Austin Discovery School

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

Thursday, March 22, 2018



Please contact administrators via e-mail to schedule meetings as needed.

Amity Taylor, Assistant Principal
Kelly McRee, Social Emotional Program Director
Leigh Moss, Head of School
Lydie Jessin, Business Manager
Taylor Young, Operations Manage

Dates to Remember

Mar 24 - Garden/Campus Work PARTY!
Apr 10 - STAAR tests (grades 4, 5, 7, 8)
Apr 11 - STAAR tests (grades 5 & 8) 

Hoot Outs this week go to:
  • Tim Ornes, for PAINTED ROCKS! We love them!  - Happy Turtle Butterflies
K-2 Art wants your TRASH!  We are collecting:
Flattened Cardboard 
Cleaned Plastic Bottles (all sizes!)
Misc. Plastic Lids and Small Items
Plastic six-pack can holders (shown below)
Cardboard Tubes (toilet paper, paper towels, Pringles, etc.)

Donations can be dropped in the main office or Prickly Pear art room.
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From Taylor Young, Operations Manager

As you have probably noticed, KIPP's construction of a new water line around their campus has been in full-swing since just before Spring Break. As we mentioned in the newsletter before the break, this construction is necessary and they are working with ADS to mitigate their impact on our community. KIPP was able to have the majority of the line that runs along our shared road (from the FM 969 entrance) installed and covered during our second week of break. In our meeting with KIPP yesterday, they informed us that the we would still see a few brief disruptions as the corners are installed, but that they will do their best to limit impact. 

Traffic through KIPP has also been disrupted for their community due to this project. KIPP Leadership has asked that we inform our staff and families that driving down the 'middle' road through KIPP's property to exit at Decker has caused logistical issues for them with the decreased road surface and increased volume. Please remember that this is private property and we need to be good neighbors, so only use the exit that leads from our shared road.
From the PTO

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!!!
From the Front Office

Donations needed! We need coffee, AA and AAA batteries, 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! We have about 40 so far!

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

There have been cases of lice in the Darling Dolphins and Shiny Wolves classrooms.
Garden/Campus Work PARTY
THIS SATURDAY!  9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (potluck lunch @ noon)
We have SO MUCH we want to accomplish:
  • Finish the swing set: clean the chain, hang new seats, spread gravel 
  • Repair the roof on one of the playhouses 
  • Refinish the bare picnic tables with lacquer
  • Build a stage in the courtyard area 
  • Move rocks
  • Finish the greenhouse
  • Put in a water line
  • Top off 4 garden beds with compost
 If you have experience with building, please consider coming to help!  Contact Taylor Young if you'd like to participate!

From Leigh Moss, Head of School

Take our Intent to Return Survey NOW if you have not already done so. About 2/3 of our families have responded to the Intent to Return Survey link that has been included in this newsletter since February.  If you have not yet responded, please take some time to do so.  Our lottery for the 2018-2019 school year is just over a week away and we want to make sure we know how many students are returning so we  know how many new students we can enroll.

CURRENT 5TH - 7TH GRADE FAMILIES - It is especially important for you to fill out the intent to return survey.  We know that several families were waiting to hear from other schools, and should know by now.  ADS is committed to our Middle School and has posted positions for any openings.  Please make sure to complete the Intent to Return survey.  You have an option to reply that your child is not returning, is likely to not return, is likely to return, or is returning.  Thank you for helping us accurately capture this information so we know how many spots we have to offer to incoming Middle School students in our lottery.
From Ms. Elizabeth, your librarian
The Awards are in!  This is book award season, and while I don't yet have many of them in the ADS library, it's worth tracking these titles down at your city library.

American Library Association's Newbery Medal:

American Library Association's Caldecott Award:

International Literacy Association's Notable Books for a Global Society:

Check out all the ALA medal awards at

A little owl told me….by Kelly McRee


I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Michelle Vuong, one of our amazing Kindergarten teachers teaching Math and Science.  Michelle co-teaches the Darling Dolphins with Susan McGinn in the Prickly Pear treehouse.

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community?  My favorite classroom routine is share time during morning meeting. I get to learn more about my students, they get to learn more about each other, and I encourage my kinders to not only talk to the teacher but to respond and give feedback to each other.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why? I have too many places I want to go!

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? Educating about the environment.

Share a happy childhood memory. Some of my happiest memories are of being on the beach with my grandparents.

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else?  How and why is it important to you? For me, the most important quality in a relationship is respect.

What are you grateful for in your life right now? I am grateful for my family and the support from my co-workers.

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do? I would have a guilt-free relaxation day--a bath, a book, movies, and coziness.

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature? Hiking with my fiance and our dog, Piglet. It was so silent and peaceful, and watching Piglet explore on and on made me so happy.

Who inspires you? It's not a specific person, but I'm inspired by kindness.

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down? On Beulah Height by Reginald Hill

Social/Emotional Mindfulness Program by Kelly McRee


Dear Beloved Parents,

It’s finally here!!!!  A new parent book group!!!   We will be reading the book, The Yes Brain:  How to Cultivate Curiosity, Courage, and Resilience in your Child by Dr. Dan Siegel and Dr. Tina Bryson.  We will start the book club with the first two chapters on Friday, March 23rd at 2 pm in the Cottonwood treehouse in Room 602. Please just come to the front building and I will meet you so I can unlock the door.  Please email me to let me know you are coming!

I can’t wait to see you all and talk about this book!  Please come even if you haven’t read it yet or don’t have a copy as the fellowship of parents will be great!

All the best,


Pick up a copy of the book at your favorite library (here is the link on Amazon:

Refrigerator Sheet

The Yes Brain by Dr. Dan Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson

Yes Brain

  • Flexible, curious, resilient, willing to try new things and even make mistakes.

  • Open to the world and relationships, helping us relate to others and understand ourselves.

  • Develops an internal compass and leads to true success because it prioritizes the inner world of a child and looks for ways to challenge the child’s whole brain to reach its potential.

No Brain

  • Reactive and fearful, rigid and shut down, worrying that it might make a mistake.

  • Tends to focus on external achievement and goals, not on internal effort and exploration.

  • Might lead to gold stars and external success, but does so by rigidly adhering to convention and the status quo and becoming good at pleasing others, to the detriment of curiosity and joy.

The Four Fundamentals of the Yes Brain

Balance:  a skill to be learned that creates emotional stability and regulation of the body and brain

  • Leads to the green zone, where kids feel calm and in control of their bodies and decisions.

  • When kids are upset they may leave the green zone and enter the revved up chaotic red zone, or the shut down, rigid blue zone.

  • Parents can create balance by finding the “integration sweet spot”.  Balance comes from being appropriately differentiated and linked.

  • Balance Strategy #1:  Maximize the ZZZ’s- provide enough sleep.

  • Balance Strategy #2:  Serve a Healthy Mind Platter-balance the family’s schedule.

Resilience:  a state of resourcefulness that lets us move through challenges with strength and clarity

  • Short term goal:  Balance (getting back in the green zone).  Long term goal: Resilience (expanding the green zone).  Both goals lead to the ability to bounce back from adversity.

  • Behavior is communication, so instead of focusing solely on extinguishing problematic behavior, listen to the message, then build skills.

  • Sometimes kids need pushin’ and sometimes they need cushion.

  • Resilience Strategy #1:  Shower your kids with the four S’s- help them feel safe, seen, soothed, and secure.

  • Resilience Strategy #2:  Teach mindsight skills- show kids how to shift their perspectives so they are not victims to their emotions and circumstances.

Insight:  the ability to look within and understand ourselves, then use what we learn to make good decisions and be more in control of our lives

  • The observer and the observed:  be the spectator observing the player on the field.

  • The power is in the pause that lets us choose how we respond to a situation.

  • Insight Strategy #1:  Reframe pain- ask kids, “Which struggle do you prefer?”

  • Insight Strategy #2:  Avoid the Red Volcano eruption- teach kids to pause before erupting.

Empathy:  the perspective that allows us to keep in mind that each of us is not only a “me,” but part of an interconnected “we” as well

  • Like the other skills, empathy can be learned through daily interactions and experiences.

  • It’s about understanding the perspective of another, as well as caring enough to take action to make things better.

  • Empathy Strategy #1:  Fine tune the “empathy radar” - activate the social engagement system.

  • Empathy Strategy #2:  Establish a language of empathy- provide a vocabulary that communicates care.

  • Empathy Strategy #3:  Expand the circle of concern- increase kids’ awareness of people outside their most intimate connection.