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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday. September 28, 2017

Thursday. September 28, 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 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.
  • We have received complaints about traffic on campus causing students to be tardy, but we have noticed that traffic on campus does not back up until after school starts, which is at 7:50 a.m.  
  • Please do not allow your children to exit your vehicles anywhere other than the drop-off zone or the parking lot.  Do not drop them off in front of the library! 
  • 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.
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!  
It is almost time for the ADS Holiday Bazaar!  Donations of craft supplies and/or finished crafts will be gratefully accepted soon!  Look for great ideas to start popping up on the ADS Families Facebook page and feel free to e-mail Alicia Fiedler ( with questions.  
Hoot Outs in our community this week go to:
  • Rebecca. Love, Ravenna
  • Kristin and Meg, I’m glad you’re my teachers.  Love, Jacob

  • Kristin, I really like learning to write with you! - Jacob

  • All the peace center helpers for dealing with angry kids all day. - Eliza
    Kelly, Ryan, Jess, and Ellen. Wicked awesome team!!! Grateful - Kim
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 TODAY, 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,

Reminder of Procedures for School Safety

You will see that all of our teachers are now wearing lanyards with their school badges and keys attached.  All building doors will be locked 8 a.m - 3:05 p.m. except the main Administrative building.  Please remember that if you have scheduled to volunteer with your child's classroom, you must first check in with the front office and get a visitor pass.  If you are dropping off a late student or picking up a student up early, you can sign your child in or out at the front office as well.  Thank you for helping us to keep our campus a safe place to be!

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 ( and return this Parental Involvement Agreement to your child’s teacher no later than Friday, September 29th.  

100 Partners in 100 Days

Today marks the  22nd  day of school and so far we have 19 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 Sabra Lawson, our amazing Middle School ELA and SS teacher.  This is Sabra's third year at ADS.

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community?  I tend to enjoy the unexpected discussions that spring up about books and other class topics, but often those discussions start with our Do-Nows, which are writing prompts or other activities we do to get class started.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why? Ireland. It’s amazingly green, the people seem friendly, and I like their accents. I wish I had a more profound answer.

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? At work: Making students enjoy something they thought they would hate, like poetry. At home: Singing and writing songs.

Share a happy childhood memory. I used to stay at my grandma’s and try to tame her wild barn kittens. I wore long sleeves and long kitchen gloves. I basically just caught them and petted them until they loved me.  It was a pretty sweet gig for an 8 year old once they did love me, not so much before then. She paid me a dollar per tamed kitten.

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else? How and why is it important to you?Acceptance/authenticity. A relationship where you have to apologize for being who you are or pretend to be someone else is no relationship at all. I think you have to accept the perceived flaws in those you love and just be yourself.

What are you grateful for in your life right now? My co-workers, my boyfriend, my health, my house, my students and their families, and the list goes on…

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do? Head to the greenbelt with some friends or a book.

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature?  Hiking Pacaya (an active Volcano) in Guatemala a few years ago. I ate lunch in the clouds, but my shoes melted a little. You can’t have it all.

Who inspires you? My mom. She gives all of herself to those she loves. She’s awesome, but she’s modest enough not to realize it.

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down? Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

“The things you’re looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.”

A fine piece of literature.

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee       

This is an oldie but a goodie!  This was reprinted again September 16th in the New York Times for strategies for back to school.  It gives a great overview of why Social Emotional Learning needs to be a value for elementary schools (well, really everywhere!) and it is definitely a value here at ADS!


Teaching Peace in Elementary School

NOV. 14, 2015

For years, there has been a steady stream of headlines about the soaring mental health needs of college students and their struggles with anxiety and lack of resilience.

Now, a growing number of educators are trying to bolster emotional competency not on college campuses, but where they believe it will have the greatest impact: in elementary schools.

In many communities, elementary teachers, guidance counselors and administrators are embracing what is known as social and emotional learning, or S.E.L., a process through which people become more aware of their feelings and learn to relate more peacefully to others.

Feeling left out? Angry at your mom? Embarrassed to speak out loud during class? Proponents of S.E.L. say these feelings aren’t insignificant issues to be ignored in favor of the three R’s. Unless emotions are properly dealt with, they believe, children won’t be able to reach their full academic potential.

“It’s not just about how you feel, but how are you going to solve a problem, whether it’s an academic problem or a peer problem or a relationship problem with a parent,” said Mark T. Greenberg, a professor of human development and psychology at Pennsylvania State University.

Echoing the concept of “emotional intelligence,” popularized in the 1990s by Daniel Goleman’s best-selling book of the same name, he added, “The ability to get along with others is really the glue of healthy human development.”

Today’s schoolchildren confront not only the inherent difficulty of growing up, but also an increasingly fraught testing environment, a lower tolerance for physical acting out and the pervasive threat of violence. (President Obama last year characterized school shootings as “becoming the norm.”) Poverty and income inequality, too, create onerous emotional conditions for many children.

“The neural pathways in the brain that deal with stress are the same ones that are used for learning,” said Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, a research and teaching center. “Schools are realizing that they have to help kids understand their feelings and manage them effectively.” He added, “We, as a country, want our kids to achieve more academically, but we can’t do this if our kids aren’t emotionally healthy.”

S.E.L., sometimes called character education, embraces not just the golden rule but the idea that everyone experiences a range of positive and negative feelings. It also gives children tools to slow down and think when facing conflicts, and teaches them to foster empathy and show kindness, introducing the concept of shared responsibility for a group’s well-being.

Studies have found that promoting emotional and social skills correlates with improved outcomes in students’ lives. A 2011 analysis of 213 S.E.L. programs involving 270,034 kindergarten through high school students published in the journal Child Development found that the participants demonstrated significantly improved social and emotional skills, attitudes and behavior compared with a control group, as well as an 11-point gain in academic achievement percentiles.

In a recent study, researchers from Penn State and Duke looked at 753 adults who had been evaluated for social competency nearly 20 years earlier while in kindergarten: Scores for sharing, cooperating and helping other children nearly always predicted whether a person graduated from high school on time, earned a college degree, had full-time employment, lived in public housing, received public assistance or had been arrested or held in juvenile detention.

Dr. Greenberg, a co-author of the study, said he was surprised by how much social competence outweighed other variables like social class, early academic achievement and family circumstances when it came to predicting outcomes. “That tells us that the skills underlying what we’re testing — getting along with others, making friendships — really are master skills that affect all aspects of life.”

Moreover, positive relationships, emotional competency and resilience have also been widely identified as helping to prevent mental illness.

At P.S. 130 in Brooklyn, where most students qualify for free lunch, a class of third graders recently sat in a circle and brainstormed, for the second day in a row, about steps they could take to prevent an aggressive boy in another class from causing problems during lunch and recess: A 9-year-old girl said she “felt scared” when the boy chased and grabbed her; Leo, an 8-year-old with neon orange sneakers, described, with agitation, how the boy sat down, uninvited, at his table and caused so much commotion that it drew sanctions from a cafeteria aide.