Cougar News

Week of 8/31/20 - 9/4/20

Letter from Principal Nelson


We are but one week away (8 days actually) from the start of the 2020-2021 school year! It is going to be vastly different from the launch of any year we’ve ever had, but we will all be fine because we are prepared, informed, and willing to sacrifice for the safety of our families.

The sacrifice we are asking our students to make for safety measures is to forego on-campus instruction for the time being until we can get ahead of Covid-19. We know that no matter how engaging or rigorous or communicative our online classes will be, they are no substitute for classroom learning, surrounded by peers and caring adults. Online learning is a wonderful supplement for students to garner more knowledge and grow, but at this age it is not optimal to have it supplant the classroom environment. We know this, yet we are all willing to take a break in our regularly scheduled program to help decrease the likelihood of our loved ones being infected.

That being said, we love what our teachers and AISD has done over these last few months to prepare for this school year. We have amped up our digital classrooms and lessons and we have crafted ways to cultivate culture and bond with one another entirely online. We always knew the nuts and bolts of education could be mastered online (keep in mind online education has been around for over 30 years), but what we have learned through our effort and research is that the social aspect of school need not be sacrificed. We can build communities through Zoom and other forums.

How do I know this? By seeing the evolution of a community occur first-hand with our staff. All 7 of our newly hired teachers were interviewed online, one as far away as Spain, and they have been working with our staff all summer long completely online. They attend meetings, planning sessions, and even social events with other staff online, and feel just as deeply immersed in the Smallville way of life as our seasoned veterans who have been here since day 1. When you and your student meet them, y’all will learn from them, laugh with them, and won’t ever think that the person whom you trust to guide you along this path has never set foot on our campus nor had the opportunity to shake my hand, welcoming them to the team. You’ll feel the Smallville vibe and hopefully begin to see that we can make it through this and grow together as a community even if at times we feel isolated.

Take time this week going over your schedule with your student. Make sure h/she knows that they are to be visible and present during their synchronous class times. If headphones are available, please insist they wear them so as to keep the noise of students and parents working from home to a dull roar. We start the next week off in PRIDE each day for 30 minutes, beginning at 8:30 (9/08-9/11), and then the next week we will follow our Full Remote Learning Schedule remote sched.

We’re having a few Q & A sessions this week to answer as many questions as we are able to, however, always feel free to email me directly anytime and I’ll do my best to provide you with information.

Warmest regards,

Matthew Nelson


Small Middle School

(512) 841-6705


Parent Information Meetings

Small is hosting a few parent events:

Juntas para Nuevos Padres de Familia en Small Middle School:

  • TODAY! New Parent Camp: Monday, August 31st 4:00 pm - This is for parents that are new to Small Middle School Click here for the presentation - Join the Zoom Meeting Here
  • TODAY! New Parent Camp Spanish: Monday, August 31st 7:00 pm - Zoom Meeting
  • 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.

At the appropriate time, Please click here to join the zoom meeting you are interested in.

If you have any questions, please email

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


Schedules are set to be released on Sept. 4th in the parent cloud. On that day, log into your cloud and click on the Parent Self Serve and take a look at the report card tab.

NEW this year, we have the ability to email them to you! Check your inbox on Sept. 4th for your students Schedule.

Not sure what those Acronyms on your students schedule stand for? Here is a cheat sheet!

  • PLTW GA/MD = Green Architecture & Medical Detectives
  • PLTW DM/AR = Design and Modeling & Automation and Robotics
  • PLTW FS/EE = STEM Exploratory
  • PLTW ME/ST = Magic of Electrons & Science of Technology
  • TOUCH SYS = Keyboarding
  • ENVIRON SCI IND = Capstone
  • PLTW CSIM = Computer Science
  • APP 8 or APP 7 = APP Creators
  • STEM EXPLORTY 7 = Cougar Campus and the Community
  • STEM EXPLORTY 8 = Farm to Table
  • TH MS 3 = Theater Production
  • Screen Script = Intermediate Theater
  • PE/Functional Fitness = These make one yearlong course for 6th grade that is required
  • 6th & 7th grade students who were in reading and double blocked math at Small last year will continue in these courses
  • Incoming 6th grade students placed in reading and math elective were placed based on 4th grade scores

Speaking of Acronyms

You might have noticed at the bottom of each newsletter there is an option to give feedback. One of our incoming 6th grade parents took advantage of that and dropped us a note. They requested an Acronym Cheat Sheet. They said that there is a lot of terminology that is new to them and could we please explain it. We thought that was a great idea, so we put one together.

Click the button below to go check it out. If you don't see an acronym you have been wondering about on the list, feel free to email and we will add it!

Choir Parent Meetings

6th Grade Choir Parents Meeting:

Thursday, September 3

5:30-6:00 PM Zoom Link

Concert Choir Parents Meeting:

Thursday, September 3

6:00-6:30 PM Zoom Link

Chamber Choir &

Tenor Bass Choir Parents Meeting:

Thursday, September 3

6:30 - 7:00 PM Zoom Link

Orchestra Parent Zoom Meetings

Topic: Beginning Orchestra Parent Zoom Meeting

Time: Sep 4, 2020 05:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 990 6585 6898

Passcode: 0SFf8Q


Topic: Philharmonic/Sinfonietta Orchestra Parent Zoom Meeting

Time: Sep 4, 2020 06:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 918 7358 5486

Passcode: 8ec2Zw


Topic: Chamber Orchestra Parent Zoom Meeting

Time: Sep 4, 2020 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 959 6234 5066

Passcode: 3GUfdB

Band Parent Meetings

Beginning Band

Symphonic Band

Symphonic Winds

Wind Ensemble

20-21 Athletics for 7th & 8th Graders

Athletic Parents,

We are in the process of making the best decisions based on current information and guidelines provided by the district as non-negotiables below. We have met with our athletic staff and administrators to make sure we are prioritizing safety, equity, and opportunity for all our student athletes. We always want to provide parents with as much information as possible so that you can make the best decisions for your child. We understand the significant value of athletics for our student athletes, but must consider our entire community as we finalize our next steps. Please read over the guidelines below and fill out the feedback form at the bottom of the page to assist us in evaluating the Fall sports season. Your feedback is valuable and appreciated as we continue to work with district, county, and state guidelines in offering sports to our students for the upcoming year.


  • ALL paperwork must be turned in prior to first practice: Medical History, Physical, Online Portion, Covid waiver. Please Click here for more instructions regarding these forms.

  • Stage 3 allows practices to begin (based on the County code). We are currently in stage 3. We could practice but never play a game.

  • Stage 2 allows games to begin (based on the County code). We don’t know when/if we will reach Stage 2.

  • EVERY Athlete and coach MUST wear a face mask at ALL times. This includes practice and games. No gators allowed.

  • NO spectators at Volleyball games and Football games on home campuses.

  • NO spectators at Football and Volleyball practices.

  • Screening and Temperature checks must be done before any athlete can enter practice and competition.

  • Screening and Temperature checks must be done before any parent can enter AISD venues.

  • Online purchasing of tickets for the AISD sports venues.

  • Must maintain 6 feet distancing at all times.

  • Every spectator/parent/fan must wear a mask at all times.

  • Follow ALL protocol when an Athlete tests positive for Covid.

Other important information

  • District will NOT provide transportation to schools for daily practice

  • Transportation for games: 1 student per seat, 23 maximum

  • Locker rooms will not be used. No one will store equipment at school.

  • All equipment and athletic apparel must be washed every day.

  • Athletes must bring their own Water Jugs (not small water bottles)

  • Water fountains will be off limits.

  • Coaches must provide for 6 ft.- 10ft. distancing during practices.

  • Coaches must clean surfaces/equipment before, during and after practices.

  • Home schools will attempt to Live Stream games when possible. (not guaranteed)

  • Shortened seasons for Fall sports (3 or 4 games)

Please click this link to let us know if your student is interested in participating Fall Athletics

If you have told us you would like to participate in fall sports on the survey above,
Please complete the physical exam with your physician and return both the medical history and
physical page along with the Covid Waiver and emergency card (online forms) to the designated school official.


Dear Clint Small athletes and families,

The following forms must be turned in prior to the start of the school year to participate in middle school sports and/or the Athletics class.


  • Medical History Form (updated for 8th grade year, no doctor signature needed, discard the second page.)

  • If you completed a Physical your 7th grade year, you DO NOT need a new Physical for 8th grade. If you are new to Athletics or AISD, you will need a Physical.


  • 2020-2021 AISD Physical (Dated after 04/15/20)

  • Medical History Form

To access these forms, click on the following Link:

2020 Physical Form English (PDF)

2020 Physical Form Spanish (PDF)

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.

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( or Coach Moore(

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.

Missing Vaccination Record

Dear 7th Grade Parents,

We have over 300 seventh grade students that our records indicate are missing one or more required vaccination. Seventh graders are required to have the Tdap and MCV (meningitis) vaccine before enrolling in school. If you have not already, please email or fax in your child’s current vaccination record. Your child might be up to date on all their shots especially if they go in for checkups yearly, but we just are missing records. Please get these to me as soon as possible so that your child will not be excluded from school. Records can be emailed to me at (This email link has been fixed) or faxed directly to me at 512-841-6745. A picture of a current vaccination card emailed to me will work. Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing everyone soon.


Becky Jenschke

Small Middle School Health Room

Open for Learning

AISD is doing a great job communicating to parents their plans for opening the schools. You just need to know where to look. We recommend checking out their new web page called Open for Learning. It will be updated regularly.

Key Calendar and Daily Schedule information

It is a good idea to bookmark these in your browser to refer back to

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?

Join us for a new Student orientation. If you student already did the cougar camp with the counselors, they do not need to attend.

To connect:

  • Go to
  • Click Join a Meeting line in the upper mid to right of the screen.
  • Enter the Meeting ID: 222 7548929 and Password: 237402
  • Click Join

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Curbside Meals

Meals are still available at 70+ curbside and bus stop locations throughout Austin. Find sites, times and more info at


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

#AISDProud #WeAreAISD #SomosAISD Austin ISD Food Services

New AISD App for your phone

We are excited to tell you about the new app from AISD. Eventually it will be the one stop shop for all things from the district and Small Middle School. You can follow our school so when we have important information to share, we can send out an alert and you will always be in the know. Download the app today, then find Small and any other school your kids may go to and click the follow button. It is still in it's beginning phase, but has huge potential and I envision us using it alot.

To follow Small (or any other School) follow these steps:

Open the app, and click the 3 lines for the menu (bottom right). Choose School Directory, Scroll to Small Middle School, Click on Small, then put a check mark right under Principal where it says follow.



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How to Order a chromebook

We are in the process to make sure every student at Small has what they need to be successful for this upcoming distance learning. If your student needs a chromebooks please watch the video below for instructions on how to request one from the district.

If you are have trouble with your chromebook please contact Family Support line at 512-414-9187

Here is a new Middle School Newsletter with everything
you need to know about Technology Distribution.

Main Office Open for curbside service

We wanted to let you know that we are all working from home. If you call the main line, one of our amazing front office ladies will happily answer your call and help you with any questions you have.

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:

  • Tuesdays
  • Thursdays

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


Yearbook pickup is still availble on Tuesdays and Thrusdays for curbside. We also have a handful of books left that we can sell. Call anytime or come by next Tuesday or Thursday for more details.

School Supplies

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
  • Markers
  • Highlighters – six colors
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • 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:

  • earbuds
  • dry erase markers
  • pencil sharpener
  • planner
  • index cards
  • hand sanitizer
  • flash drive
  • wireless mouse
  • tissue
  • combination lock for gym locker
  • water bottle

Gifted and Talented

Christie Manners

To nominate your student for the 20-21 year for Gifted and Talented. Please click on the following link to complete the form and give permission for your child to enter the candidacy process.

GT Nomination Google Form - English

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.

Click here for the GT Newsletter

Calling all graphic artists!

GT / Advanced Academics at Small is looking for a logo! A logo will help parents and students quickly locate relevant information on the Cougar News and in other online and print resources. Let's make it a contest! The winner receives a prize!

Contest Rules:

  • Entrant must be part of the Small Community, student, parent, staff, or faculty.
  • Design should be in color, and should also read well in black and white.
  • Design must be in .jpeg format.
  • Design must include the words GATE Small Advanced Academics, although not necessarily in that order, except Advanced Academics because Academics Advanced doesn't make sense.
  • Design may use elements copied from other sources, BUT may NOT include copyrighted images. Google "How to see if an image is copyrighted"

Submit design to your campus GT Advocate by Sept 8, 2020.

A committee of CSMS teachers and admin will select the winner. The committee's decision is final.

Looking for something extra for your kids to do?

This program is not associated with Small Middle School, but looks like it might be fun.
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Green Academy Blog

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