Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, February 22, 2018

Thursday, February 22, 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 22 & 23 - Library carpet installation
Feb 23 - PTO's Soundluck & Parent's Night Out
Mar 1 & 2 - Amplify Austin
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!

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 Bombastic Bobcats' and Happy Turtle Butterflies' classes. Flu and strep throat are (finally!) subsiding but are still present in our community.
Hoot Outs this week go to:
  • Our esteemed theatre teacher and all of the students who participated in the play, “A Mid-Summer’s Night Dream”.  It is absolutely amazing!  The hard work that all the students and Jon put into this production is magnificent!  
  • A huge hoot out to the 2nd annual Poets off the Page by 5th grade and Middle School Students! I walked away from that performance knowing our world is in good hands!  Stunning work! Kudos to Sabra, Nicole, and Sabina for their hard work with all of the students!

  • Another huge hoot out to the Third/Fourth Wax Museum, the students did an amazing job portraying their characters!  Thanks to all the hard work of students, parents, and the amazing third/fourth grade teachers!

  • Our amazing parents, for Wednesday snacks!  We are so appreciative and feel so loved!  - ADS staff
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 Leigh Moss, Head of School

Amplify Austin Tip of the Week

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.

Show your support for ADS - schedule your Amplify donation today.
The workday planned for this Saturday, Feb 24th will instead happen after Spring Break.
We have SO MUCH we want to accomplish:
  • Finish the swing set: cleaning the chain, hanging the new seats, spreading gravel if needed
  • Repair the roof on one of the playhouses 
  • Refinish the bare picnic tables with lacquer.
  • Build a stage in the courtyard area 
  • A few other campus beautification efforts! 
 If you have experience with building, please consider coming to help!  Contact Taylor Young if you'd like to participate!
From Taylor Young, Operations Manager

KIPP has informed us that the next phase of their construction will be starting this week and continuing throughout the spring. As a part of their utility upgrades, they are installing a new water line to feed the fire hydrants that circle the majority of the property. This is similar to what ADS had to do in 2016 before we could move into our buildings. As a result of this construction, there will be some changes to the traffic patterns that will effect everyone on campus (KIPP, CPS, ADS, ARF, etc.). The roads that lie east-west (parallel to FM 969) will be closed completely at different times. The road that feeds ADS from FM 969 will be half-closed while this portion of the water line is installed. KIPP will provide flaggers and signage to help with traffic flow. We are encouraging KIPP to focus on this section while ADS is on Spring Break, but we will not know specifics until construction proceeds a bit and the weather impacts are felt. As a positive, KIPP is taking this opportunity to repave this section of the road that has gotten so bad this year, as well as add a curb on both sides to help the road long-term. We will pass along more details as we have them.
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.
News from Ms. Elizabeth, your librarian

The library is being carpeted today and tomorrow!  I will need help on Monday morning (Feb 26) to put the library back together after the installation is complete.  Please come help!
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!

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!!!

A little owl told me….by Kelly McRee



I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Chelsea Tigert, one of our amazing kindergarten ELA and Social Studies teachers.  You can find Chelsea in the Cypress tree house.  She co-teaches with Kim Flint. This is Chelsea’s first year at Austin Discovery School.

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community? I started doing a sharing circle in the morning because I was having so many students bring in toys and we were struggling with keeping them at home. So I allowed them one day a week to bring in something special to show to the class. I realized that this helped with the toy fight because they had an opportunity to share and it also helped a lot of them find similarities with each other and bond over common interests that they might not have found out otherwise. It became a favorite part of my week.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why? Depends what day of the week you ask me, but I have  been dreaming of Tokyo for years now. I love the culture so much.

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? When a student has an "aha" moment where you see that they figured something out or something clicked in their head that you have been working towards for a while.

Share a happy childhood memory.  I have a sister and a brother and we were best friends. We lived out on a farm and had no neighbors to play with so we always played with each other.  Every day was an adventure and my mom would usually film our adventures. It felt like we were in a movie and it was a truly magical kind of childhood.

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else?  How and why is it important to you? Honesty. Being able to be honest without fear allows us to display our authentic self and I think that is how the best bonds are formed. Everyone should feel totally loved and accepted as they are by those that they are in relationship with.

What are you grateful for in your life right now? I am grateful for the adult friendships that I have. As we get older, we lose contact with a lot of college and high school friends, but the ones that remain are strong and deep relationships, and people you befriend as an adult are true relationships too.  I feel and I think it's really important to not take those for granted.

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do? Probably just spend time with my puppy. We love to lounge together and cuddle.

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature? I grew up on a farm and spending time outdoors was a huge part of my childhood. Going into the woods and making "dirt" homes with my brother and sister was probably the most fun I ever had as a child.

Who inspires you? My students. They have so many great ideas at such a young age and I love to see them express them and use them to learn and grow. They always remind me to be patient, empathetic, and a constant learner while still allowing me to have fun.

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down? I started reading chapters of The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe to my class and I have fallen in love with the story and can't wait to find out what happens next.

Social/Emotional Mindfulness Program by Kelly McRee

What is the difference between loving limits and punishments?  

This is an awesome example from our friends at and Dr. Laura Markham:

Let's say we see behavior -- bouncing a soccer ball in the house -- that's against our family rules. We set a limit, in this case by giving our child a choice of two alternate, acceptable, options. He ignores us. We repeat. He ignores us.

Naturally, we're frustrated. We feel an intense need to teach our child a lesson. Shouldn't there be a "consequence"?

Yes. Clearly, we need to take the ball away, to uphold our family rule about where balls can be used. But that isn't a "consequence" (as parents usually use the term) unless we also punish him for not obeying.

Your child still learns a lesson. In fact, if you can resist your urge for punishment, he'll WANT to make amends. Really.

Let's take this one step at a time.

1. Your son is bouncing the ball in the house...

...which he knows is against the family rules. You're worried about the walls getting scuffed. You need to set a limit.

If you're doing daily preventive maintenance -- connecting with warmth and empathy, spending one on one time -- your child will always be more cooperative. So you can usually just set a clear, kind limit:

"Michael! Ball bouncing is for outside. Thank you!"

and hold open the door, and he'll comply.

What do I mean by connecting with warmth and empathy? Your basic 24/7 response to him is seeing things from his perspective, with compassion. In other words, what comes out of your mouth is mostly warm and "connecting," even when you're "correcting."

"Whoa! I know you love bouncing that ball ... and it belongs outside."

2. Do you need to give him a choice?

Some younger kids feel overwhelmed by too many choices. But strong-willed kids, even more than the rest of us, react badly when they feel backed into a corner. So this skillful mom is giving her child a choice of where to bounce the ball. She could also offer the choice of finding a different activity.

"Michael! You have a choice. You can bounce the ball outside, or you can find another activity."

3. He ignores you.

Infuriating, right? But maybe he's not being defiant; he's just really focused on his ball skills and doesn't even hear you. Or maybe you haven't been connecting with him much lately, and this is your red flag that you need to spend some dedicated special time with him daily, starting tonight. Or maybe he knows from past experience that there's a good chance you'll give up and leave him alone. Or maybe he's just a strong-willed kid, who needs to push on a limit 100 times to see if it holds firm (otherwise known as an "experiential learner.")

So he ignores you.

Do you repeat yourself? No!

If you've asked once and not gotten a response, don't just repeat yourself. You don't have your child's attention yet. Instead, you get in his face in a friendly way, so he understands that you mean it.

So in this case, you walk over to your son and -- hopefully with a smile on your face, but at least with a neutral expression -- you intercept the soccer ball. You hold the ball in one arm, putting the other arm around his shoulder. He looks up at you, aggravated.

4. You connect before you correct.

How do you feel when someone implies that you're wrong? A little bristly? An urgent need to prove you're right, or to fight back? That's how your child feels, too. And it's not exactly a recipe for cooperation.

You can avoid that resistance by reconnecting before you "correct." He's much more likely to really hear you, and to care what you want, which means he's more likely to cooperate.

Connect by seeing his perspective, even as you set your limit.

"Hey, Buddy ... I guess you were so focused on those ball skills that you didn't hear me. Your ball skills are looking good. AND where do we play with balls? Right! Outside!"

As you speak, you are walking him towards the door. You open it, and as he goes out, you give him the ball, and a smile.

5. Find a win/win solution.

Usually, that's the end of the incident. You've enforced your limit. you've redirected his behavior in a calm, kind way. If you do this regularly, your son will skip the inside bouncing and head straight outdoors, because who wants parents interrupting when they're practicing ball skills?

But maybe you only have a lawn outside and the ball doesn't bounce there. In that case, he will almost certainly keep using your hallway. Time to problem-solve with a win/win solution.

"Hmm...I hear you that the lawn isn't good for bouncing the ball....and bouncing it in the house doesn't work for me because it damages the wall....What can we do?....You think the blacktop at the school would work? Great idea! I can't go with you now, but if you help me chop these veggies, we can go over for half an hour before dinner. Let's work together."

Notice that your child has to delay gratification. That's not easy. But if you're maintaining a positive connection, he'll be a lot more motivated.

6. Should you take the ball away?

If your child is using a toy in an unsafe way, and does not respond to your redirection, then of course you take the toy away.

"Balls are not for bouncing in the house. I hear you really don't want to go outside, so let's put the ball away and find something you can do in the house. It looks like you need something active to do....Want to jump on the trampoline in the basement?

Notice this is not a punishment. You are simply redirecting your child's energy.

7. Teach Your Child to Repair.

Let's say you come upon your son bouncing his ball in the hall, and you notice scuff marks on the wall. You say:

"Whoa! Look at that wall! We need to clean that up. Sweetie, let's go get the cleaning supplies, and I'll help you. You know we always clean up our own messes."

Now, if you do this in a blaming way, he'll naturally go on the defensive and resist. That's when kids say things like "You do it!" But if you can do this cheerfully, without blame, from the time your child is little, he'll comply. And he'll also start taking the ball outside without your intervention, because who wants to clean the walls when they could be outside doing soccer drills?

8. Shouldn't there be a "consequence"?

Of course! Look at all the consequences of what happened here! Your son has learned:

  • When mom tells me to do something, she means it. There's no point in trying to ignore her.

  • Bouncing the ball in the house scuffs the wall and I'm responsible to help clean up the scuff marks...I'd rather just go outside with the ball.

  • I make mistakes, but Mom always understands.

  • I repair my mistakes and clean up my own messes.

  • My mom really cares about what I want. So I care about what she wants.

  • If I don't like what Mom tells me to do, she listens and tries to find a good solution for both of us.

  • I'm good at finding solutions.

  • If I use a toy unsafely, I have to find another activity.

  • I don't always get what I want, but I get something better -- a parent who understands.

  • Everyone in our family takes our family rules seriously. The most important one is treating each other with respect and kindness.

By contrast, if you had punished him -- which is what parents usually mean by "consequences" -- what would he have learned?

  • She's always yelling and punishing me. Why should I do what she wants?

  • When I bounce the ball in the house, she takes it away and punishes me. But not until she's yelling. So I don't have to listen until she yells and takes the ball away. I know just how far to push it before I get a consequence.

  • She took my ball. I'm going to annoy my sister. In fact, I'm going to make this afternoon miserable for everyone.

  • When she's not here, I'll bounce the ball in the house as much as I want.

  • No, I don't know who made those scuff marks. (I'm getting good at lying.)

  • She can't make me.

The truth is, we can't make another human being do what we want. We can only help them WANT to. Loving guidance and empathic limits help your child WANT to follow your guidance, so those good habits become part of who he is, whether you're there or not. "Consequences" that are designed to punish? Just the opposite.

The difference between loving limits and consequences? There's no room for punishment in loving limits.