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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thursday, November 9, 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

Nov 13-17 - Fall Into the Arts
Nov 20-24 - Thanksgiving Break
Hoot Outs in our community this week go to:
  • Hans-Juergen Dietrich of Alaman Design, for the continuous stream of gardening and landscaping supplies for the Ecowellness program!! White roses, red roses, trellis, plants, all the paver stones in the herb garden, rocks!!! Thank you thank you thank you - ADS looks so amazing because of your generous donations.- Love love love the Ecowellness program 
  • My fellow PTO Officers, for working so hard to create an awesome zero waste Full Moon Festival! - Jennette
  • PTO Officers, for making the Full Moon Festival a must-experience family event!  Thanks to all of you for your hard work and to all the families that came out to support!
  • The Middle School Hoot News staff, for the amazing work! The students are having a blast creating it!  A huge hoot out to Sabra and Jordyn!
ADS Middle School students write and publish The HootNews each week; here is a link to the second edition.

Hope you enjoy! Hoot News Broadcasting Team!
From the Front Office

We are desperately needing donations of copy paper, small pants, and socks!  Thanks for your support!

Parents, the sandbox is NOT open after school. Please do not let your children play in the sandbox after 3:05. THANK YOU!
Fall Into the Arts will be celebrated for a second year next week! Check out the schedule above and this spreadsheet to get more info about what events parents can attend.  We have planned lots of music concerts, drama presentations, a knitting circle to create art for campus trees, an after school STEAM party, and many more activities.  Please come to one or all events!

If you are an artist, writer, architect, seamstress, designer, etc. please think about presenting and doing a show & tell with your child's class.  Last year we had lots of adults come share and it was greatly appreciated by students and teachers.

The middle school students will be staining and refinishing all campus picnic tables that week and could use donations of stains, sealers, paintbrushes, and drop cloths.  Partial cans are A-OK.  A collection box is outside the library.

Thora would like donations of dowels.  Her students will be creating oversize Lincoln Logs.

We need donations of art canvases for some spontaneous art activities that will be set up at lunch and near the playground.
Next week the K-2 Art classes will be completing a mural as part of Fall into the Arts.  It’s going to be a fun-filled and messy week in art!  Please send your child to school in clothing that can get messy.  To volunteer or see your child’s scheduled class day, click this link:

E-mail questions to Amelia at
From ADS Aftercare

Enrollment for Spring Enrichment Classes during Early Release Wednesdays starts NOW!  Click the picture above to register! We've got 6 new classes being offered including Spanish, Flamenco Dance, Cooking, StartUp Kids Club, Animation, and Global Inventors.  We also have some of the favorites from the fall back for another semester of fun, including Artist Lab, Capoeira, Choir, Digital Film Making, Soccer, Theater, Ukulele, and Global Programming (Video Game Design).  

Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis and if you enroll before Nov 17th, you will qualify for our Early Owl Discount!  There is also a family discount if you have 2 or more students enrolling in classes.  So sign up today!  Financial Aid is available for those who qualify.  If you and your child are interested in basic childcare instead of enrichment classes, EARLY AfterCare will be available from 2 -3 pm at a reduced rate ($5/Wednesday). Questions?  Contact
From Leigh Moss, Head of School

Are you and your family invested in being stewards to our community?  Is it important to you that you support your children and their school community through volunteerism or giving?

Giving Tuesday is just 19 days away!  This is your chance to help Austin Discovery School reach our 100 new Partnerships in 100 Days.  

This year I Live Here, I Give Here has partnered with #GivingTuesday.  Their campaign is focused on taking action for good and working to record all the greater Austin community volunteerism, acts of kindness, and charitable giving that this day works to represent.  

ADS wants get involved in doing good for our school community.  We're encouraging all families to 
share your ADS giving story, like this ADS family who wrote, "We give to ADS because it's our home. ADS is not just the best school ever, it's also a community of loving and caring people. We're truly blessed to be a part of this remarkable example of what school CAN be."

You can get involved today for #GivingTuesday by:
Your volunteerism and recurring donations help your amazing teachers and programming like EcoWellness, PE, Art, Music and Theater thrive.  How will you choose to support ADS during this season of giving?
News from Ms. Elizabeth, your Librarian
  • There will be a planning meeting at 7:50 a.m. tomorrow, Nov 10th for the Scholastic Book Fair.  This is a huge fair and the library receives 60% of the's the major way we get new books in the library.  I need lots of help that week and it really is a lot of fun!  Please stop by the meeting if you would like to help with the planning and organizing.
  • The Science Fair work day on Nov 28 has been cancelled.  Each student should be starting research; at school we use, which is a safe Google custom search engine.
  • The Scholastic Book Fair will be Dec 4-8.  Please sign up to help if you can. The Family night event in particular, on Tuesday Dec 5, needs a lot of parental help and snacks. Go to to see how you can help.  You will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on and does not share your email address with anyone. 

A little owl told me….by Kelly McRee

I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Tim Patterson, our amazing Middle School Science and SS teacher. Tim is in his fourth year with ADS.  His classroom is located in the Mesquite treehouse.

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community? Morning Meeting - I like the Responsive Classroom version with a greeting, share, activity, and message.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? There is so much beauty everywhere on this planet, it’s tough to pick just one place to go.  After spending 45 days backpacking across Europe this summer, I’d have to say Northern Italy. Beautiful beaches, cities, people, food, music, and art.  Each day I spent in Italy was one of the best days of my life.

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? When others get excited or are surprised by something new or unusual.  I like seeing the looks on people’s faces when they experience something new.

Share a happy childhood memory. One of my favorite moments growing up was playing in the snow with my brothers.  When it would snow a lot or blizzard in Pittsburgh, we’d go outside for what seemed like forever. We’d sled ride, build snowmen, throw snowballs, and be genuine goofballs.  When we’d finally either been called in by our mom or were so tired we could barely move, we’d come inside for hot chocolate and a movie. Those were fun times.

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else?  How and why is it important to you? An important quality in anyone building any relationship is open-mindedness.  We have to be open to listen, take risks, and try new things for relationship flourish.

What are you grateful for in your life right now? My Austin family. My wife Sarah, my dog Campbell, my local friends and my relatives.

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do? I’d sleep in until 8:00 a.m., eat a big breakfast, and take Campbell for a long walk.  Then I’d get caught up on a few household chores, followed by a trip to the gym.  By noon, I’d feel accomplished enough to go grab some tacos or pizza for lunch. Then I’d either go on a bike ride, go to the movies, or go home and paint depending on my mood and the weather.

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature? One day in the fall while I still lived in Washington DC, Sarah and I went camping to a National Park in Maryland with a few friends. We pitched our tents, set up camp, and took a 6 mile hike. Later that day we used turkey necks and rope to set up blue crab traps in one of the nearby bays.  We spent all day outside playing games, laughing, and catching crabs.  Then, later that night we cooked the crabs and sang songs by a campfire.  It was awesome.

Who inspires you? Everything has the potential to inspire me.  I’m inspired by our students, my wife and family, my friends, nature, great food and art, music, and many other things.   

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down? This is a funny one because the last book I couldn’t put down is not something I would usually read.  While in Dresden this summer, Sarah and I spent 2 days at one airbnb.  On the first evening there, I found a David Baldacci book calledZero Day on the shelf in English.  The next thing I knew it was midnight and I was about 350 pages in out of about 600.  I decided to hit crash, but the book was still on my mind.  So I got up after about 5 hours of restless sleep and finished the book by 10 a.m. the next day.

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee       


Dear Beloved Families,

Here is a great article just in time for Thanksgiving Break to instill gratitude into your family practice.  This is from Dr. Laura Markham.

Thanksgiving Rituals To Teach Gratitude

"If we want to be happy, and to raise happy kids, we need to practice gratitude — deliberately, and consistently, or we may end up feeling more entitled than appreciative. When we feel entitled, we often stew about unfulfilled expectations. Entitlement makes us more likely to feel disappointed when we don’t get what we think we want, rather than grateful when we receive something. Disappointment is not a happiness habit. Gratitude is." - Christine Carter

Thanksgiving will be celebrated in the United States this week, kicking off a month of holiday frenzy that includes Hanukkah and the Winter Solstice and culminates finally in Christmas. The busyness and consumer focus often leave both children and parents feeling overwhelmed and unsatisfied, focused on acquiring more things but never feeling like it is enough, aching for a different experience of the holidays.

But there is another way. You can give your children a meaningful, joyous and peaceful holiday season. You can celebrate the start of the new year feeling more connected as a family. Mommy meltdowns and going into debt are completely optional.

How do you start? By feeling appreciative for all you have! That makes gratitude into a mindset, or a habit.

A whole body of research now confirms that adults, children and adolescents who report feeling gratitude are happier, healthier, more content, more optimistic, and more likely to be helpful to other people in every way. They're also less materialistic, less envious and less likely to be depressed.

And what better time to begin than Thanksgiving?

Here are 13 proven gratitude practices that will help you invent your own meaningful family gratitude traditions, for Thanksgiving and beyond.

  1. Have your family count blessings by listing things everyone is grateful for every night at dinner or bedtime. (In one study by gratitude researcher Jeffrey Froh, middle-school students were asked to count their blessings for two weeks by listing five things every day that they felt grateful for. The control group listed complaints about hassles in their lives. The kids who focused on blessings for just two weeks felt more gratitude, more life satisfaction, more optimism and were more positive in general -- even several months later.)

  2. Record family blessings in a Family Gratitude Journal which you read back to the family on a regular basis. Research shows this retrains your mind to focus on the positive. Be specific in your appreciations to freshly focus your brain. For instance, instead of "I am grateful for my husband"notice that one day "I am grateful for my husband's patience when I get stressed" and another day "I am grateful for my husband's hard work in cleaning up the leaves outside."

  3. Gratitude Jar. Another effective practice is a gratitude jar. When anything lovely happens in your home, say to your children "I am so grateful for this! This goes in the gratitude jar!" which makes the moment more special to everyone, and helps children want to find or create more such moments. Just write down what happened on a slip of paper and add it to the jar. Then, as part of your holiday rituals, for instance at New Year's, find a good time to read all those slips of paper to your family and let the sheer enormity of your blessings sink in.

  4. Make it a practice to comment with appreciation on all the blessings you encounter as you go through life. Your children will follow suit. "What a beautiful day! I love it when the sun is shining."..... "I love the rain! Look how happy the plants are for the water."

  5. Look for books on gratitude at the library and online (used) and read them with your child. Talk about what gratitude means and what you're grateful for.

  6. Appreciation photos - Take a photo or two every week of something beautiful that you appreciate, share it with your kids, and talk about why you appreciate it.

  7. Express your thanks through service. Volunteer together at a shelter that feeds hungry people, make cards for our troops, bake pies with your kids and take some to your local homeless shelter or fire station. Explain to your children that we are all interconnected and we benefit so much from the actions of others that we want to help whenever we can.

  8. Express gratitude to nature. Help your kids make peanut butter and seed-stuffed pinecones for the birds, or plant bulbs, or pick up trash at your local park.

  9. Help your kids write thank-you letters to mail or deliver in person “to someone who has done something really kind for you, but you never gave them the thanks they deserve." (Gratitude researcher Jeffrey Froh found that kids who did this report more happiness than kids who didn't write the letters -- not just immediately, but three and five months later.)

  10. Make a blessing tree and post it on the wall. On Thanksgiving, everyone writes things they're grateful for on construction paper leaves and tapes them to the tree. If you save this and add to it every year, it will become an heirloom, as the children grow and the family constellation changes. You can also do this as a Blessing Book and keep adding pages.

  11. Blessing Tablecloth- Ask everyone to write 3 things they're grateful for, their name & the date on a plain white tablecloth using permanent markers. Repeat annually with the same cloth & your children will look forward to the tablecloth every year, even as teens.

  12. Written Appreciations. Ask your children to make large place cards with the name of each person at your Thanksgiving table. In the lead up to the meal. Ask each person at your meal to write a several words or a sentence describing a quality they appreciate inside everyone else's card.  

  13. Shared Gratitude. During the meal, clink your glass, make a toast of gratitude that you all get to be together, and then go around the table, each person saying at least three things for which they feel gratitude. Even during the hard years, there is so much to be grateful for.