The Sierra Monthly
Sierra Middle School - February 2021 Newsletter
From the Desk of the Principal: Dr. L. King
I am humbled to work with such an incredible school community that is always willing to put the needs of our students first. The resilience of our students continues to amaze me, and I am grateful for the staff and families who ensure students are able to make the most of the learning opportunities presented to them.
We started off Hybrid Learning with great success. Our Eagles were quick to learn the COVID Safety procedures and how to show Eagle PRIDE (Preparation – Responsibility – Integrity - Diligence and Excellence) in the classroom environment and throughout the school. It was truly one of the greatest feelings to see our students walk through the doors of the building, filling us all with a new energy.
We are now in our final week of February which means spring is just around the corner. The longer days and warmer temperatures will be very refreshing! Very soon, more and more coats will be shed as students begin enjoying the warmer days. Students make sure your coats and jackets are labeled with your name. Should you lose it, we will know who it belongs to.
Reminder: Masks are required throughout the school day for students. The only exceptions are during lunch when students are eating and facing forward in the classroom at least 6 feet apart, and scheduled class “mask breaks” outside standing at least 6 feet.
NOTE: Gators and mask with air valves are NOT acceptable at school (students will be given a disposable mask to wear for the day if their mask is not in regulation).
Parents, thank you for raising such amazing children that desire to be excellent in all they do. If you have any questions regarding your child’s academic progress, please call the office or message your child’s teacher via Canvas. Thank you for your continued support during these trying times and for being a part of the great things that are happening at our school! Thank you for your continued support of our school community.
Dr. L. King D.Ed.
Mrs. Busby - Assistant Principal
I am so excited that we have been able to see so many of you back at school. I know that things look a little bit different and the hallways are a little quieter than they would be in a typical school year. For those of you that are still working at home, you are each a very important part of our school community. This year has been incredibly challenging for everyone in many different ways, but we will continue to move forward and show everyone what Sierra staff and students have to offer! Also, I hope that you all enjoyed the February snow and are looking forward to Spring Break! Hang in there, Eagles! ♥
Mrs. Busby - Assistant Principal
Mrs. Gutierrez - Assistant Principal
I am happy to see students and staff back in the building and look forward to assisting you with whatever you need to be successful in the classroom and in all the activities that you participate in. If you have any questions about athletics, your classes, academics, or anything at all, know that you are always welcome to contact me! We can finish this year strong no matter what obstacles have come our way if we all work together.
Yours in Education,
Breezy Gutierrez, Assistant Principal
Third Quarter Schedule
- March 4 - Math Night 5:45 PM - 7:00 PM
- March 9 - School Board Meeting 6:00 PM
- March 16 - Nine Weeks Ends
- March 22 through 26 - Spring Break (No School)
- March 29 - Report Cards Issued
During Math Night, we will have nine breakout rooms going with interactive math activities that parents, students, and staff can enjoy!
Math night will include-
- Escape Rooms
- Financial Football
- Math Trivia
- Dividing Fractions Quiz Show
- Interactive Graphing
- Interactive Multiplying and Dividing Fractions Maze Chase Game
- GimKit (Like Kahoot) With Math Problems For All Grade Levels
- Art With Code
- Over the Bridge- A Hands-On Activity in Problem Solving
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How can I get access to my PowerSchool so that I can check my grades and attendance?
Your advisory teachers have your PowerSchool login information and should have sent it to your Canvas inbox. If you did not receive it, you can contact your advisory teacher, your team lead teacher, or Mrs. Busby to have it sent to you.
What do I do if I am having technology issues or problems with my school Chromebook?
Contact the front office at Sierra. We will try to help fix any problems that you may be having.
Why didn't I get my report card?
This year's report cards have been mailed to your home address. If you did not receive your report card, it is possible that the school does not have the correct address. Please let the office know if this is the case because it is very important that we have your correct contact information.
What do I need to do to return to school in person? What if I have questions about coming back to school?
Contact Mrs. Busby at 575-627-2853 to get assigned to a group or ask any questions that you may have.
Where can I find information about coming back to school? What is the uniform policy? Which bus do I ride? What supplies do I need?
Visit https://www.smore.com/vr0um for answers to these questions or contact the Sierra office.
When do sports start?
Check the sports schedule in the sports section below.
What do I need to do to play sports?
- Sign up with a coach or online form
- Get a physical
- Complete paperwork
- Complete concussion course
- Check if you are eligible through your grades with your coach or Assistant Principal Gutierrez.
When can I practice?
You can practice after eligibility is checked and all forms, your physical, and the concussion course are completed.
New participants and any athletes who have had COVID-19 will need to obtain a proper physical. Please click the button above or come by Sierra Middle School for the required paperwork.
Please click the link above to complete the required NFHS Concussion Course. (Required by all athletes each year).
Please click the link above to access the athletics page on the SMS website. By accessing this page, you will find the links to the registration forms for Cheer, Girls' and Boys' Basketball, Soccer, and Track.
Trio Talent Search is excited to begin implementing a new 24/7 online tutoring and homework help program for students, called Tutor.com.
- 24/7 assistance in 200+ subjects, including AP courses, in English and Spanish
- Students can access Tutor.com across multiple devices
- 1 to 1 online engagement with over 3,000 subject matter experts
- Essay and writing support
- Plus, so much more!
For students to have access to this free service, they must be Talent Search participants, which requires an application and parent permission form. Talent Search is a federally funded college prep program that services first-generation and economically disadvantaged students. If you would like your student to receive this service, please complete the attached application and permission form and return to your school office or email it directly to your school's program specialist.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call or email your program specialist.
Sincerely, The ENMUR Trio Talent Search Team
Return to Normalcy
Parent PowerSchool Access
School Staff and Student COVID-19 Decision Trees
- The first decision tree was created for families, students, and staff to better understand the steps that should be taken if an individual develops symptoms. Testing of close contacts (strongly encouraged) should happen 7–10 days into quarantine, or at onset of symptoms. A negative test for a close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual does not end the quarantine period.
- The second decision tree was created for families, students, and staff to better understand the steps that should be taken if quarantine/self-isolation is necessary.
Shockwave Valentine's Bag Giveaway
Our Reading Night was a SUCCESSFUL event. We had a handful of parents and students who attended. In addition, we had an SMS administrator, a district coordinator, two RISD board members, four district directors, and several SMS teachers present as well. We did drawings, and 15 students won prizes. The prizes were a book and a bag with school supplies.
Featured Article: February Facts
- February fluctuates between having 28 and 29 days per year. The 29th day only occurs every 4 years during leap years.
- The length of February was finalized when Julius Caesar remade the Roman calendar and assigned the month 28 days and 29 days. In 713 B.C., February was officially added to the Roman calendar.
- If you were born in February, your birthstone is an amethyst and your flower is a primrose.
- The western zodiac signs in February are Aquarius which is until February 19th, and Pisces, which starts February 20th.
- Over time, the length of February kept changing. At one point, it had as little as 23 days.
NO DOUBT - 6th Grade
- J'lynn Brewton - J'lynn is a hard working individual. She is always present in her classes, and is eager to give her full effort in everything that she puts her mind to.
- Angel Garcia - Angel is a very respectful individual with an excellent sense of humor. No matter what class he is in, you can expect him to be working hard.
NO FEAR - 6th Grade
- Hunter Berry - Hunter is an energetic young man who is willing to help anyone. His technology skills are advanced; and when technology issues arise, Hunter is the go-to-guy for the teachers on team No Fear. Hunter helps without judgement and his extra effort and positive attitude help make the classroom a better place to learn.
- Llazlin Hernandez - Llazlin is an outstanding student who is motivated, hardworking, reliable, trustworthy, and intelligent. Although she is a top student she never brags nor boasts, and can be counted on to attend class regularly, stay on camera, participate in discussion, and complete all assignments to perfection. Her dedication to her academics is admirable and her efforts make her an easy choice for team No Fear’s student of the month.
STORM - 7th Grade
- Julisa Duran - When she is not playing with her siblings, she is playing sports like basketball. Her dream job is to be a photographer. Julisa’s advice to her fellow classmates: push yourself because no one's going to do it for you.
- Michael Flores Jr. - Michael enjoys skateboarding in his spare time. His dream job is to become an Aerospace Engineer. His advice to his fellow classmates is to work hard and persevere and to overcome the obstacles.
TALONS - 7th Grade
- Kyle Williams - Kyle is a kind and polite individual. He is conscientious about his academics and actively participates in his classes. Kyle has accomplished AB Honor Roll status in the first 9wks, illustrating that he works hard and is determined to do well no matter the learning situation. Keep Up the Excellent Work!
- Mia Azpeitia - Mia is a kind and generous individual who is willing to help her classmates. She has persevered and has accomplished "A" Honor Roll for both the first and second quarters. Her determination in keeping a 4.0 GPA shows excellence in her education. We, Talon Teachers, are so proud of Mia! She has shown that she can persevere through all obstacles when it comes to her education.
RAPTORS - 8th Grade
Xai Carrasco - Xai is a natural born leader who is willing to go above and beyond to get the job done. He has a great sense of humor.
Neela Lovato - Neela is kind at heart and has been respectful throughout our whole virtual learning process. She continues to excel.
SHOCKWAVE - 8th Grade
- Anders McDaid - Anders is hilarious! He is witty, kind, and caring. He is a member of the SMS Band, and loves video games. He works hard and cares about his friends.
- Alice Samuels - Alice is a kind, funny, and responsible young lady. She is a member of the SMS Band. She is hard working and helps others.
To receive updates about school and other important information and activities, it is important to login to your Advisory Zoom from 8:00 - 8:30 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of each week. APEX students will not have grades posted in PowerSchool with the exception of mid nine weeks, nine weeks and semester. If you want to know what your grade is, you will use the Grade to Date on your Dashboard to be aware of what your progress is.
The biggest news for Canvas/Hybrid is that we have been able to return to in person learning! Every week the schedule will be:
Cohort A Group-- Mondays and Tuesdays
Wednesdays-- Virtual Only Make-Up Work
Cohort B Group-- Thursdays and Fridays
Your group is assigned by the school. If you don't know which group you are in, contact Mrs. Busby at 575-627-2853. We are still using Canvas for all of our classes!
Tips From Nurse Palomino
Help Stop the Spread by:
- Handwashing: Please remember to wash hands with soap and water and or hand sanitizer for 20 seconds. For example, sing "Happy Birthday" while washing hands.
- Make sure your mask fits snug and covers your nose and mouth.
- Social distancing: Stay 6 feet apart.
- Stay home when you are feeling sick.
- Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing.
“'Fairy tale and history merge seamlessly' (Publishers Weekly, starred review) in this enchanting and lyrical novel about love and resilience from the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner, Katherine Rundell.
Feo’s life is extraordinary. Her mother trains domesticated wolves to be able to fend for themselves in the snowy wilderness of Russia, and Feo is following in her footsteps to become a wolf wilder. She loves taking care of the wolves, especially the three who stay at the house because they refuse to leave Feo, even though they’ve already been wilded. But not everyone is enamored with the wolves, or with the fact that Feo and her mother are turning them wild. And when her mother is taken captive, Feo must travel through the cold, harsh woods to save her—and learn from her wolves how to survive."
See You In The Cosmos"A space-obsessed boy and his dog, Carl Sagan, take a journey toward family, love, hope, and awe in this funny and moving novel for fans of Counting by 7s, Walk Two Moons, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover—from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.
Jack Cheng’s debut is full of joy, optimism, determination, and unbelievable heart. To read the first page is to fall in love with Alex and his view of our big, beautiful, complicated world. To read the last is to know he and his story will stay with you a long, long time."
Department Message - Science
There are a few key notes we wish to outline in this letter. With our first week of the new hybrid schedule under our belt, most students and teachers are getting used to the new daily rhythm. Some classes are prepping and planning to continue utilizing STEMScopes in a way that will allow students access to the best learning opportunities as possible. There has even been some initial work for some grade levels in planning on procedures and activities that will allow students to safely perform in-class experiments. We hope the students will be looking forward to these activities as much as we are. There are some adjustments that need to be made when it comes to student collaboration, and safely keeping social distancing guidelines while working on these activities. However, rest assured we will take the necessary precautions to ensure our scientists will be able to work safely to gain hands-on experience that defines science.
Video of Inspiration
The first video is a great example of the message to never give up, even when success might seem impossible. The second video asks us to reflect on the fact that no matter our situation, the way we approach our situations determines our mindset.