Bear Bulletin

February 21, 2021

No In-Person or Remote Learning for Monday, February 22, 2021

Topics Included in this Newsletter

  • Note from Mrs. Spencer
  • Know of Families Not Receiving SBMS or SBISD Notifications
  • Message from SBISD
  • Announcing SBMS Teacher of the Year for 2020-2021!
  • SBMS Yearbook: ONLY 75 Copies Left!
  • New Learning Model Selection for the Fourth Nine Weeks- Deadline Extended
  • SBISD Transfer Applications- Open February 8th
  • Elementary to Middle School Transition Events- New Date TBA
  • Reminder related to the SBISD Health Screener- Please complete DAILY.
  • Safety Information and Expectations for SBMS Students and Families

SBISD Message to Families


No in person or remote learning for students on Monday, February 22, 2021.


Dear SBISD Staff and Families,


As we noted in our message yesterday, SBISD has continued to monitor and assess our readiness for student instruction on Monday.


While power and water pressure are returning to more normal levels, potable water remains a concern. Mayor Turner’s guidance as of late Friday indicated that the greater Houston area serviced by City of Houston water would most likely remain under a boil water notice until Monday. This covers a significant portion of our 44-square mile SBISD community.


Our Child Nutrition Services team affirms that we are dependent upon early Monday morning deliveries to ensure our students have food. At this time, our vendors are unable to confirm whether these deliveries will be able to happen as scheduled.


While SBISD is fortunate to not have had major damage to any of our facilities, all of our facilities have had some level of issues. Our custodial and facilities crews along with outside contractors have been extremely busy making temporary and permanent repairs to our buildings, domestic water lines and HVAC systems. This currently remains an ongoing process, due to limited resources and parts. Additionally, more issues are becoming apparent as water pressure is restored at our campuses and facilities.


Internet service within our broader communities remains a concern as service is still spotty in many areas, which would leave many students unable to access itslearning or submit assignments.


Based on the factors outlined above, we will not have an instructional day for students on Monday, February 22. There will be no in person or remote learning for students on Monday.

Essential personnel will report to work on Monday. We will reach out to check on students, many of whom have been without power, water and food over the last week.


At this time, our plan is to resume in-person and distance learning on Tuesday, assuming the City of Houston is able to lift the boil water status. We will keep you informed as more information becomes available.


We know and recognize this past week has brought hardships of every sort to our families and staff. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through the aftermath of this storm.

Message from Mrs. Spencer

Hello, SBMS Bears,


I hope this finds you healthy, warm, in homes spared from damages and with power and water returned or in process. What a strange time we are experiencing together. If you or your family are experiencing damages to your room, a lack of restoration of utilities or food/water scarcity, there are resources listed below and I ask that you contact me to let me know if you are in need of anything. I have included my email and a google form below soliciting that information- however you choose to respond will be greatly appreciated. We just want to know who needs help so that we can pool our resources and connect folks to the help they need.


We will never know why this particular configuration of events have happened simultaneously, but time and time again, Houston rises together and moves forward. 2020-2021 has definitely taught us to persist through challenges and continues to reveal the power of community. A friend of mine expressed concern that our children were experiencing these things, too. While I share her sentiment, I also know that:


  • Children watch for the responses of the adults with whom they are closest. If the adults demonstrate persistence, resilience, and partnership with others, children will find comfort that they are not powerless.
  • COVID and this weather emergency can offer us a chance to talk to our children about what the most important things in life are: each other.


You may wish to check in on how your child is feeling in relationship to the ongoing pandemic and this last emergency. Middle Schoolers may not wish to talk about it with you upon request, but there may be some quiet moments in the car, as you do household chores or morning routines where they may be ready to talk. Give them the space and time to do so. Remind them to look for the heroes of our community, what did work when lots of stuff failed, and of the resources of your own family (human resources, love, safety resources). Creating some moments that foster enough quiet in your home for them to process might be of help to them and to you as we work to move forward in yet another unprecedented moment in time.


If you need particular supports at home, please reach out to your grade level counselor, assistant principal or myself. We are here to help.


6th Grade:


7th Grade:


8th Grade:


And, of course, my email: stefanie.spencer@springbranchisd.com.


Take care,

Stefanie Spencer

Know of Families Not Receiving SBISD or SBMS Notifications?

If you know of families who are not receiving notifications from SBMS or SBISD, they need to address issues with their School Messenger notifications. Directions to log into School Messenger and change notification settings are located here.

Winter Weather Emergency Survey/Necesidades de emergencia para el clima invernal

The winter weather emergency we just experienced was unprecedented for many parts of Texas, including Houston. If your family suffered household damages or you are experiencing food, water, clothing or other resource scarcity in your home that you need assistance with, please complete this form OR email Mrs. Spencer at Stefanie.Spencer@springbranchisd.com and we will see if we can't connect you to resources. On top of partnerships SBISD has with local agencies, SBMS is a special school and there may be families able to step in and help other SBMS families with resources, as well. Please let us know- Bears are in this TOGETHER.

Possible Resources for Families In Need

If you or your family are experiencing food or water scarcity in response to the recent winter weather emergency, the following organizations may be able to help:


East Spring Branch Food Pantry


Fair Haven Food Pantry


Water Distribution Sites (Click2Houston)


Water and Food Distribution Sites (ABC13)


Houston Food Bank Helpline: 832-369-9390

LearnSBISD Safety Reminders for SBMS Bears

As always, here are a few reminders in the hopes of keeping everyone healthy, safe, in school and a focus on student learning is maintained at SBMS:


  • Report of Exposure: Please report any direct, prolonged exposure your child has had with family members or friends who have been recently diagnosed. This will help Ms. Mulvey determine next steps and lessen the spread of COVID-19. You may do so by calling 713-251-4400 or emailing Ms. Mulvey at mercedes.mulvey@springbranchisd.com.
  • SBISD Health Screener: Within every edition of this newsletter every Sunday is a reminder to complete the SBISD Health Screener. Please help us keep everyone healthy, well and in school by completing that screener and refraining from sending any child to school who is demonstrating those symptoms or has exposure to someone who the family believes needs to be COVID tested. If you are unsure whether or not your child should report to school, please reach out to me, Mr. Barry, and Ms. Mulvey and we can try to help you.
  • Bringing Items to SBMS: SBMS will only allow the drop off of the following: chromebooks, assignments, books for Language Arts or medicine for the school nurse. Unfortunately, we are seeing too many families dropping off items to the front office that are unrelated to these things. The LearnSBISD plan indicates no drop off of items should be occurring and that visitors to the campus are restricted. As we watch numbers of parents dropping off items to our office and numbers of COVID cases tick upwards, we are tightening up our practices to make clearer what is of necessity and what is not. To ensure that your child has a back up plan for lunch, please visit SBISD Child Nutrition and put money on their account so they can purchase a lunch: https://www.springbranchisd.com/about/departments/finance/child-nutrition-services/payments-and-refunds.
  • Health and Safety Reminder: One of the many unfortunate issues related to COVID-19 is that the signs and symptoms for COVID-19 can mirror other illnesses. Our LearnSBISD plan requires parents to complete a Health Screener for their students each morning and indicates that students must not report to school with symptoms delineated within that screener to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. When a child visits with Ms. Mulvey, our SBMS Nurse, and presents symptoms that could be related to COVID-19 she must follow a protocol that involves presenting the symptoms and context for the child (duration of symptoms, if a parent has tested positive or exposure to someone else has occurred) to the SBISD Intake Nurse and then work with the family to send the child home for a period of time. We fully recognize how stressful the "here and now" is for all families, but ask that your interactions with our nurse are kind and patient. We are happy to ask questions on your behalf and answer any questions you may have, but please know the health and safety of all students, their families and our staff are at the forefront of all that we do at SBMS. This is a very difficult year to serve as a school nurse and we are so grateful that Ms. Mulvey chose this as her life's work.
  • SBISD Mask Policy: SBISD requires all school-aged students and staff to wear masks covering their noses and mouths all of the school day, except for when eating or drinking. Gaiters are allowed, but please be sure that students are able to wear them consistently and cover both their noses and mouths. Some students are having to hold their necks forward to keep their gaiters up and over their noses and mouths, so parents may wish to ask their children to wear masks if they prove easier and more comfortable for your child in that regard. Students not consistent in wearing their mask over their noses and mouths may face disciplinary consequences up to and including changing their learning model.

Elementary to Middle School Transition Events for SBMS- New Dates TBA

We are gearing up for our Elementary Transition Events! A special Bear Bulletin newsletter was sent out to parents of Rising 6th Graders a few weeks ago: https://www.smore.com/r0kae. The newsletter contains information about course selection and SBMS. Key information is as follows:


  • Parent (& Student) Transition Meeting: RESCHEDULED FOR A FUTURE DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED LATER THIS WEEK: Click here for the parent meeting flier, course schedule documents, advertising videos for electives and other helpful tools.
  • Week of March 1st: Course selection forms will be due and entered into our scheduling program.

Transition Information for 6th, 7th and 8th Graders

  • Current 6th and 7th grade students: Course selections for next year will start this upcoming week. Students received their course selection sheets on Tuesday, February 9th and a walk through of that document with their counselor. All students will have until Friday, February 26th (Deadline extended due to weather event) to turn in their course selection sheets. Current 6th graders will turn in their form to their science teachers and current 7th graders will turn their form into their history teachers.

  • Current 8th grade students completed their course input previous to last week. Course verification sheets will be pushed through the student portfolio tab in Skyward. Four year plans were also completed in Naviance. Students should have submitted their plans in Naviance for a counselor to approve. Parents will then have the opportunity to view the four year plan and approve as well. Mrs. Richie will send out an email when each are available for your approval.

Congrats to Ms. Joan Cullum, SBMS Teacher of the Year for 2020-2021!

Big picture

Congratulations to our SBMS Teacher of the Year for 2020-2021, Ms. Joan Cullum! As a math teacher extraordinaire, she is most deserving of this honor. Her hard work, pursuit of excellence for all of her students and willingness to pitch in are just a number of qualities in which she is revered. Congratulations to this very hard working educator!


We were able to surprise and celebrate Ms. Cullum and our two runners-up in our Teacher of the Year race, Ms. Burrows and Ms. Schaper last Tuesday during first period. We are so fortunate to have such an outstanding field of teachers at SBMS and a parent and student community who is committed to recognizing them.

Learning Model Selection Deadline for the Fourth Nine Weeks- Deadline Extended

The fourth nine weeks begins Monday, March 22. If you wish to change your child's current learning model for the fourth nine weeks, you may do so now until 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 24th. All families switching their child's learning model are required to complete the Learning Model Selection Change Form. Access via Skyward Family Access.


Additional required forms for families changing from Distance to In-Person Learning (Access via Skyward Family Access):

  • In-Person Acknowledgement Form
  • Mask Accommodation Form


If you are unable to locate the forms through Skyward Family Access, you may locate the forms for the Fourth Nine Weeks by clicking here.

SBMS Yearbook: Less than 100 Left!

ONLY 75 YEARBOOKS LEFT! Get one while you can!


A couple things to note:


  • FRIDAY, MARCH 5 is the deadline for yearbook personalization. This means if you would like to have your child’s name or extracurricular icons printed in the book, you need to order one BEFORE MARCH 5!
  • if there is snow this weekend, please take pics of your kids enjoying the weather and send to me! Sara.boyle@springbranchisd.com
  • Please send me any pics of your kids running track or playing basketball for SBMS!
  • If you would like to buy a 2019-2020 book from last year, we have many left for sale for $50 cash. If you ordered one but never picked it up, we can arrange a pickup also. We have older yearbooks for sale as well. If you are looking for a specific year, please email me and I will see if I have extras to sell.


Please email me with any other questions: sara.boyle@springbranchisd.com


Thank you!

Sara Boyle

Journalism Teacher, Yearbook and Newspaper Adviser

Spring Branch Middle School

The annual student transfer window for the 2021-2022 school year opens February 8th. Please note that applications to transfer into a school must be submitted annually by the parent. If your child is on a transfer to SBMS, please be sure to submit your application prior to March 8th. You may access the transfer application process beginning February 8th by clicking here. If you are hoping to transfer to a different school for 5th to 6th grade and/or 8th to 9th grade, please note that they are considered new requests. All transfer applications are reviewed in terms of student grades, behavior, attendance and availability of each school. Guidelines and information related to SBISD Transfer processes may be found here.

SBISD Health Screener for In-Person Learners

Prior to the start of the school year, all families completed the SBISD Health & Safety Protocol Parent Acknowledgement Form. Included in these protocols is ensuring that every child coming to campus has a completed SBISD Health Screener every morning.


As a reminder, the health screener can be accessed via the district website (there is a blue box on the homepage titled ‘HEALTH SCREENER’ or by clicking here.) High school students may complete their own screener, but not those of their siblings.


Parents, it is critical that you report to your child's school if your child has tested positive for COVID-19, has had prolonged (15 or more minutes) direct exposure to someone who is COVID-19 positive, or is displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Please do not send your child to school. Please do complete the health screener and report to your school attendance office or nurse immediately. Please be sure to provide your contact information including a daytime telephone number where you can be reached.


View this video to see how to turn the screener into an icon (like an app) on your phone or tablet home screen for easier access:

https://vimeo.com/456287227

SBMS Safety Presentation- Please Review with Your SBMS Bear!

Please go through the following presentation with your SBMS Bear to ensure he or she understands what will take place when he or she returns to in-person learning and their own responsibilities within those practices. The intent of these procedures is to ensure that students are as socially distanced as possible and to keep the focus of our work on learning. As Dr Blaine indicated, we cannot emphasize enough our collective responsibility to do our individual parts to keep our community and our schools safe from COVID-19. Please help us by abiding by public health best practice protocols. Wear your masks whenever out or among individuals beyond your immediate family, keep social distance, wash your hands often, and avoid large gatherings. Most importantly, please self-isolate away from others, even your family members, if you think you are ill or show symptoms of COVID-19.

See you soon! Stay tuned for messaging every Friday from SBISD!