Cougar News 3/4/19 – 3/8/19

What's happening at Small Middle School

Week of March 4, 2019 – March 8, 2019

Proud citizens of Smallville-

Here’s a quote from the bestselling author of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, that we shared with and talked about with our staff this week:

“Assume ignorance before malevolence. No one has a direct pipeline to your wants and needs—not even you.” Jordan B. Peterson

We wanted to make sure to remind our teachers that we are working with 11-14 year old students who often times do not know what it is they are to do, how to do it, or in most cases, have forgotten what to do. One cannot assume a kid is out to get them because they misplaced a restroom pass, or that the student is trying to show them up by purposely not writing down their assignments in their agenda only so teachers will receive an email from their parent. Assume the kid is a kid and that entails a lot of things to be forgotten, as well as an innumerable amount of tasks that will not be completed. Also, we reminded our staff that middle schoolers typically do not possess the time, nor the sticktoitiveness for a well-placed vendetta. We ask them to not take things personal and to remember that to err is human…even for little humans.

We also ask the same of our Smallville community when it comes to making judgements as to what is taking place, or has taken place, in your student’s classroom. Instead of quickly categorizing the teacher as being unfair for purposely misplacing a homework assignment, try checking to see if your pre-teen or teenage student, whom we have to remind on a daily what time lunch starts, might have put it in the wrong box or still has it. Then, look at the possibility that a professional, who receives 190 of these precious pieces of paper once, twice, and sometimes 3 times a week, could have easily misplaced it, overlooked it, of even dropped it. Remember, it takes a lot of extra effort to single out a kid and the end result for doing so is inevitably the same: more work and more headaches for the teacher. Instead, assume our teachers are human beings, which in being so means prone to error, and try to give them the benefit of the doubt.

7th and 8th Grade Parent Learning Walk: We love when parents and guardians get an opportunity to see what it is their kids are doing in our classrooms and were excited to have about a dozen or so walk with us on Wednesday. This one was geared for what to expect in the classrooms for next year to better prepare our students. The group I was lucky enough to escort spent approximately 45 minutes in various classes and during that time we heard roughly 2 minutes of teacher talk. Yes, you read that correctly, 2 of the 45 minutes we witnessed consisted of a teacher speaking directly to the class! That’s HUGE! For the majority of the time students were working cooperatively in groups, or partners, on the task at hand. We saw technology being utilized in all classes and could see the engagement across the board. Read below an email I received from parent Anita Latham about the experience:

“Mr. Nelson, thank you so much for doing the learning walk today. It was very helpful so see learning in action! Students seemed to be focused and interested in learning and teachers were

so creative in their approaches to foster group work and engagement. We love our school and thank you again for always being so open and receptive to parent input and involvement in school.”

Truer words were never spoken…err…written. Thanks again to all who showed up and we look forward to our next one.

Matthew Nelson
Small Middle School
(512) 841-6505

Texas Youth & Government

We have some major congratulations to extend to the 16 students that competed in the Junior Youth and Government state conference this weekend! This is a student-led program where students spend three days at the state capital presenting and fighting for bills and proposals they have spent months creating on their own. This year we have some major accomplishments that need to be recognized:

We had 3 student that were recognized as “distinguished delegates which means they were chosen out of 600 participants as the strongest debaters, leaders, and presenters. Those students are as follows:

Ava Sprott
Zoe Moreno 
Vivi Lopez-Stern

We also had a major win for Taya Thompson who will serve as the lieutenant governor for the entire state of Texas! This is a huge honor and requires immense leadership opportunities. Taya will be speaking in front of YMCA Board members advocating for JYG and asking for funding for the organization. She will also serve as the speaker of the senate at next year’s state conference. This is just the start of all of her responsibilities and we wish her luck and a BIG CONGRATULATIONS on all of her accomplishments.

These are major accomplishments for these students and we encourage as many of you to come out and join us next year as we fight for legislative change in Texas!

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Black History Month - Door Competition

This year our PRIDE classes competed in the first ever Black History Month Door Decorating Competition. We were blown away with what these classes came up with and loved walking through the halls looking at all their great designs. We had a non-partial team of judges that picked the winners. 

  • 1st- Mariel Early’s PRIDE Rm. 201 (Yellow Bus that extends onto the lockers)
  • 2nd- Toni Warren’s PRIDE Rm. 313 (Black HERstory)
  • 3rd- TIE
    • Meredith Siler’s PRIDE Rm. 107 (Black and Blue “Embrace the past…)
    • Emily Holzner’s PRIDE Rm. 404 (Lift Every Voice and Sing)

But they were all so good we decided to make a slide show to share them with you. 

Big thanks to Ms. Bright for the idea!

Old Android Phones Needed:

A message from one of our Tech Teachers:


I need some old Android smart phones (with chargers unless it’s universal) that we can get onto the wifi. The program we use in App Creators doesn’t support Apple, so most students are not able to test their apps on an actual device. 

If you have one you can donate, please drop it in the Main Office.

Thanks for your help!

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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


Great Thinkers

Let the fun and games continue!

We will meet in Room 204
March 7
March 14
April 4
April 11
April 25 

Our last meeting will be the Field Trip, May 2.  Look for an email regarding this event soon!

May 10 will be the carnival.  All participants in Great Thinkers need to have at least 1 adult from their family commit to one hour of working our carnival booth!   Questions?  email

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

Anonymously, students will complete a handout that will help us create an artistic representation of all of the diverse identities Small students identify with.  The NPFH/PALS students will use these to create a visual installation.  The March Madness College Door Decorating Contest. 

 Mindfulness Moment Questions:
Before each question, take some time to take a couple of collective deep breaths in and out. If you do not wish to ask these questions you can always ask students to 
1) “Tell me something good.” 
2) Share a glum and a glow.


Monday: Would you rather stay a kid until you turn 80 or instantly turn 40?
Wednesday: Would you rather be able to see new colors that no other people could see or be able to hear things that no other humans can hear

Friday: Would you rather be able to talk to animals or be able to fly?

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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

7A 32 – Garcia 64
7A 38 – Gorzycki 44(7th Grade finishes 4th in District)
8A 60 – Lamar 50
8A 55 – Bailey 41

Flag Rugby Club will start back up on Wednesday, 3/06,  3:45 -4:45

Join Small Middle School Ultimate Frisbee Club!


  • After-school twice a week on Mon/Wed starting March 11th through mid-May –  check website for latest info
  • Faculty sponsor – Coach Mullen
  • $42 joining fee, disc and shirt extra
  • Go to the website above to register and for additional information on the city-wide youth Spring league and other playing opportunities


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.



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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