Bear Bulletin

January 31, 2021

Topics Included in this Newsletter

  • Note from Mrs. Spencer
  • SBMS Yearbook: Order SOON!
  • SBISD Transfer Applications- Open February 8th
  • Visioning 2020- SBISD Needs Your Feedback!
  • SBEF Virtual Gala!
  • Congrats 8th Grade Artists!
  • SBISD District Improvement Team (DIT) Group 2 Parent Opening for 2021-2023
  • Middle to High School and Elementary to Middle School Transition Events
  • Reminder related to the SBISD Health Screener- Please complete DAILY.
  • Safety Information and Expectations for SBMS Students and Families

Message from Mrs. Spencer

Dear SBMS Bears,


Happy Sunday, Bears! February is upon us! During the month of February, we continue transition events for middle school students embarking on high school and elementary students beginning their middle school journey next year. We are also hosting our Practice Writing STAAR for 7th Graders on February 11th. On this day, we will host a testing schedule for students and 7th graders will be assigned testing rooms that will allow them to have adequate time to do their best on this practice assessment. STAAR is on for this year, so this assessment is helpful for staff to determine next steps for each student.


We sincerely appreciate everyone's diligence in communicating exposures or illnesses to us as soon as families are aware of their particular situations.This helps us keep staff and students healthy, well and in school as much as is possible. We are so very fortunate to be part of a district that has prioritized choices for families and created such well thought out structures to ensure in person learning is safe for students and staff at SBISD.


Bears for Bears Closet:

Thank you SO much for sending jackets, shoes and pants to school for students who may need them. We are so excited to have supplies to meet the needs of Bears on campus. If you have any plastic hangers that you do not need, we could use those, as well. Otherwise, we are up and running in the SBMS Bear Closet. If your student is in need of anything from food, clothing and shoes, they may ask an assistant principal, counselor, a teacher or a front office person (whoever they are most comfortable asking) and they will assist in getting what they need quietly and confidentially.


A few arrival and dismissal requests/reminders:

  1. School Arrival Time: Please note that our doors for bus riders open at 8:10 a.m. each morning and 8:15 a.m. for car riders. Students who attend a Zero Hour class are able to arrive earlier and report to class. Please do not drop your children off in advance of this time frame. There are no adults on duty to monitor student safety and we do not want students waiting in inclement or cold weather.
  2. Safe Car Loading: Please do not ask your child to cross a street in a place along Piney Point other than the area monitored by our crossing guard. While our children are more grown up than their elementary aged peers, their brains are in such development at this time, they can easily be distracted or make poor judgment calls when crossing the street. We are all busy and it is easy to fall prey to rushing our students to meet us in a destination that makes pick up easier, but I also know that your child's safety is more important than getting through traffic congestion. Do not ask students to cross Piney Point outside of the crossing guard area, please.


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.

Sincerely,

Stefanie Spencer

SBMS Yearbook: Order SOON!

On behalf of the Spring Branch Middle School yearbook staff, I want to remind the SBMS community that the 20-21 yearbook is happening!


With so much going on in our lives this year, it is more important than ever to capture and remember the events and history unfolding around our students and school. The yearbook is a limited-edition record of our school year that they will have the rest of their lives.


Our publisher will only be printing enough copies to match our yearbook orders! Order a yearbook at tinyurl.com/sbmsyearbook at balfour.com. Order ASAP! We are running out fast!


Email the yearbook adviser, Sara Boyle with any questions!


Thank you!

Sara Boyle

Journalism Teacher, Yearbook and Newspaper Adviser

SBMS

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.
Big picture

The SBISD Visioning for the Future Committee worked this fall to draft proposed Core Characteristics of a T-2-4 Ready Graduate.

We now need your feedback to finalize this work!

Click here to view the Core Characteristics draft and share your feedback in our Thoughtexchange digital conversation - open now until Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 8pm.

Since 2012, T-2-4 has been the district’s single-focused goal for all graduates to obtain a technical certification, military training, or a 2-year or 4-year degree.

T-2-4 defines our aspiration for what SBISD students do when they leave us, but not for who they become.

When finalized, the Core Characteristics will define the most critical attributes we want our students to develop and experiences we want our students to have as they progress through our system.

Thank you for your input!

Did you know that SBMS has won SBEF grants for the last few years? SBEF has provided funds to support the purchase of new technology and literacy library books for SBMS students and staff. Let's show them thanks by supporting them through attending their events or donating directly to them!


The goal of the Spring Branch Education Foundation is to help each student and teacher in Spring Branch ISD, whether it’s by giving a child a book to begin his home library or funding a computer lab where a senior will receive help with her college application. The work they do is amazing! The current context makes this work even more important and that much more difficult!


How can you help?


Get our your best '70s gear and suit up for the Virtual Gala on Saturday, February 20tht! Click here for information. John Travolta not your thing? There are so many other ways to help and fun events to support. Click here for information on our awesome foundation!

Congratulations, SBMS 8th Grade Artists!

We’re getting to that time of year again…Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo!! Although the usual rodeo events are limited this year, the city-wide art contest is in full swing!

The first round of judging per school district took place this past Saturday 1/16, and four of our fabulous 8th graders made it as Finalists to go on the next round of judging at NRG!!


Huge CONGRATULATIONS to these four students!

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Kathleen Ngo "Hold Your Horses"

The SBISD District Improvement Team has openings for a parent from Group 2, which includes representation from Spring Branch Middle School. If you would like to be considered in the lottery, please click here for the application and submit it to Norma Trevino at norma.trevino@springbranchisd.com. We would love to see us representing the SBMS Bears on the DIT!

Middle to High School Transition Events for SBMS

The Memorial High School counselors and Spring Woods High School counselors will be coming to our campus on Tuesday, January 19th to help students complete their Four Year Plan document. The following week, students will enter the four-year planning information into Naviance Course Planner.

  • Course selection sheets were sent home this week
  • SBMS counselors will be helping students enter their selections into Naviance on January 25
  • SBMS counselors will help students enter course selections for 9th grade into Skyward on February 3
  • Changes can be made by parents and students in Skyward from home from Feb. 5th – March 12th

Please refer to the district course catalog here for detailed information about electives.

  • If your student is zoned to MHS and you missed the parent meeting that took place this week, all the information you need can be found here - Future Mustangs

  • If your student is zoned for SWHS, the parent meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 27 at 6:30PM through Zoom. See attached flyers.

Naviance

Students are familiar with Naviance as they completed the Career Cluster Finder before the break. Parent Naviance codes were emailed on December 15, 2020. If you haven’t received your Naviance parent code, please contact Marissa Richie by email at Marissa.Richie@springbranchisd.com.

Reminders:

  • Parents and students will be able to log in to Naviance to review their child’s plan
  • Resources will be posted in our SBMS Bear Bulletin and Student BPT ItsLearning pages. Resources will include videos, links, power points etc. with information for parents and students to review and refer back to
  • Resources for MHS can be accessed here
  • Resources for SWHS can be accessed here
  • Students will always have the opportunity to change their minds and meet with their high school counselor throughout their high school career to make changes to their plans

Elementary to Middle School Transition Events for SBMS

Middle School campuses are finalizing dates for our transition meetings and supports for our students who will be incoming 6th graders next school year. We expect the specifics of these activities to be finalized this week. As of now, this the timeline for our work:


  • Week of February 15th: Students and Families will be given an opportunity to view videos of a tour of their feeder middle school. A zoom session for families will be hosted by administrators and counselors that week to present course selection options and present information about their schools.
  • Week of March 1st: Course selection forms will be due and entered into our scheduling program.


More to come on specific dates for SBMS. We are awaiting different schedules for basketball to set our date to then publicize through distribution of a flyer to all feeder elementary schools thereafter. We hope the information above helps a bit as we prepare for this exciting time!

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!