any questions, please email Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org
Haga click aqui para registrarse a la junta de Nuevos Padres de familia que Ud. prefiera. Una vez que se registre se le enviara un enlace web para la reunion virtual via ZOOM unas horas antes del evento. Si tiene Ud. alguna pregunta en espanol contacte a email@example.com
Have you Registered 20-21?
We still have some students that have not registered for this school year. Every year parents must register their students so that we can have the most current contact information.
This is also where you give permission for things like going to the nurse and/or having a picture in the yearbook etc. We need to have the most current information in our records. If you have not registered yet, Please click the link for the instructions below.
Not sure if you registered?
- Click here to learn how you can see if you did or did not.
Is your student new to Small this year?
Meals are still available at 70+ curbside and bus stop locations throughout Austin. Find sites, times and more info at austinisd.org/covid19/meals.
Las comidas aún están disponibles en más de 70 ubicaciones, en banquetas o paradas de autobús en todo Austin. Encuentre sitios, horarios y más información en austinisd.org/covid19/meals.
New AISD App for your phone
How to Order a chromebook
If you are have trouble with your chromebook please contact Family Support line at 512-414-9187
Main Office Open for curbside service
But some of you may need to come to the school for any number of reasons. We have decided to offer Curbside service for those of you that need to pick up or drop off anything to the school.
Curbside Hours 9am - 5pm:
When you get to the school, just text the curbside number (we will have it posted outside) (512)798-0998 and text us what you need. We will respond and run outside with your item to to grab what you have. Please wear a mask for the safety of our staff.
The Office Team
As you may have heard, most middle and high school students don't shop for school supplies until after the first day of school. The reason is, every class has their own needs.
This is a little frustrating for those parents that want to get a jump on the good deals that go on during summer and not wait until everything is sold out. Especially this year when things are so up in the air. We have created a basic sample list to get you started. If you see a good deal, go ahead and pick up some of the times below.
Small Middle School 2020-2021
School Supply List BASIC ITEMS TO GET YOU STARTED until class specific lists are received:
- Pencil pouch
- Poly folders with pockets and brads, various colors
- Blue or black pens
- #2 pencils
- Colored pencils
- Highlighters – six colors
- Glue/Glue sticks
- Notebook paper
- Composition books (not spirals, one per class)
- Binders, dividers
- Backpack (large enough for supplies as no lockers are assigned)
NICE TO HAVE and may or may not be required:
- dry erase markers
- pencil sharpener
- index cards
- hand sanitizer
- flash drive
- wireless mouse
- combination lock for gym locker
- water bottle
Gifted and Talented
GT Nomination Google Form - Spanish (coming soon!)
If you do not have online access, paper forms available in English and Spanish are available in the front office. Please use the online link above if at all possible.