Austin Discovery School

Austin Family Reader's Poll Favorite 2018
"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

ADS Newsletter - 24 August 2017
We are still enrolling for the 2017-18 year in 1st, 2nd, and 5th grades! Encourage your friends and neighbors to if they are interested in enrolling a 1st, 2nd, or 5th grader this school year.
Interested in traffic flow and parking on campus?  Please check out the information on our website here.  It is always chaotic for the first couple of weeks of school, but we expect that just as in past years, it will settle down soon!  
STAAR score sheets for the 2016-17 school year are available for pick up at the front office.
Interested in substitute teaching at ADS during the coming year? Get the process started now!  ADS needs you!  E-mail Vice Principal Amity Taylor for more
Hoot Outs in our community this week go to:
  • Myra Simmons, Kate Griffin, Leigh Fisher and all the parents who took over the moderation of the ADS Families Unofficial Parent Forum.  We are so happy to have this site back in the capable hands of our parent community.  Thank you!!! - PTO officers
  • Jennette Everett, for her really hard work putting together the Arts & Movement classes! - Holly
  • Virgil Anderson, Lars Stanley, and Jennifer Rockenbaugh for coming out on our first campus work day last Sunday! - Taylor 

Dates to Remember

Sep 1 - PTO Coffee Chat
Sep 4 - Labor Day Holiday
Sep 7 - Back to School Night
Sep 8 - PTO Skate Party


Please contact administrators via e-mail to schedule meetings as needed.

Amity Taylor, Assistant Principal
Becky Mien, Student Services Director
Kelly McRee, Social Emotional Program Director
Leigh Moss, Head of School
Lydie Jessin, Business Manager
Taylor Young, Operations Manage

From Leigh Moss, Head of School

ADS Families Give a Hoot!

Whether your're volunteering in the classroom or as part of a school-wide event, contributing to our annual fund or getting involved with the PTO, ADS families give a hoot about supporting our school and community.  Please take a few minutes to inform us how you want to get involved this year! 

Take the short survey today!
From the PTO

First Friday Coffee Chat - Sep 1st

Please join us for caffeine and camaraderie as we kick off the 2017-18 school year!  It takes a village to make our school the wonderful gem that it is, and we want you to join us as we begin our fundraising support of the school.  Please come for a cup of coffee and stay for the friendships!  We look forward to seeing you next Friday morning.

Skate Party - Sep 8th

Ready to skate for a cause?  Join us on Friday the 8th at 6pm to have fun and raise money for our amazing school!  This is a great way to spend exuberant weekend energy and give back!  Please come and be a part of this fun-filled evening.  As they say in the biz, "All Skate"!!!  See you there!!

Room Parents

Would you like to fulfill your 20 hours of volunteering by becoming a room parent?  Please let the PTO know!! You can send a quick email to and we'll tell you everything you need to know.  We need at least one room parent (and preferable two or more) for each classroom and for the essentials, so if this is the avenue for you, please reach out and we'll get you started!  Thanks everyone!
Hello and welcome back to school! My name is Ellen Barg-Walkow and I am the Middle School Social Worker, supporting 5th-8th grade students and families with social, emotional, and behavioral needs here at Austin Discovery School. I have spent three years as an elementary educator and left the classroom to get my Master’s in Social Work to learn how to empower community members and assist them in navigating diverse challenges. Please reach out to introduce yourself, let me know if there is a way I can support your family, and ask questions by emailing me Thank you for welcoming me to the ADS family!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
At ADS, we believe in using restorative practices and conscious discipline. To learn more about these community-driven philosophies as well as view a parenting website with useful tips, please visit the links below:
Restorative Practices:  
Conscious Discipline:
Aha Parenting:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Some helpful resources in Austin:
  • 24 hour crisis hotline number in Austin for any type of psychiatric crisis:512-472-4357
  • 24 hour national suicide prevention number1-800-273-8255
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to learn about and get support for your or your loved one’s mental health condition. Visit for resources or call NAMI Austin chapter at 512-693-2000 to learn about resources and meetings in town
  • Call 2-1-1 for free any time if you are in Texas for information on resources including clothing, food, shelters, child care, employment, counseling, housing, government assistance, physical and mental health, and more. This services is available 24/7.
  • Capital Area Counseling for sliding-scale individual and group therapy sessions available every day of the week. Call 512-302-1000 to learn more. 
  • Caritas of Austin (512) ; 611 Neches St, Austin, TX 78701 to help with homelessness as well as have resources for food, employment, refugee services, education, and mental health services
Hello from the Lunchroom!

The 2017-18 school year is here! For those that don't know about our lunch program, please feel free to read up on how things work at>PARENTS>Lunch Program
We do a preorder system with our food vendor, Revolution Foods, in order to cut down on food waste. As such, this means that orders are due the Monday prior to the week you would like your student to receive it. 

To say a little about the meals we get from Revolution:
Every meal comes with an entrée selection, a vegetable (corn, broccoli, glazed carrots), and a fresh fruit (banana, apple, orange). There will be a regular selection that will usually come with poultry or beef (no pork), a vegetarian selection, and a dairy-free selection. Gluten free is available with a doctor's note. They have cheeseburgers, pasta dishes, and bbq chicken w/ cheesy rice as the regular option, to name a few. Examples of vegetarian meals are cheese enchiladas, sunbutter and jelly sandwiches, cheese pizza, and cheese ravioli. Dairy-free entrees include chicken bites, crispy baked chicken sandwich, all-beef hot dogs, and chicken salad sandwiches.

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee       

Welcome to our amazing community here at ADS to new and returning families!

We are the ADS Owls!  We love to share random acts of kindness, so please come fill out an owl feather in Building 1.  There is a mailbox next to the water foundation for you to leave these notes of kindness! Any parent, teacher, or student (any member of the ADS community) can fill out an Owl recognizing some amazing/positive kindness that someone has done to brighten their day or week!  I will have a special spot in our Thursday folder to give a Hoot out to share these kind acts with the rest of our community!

  • Each week under the Social/Emotional Mindfulness, I will be sharing a message about the importance of social/emotional learning.  
  • I would love to have your input so feel free to email me some suggestions or topics.  Send emails to
  • I would love to have a book club again for parents, so please give idea suggestions for books and times to meet.

As Social Emotional learning is part of the mission of Austin Discovery School, we use a lot of positive strategies to help children relax during stressful times as well as learn to manage their emotions.  These strategies are helpful when they are practiced at school and at home.

We teach students to notice their body's reactions to their feelings. We want to empower students to use strategies to manage these intense emotions.  Some of the techniques we use are from Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey.  She wrote a great book called “Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline”.  Her website is loaded with resources so check it out at

Here are a few of techniques we teach students:

  • STAR: You may hear your student talk about being a STAR, which stands for stop, take a breath, and relax.  Get your student to show you a demonstration!
  • DRAIN: Put your arms out straight, make fists with both hands, squeeze as tightly as you can, then slowly let your arms and hands relax (visualize letting your tensions go down the drain)
  • BALLOON:  Interlock your hands on top of your head and pretend to blow up a balloon until your hands have created an imaginary balloon, then let all the air out of the balloon.
  • PRETZEL:  Put your arms straight out in front of you, cross your hands at the wrists, and then clasp your hands together. Bring hands toward your body, twist them down and then towards your chest. Hold them close to your chest and let go slowly as you take nice deep breaths.
  • SAFE PLACE:  This is an important place in our classrooms, but even at home, it is important to have a place for children to be able go on their own until they are ready to re-connect with us about how they are feeling.

We use this skills to help teach ourselves composure and to look at the power of perception - no one can make you angry without your permission!  It is important to teach our children that you can make a mistake (Oops) and then do it over again differently.  Children need to be able to download calm from the adult they are with through the mirror neuron system in the brain.  Noticing is a valuable skill to invite this connection.  Mirror and notice the child’s body language (i.e. “Your feet/body/face are going like this.”).