The Twain Times 

A weekly newsletter from Mark Twain Elementary School
In This Issue
PTO President's Message
Spooky Scoop
Walk to School Day - October 3rd
Aeros Night
Square One Art
Gift Queen Fundraiser Ends Soon!!
UIL Contest
Strategic Planning Committee Nominations due October 5th
Audit and Compliance Committee Nominations due October 5th
Fall Informational Coffee
Ask the Experts
International News
Yearbook Cover Design
Entertainment Books
Bedtime Math Stories
Save the Date - Mark Twain Middle School Forum
A Children's Village - Preschool Openings
TXU Turkey Trot Fun Run
Need to Put Something in the Twain Times?

9/27:  Spirit Night "Restaurant Night Out" - 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
10/03:  PTO Mtg. - 6:00 pm, All Parent Mtg. - 6:30 pm
10/04:  Dad's Club Mtg - 6:30 pm @Little Woodrows
10/05: Dual Language Coffee - 8:00 am
10/13:  Mark Twain Night @ Aeros Game
10/15:  Fall Recruitment Coffee - 7:00 pm
10/19:  Monthly Staff Appreciation Luncheon - 10:30 am - 12:45 pm
10/20:  Spooky Spaghetti - 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
10/22:  Parent Enrichment 8:00 am - "Ask the Experts" Q&A w/ Mrs. Patin & teachers
10/22:  Square 1 Art Fundraiser begins (ends 11/19)
10/25:  Middle School Forum - 6:30 pm (Cafeteria)
10/29:  Math Night - 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm 

Thank You to Our
Corporate Sponsors

Tom Sawyer Level



Huckleberry Finn Level   


 Austin Landscaping Logo  









Samuel Clemens Level   

Texas Citizens Bank logo









Aunt Polly Level


   Stormy Hayes-Knipe logo  



The Little Gym logo











Becky Thatcher Level




Evans and Mossman Logo 



Oakington Logo




Curtain_tracks_logo gc3_logo_houston  




October 2, 2012

Dear Mark Twain Community,


The October calendar is full of activities at Mark Twain. This week we will host the All Parents Meeting in the cafeteria at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3rd. This meeting will be a general information session that will provide an overview of our assessment scores from last year, our School Improvement Goals, IB program and a report from our PTO president, Sydni Mossman. At the end of the program I will give a presentation on the Bond Proposal. We do have a full agenda so we will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. I hope to see you there.


When you receive the October school calendar, make sure that you look at all of the scheduled activities.   Several of those events are student centered and I encourage you to participate in as many of those activities as you can. Our biggest event for children is the Spooky Spaghetti Supper which is our version of a fall carnival. It will be held on Saturday, October 20th. The decorations that you see around the school are to publicize the event and were provided by the parents that are organizing the Spooky Spaghetti Supper. It is a fun day for all and I hope to see you there!


I want to encourage all parents to communicate with classroom teachers when questions arise. Whether you need clarification on policies and procedures or you just need tips on how to help your child. The classroom teacher is best equipped to address your concerns and to work with you to ensure that your child has a successful and positive school experience.


Track Update:


We are in the final stages on the track construction. There are some minor issues with the sprinkler system that must be addressed and the hydro-mulching around the perimeter must be completed. We will have a ribbon cutting ceremony before Spooky Spaghetti and the ceremony date should be determined in the next few days. Thank you for your patience.


SKATE Program:


The Laura Recover Center is presenting SKATE, a safety program on lures and abduction prevention. This program helps students to identify dangerous situations and how to avoid being abducted. The program is scheduled for Tuesday, October 9th and permission slips went home last week.   Please return the form and indicate whether your child may participate. Students not attending will be supervised in the classroom during the presentation.


Have a great week.


Melissa Patin



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PTO President's Message

Dear Mark Twain Families,


I want to invite you all to attend the PTO meeting at 6pm and the All Parent meeting at 6:30pm on Wednesday, October 3rd. Mrs. Patin will be presenting information on the School Improvement Plan, IB program and a general overview of school data. I will give a brief overview of the PTO, a financial report from last year and our fundraising and community initiatives planned for the 2012-13 school year.


  • I hope you enjoyed our first spirit night at California Pizza Kitchen! I want to thank Amy Haight and Christina Kouzounis for organizing a great community event benefitting our school programs and children!
  • The first Dad's Club meeting is this Thursday, October 4th at 6:30pm at Little Woodrow's. This is a great way for Dads to get involved in planning for the Dad's Club Campout and Spooky Spaghetti, our fall carnival.
  • I encourage you to submit nominations forms for the Strategic Planning Committee and Audit and Compliance Committee. Hard copies of the nominations forms went home in the Tuesday folders and are due by Friday, October 5th. Please see below for more detailed information on the committees.


A few more reminders:

  • Class Funds - I would like to make some clarification with regard to "Class Funds". The idea of creating a fund was to facilitate and simplify the request, collection, and allocation of monetary funds for each individual classroom throughout the year. These upfront contributions are completely voluntary and by no means mandatory.  In circumstances like the purchasing of class t-shirts and funding of class parties where everyone needs to contribute if feasible, those who have not contributed to the fund can simply cover the cost of those items as they arise. 
  • Reserved Parking- Please do not park in the reserved parking spots in front of the school. Every year at the Huckleberry Bash, members of our community generously donate for the use of these spots. This money is used to support our school in many important ways including PYP training, additional curriculum materials, educational supplies, campus safety, technology support, library books and more. If we do not respect these reserved spots, they will no longer be able to raise such a significant amount of money for our school. Parental observation of these reserved spaces demonstrates PYP consistent attitudes of respect, gratitude and consideration. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

Mark Twain is a wonderful school --- a true collaborative effort among Mrs. Patin, school administration, our amazing teachers and staff, students, parents and the entire community. I am grateful for each of you as we work together to make a difference in our children's education.


Have a great week!


Sydni Mossman

Mark Twain PTO President



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Spooky Scoop  

It's a Spooky good time!


Spooky Spaghetti is October 20th 4-8pm.   Spooky is our annual fall festival and fundraiser. Money raised goes right back to Mark Twain to provide additional program support in the school. Wear a costume, play games, jump/slide on the inflatables, eat dinner and have a blast.



Pre-order your wristbands, dinner tickets and carnival tickets to avoid the long lines at the event. Order forms went home last week in the red folders. You can also order online at Paper orders can be turned in to the designated box in the Parent Workroom through Oct.12th. Please contact Melissa Roetzel @, 501-920-9241 or Susie Loredo @ with any questions concerning tickets.



CONGRATULATIONS to the 2012 t-shirt design contest winners...

Kindergarten - Kate Swales

1st grade - Gayeon Kim

2nd grade - Presley Hauck

3rd grade - Anna Bogler

4th grade - Oceane Cortes

5th grade - Isabella Amezquita

OVERALL WINNER - Natalia Cordone


A BIG THANK YOU to Brad Sanders and The Chocolate Bar for generously donating giftcards for the t-shirt winners.

The t-shirts with the overall winner's design can be purchased with your orders and we will be selling them in the front rotunda before and after school beginning Oct. 8th. Be sure and get them early to ensure you get your preferred size, as we have sold out in the past. We will not be reordering any sizes.


THANK YOU to our decorations team, Lisa & Rob Loffredo and to Olivia Smith & Reginald Jean-Jacques, for working so hard to make Mark Twain spookier than ever! Way to get us all excited about the event!


Help Wanted...

Spooky Spaghetti is a fundraiser run by the parents of Mark Twain. We need your help in many areas to make it a successful and profitable event. You can start by signing up to work a shift for your child's class booth.   There are also sign up sheets posted in the Parent workroom for parents who would like to help with ticket sales, set up and/or clean up. We also need help in the kitchen. Please contact Iram Ahmed at to volunteer for a short shift serving dinner.   This is a great way to meet people and it is actually a lot of fun.


For more volunteer opportunities or questions about Spooky, please contact Jenny Hanks at or Allyson Plummer at



Prize Donations/Booth Sponsorships...

If you would like to make a $25 donation to go towards the Redemption Center, you can put it in the Spooky box in the Parent Workroom.


If you would like to sponsor a booth, there is a section on the order form or you can put a $25 check in the Spooky box and add a note that it is to be a booth sponsor. Please include your contact email or phone number.



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Walk to School Day - October 3rd

International Walk to School Day is Wednesday, October 3rd. This is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day. Why participate? It's fun!!! Walking or biking to school promotes healthier habits, physical activity for our children, a cleaner environment, and boosts a sense of community in the neighborhood and our school. It is also a great way to enjoy this fall weather and visit with your kids!  


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Aeros Night


Enjoy a night out with the Aeros and Mark Twain Elementary, Saturday October 13th at 7:05 at the Toyota Center.  Enjoy the music played by our own Strings department at intermission.  Special school price is $10.00 per ticket.  


Just simply turn in the order form and payment to the box noted Aeros in the School Office NO LATER THAN October 2nd.  Order forms can be found in your children's red folder next week.  Tickets will be purchased for you and sent home with your children prior to the game.  All tickets will be seated together in one group at the end zone.  


Should you have any questions please contact Heather Barrow at  Hope to see you there!


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Square One Art   


Square 1 Art Fundraiser is back by popular demand!!  Our children will be creating special works of art with Ms. Cowan during their Art ancillary period from Sept. 13 - Oct. 1.  These creations will be sent to Square 1 Art -- a company that specializes in transforming children's artwork into a diverse selection of incredible custom products.  Order forms will be distributed the fourth week of October so keep a look out for them.   


If you would like to volunteer for shifts assisting Ms. Cowan please email Michelle Young at


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Gift Queen Fundraiser Ends Soon!! 

If you haven't already turned your Gift Queen order in, be sure to by Friday, October 5th. 

Questions?  Contact Kris Edelheit at



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UIL Contest  

Mark Twain students in grades 3-5 are invited to sign up for UIL contests in a variety of subjects this week after school. If your child is interested in competing, please send him/her after school to Mr. Senz's class, E202, to sign up.  The last day to sign up for the first tournament is Friday, October 5. Auditions will be required if the number of students enrolling in a particular contest exceeds the maximum number of contestants set forth according to UIL guidelines. If you have any questions, please email Mr. Saenz at


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Strategic Planning Committee Nominations due October 5th

The Strategic Planning Committee 2012-13 needs 7 representatives from the school community. This committee will meet four times a year, or when necessary at the call of the committee chair, to discuss and recommend strategic short and long range plans for the PTO.  All members will be appointed by the PTO Executive Board and approved by the PTO Board.   


The President, Treasurer, Principal (or appointed administrator) and an appointed chair will serve every year. In addition, we are looking for a representative from each grade level and a teacher representative. Each representative will be appointed to a one year term and can serve no more than two years consecutively.  Prior SPC projects include the Twain Track, Smartboards in every classroom, the Weatherbug station, and soccer goals on both playgrounds.  

If you are interested in serving or would like to make a nomination, click here to fill out the attached nominations form and return to Sydni Mossman, PTO President. These forms can be put in her mailbox in the PTO Parent Workroom. Forms are due Friday, October 5th.


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Audit and Compliance Committee Nominations due October 5th

The Audit and Compliance Committee 2012-13 needs 3 representatives from the school community. This committee will meet four times a year, or when necessary at the call of the committee chair, to review the financial records of the PTO, including monthly bank reconciliations, financial statements (P&L and balance sheet), budget to actual reports and material invoices and deposits and be responsible for any state or federal financial or tax compliance, including retaining an outside CPA to prepare and file IRS Form 990 due May 15th for each calendar year. All members will be appointed by the PTO Executive Board and approved by the PTO Board. Each representative will be appointed to a one year term and can serve no more than two years consecutively.

If you are interested in serving or would like to make a nomination, click here to fill out the attached nominations form and return to Sydni Mossman, PTO President. These forms can be put in her mailbox in the PTO Parent Workroom. Forms are due Friday, October 5th.


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Fall Informational Coffee

Monday, October 15 at 6:30 pm, there will be an informational coffee for prospective families ZONED to Mark Twain.  Encourage neighbors with pre-k children to come hear about our Exemplary school, our many esteemed programs and IB curriculum. Meet teachers and other parents at the home of Shannon and Patrick Hayes, 3702 Merrick.  The coffee begins at 7pm.   


Please rsvp to Sarah Callahan Baker at or 713-545-9330.  Note: this is an event for adults only. 


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Ask the Experts


Is there something you want to know?  Ask the Experts!  On Monday October 22nd 8:15am,  Ms. Patin and a team of experts will be available to answer those burning questions you are dying to ask.  Sample questions might include:


  • How should parents address the typical childhood issues of cliques and excluding others? At what points should parents stand back and when should we get involved?
  • How would you define the difference between an overly-involved helicopter parent and a healthy level of involvement? And more specifically, at what point do you recommend we stop bringing forgotten items like lunches, books and homework up to school?
  • How can a parent tell the difference between a child who is struggling in one area or a child who may need additional help, screening and/or special services (e.g., speech therapy, tutoring, attention issues, etc.)

In order to assemble the correct experts, ALL QUESTIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED IN ADVANCE.  Please submit questions to Tonya Crombie at by October 5th so that Ms. Patin and the staff are able to review, discuss and have the appropriate staff on hand to answer.  PLEASE NOTE: this session is designed for general questions.  The experts will be unable to answer questions regarding specific children or situations in this public forum.


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International News      


THANK YOU to all who participated in the International Dinner last week!


A few utensils were left, as well as a nice pyrex dish with plastic lid, and a bottle of ponzu sauce. Please claim these items in the parent workroom.


If you would like to be on the mailing list for our next event, the International Festival, please send an e-mail to asking us to add you to our mailing list.


And last but not least, our wonderful website team Jenny Clymer and Mega Rose have added a TRANSLATION BUTTON to the website. Go check it out:



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Yearbook Cover Design      


Want to see your art in the cover of our yearbook?  This is your chance.  Create a design for our yearbook cover. The Yearbook Committee will choose the most creative and unique artwork that best demonstrates our theme: Twain Tracks.  The winner will receive a free yearbook.


Twain Tracks: We have a new track at Mark Twain and it reminds us of the tracks or marks we leave behind at our school and the marks that our school leaves on our community and us.


Deadline: Friday, October 12 by 3:00 pm. Place entries in the Yearbook Box in the front hallway.


Artwork: Must be on 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper in portrait orientation. Artwork should be bright and colorful and reflect our theme: Twain Tracks. You must put your name, grade, and teacher's name on the back of the artwork.


Questions? Contact Gloria Pereira or 713-806-3655


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Entertainment Books     


Buy your 2013 Entertainment Coupon Book and start saving today!

The Entertainment Coupon Book is a valuable companion on your daily adventures.  Flip through it anytime to find big savings on featured sections such as:

Sporting Events & Musical Performances


Enjoy 15 months of savings with local and national coupons.  Get yours today in the school bookstore for $30.00.  Our school receives 50% for every book sold.


For more information or questions, please contact Amy Haight at


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Bedtime Math Stories  


As parents, we all know to read to our kids at night - but when's the last time you gave your kids a bedtime math problem?  (A what?!)  Apparently math develops in young children similar to how literacy develops, but somehow kids grow up thinking math is all work and no play.  Just as reading at home teaches kids to love books, math can be a fun, favorite activity at home, and a natural part of kids' everyday lives, just like the bedtime story.  Really!    
Try these lighthearted word problems on your kids and they'll be begging for more!  Go to
and join their email list for a playful new math problem daily.  It begins with a brief set-up - electric eels, chocolate chips, zip lines into the neighbor's pool - then asks math problems at three levels of challenge.  Tackle them at breakfast or dinner, bath time or bedtime...whatever part of your family routine where it fits best. 



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Save the Date - Mark Twain Middle School Forum


October 25th 6:30pm in the Mark Twain cafeteria there will be a Twain Middle School Forum.  Confirmed school representatives include Johnston Middle School, Lanier Middle School, Pershing Middle School, Pin Oak Middle School, Young Men's College Preparatory Academy and Young Women's College Preparatory Academy.



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A Children's Village - Preschool Openings


A Children's Village, the Preschool/MDO located at West University Baptist Church has openings for Younger Twos, Younger PK-3 and PK-4, and we would love to welcome your family to join us!  Please call Bessie at 713-667-5180 for a tour or information. 



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TXU Turkey Trot Fun Run


Thank you in advance for your help in sharing the TXU Energy Turkey Trot benefiting Sheltering Arms Senior Services with your students. This fun run, taking place Thanksgiving Day, November 22, in the Galleria area, is a 20-year Houston family tradition that includes a 10K, 5K and kid's race for a memorable start to the holiday.  All proceeds benefit Sheltering Arms, which helps Houston seniors through various programs and services across the city.


Click here for the Turkey Trot flyer and postcard about the event. For questions, contact Renae Virata, Sheltering Arms Senior Services, @ 281-773-2526 or visit 



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Need to Put Something in the Twain Times?


If you have information you would like to include in the Twain Times please follow the following procedures: 
  • For parents - forward information to our PTO President, Sydni Mossman at for approval.
  • For staff - forward information to Ms. Patin for approval at 
  • Also e-mail to Kim Reiner, Newsletter Editor at  
  • Submission deadlines for all approved articles are Thursdays by 5pm.
Forward questions to


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