Austin Discovery School

Austin Family Reader's Poll Favorite 2018
"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thursday, January 4, 2018



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

Jan 9 - PTO's 2nd Helping Tuesday
Jan 10 - Yearbook Contest deadline
Jan 15 - MLK Jr. Day - no school
Jan 25 - Middle School info session
Jan 26 - Science Fair 
Science Fair Update from Ms. Elizabeth
  • Our school Science Fair is right around the corner, on Friday, Jan 26 from 8 a.m.-noon.
  • All participating classrooms will be provided some time in science class to finish posters and practice presentations: information will come directly from your teacher about the amount of time provided and the teacher's expectations for work to be completed at home.  Teachers will not provide enough time to start and complete the poster in class; the expectation is that the majority of it will be printed/written at home.  Expect that all teachers will require your student to turn in their board at least a few days prior to Science Fair.
  • I would suggest buying the tri-fold poster board now!  They often sell out by mid-January and can be difficult to find since so many schools are competing.  Check out this image if you don't know what a tri-fold poster is:
  • Check out page 3 of the Elementary Science Fair 2018 packet at  to see what should be on the poster board, it depends on if your student is doing an experiment or exhibit.
  • During class we will be discussing what makes a good board and what each section of the board should contain.
  • Your student's Science Fair journal/folder/notebook should be available at our fair - it will be on the table in front of their poster.  Please help your student make sure all their notes and data make it into their folder.  It has been a challenge this fall for many students to keep all their material together so now is the time to get all their stuff in one place!
  • After-school open work sessions will be on 1/16 and 1/18 from 3-4 p.m.  If you'd like your child to come, please by the day before so I know to pick up your child from class.  These are open times that they can work and also get some help.
  • If you are interested in judging, I could use you!  You do not need to be a scientist to judge our fair, you just need an interest in kids and hearing about their projects.  You will receive training from 8-9 a.m. on 1/26 and then judge from 9-10:30 a.m., then meet with the other judges to pick who will go to Regionals from 10:30-noon.  If interested, email me at
Hoot Outs this week go to:
  • The PTO, for the wonderful coffee and pastry cart before Winter Break.  We felt the love!  - ADS staff
  • Tim Rigdon, for crafting a great laminator table! - Taylor
  • The teachers and AfterCare team who came together and made the first day back with arts & movement classes very smooth! - Jennette
From Leigh Moss, Head of School

ADS Middle School Information Session

If you have a current 5th grade or Middle School student, come hear more about what the Middle School has in store for next year!  Learn more about:
  • Middle school schedules and advisory class,
  • Electives (Art, Music, and Theater)
  • Enrichment classes like the student-led HOOT News, Science Fair, and Student Council (Parliament)
  • Student web-based portfolios
  • Grading 
  • Expectations for community work
  • Academic rigor balanced with social/emotional support
Teachers and administrators will discuss these topics, but also expect to hear testimonials from past and current ADS middle school families and students.  Our Middle School program may be small, but what we have to offer is tremendous.  Come learn more on Thursday, Jan 25th (4-5 p.m.) in the ADS library.  The session will be recorded and posted to the Middle School Facebook page for those who cannot attend.

Welcome to 2018 at ADS!

In preparation for this semester, we want to remind families that school supplies that were ordered at the beginning of the year will soon be running low because only about half of our families purchased or brought supplies.  If you were not able to bring the full supply list, please consider contributing one or more of the following items:
  • reams of copy paper
  • kid-friendly scissors
  • scotch tape
  • card stock 
Additionally, it is not too late to send in the $50 Activity Fee that was collected at the beginning of the year.  This fee covers the insurance for our students’ laptops and computers, one field trip for families in need, and the consumables for the essentials programs. Please remit any fees directly to Deborah or Josy in the front office.
ADS Yearbook Cover Contest!
All ADS students are invited to create and submit artwork that could be featured on cover of the 2017-18 ADS Yearbook!  If your child is interested, please work with them to generate an original design that showcases the magic of ADS. Submissions are due nextWednesday, Jan 10 by 3 p.m. The contest will be judged by the ADS PTO officers. For contest guidelines and information, see the flyer at the bottom of this newsletterContactAmelia (K-2) or Alejandro (3-8) with questions.
The ADS PTO 2nd Helping Tuesday will be next Tuesday, Jan 9 at Jason's Deli at Red River & 41st (1000 E 41st St) from 5 - 10 p.m.  A percentage of the proceeds from the event will be donated to our school, so remember to mention ADS when you order!
Library News from Ms. Elizabeth
  • 3rd-6th grade students who have read five or more of this year's Bluebonnet books will be voting this month for the author they think should win the Texas Library Association Bluebonnet Award.  Our school votes are due by the end of the month to TLA and the winning author will receive their award at the annual TLA meeting in April.  Usually about half a million students around the state participate in the program.
  • Check out the books from the library and see the full list at
  • I encourage you to read aloud one of the titles to your child!  Reading out loud is so important to your child and reading these titles will stimulate some interesting conversations.
  • Voting will happen on Monday 1/29 from 8-9am in the library.  Students vote on a ballot and then get to eat a breakfast of foods related to this year's books!  If you are interested in helping provide food for this event or in volunteering during the event, please email me at  We usually have 60-80 voters, which is a large number of excited and hungry kids.  I will provide you some ideas of what food we need.

Social/Emotional Mindfulness Program by Kelly McRee

Dear Beloved Parents,

Happy New Year!  I hope you and your family had a wonderful break full of everything you wanted it to be.  As we start 2018, I am hoping you will help me with some of my resolutions.  Since being a parent is one of my most important roles, I am always interested in reading sage advice and then talking it through with other like-minded parents.  I am proposing a book group now that the holiday madness is behind us.  I have been so excited to read The Yes Brain:  How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child by Dr. Dan Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson ever since Tina was here to speak in November.  This new book will be available starting Jan 9.

Please join me as we read this book and share insights.  I am trying to identify a time that would work for the majority of interested parents.  We could meet after drop off, before pick up, in the evenings, or at a fun coffee shop on weekends!  Please email me directly or text me at 512-791-5563 to let me know you are interested and days/times that you could meet.  I will get back with all that are interested to set up the day/time or multiple days/times if there is the interest.

Here’s a message from Dan and Tina about their new book:

“There’s so much I want for my kids: happiness, emotional strength, academic success, social skills, a strong sense of self, and much more.  It’s hard to know where to even start.  What characteristics are most important to focus on to help them live happy, meaningful lives?”

We get some version of this question everywhere we go.  Parents want to help their kids become people who can handle themselves well and make good decisions even when life is challenging.  They want them to care for others but also know how to stand up for themselves.  They want them to be independent and also enjoy mutually-rewarding relationships.  They want them to avoid melting down when things don’t go their way.

Whew!  That’s quite a list, and it can put a lot of pressure on us as parents (or as professionals who work with kids). So where should we focus our attention?

Our upcoming book, The Yes Brain, is our attempt to offer a response to that question.  The essential idea is that parents can help children develop a Yes Brain, which produces four key characteristics:

  • Balance:  the ability to manage emotions and behavior, so kids are less likely to flip their lids and lose control;

  • Resilience:  the ability to bounce back when life’s inevitable problems and struggles arise;

  • Insight:  the ability to look within and understand themselves, then use what they learn to make good decisions and be more in control of their lives;

  • Empathy:  the ability to understand the perspective of another, then care enough to take action to make things better when appropriate.

We’ll introduce you to the Yes Brain and discuss practical ways you can nurture these qualities in your children and teach them these important life skills.  You really can help your kids become more emotionally balanced, more resilient in the face of struggles, more insightful when it comes to understanding themselves, and more empathic and caring towards others.

The book will be available on January 9, 2018, and we couldn’t be more excited to share this science-inspired approach with you.  We hope you’ll enjoy the journey of learning about the Yes Brain.

Dan and Tina