Pony Express – Week of May 15




Our students did a wonderful job this past week with STAAR testing! At the very least, every student took at least two tests and we are proud of them for giving us all of their best. As an SEL Model Campus, our students also showed character through their support of classmates, as everyone stayed focused for four hours each test day.

Now that testing is over, we are back to business as usual. Our teachers have planned highly-engaging lessons and cross curricular problem based learning opportunities. We are still wrapping up a successful year and want our Mustangs to finish strong with the best academics possible. Thank you for supporting your child’s learning at O. Henry.

We have a jammed packed week with student field experiences, assemblies and award ceremonies, and evening celebrations honoring our NJHS and AVID programs. Be sure to check out the calendar section of our webpage.

We also know many parents are able to share their time and talents. I encourage you to stay informed with all things AISD and most importantly with our upcoming bond. Attendance at one of the many Bond Package Planning sessions is encouraged. You can attend this Tuesday, May 16th at Austin High School and we would appreciate supporting O. Henry and the master plan for modernization and renovation.

Make it a great week! If you have a question, concern, or celebration, please don’t hesitate to send me an email, call, or stop by.

Marlo Malott
O. Henry Middle School
(512) 414-7100

Many of our O. Henry Art Students earned perfect scores at last weeks Jr. Vase competition. Congratulations to Ava Doyle and Karma Terlik for winning silver medals last weekend at the Junior Visual Arts Scholastic Event. A silver medal is the highest award you can receive in middle school. Way to go! Their art is featured in the pictures below.

O. Henry Spring Art Show
The O.Henry spring art show will be Wednesday, May 24 from 5:00-6:30 in room 605. Please come enjoy artwork by the talented students at O.Henry!

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!

Students will have the chance to learn and work with our interactive topographic map in science classes in 2017-2018.

Interactive topographic map from a sand box! – Watch or Download

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: https://animoto.com/play/PR0fHo12JdO1SEP3FS6a5Q

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

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.

7th grade UPDATE and NEWS
Field Trip to Main Event on Wednesday, May 31st.

Field trip forms and a fee of $32.00 need to be turned into 7th grade science teachers as soon as possible. Scholarship forms are also available through science teachers. Thank you!!! Please contact your child’s science teacher for questions.

8th Grade UPDATES and NEWS
8th grade Science Movie- the 8th grade will be watching the PG-13 movie “Contagion” this week to conclude our disease unit in the Science classes. If you would prefer for your child to not watch the movie, please email his or her Science teacher. Here is a link to IMBD Parental Guide: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1598778/parentalguide.

8th Grade Class Trip: Schlitterbahn 2017
The Bus Lists have been posted on the 8th grade hallway for the 8th Grade Class Trip to Schlitterbahn. On Wednesday, May 31, students will go straight to their assigned bus at 8:25am. Students can wear their swimsuits on the bus as long as they are appropriately covered, but they should bring a change of clothes for the ride home. Students should bring a towel and any spending money they might need; however, lunch is included in the cost of the trip. We will return to O.Henry at 5:30pm. Please email Mr. Shack at michael.shackelford@austinisd.org if you have any questions about the trip!

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.

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.

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.

Spring Break 2018: Washington D.C. and New York City
It is not too late to sign up for next year’s Spring Break Trip! Current 5th-8th graders and their parents are allowed to sign up! Information, Cost, and Sign-ups can be found at http://www.efexploreamerica.com/tour-website/1935333WB.

Please email Mr. Shack at michael.shackelford@austinisd.org if you have any questions!

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.

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.

Mustang Mall Volunteers
We are looking for new volunteers for Mustang Mall!

Mustang Mall is a kiosk in the lunchroom where we sell school supplies and little trinkets, scented erasers, perfumed hand sanitizer, locks, mechanical pencils and much more.

We have a limited number of openings for lunch shifts. This is a once-a-month commitment of an hour and a half (11:40 AM to 1:10 PM depending on lunch schedule next year), where you and another volunteer work at the kiosk. It’s a fun opportunity to see your child and his or her friends at lunch. (Incoming sixth grade parents, this can be a great way to see how your child is doing.)

We will fill the lunch shifts on a first-come, first-serve basis, so please submit your information as soon as possible if you would like to volunteer.

Next fall, we are also going to open Mustang Mall more often during breakfast. The breakfast volunteer commitment is once a month from Sept – Dec, from 7:45 AM to 8:10 AM, when the cafeteria is open for breakfast. We have more availability for breakfast shifts than for lunch so if you don’t get a lunch shift you might consider working one morning a month. This is quick volunteer gig and could be a fun time where your child and their friends can come buy supplies from you.

If you would like to volunteer, please use this link, Mustang Mall Volunteer Form, complete the information on the form and submit. Please indicate whether you are interested in lunch or breakfast, and include any notes regarding schedule conflicts. We will contact volunteers by email over the summer after we finalize a schedule and will have training in August for those new to the mall.​

If you have any questions, regarding Mustang Mall, please contact Karen Mauldin, kjmauldin@gmail.com or Jami Knause, at jamiculver@yahoo.com.

Austin High School Volunteer Opportunities
As the 2016-2017 school year winds down, we are busy getting ready for the 2017-2018 school year, and we need your help. Can you volunteer a few hours a month, a few times a month or even every week? This is a great way to get to know the inner workings of Austin High and it helps bridge the budget gap created by Austin High’s under-enrollment that prevents the hiring of additional employees. I invite you to join our volunteer team in working in the School Office at one (or both) volunteer positions.

Attendance Office Volunteer
Work alongside our fantastic attendance clerk Patty Ballin to sign students in and out, fill out tardy passes, and help with filing. The Attendance Office is always busy and these volunteers are of the utmost importance, in high demand and much appreciated by staff and faculty. Volunteering in the Attendance Office at Austin High is a great way to get to know your child’s school better, gain insight into how it runs, and get to the know the faculty and staff who work with and mentor our children daily.

Phone Duty Volunteer – in the Main Office
Work in the main office answering and directing phone calls. This is a new opportunity for the 2017-2018 school year.

Volunteer Shifts
The shift times are either 8:30am -11:15am, 11:15am-2pm or 2pm-4:20pm. Volunteer monthly, weekly, whatever works with your schedule! We also need back up volunteers to fill in when someone can’t make their shift. Weekly (usually on Sunday afternoons), I send out an email reminding everyone of their upcoming shift as well as listing the shifts that need substitutes for the upcoming week.

Volunteer Training
If you are interested in helping, we have a 30-minute training during any of the shifts training alongside a previous volunteer (marked on the schedule with an asterisk). After that you are ready to go! If you ever have any questions, Patty Ballin and Linda Garcia will be there to help you out.

Sign Up!
If you would like to volunteer with attendance, please, check out our schedule of available slots with this link:
If you would like to help with answering phones, please, check out this link:

If you find a spot you’d like (or more than one) email to let me know and I will sign you up!
Thank you for your consideration,
Ali Clare aclare76@gmail.com

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