Week of 2/8/21 - 2/12/21
Letter from Mr. Sammon
Each day brings us new opportunities to address the campus needs that arise from this virtual world of learning. This juggling act feels seemingly impossible at times and as we discussed during our problem solving sessions, no 100% perfect plan exists. What does exist is making things better each day, adapting to the needs of students daily, and continuing to find ways to get better. Our decisions and thought process is always through four lenses and that is of an administrator, teacher, student and parent. Every decision. As a parent, I know what I like to hear from my daughter’s school when they send out communication and that is they have heard and understand the concerns of the community and always put kids first. I can promise you that we have countless discussions on how to best address the needs of everyone involved and this process will continue to happen not just in a reactionary way but proactively as well.
With that being said, our campus is open and willing to do whatever it takes to welcome all students to be here on our campus. The reality in education is that students have different learning styles and needs, our job is to adapt to those needs and find ways to connect, teach, and support each learner. Where you want your child to attend school is your choice and that is at home or on our campus. Please continue to communicate with us if those needs change and we can work with you to find the best place for them as we plan daily.
Administrators have spent almost everyday taking students outside during the last part of lunches so they can enjoy the beautiful weather and socialize safely. Game changer. The demeanor and energy levels of our students as they head back to classes after this outdoor time has been great to see. I keep hearing the word “normal” being used in so many different conversations about school and I am not sure what “normal” means anymore. The new “normal” is infused with so many interpretations and boundaries. Our “normal” is whatever we can do to make kids feel good again and to find ways to unify our students and find ways to connect as one classroom of in person and virtual learners. Our focused attention this week has been how to get teachers and staff to make students feel seen and engaged on a more personal level. It is definitely a work in progress but we will get better everyday and our upcoming staff development will allow time for our staff to create and practice these processes.
Reminders / Announcements
Students are spending many days outside during lunch and classes based on our new classroom sign up sheet for outdoor space.
We purchased some new Motion Sensing Webcams that will follow teachers in the classroom and allow them to move freely around the room naturally and unify the classroom with our virtual learners while still working with in person kids. PLEASE consider donating or sponsoring a teacher to help purchase more of these webcams. The cost is $55.00 and it will help us take the next step in concurrent teaching.
We are still in Stage 5 in Travis County so please continue to stay safe, talk with your students about safety measures, and let us know about any illnesses that may arise.
Next Friday, we will be having a “Hawaiian Shirt / Dress / Hat Day” for our staff, students are also welcome to join in on the fun. If any of you can donate snack items for the staff to go along with the festivities- STORE BOUGHT / PRE-PACKAGED ITEMS PREFERRED (Pineapple cake, Macadamia Nut Cookies, etc.) OR anything else is greatly appreciated.
Small Middle School
Track and Tennis
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have You Registered Online for the 2021-2022 School Year?
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 portal.austinisd.org to create a Parent Cloud Account.
For specific questions regarding online registration, contact
Parent Support Line at 512-414-9187 or email@example.com
For all other registration questions, contact
Giovana McGettrick 512-841-6710 or firstname.lastname@example.org
*Registration must be completed annually.
Help! Yearbook Pictures
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: https://forms.gle/FVhSBupWdgnPRDnk9
Questions? Email email@example.com
Attention 8th Graders
Ordered a Yearbook Yet?
Check out this week's Living Room Library from Ms. Sylvia.
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: https://forms.gle/SJ6uVrz5TxX34RZm8
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:
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!
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!
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:
This is the announcement requesting pictures from Small families:
Please send pictures of your students or share them to Google Drive:
- camp outs
- backyard gardens
- next to Austin landmarks and murals
- with pets
- baby pics with name of student
- anything celebrating student success and creativity:
- 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.
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
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!
Questions about the PTA? Contact SmallPTA2020@gmail.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 CAMPAIGN TO RAVE!
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