Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, January 25, 2018

Thursday, January 25, 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 25 - Middle School info session
Jan 26 - Science Fair 
Jan 26 - Middle School Dance
Jan 29 - Bluebonnet voting
Feb 1 - World Read Aloud Day
From the Front Office

There have been cases of flu and strep throat at ADS - flu is on the rise! There are also cases of lice in the Savvy Sea Lions' and Obsidian Lobsters' classrooms.

Claim your lost and found items.  It's been sorted, and labeled items are in the front office.  If it's not yours but it's unlabeled, please take it if you can use it - unclaimed, unlabeled items will be donated this weekend.
Science Fair Update from Ms. Elizabeth
Library News from Ms. Elizabeth
  • Bluebonnet voting for eligible 3rd-6th grade students will be Monday, Jan 29 at 8 a.m. in the library.  After voting they participate in my long-standing and popular tradition of eating food that appears in the books.
  • Please think about providing food or helping with the serving.  I think there will be close to 80 kids voting so that's a lot of food and a lot of help needed!  It's easy to sign up at; you just provide your name and email but don't have to create an account or anything.
From Jennette Everett, Aftercare Director

Spring Break Camp Registration is now open!!!
It will be $50/day, or $40/day if you register for the whole week!
10% Family Discount.  Register Now!
Hoot Outs this week go to:
  • Amazing Wildcats parents, for the wonderful and healthy food after school yesterday. - ADS staff 
  • The Wardens, for donating a leaf blower.  We love it! - Taylor and Tim
ADS Operations Wish List!

The ADS Operations department would absolutely love to do some spring cleaning with the following donations:

2 Ryobi lithium batteries (model: OnePlus 18volt)
new or used reciprocating saw
any other new or used tools
From the PTO

Calling all 6th-8th graders!!

Join us for the "Stranger Things" Middle School Dance
Jan 26th,  6 - 9 p.m. on the ADS Campus
Dinner and Snack Items for Sale
You can drop your kids off for the evening!

And coming up......

Elementary (K - 5) School Dance
February 9th, 6 - 9 p.m. on the ADS Campus
Children must be accompanied by adults
More details to come!

It's like a potluck for your ears!!
February 23rd, 6 - 9 p.m.
Paired with a Parent's Night Out at ADS
Stay tuned for more information next week!
(This is an adults only event, so drop your kids at Parent's Night Out!)

Slow Feast
April 7th in the ADS Courtyard
More Information to Come Soon!

BOX TOPS, Y'all!!!!
Don't forget to bring in your box tops!!  Remember that the person whose friend or relative sends a box top from the farthest location wins a prize!  And the class with the most participants wins a class celebration!!!

Appreciation Grams!!
Coming this Valentine's Week - send a note of love or appreciation to your friends, your students, your teachers, or whomever you wish!

The PTO will sell Appreciation Grams for $1 each at various times the week before and up until Valentine's Day, so share the love!  More details and dates next week!!
From Leigh Moss, Head of School

ADS Middle School Information Session TODAY

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 today (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.  Prospective middle school students are welcome to attend with their parents!

100 Partners in 100 Days Update

As we approach the close of first annual 100 in 100 campaign, if you haven't donated already, please consider a monthly donation to ADS to help support the amazing programming we have here!  

We have reached our halfway goal of 50 partners and now have a real chance in these next few weeks to really work hard to meet our goal of 100 partners.

If you're wondering how, you can go to the ADS webpage and click on the Support ADS tab and Donate Now or, 

Help us reach our goal by Feb. 2 and support the school you love!

ADS Workday and Stage Installation Scheduled

Coming up on Saturday, February 24th from 9-12, ADS will host a volunteer workday.  Last year the Middle School secured a grant to build a small stage in the outdoor center courtyard.  The stage has been designed, supplies are ordered, and materials are on their way!  If you have experience with building, please consider coming to help us out!  Contact Taylor Young if you'd like to help us out!

On this same day, I will be hosting tutorials for the upcoming Amplify Austin Fundraiser platform.  This is a great way for those who are active on Social Media to set their own goal to help raise funds for Amplify Austin Day (6pm on March 1 - 6pm on March 2)  If you're interested in learning how to set up a page and are willing to teach others how to do the same, please consider coming out to learn how during the workday on Feb. 24 from 9-12.

A little owl told me….by Kelly McRee

I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Jennifer Thomas, one of our amazing Student Services Interventionists.  You can find Jennifer in the Structured Learning Room in the White Oak treehouse. This is Jennifer’s first year at Austin Discovery School.


What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community?  I have small groups, and when they help one another that’s my favorite.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why? Italy, to see the buildings and streets, and to eat.

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? Seeing the look on a kid’s face when they understand what I’m saying.

Share a happy childhood memory. Laughing with my mom at the dinner table.

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else?  How and why is it important to you?  Trust and honesty because I can trust you with my life and respect your honesty even if I don’t want to hear it.

What are you grateful for in your life right now? The many options I have.

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do? Shop and eat out :)

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature? Camping

Who inspires you? My son  

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down? I haven’t had the free time in years!  

Social/Emotional Mindfulness Program by Kelly McRee

Dear Beloved Parents,

In the Peace Center and working with the SEL team, we teach emotions and strategies/tools for emotional regulation on a daily basis.  This is a great blog post from our friends for how you can help your children navigate their range of emotions and why it is so important!

Easy ways to teach kids about emotions in daily life

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Questions to help kids identify and accept their emotions -- which is the first step in learning to manage them.


Anthropologists say that Inuits, whose world is full of snow, have at least 50 words for variations of snow. Inuit children learn those words and attach them accurately to the many varieties of snow simply by hearing them used in context. Similarly, when parents talk about a wide range of emotions, kids learn to understand their own emotions and those of other people. Understanding and accepting emotions is the first step in learning to regulate them.

If you're wondering how there could be 50 different emotions, you'll be interested in the Feelings Wheel, invented by Dr. Gloria Willcox, which colorfully illustrates the wealth of emotions available to us. But don’t worry if you find the idea of so many emotions overwhelming. You can also think in terms of just the four basic emotions:

Happiness, which includes love, joy, and peace. This is our natural state, when we’re in flow.

Fear, which is a reaction to threat and includes terror, anxiety (fear of an unspecified threat), worry (fear of a specific threat) and the feeling of being powerless or defenseless. Note that when mammals feel fear, they often shift into anger as a defense.

Sadness, which is a reaction to loss and disappointment, and includes grief, depression and loneliness. Note that many people defend against disappointment and sadness by becoming angry.

Anger, which is a reaction to threat from within or without and includes irritation, frustration and rage. Note that when anger is not heard, the person may turn it inward so that it becomes depression or numbness.

How can you teach your child about emotions? Simply observing what your child and other people are feeling, and commenting on it in a nonjudgmental, accepting way, teaches children to identify emotions in themselves and others. As you go through your day, look for opportunities to acknowledge your child's feelings:

  • "You look frustrated.”

  • “You're jumping up and down! You must be excited!”

  • “I understand. You feel safer when you know exactly what's going to happen. Me, too.”

  • “I hear you! You really don't like spinach and you wish you could never see it again!”

When you talk with your child about emotions, try to resist lecturing. Instead, ask questions to help him learn through reflection. For instance, you might ask questions like:

  • If you felt angry at a friend, what could you do?

  • If you felt angry at me, what could you do?

  • If you felt angry that your block tower fell down, what could you do?

  • Do you make a better decision when you feel angry, or when you feel calm?

  • What helps you calm down when you’re angry?

If you and your child observe another child crying, you might ask questions like:

  • “That child looks so unhappy. I wonder why he’s upset?”

  • “What do you think he wants/needs?”

  • “Is there anything we can do to help?”

Questions like these help develop empathy. For instance, when parents wonder aloud to their young child about what their baby sibling thinks, feel and wants, the child develops more empathy for their sibling and the relationship between the two siblings is more positive. When adults read books and talk to toddlers and preschoolers about how other children feel, their prosocial (positive) actions increase and their aggression toward their peers decreases.

And when parents consider emotion part of a rich human life, and talk about emotions in positive ways, even young children can learn to recognize and articulate a wide range of emotions -- which is the first step in learning to manage them.