Austin Discovery School

Austin Family Reader's Poll Favorite 2018
"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, March 29, 2018

Thursday, March 29, 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

Apr 6 - Yearbook order deadline
Apr 7 - Slow Feast from the Field
Apr 10 - STAAR tests (grades 4, 5, 7, 8)
Apr 11 - STAAR tests (grades 5 & 8) 
Apr 20 - Earth Day @ ADS!!!!
From the PTO

Traveling Box Top Contest Winners!!!

Winner of the Furthest and Most Miles Traveled -  Tristan Burns
Furthest traveled - Okinawa, Japan at 7,508 miles
Total Miles traveled: 14,541 miles

Runner Up #1 - Tarek Young: 1,412 miles
Runner Up #2 - Tristan Galpin: 1,235 miles

Class with the Most Entries & Winners of the Popcorn Party - Darling Dolphins

Prizes will be distributed to the winners next week.  Thanks to everyone who participated! 

Hoot Outs this week go to:
  • Everyone who came out for the Garden Work Day last weekend.  It felt so good to make progress with you all!
  • The awesome middle schoolers that came to Ms. Jennifer's rescue to help clean up water. Thank you Harris, Naomi, and Anthony. You guys are the best!!! - Cristina
  • Anthony, Harris & Naomi for helping to mop my flooded room for me when I had to leave the mess and do morning duty!  I appreciate you so much! - Jennifer Taylor-Burton
  • The Dynamic Duo of Thora and Tim, for another fantastic work day in the gardens! Thanks to all the families that came out to help!  It is looking like spring on our campus!
  • To Taylor and Tim, for the finished swings!  We will have countless happy hours of kids swinging on our new swings!
From the Front Office

We really, truly need batteries (AA and AAA) and copy paper in the front office. 

There have been cases of lice in the Bombastic Bobcats' classroom.

The ever-popular ADS Talent Show will be May 5th at the Scottish Rite Theatre.  Tryouts will be April 24th in Wilson's classroom.  Look for more information next week, or e-mail Wilson with questions at
Yearbooks are still available and on sale!  They are $25.  

They will be limited edition hard cover (48 colorful pages!!!) with an amazing cover of original artwork designed by one of our 5th grade students!

You will definitely want one!  Order yours today by 
clicking here.  The deadline to purchase is April 6.  Our School Yearbook Code: 10851818.
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 Ms. Elizabeth, your librarian
I don't know about you, but I enjoy listening to podcasts as I run or garden.  Here are some old (and new!) favorites you may want to check out alone or with the kids as you drive to and from school each day:

"The Anthropocene Reviewed" by John Green.  There are only two out, but if you're interested in "reviews" of cholera and Canada geese, then check out this interesting and funny podcast.

Both "The Nerdy Bookcast" and "The Yarn" are podcasts about books and the art of writing books and include book talks and interviews.

"Stuff You Missed in History Class" is filled with interesting and usually esoteric tidbits of history.  I listen to it fastidiously.

"Flash Forward" delves into a possible future world and universe, investigating things like robocrops, an Earth with two moons, and a world without meat.

"Book Club for Kids" is a podcast that includes book talks aimed at middle grade readers, followed by an author interview.

I haven't listened to this one yet, but it sounds like a good family listen: "Short & Curly" is an Australian podcast that delves into ethics for kids such as "do you have to love your siblings?" And "when is it ok to lie?".

"Eleanor Amplified" is a podcast designed like an old school radio show and it follows Eleanor as she fights evil and looks for truth.

A little owl told me….by Kelly McRee


I had the pleasure this week of interviewing John Slavin, our amazing K-4 music teacher.  You can find John most days in his music classroom in the Eco Cafetorium.

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community?  At the beginning of every class, we perform a "hello song," which incorporates movement and different languages for some grade levels.  It gets everyone ready and in the mentality for music time, while allowing students to perform independently and creatively. It has been a lot of fun watching our kiddos create new and creative elements to this component of class this year!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why? A few years back I spent three months studying and teaching music in Takoradi, Ghana. I've been plotting a way to go back ever since!

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? Performing and recording music (go figure). I also spend a lot of time planning my next adventure. For the past few years I've spent my time off touring with bands, taking road trips, and going on hiking trips. Both in music and in travel, I guess I'm always looking to experience something new.

Share a happy childhood memory. Being from the Philadelphia area, I have to say that seeing Boyz 2 Men perform on the 4th of July at the Philadelphia Parkway..... yes, I am serious.

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else?  How and why is it important to you? Good taste in food. If we can't share an incredible meal together, we can't be friends.

What are you grateful for in your life right now? To be a happy and healthy teacher and performer for a living!

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do? Listen to records, drink coffee, and work on a nice 1,000 piece puzzle.

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature? Last year I worked for Houston ISD at the "Outdoor Education Center." I lived remotely with a team of teachers in the the Sam Houston National Forest. I was lucky enough to be hiking and seeing amazing insects and wildlife everyday. In essence, that entire year was my favorite memory spent in nature.

Who inspires you? Honestly, the kids at ADS. I love their creativity, openness, and willingness to learn. I think we could all learn a thing or two from our kiddos.

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down? I actually can't remember the name of it, but it was a collection of interviews and essays with Noam Chomsky.

Social/Emotional Mindfulness Program by Kelly McRee


Dear Beloved Parents,

We started a parent book club, and are reading The Yes Brain by Dr. Dan Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson.  Our next meeting will be April 13th, to discuss the first two chapters. If you are interested in joining us, e-mail me at  We had a great first meeting and we would love for you to join us!

I loved this article this week in The New York Times - especially that it includes quotes from Dr. Siegel and Dr. Markham, two of my favorites!



To Raise Resilient Kids, Be a Resilient Parent

By EMILY F. POPEK, New York Times

MARCH 28, 2018

As parents, we want our children to be emotionally resilient — able to handle life’s ups and downs. But parents’ ability to foster resilience in our children hinges a great deal on our own emotional resilience.

“A parent’s resilience serves as a template for a child to see how to deal with challenges, how to understand their own emotions,” said Dr. Dan Siegel, author of “The Yes Brain,” which focuses on cultivating children’s resilience.

Yet for many parents, taking the temper tantrums and meltdowns in stride presents a challenge — especially if we have unrealistic expectations of what childhood is really all about.

“Part of it is this idea that we have that parenthood should be this amazing, blissful, perfect culmination of our hopes and dreams,” said Katherine Reynolds Lewis, author of the forthcoming book, “The Good News About Bad Behavior.”

Ms. Lewis said that anger, tears and other outbursts are a natural part of any child’s development — what she calls “the messiness of childhood.”

But parents who are unable or unwilling to confront that messiness may view their child’s outbursts as a problem that urgently needs to be solved.

When that happens, Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist and editor of the site, said: “We ridicule kids, we blame them, we tell them it’s their own fault; we isolate them by sending them to their rooms.”

The nature of the parent’s response may vary, Dr. Markham said, but the message is the same — that anger, sadness or frustration are unacceptable.

This, Dr. Markham noted, is the opposite of resilience; instead, it’s a fragile rigidity that leaves both parent and child fearful that outsized emotions could shatter them.

In contrast to this fragility, parents who don’t flinch from the power of emotions like anger have a greater capacity to absorb challenging interactions with their children, said Dr. Siegel, who is executive director of theMindsight Institute. And don’t worry if this kind of resilience doesn’t come naturally, he said — with practice, it gets easier.

Here are some tips for making those difficult interactions easier to absorb:

Take a Breath

To respond thoughtfully to our child’s outbursts, we have to first silence the alarm bells going off inside our head. Dr. Markham coaches parents to “hit the pause button” before taking any action, even in the face of a screaming child. In her research, Ms. Lewis learned that parents and children often synchronize their heart rates, breathing and other physiological functions, so calming ourselves down can have a measurable, physical effect on our child — not to mention on our own ability to face a situation calmly.

Let Emotions Happen

Resilience depends on an understanding that emotions — even those considered “negative,” like sadness, grief or anger — aren’t a problem to be fixed, but a natural consequence of being human. “The thing about emotions is that they don’t last forever; there’s a beginning, middle and end to all of them,” said Carla Naumburg, a clinical social worker and author of “Ready, Set, Breathe: Practicing Mindfulness With Your Children for Fewer Meltdowns and a More Peaceful Family.” More than that, allowing ourselves — and our children — to experience and express a full range of emotions is vital to our well-being. Dr. Markham noted that it is actually when we don’t express our emotions that we lose control of them — not the other way around.

Get Curious

So often as parents, we ask “why” questions about unwanted behavior (“Why can’t he remember to put his socks in the hamper?”). But Dr. Naumburg said that asking ourselves “Why am I responding this way?” may be a more useful question, especially when our buttons are getting pushed. “Notice what’s happening with you, and start to take responsibility for it,” Dr. Markham suggested.

Set Boundaries With Compassion

Establishing and holding the line on boundaries can lead to some of the most unpleasant moments in the parent-child relationship — but approaching those moments with compassion and kindness goes a long way toward keeping your blood pressure down. Dr. Markham and Dr. Naumburg suggested verbally acknowledging your child’s feelings and comforting him or her doesn’t have to mean giving in to their demands. “There are times when I will sit with my daughter in my lap, as she’s crying, and snuggle her as I’m saying ‘no’ to her,” Dr. Naumburg said. “She’s still crying, but we’re still connected.”

Examine Your Yeses and Nos

Susan Newman, a social psychologist and author of “The Book of No: 365 Ways To Say It and Mean It,” said parents should be especially mindful of the times you’re most likely to give in to your child’s outburst. “If you can recognize what triggers you to an automatic ‘yes,’ it’s time to step back and say, ‘Hold it a minute, why am I doing this?’” Dr. Newman suggested. “We’re living in this culture of ‘yes’ parenting,” Dr. Newman said, “and it’s easier to say yes than to deal with a child’s meltdown.” But parents can consider, “How will a ‘no’ help?” as a way to explore the reason for a particular boundary so that you and your child can better understand it.

Get Some Distance

When we identify closely with our children, or rely on them as a barometer of our own self-worth, we set ourselves up for disappointment (or worse) when things don’t go exactly as we planned. “Our egos are very tied up in our parenting,” said Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of “How to Raise an Adult.” Dr. Naumburg noted that this is partially informed by a cultural narrative that suggests that “If the kids are not O.K., then it’s because we parents have done something wrong.” As Ms. Lythcott-Haims put it, “If we can get a life, maybe our kids can have one too.”