Cougar News 2/25/19 – 3/1/19

What's happening at Small Middle School

Week of February 25, 2019 – March 1, 2019

Howdy Cougars!

I’m writing this newsletter live from the 6th grade Valentine’s Day Dance! This is a fantastic way to celebrate all the money for campus our kids helped raise, and these 6th graders are tearing up the dance floor in style. Well, not actually tearing it up with actual dances; more like tearing it up by playing chase or briefly dancing then darting back to the safe confines of the outer perimeters. DJ Fred (Mr. T) is mixing it up with hits from today and from before, all geared up to get our kids on the floor. It’s events such as this that give me pause….wait…gotta run, the DJ is playing Harlem Shuffle.

Wow! Now they’re dancing! Nothing gets socially awkward teens and middle-aged adults on the dance floor faster than a dance with explicit instructions. Nobody feels judged as we’re all doing the same thing: we’re moving it to the left, we’re moving it to the right, etc… It’s just like I was planning on delving deep into before the song started playing. Teenagers need to …

Dang! Now he’s playing the Cupid Shuffle! This one has even more instructions, which means less opportunities to mess up. Wow! Even the chaperones are high-tailing it to the floor on this one.

Whew…now I’m out of breath. Looks like I won’t be able to finish my thoughts on the above. Instead, take a gander at the miscellania below:

7th and 8th Grade Parent/Guardian Learning Walk: Please join us this Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in the cafeteria for a Learning Walk. This one is geared towards 7th and 8th grade families to they can get an idea as to what’s going on in our classrooms. For 7th grade families, it’s a great way to get a glimpse into what one could expect next year. We’ll meet briefly to go over expectations, spend about 45 minutes in some classrooms, then debrief in the cafeteria all before the chaos which is a passing period ensues.

Transformation Zone Update: A BIG thanks to the parents and guardians who met with the consulting firm working with AISD a few weeks back to discuss Smallville and the Transformation Zone opportunity. There is no news to report on this end, as we are still in a holding pattern, but expect some news by the end of next week. Regardless of the outcome, it’s always great to let others meet with our various stakeholders to hear about all the wonderful goings on at Small.

CAC BTO Shoutout: Kudos to our CAC for sitting through about 40 minutes of my discussion and dissection of next year’s BTO (Basic Table of Operations, i.e. budget). It’s never exciting listening to somebody go over what amounts to a spreadsheet with numbers on it ad nauseum, but the committee sat through the process and learned about what we plan to do with the funds AISD is giving us, what we’ll do if and when they decide to increase the funds based on our student population, and how we plan to pay “out of pocket” for staff and personal so we can continue to have the same number of staff next year. We are a tricky school to forecast since our numbers have increased every year (34% in 3 years) due to student choice and the growth of Southwest Austin, but we’re certain the funds forecasted will soon match our student projections and we won’t have to rely on Plans B, C, D, and E. Regardless, it was nice to share the inner workings of the entire process with the CAC and their questions and ponderings certainly proved their interest.

Now, back to the dance floor. I heard rumor there’s an old school remix version of The Electric Slide coming up and I got to start stretching.

Matthew Nelson
Small Middle School
(512) 841-6505


Online registration for the 2019-20 school year is open! Every year parents need to register their student(s) for the following school year. Please visit your PARENT CLOUD, click the “registration” tile to complete registration for the 2019-20 school year.

* Please check to make sure your contact information is up to date (any address changes will need to be made at the school)

* Please make sure your emergency contact information is up to date

If you are having trouble accessing your Parent Cloud please contact Diane Ewing 512-841-6710 OR contact Parent Technology Support at 512-414-9187

6th Grade Choice Sheet

Click here to download your
6th Grade Choice Sheet.

Watch the video below for instructions

7th Grade Choice Sheets

Click here to download the
7th grade Choice sheet

Watch the video below for instructions

8th Grade Choice Sheet

Click here to download the
8th Grade Choice Sheet

Watch the video below for instructions

Note from the Counselors:

Click here for the Course Descriptions 

 Every student should have a choice sheet now. If not you can download from the links above.

Computer Science (YR) & Computer Science (SM) have now changed to PLTW Computer Science for Innovators & Makers (YR) and PLTW APP Creators (SM)
Green Building has now changed to Manufacturing & Construction


AISD Food Service Survey

AISD Food Services Survey 2019
At Austin ISD, we are committed to all students. In Nutrition and Food Services we strive to expand food access, serve healthy, tasty meals, and provide opportunities to learn about nutrition, cultural foodways and the food system. Salad bars, food trucks, plant-based options, clean labels, global flavors, locally sourced and sustainably raised foods are all ways we are reinventing the urban school meal experience at Austin ISD. Positive changes have been put in place over past few years. It is important that we continue to gather feedback from our school communities. We’d like your feedback. This information will be used to help create future menus to best meet your needs. Past feedback helped us to create more balanced menus with healthier versions of student favorites paired with new, global dishes.
Take the family survey here: Take the student/staff survey here:
Making the choice to eat school meals positively impacts all students across the district. The more students fed each day, the more funds are available to spend on higher quality food. We plan to increase the use of local, sustainable and clean label foods, but need student participation to help support these initiatives. 
Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback! 
Anneliese Tanner Executive Director 
Austin ISD Food Services and Warehouse Operations
Encuesta de Servicios Alimentarios 2019
En el Austin ISD estamos comprometidos con todos los estudiantes. En Servicios Alimentarios y de Nutrición nos esforzamos por expandir el acceso a la comida, servir comidas saludables y deliciosas, y ofrecer oportunidades de aprender sobre nutrición, prácticas culturales alimenticias y el sistema alimentario. Las barras de ensaladas, camiones de comida, opciones basadas en plantas, etiquetas limpias, sabores globales, comidas de fuentes locales y producidas de forma sostenible son todas formas en que estamos reinventando la experiencia de la comida escolar urbana en el Austin ISD. Se han realizado cambios positivos durante los últimos años. Es importante que sigamos reuniendo comentarios de nuestras comunidades escolares. Nos gustaría saber su opinión. Se utilizará esta información para crear menús futuros que satisfagan mejor sus necesidades. Los comentarios en el pasado nos ayudaron a crear menús más balanceados con versiones más saludables de platos favoritos de los estudiantes junto con platos globales nuevos.
Llene la encuesta familiar aquí:
Llene la encuesta para estudiantes y personal aquí:
Elegir comer las comidas escolares afecta de forma positiva a todos los estudiantes del distrito. Mientras más estudiantes las coman cada día, tantos más fondos habrá disponibles para comprar comida de mayor calidad. Planeamos aumentar el uso de alimentos locales, sostenibles y de etiqueta limpia, pero necesitamos la participación de los estudiantes para que apoyen estas iniciativas.
¡Gracias por tomarse el tiempo para compartir su opinión! 
Anneliese Tanner Directora ejecutiva Servicios Alimentarios y Operaciones del Almacén del Austin ISD

Social Emotional Learning

This week, our students will be learning about and discussing resilience.  Resilience is perseverance through struggle, bounding back from defeat, and having the courage to take risks. They will watch a video about Richie Parker, a vehicle engineering, and how he’s overcome many obstacles.  Then, students will reflect on an individual in their lives that has been highly resilient. 

 Mindfulness Moment

Read the quote.  Allow time for students to process and have them share their thoughts on it.

 Monday: “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” – Dr. Martin Luther King

Wednesday: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

Friday: “We can’t become who we need to be by remaining who we are.” – Oprah Winfrey

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Please join us for a parent overview of Blend.  BLEND, Austin ISD’s new digital learning space, was created to provide parents and guardians with the information necessary to support their child’s use of BLEND. Come join us for a short orientation that will help you understand the mechanics of BLEND and give you a better understanding of your child’s expectations at school. 

This class will be taught by 7th grade science teacher, Laura Rice.  Ms. Rice is the Campus innovation Coach has been using BLEND for over 2 years. 

March 6th from 8:15 – 9:30 – Room 206

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Thank you to those of you that have filled out the Parent survey so far. 

If you have not, please take a few minutes

AISD would like to get a solid idea of how our families feel about our school. They use this information for the  strategic plan scorecard. 

Please take a moment to tell AISD your thoughts about Small Middle School. 

Basketball Scores

Boys Basketball Scores vs Murchison


Basketball Scores

7B Small 28 – Gorzycki 33
8B Small 29 – Gorzycki 36

A Team City Tournament results
7A 58 – Burnet 37

Upcoming Games:
Monday 7A @ Garcia (City Semi-Finals)

Monday 8A @ Lamar

Wednesday Games for 7A and 8A to be determined based on Monday’s results.




Sustainable Living in Germany & Switzerland Trip - June 2020

Travel to Germany and Switzerland to learn how they are leaders in Sustainable Living. 

To learn more about this international STEM trip opportunity, click the link here to visit the tour website

This trip is planned for June 2020

Recycling. Clean energy. Cars of the future. Germany and Switzerland
have been at the forefront of some of the world’s most forward-thinking
approaches to technology and energy. And it’s easy to see why—these
countries are a perfect blend of European charm and start-up culture.
Learn about Germany and Switzerland’s innovative sustainability efforts
by seeing state-of-the-art models of renewable energy, urban farming,
and eco-tourism. Be a part of the creative conversation firsthand as you
embark on an urban quest in the green city of Freiburg, hike through an
Alpine glacier, and discover a vast underground city in a nuclear bunker
in Lucerne.
For more information, please contact


Can't make it in June?
Maybe try Spring Break...

Students will have two opportunities to learn about Sustainable Living in German and Switzerland. The trips differ slightly, but the experience is beyond compare.


Information meeting for the Spring Break 2020 trip will be

Thursday, February 28th at 6 pm in the CSMS Library. 

Please join us to learn more about this amazing opportunity.


Learn how the Alps were formed and see the effects of glaciation on the geography of the Alpine lands and the opportunities this has given in travel, leisure and, tourism. Learn about green technology and environmental advances by visiting Vauban – an innovative town that is a model of sustainability. You will also learn about the research, technology and production process involved in the modern automobile industry. Enjoy a bike tour that combines cultural highlights with an eco-tutorial on the regeneration of natural spaces along the Isar River and a guided tour of a Swiss hydroelectric power station. Spend the afternoon visiting the riveting Deutsches Museum, home to 28,000 exhibit items spanning 50 different fields of sciences and technology and filled with hands-on activities. Join us for all of this and so much more as we explore Lucerne, Freiburg, and Munich.


 contact melissa Dunaway with any questions.

On Feb. 3rd, many Small Middle School students competed in the NICA Mountain Bike race in Troy, TX.  All raced hard and several garnered top 10 results.  Everyone’s efforts assisted in claiming the Middle School 2nd place over all other mountain bike teams in Texas that weekend.   These students train and race with the Bowie Mountain Bike Bulldog team.

8th grade boys
Ethan Doucette 1st place
7th grade boys

Beckett Sharp 8th place
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Gretchen Doucette

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 March 11th – April 14th.



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. 

STEM Summer Camp for Girls – Tuition Free 

Click here for more details


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5 thoughts on “Cougar News 2/25/19 – 3/1/19

    1. Both! It is so parents can see what is really going on in the classrooms. I have been on a few of them and am always amazed on what I see…. And I work here! So if you really want to get a sense of what goes on in the classrooms here at Small, It is a good way to get some perspective. If you have an outgoing 8th grader, you may or may not care as you are on the way out.


  1. The anchor tag at the top that says “Bowie High School 8th to 9th Info” doesn’t link anywhere? Was there supposed to be some new info? Also, can you tell me where we need to turn in our (overdue) class choice paperwork? We’re a little out of the loop, sorry!

    1. Darn, I removed the Bowie stuff because it has all expired, I guess I forgot to remove the link. You can still turn in the Bowie Choice Sheets to Ms. Castaneda up until this Friday. After that you will have to take it to Bowie. I hope that helps.


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