Pony Express – Week of May 8



Greetings Mustangs,
It is my honor to officially begin as the Principal of O. Henry Middle School on May 1st. I have been able to spend the last few weeks benefiting from the transition period and becoming aware of the countless amazing things happening on and off campus. Last week playing the 18th Annual Pete Price Golf tournament sponsored by our PTA, our Jazz Band playing at Joe’s Crab Shack, our Athletic Department welcoming our 2017-18 athletes during a parent meeting, track season breakfast celebration, Celebration of Reading 6th grade World Cultures Project, and Spring Honor Roll Assembly. Our students are happy, challenged, and engaged in their classes.

Even though my transition period is complete, my intent is to continue to get to know our Mustang Community, which includes input from students, teachers, and parents who have already me feel so welcome. I will continue to meet individually with staff members, parents and students groups to learn opinions and goals. O. Henry will continue to do what is best for students and we will look for opportunities to grow. Please share our celebrations as well as visions for our future.

Marlo Malott, Principal

Parent Survey


Thank you in advance for participating in providing input about O. Henry Middle School. This is an exciting time as we embark on preparing our students for college and 21st century careers.

We are Ready!
Next week, with make-ups on Friday, we will be administering the STAAR tests to all students. During these days we have to insist that no parents come to campus during testing as all hands will be on deck and we need to ensure the safety and security of our testing environment. It is important you ensure your student knows that he or she will do fine, as we have been preparing for them since early August. There is no reason to get stressed out or worked up about them; they are merely testing to see if we have covered the necessary content in our curriculum.

  • Monday: 6,7 Math; 8th Retest
  • Tuesday: 6,7 ELA; 8th Retest
  • Wednesday: 8th Science
  • Thursday: 8th Social Studies
  • Friday: Make-up

Counseling Center Corner
Course Verification Sheets for 2017-2018 School Year

Student course verifications for the 2017-2018 school year were sent home with current 6th & 7th grade students during ACES this past week. Please review the selections with your child and if there are any changes, return the form to the counseling office by Friday, May 12th. It is important that you review these carefully because we cannot make “change of mind” course requests in August. Please contact the counseling office with any questions or concerns.

Academic Excellence Fund
Since 2011 our O. Henry community has rallied to support staffing for the upcoming school year through the Save Our Teachers campaign. Over the years the contributions to the spring fundraiser have declined while our fall Round Up fundraising has grown. We have been asked by our families and community to consider consolidating our fundraising efforts. We think this is the right time to make this change.

If your financial plans for this spring included a donation to Save Our Teachers, we urge you to still make this contribution to support our newly broadened emphasis on Academic Excellence at O. Henry. All spring contributions will be credited towards 2017 Round Up. To donate, please click here.

Thank you for your support of our wonderful school,
Marlo Malott, Principal

Duke Tip
We would like to congratulate the students who qualified for and participated in the 2017 Duke University Talent Identification Program’s 7th Grade Talent Search. These students were invited to take the ACT or the SAT college entrance exams as seventh graders, which allows them greater insight into their academic abilities.

Four of our students have earned an award by scoring approximately at or above the national average of recent high school graduates on at least one part of the ACT or the SAT. A special congratulations to Claire Carter, Riley Chesney, Carina Garrigues, and Mary Stripling.

African American Heritage Award
We would like to recognize this year’s recipients of the African American Heritage Award. These students held the highest GPA for their grade level and were recognized at a ceremony in February.
6th grade: Aubrey Holcombe and Jaheim Colter-Speed
7th grade: Jaedyn Degon and Jeremiah Wiley
8th grade: Gaelila McKaughan and Tyshaun Vasquez

Latino Achievement Awards
We would like to recognize this year’s recipients of the Latino Achievement Awards who were honored this weekend.

Lauren Santos received the Young Latino Leader Award. She was nominated by her teachers for her leadership and strong academics.

Giselle Gonzales-Andrade received the award for Outstanding Academic Progress in ESL. She was nominated by her ESL teacher, Ms. Dillenberger.

Finally, the following students were honored for holding the highest GPA for their grade level:
7th grade: Lulu Manco-Stenz and Joshua Garcia
8th grade: Alyssia Alvarado and Walt Chavarria

Orchestra News
Congratulations to the following students who made Superior ratings in the AISD Solo and Ensemble this past Saturday April 29th:
Jackson Hall-Violin
Jackson Hendrix-Bass
Iason Traweek-Cello

Our Teachers are Making a Difference!
Michael Shackelford has earned the distinction of being selected as the 2017 Outstanding Teaching of Humanities Award. Michael will also receive $5000 for his recognition as well as an additional gift of $500 for our school resources. Congratulations Michael for your fine achievement.

Duane Devereaux is TSHA’s David C. DeBoe Memorial Award recipient for 2017. Each year the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) selects one educator from across Texas whose contributions to elevating both the value and the experience of history education for the youth of Texas merits exemplary recognition.

During the 2017 Texas History Day Awards Ceremony at the University of Texas at Austin on Saturday, April 29, O. Henry’s own Duane Devereaux was recognized for his portfolio of work with the acclaimed National History Day (NHD) program at O. Henry since 2006, as well as his pioneering work with other middle and high schools around the Lone Star State to help establish NHD in those learning communities.

As a former Patricia Behring NHD Teacher of the Year (2010), Mr. Devereaux remains committed to promoting the highest expressions of history education for young people. To see what NHD is all about, please go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTkYADnO_-U

How can you help?
The 8th Grade Graduation Dance:

We are looking forward to celebrating the 8th graders at the graduation dance. This year’s theme is The Emoji Ball! We hope all 8th grade OHMS(only) students will put their best face forward for this app-venture! Students may wear either casual or their Sunday best, just be ready for fun. The event is free and will take place Thursday, May 25th @7:00pm-9:00pm. Thank you to the many parent volunteers who help make this event possible for our 8th graders.

Please consider signing up to help decorate, chaperone or help with snacks/drinks at: http://signup.com/go/iXzainW Please email Jenkolerich@gmail.com with any questions.

We are getting to the final countdown!!! Graduation is less than a month away!!! We have now raised about $7,000! Please thank our generous donors that are listed on the O. Henry website! We only need about $3,000 more!!! With over 300 8th grade families…we know that we can reach our goal! No contribution is too small, and we are striving for 100% participation!! Please consider donating now because we are already purchasing the many items needed to make it a very special celebration for our children. You may send in a check or donate online (see link below).


  • 8th Grade Graduation Dance:
    Thursday, May 25th, 7:00-9:00 PM, OHMS
  • 8th Grade Assembly & Luncheon:
    Thursday, June 1st, 10:00 AM, OHMS
  • 8th Grade Legacy Gift to OHMS

Thank you in advance for your participation. Please contact Dana Kocurek with any questions at danakocurek@gmail.com.
See: http://ohenrypta.org/8th-grade-donation/

The Austin Council of PTAs is creating a mentoring program. O. Henry’s parent volunteers have a wealth of knowledge, earned by working with other parents and schools. We are looking for people to share that knowledge with PTAs that are just getting started, or PTAs that are working to expand what they do.

Please consider sharing your experience and skills to help another school grow stronger! If you think you might be interested, please complete an online interest form to let us know more about what you have to share and how you would like to share it.

DONATION NEEDS—Enrichment Update and NEWS
O. Henry Makerspace Enrichment students are building an augmented reality topographic map sandbox and we need 120-140 lbs of kinetic sand for this project. Please contact Alexis Smith or Andrew Walch if you have kinetic sand to donate to this project. Thank you!


Athletics Assembly – May 15
This year’s Athletics Assembly will be held on Monday, May 15, at 1:19 p.m. in the Freeman Gym. All 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who played on any O. Henry sports team this year are invited to attend, as well as parents. This will be a celebration of the students’ hard work and sports achievements throughout the year. Please join us!

ATX Court Sports Summer Camp
When: June 12-15th
Where: O. Henry Gymnasium
Time: 9am-12noon
Who: Grades 4-8
What: Conditioning, Footwork, Teamwork, Confidence, Volleyball Skills and Knowledge (email about Basketball)
Coaches: Lisa Lindberg and Kristine Kobs
Email: lisa.lindberg@austinisd.org
See attached flyer

Photos Needed – Yearbook Request
The Yearbook Staff will be creating the End of Year Videos and we need photos of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders! We want to include photos from special events, parties or after school activities. If you have a fun photo of your student that you would like to appear in the video, please submit it to: francesca.simonite@austinisd.org with the student’s grade level in the subject line.

Yearbooks are no longer available online, but you may still order a yearbook by bringing $42 cash or check (made out to O. Henry Middle School). You may deliver it to the front office or have your student bring it to Ms. Simonite’s classroom in room 603.

Library News
Readathon Field Trips coming up in May to all who contributed to this year’s Bookspring Readathon.
Each field trip is from 9 am – 11 am on the following days:
6th grade: Monday, May 15 to Houston Elementary
7th/8th grade: Tuesday, May 16 to Pecan Springs Elementary
Here’s a video of last year’s field trips:

All library books are due Monday, May 22. Makes sure your child has turned in all library books in order to participate in end-of-the-year activities.

Health Clinic Update- attention incoming 7th graders
All sixth graders going into 7th grade need a meningitis shot and a Tetanus booster for entry into 7th grade. Letters have been sent out to those that do not have proof of these immunizations. These immunizations are due the first day of school and we are encouraging parents to arrange these immunizations now and not wait until summer is almost over.

© 2011-2017 O. Henry Middle School
2610 West 10th Street, Austin, TX 78703 / 512-414-3229