Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 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

Feb 19 - Regular school day! 
Feb 22 & 23 - Library carpet installation
Feb 23 - PTO's Soundluck & Parent's Night Out
Feb 24 - Campus Work Day
From the Front Office

Donations needed! We need bandaids and copy paper in the front office.  Thora and Tim have requested 70 brooms - yes 70, that's 10 per building - as a donation to enable more of our students to help keep our campus clean!  Thanks for your support!

February 19th, President's Day, is a bad weather makeup day for ADS, so YES, there is school that day.  

Are you planning to return to ADS next school year? We want to know! Please complete our 
Intent to Return Survey by March 1st.

There have been cases of lice in the Darling Dolphins' and Shiny Wolves' classes. Flu and strep throat are (finally!) subsiding but are still present in our community.
Hoot Outs this week go to:
  • The amazing PTO for two fabulous dances - Middle School and Elementary School!!
  • Tim Ornes, for his amazing DJ talents at both dances.  
  • Melissa Bailey, for our lovely Betta fish in the Peace Center!
  • Our amazing parents, for our lovely Wednesday snacks!  We are so appreciative and feel so loved!  This week's spread from the PTO officers was magnificent.
Lori & Lori Ann's Amazing Wildcats are holding a pet supplies drive from Friday, Feb 2 - Friday, Feb 23 for pets affected by Hurricane Harvey. A collection box will be located in the front office. 
From Jennette Everett, Aftercare Director

Spring Break Camp is filling up fast.  If you need care over Spring Break sign up now to ensure you get a spot.  Limited availability. It will be $50/day, or $40/day if you register for the whole week! 10% Family Discount. Register Now!
The ADS middle school has published another Hoot News Broadcast! 

Check it out here:
From the PTO
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!!
Appreciation Grams - Send a note of Appreciation to your favorite person at ADS and have it delivered on Valentine's Day!  A-grams will be for sale for $1 before and after school Thursday, Feb 8 - Monday, Feb 12 and at the Elementary Dance on Friday, Feb 9. There will also be a box in the office for parents to share their appreciation with teachers and Admin - show them you care!
From Leigh Moss, Head of School

Amplify Austin Day will take place this year from 6 pm on March 1 until 6 pm on March 2.

With 3 ways to support this event, ADS families and friends can really make an impact.  Help us reach our goal of $15,000 this year.

1. Attend the ADS Amplify Power Hour Appreciation Breakfast.   ADS will host an Family Appreciation Breakfast from 8-9 a.m. on March 2.  This event will take place during our POWER HOUR.  If our school receives the greatest number of donations during this hour we will be awarded an additional $1000.  

2. Find out if your Employer provides a matching donation to Amplify Austin.  Schedule your donation today in just a few short clicks:  While you're there, make sure to check out whether your employer will MATCH your donation.  With over 80 businesses such as BB&T, Favor Delivery, Home Slice, ThinkWell, and Whole Foods, check to see if your employer will match your donation to ADS.

Schedule Your Donation Today

3. Become a Champion for ADS by setting up your own social media campaign.  Interested in setting up your own fundraiser linked to ADS and posting it on your own social media account?  As an individual fundraiser for ADS, you set the goal, you get the word out, and you become a champion for ADS.  Start your own fundraiser through Amplify Austin!  If you want assistance setting up your ADS fundraiser, join us on Saturday, Feb 24.  Sign up today to attend a fundraising tutorial.

Setup Your Fundraiser
2018-19 Calendar 
Several people noticed and commented that as of right now, the calendar options we sent out last week do not have a Spring Break that aligns with AISD.  We have received information from AISD that they may have posted their Spring Break dates incorrectly; our choices were made with their original, hopefully correct dates in mind.  They want to align their Spring Break with the dates for the 2019 SXSW, which I believe will be March 11-15, 2019.  If AISD does not end up changing their break, we will make this adjustment to align our second week of Spring Break with their break. Stay tuned!
Yearbooks are now on sale!  They are $25.  They will be limited edition hard cover with amazing original artwork designed by one of our 5th grade students, Zoë Myers!

You will definitely want one!  Order yours today by 
clicking here.  Deadline to purchase is April 6.  Our School Yearbook Code: 10851818

A Yearbook order form will be sent home with your child tomorrow so be on the lookout for it!

Want to honor someone special?  Buy a “Hoot Out” in the Yearbook!  This can be done by a parent for their child, a child for their classmates or teacher, or as a way to honor your favorite administrator!

$5 - text message (limit of 150 characters including spaces)
$15 - text message and 1 small photo (photo will be the size of a yearbook portrait)
$20 - text message and 2 small photos (photos will be the size of a yearbook portrait)

This is new this year, and space is limited.  We expect the space we have to sell out fast, so buy yours early.  Deadline is March 2. Order your "Hoot Outs" online by 
clicking here.
ADS Workday - Feb 24th! 

On Saturday, Feb 24th from 9-12, we will host a volunteer workday.  We have many opportunities for a crew of energetic volunteers!  They include:
  • Finish the swing set: cleaning the chain, hanging the new seats, spreading gravel if needed
  • Repairing the roof on one of the playhouses 
  • Refinishing the bare picnic tables with lacquer.
  • Build a stage in the courtyard area 
  • A few other campus beautification efforts! 
Last year the Middle School secured a grant to build a small stage in the outdoor center courtyard.  The stage has been designed, supplies ordered, and materials are on their way!  If you have experience with building, please consider coming to help!  Contact Taylor Young if you'd like to participate!

On the same day, Leigh Moss, Head of School, 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, please consider coming out to learn how during the workday on Feb. 24 from 9-12.
News from Ms. Elizabeth, your librarian

The library is being carpeted on Feb 22-23!  I need help after school on Wednesday, Feb 21 moving all the furniture, disassembling and moving the tech lab, moving books, and then on the morning of Monday, Feb 26 moving it all back in.  If you've got some time to spare, please come help!

A little owl told me….by Kelly McRee

I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Amelia Fleming, our amazing art teacher teaching K-2 and one 3/ 4 block.  You can find Amelia in the art room in the Prickly Pear tree house.  This is Amelia’s first year at Austin Discovery School.

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community?  At the start of each class, I ask students to use their thumbs and tell me about how their day is going.  With a limited time in essentials, this allows me to briefly check-in with everyone and if I forget to ask, students remind me.  Occasionally we have other visual check-ins about the weather, weekend, holidays, etc.  When students move to studio (table) time they are able to tell me stories about their day, weekend, and whatever else they might want to share.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why? Russia.  I’ve been fascinated with Anastasia and the Romanov family since I was a child.  On the average day, I’d be happy anywhere with water, sunshine (and sunscreen), snacks and a sketchbook.

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? I make.  Each day I typically draw or paint, but when those aren’t going well, I love to bake.

Share a happy childhood memory. As a child, my cousin (Zach)  and I would pack up all of the groceries in my grandparent’s kitchen and then load them into their “camper” (RV).  We’d close our eyes and pick a spot on a US map that was printed on the camper door.  Then we’d spend the afternoon pretending to be on a trip.  We’d have road snacks and a trusty companion, Felix, my Grammie’s dog.

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else?  How and why is it important to you? Honesty. The ability to keep an open mind.  Acceptance.  This combination creates a safe space in any type of relationship and creates a foundation that a relationship can grow from.

What are you grateful for in your life right now? Family, friends and the ability to make.

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do? Wake up.  Drink coffee and draw while watching the morning news.  Allow the day to unfold and just enjoy the possible adventures (walks, park, baking, garden, yoga, cook, Asian Market, swimming, biking, etc.).   

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature? Several summers ago while working in the Boston area, I took a group of middle schoolers to Purgatory Chasm.  It was a gross and hot day and I was less than excited to be spending time outdoors.  We had a picnic and then hiked along the trails which were surprisingly chilly and calming for myself and my students.  Now I jump at any opportunity to hike or be outdoors.  

Who inspires you? I think it’s possible to find something inspiring in everyone you meet, if you’re open to it.  If I was forced to choose, my momma.  

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down? The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade by Ann Fessler

Social/Emotional Mindfulness Program by Kelly McRee

Dear Beloved Parents,

Here’s my valentine to you!  This blog is from  Dr. Laura Markham has a new workbook coming out at the end of February.

"Whatever the question, love is the answer." - The Dalai Lama

"Behind the anger, behind the disrespect, and behind the manipulation is a scared child in desperate need of connection, love, and acceptance. ... If you show up for your child in a different state, he can only be different...When you are in a loving state, you automatically do the right thing...Love never fails." - Heather T. Forbes

What does Valentine’s Day have to do with parenting?  Love. The purpose of Valentine’s Day is to celebrate love of all kinds.

The purpose of parenting, quite obviously, is to raise children. But I believe that parenting has a secret purpose -- to transform us, the parents. Loving our child helps us to heal ourselves, so that we can live more fully.

We all forget that, of course. We think raising children is about "teaching" them. And everyday life with children often falls a notch below teaching and ends up as controlling, a seemingly endless series of struggles to get our kids to sleep through the night, use the potty, brush their teeth, eat their dinner, stop teasing their sibling, do their homework. Those struggles can take all the joy out of parenting.

But it doesn't have to be that way.  It's true that we don't actually have control over our kids, who, after all, are human beings and will make their own choices. And it's true that our ideas of what our child "should" do often won't align with our child's ideas. But there are ways to avoid many of the struggles to begin with, by:

  • Staying connected.

  • Seeing things from your child's perspective and acknowledging their feelings.

  • Staying calm.

  • Looking for win/win solutions.

  • Helping kids with the upset feelings that drive them to act out.

  • Delighting in each child.

But what if you feel trapped in resentment? What if there are hurt feelings and anger on both sides? What if you find yourself blowing up at your child, over and over? There's still a way out.

The way out is love. Not some lofty, grand idea of love. Not the feeling of love, which can be hard to access when you're in a state of fight, flight or freeze and your child looks like the enemy.

By love, I mean an action. That nitty-gritty, courageous thing you do in that moment when your child is acting like he's possessed and you're at the end of your rope, ready to give up. The choice that faces you in those really terrible moments, when you're hot with rage and cold, deep inside, with fright. The choice between love and fear.

It's not complicated, really. You just forget everything you've been taught about what you're supposed to do as a parent. Tell yourself: "Whatever the question, love is the answer." Take a deep breath and blow it out to shift yourself back into belly breathing, which calms your nervous system.

Remind yourself that your child's behavior is not a reflection on you; only your reaction to his behavior is a reflection on you. Breathe. Let go of all those fearful thoughts about how your child is turning out. Every moment you have a new choice of how to react.  

Then, look at this beautiful child you love, who is acting in such an upsetting way at this moment. Consider how terrible she must feel inside to be acting like this. Remind yourself that her upset is a physiological state. Someone this out of control can't listen to reason and can't learn at this moment. What she needs is to feel safe enough to move from "fight or flight" back into a state of equilibrium. Only you can help her re-regulate.

How do you help your child feel safe? Love.

Forget about the behavior for now. You can talk about that later, when you're both able to reason. Right now, dig deep and go beyond the behavior to heal the cause. Just pour your love into your child. Stay present. Breathe. Accept who she's being at this moment--all the tears and rage and rebellion. Soften yourself, and she'll soften, too.

Love your child back to feeling safe, and you'll find that affection and cooperation return too. Love never fails.

Not complicated, but not easy. In fact, this is one of the hardest things you'll ever do. Shifting ourselves out of that state of fear and into love takes all the courage and strength you can summon. But it always works. No child is beyond your love. No love you give is ever wasted. And each time you do this, it gets easier. You're laying down neural pathways, so you're rewiring your brain.  

So my Valentines wish for you is that you find the courage to shift, over and over in those tough moments, from fear into love. That these shifts bring you fewer tough moments and more melt-your-heart moments with your child. That you find yourself really enjoying your precious, unique, amazing child. That you love being your child's parent. That you rediscover the joy in parenting.

Love never fails. Whatever the question, love is the answer.

Happy Valentine's Day.