Austin Discovery School

Austin Family Reader's Poll Favorite 2018
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In the News

"On May 11, students and their proud teachers were on hand in the atrium at City Hall to talk about the innovative sustainability projects they are implementing at their schools. The 4th Annual Central Texas Student Innovation Showcase provided the forum to highlight the resourcefulness and imagination of their hard work  and proved once again, that greener cities are on the rise. With more than 300 in attendance at the Showcase, these students are hopeful that their sustainability ideas will spread to the broader community!"....
Edible Austin - 2017  Feed the Soil
"The 2016–2017 academic year has been particularly focused on the hands-on learning part. In fact, the hands of more than 500 students are busier—and dirtier—than ever. The school moved to a new campus in August of 2016, leaving behind huge gardens of rich soil that had been nurtured for more than a decade. So in their new digs, they had to literally start from scratch. “When we got here six months ago, this field was basically a desert,” says Thora Gray, Eco-Wellness teacher for kindergarten through fourth grade."

Not every child thrives in a traditional classroom and the folks who started Austin Discovery School know that. Our Meg Bonacorsi introduces us to one of them in this week's Giving Back.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Kelly McRee has been an educator for two decades. Along the way she's seen the spark go out in kids who used to be excited about school and learning. 

"They were just like, 'I don't think people want us. They don't want to hear what we think. They just want us to walk in a line, follow the rules and not have an opinion about anything,'" said McRee.

So, McRee and a group of her colleagues created the tuition-free Austin Discovery School.

Here, lessons are hands-on and project-based.

"You have a responsibility to share your talents or your skills or what you can do to make the world a better place. It's fulfilling. You give yourself permission to help create a different type of world than we have now and that to me is giving back," said McRee.

McRee is the behavioral program director at Austin Discovery School.

Her passion is social emotional learning. McRee said she's fascinated by human behavior and loves connecting with students by creating real relationships. 

"These are the future leaders. These are the people that are going to change how we interact with the world and that's what keeps me going. It's knowing we're doing our part, one kid at a time, to help create a future generation," she said.


Previous Quarterly Newsletters
Press Release 4/2014
Austin Discovery School has just been approved for expansion from K-6 through to 7th and 8th grades. As a result, ADS administration is expecting a 30 percent increase in enrollment in 2014-15. In order to handle this growth, Austin Discovery School is expanding its facilities space, and offering bus transportation for the first time in the school’s history.
All questions can be directed to head of school Leigh Moss: (512)674-0700
Unique Austin charter school promotes hands-on learning. Aired on 3/23/14. Click here to view clip.
Inside Austin
Former Head of School, Bill Luna, was interviewed by Chris Sanchez on Inside Austin- a one hour public affairs radio program running every Sunday morning. Show aired on 8/4/13.
Press Release 8/2011
ADS Receives Award from Comptroller for Financial Efficiency!!
ADS is a recipient of the Texas Comptroller’s 2011 Texas Honors Circle Award, which recognizes schools and districts that are achieving academic success through cost-effective operations. Award recipients achieve strong academic performance while spending relatively little compared to their peers.
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs has announced that 46 Texas school districts and 313 school campuses received the Texas Honors Circle Award for high rankings recieved in the 2011 Financial Allocation Study for the Texas (FAST). FAST, mandated by the 2009 Texas Legislature, is an annual study that examines both academic performance and financial efficiency to identity school districts, charter operators and campuses that deliver high-quality education at relatively low costs. Combs created the Texas Honors Circle Award program to recognize districts and schools that receive high marks in the FAST analysis.
“In these challenging times where schools are under pressure to do more with less, it is more important than ever to shine a spotlight on those that are achieving strong student performance with cost-effective spending.” Combs said. “Your efforts to help out state and local governments wisely manage educational spending while preparing students for success in college or the work force is crucial to the future of Texas.”
The Texas Honors Circle program awards certificates based on FAST results. Districts and charters receiving the Texas Honors Circle Award have achieved a Five-Star FAST rating. Only 46, or 4% of all Texas school districts, earned five stars. Elementary campuses receiving the award achieved a five start FAST rating, while middle and high-school campuses rapped for the honor achieved at least a 4.5-Star FAST rang.
To view FAST’s results and to see a list of all the Texas Honors Circle award winners, go to