News & Updates
Letter to Parents from Principal Newton
- July 12, 2020
- Posted by: Mark Reed
- Category: Uncategorized
July 3, 2020
Dear MMS Parents and Community,
We hope that you are having a restful and relaxing summer so far. I am finding some time to rest and relax with my family, and especially enjoy time with my senior before she heads off to college in the Fall. Now, is the time for us all to look for the small gifts we are given, in truly uncertain times.
This is a very different summer for all of us, as we watch the coronavirus infection rate continue to rise in Austin and racial unrest and injustice continue to occur in our nation. Our commitment at Murchison continues to be around safety, and creating that Island of Safety for all who walk through our doors. This includes physical safety, as well as social-emotional health and safety for all on campus. We want Murchison to be a place where all students experience success, acceptance and safety, the moment they walk through our doors.
This past year, we began to look at data around race and equity, with respect to academics, failure rates, discipline rates, and access to high leveled coursework. We recognize that we have not even scratched the surface on this work and that more conversations are needed around race and equity with staff, students and parents/community. We commit to making this happen in an ongoing fashion at Murchison Middle School as we move forward.
We know that our parents and community have questions around school in the Fall and what things may look like. As you have probably seen in the news, things around school in the Fall are changing on a daily basis based on the coronavirus spread in Austin. The AISD is looking at many different options, including 100% in person school, 100% virtual school and everything in between.
You may have received an email from Superintendent Paul Cruz today, with information about school in the Fall, including a draft overview plan for reopening for the 2020–21 school year. Please keep in mind that this draft of next steps has been put together with the information AISD currently has from the Texas Education Agency
The most important thing that our parents and community can do right now, is to complete any AISD surveys being sent out to make your voice heard. If you have not done so already, please complete the Family Pulse Survey. This survey allows us to better understand how many families and staff members plan to return to school in-person or online. This information provided will be shared with Murchison Middle School Staff.
Also, AISD is planning to host future online engagement opportunities at 9 a.m. July 22 and at noon July 23. Be on the lookout for the July 16 edition of Summer Vision 2020 newsletter for details on how you can participate and share your thoughts.
We are still planning for an August 18, 2020 school start. As the month of July continues, Murchison staff will provide any concrete information we have with you. We also plan to host future Zoom parent meetings when the time comes to share pertinent information with our community.
We would also like to share some important staffing updates with the MMS community. As summer has continued, we have had a few more staff resignations. We would like to recognize and appreciate the following staff for their service to the MMS students and community. Adam Rappaport, 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher has transferred to Anderson High School to be your students’ future Social Studies Teacher! Lindsey Purvin, 7th Grade Science Teacher, has resigned to teach in Leander ISD. Robin Magruder, CTE Teacher, has resigned to teach in Jarrell ISD. Leona Weinstein, Math Teacher, will be pursuing other work interests and we appreciate her service at MMS.
We are pleased to share the following new MMS Staff Members who will be joining our team this Fall. Please help us welcome our new 8th Grade Assistant Principal, Alonzo Blankenship! Alonzo has been an SEL Specialist with AISD since 2016. Prior to that he was a Band Director and Teacher Leader at Webb Middle School and Garcia Middle School. He has extensive experience with cultural proficiency and inclusiveness, as well as instructional leadership and SEL strategies at the campus level.
Please help us welcome our new 6th Grade Assistant Principal, Dominic Infante! Dominic comes to us most recently from the AISD Special Education Department, where he was an Instructional Coordinator for the past two years. Prior to that he was a Life Skills Teacher and then an AISD Life Skills Specialist for five years. He has extensive experience with educational inclusivity and equity for all students within the school environment. We are excited to have Mr. Blankenship and Mr. Infante join our leadership team at MMS!
Please help us welcome our new Wellness Counselor at Murchison, Sarah Maldonado! Sarah comes to us as most recently from Insight Behavioral Health Mental Health Clinic, where she was a Program Therapist. She has also recently completed certification work to become an LPC. We are excited to welcome Ms. Maldonado to our Murchison Counseling Team!
We have hired Charles Quay as our new 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher. Charles comes to MMS from Bertha Sadler YWLA, where he was a 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher. Prior to that he was a Social Studies Teacher in North Carolina for several years.
We have hired Daniel von Lopez as our new CTE Photography and Newspaper Teacher. Daniel comes to MMS with vast experience as a photographer both in the private sector and in educational settings. He also has 5 years experience at the Brownsville Herald Newspaper.
We have hired Brooks Cook as our new SBS Teacher at MMS. Brooks comes to Murchison from Houston, where she has been working as a PK-4 teacher in a Title One Charter School. She is passionate about working with students with special needs!
We have hired Samuel Scherry as our 6th Grade Science Teacher. Samuel comes to Murchison from Indianapolis, where he has been a 7th Grade Science Teacher for the past two years. Samuel also served as STEM team leader, eCoach, and sports coach.
Finally, construction continues at MMS and we are pleased to share that our new office space is nearly complete! We are planning for a late July move-in to the new office space in the front of the campus.
Have a nice Fourth of July Weekend and we hope to see you soon! Take care, and be safe!
Murchison Middle School