Austin Discovery School

Austin Family Reader's Poll Favorite 2018
"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 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

Oct 23 - Individual Picture Day
Oct 27 - Parents' Night Out
Nov 3 - Dia de los Muertos
Nov 4 - PTO Full Moon Festival
From Leigh Moss, Head of School

100 Partners in 100 Days

On this, the 37th day of school, we have 23 Partners so far this year!  Tuesday, October 31st will mark the halfway point to 100 days and we are really hoping to have 50 partners by the end of this month.  If you have not yet considered donating to Austin Discovery School, please take a moment and consider scheduling your donation today.  
Schedule your one time or monthly donation today.

ADS Participates in #GivingTuesday this Year - Get Involved

#GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in many countries around the world. Millions of people have come together to support and champion the causes they believe in and the communities in which they live.

Every act of generosity counts, and each means even more when we give together. #GivingTuesday includes people of all ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds. Together, millions of people demonstrate our common capacity to give.  #GivingTuesday is a celebration of America's greatest traditions: generosity, entrepreneurialism, and community. 

If you haven't already, please consider scheduling a donation to our beloved Austin Discovery School on #GivingTuesday, Tuesday, November 28th and join the movement of giving this year.

Day of the Dead / Dia de los Muertos will be celebrated at ADS on Friday, November 3rd!

For those new to ADS this year, if you are not familiar with this celebration you can find out more here.  Following is what Dia de los Muertos looks like at ADS.


Each class may sign up for an installation site outside the library by Friday, October 13th.  The installations will be set up all around the interior of the campus.  We want LOTS of community involvement and to honor and celebrate loved ones, things, and places that have moved on.  Like the celebrations in Latin America, we would love for this to be a community celebration and a sensory experience.  
Here’s how the classrooms can participate:
1. ADS teachers will sign up on a site map to choose a location for their class
2. During October, classes will design their altar/installation/ stations: 

On the day of the event:
7:50 a.m.  Face painting by room parents & teacher’s morning activities:

9 a.m. Grades K-2 ONLY
QUIET PROCESSION BEGINS: Students in grades K-2  will meet outside the Eco building and process through the gardens and campus and end up around the center circle on campus.  (Route will be marked.)  The procession is quiet to allow students to reflect on someone or something that they have said goodbye to- ultimately this is to honor the passing of this person/ thing… THEN we will CELEBRATE them!  Music and Dance!

Grades K-2 will be dismissed to their classrooms after the performance.

11 a.m. Grades 3-8 ONLY
QUIET PROCESSION BEGINS: Students in grades 3-8 will process through the campus and across the street to the gardens and end outside the Eco building.   (Route will be marked.)  Again, the procession is quiet to allow students to reflect on someone or something that they have lost.
Please coordinate with your child's teachers to learn more about how you can volunteer or participate in this event this year.

Parents' Night Out is back!  Let us watch your kids so that you can enjoy a night out on the town.  It is from 6-10:30pm on some Friday nights.  We serve pizza for dinner and play games until we settle in to watch a movie!

We're currently registering for 2 upcoming dates: October 27 & December 8.  You can register here.  You do NOT have to be in AfterCare to attend a Parent's Night Out!  We also allow siblings of ADS students who are at least 4 years old.

We hope to see you soon!
From the PTO

The Pumpkin Patch  If you're into pumpkin carving, we hope you'll stop by our pumpkin patch to purchase your gourd this season!  All gourds are just $5 each and help raise funds for our amazing school!  We will open each day after school from 2:30-3:30 p.m.  If you are dying to have a pumpkin but can't make it during those times, see Deborah or Josy in the front office. Please bring exact change!  Help us get each and every gourd to a good home - stop by and see us!!

Dia de los Muertos  We need donations of sugar, meringue powder, and tissue paper to make our Dia de los Muertos celebration what it should be.  Items (and cash donations) can be dropped off at the front office for this school-wide celebration.

Full Moon Festival - Save the Date!! Saturday, November 4th at 2 pm  Feeling The Need to Volunteer?  The ADS PTO has just the right space for you!  If you're into fall fun and festivalin', please consider signing up for an hour or two when you bring your family to this awesome event.  We'll have bouncy houses, obstacle courses, fortune tellers, hay rides, and chicken poop bingo, just to name a few!  Click the link below to sign up to volunteer with us.  It promises to be a real hoot! 

Texas-based casting director Vicky Boone, an old friend of our Theatre Arts teacher Jon Watson, is currently searching for 12-14 year old girls to play lead and supporting roles in an upcoming feature film called Bull. Vicky has cast films and conducted talent searches for many well-known film directors including Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life), and David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon). Jon thinks this is a great opportunity for all girls --- whether they think of themselves as actresses or not! --- to experience the casting and interview process, so he has arranged with Vicky and her staff to host an informal call at ADS today, Thursday, October 12. The audition will be held after school from 3:15 to 5:45 in the Theatre room of the Mesquite building. If you have a 12-14 year old girl in your family, or know someone who might enjoy the experience, read on!

The filmmakers are looking for girls in their early teens (11 year olds are encouraged to audition as well), who are, in Vicky's words, "creative, strong-spirited, independent, and rough-and-tumble." Jon thinks that sounds like plenty of the students here at ADS. Previous acting experience is not required. The audition will consist of a short conversation with a member of the casting team, so there is nothing to prepare in advance. Girls should just show up and be themselves!

Auditions will begin promptly after school on Thursday the 12th and will be held on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested students can simply head to the Theatre classroom directly after dismissal, where Jon and members of Vicky's team will greet them and record their place in line. If you have any further questions for Jon, whether about the process, production dates, the film itself, or those involved, simply email him at and he'll be happy to respond.
Hoot Outs in our community this week go to:
  • Ravenna, friend you are the best from Becca
  • Tim & Thora, for our amazing garden work day weekend!  For all you do to make our grounds and school simply the best!

  • Families and staff that came together to make our garden work day a success and for feeding us well while we were all working.

  • Elizabeth, Lyndy, and Sabra for being the book masters and making reading come alive with Battle of the Books!

News from Ms. Elizabeth, your Librarian

- Science Fair is in full swing!  Be sure to check this newsletter and my website at for updates.  
- Our first after school science fair work day is today from 3-4pm.  If your child missed the sign up for this one...sign up for the next one!
- Join me on the library porch 10/13 (Friday) from 7:50-8:30 for a Friends of the Library meeting.
- Looking ahead, we will be hosting a book fair 10/23-10/26 featuring Barefoot Books as well as books from some other small presses.  The books are great and the library receives a large percentage of the profits in the form of books from the fair.  The fair will be taking place on Tuesday 10/24 in conjunction with a pumpkin-decorating party - decorate a pumpkin to look like a book character.  I am in need of pumpkins; e-mail to help!
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.  

A little owl told me….by Kelly McRee

I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Patrick Frame, one of our amazing 2nd grade math/science teachers.  Patrick is co-teaching the Fierce Foxes with Ashley Conti in the Prickly Pear tree house.  This is Patrick’s first year at ADS.

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community? Morning meeting - particularly greetings and games. Greetings are important, kids practice eye contact and each other’s names, some kids would not get spoken to by another student if it weren’t for greetings.  Games because we all need an opportunity to have fun together. Kids need time to be silly and physical in order to make connections with each other and the teacher.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why? I would go to Asheville, NC. My heart is still in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? Professionally - making a killer anchor chart. Personally - spending a day outside with good friends.

Share a happy childhood memory. As a kid I loved going to the beach with my family. I always got to bring my best friend. We spent all day on the beach and then ate great seafood at night. My dad is a really good cook.

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else?  How and why is it important to you? Humor. Because we all need to laugh at ourselves and everything else.

What are you grateful for in your life right now? My friends and family.

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do? Go swimming.

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature? Kayaking in Norway.

Who inspires you? My friends and family. Angela Davis and Lisa Delpit. My teaching mentors: Penny Lewis, Janna McIntyre, Bo Royer, E. Bramlet, and Jeanette Epstein.

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down? And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee       


This is a great blog from Dr. Laura Markham.  This was her blog posted on 9/28/17.  Check out her website for some true parent wisdom at

Just Tell Me What to Say- 3 Guiding Principles

The truth is, what you say is not nearly as important as your attitude. Your child feels your warmth and love even when you don't say a word.

But what about those times when you're not feeling all that much love?  Those hot moments when you're trying hard to keep things from blowing up, and you want to say something constructive, but you aren't thinking all that clearly?  When you wish you had a fairy godmother whispering in your ear?

Try keeping three basic guidelines in mind: Connection, Feelings, Solutions. If you can use them all, great! But even if you only use one, you'll get yourself and your child on the right track. Every one of these works like a magic wand.  Here's how.


Parenting is 90% connection.  Kids can't hear us, cooperate with our requests, or even feel good in their own skin unless they feel connected with us. So when everything's going wrong, start by connecting.

When your child isn't listening to you, try putting your hand on her arm and making eye contact before you say gently "Hey, Sweetie." (Use your child's name.)

When your child is whining, instead of admonishing her to "Use your grown-up voice" try gathering her into your arms and saying "You are feeling out of sorts, aren't you? Nothing seems to be working for you right now. I think you're out of hugs...Let's see what we can do about that."

When your kids are fighting, get between them, put an arm around each one to connect physically and restore safety, and say "Let's everyone take a deep breath and calm down now....We can work this out."


Your child's behavior may need to be limited, but all feelings are allowed. The amazing thing is that once feelings are acknowledged, humans are much more willing to cooperate.

When your child wants something that you don't feel comfortable saying yes to, empathize as you say no. "You wish you could have that....Not today."

Notice how different this is from making him feel guilty for wanting it: "You have plenty of toys, don't be greedy!"

Or being defensive:"You know we can't afford that, I TOLD you we weren't buying anything for you today, don't you start crying about this!"

Instead, acknowledge his desire and empower him to achieve his goal in fantasy: "You REALLY love that, don't you?  You wish you could have it.  I see how much you want it.  I wonder if you could earn enough to buy it for yourself?  Or we could write it down on your birthday list, and if you still want it when it's your birthday; maybe we can swing it then."

When your child yells at your other child "I hate you, I wish I didn't even have a sister!" your impulse might be to say "You know better than that! How can you be so mean?" Instead, deal with the feelings that are being expressed, by saying "You're so very mad right now; you want us all to know you are furious. Tell your sister what you're mad about, without attacking her."  


When your children are bickering, instead of blaming  "Can't you two stop fighting?!" or stepping in to solve it "Ok, it's your turn tonight, you can have your turn tomorrow night, and no more arguing about this!"  help them work together to find a solution to their problem: "I hear loud voices....Looks like both of you want the ipad, and there's only one ipad...I wonder how we can solve this?"

When your child isn't ready to leave the house in the morning, instead of barking orders like "Get your shoes on this minute!" give her the responsibility by pointing to the picture chart by the door with a smile of encouragement: "It's almost time to go...I see you have your clothes on...what does this chart you made show you that you need to do next?"

When your child forgets something, instead of labeling him: "You are so forgetful! You'd lose your head if...", help him solve his problem: "Hmm...that IS a problem.  I wonder what we can do to solve it....what do you think?"

Notice that you have to take a deep breath and stay calm so you can keep your voice warm. But once you do that, just remember Connection, Feelings, Solutions. You'll be amazed how the words come to you.

Like having a fairy godmother whispering in your ear.