Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thursday, September 21, 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 3 & 5 - Science Fair Workshops
Oct 6 - PTO Coffee Chat & bulb fundraiser deadline
Oct 23 - Individual Picture Day
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!
From Taylor Young, Operations Manager

Traffic is going pretty well on campus for the first month of school, but some safety and logistical issues remain: 
  • Please use only the pick-up and drop-off zone to load and unload your students if you choose not to park in the Parent Lot.
  • Cars must queue in the driveway to the parking lot when they're waiting for a spot. So, please do not drive around them as this is a single-lane driveway. Pedestrians should use the crosswalk and be aware of vehicles entering and exiting the driveways.
  • One-Way directional flow is permanent and needs to be maintained before, during, and after school no matter if it seems safe or more convenient to drive opposite the one-way direction.
  • A detailed reminder of these issues and more can be found on our website under "Traffic" here.
We need gravel! Do you have any connections in the landscaping world that can help us get pea gravel for the playground? Rocks can get mighty pricey and we are actively searching for a partner that can provide donation or discount for rounded pea gravel. We can provide donation receipts as a 501(c)3 Nonprofit!

Come to the Eco-wellness workday and help our campus grow! See you Sep 30 & Oct 1!
Hello ADS Families!

The Garden Workdays are next weekend, so mark your calendars for Sept. 30, and Oct. 1st!  We need ALL HANDS ON DECK!

To be prepared for this big event, the Eco team would love to have as many supplies as they can get.  This means having materials for the greenhouse, water hoses, soil, compost and mulch among many other things.  Please contact Melissa Bailey (melissaabailey@gmail.comfor more information or to arrange to donate supplies!  
Hoot Outs in our community this week go to:
  • Rhonda, thank you for the being a consistent face for our Savvy Sea Lions!
  • I really like Christie. <3 Jack
  • Jess Rather, for persevering and being real.
  • Caitlin, for amazing popcorn. - Deborah
  • The paper fairies, for copy paper donations! Keep them coming! - Deborah
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. You can order at any time using our school code GP7DD, but know that I place the orders once a month, the due date is stapled to the flyers.  
  • Join us in the library on Thursday 9/28 from 3:15-4:15 to celebrate Banned Books Week.  
  • 3rd/4th/5th grade classes will all be competing in the 7th Annual ADS Science Fair on 1/26/18.  I am hosting two parent workshops so you can be in the loop on what it is and how you can best support your student.  Workshops are 10/3 from 7:30-8am and 10/5 from 3:15-3:45pm.  PDFs of the presentation will go up on my website soon after at
Flower Bulb Fundraiser

Going on now thru Oct 6! The PTO would like to encourage all families to participate in this fun sale. Brochures are available in the front office and at all PTO events. Online orders can be made with the link below and we encourage you to share it with your family, friends, gardening groups and social networks. ADS receives 50% of all sales, so even a few online orders will go a long way! For questions, contact Melissa Good at
From Leigh Moss, Head of School

Dear ADS Families,

The 2017-2018 Parent / Student Handbook was approved by the board on Tuesday,  September 19th.  Please review the document on the website or request a printed copy from the Front Office (info@austindiscoveryschool.organd return this Parental Involvement Agreement to your child’s teacher no later than Friday, September 29th.  

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!

100 Partners in 100 Days

Today marks the  22nd  day of school and so far we have 16 new partners this school year.  A huge hoot out to those who have already contributed a
 one time donation, a recurring donation, or are a participant in corporate matching.  

Let's see if we can get to 30 Partners by the end of this month!  Your donation to ADS counts and helps augment all of our wonderful programs here at school.  Please consider donating 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 Kristin Allington, one of our amazing first grade ELA and SS teachers.  Kristin co-teaches with Meg in the Bombastic Bobcats!  This is her first year at ADS!

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community? I love Morning Circle!  It gives us each a voice and a sense of belonging.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why? I would love to visit Busan, Korea to see the orphanage where my husband was cared for from infancy to age three.  It would also be amazing for my daughter to see South Korea! She is very proud to be Korean.

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? I love using art and music to enhance academic endeavors.  It gives my students more gusto!

Share a happy childhood memory. I’ll never forget the special family Christmas celebrations at my Aunt Vicky’s house.  She loves Christmas!  The Christmas tree was always flocked to perfection, adorned with crystal ornaments and glittering flora and fauna.  She had an impressive Christmas town set up with ice skaters that actually moved and carolers that actually sang!  It was a Christmas wonderland over there!  I’d spend hours just looking at everything.  She lived in a neighborhood famous for its holiday lights.  We always ate delicious Mexican food like tamales or mole with rice with a plethora of scrumptious sides and delicate desserts.  It was the BEST and it instilled in me a love of whimsy, from which I draw on heavily as an educator of littles.  My Aunt Vicky is also a teacher.   

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else?  How and why is it important to you?  Above all, I think respect is essential in any healthy relationship.  Seeing others as valuable and worthy of respect lends kindness and honor to our connections with other people.  Without that foundation, little can be built, much less sustained.   

What are you grateful for in your life right now?  I am floored with gratitude lately!  I am so grateful for my amazing students and their highly supportive families!  I am grateful for my INCREDIBLE teaching partner, Meg!  We have so much in common and it’s so fun working with someone with such high expectations for herself!  Not to mention a genius for humor.  I am deeply grateful for my friends and family and all the support they render each and every day as I strive to balance the many plates I have spinning.  And I am SO GRATEFUL to be a part of the ADS community, a place that honors each student, teacher, and community member. What a privilege!   

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do?  I think I’d take a day trip somewhere and explore!

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature? In college I used to take long walks by myself around what was then Towne Lake.  This helped me find some much-needed quiet time to just appreciate the trees, birds, turtles, rocks, water, and even the occasional snake.  Without those walks, I don’t think I would have made it through all the hustle and bustle of it all.  

Who inspires you? One of my lifelong heroes has always been Maria Montessori. She was the first woman to earn a medical degree in Italy.  She went on to do amazing things for children and families and dedicated her life to education.  I started my career as a Montessori teacher and it gave me a wonderful foundation and a profound respect for all things, seemingly, little.

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down? The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  It’s so inspiring to read about people who come from incredibly difficult circumstances and make miracles happen with their lives, despite it all.  Effort creates ability!  We all hold such potential.

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee       

Dear Amazing Families,


I am reposting again so you don’t miss this amazing opportunity. Tickets will sell out fast!

I want to share with you an amazing resource that is coming to Austin to speak! Dr. Tina Bryson - who wrote The Whole Brain Child and No Drama Discipline with Dr. Dan Siegel.  They have a new book coming out in January 2018 called The YES brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in your Child.  This is a not-to-miss opportunity!  She is coming to speak to the public on Friday, November 3rd from 6:30-8:30 for only $50.  Tickets will go fast so please get your ticket today at this link:

I love their twelve strategies from the book, The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture your Child’s Developing Mind.

First Strategy:

Instead of Command and Demand, try Connect and Redirect. Example:  “Mom, you never left me at note in the middle of the night and I hate homework.”  “What are you doing out of your bed?  Go back to your room, and I don’t want to see you again until morning.” (Command and Demand)

“Mom you never left me a note in the middle of the night and I hate homework.”  “I get frustrated about things like that, too.  Want me to leave you a note tonight?  And I’ve got some ideas about homework, but its late now, so let’s talk more tomorrow.”  (Connect and Redirect)

Second Strategy:   

Instead of Dismiss and Deny, try Name it to Tame it:  Telling stories to calm big emotions.    Example:  Your child falls down and gets hurt.  You respond by saying , "don’t cry, you’re fine."  Instead allow the child time to tell the story about what happened so that can process the event.

Third Strategy:  

Instead of Enraging the Downstairs Brain, try Engaging the Upstairs Brain. Example:  Your child is upset and says, "I hate you."  You respond with “That is not Ok to say.  I don’t want you to ever say that again.”  (Enraging the downstairs brain).  Your child is upset and says, "I hate you."  You respond with, “Wow, you’re really mad.  Is it because I didn’t get you that necklace?”  Your child still responds that you are mean and they hate you.  You respond, “That necklace wasn’t for sale.  It’s Ok to you want to keep feeling upset, but if you’d rather, we can be problem solvers and think of another idea.”

Fourth Strategy:

Instead of just giving the answer, Try Exercising the Upstairs Brain. Example: “I’m sorry but you can’t keep that Frisbee.  It doesn’t belong to you.  Let’s put it back where you found it.”  (Giving the answer)  “I know you want to keep it, but what will happen if the other child comes back for it and it isn’t here?”  (Exercising upstairs brain)

Fifth Strategy:  

Instead of Command and Demand, Try Move it or Lose it. Example:  “I don’t want to get dressed.”  “Let’s play a dressing game!  Do a jumping jack and then we’ll put your pants on.”

Sixth Strategy:  

Instead of Fast Forward and Forget, try Rewind and Remember.  Again, Telling stories help children to be able to process painful experiences and memories that may be affecting their lives.

Seventh Strategy:  

Instead of “How was your day?”, Try Remember to Remember.  Example:  “What was the best part of your day?”   “What was not the best part?”

Eighth Strategy:  

Instead of Dismiss and Deny, try Teaching that Feelings Come and Go. This allows your child to process their feelings and understand that even scary emotions can come and go.

Ninth Strategy:  

Instead of Dismiss and Deny, Try Using Mindsight to Take Control of Images. Example:  A child is scared before bedtime of ghosts.  Instead of giving them the logical answer, you can help them change the visual images in their mind such as creating a funny image to replace the scary image by imagining the ghost with a tutu and a baseball cap.

Tenth Strategy:  

Instead of Dismiss and Deny, Try Exercising Mindsight. Example:  Teaching your child guided relaxation or meditative images to help them get through a stressful time like getting a shot.

Eleventh Strategy:  

Instead of Command and Demand, Try Playful Parenting. Example: Child is upset in bath and wants other parent.  You can become playful and pretend to be the other parent.

Twelfth Strategy:

Instead of Dismiss and Deny, Try Connection through Conflict.  Example:  Helping your child see the other person’s perspective, another point of view, listen to what’s not being said, and teaching kids to make things right after a conflict.

This is just a little taste from the Whole Brain Child.  Dr. Siegel really does a great job of explaining brain development to the lay person.  His other book, Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain is an amazing resource to understand your budding teenage and help you to survive the teenage years.