Special Thursday Message

Happy Thursday, Sharks!

A bit early this week as I am out of the building tomorrow, which is quite disappointing as I love the cardboard arcade. The games the students have worked on this year are fantastic, so I expect the Hollymead students will have a real treat tomorrow. This week, our basketball teams started their games. The various teams played Walton on Tuesday, and then Burley last night. We have a great group of players, and it was terrific to see so many students and parents make it to the games. Tonight, we have the first round of Parent/Teacher Conferences from 4:30 – 8:00 PM. We have locked the sign-up for tonight to give teachers time to prepare for the conferences, but there are still spaces open for next Tuesday. Those can be found on the SMS website. Those conference sign-ups will be closed Monday by noon. The staff would also like to take a moment to thank our very generous PTO for taking care of our dinner this evening. It is terrific to know how supportive you all are, so thank you.

Next week’s theme seems to be field trips – both small and large. We have a science class trip to PVCC, a group heading to the Writer’s Eye trip at UVA, a robotics field trip, and then the whole 8th grade heads to Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream trip on Friday. Lots of great activities coming up! Just as a reminder, we have a High School 2020 parent meeting here at Sutherland on October 24th starting at 6:30 PM regarding the changes coming for all students in regards to their high school experience for next year. We do encourage folks to attend since these changes affect all of our students as they prepare for high school.

Lots of announcements below. We hope you have a terrific Friday and enjoy a wonderful Fall weekend. On with the news…

Next Week @ SMS:
Monday, October 9th: Teal Day
Normal school day

Tuesday, October 10th: Black Day
Mrs. Percival’s class trip to PVCC
4:30 – 8:00 PM: Parent/Teacher Conferences

Wednesday, October 11th: Teal Day
8th Grade Robotics field trip
5:00 – 8:00 PM: Boys’ basketball game @ Henley

Thursday, October 12th: Black Day
10:30 AM – 2:00 PM: Mrs. McCullough’s Writer’s Eye trip to UVA
5:00 – 8:00 PM: Girls’ basketball games @ Sutherland

Friday, October 13th: Teal Day
7:15 AM – 8:00 PM: 8th grade trip to Busch Gardens (side note: a Friday the 13th trip to Howl-O-Scream? Excellent!!!)

News from SMS:

  1. Have I already said how great our PTO is? One of their main fundraisers to help support our students and staff is the Attraction’s Book. Don’t forget to order yours today!  You can order online at https://www.attractionsbook.com/ezpay.  The EZPAY code is Sutherland.  Each book is $25 and contains thousands of dollars of savings.
  2. Speaking of the PTO… It’s time to start cleaning out your closets! Our Annual Yard Sale will be on Saturday, November 4th! We will be collecting donations on Friday November 3 from 5-8. All money earned will go directly back to our school! We take most anything but not limited to gently used clothes, furniture, toys, games, books, jewelry, sports equipment, cookware, and shoes. We will send out more information in the coming weeks but want you to start saving items to donate!  Questions? contact Lynette Sanford at sanfordlynette@yahoo.com

  3. Regarding AM Study Hall: We have reminded our students, but can use your help with reinforcement. If students arrive to school prior to 8:45 AM, we have a morning study hall in the cafeteria. The basketball courts and sports fields are “off bounds” during this time as we have no adult supervision outside.
  4. Information for 8th grade parents regarding next Friday’s Busch Gardens trip can be found on the SMS website under “ANNOUNCEMENTS”.
  5. We will be sending home a mailing regarding student verifications. The online version is now closed for the year, so for those who did not complete the InfoSnap update on ParentPortal, we will be mailing home a paper copy to ensure we have updated permission slips (students want to be in the yearbook), emergency contacts, addresses, phone numbers…that sort of thing. Please make sure you complete the document and send it back to SMS with your child. Thanks!
  6. To Parents of 6th or 7th Graders: Every year Sutherland participates in the Piedmont Regional Science Fair.  If this is a project you think your child would be interested in, they need to attend a meeting next Tuesday, October 10, during Chomp.  At this meeting, I will be explaining and answering questions about the fair as well as giving them a permission form for you to sign.  Note that work on this project will need to be completed at home.   News of the meeting is broadcast via the morning announcements and flyers around school.  Please let me know if you have any questions. Diana McCullough – Gifted Resource
  7. Our first official MathCounts meeting will be next Wednesday, the 11th, in room A-4 from 4:10-5:15.   If your child is interested in being on the Sutherland team, they should plan to attend this meeting. MathCounts is a national middle school mathematics and problem-solving competition consisting of individual rounds and a team round.  Each year, Sutherland sends 10 qualifying students to the Regional Competition with hopes of moving on to State.  The competition is tentatively planned for February 10th and is an all-day event. Problems range in difficulty from easy to challenging.  Reasons students give for enjoying MathCounts are that no two problems are ever the same, and the depth of problem solving goes well beyond the regular curriculum. If you have any questions, please let me know. Diana McCullough – Gifted Resource
  8. Hello Parents, this year, Sutherland will be fortunate enough to have a Chess Club.  Brandon Adams has volunteered to work with students interested in perfecting their game.  Meetings will take place on Thursday mornings before school from 8:00-8:57 location TBD.  We will begin next Thursday, October 12th, and once I know the location, I’ll add it to the morning announcements so that students will know.  Anyone interested simply needs to show up. A big “Thank you!” to Mr. Adams for making this activity possible. If you have any questions, please let me know. Diana McCullough – Gifted Resource
  9. Information on the High School 2020 project can be found on the SMS website as well. Look under “ANNOUNCEMENTS”. For those who prefer paper products, we have brochures located in the Counseling Office.

Have a great weekend!

Friday Message

Happy Friday, Sharks!

What an awesome week here at Sutherland. We had a lot of excitement in the air today as it was our first ICA day of the year. I posted a few of those pictures on Twitter if you follow the feed. Throughout the week, students have been working on the 8th grade cardboard arcade, attending the SMS Book Fair, working on class projects, and generally having fun. As some of you may have noticed, we have decided to delay Autumn and allow the summer-like weather to stick around. With PE and a lot of outdoor activities going on, a friendly request to make sure students bring a change of clothes on PE days would be most appreciated. Ah, middle school!

Coming up next week, we have a lot of after school items. Our Boys’ and Girls’ basketball games start next week, we have a PTO meeting, Band Boosters, and Parent/Teacher Conferences starting at 4:30 on Thursday. There are still spots available if you have not signed up for conferences yet. The link can be found on the SMS website under “ANNOUNCEMENTS”. Friday will be the big day for the 8th grade geometry students as the students from Hollymead come to visit the cardboard arcade the students here have created. It is always great when we get one of our feeder schools to interact with our Sharks.

If you happen to go to the AHS football game tonight, cheer on our 8th grade Band students who will perform during the game.

Have a terrific weekend and on with the news!

Next Week @ SMS:

Monday, October 2nd: Black Day

Tuesday, October 3rd: Teal Day
5:00 – 8:00 PM: Girls’ basketball game @ Walton Middle School
6:30 – 7:30PM: Band Boosters Meeting

Wednesday, October 4th: Black Day
8th Grade AVID Field Trip to JMU
5:00 – 8:00 PM: Boys’ basketball game @ Burley Middle School
7:00 PM: PTO Meeting

Thursday, October 5th: Teal Day
4:30 – 8:00 PM: Parent/Teacher Conferences – Round 1

Friday, October 6th: Black Day
Morning: 8th grade Cardboard Arcade
News from SMS:

  1. Don’t forget to order your attractions books.  You can order online at com/pay.  The EZPAY code is Sutherland.  Each book is $25 and contains thousands of dollars of savings.
  2. Sutherland’s Book Fair in the library is open till 6:00 p.m. today, our last day in the library! Please enter through the doors by the office. If you miss the physical fair, the online fair is still open until the end of next week. Find it at http://www.scholastic.com/bf/sutherlandmiddleschool .
  3. Starting next week SCA will be collecting BOX TOPS through October 25th. Please send in your box tops!

Writer’s Eye

Dear Parents,

The Writer’s Eye field trip will be on October 12th.  Any student interested in creative writing is encouraged to participate in this event.

For those of you that may be new to our area, every year the UVA Art Museum holds a writing competition open to students and adults.  They pre-select works of art from their current exhibit and provide tours for interested participants.  Students participating in the fieldtrip will go on a docent led tour of the museum where they will select a particular work of art as inspiration for a story or poem.  Guidelines are given to the students for how to go about this during the tour. Your child turns their writing entry into me, and I will make sure these entries get to the museum by the deadline, November 15th.  For more information please see


If your child is interested in participating in this event, they need to stop by room A-4 and pick up a permission form.  The form and bus fee are due to me by October 6th.

Thank you,

Diana McCullough

Gifted Resource

Sutherland Middle School



Friday Message

Happy Friday, Sharks!

A short message today as the students are not here. It has been an exciting week here at Sutherland with a few isolated incidents that have complicated the day. The main ones being the misfires from the fire alarm system that caused two interruptions. The great thing that came from this was that the students, amid the chaos of an alarm going off during lunch and recess, did a great job. Everyone was quickly accounted for. The biggest complaint was that the first alarm happened on picture day, and the cooler Autumn-like weather had departed, so some students may look a bit “shiny” in their photos.

Coming up next week, we have our first ICA schedule next Friday. For those who are new, we run a shortened class schedule to allow for an hour-long clubs/recess period at the end of the day from 3:00 – 4:00 PM. Students have signed up online for an activity during that time period. It is always good to remember if you come to pick your child up on Friday between 3 – 4, you will want to leave some extra time for us to get your child as many are outside at the lower fields playing soccer, kickball, or ultimate Frisbee. More details below.

If you have not done so already, please make sure you visit the SMS website to sign up for Parent/Teacher conferences.

Have a great (longer) weekend, folks!

Next Week @ SMS: BOOK FAIR WEEK all week.
Monday, September 25th: Teal Day
Lock Down drill

Tuesday, September 26th: Black Day

Wednesday, September 27th: Teal Day
6th Grade AVID trip
YWLP Dinner

Thursday, September 28th: Black Day

Friday, September 29th: Teal Day
ICA Day / ICA Schedule
8th grade Band to AHS for football game

News from SMS:

  1. SMS Book Fairwill be up and running next week. Students received brochures and a letter to parents with more information on Thursday, 9/21, during CHOMP—including how to find our online Book Fair:

http://www.scholastic.com/bf/sutherlandmiddleschool .

Next week, all students will come to the Book Fair one day during their Language Arts class, beginning with 6th graders and Mrs. Parmiter’s classes on Monday and/or Tuesday. We will have two bonus times as well so family members can visit. Wednesday morning we’ll open at 8:30 AM and Friday after school we’ll stay open from 4 – 6 PM. Hope to see you soon at the Book Fair!

  1. Once a month, SMS has an ICA Day when the kids can sign up to do fun activities for the last hour of the day.  The first one will be Friday 9/29/17.  At the beginning of the ICA period, concessions are sold from snack carts in each grade’s hallway. Each item is $1.50 and the kids will need to bring money if they would like to purchase snacks.  This is a fundraiser for supplies needed for ICA crafts and activities. We need volunteers to help out with selling these snacks.  It’s a quick, easy way to help the school (usually about 45 minutes or less.)   Please click here  if you’d like to sign up.    If  you have any questions please contact Amy Dolak at ard07us@yahoo.com.  Thanks!



The PTO would like to provide dinner before both parent/teacher conference nights on October 5th & October 10th. We plan to have a Pizza dinner on the 5th, and a Crockpot Chili dinner on the 10th. Signs up are below!

Thank you so much for your help, these nights wouldn’t be possible without your continued support!

October 5th dinner- http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080d4bafab2fa2f85-parentteacher/11179843

October 10th dinner- http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080d4bafab2fa2f85-october



Friday Message 9/15/17

Happy Friday, Sharks!

Another great week here at Sutherland. We have been able to get into a bunch of classrooms and see the good work taking place. Students in 8th grade are working hard on the cardboard arcade projects. This is an event where Hollymead students get to come over and play games that the 8th grade students have created out of cardboard. 7th grade students have been exploring the scientific method in science class. 6th graders have been starting memoirs in their Language Arts classes and doing a paper airplane lab in science. There is, of course, a lot of buzz in the air today due to the first dance of the year. Needless to say, the 6th graders seem a bit wound up as many of them will attend their first middle school dance. For those staying after for the dance, please remember to have a ride here by 6:00 PM.

Looking ahead to next week, we will hit the end of the first interim period marking 4.5 weeks of school. We also have school picture day on Wednesday of next week during the morning. Wednesday is a busy day as we also have a very cool band concert over at Burley that evening where our 8th grade band and Burley’s 8th grade band will do a joint concert. Last but not least, Friday is a teacher work day, so no school for students. We hope you have a terrific weekend!

Next Week @ SMS:
Monday, September 18th: Teal Day
Tuesday, September 19th: Black Day
Wednesday, September 20th: Teal Day
Day of Caring
School Picture Day
7:00 PM: free Band Concert @ Burley Middle School
Thursday, September 21st: Black Day
End of Interim period # 1
Friday, September 22nd: Teacher work day
No school for students

News from SMS:

  1. PTO Message:Please turn in your Student Directory Forms to the PTO by Monday, September 18, if you would like to be included!  If you need an additional form, please visit the PTO website (can you link to:


If you would like to advertise your business in the Directory, please email Lisa Medders at meddersfam@embarqmail.com.

  1. Parents: Please do not forget to complete the student verification page on Parent Portal. We need updated permission forms for yearbook, field trips, etc. as well as parent phone numbers. Thanks!
  1. Parents: Trying to access your child’s BlackBoard page? Directions can be found here: http://bit.ly/2x0RpWj
  1. Thanks to all who’ve already signed up to work Book Fair, Sept. 21-Oct. 3. Right now we have about 2/3 of the volunteers we need. If you have any time during those dates and could sign up for a slot where there’s no one, that would be most helpful (and would earn you “Thank you” chocolate, of course—there’s always some available for volunteers). We need YOU! http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0949a5a72ca64-smsbook5
  1. Hello Parents, for our film and drama programs, we often try to build background sets using movie flats.  We are in need of additional flats to be able to accommodate student needs.  We already have most of the materials to build new ones, but are in need of volunteers to do the construction.  The process is fairly straight forward requiring measurement, cutting of lumber, and drilling of screws.  The construction could take place in our tech room where a large work table is available; however, due to liability issues we would need volunteers to provide their own tools (power saw and drill would be helpful).

Ideally, we need 4 additional flats, 2 plain, one with a door, and the other with a window.  If anyone would be interested in helping us out or if you have questions about the project, please contact Diana McCullough at dmccullough@k12albemarle.org

  1. 8th Grade Team News: First Dance! The 8th grade team is excited to be hosting the first dance of the school year! We hope ALL Sutherland students are planning to attend the event. Monies generated by the dance are used to help offset the costs of our Busch Gardens field trip, and to finance other activities provided to our 8th MANY thanks to the parents who have signed up to help us with the event. These types of activities require both teachers and parent volunteers, in order to be a success.

Busch Gardens update: The 8th grade teachers would like to thank our parents for their promptness in returning the permission forms for our annual field trip. Earlier this week, notices related to scholarship and parent chaperone requests were sent home via the applicable students. If you signed up to be a chaperone, please sign and have your student return the form to Mrs. Rainey in room C-2 by Monday morning, as we are finalizing our head count to ensure that we have bus seats, and Busch Gardens tickets, for everyone going on the trip.  Please remember that all parent chaperones are required to ride the bus to and from Busch Gardens in order to supervise their student group. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with this request. Please contact Mrs. Rainey if you did not receive applicable paperwork, or if you have any questions regarding this process. (Phone: 975-0599 ext#310, or email at  grainey@k12albemarle.org)

We will distribute via students, and post online, a one page flyer next week with important information and reminders regarding the details of the trip. Please know that the 8th grade team greatly enjoys working with your students and is looking forward to taking them on this annual class field trip.

Band Concert

Sutherland Community,

In the aftermath of the of the events in Charlottesville on August 11th and 12th, myself and the band director of Burley Middle School, Andrew Laprade, discussed what we could do to help ease students back into the school year. We discussed fostering a collaborative community between our schools, and to promote giving back to one’s own community. Charlottesville and the surrounding Albemarle County are our home and we should take care of it.

The 8th grade bands at Sutherland and Burley have been preparing music for a concert that will be on Wednesday, September 20th at 7PM in the Burley Middle School Auditorium. The concert will be free, but we will be taking donations at the door. The donations will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Charlottesville.

We hope you will join us for a night of community and music!

Bobby Gregg

Sutherland Middle School

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