Cougar News

Week of 11/16/20 - 11/20/20

Letter from Interim Principal Sammon

Smallville Community,

As I have been walking around our campus this week, I can hear and see students getting back in the groove of things. Band teachers working outside with kids giving instructions on playing instruments as students try so hard to get the notes just right. We are only a week away from Thanksgiving Break and I know that the teachers, staff, and students can’t wait to enjoy some time off. The work that everyone is putting in is evident and is paying off dividends as we progress through this school year. The struggle for many of our students will hopefully translate to life long lessons about working through challenging times. As both a parent and an educator, I understand the struggle and do everything I can to support my daughter as she navigates virtual learning. I also want to share that as a parent, even though I am in the business of kids, I have many nights where I feel defeated and clueless about how to talk to and help support my own daughter. We know that you all do so much for our campus and your children and we are definitely in this together. I know that our teachers and staff care about kids as I watch them support them in the classroom, hallways, and on the computer screen. We are lucky to have such dedicated staff that are willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. Our Teacher Assistants have taken on multiple roles helping to supervise kids in cafeteria classrooms, helping to screen students out front, running classroom areas, and anything else we have asked. Front office staff help with tech support, student passes, announcements, customer service, and many more duties. Stay safe and looking forward to having a great week before break.


Assistant Principal / Interim Principal

David Sammon

Small Middle School

(512) 841-6708

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PTA Zoom Meeting With Speaker

Wednesday, November 18th at 6:00pm

Join us for some PTA information and for a special guest speaker Dr. Mike Brooks. Dr. Brooks is an expert in adolescents and technology. He will talk about how to help kids cope and balance all their screen time as well as Social Media and how it affects the adolescent brain.

Please Register for this event and we will email you the link to the Zoom meeting around noon on the day of the event.

More about the PTA Presentation.

Wednesday, November 18th at 6:00pm

Our lives are becoming increasingly enmeshed with technology. While there are certainly many benefits of technology, its seductive lure has our children (and us!) disconnecting from what is most important in life – each other and the world around us. To be both successful and happy in life, it is imperative that we learn to help our children navigate these often choppy waters. In this presentation, we will discuss why technologies such as texting and social media have such a grip on us, what effects technology is having on our brains, and strategies to help you and your family use technology in a more balanced way. This pandemic has brought new challenges with online school and more time on screens than ever! Learning these strategies now will enable you to help your children be more successful in school and stay connected in deeper, more meaningful ways. Dr. Brooks’ book, Tech Generation: Raising Balanced Kids in a Hyper-Connected World was recently published by Oxford University Press.

About Dr. Mike Brooks
Dr. Brooks is a licensed psychologist and a licensed specialist in school psychology. He has a wealth of expertise in positive psychology, well-being, the needs of children and teens, effective parenting practices, and technology and gaming addiction. He is a frequent presenter on these topics, has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, and is a blogger for Psychology Today at Tech Happy Life. He and his wife live in Austin with their three boys, and they know first-hand about the many challenges of raising kids in a hyper-connected world!

Small PTA Info

PTA Hassle-Free November Fundraiser

Click here to donate

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!

Donate to the PTA here

Join the PTA here

Questions about the PTA? Contact

Clubs at Small

I have updated our Clubs list this weekend. There are 4 more new clubs to join and some just starting up this week like the Animal Club, Stuffed Animal Club, Bike Club and Movie Prop Club.

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.

Our amazing Librarian Ms. Sylvia is so good at recommending books and fostering the kids' love of reading, that she has a whole blog about it! She updates it every week. Be sure to click the link below each week for her new installment of her Living Room Library.

Check out this week's Living Room Library from Ms. Sylvia.

Theatre Class Spooky Radio Project

Small Theatre Students Present Spooky Radio Theatre

The theater students have writing and performing radio drama scripts, based on the book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. If you would like to check out their haunting and hard work, click the links below.

8th period

1st period

Green Tech Academy 21-22 School year

Do you know any 5th Graders that are interested in applying for our Green Tech Academy for next school year? Please help spread the word that we are doing Zoom Q & A meetings instead of tours this year.

Yearbook Pictures

This is the announcement requesting pictures from Small families:

Please send pictures of your students or share them to Google Drive:

  • camp outs
  • trips
  • backyard gardens
  • next to Austin landmarks and murals
  • with pets
  • baby pics with name of student
  • anything celebrating student success and creativity:
  • costumes
  • customs
  • sports
  • art
  • 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.

National Junior Honor Society

7th Graders!!!!

  • Do you have at least a B average?
  • Do you show good character, leadership, scholarship, and citizenship?
  • Do you serve your community outside of the school day?

You may be a candidate for the National Junior Honor Society!

Click here for the application (includes student information, grade reporting, teacher recommendation requirements, and essay) and submit to your Advanced Academics Advocate by midnight, Dec 11.

Applications received after midnight, Dec. 11, 2020, will not be considered.

Supporting one of our own

One of our student's recently lost their sister. Please considering supporting the family with their gofundme for funeral costs.

Helpful Information from the Middle School Office

Is it your computer or the District?

Imagine if you will, you can't connect to a Zoom class. Is it your computer, your internet, something wrong at the district level? It is hard to figure out.

The AISD has created a page on their website to tell you when any of their systems are down. If you are having a glitch, Go to to see if something is down.

AISD Covid-19 Cases

Some of you were asking where can you find how many Covid-19 cases have been reported per school. The district is keeping track of that and posting it on their website at

Magnet High School Applicants

From your Advanced Academics Advocate....Are you interested in applying to LASA, McCallum, Anderson IB? Mrs. Manners will host two application and essay Zoom meetings to help students begin their application and essays to these AISD options for Advanced Academics. We will work on finding and completing the applications, asking teachers for recommendations, and drafting and editing short answer and essay questions.

4-5 pm Thursday, Nov. 12

4-5 pm Thursday, Nov. 19

If your 8th grader is interested in applying and would like some support, mentoring, or essay guidance, please have them send an email from their student email account to with the subject line Advanced Academics Application Assistance EOM and I will send them an invite to the BLEND tile with Date, Zoom, and other important application information.

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Address the CAC Committee

If you are interested in speaking to our CAC using our Citizen Communication time, please email our CAC chair Emma Renault-Varian or Co-Chair Chasee 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.

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Green Academy Blog

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