Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thursday, September 14, 2017


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

Dates to Remember

Sep 22 - Deadline for Code of Conduct acknowledgement
Sep 28 - Banned Books Week celebration
Sep 30 & Oct 1 - Garden Work Days
Oct 6 - PTO Coffee Chat & bulb fundraiser deadline
We are still enrolling for this school year in kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 5th grades! Encourage your friends and neighbors to if they are interested in enrolling!
Hoot Outs in our community this week go to:
  • PG Moreno, for bringing Carmelo Torres y Los Toscos to ADS with their gift of cumbia right here on this beautiful Thursday afternoon! We love what you bring to our community! - all of ADS 
  • Wilson & John, for setting up sound equipment for Los Toscos while also doing your "other jobs." :D
  • Parents who have been generously feeding ADS staff snacks after school on Wednesday - it is *so* delightful!  Thank you!!!!!!!
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
News from Ms. Elizabeth, your Librarian
  • Info about Scholastic book orders: this is a monthly fundraising event that brings valuable new books to the library.  Each year your orders provide the library with about $2000 worth of books--very important to a library working without a school budget.  Thank you!  Orders will be delivered to your child's classroom.  If you ever want an order to be a secret for a birthday or holiday, please email me with that info.
  • Join us in the library on Thursday 9/28 from 3:15-4:15 to celebrate Banned Books Week.  
  • Middle School Parents:
    During this week's Whole Middle School Advisory your student took part in World Character Day, a day to start conversations about the importance of character and of working to develop our character strengths.  We watched the short film The Science of Character (watch it yourself at and then we participated in small group discussions.  Each student was asked to look at the periodic table of character strengths ( and to pick and discuss their strongest character strength.  Then they switched groups and were asked to pick/discuss their weakest character strength and think of one thing they can do right now to develop it.

    We hope to continue this conversation in coming Whole Advisories as well as in our individual advisories.  We invite you to view these online materials and the discussion kits to keep this conversation going in your own home.
Nurse's Corner

Lice has been found on some of Susan & Pam's Darling Dolphins and Kim & Morgan's Obsidian Lobsters.  There is also a confirmed case of Influenza A in the Darling Dolphins and one Obsidian Lobster with a staph infection.  Keep us informed so we can continue to sanitize our classrooms and keep the germs under control!
ADS PTO will be selling Dutch Mill Flower Bulbs as part of our 2017 fall fundraising effort. This is a great way to involve distant family and friends. Share with your co-workers and your gardening groups! Brochures will not be handed out to each student to support our Zero Waste Initiative, but can be picked up at all PTO functions as well as in the front office. This fundraiser will run Sept 11 - Oct 6. Students can collect orders to be turned in on the brochure or share the link below.  Online orders will have a flat shipping fee and be sent right to the customer.  Brochure orders need to be turned in to the PTO mailbox in the office by October 6. For questions, contact Melissa Good at
From Leigh Moss, Head of School

Excerpt from the ADS Parent / Student Handbook

Classroom Visits:

You can aid us in achieving the goal of maximizing student potential by helping us maintain a focused learning environment. Interruptions are distracting to the children. Staying with your child in the classroom for more than a few moments does not help students focus on learning. Academic time is sacred, so we ask that you leave the classroom by 8:00 a.m.

Teachers will coordinate times to join the class for lunch and hikes. Please coordinate with your classroom teacher to schedule a visit.  When you arrive on campus, please sign in at the front office as you enter the school and confirm with the Front Office that the teachers are expecting you. All visitors and volunteers must also sign in at and out when entering or leaving the campus.

ADS Families,

The 2017-2018 Code of Conduct has been approved by the board of directors and is ready for you to review and sign with your child. Read the full text here or go and check it out on the Parents tab under “Parent Forms and Documents”

Sign the last page and return it to your child’s teacher by no later than Friday, September 22.  Thanks!!!!

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 hootabout 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!

ADS Permablitz 2017 (aka Fall Garden Work Day)

Sept 30 & Oct 1 - 9:00am

The time has come to unite and ready the gardens! This is an opportunity for our school community to come together for two days of earth moving, weed pulling, tree planting, clean up and general garden prep.  We started last year with a foot of clay covering our future annual/perennial gardens.  Needless to say, we have been very busy.  ADS is now home to a food forest that includes over thirty fruit trees and  forty other trees around campus.  The students have also installed grant-worthy rain gardens, planted a pollinator garden, dug out a pond, created straw bale gardens and constructed a chicken coop, and a rabbit hutch!   That was all just in year one!  However, it’s time for the students to grow some food!  This is where you come in.  Although, we have made some progress with our ‘student run’ annual garden beds, they are in need of massive microbial makeovers!  We need compost!  And lots of it!  The main objective for this two day event is to compost the heck out of our food forest, annual garden beds, and all of the other green spaces created last year.  We will also be moving thousands of pounds of mulch and leaves all around campus. In addition, heavy machinery and human power will be used to create new garden beds, install fencing, prep future prairies, and complete many other garden-related tasks.  Year two in our new digs is going to be awesome...BUT WE NEED YOU!

A little owl told me….by Kelly McRee


I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Holly Rutherford, our Reading Resource Instructor, who also helps with ADS grant-writing.  

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routines that foster classroom community?  Discussing our strengths and challenges....myself included

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why?  Italy.   It was my mom’s favorite place in the world.

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? Helping and supporting students with strategies.

Share a happy childhood memory. Fly fishing and horseback riding in Colorado with my dad's side of the family.

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else? Compassion

How and why is it important to you? We all need it at one time or another.

What are you grateful for in your life right now? My husband and my boys.

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do?  Get a massage, take a nap, and go on a movie watching marathon.

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature? Snorkeling in Hawaii

Who inspires you? My mom...she was such a loving, caring, positive impact.

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down? The Sun is Also a Star

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee       


Parenting is the hardest job ever and I thought this was such a thoughtful response!  Enjoy - take care of yourself and enjoy these times with your littles as they go so fast!

Great advice from the Washington Post 

Q: As a general rule, I manage my parenting anxiety by not reading parenting books. It’s too much contradictory information, and I get nuts about it. I’ve found that following my instincts works better for me. But I do feel like I need some guidance on what I should be doing with my toddler to prevent lifelong damage and get on course to raise a good kid. Any thoughts on how to manage this push-pull?

A: Here’s the deal: We have never had so much information at our fingertips in the history of parenting. Data, studies, websites, books, podcasts, articles, blogs, columns (ahem), classes, therapists, coaches (again, ahem). There is a never-ending list of ways that parents can get advice and instruction and information. Yet we have never been more anxious and insecure about our roles. Are we good enough? Are we providing the best opportunities for our children? Are we too lenient? Too strict? Too absent? Too present? For every question we have, we can sit at the computer and search and search, giving our brain unending fodder for worry and uncertainty. For every study we find, another will disprove it.

I remember being pregnant with my second and feeling amazed by the information available to pregnant women. Breast-feeding, swaddling, diapers, sleep classes, eating — you name it, and the information was out there. I had done all of those things (and more) while pregnant with my first, and guess what? I barely needed any of the information. Life has a way of throwing curveballs and changing up the game pretty quickly.

[Chaos is constant with twin toddlers. How can I rein it in?]

But I was amazed at how women are handed babies and almost no one (save a couple of great pediatricians) talks to parents about their kids’ development. When you are concerned about your 2-year-old’s tantrums, you usually get a “Yup, that’s normal.” Why is it normal? What role do tantrums serve for 2-year-olds? (And yes, they serve a purpose.) Why do 3-year-olds say “no” so much? Why do young children lie? Why do bedtimes become so fraught after the child had been going to sleep normally?

There are reasons behind behaviors. Yet parents who are browbeaten concerning the birthing process aren’t told the basic developmental stages of children.

The reason is both complicated and simple. Pregnancy and birth have been made into billion-dollar industries, but toddlers? Preschoolers? Elementary-aged children? Outside toys and technology, consumer culture tends to steer clear. And who can blame them? Differing opinions on parenting techniques, disorders, disabilities and more (just to name a few issues) keep basic information from reaching parents, and we don’t ask for help until we feel like we’re dealing with a crisis. It’s natural to not seek help until you have a problem, but even a basic understanding of child development would help parents so much. And if I can grasp it, then anyone can.

I am not going to recommend that you read much about parenting. Is that because what’s out there is bad or good? No. I recommend staying away from reading too many books, because your searches are feeding your anxiety rather than your thirst for knowledge. I mean, “lifelong damage”? Whoa. That’s heavy stuff. How powerful do you think you are as a parent? Life will dole out its own misery that will have nothing to do with you. The only way to prevent misery is to not live, and that is not our desired option.

So, first:

1. Get to the root of your anxiety. Having worries as a parent is normal, but if you feel kidnapped by your anxiety, you need help. Parenting has a way of unearthing our emotional issues, and a good therapist will help you unpack them. There are effective and easy tools to help you manage anxiety, so be brave and reach out.

2. Find parenting friends who don’t stoke your worry. Anxious parents tend to surround themselves with other anxious parents, and everyone stays in a worry loop. Consciously be with people who help you to feel relaxed, not amped. Finding a community can make a huge difference in your anxiety levels and how you understand your child.

3. Have one friend with children older than yours. I have a friend whose children are about four years older than mine, and I cannot tell you how many times I have called with a “Is this normal?” parenting question.

4. Have a small (and I mean small) library of parenting books in your home. I like basic development books (look around and see what speaks to you) and books about kids’ developing bodies (I like the “Care and Keeping of You” series, which also has a book for boys.) I like Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson books (“The Whole Brain Child ” and “No-Drama Discipline”), as well as Deborah MacNamara’s “Rest, Play, Grow” for understanding preschoolers. For a class on child development, look no further than the Neufeld Institute. It’s online, affordable, science-backed and thorough.  (My favorite go to books are:  The Whole Brain Child, No Drama Discipline by Dr. Dan Siegel/Tina Bryson, Easy to Love/Difficult to Discipline by Dr Becky Bailey, and Peaceful Parenting by Dr. Laura Markham)

5. Although it’s good that you know that your instinct is powerful, I want you to reframe it as your intuition. When I hear “instinct,” I think of our reptilian brains, keeping us in fear and survival mode. Your intuition is a bit deeper; it goes past fear. It has some measure to it. It is more “in the gut.” Finally, don’t confuse not knowing what to do with failure. There is no way you can know what to do all the time. No matter how many books you read, you will make mistakes and lose your way. This is a guarantee. Forgive yourself, ask yourself what you need and keep moving forward. Your confidence will grow, and you will find your way. Like all of us did and do. Good luck.