Pony Express, Aug. 21-25



The O. Henry community educates the whole child: academically, socially, emotionally, physically, and artistically.

Principal’s Corner

Greetings Mustangs,

Welcome back! We are excited to open our doors this coming Monday, August 21st to all our new and returning Mustangs. Our stellar group of educators and staff are proud to serve you and your family this coming school year, starting with this Saturday’s welcome back Mustang Derby.

Our first day will be special too. Students will report to their ACES class for the morning. O. Henry is all about the whole-child and building a positive relationship with students right from the start. We will run a modified first day schedule in the morning, solar eclipse viewing after lunch, and students will attend all their classes in the afternoon. Our staff is dedicated to welcoming all of our students and starting off the year building connections. We will have fun! We will be silly! You may even see me in a Mustang Hat!

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing a more elaborate narrative about our goals for the 2017-2018 school year.

This year we will be:

  • BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS with all members of our O. Henry community and celebrating our success.
  • We will challenge ourselves to honor that EQUITY means ALL as we remove obstacles so all students can have access to the same benefits of a high quality rigorous education.
  • Create a culture of super readers by ramping up our LITERACY PLAN. We will continue to support and develop our core instruction, taking a balanced literacy approach so all of our students are reading and writing on grade level.

You have chosen O. Henry! Thank your for your continual support as we make this the #YearOfTheMustang!

Marlo Malott


Mustang Derby
Start your school year off at the O. Henry Mustang Derby, on Saturday, August 19 from 9-11 AM. Students can pick up and follow your schedule, visit your ACES classroom, and be ready for the first day of school. This event is open to all O. Henry students. A parent or guardian should attend as this is a come and go event.

The Mustang Mall will also be open to get you ready with O. Henry T-shirts, your agenda, and school supplies. Please bring cash or check for your purchases.

  • Last Name A-L: come between 9-10 AM
  • Last Name M-Z: come between 10-11 AM

All students who attended O. Henry last year are enrolled, however each year students need to be registered through the parent portal.

Please be sure your student is registered before attending. Students will not receive their schedule until registered. Go to my.austinisd.org and click on the Student Registration tile to register your student online.



We are not about to let our kids miss this SOLAR event that will take place on August 21st! Every student on campus will take time out during the day to view this awesome event when it is at it’s peak during their ACES class after lunch.

We will provide eclipse viewing glasses and index cards with pre-punched holes for our kids, but please feel free to send them with their own eclipse glasses if you already have them. In the morning during ACES rotations, we will spend time discussing the eclipse and how to view it safely during ACES in the afternoon.

Our campus currently funded glasses at $4.00 a piece. If your financial plans for this fall include a donation to our Academic Excellence Fund at O. Henry please consider a contribution towards 2017 Round Up. To donate, please click here.

In Austin, we will see a 65% partial solar eclipse. The eclipse will take 3 hours from start to finish as the moon crosses past the sun.

  • Partial eclipse begins at 11:41 AM
  • Maximum partial eclipse at 1:10 PM
  • Partial eclipse ends at 2:39 PM

There are safety considerations to be aware of.

  • Looking directly at the sun, even during an eclipse, can cause permanent retinal damage without causing any pain.
  • Make sure that your students are supervised and know not to look at the sun directly.
  • More detailed information can be found at NASA’s safety page at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.

There a number of viewing options:

More information and resources can be found on the AISD internal Science webpage.


Student schedules
Schedule change requests can be picked up in the counselor’s office beginning Friday, August 25th. Counselors will accept and consider requests during the week of Aug. 28-Sept. 1st only. “Change of mind” requests will not be considered.

Changes to core course level (Regular to Pre-AP or vice versa) from teachers and students will be considered throughout the year. You might hear your child say that they did not sign up for a particular class. It’s hard for our kiddos to remember what they signed up for last February. The counseling department works to try and give students their top choices but there are times when student’s top choices do not all fit in the master schedule.


We want your child to be successful in school, and that means going beyond the basics. Excelling in academic classes is important, but students also need to know how to learn, make good decisions, handle strong emotions, and get along with others.

This year, our ACES classes will be teaching specific lessons on many SEL (Social Emotional Learning topics) These include:

  • Mindsets and Goals: Students learn about ways to grow their brains and get smarter, along with research-based strategies for achieving goals and handling difficult situations.
  • Values and Friendships: Students learn to identify their personal values and use those values to make good decisions and build strong, positive relationships.
  • Thoughts, Emotions, and Decisions: Students learn the positive role emotions play in their lives, how to handle unhelpful thoughts and strong emotions, and specific strategies for calming down.
  • Serious Peer Conflicts: Students learn how to identify and avoid serious conflicts, resolve conflicts that can’t be avoided, think about other people’s perspectives, and help stop bullying and harassment at school.

Please talk to your child about what they are learning each week…you might be surprised! Thank you for supporting your child in learning the skills and concepts that lead to success in school and in life.


The library needs volunteers during the first few weeks of school to help out while Ms. Stevenson is working with students on library orientation. Please email Liza Layne for specific times and details: liza.layne@sbcglobal.net

We hope you enjoyed some great summer reading! The O. Henry library is ready to welcome your students to a new school year of reading!

Author Visit
Thanks to the generosity of BookPeople and to O. Henry families/staff who buy signed copies, we are excited to announce our first author visit of the year: Jason Reynolds on Tuesday, September 12. He will be talking up the second book in his Track series: Patina. The first novel in the series, Ghost, was a 2016 National Book Award finalist.

Jason is a New York Times bestselling author, a National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. His debut novel, When I Was the Greatest, was followed by Boy in the Black Suit and All American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely); As Brave As You; Jump Anyway; and the first two books in the Track series, Ghost and Patina.

More on Jason Reynolds: http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2016finalist_ypl_reynolds_ghost.html#.WZSkqdKGO70

Sara Stevenson
O. Henry Middle School Librarian


School Supply Lists


Here are the lists of supplies for each grade level. These are the basics. Students will find out the first week of school if additional supplies are needed.

Got Yearbook?

7th and 8th grade parents: Did you or your child forget to buy a 2017 yearbook last year? Luckily, we have a few left at a discounted price! Please bring $30 cash or check (made payable to O. Henry Middle School) to the front office or to Ms. Simonite in room 603.

If you would like to pre-order a 2018 yearbook for $38 you may do so by clicking the following link: http://www.jostens.com/apps/store/customer/1077713/O.-Henry-Middle-School/


A yearly physical is required for your child to participate in all AISD Athletics. The physical exam must be dated after April 15, 2017 to be valid for the 2017-2018 school year. AISD Physical Forms are available online or in the Front Office.

7th and 8th Grade Football
Practices – Football practices will officially begin Tuesday, August 22nd. 7th grade begins at 7:00amsharp. 8th grade practice is after school.

7th and 8th Grade Girls Volleyball
The 7th and 8th grade tryouts will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, August 22 and 23. The 7th grade tryouts will begin at 7:15 a.m. and will continue through 1st period both days. The 8th grade tryouts will be held after school until 4:45 p.m. both days. Please wear athletic clothes and knee pads.

Reminder – To try out for volleyball or football, all students must have a current AISD physical signed dated after April 15, 2017. If you do not have a physical, you will not be able to try out.

Save the Date – Parent Athletic Meeting
If you have a 7th or 8th grader who will be playing football or volleyball, please mark your calendar for Tuesday, August 22, at 5:30pm. We will have a meeting with the coaches in the cafeteria to talk about game schedules, practices, and student expectations, as well as volunteer opportunities for parents. You will also have the chance to join the Mustang Club and get an O’Henry Athletics yard sign (new this year!!), as well as purchase athletic t-shirts. Please join us, and bring your check book!

O. Henry Through the Ages Special Project

Did you know that O. Henry was opened in 1953? Did you know O. Henry is the oldest operating middle school in Austin? We are in the process of creating a display that highlights the long history of O. Henry, and we need your help! We would love for you to donate your old O. Henry pictures, clothing, or other paraphernalia. Please contact Mr. Shack at michael.shackelford@austinisd.org if you are interested in donating anything!

Spring Break Washington D.C. and New York City Trip!
O. Henry is going to D.C. and NYC over Spring Break! Come travel with us as we see history, government, and culture come alive! We’ll tour the U.S. Capital Building, see Mt. Vernon, the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial Museum, Central Park, a Broadway show, and more! Sign-up today at http://www.efexploreamerica.com/1935333wb. Email Mr. Shack at michael.shackelford@austinisd.org if you have any questions!


Show your support- Join PTA today!
What if we were the first school to have 100%? 100% Parent membership in PTA! 100% Staff membership in PTA! Don’t make this a lofty goal– Join today and show your support for all things O. Henry. https://ohenrypta.org/join-the-pta/

First Day of School Principal Coffee
Join us in the library from 8:20 to 9:00 for a meet and greet with other O. Henry parents. Ms. Malott will be available from 8:25 to 8:45 for a brief question and answer session. This is a great opportunity to join the PTA and network with other middle school parents. We hope to see you there!

Volunteer Opportunities- OFFICE
Can you volunteer a few of hours a month, a few times a month, or even every week? By volunteering in the front office, we save the expense of hiring an employee for this position and save the school approximately $30,000 per year that we can put back into our children’s classrooms. As well, it is a GREAT way to get to know the faculty and staff and learn about all of the activities happening at O’Henry.

Parents are needed answering the phone, signing in students, verifying parent ID’s when they come to pick up for appointments, etc.. Shifts are typically 2 hours and you can sign up for as few or as many as you like. Every little bit is a huge help to our Front Office Staff that work so diligently on behalf of our students. Some of our past volunteers have already signed up (they liked it so much!). Can we count on you to chip in a few hours as well? Elizabeth Kalbacher, OHMS parent (AND AHS PTSA President!) had this to say when I asked previous years’ volunteers to help again this year: “I love working the office shift. That’s how I got to know the ins-and-outs at O. Henry and Austin High my first time around!!”

You can see the available slots with this link:

Please email me if you would like to take a volunteer slot. Note the volunteer shift number and time you would like (or times!) in your email. I look forward to hearing from you! Thank you for your consideration in filling this need for our school.

Susanna Thomas
OHMS Parent Office Volunteer Coordinator

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

Mustang Mall is a kiosk in the lunchroom where we sell school supplies and other novelties. This is an easy, low stress, once-a-month commitment of an hour and a half during the school’s lunch periods, 11:40 AM to 1:10 PM. Volunteering at the mall is 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 have a limited number of openings for lunch shifts so 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. To volunteer, complete the information at this link, Mustang Mall Volunteer Form. We will contact volunteers by email after we finalize a schedule and will have training once school starts 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.

O. Henry Round Up Carnival 2017
Friday, September 29 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Round Up is O. Henry’s main fundraiser and annual school carnival featuring sports booths, games, food, raffles and a middle school dance. Mark your calendars to support OHMS at this fun family event on the school grounds.


If we don’t tell our own story someone else will… and so in the spirit of celebrating we are going to toot our own horn and celebrate our students and staff throughout the school year. If you have a Shout Out or Kudo, please send it our way.

The 6th grade Advanced Math Camp last week was fantastic. Kudos to the awesome 6th grade Math Team! The camp was a great summer math-refresh & soft intro to 6th concepts in an informal setting. It increased student confidence in their math skills & confirmed that they are on the right math-track (i.e. it’s challenging, but not intimidating or too ‘advanced’). Students also re-connected w/5th grade friends & met new ones; providing visibility to other Advanced Math students and greatly reducing back-to-school anxiety. 🙂
– From an incoming 6th grade parent

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2610 West 10th Street, Austin, TX 78703 / 512-414-3229