Cougar News 1/21/19 – 1/25/19

What's happening at Small Middle School

Week of January 21, 2019 – January 25, 2019

Howdy Cougars!

Please remind your student that there will be no school on Monday so everybody can honor and celebrate the life of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. We have come a long way since he began championing for equal rights in the 60’s, but still have more work to do in order to make his dream a reality. Make sure to share your stories of inclusivity with your student over the weekend and help them recognize the humongous strides we have made as a society since the days when the honorable reverend asked an entire nation to make sure all people were treated fairly and informed us that it was our duty as citizens of the United States to ensure every man, woman, and child had an opportunity to flourish. Also, ask them what they can do today to help move us closer towards realizing his dream. Share with them his immoral words: “the time is always right to do what’s right.”

Exploding Kittens and Frog Dissection: The best part about being back on campus is being able to spend time in the classrooms and the cafeteria (yes, I said it, the cafeteria). It was at these locations where I got to see two very similar teaching styles which will hopefully lead to the same result; student success. Firstly, on Tuesday in the cafeteria, I was the student and 3 very precocious 6th graders were the teachers. The subject? Exploding Kittens (the card game). They taught me how to play by first allowing me to watch their demo game, then put me smack dab in the fire by dealing me in on the next hand. I was allowed to ask questions, it was another demo they informed me, but the next round the stakes would be real. What Elora, Vivi, and Lulu did is exactly what our very own Ms. Sellars did with her 7th grade science students when I observed her class dissecting frogs. She had them gather around the table as she went over the procedures step by step and then sent them off into their own groups with their own frogs. No demo frogs I’m afraid; these kids had their gloved hands and scissors on these amphibians within minutes and all Ms. Sellars had to do was walk around answering questions. In both cases the students (one slightly older than most middle-schoolers) were thrown into the fire and had to rely upon prior knowledge, life experience, the knowledge of what tools they had, and where to find answers in order to be successful. I’m pleased as punch that our 7th grade scientists performed so admirably on their surgical tasks, but even prouder of the 6th grade card sharks who spent their time to teach this old dog some new tricks.

Life at a middle school is never boring for anybody. Have a great 3 day weekend!

Matthew Nelson
Small Middle School
(512) 841-6505

Social Emotional Learning

Our lesson this week is titled Building a Culture of Respect.  The lesson defines harassment, as well as the implications and consequences of harassment.  It also stresses the importance of respecting each other’s bodies, personal space, and boundaries. Should you not want your child to participate in this lesson, please be sure to sign the opt out letter and have your child submit it to his/her/their PRIDE teacher.

Mindfulness Moments

Wednesday: If you were highly influential and could make change in the world, what would that change be? Why?

Thursday: Tell me something good.  Encourage students to share one good thing that has happened today or earlier this week.

Friday: What do you wish your parents knew about you?  What do you wish your teachers knew about you?

Note: On January 22 & 29, students will be part of a lesson on Creating a Culture of Respect. This lesson covers the following:

               -Definition of harassment, as well as the implications and consequences of harassment

               -The importance of respecting each other’s bodies, personal space, and boundaries

Please complete and submit the OPT OUT permission slip to your child’s PRIDE teacher should you not want them to participate. Thank you.

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Congratulations to 

Sadie V, Sean K, Didier P, Zach M, Chase D 

who were selected to perform in Austin’s all city band. 


If your student is NOT in the Austin High School attendance zone and is applying to an academy they will need to attend one ESSAY WRITING day.

Applicants will complete a timed in-house essay during one of our three available option times:

  • Austin High Library: Saturday, January 26, 2019 from 9:30-11:00 AM
  • O.Henry Middle School: Thursday, January 24, 2019 from 1:15-2:45 PM
  • Small Middle School: (Date change) Thursday, January 31, 2019 from 1:30-3:00 PM 


It has come to my attention that I neglected to tell you that our very own

7th grade Girls A Team are 

District Champions!

Congratulations girls!

 Job well done.

2018-2019 NJHS Important Dates

  • March 8, 2019
    Information meeting during PRIDE in front of the Counselor’s Office
  • March 11, 2019
    Pick up applications from the Counselor’s Office
  • March 15, 2019
    Last day to pick up an application from the Counselor’s Office
  • April 18, 2019
    Final day to turn in applications (no exceptions)
  • Week of May 6, 2019
    Letters go out to students who are accepted into NJHS
  • May 21st
    Induction into NJHS 6pm in the cafeteria

NJHS Candidate Community Service Hour log

Candidates should record a minimum of 10 hours between January 11th – February 14th.


New Policy for 2019-20 Transfer Requests

Austin ISD will begin accepting requests for school transfers for the 2019–20 school year on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019Requests may be submitted or mailed to the Office of Student Services (Room A200), Carruth Administration Center, 1111 W. Sixth St. during regular business hours, 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Applications for priority transfers and non-priority transfers will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019.

There have been several policy/regulation changes made this fall, including the following:

  1. Tracking transfers now include students who attended the highest two grades at a school but moved out of the attendance area prior to the submission deadline for priority transfers (last day of January).  They will be able to apply for a tracking transfer to the middle or high school their school tracks to.  Policy still states, however, that priority transfers, including tracking, will not be accepted to frozen schools.  FDB Local.

  2. Tracking transfers do not apply to transfers to a school to attend an application based program, including a magnet program.  FDB Local.

  3. If a student attending a magnet or application program leaves the program, they can apply for a transfer to the comprehensive program (if it is not their school based on address), but it will be processed on a first come, first served basis with other requests.  FDB Local.

  4. Special consideration will be given to students who have attended a school based on address for at least two consecutive years, move into another AISD attendance area, but wish to remain at that school.  Student Services will highlight these students for the Associate Superintendents to consider (if space is not already available) with or without an appeal.  FDB Local.

  5. The fall deadline for transfers will be three weeks prior to the first day of school instead of August 10.  FDB Regulation.

A list of the FROZEN schools will be announced by Dr. Cruz at the December 17th Board Meeting. Please visit the district website, for more information on the 2019-20 transfer application and process.

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We are very excited to provide you with this easy link to buy this year’s yearbook.

Last year it sold out, so be sure to act now.

This yearbook will be a super colorful hard cover keepsake of all your child’s happy memories of the school year.

Prices go up after the winter break. 

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