For those of you new to the pride, we welcome you with open arms and congratulate you on choosing the best middle school in all of Central Texas! We are proud to serve as AISD’s flagship middle school and do not take the honor lightly; our talented team of educators are constantly looking at ways to improve student engagement and maximize student performance on a daily basis. We believe in whole-child education and know that to honor the skills and wants of so many different students, we have to be on our game in regards to making connections with each and every one of them. Our staff is dedicated to making these connections and know the three Rs of middle school education backwards and forwards. For those of you new to Small, here are the three Rs of middle school education:
Students at this age-level need support in all aspects of their day. Whether academic, social, emotional, athletic, or even in regards to how to blow off steam. Our staff specializes in creating authentic relationships with each student so in order for them to blossom. We know that students do not learn from their teachers so much as they learn for their teachers. \We are relationship builders first and foremost; that’s the secret ingredient in the special sauce we serve up everyday.
“Unprecedented!” “Amazing!” “Awe inspiring!” No, these aren’t comments attributed to my ever-improving golf game, but rather to Small’s increased enrollment over the last 3 years. We’ve grown from 986 in 2015-2016, to 1,186 at the end of last year, to a whopping projection of 1,271 on the first day of school this year! That’s a 30% growth in 3 years, which is about the same rate as property values here in Austin (11% per year), and we are beyond excited to serve so many students from so many areas of town. We are the most diverse school in Austin, and this year we will represent students form over 40 various elementary schools in Central Texas. We’ve attracted over 66 kids from outside of AISD (charter, private, home, etc..) and are happy to guide them on their path towards academic excellence.
With this enormous growth also comes the opportunity to overcome new challenges. Namely... space limitations. We were in line to receive 5 portables this year (10 classrooms) but due to the current state of disrepair the portables are in, AISD decided to not to re-locate them. What this means for us is now we have a few teachers floating (teaching in multiple rooms) and have had to be creative in regards to our current space: meeting rooms have been transformed into classrooms, offices have been doubled, tripled, and in one case quadrupled up, and common areas are in the process of becoming learning centers. The only humans on campus who will experience the pains associated with our limitations are the adults on campus, which is exactly how it should be. Your students will have comfortable classrooms with room to collaborate, create, and communicate freely.
That being said, here are a few helpful hints to assist your student with the first week:
- Since our new batch of 6th graders will be having to learn a new ID number for their lunch accounts (their SID), we expect some logjams in the lines. To help ease with this, it might be a good idea to bring one’s lunch for the first few days.
- Know this....every student on campus will be able to eat. If we start dismissing from lunch, and your student is still eating, we will most certainly allow then to finish up before heading to class. We’ll remind them, but you may want to mention this fact to them prior.
- School supplies on the first day should be limited to something to write with (pencils/pens), and something to write on (composition books). That’s basically it. As the week unfolds, grade levels and departments will send out specific supply lists for their classes, so concentrate on the bare essentials on day one.
- Backpacks will be utilized instead of lockers this year, so make sure your student is equipped with one on the first day. The smaller, the better, and make sure to have their name written in it somewhere.
- Drop off and pick up: there isn’t typically an issue with drop-off as the window is from 7-8:15, but the pick-up in the afternoon can be somewhat hectic as we release all students at one time. A suggestion might be to have them meet you down the road on Staggerbrush Lane (b=via the crosswalk) or further down Monterrey Oaks. The cars start lining up early, so be prepared to wait if you don’t have an alternative pick-up locale. Either way, it’s also a good time to re-stock your audio books for your vehicle.
Solar Eclipse of the Heart!!!!
We are not about to let our kids miss this cosmic event that will take place on August 21st! Every student on campus will take time out during the day to view this awesome event when it is at it’s peak. We will provide index cards with pre-punched holes for our kids, but please feel free to send them with their own eclipse glasses if you already have them. We will spend time discussing the eclipse and how to view it during PRIDE and then use the experience to jump start the conversations the next day in science. Make sure to tell your students prior to never, ever, ever look directly into the sun...even with the eclipse glasses. Also, please do not let your student wear sunglasses as it may encourage them to took towards the sun.
The way we will be heading out to our prescribed viewing areas will be via a fire drill, as there are 4 areas outside of campus where teachers take their classes during these times. Once safely outside, the show will begin!
Thanks for reading and thanks for making Small your school of choice. We guarantee your students’ best year ever in education and know that it is only possible with your support. Thank you in advance.
Small Middle School