Pony Express, Aug. 28-Sep. 1



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

Principal’s Corner

Greetings Mustangs,

What an amazing week of firsts. First day of school. The first time many of our students and adults in the building have seen an eclipse. The first week for many of our students to attend middle school. The first week, of many, to create the foundation for a successful school year.

Our students had an exceptional week of building relationships with their ACES teachers and their content teachers. They have made new friends and re-kindled with those from previous years. We have shared high-five, laughs, lost looks in the hallways, lunch box stories, and wonderings about the school year. Every single student I spoke with this week said they were having a great day and learned something new. Please ask the same of your child when they get home. Have your child share their wonder of the day. Encourage the conversation.

We have many things on our calendar the next few weeks. Please plan on attending our Back to School Night on September 5th where you will be able to network with other parents, join the PTA, and meet your child’s teachers. Our athletic events start this week. Encourage your child to attend a school event and show their school pride. Spirit shirts, agendas, and other school items will continue to be for sale at the Mustang Mall during lunches. This is also a great place for parents to volunteer or in our front office.

I cannot take credit for anything funny or wise in this next paragraph, but it resonated enough with me to share with everyone.
from Jen Hatmaker:

“By the end of your cherubs’ first week of school, they are


Listen to me: do not go to “celebration dinner” Friday night, do not go to the late football game, do not decide to run errands, do not make big plans, do not ask one million questions, do not force them to talk about everything, do not attempt to execute ANYTHING AT ALL in which your expectations include children who are pleasant.

They are like overfilled balloons. Should you accidentally push them too hard by, for example, asking them to chew with their mouths closed or making suggestions for dinner or any other unreasonable pressure, they will violently burst and ruin the thing you were dumbly considering as a Fun Family Situation.

Your Friday night plans after the first week of school need to involve a couch, some blankets, a pizza, and a movie. That is it. That is all anyone can handle. Your kid will make it past the first twenty minutes tops. They are all goners. Do not put them in the car and try to go somewhere, because they will turn your car into the Crazy Train.

Ditto: Saturday morning plans.
Ditto: That whole first weekend.”

Enjoy your time at home, stay dry, stay safe. We will be back Monday for another amazing week with the Mustang Nation.

Make it a great weekend Mustang Families!

Marlo Malott


Pictures from our first day back at school and our eclipse viewing.

Back to School Night

Please join us for our annual Back to School Night, Tuesday, September 5th

At 5:30 p.m. you are welcome to browse the cafeteria to sign up for yearbooks, volunteer for the PTA and Mustang Round Up, and receive information about clubs and organizations.

At 6:05, head over to the gym for a short PTA meeting and Principal’s Address.

7:00-8:30 you will visit all of your students’ classes.

We strongly encourage keeping your children at home, because the hallways will be very crowded. Your child will provide you with his/her schedule after school on Tuesday. Please bring this schedule to guide you through the night. We will have the Back-to-School Night agenda and maps available when you arrive.


Classroom visits by Counselors

Your child’s grade level counselor will be visiting your child’s classrooms next week to get to know the students better and letting student’s know what programs, groups and services are offered at O. Henry to help support our kiddos. They will also cover important topics with the students such as healthy choices, cyber-safety, personal safety, healthy friendships, personal and social advocacy, and emotional intelligence. Resources will also be provided to them for their information. If your child comes home with any thoughts or questions please encourage them to come talk to their counselor.

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.


6th/7th Grade:
This week’s lesson teaches students that they can build intelligence by using new approaches and strategies, trying new things, and working through difficulties. The understanding that they can strengthen their brains can help them achieve more in school and in life.

At Home …
Tell your child about a time you had to learn something new. Explain whether it was hard to learn and how you learned it. Ask your child if there’s anything he or she would like to learn to do this year.

8th Grade:
This week’s lesson is all about Individuality and Community. By the end of this lesson, students should be able to identify their personal qualities and describe how these qualities can contribute to group goals.

At Home …
Have a discussion about what makes people different and what makes us all the same.


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


A yearly physical is required for your child to participate in all AISD Athletics. The physical exam must be dated after April15, 2017 to be valid for the 2017-2018 school year. AISD Physical Forms are available online or in the Front Office.

The first day of cross country will be Tuesday, August 29th. Practices for 6th-8th graders will start at 7:15 am on the track; students must be dressed in running appropriate clothes. Practice will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays before school until the end of the season (Oct. 7th). Practice will go until 8:05 am. All athletes will be required to have a current physical and a payment of $45 to participate in Cross Country. The payment goes towards a t-shirt and meet costs.

Please contact Coach Meyer with any questions. kelly.meyer@austinisd.org

View 2017 Cross Country Schedule

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.

View 8th A Football Schedule
View 8th B Football Schedule

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.

View 8A/B Volleyball Schedule
View 7A/B Volleyball Schedule

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.

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 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/

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

View Round Up Flyer

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 Friday, September 29 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on the school grounds. Look for opportunities to volunteer soon!

Wanted: Round Up Sponsors!
Proceeds from Round Up will be used this school year to fund the Teacher Wish List and enhance the learning experience for every student. Round Up depends on sponsorships from families and community partners! Please visit the website at www.ohenrypta.org/roundup to help out. The deadline for sign and banner recognition is Friday, September 22nd and all donations will be listed on the website. Thanks in advance for your contribution of any amount!

Round Up Tickets
Kids will need tickets ($5 for a card with 10 tickets) or a wristband ($25 for all-access) to participate in the booths and games at Round Up. They will be for sale at the event, but you can bypass long lines and order in advance at www.ohenrypta.org/roundup. The deadline to pre order is Saturday, September 23. Dance wristbands will be sold separately. Questions? Email Angie Wagner at anghwag@gmail.com.

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.

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