Debate Team

Dear Parents,

If your child is interested in being on the Sutherland Debate Team, please plan to have them attend a meeting on Monday, September 18th, after school in the library.

Two UVA students, both members of the Charlottesville Debate League, will be teaching club members the skills required for a successful debate performance.  Also, throughout the year they will be inviting these students to several informal debates within the area.

Meetings will be on Mondays in the school library from 4:10 until 5:15.

Last year this club was quite successful with many positive comments from the students.  If you have any questions or need more information, please don’t hesitate to let me know.


Diana McCullough

Gifted Resource


Hello Parents,

We are forming Destination Imagination teams here at Sutherland.  If your child is interested in being on a team, they need to stop by room A-4 in the sixth-grade hallway to pick up an application.  Applications are due back to me by next Thursday, September 21st.    Students are being given this information via morning announcements and posters.

DI is a creative, problem solving, team-building competition.  Students love it, as well as some adults who continue to volunteer year after year as a coach.  In short, students work on a team using creativity and problem-solving skills to accomplish a challenge chosen from several options by the team members.  They spend a good deal of time working between now and the competition (early spring) to prepare their solution for the judges.  It very often involves a skit or some type of improvisation.  It is a very exciting activity for kids of all ages.

At Sutherland, I try to find interested students early in the year so we can work on forming teams.  A team is limited to 7 members and it depends on how many interested students we have as to how many teams form and who is on each team.  This is a serious time commitment.  Students meet before or after school hours usually at school or a team member’s home.  The coach is a parent volunteer who has had DI coach training.  For some students and coaches alike, DI is a serious commitment.

To learn more, visit either of the following websites.

Please keep in mind that teams form early in order to begin work on their challenge.  Some independent teams actually begin work in the summer.  Therefore, the decision regarding participation needs to be made fairly quickly.  I hope to have the team(s) formed by September 29th.

If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to call or email me.


Diana McCullough

Sutherland Middle School

Gifted Resource Teacher


Friday Message: September 8th

Happy Friday, Sharks!

It has been a pretty eventful week here at Sutherland. Jazz Band auditions, a PTO meeting, and last night’s Back to School Night were just a few of this week’s events. It was great to see so many of you last night at Back to School Night. Thank you to those of you who spent the evening with us. We will post the slides from last night on the SMS website. Hopefully, everyone made it to class and got a chance to hear from your child’s teachers. A huge shout out to the PTO last night as they kept our staff well fed for the evening. You all are amazing! A few blurbs before we get to the news.

Next week, we have our first dance of the year. For those who are new, the dance runs from 4 – 6 PM. Anyone staying for the dance will stay in their fourth block class until after the buses roll out and the walkers leave the building. We then open up half of the cafeteria for the dance and the other half for food and snacks. The theme for this dance is a White Out dance, which simply means to try and wear white (not actual white out). Students are not allowed to leave the dance before 6:00 unless a parent comes inside to get them. We ask that parents make sure your child has a ride promptly at 6:00 PM. Students will exit from the cafeteria side of the building. Cost for a ticket is $5.00 and will be available at lunch next Friday.

Also, be on the lookout next week for sign-ups for Parent/Teacher Conferences coming in October. We will post that next week on Tuesday. We have a bunch of announcements below, so that’s it for this week. Have a terrific weekend!

Next Week @ SMS:
Monday, September 11th: Black Day
Tuesday, September 12th: Teal Day
Wednesday, September 13th: Black Day
Thursday, September 14th: Teal Day
Friday, September 15th: Black Day
4:00 – 6:00 PM: Dance!

News from SMS:

  1. The 8th grade team is sponsoring the dance THIS Friday September 15th, and we are hoping to have parent volunteers join us for an evening of fun!  All proceeds from the dance will help the team provide our students with fun field trips like Busch Gardens and other activities during the year. IF you can join us, please sign up here:
    Many thanks! The 8th Grade Team

  2. We are looking for volunteers to help with Picture Day which is on Wednesday, September 15th!  This would only take 1&1/2 hours of your time and you will get the pleasure of seeing a lot of smiles :-) If you are interested the Sign up Genius link is here:
  3. Sutherland is looking for a parent volunteer to work with students on their Chess skills.  This would be a small informal group that meets before school one or several times a month.  We have chess games for the club to use.  If you are interested or have questions please contact Diana McCullough at
  4. Come “take a trip” to Provence (the south of France) and learn French through art! This fun before-school class will meet on Wednesdays from 8-8:55 am in the Art Room. No experience is needed in either French or art and all grades are welcome. The session lasts 10 weeks, all supplies are included in the cost ($18 per class, $180/10week session), and registration forms are in front of the Gathering Area/Cafeteria. Come join this fun and exciting way to learn French!   We are extending the Registration form deadline.  Please have forms and payment brought into school (front office)  by Tuesday, Sept. 12.
  1. Attractions coupon books are being sold by popular demand.  Envelopes were sent home with all students last week.  You can order online at com/pay.  The EZPAY code is Sutherland.  Each book will be sold for $25 and contains thousands of dollars of savings!
  1. Attention students: we are setting the schedule by Tuesday of next week, so any class changes must be made by Tuesday afternoon. Be aware that space is very limited in most electives, so many changes physically will not be possible.
  2. Sutherland’s Book Fair needs you! It’s our only library fundraiser for the year. We have a variety of volunteering opportunities from September 21-October 2, including setting up, restocking and selling, and taking down. If you’ve never done this before, not to worry. There’s a very easy cash register that you can learn in about 10 minutes. It’s fun to see the kids aglow with books in their hands. Like last year (and in most things I do), there will be chocolate on hand to help us all. This year, sign-up will be through SignUp Genius:

If you’re not comfortable creating an account or signing up through the SignUp Genius webpage, you can email with the shift(s) you’d like and I’ll be happy to sign you up.

  1. Parks and Rec information for Sutherland teams:   

Any girls that are interested in Sutherland Parks and Rec basketball can still register.  Girls interested in basketball can pick up a registration form on the table by the cafeteria entrance.   A physical is required for basketball so please pick up that form as well.   Girls’ basketball practice begins September 12th.

The physical form that is required for boys’ and girls’ basketball can be found on the Parks and Rec website along with the registration form with additional information.

For Boys’ basketball, the registration is closed.   There is a list by the health room door of the Monday/Wednesday practices and the Tuesday/Thursday practice for boys’ basketball.  Students that are uncertain please check the list if you have registered or see Ms. Davis at school.     Practice begins the week of September 11th.  You must have your physical turned in before the first day of practice in order to participate.   Basketball pick up time is 5:45.

Tennis registration is full.    Practice begins Mon Sept 11th on the blacktop. Pick up time is 5:30 for tennis.  Tennis does not require a physical.

Friday, Sept. 1st Message

Happy Friday, Sharks!

Our first full week was quite a success. Now that the year is off and running, students seem to be settling into the school routine. Mrs. Robertson and I have been able to make it into a number of classrooms this week to see kids already hard at work. English and math classes have been working on their MAP tests this week. CHOMP classes have been working on building the community that makes Sutherland unique. It was great to see our 6th grade homerooms brainstorm ways to help the Houston area throughout the week. All in all, it has been a terrific start.

As a reminder, there is no school on Monday. Next week, Morning Study Hall begins on Tuesday. Study hall runs from 8:15 – 9:00 AM and is required for any students who arrive at Sutherland before 8:45 AM. Study Hall meets in the Cafeteria. This year, we will use the Cafeteria entrance for students to enter the building for Study Hall. Once they enter, students will sign in with the teacher on duty and then will stay in the Cafeteria until the school day begins.

Also, as a reminder, we have Back-to-School Night on Thursday from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. This is a chance for parents to come to school and learn more about what your children do here each day. Mrs. McCullough is also hosting a brief Gifted meeting from 6:00 – 6:30 in the library prior to the start of the evening’s events. Starting at 6:30 PM, there will be a short State of the School Address in the Cafeteria to kick the evening off. Afterwards, parents and guardians will follow their child’s schedule and will hear from each teacher your child has throughout the day (pro tip: bring your child’s schedule with you or have it open on your phone). We hope to see many of you at this event.

Coming up next week, we also have our first PTO meeting and our Jazz Band auditions. We hope you all have a wonderful long weekend and will see you again on Tuesday!

Next Week @ SMS:

Monday, September 4th: Schools are closed. Enjoy the long weekend!
Tuesday, September 5th: Black Day
8:15 AM: AM Study Hall begins
6:30 PM: Band Boosters Meeting
Wednesday, September 6th: Teal Day
8:00 AM: Jazz Band Auditions
7:00 PM: PTO Meeting
Thursday, September 7th: Black Day
6:00 – 6:30 PM: GRT Meeting in Library
6:30 – 8:30: Back to School Night
Friday, September 8th: Teal Day
10:30 AM: CHOMP Summit for homeroom representatives

News from SMS:

  1. The SMS Book Fair is coming this month. We will need parent volunteers to help with set-up, selling, and take-down. You can sign up in the library on Back-to-School night, or on the Sign-up Genius that we’ll send soon. For your calendars, the Book Fair is the week of Sept. 25. During the school day, all students come to Book Fair with Language Arts classes. Book Fair bonus times: Wed. opens early at 8:30 AM; Fri. stays open until 6:00 PM.  To double your fun, sign up to volunteer with a friend!
  2. At AHS in September, there is an ESTEAM CONFERENCE FOR GIRLS.  This is an opportunity for your daughters to meet with female leaders and engage in engineering activities.  If you are interested and would like to learn more, please visit this site:
    Diana McCullough – Gifted Resource
  3. Registration for Parks and Rec Boys Basketball is now full. Players should check the list at school by the health room for Mon/Wed or Tues /Thurs practice. An email was sent to the Tues/Thurs group but all should check the list.  Practices will begin the week of Sept 11th after school until 5:45.   Physical forms should be turned in before the first practice.
  4. Just as a reminder: Our tennis courts are getting a makeover. There is a lot of construction equipment in that area. We have talked to all of our students about staying away from the fenced in area, but would appreciate the reinforcement at home.
  5. As we roll through the first few weeks, a few items always creep up regarding drop off and dismissal. A few items to remember:
    • During bus times – please remember to keep the front lane of the school clear of vehicles. Once the buses have cleared the building, we allow parents to pull forward to pick up students. We dismiss bus riders first at 4:00 and then walkers and riders when buses are clear (typically 4:10). Occasionally, a bus may have to return. If a bus comes back to the building and you are waiting in the bus lane, please pull forward and circle back around to allow the bus to gain access to the front of the building.
    • Please be aware we have two crosswalks where pedestrians have the right of way: one directly in front of the school’s Main Office entrance, and one at the entrance to Hollymead/Sutherland. We are working with students about situational awareness when it comes to cross walks, but need help from the adults as well to ensure student safety.
    • Last, but not least, if you use the parking lot directly in front of the Main Entrance to pick up students, please pull into a parking space rather than letting your vehicle idle in the road.

Thank you all for your help in these areas. We hope you all have a great three-day weekend!

From the PTO

PTO Message

  • Back to School Night Dinner
  • FEED THE SHARKS cash campaign
  • Attractions Coupon Books
  • Spirit Wear on sale at back to school night
  • PTO Meeting is 6 September 7pm in Library

The SMS PTO needs your help for Back to School Night.  We are providing dinner for the teachers before a busy Back to School Night (Thursday, September 7th).  Please help us fuel up our teachers for this event.!/showSignUp/5080d4bafab2fa2f85-backtoschool/11179843

We officially kicked off our FEED THE SHARKS cash campaign!  Forms were sent home with all students in welcome packets.  Please considering donating to help support our school – it is tax deductible.  The form can also be found online at

Please join us for our first meeting on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 at 7pm.  We will be approving the final budget, starting to review teacher enhancements, and planning for events.

Attractions coupon books are being sold by popular demand.  Envelopes were sent home with all students last week.  You can order online at  The EZPAY code is Sutherland.  Each book will be sold for $25 and contains thousands of dollars of savings!

The PTO thanks you for your support as a parent, and we are looking forward to an excellent year!

President: Carey Hare
Vice President: Erin Swansiger
Treasurer: Kim Patterson
Secretary: Sandra Holbrook
SEAC: Floesha Winston (Dee) & Sonya Chung-Hirano
Parent Teacher Council: Jeannine Woods
Hospitality chairs: Kristin Lynn & Julie Montgomery

Facebook: @sutherlandpto

Happy Friday and happy new (school) year!

Happy Friday, Sharks!

The year is off and running, which means Sutherland Matters is back! What an awesome start here at Sutherland! These first three days are always a source of anxiety for our younger students as they adjust to new faces, new spaces, new lockers, and a whole new routine. That said, it was a very smooth opening in all areas. Many of our students have gotten past the fear of learning their locker combinations. The school counselors had their New Student Lunches today, so hopefully even our newest Sharks are starting to feel a bit more at home here. There have been a lot of activities centered around building community this week, which has helped make this week feel very smooth.

Students have been working hard on computer lessons, preparing to take machines home for next week. Next week, we will also set a meeting with one member from each homeroom to start setting our school rules for the year. Some teachers begin their MAP tests next week, so I suspect next week will feel like the first real week of school. That said, I also bet your kiddos are tired after just these first 3 days as they adjust to their normal schedule.

We look forward to working with you all this year. We have a lot of great things planned for your students as we move into the year. A reminder for those who no longer have a student at SMS, you can unsubscribe at the bottom, or by e-mailing me at Thanks all and have a terrific weekend!

Next Week @ SMS:
Monday, August 28th: Teal Day
8:00 AM: Jazz Band information meeting in E-8
Tuesday, August 29th: Black Day
Wednesday, August 30th: Teal Day
Thursday, August 31st: Black Day
3:45 PM: July and August Birthday celebration
Friday, September 1st: Teal Day

Enjoy all!
Mr. Guy

Heart and Sole

Girls on the Run:

​What if you could lead more of your own life? Grow stronger as a person and a friend? Be part of something bigger? Be totally you! Heart & Sole was made for middle school girls like you!

Heart & Sole meets twice a week after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:15 to 5:45 PM for 10 weeks. We’ll talk about things you want to talk about, run, laugh, dream and lots more! Our Celebration 5K is scheduled for November 11 at St. Anne’s Belfield School / November 18 at Sweet Briar College .

Here’s how to register:

Visit our website at and click on “Register Now” > “Program.” Registration will open at noon on August 14. Our season will begin the week of September 3. Our 1st practice will be held on Tuesday September 5th. Any questions, please call or text Jamie Owed 434-985-3914.

Heart & Sole is a program from Girls in the Run International for girls in 6th -8th grade. For more information, visit​

Sutherland Matters

Hey folks, just a quick blurb in the summer as we start to get ready for the next school year. The unsubscribe feature on this is only accurate 50% of the time. For those who have moved on or have kids heading to AHS, my guess is you would like to drop the Sutherland Matters e-mails. Please e-mail me at if you find the unsubscribe feature at the bottom does not work. Thanks all and talk to many of you soon!

Mr. Guy


If you have any of your child’s medications left in the clinic, an adult may pick up medication any time during school office hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., through June 9th.  Any medication left at the school after this date will be discarded.  County school policy does not permit the storage of medication for the next school year.

If your child will need to have medicine available in the school clinic for the next school year, a parent or guardian should complete a new “Request for Giving Medicine” form.  This form will be included in the beginning of the school year packet.  Prescription medication will also require the prescribing physician’s signature.

Thank you!

8th Grade Ceremony

8th Grade Moving On Ceremony Update: Please note that tomorrow, June 7th, morning we will practice for the ceremony itself, so please make sure that your son or daughter arrives promptly so that they can be prepared for Thursday’s event. Afterwards, the team will be providing a catered lunch from Baja Bean for our 8th graders at no cost to them. This is a team social event that we hope will have all of our students in attendance. Later during 4th block, we will enjoy a Sundae Social, courtesy of Kirt’s Ice Cream.


On Thursday morning, students will need to come to school dressed in their planned outfit rather than changing once they get here. Shortly after the morning announcements, we will begin lining them up for the processional to the gym area for the Moving On Ceremony.  As you can imagine, the parking lots are easily packed on this day, despite the staff parking on the blacktop that day. In order for us to start in a timely manner, please allow enough time to park and find a seat in the gym by 10 am.

As you know, this ceremony is a momentous occasion for our departing students. Numerous students have elderly grandparents who will be in attendance for this event. Since the ceremony is in the gym with bleacher seating, we kindly ask you to give these guests, and anyone using a wheelchair, priority seating on the bottom row of the bleachers, and the last row of chairs in the main section of the gym.

In addition to the certificate given to each student during the ceremony, we have numerous students who will be recognized for a variety of awards. In order to conduct the ceremony in a timely fashion, we kindly ask that you hold your applause until all names have been read aloud during instances where more than one student is receiving an award. We greatly appreciate your cooperation with this request, so that we can end in a timely manner.

After the ceremony itself, please plan on meeting your student out on the grassy area in front of the school so that we can avoid a bottleneck at the exits from the gym. Most of our 8th grade teachers will be out there, as well, to say our fond farewells, as students often leave with their parents after the ceremony. The entire Sutherland staff wishes all our exiting 8th graders the best of luck as they enter the world of high school!

IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON TAKING YOUR 8TH GRADE STUDENT OFF SCHOOL GROUNDS AFTER THE CEREMONY, please stop by the cafeteria on your way in, or out, of the building and sign them out on the sheets located on the tables.

IF YOU WANT YOUR 6TH OR 7TH GRADE STUDENT TO ATTEND THE CEREMONY WITH YOU, then you will need to come to the office and sign them out.  After the ceremony, you will need to return to the office, and sign them back into the school, or take them with you for the remainder of the day.

Immediately following the ceremony on Friday, we will visit with you and the students on the front lawn prior to your departure. Please know that the cafeteria staff will be open that day, and will be providing pizza to students who stay at school for the day.