Cougar News – 3/2/20

What's happening at Small Middle School

Week of 3/2/20 – 3/6/2020


Let me tell you what we love about working with students…well one of the things we love. We absolutely love it when our kids advocate for themselves and others. Self-advocacy is a lifelong skill that is certainly more nurture than nature, so it is something that must be taught both at school and at home.

However, teaching it is not enough; kids need to practice it early and often.

As you may know, CAT Day was originally scheduled for March 4th of next week but we went ahead and moved it to the following Friday, March 6th. What you may not know is why. The “why” behind the move is because one of our amazing 8th grade students, Ms. Penelope Walston, scheduled a sit-down with me to discuss a few conflicts our CAT Day was producing. There were two issues with the proposed date and she wanted me to be aware of them: 1. UIL Orchestra was that day and close to 100 students wouldn’t be able to participate in the entire day, and 2. With members of Orchestra absent, the Cougar Dancers, who were headlining the Pep Rally, would be without a few of their dancers. She asked if it was possible to change the dates.

Well, we explained to her that we chose the date solely for the reason that it was General Patton’s favorite day of the year (March 4th is the only day that is also a command) and that the decision was made before the publication any UIL or testing calendar, but it was still set in stone and databases, gradebooks, and published calendars had already been distributed. She then thanked us and said she knew it was a long shot going in, but that she felt she had to advocate for her Orchestra and for her Cougar Dancers team.

After she left, it hit me; it’s really not that hard to change the dates afterall, and AISD is kinda used to us (me) making mistakes, so let’s give it a shot. I spoke with a few of the people associated with the day and making it so successful, and the consensus was that we should do it as the only thing keeping us attached to the day was the fact it was announced as the day. So, cooler heads prevailed and we are now honoring a young student’s wish to allow our entire populace to participate in the festivities.

Penelope advocated for herself and her friends and we applaud her for doing so. She knows that the worst thing that can happen when you request something is to hear the word “no.” She also knows that, as in our case, the people whom you are making a request of may not have all the information, so even if the wants aren’t met, the info shared will hopefully forever be in the head of the decision maker.

We are most thankful Penelope is a part of our Cougar Community, and I’m most certain her teammates are as well.

Have a great weekend and know that Spring Break is only 10 school days away. Let the countdown begin!

Thank you

Matthew Nelson
Clint Small Middle School
(512) 841-6705
Follow me on Twitter: @smallprincipal-

In memory of John Stidolph

His parents shared the service will be held next Sunday, March 8th at Austin Christian Church, 15501 Ranch Rd 620, Austin, TX 78717. All are welcome to join for service at 10 AM and a potluck starting at 1 PM.


“Like a bird singing in the rain, let grateful memories survive in this time of sorrow” 

-Robert Louis Stevenson

Green Tech

The Green Leaf

Green Academy Newsletter 2.18.20

Hello Community!

Spring is a busy time of the year for all people involved in the outdoors, and the Green Academy is no different. The gardens are being maintained and manicured. Our diligent work is leading to our gardens blooming in extraordinary ways! We are also aiming to complete many new projects in our outdoor learning spaces.

Last semester the Capstone students finished their projects. We installed murals, pollinator gardens, introduced a new flock of chickens, purchased new bee hives, and many other amazing projects. 

We were lucky enough to have been awarded two different grants. Both of which are almost finished being spent and established. One was to expand our urban forest and shade canopy on campus. The second was a partnership with Austin Fire Department to construct a demonstration garden on campus to educate our community on gardening with wildfire prevention in mind. There will be two informational signs manufactured and put in place before the end of this semester.

Due to the structure of the Green Academy, we are always working to find ways to fund our projects and innovations. Austin ISD and Small MS have always been supportive of our program. However, beyond our salaries the district and the school provide little to no funding to our program. 

Student Lab Fees are used to support small projects and replace basic resources. 

For the life of the Academy we have had a biannual plant sale. Our next sale will be on March 12 and 13. We sell student grown native plants, herbs, and vegetables. We will also be selling student created products including goat milk soap and paper embedded with wildflower seeds. The Green Academy Market Days products have been made over the past 2 years.

We are in a constant need of funding. We have 4 educators that have amazing ideas and plans. We are unceasingly searching and applying for grants opportunities. Many other schools are now moving into Environmental education. This is wonderful for the field, but makes it much harder to find a steady source of funds.

Our current plan is to begin a crowdfunding campaign. Austin ISD has partnered with Learning Tree. We are putting together a plan to create a new outdoor learning space. This outdoor learning space will almost double our outdoor seating allotment at Small. The space will be placed in a location that will allow it to be utilized by almost the entire student body. The outdoor space could be used for direct teaching, small group learning, nature observation, or just calm reflection. Research has shown that outdoor education can improve school performance, increase health and child development, and can improve civic attitudes and behaviors. Once our campaign goes live we will notify our wonderful community.

Please remember to support all of our campus programs. Also please visit our Small Gardens blog,, and our Instagram account, @insmallgardens.

Thank you!

Gang Green

Green Dough Night

Our Green Academy and Double Dave’s in Arbor Trails are partnering for a Green Dough Spirit Night on March 25! A percentage of that nights sales will be donated to our Green Academy.

Hope to see you there!

GT-Math and Math-interested kiddos!

 The SMMG (Sunday Morning Math Group) session will be held this Sunday, February 23, 12-2pm in the usual location in 4.102 RLM Hall on UT’s campus. After the riddles, we’ll be having two talks–one in the Intermediate Room and one in the Advanced Room. You can check out the topics here, and, as always, there will be free bagels, muffins, juice, coffee, and street parking! 

Library Volunteers

We can always use help in the Library. If you want to volunteer, Sing up here: Sign Up to Volunteer in the Library

CAT Day Moved

Due to some conflicts, CAT day has moved to Friday, March 6th – Parent Remember that the kids will be in different classes this day so we encourage not to pick them up early for appointments as they will be hard to track down. Click here to see the schedule for CAT Day March 6th.

Come Support the CSMS Band

Clint Small Middle School Band department UIL Performance times.
Performances held at the AISD PAC
Wednesday, March 11 10:00AM.  Symphonic Band
Wednesday, March 11 4:45PM  Symphonic Winds
Thursday, March 12 3:00PM  Wind Ensemble

Cougar Dancers Auditions

Join Small Middle School Ultimate Frisbee Club!

  • After-school twice a week on Mon/Wed/(some Fridays) starting March 2nd through mid-May –  check website for latest info
  • Faculty sponsor – Coach Mullen
  • $60 joining fee for after-school and Saturday league play, 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

Track Schedule

Here is this years Track Schedule

March 26 @ Lamar
April 2 @ Murchison
April 9 @ Burger
April 16 @ Small
April 22 & 23 @ Burger (Track Championships)

6th Grade Transition Camp

Cougar Camp for our Incoming 6th Graders is now accepting Registration. 

Click here to print out the registration form. 

Email Coach Hernandez with any questions:

Join us for a celebration of archaeology! 

Austin Public Archaeology Day is a free event on Saturday, April 25 during the Society for American Archaeology’s Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. Everyone is invited to explore Texas history and heritage through hands-on activities, educational materials, and talks from archaeologists.

Advanced Theatre Info

Annie Jr. After school Rehearsals  are Feb 18,20,25,27th from 3:45-5:00pm
  • Do you want to create the Haunted House for Smalloween?
  • Be a star in the school Musical
  • Perform at UIL One Act Play Contest?
Then, try out for Advanced Theatre next year!
Advanced Theater Auditions are coming, March 4th, 6th, and 9th
Pick up and application outside Room 400 or from your grade level counselor. 

Patton Volleyball

Hello Patton Families!

This year, we were disappointed to hear that our FAVORITE annual Event, AAPER Volleyball Playday, has been cancelled due to construction on the UT Campus. But don’t worry… we are putting together a special event so that our Fifth Grade Class of 2020 can still get the experience of playing volleyball on a school team! We are inviting all current Middle Schoolers who were on our volleyball teams in 5th Grade to join us for a Patton Volleyball Playday! The Playday will take place on Sunday, March 8 from 1-4 PM at Small Middle School. We would love for you to wear your “vintage” shirts if you still have them!

If you want to be involved, Register here. 


From London to Paris: June 2021

London to Paris

We’re pleased to announce that we will be offering an international educational travel opportunity for ALL Small Middle School students!

We will be traveling to England and France in June of 2021! 

London and Paris are both brimming with historic highlights, vibrant culture, and plenty of charm. We will begin your journey in the English capital, where we’ll see many of the city’s beloved landmarks, including the Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and Hyde Park. Then hop on the high-speed train to France’s capital to come face-to-face with the Mona Lisa in the Louvre and stroll through the landscaped palace gardens of Versailles.

If you missed the meeting and would like more information, please contact or check out our tour website:  

Please click this link to RSVP:

Please consider joining our PTA Board.  It really is not that much work for a ton of reward! You help to keep Small being a wonderful place for our children to grow and discover their passion.  Positions require 2-3 hours a month of work at most.


CSMS PTA Board Open Positions

President OPEN (elected)> The President is the leader of the board and members of Small PTA. The President, along with the Executive Board and the School Principal, should set the year’s goals and direction as well as organize the plans for accomplishing those goals. The President presides over every meeting. The President should also be prepared to sign checks and contracts and to serve as the official spokesperson for the PTA.

Treasurer OPEN (elected)> Treasurer: The Treasurer performs all financial activities of the PTA. This includes keeping detailed records of any checks written or deposits made by following the rules and requirements for these activities as dictated by the IRS and the Texas PTA. The Treasurer should also be prepared to present a budget, a financial report, and coordinate the yearly financial reconciliation.

Fundraising OPEN> Work with the Small to Promote, get Sponsorship and Silent Auction items for the the Fun Run and the Small Carnival.  Work with Communications to update all related communication documents for the event and follow through on any related Sponsorship obligations.

Communications/Graphic Designer OPEN> Help the PTA create professional materials that communicate efficiently and effectively to PTA Members and Small Community Stakeholders. Records the history of the PTA with photos & scrapbooks or Photo Albums on the Google Drive. Work with committee members to update the PTA Websites and utilize the appropriate Facebook pages to promote PTA Events.

Parliamentarian OPEN> Maintains order and keeps meetings flowing. Familiar with Meeting protocol and ensures that everyone has a voice in the PTA.

Hospitality/Teacher and Staff Recognition OPEN> Coordinates the Recognition events for Small Teachers and Staff.     

Academy Liason: Dual Language OPEN> Meets regularly (at least Monthly during the Academic year) with the school leaders/teachers of the Small Dual Language Academy to see how the PTA can support the Academy and encourage stakeholder involvement. Reports to the Board any updates and needs from the Academy.

Academy Liaison: Green OPEN> Meets regularly (at least Monthly during the Academic year) with the school leaders/teachers of the Small Dual Language Academy to see how the PTA can support the Academy and encourage stakeholder involvement. Reports to the Board any updates and needs from the Academy.

NEW: Academy Liaison: Tech OPEN> Meets regularly (at least Monthly during the Academic year) with the school leaders/teachers of the Small Dual Language Academy to see how the PTA can support the Academy and encourage stakeholder involvement. Reports to the Board any updates and needs from the Academy.

If you are interested in learning more about these opportunities, email our PTA President at 

Buy a Yearbook!

Have you purchased your yearbook yet? 

The price goes up after winter break, so be sure to get your yearbook today! 

Only $40!

Click here to order online

Back to Top


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

JOIN Small PTA Anytime: Parents help make Small a place for Middle School kids to grow in to young adults.  The PTA is a group of parents and teachers working together to create the excellent academic and experience enriched environment we all enjoy at Small Middle School. Click here to become a member today!

Our Computer Science program is hosting a Women in Tech social event at Bowie at 5:00PM on Thursday, February 20th in room F222.

It is in partnership with UTeach. They wanted us to extend the invitation to 8th grade girls that may be interested in Computer Science.  If you are interested, please come to our first session on 2/20 at 5:00 pm

More Info from Bowie:

Websites for you and parents – the presentation to freshman:


New this year is course videos! There is extensive info on all our courses here:

Future Bulldogs:

Join Us at Camp Bowie Express!

Bowie High School is pleased to invite all incoming Freshmen to participate in Camp Bowie Express on Saturday, May 2 or Saturday, May 9 . Camp Bowie Express will offer, at no cost to the student, an abbreviated version of its transition-to-high-school experience. New freshmen can choose one of 4 sessions (8:30-11:30 or 12:30-3:30 each Saturday) during which they will have the opportunity to tour the campus, learn about some Bowie traditions, hear from current students about how to be successful in high school, meet students from other middle schools, and more! Just use the link below to register! The link can also be used to order the official Class of 2024 t-shirt to be distributed at Camp Bowie Express. 

Please contact Patricia Maney ( ) with questions.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *