Cougar News – Week of 10/21/19

What's happening at Small Middle School

2019-2020 
Week of 10/21/19 – 10/25/19

Smallville-

The word is out. Students are keenly aware and have been asking me questions about it all week. They Genie is out of the bottle. Or rather, the Genie is being put back in the bottle. Effective January 8, 2020, we will no longer allow cell phones on campus. That’s right, cell phone usage will no longer be permitted at Small Middle School.

Firstly, we want you to know that we as a staff have no ill will towards cell phones, in fact 100% of us have them and use them daily. We have nothing against the idea of a student having access to a personal computer in their pocket either. What we do want to prevent, and protect our students from, is the effects of social media which unfortunately are synonymous with cell phones at this age. For years we have been relying on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) as a way to level the playing field in regards to technology in our classrooms, but with that move also came the collateral damage of kids using phones for non-educational purposes and the increase of social media activity at a time when we’d all prefer them to either working or engaging in some good old fashioned face-to-face communication. Now, with the influx of ChromeBooks to our 8th graders, we have the means to get to a true one-to-one ratio in regards to technology.

As adults, we are able to navigate the professional world and personal world somewhat successfully (some of you may be reading this very email at work, even on your own personal device) and manage to separate the two and complete all of our assigned tasks. It’s why we’re called adults. However, at this age and developmental point in their lives, not all kids can do the same. When something is read via DM or as a post on Social Media that is upsetting or unnerving, we’ve most likely lost the kid for the duration of the day. Not all of our kids mind you, but more than enough to encourage our staff to want to make this change.

What will be different next semester? Not much in regards to your student’s day, except the fact cell phones will no longer be allowed in the cafeteria or the gym before the first bell. For this to be effective, it has to be no cell phones at any time on campus. Period. Instead of relying on cell phones as blue-toothed babysitters from 7 a.m until 8:08, we will add more board games to the common areas and open up the courtyard every morning so kids can play ga ga ball, basketball, or simply enjoy nature. Picture it looking more like middle school looked like when you were younger, or just harken back to 2006 B.I. (Before iPhone)

Can they still have them on campus? You bet. Out of sight and out of mind. They can have them for sure, we just don’t want to see them or hear them. We want them to be available for emergencies and the like but will insist they are turned off, silent, and out of view during the day. To help with this, we ask you to assist us with this effort by communicating with your student via the front office (we have 2 wonderful ladies answering phones all the live long day), or by using the school website. Check out our convenient Early Student Pick-up Form here.

How will my student reach me? The same way they did prior to when they first received their cell phone; by using a landline. Every classroom on campus has a phone and the front office has as many as 5 available to students at all times. All that is required is a pass to the office and then your student can call from here. We’ll even look up your phone number for them as I’m certain it’s saved under favorites and not memorized…yet.

We thank you in advance for supporting our efforts to ensure our kids are taken care of while here on campus. This is a move we’ve been discussing for a while and the goal was for next year, but when it comes to doing what’s best for our kids, why wait?

Thank you for reading and please feel free to reach out to me with questions and concerns.

Matthew Nelson
Principal
Clint Small Middle School
(512) 841-6705
matthew.m.nelson@austinisd.org
www.smallmiddleschool.org
Follow me on Twitter: @smallprincipal-

 

Visit our Scholastic Book Fair Oct 28th – Nov 1st 

in the library from 7:45 am-4:00 pm!
Shop online Oct 21st – Nov 8th.

Small Library Book Fair Site
Click HERE to volunteer!

Scholastic has a great new service for book fairs called eWallet. It give students a secure, cash-free way to shop the fair. There is no charge to set up an eWallet. Parents simply create an account and authorize a specific spending amount on their credit card. Click on our site link to learn  more and set up your student’s eWallet!

8th Grade West Texas Field Trip

5 Days and 4 Nights Camping in Beautiful Davis Mountain State Park

  • Caverns of Sonora
  • McDonald Observatory
  • Big Bend National Park
  • The Chianti Foundation
  • Enchanted Rock
  • Marfa, TX

April 13-17 2020

This is an educational and optional field trip for interested 8th grade students.

We have space for 28 students.

To apply for this trip, students will need to write an essay and pick up a packet from Mr. Poehl.  (all necessary information is in the packet)

All essays must be turned in by November 1st

The cost for the trip is $400.  Scholarships available for those who qualify

Click here for more information

Email Mr. Poehl christopher.poehl@austinisd.org with questions 

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Notebooks Needed

Parents,
 
In an effort to help our students be more actively engaged and organized in PRIDE classes, we need your help.  We need spiral notebooks or comp books (70-100) pages that typically cost under $1.00 that students can use to write about Social Emotional Learning lessons and to do grade checks each week.  These will be kept in the PRIDE teacher classrooms and will be easily accessible each day when they get to PRIDE.  As students view lessons focused on SEL they can now write down information that will help them process and retain these valuable lessons.  In addition, they will have one place to keep track of grades as they plan each week on how to improve their grades as they discuss these with the PRIDE teacher.  Thank you all for your help and any donations would be greatly appreciated.  
  
 

Thank You,
David Sammon
Small Middle School Assistant Principal

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Picking up your student early? Here's a Hot Tip!

Parents – 
 

 As Mr. Nelson mentioned in his letter above. 

 Did you know that you can complete a request online to have your student meet you in the office when you need to pick them up for an appointment?  It’s easy to do, and saves you wait time in the office!

 Go to www.smallmiddleschool.org and look for the link for Early Pickup Request on the right side Under the hotlinks. 

 Complete the form, (same day as pick up is preferred, and at least an hour before you will arrive)

 Viola!  Your student will meet you in the office and once you sign your student out, you can be on your way.

 Thanks in advance,

 The Front Office Team

 

Small Step Bet Challenge

StepBet is a fitness game that motivates you to be more active. Players “bet” on themselves to meet their personalized step goals during every week of the game, and win money if they do. The cash prize, accountability, and community support help you build a more active lifestyle. By using the Health App on your phone, a Fitbit, Apple Watch, or Garmin, you can join all of us at Small Middle School to participate in this challenge. Get active and have fun! 

You can download the StepBet app at the App store or Google Play:
 
Once you download the app you can enter game code: smallstep to find our game. Remember, our game picture: 
  • Game starts Monday, October 21 and ends Sunday, November 24
  • You can see what your active day and power day steps will be before you accept the challenge. Your active & power levels are determined by your current activity.
  • Accepting the challenge will cost $30, which you can win back if you complete the challenge!
  • Invite friends to join our Small Family Challenge! Game code: smallstep
This Stepbet challenge is for our Small Staff and Community. We wanted to invite our families to join in on the fun!
 
Note: This is not a fundraiser, if you don’t make your challenge the money gets spread among the participants playing.

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Parent GT Nominations are Open!

Does your kiddo grasp concepts quickly and are they able to connect ideas across subjects and experience?  Do they have an active working memory and like to delve deeply into their learning?  You might have a GT kiddo on your hands!  If you think your kiddo might qualify for the GT Program, (and has not already been identified) click on the following link and complete the survey.  The survey takes about 15-20 minutes and you will need your student’s schedule (or your kiddo) to complete the first several questions. 
 
Once you submit the form, we here at Smallville will take care of the rest!
 
The Parent Nomination Window closes at midnight, November 15.
 
If you have any questions, please contact your campus GT Advocate at christie.manners@austinisd.org
 
 

Advanced Theater

The Advanced Theater Class beginning after school rehearsals this month. Please refer to the schedule below. Email Mrs. Murray with any questions:  kristen.murray@austinisd.org

 

  • Both casts: Oct 3rd, 10th, 17th, 22nd 3:45pm-5:00 pm
  • After school dress rehearsals for Shake Cast: 28th, 30th 3:45-5:30 pm
  • After school dress rehearsals for Speare Cast: 29th, 31st 3:45-5:30 pm

Next Counselor Talk - Vaping

Save the date!

The next counseling talk will be
November 12th at 8:30 am

Guest speaker will be here to discussing
teen vaping.

 

We need to let the presenter know how many people are coming so
please click here to RSVP. 

We hope to see you there!

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LASA Application

Is your 8th grader applying to LASA?  To assist with completing the essays and thinking about teacher recommendations, mentoring help is available to all students (and parents) in Room 204 from 3:45-5:00 pm on Thursday, Nov 7, Thursday Nov21, and Thursday, Dec 5 courtesy of your Campus GT Advocate christie.manners@austinisd.org.  

Please contact her if you have any questions regarding applying to LASA.  Mrs. Manners is a current LASA parent and parent of a 2018 graduate of LASA.

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The DukeTIP program offers students with qualifying scores an opportunity to take the SAT.  Registration, payment, and transportation to and/or from the test is handled by families.  Here is the link if your student has a qualifying score and you would like them to participate in the program.  https://tip.duke.edu/programs/7th-grade-talent-search

Before you go to the website, you will need to know your student’s STAAR Scores from either of the previous two years. 
 

Either of the two most recent test administrations may be used, and students need only qualify on one subtest. Qualifying scores are:

  • 2018 STAAR (English) 5th Grade Scores: Math of 1845 or greater, Reading of 1781 or greater, Science of 4531 or greater
  • 2018 STAAR (Spanish) 5th Grade Scores: Math of 1707 or greater, Reading of 1767 or greater, Science of 4161 or greater
  • 2019 STAAR (English) 6th Grade Scores: Math of 1881 or greater, Reading of 1783 or greater

If you have any questions, please contact your Campus GT Advocate christie.manners@austinisd.org.
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OCTOBER 25th 2019!
Hello Clint Small parents and guardians! 
Now that “back-to-school” has come and gone, the next order of business for Theatre & Visual Arts is to start launching effort to make the
2019 Smalloween haunted house and dance a success of Cougar proportions. 
Mrs. Murray < kristen.murray@austinisd.org >or Mr. Tabares < fred.tabares@austinisd.org > if you have any questions about these roles.
Currently, we are working for light fixtures, blacklight light bulbs and doll heads by the hundred (yes, seriously).
Thank you for your support and Go Cougars!
WARNING: THIS EVENT USES STROBE LIGHTS. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!
 
Below is a Sign-Up Genius link for various roles we would like to have filled by parents and guardians. Please feel free to email
Please stay tuned here for further announcements or calls for various needs.
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080C4EABA92FA31-smalloween
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The Smalloween Haunted House needs your help!  We are looking for the following donations:
 
  • Doctor Outfits
  • Dr Masks
  • Toilet Paper Rolls
  • Glow Sticks
  • Black Foam Board- 3 sheets
  • 2- Black Morph suits
  • Fake Chains
  • 8-Scrubs outfits
  • Adjustable Shower curtain rod
  • 3 pair of yellow  latex cleaning gloves
 
Please drop off any donated items in the front office with the label- For SMALLOWEEN
 
If you want any costume items back please include your name and that you want the costume returned on the label.
We need them delivered by October 21st

Germany and Switzerland

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

This trip is planned for June 2020

To learn more about this international STEM trip opportunity, Join us for an informational meeting on September 24th at 6:00pm – https://rsvp.eftours.com/29eh3kd

If you missed the meeting but want more information, please contact sarah.dietz@austinisd.org

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, Contact Sarah Dietz at sarah.dietz@austinisd.org
parent meeting regarding this trip. 

Small School Big World wants you to join us in Germany and Switzerland!

 
Want to travel to Europe to see a state-of-the-art Green Tech auto factory?
Care to enjoy touring a Zero Waste city?
Love to see beautiful architecture and stunning natural vistas?
Stay in the middle of the action and enjoy excellent accommodations and cuisine?
 
Join us, Spring Break 2020!
 
Information meeting Monday, Sept 23rd 6:30pm in the Library!
 
Have questions?  email melissa.dunaway@austinisd.org or christie.manners@austinisd.org 
 
 
 

PT-YAY News

Join the PTA and show your support for Small Middle School!

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