Pony Express


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September 14-21

Quick News


Back to School Night

Tuesday, September 22nd-Virtual Event, 6-7 p.m.

Wednesday, September 23rd, 6-7 p.m. Drive-Thru Event

If you need assistance this week with your ZOOM links, please call our main phone number at 414-3229.

Some reminders for this week:

  • Review the Bell Schedule below.
  • This week we will Synchronous (on ZOOM) with your ACES teacher on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Tuesday and Thursday ACES will be Asynchronous where students will interact via their ACES Blend Course.
  • Friday will be our first C Day. Everyone will go to ACES first for a lesson and to plan their asynchronous time. All students should have at least 45 minutes of iReady work in Math and ELA. All teachers will have an assignment posted in BLEND for each class period.
  • What is STiR? This is Structured Independent Reading. Everyone should read every day. Your brain is a muscle and like other muscles in our body, we need to train it to be fit and ready. The goal is to increase the amount of sustained reading time each day. Set a goal for each day and work on increasing your minutes each day. Need ideas for what to read-- check out our library section for more information.


Cy Albertson- 6th and 7th Science, long term campus substitute

Gerard Castillo- Photography and Yearbook

Courtney Diranieh-Discovering Languages, Arabic

Edward Garcia- Teaching Assistant

Hannah Matthews- DHH Teaching Assistant

Jenny Parker- Art

Melissa Santa Cruz- Teaching Assistant

Paul Schuster-Teaching Assistant

Byron Waters- Lifeskills Teacher

Amelia Ximenes- Teaching Assistant

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Synchronous Time vs Asynchronous Time

During synchronous sessions, students will engage with their teacher and the content in a variety of ways. A typical synchronous session will include:

  • Direct instruction on new concepts.

  • Individual time for students to watch, listen, engage, or reinforcing the new material.

  • Zoom breakout rooms where students will work collaboratively with peers on additional practice.

  • Whole group instruction to review material.

  • A short quiz/exit ticket/survey which will allow students to get immediate feedback on the new material.

A typical asynchronous session will include:

  • Time to complete any assignments not completed during synchronous time.

  • Opportunities to engage in the curriculum through choice boards. Students will choose their assignments based on their needs.

  • Friday’s asynchronous time will be devoted to 45 minutes on iReady in Math and English Language Arts, or small group interventions/tutorials during designated class periods.

iReady is a personalized computer program that all students will access in the portal. All students will work on iReady (English Language Arts and Math) independently for 45 minutes per week. iReady creates a personalized pathway for each student based on a diagnostic test given during synchronous time in the third week of school. This will allow for opportunities for individual practice on skills needed.

For more information on iReady, please take a look at this video. iReady

Athletic News

Fall Athletics (volleyball and football) will not begin practicing on campus until Travis County is in Stage 2. We spent a lot of time coming to this decision and made sure to speak with as many stakeholders as possible before we did.

Thank you to all for filling out the Google Survey Form and letting us know your family’s preference. After meeting with our coaches and the athletic departments of 18 other middle schools, pouring over the safety protocols, and requesting from AISD that all students be given a fair chance to participate only to be told no transportation would be available, we have decided to wait with 12 AISD middle schools until Stage 2.

2020-21 Forms to be Submitted

• Medical History Participation Questionnaire (parent and student signature needed)

• Physical Examination Form

Rank One Online Forms (both the UIL forms and Contact Info portions)

2020 AISD Athletics COVID Waiver

Emergency Student Information Card

Counselor Corner

OHMS Families-

We hope that navigating this first week back at school was the best it could be for you. We have loved seeing your faces in Zoom! Remember, through all the ups and downs we are in this together as an O. Henry community! Throughout the first month of school we will be checking in with students in multiple ways to make sure they feel supported!

Warmly, Ms. Turner, Ms. Torres, Ms. Price, and Ms. Montemayor 💗

O. Henry Counselor’s Blend page

Check out our Blend page for useful info. throughout “at home” learning!

We are excited to share useful tools, resources, and much more to support students and provide more information for families. You should see a tile on your Blend dashboard called "O. Henry Middle Counseling Course". We will continue to update this Blend course and use it to send out announcements to students. Please make sure your child is checking their school email daily.

How to contact your grade level counselor:

Students: During in-person school you can normally come down to our office to check in with us or fill out a form to see us in the Counseling Office, but while we are at home learning this is how you can request to talk or video with us:

(This link is found on our Blend page as well.)


Parents: If you have questions or concerns and need to talk to your child’s counselor please feel free to email or call us! Contact info. below:

Applications for Select Electives

Applications for some of our programs were available to students in April/May. There are limited spots available in these classes. To apply for one or more of these classes, please click the class name and fill out the application by the deadline. If you are accepted AND it works with your schedule, your counselor will notify you of your new schedule. Schedules will not be changed until after the deadline.

Deadline to submit applications: Tues., September 15

AVID for College Readiness (6th and 7th grade only)

AVID is an elective class that will offer additional academic, social and emotional support, resources, and opportunities that will help determined students succeed in more rigorous courses throughout middle and high school. Students will get the chance to work with each other in study groups, grow in their study and organization skills, research colleges and careers they might be interested in, as well as socialize and build relationships with their "AVID family".

Dance Company (7th and 8th grade only)

Students interested in being in the Dance Company for competitions and/or performances need to sign this contract. No auditions needed.

Yearbook (8th grade only)

You must have taken Photojournalism as a 7th grader to apply for this class. Students will be using those skills to create O. Henry’s 2020-21 yearbook.

Advanced Art for High School Credit (8th grade only)

This class helps students take their art to the next level while also receiving high school credit for Art 1. Applicants must have taken art in 6th or 7th grade to apply.

Race Equity Leadership (7th and 8th grade only)

This elective, formerly called Teen Leadership and Social Justice, will deepen students’ understanding of racial dominance, inequity, and injustice by identifying personal bias, examining their own identity, and examining culture. Students will lead O. Henry in equity work through class discussions, lessons, and projects highlighting systemic racism in our school, community, and country.

Wellness Counseling Services

The O. Henry Wellness Team is offering individual counseling services to our community, lunch bunch's, parent support groups, and individual parent coaching support through our counseling practicum program. Below is a sign up for if you are interested in these services for you and/or your family.


Reminder about schedule changes

A friendly reminder that we will not be accepting “change of mind” schedule change requests this semester. We do our best to give all students their chosen electives. However, due to the constraints of the master schedule and due to your individual course requests, it is not always possible.

GT Information and Nomination

GT Information

The nomination windows for GT identification will be open from September 21st through October 2nd for middle school. This will be the only nomination window for this school year. If you are interested in nominating your child for GT services, please first talk with your child’s teacher(s) and complete the attached form. Completed nomination forms can be sent to Casi Cook. (casi.cook@austinisd.org)

8th graders applying for NJHS

All current 8th graders who were interested in applying to NJHS last Spring should have received an email from Ms. Turner on Friday about next steps to apply.

If you did not receive this email please email her directly by: Tuesday, Sept. 15th. If you received it, please read it carefully.

If you are new to O. Henry this year as an 8th grader and are interested in NJHS, which stands for National Junior Honor Society, an organization that focuses on Service, Leadership, Scholarship and Citizenship, then please email Ms. Turner by: Tuesday, Sept. 15th.

Ms. Turner, NJHS Sponsor: amy.turner@austinisd.org

Immunization Update from Nurse Smith

From O. Henry Middle School Health Room:

The Texas Department of State Health Services has not relaxed the requirements for student immunizations for the 2020-2021 school year. Therefore, all required immunizations must be obtained and documentation provided to Nurse Smith prior to entry to the campus on the first day your student returns to campus. Your student will not be allowed to attend school until all required immunizations are documented with the Health Room at O. Henry Middle School.

If you claim an exemption from immunizations, please contact the Health Department by phone, and they will mail the Affidavit to you. They do not accept in-person visits for the Affidavit. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nurse Smith at lynn.smith@austinisd.org.

Secondly, if you have a medication that you would like the nurse to administer on campus, an appointment will need to be made with Nurse Smith to drop off the medication and sign the necessary paperwork. There will be no walk-in service to drop off medications. An appointment must be made in advance. You may contact Nurse Smith at lynn.smith@austinisd.org. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation with this process.

A. Lynn Smith, RN, BSN

O. Henry Middle School

Student Health Services



PTA Supports Our Mustangs

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PTA News



The OHMS PTA’s goal is to provide opportunities for parents, teachers, students, and the general community to GET CONNECTED.

Everyone benefits when schools and families work together to support learning and we strive to create a welcoming and fun atmosphere for parents be involved at our school.

Visit ohenrypta.org today to:

  • Check out the PTA Calendar, Programs & Events

  • Donate to O. Henry’s biggest fundraiser—Round Up

  • Purchase PTA Memberships

  • Learn about Round Up and Become a Sponsor---Every Dollar Counts!

  • Link your Randall’s Card to OHMS and Use AmazonSmile

  • View O. Henry Spirit Wear – New Merchandise coming soon!

OHMS PTA Spirit Shop

The O. Henry Middle School PTA Spirit Shop is open! https://ohenry-middle-school-pta.square.site/ You may also find the link on the PTA website under "Market". Order your mask before we run out! Please read the description for sizing. The Adult Large/XL is very large. We are currently offering great deals on t-shirt back stock! Here is a sneak peek at a design expected to arrive the first week of school.

Receive a FREE OHMS bumper sticker with all orders in August and September. Additional bumper stickers are available for $1 each. All items can be shipped to your home, or you may pick up your items from a front porch in the Bryker Woods area. Email ohmsspiritshop@gmail.com with any questions!

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Your membership in the PTA helps support the many valuable programs and activities that occur throughout the year at OHMS. We are firmly committed to every child’s wellbeing and to improving school performance. Please help support our efforts and join today!

Each membership includes access to the Texas PTA and National PTA, valuable teaching and parenting resources, and PTA member discounts to well-known retailers and service providers. Visit www.txpta.org and www.pta.org for more information.


Deadline for membership is November 2, 2020. Don’t delay – join today!


A special THANK YOU to

THANK YOU to these members as of September 12th

Glenn Chase, Nikki McCormick, Emily Mika, Dale Mika, Sherrill Deering, Downs Deering, Hilary Hunt,

Randi Bell, Sandra Frellsen, Rasha Madkour, Brannon Smith, Megan Hudgeons, Brandon Hudgeons, Jessica Manning-Acebo, Lynn Boswell, Caron Hutchison, Matthew Hutchison, Ashley Stiegler, Laura Ihrig, Amy Salinas, Frank Salinas, Charity Poage, Kristen Day, Aaron Day, Chris Napierkowski,

Megan Turnas, Tammy Cochran, Mary Miles Temple, Kimberly McLaren, Louis Ramos, Randi Shade,

Tara Reid, Jim Reid, Jenny Holland, Kaylea Babel, Kelly Stouse, Jessica Ewing, Ann Pizer,

Barry Stone, Gloria Williamson, Laura Pigford, Jennifer Johnson, Becky Ohls, Ali Clare, Sam Clare,

Lauren Whelan, Matt Whelan, Nancy Nesbitt, Liz McGuire, Michele Murphy, Karen Cotter,

Rhoda Brimberry, Michelle Reichenburg, Jason Reichenburg, Catherine Belivaeu, Kelly Shook,

Sommer Maxwell, Bobbi Bulmer, Cortney Yeasterwood, Melanie Miller, Jeff Miller, Sylvia Olivier,

Christine Ritter, Veronica Macon, Susan Horridge, David Horridge, Elise Bridges, Stephen Walls,

Denny Biggs, Jennifer Banda, Leigh Calandruccio, Debbie Collins, Tim Collins, Laurie Worsham,

Bill Worsham, Roxanne Jones, Carlie Brandt, Tammy Munoz, Ned Munoz, Jennifer Davis, CleeUpchurch, Leslie Blanton, Elena McGinnis, Kristin Galindo, Christine Yonge, Katie Mastovich, Stefan Mastovich, Rebecca Stokes, Rob Stokes, Jamie Turner, Thomas Turner, Pace Lossen, Karen Kegg, Kristen Jaros, Delaine Teeple, Bryan Teeple, Wendy Lary, Carly Edgar, Christina Biven, David Biven, Rachel Elder

And THANK YOU to these OHMS staff members for joining the PTA!

Cami Fillpot, Marlo Malott, Sharon Stockbauer, Michael Shackelford, Mary Hopkins, Duane Devereaux, Marlinn Conway, Cristina Torres, Casi Cook, Dell Mann, Tim Tierney, Jennifer Boltz, Amy Turner,

Amanda Jo Strassburg, Chris Rueter, Luke Borders, Wanda Montemayor, Heidi Shellhorn, Jenna Justice,

Wes Justice