Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thursday, April 12, 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 14 - Stage Work Day #2
Apr 20 - Earth Day & Parent's Night Out
Apr 24 - Talent Show tryouts
May 2 - Last Early Release Wednesday
May 6 - Talent Show

Hoot Outs this week go to:
  • All of the middle school students and staff who were very quiet in the halls on Monday and Thursday while I was filmed for my practicum!  I appreciate it so much. - Jennifer Taylor-Burton
  • A couple of kindergarten families, for the effort and material donation of our new super-amazing fridge in the cafeteria kitchen!!!! 
  • Our amazing musical guests this past Friday, The Brass Messengers! And thanks to Eric and Marcella Billig, for arranging for Eric's brother's band to give us our own private HONK! experience!!!!!
  • To our amazing PTO for the most amazing Slow Feast ever!!  Thanks so much to Sheri Guess and all of the PTO officers and all of our amazing volunteers and servers!!
  • To our amazing parents that prepared the most delicious meal! Kudos to Chefs Leah Paprock and Julie Satterlee Tighe! Also to all our families and staff that came out for this wonderful event!
From Jennette Everett, Aftercare Director

Aftercare staff is mostly made up of college students, and they are preparing for and taking finals and need time off. SO AfterCare is looking for subs. If you sub at the school and would be interested in subbing for Aftercare, please get in touch with Jennette.   If you don’t sub at the school and are interested, please still reach out.  We need help for just a few hours in the afternoons.

Also, Parents Night Out is Friday April 20.  Sign up now!!!
From the Front Office

We really need copy paper in the front office.  Pretty, pretty please!!

May 2nd is the last early release Wednesday for this school year. Starting May 9th, Wednesday school hours will be the same as every other weekday (7:50 a.m. - 3:05 p.m.). 
The ever-popular ADS Talent Show will be May 6th at the Scottish Rite Theatre.  Tryouts will be April 24th in Wilson's classroom.  The sign-up form is at the end of this newsletter, and is also available on paper in the office.  E-mail Wilson with questions at
Middle School families, please look for a permission slip for the Health/Wellness lesson coming up on May 3rd.  Please email Jessica at if you have any questions/need a copy of the permission slip.

Stage Work Day #2 and Build-an-arch Day

This Saturday, April 14th, we will have a second stage workday! Last time we spent most of our time digging in the clay and laying out the post locations. We had some amazing volunteers that helped and made light(er) work of this big project. This time around, we hope to do the framing and get started on the decking! If you would like to join us, please come on over. We will start around 9 AM and go through the early afternoon.

The 3/4 teachers need volunteers on April 14th! They will be building an archway for the main courtyard for our Earth Day celebration. If you have any background in construction or can help in any way, please sign up on
this Google document.
News from Ms. Elizabeth, your librarian

5th grade parents: it's true!  Your student has been asked to start or continue a "collection".  They are also conducting research about some aspect of this collection and will be giving a short class presentation about their collection!
Last week, a the ADS Lunch Program received an amazing donation of a commercial refrigerator! It is a definite upgrade for our facility and is one step closer to our goal of having a completely in-house lunch program! Thank you to the kindergarten families that donated and delivered this fridge! We appreciate you!!!!!!!
It's School Supplies Time for the 2018-2019 School Year!

We are excited to once again be partnering with 1st Day School Supplies for the 2018-2019 school year! Last year was our first with this company, and it was a very successful partnership. 1st Day School Supplies is a family-run company dedicated to reducing stress on families and providing quality supplies at an affordable price. The Meadows family does well by us! ADS families reported that ordering from their website was easy and the customer support was fantastic (although rarely needed). For the ADS Operations Department, this company worked closely with Taylor to make sure the school and families had their needs exceeded.
School Supply kits are delivered directly to the school with your child's name attached and are distributed to their teacher prior to the first day of school. You just order and you're done! Sure beats fighting crowds and going to multiple stores...
In the coming weeks you will receive further information about what is included in your child's kit, how to order, the convenience that 1st Day School Supplies brings to ADS and the benefits of using this company. Look for emails from the school, flyers in your kiddo's backpacks, and signs around campus.
Of course it is by no means required that an ADS family orders their school supplies from this company. It is also not a requirement that the 'name brands' listed in the school supply kits are bought over any other brand. Our goal with partnering with any company is to provide what we see as the easiest way for you to get the supplies ADS teachers request for your child's education.
If you wish to use our partnered supplier, use 
this link through June 15th and we will take care of the rest. Our ADS website also hosts this information as well as the lists if you wish to shop independently. Click here for our website.
  • Middle School (6th-8th Grades) lists do not include the following that your student(s) will need:
    • A Binder, Trapper Keeper, Pencil Bag, or other desired method of organization
    • Writing utensils of your preference (Black/Blue Pen or Pencil only, please)
    • Various other subject-specific needs at the beginning of the year and throughout.
    • 6th and 7th Graders need a 4-function Calculator
    • 8th Graders need a Graphing Calculator (like the Texas Instruments TI-83/TI-83 Plus) to satisfy the state-required TEKS
  • 5th Grade:
    • The 3-inch binder on the list can be replaced with a "Trapper-Keeper" if the student prefers
    • Pencil Bag
    • Daily writing utensils of the students' choosing are not a part of the list
      • Black or Blue pen, or Pencil
Please contact Taylor Young at with any questions, comments, concerns, or corny jokes you may have!

A little owl told me….by Kelly McRee

I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Jennette Everett, our amazing Aftercare Director. You can find Jennette most days in her office that she shares with Taylor Young in building one.

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community? My favorite ritual in AfterCare is Tuesday & Thursday Club Days.  I love that my staff get to pass along their hidden talents in art, zumba, dramatic storytelling, etc. to our students.


If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? I traveled for a living for 15+ years.  I've been around the world and visited 48 different countries in my life on 6 different continents.  I love to travel but at this point in my life traveling means going to spend time with the people I love.  So, going anywhere that I have family or friends makes me a happy girl.

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? I'm a foster mom.  I love being a mom and helping these kids.  I'm hoping to get a new placement in April. It's challenging but so rewarding.

Share a happy childhood memory.  When I was a child, I used to spend time every summer in Cherry Hill, NJ with my grandmother.  My aunt and cousins lived nearby and I loved spending time with them. My grandmother had a pool and we would swim laps together every day and pretend we were swimming our way to some foreign destination.  I loved spending my summers with her.

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else?  How and why is it important to you? Honesty.  I think it's important to be honest even if it might hurt the other person.  I've found that lying will hurt more in the long run.

What are you grateful for in your life right now? In August 2017, my parents house flooded in Houston during Hurricane Harvey.  At the time, it was devastating. However, it ended up having a happy ending because my parents ended up moving to a lake house in Bastrop.  They are happy and I'm truly grateful to have them much closer. I love spending time with them.

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do? If I could do anything I wished for the day, I would spend that day with my son Drew.  I only get to see him 4 days a year --- and I can never get enough of him and he lights up my life when I do get to see him.

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature? When I moved to Austin, I joined an outdoors social group called Hill Country Outdoors.  For a few years, every Halloween, I hosted a spooky camping trip at various nearby state parks.   Sitting by the campfire sharing stories with friends is always a great time.

Who inspires you? My best friend Elizabeth O'Connor.  She inspires me in so many ways to be a better parent and a better friend.  I'm constantly in awe of who she is. She introduced me to ADS and this community, for which I will be forever grateful.

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down? Golden Boy by Abigail Tartelin.  I want to find time to read more.  I currently have about 15 books on my wishlist to read.

Social/Emotional Mindfulness Program by Kelly McRee

Dear Beloved Parents,

We will meet this Friday, April 13th at 2 p.m. in Cottonwood Treehouse to discuss Chapter 2 from The Yes Brain by Dr. Dan Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson.  Please join us! We would love to have you even if you haven’t read the second chapter.

Balance is the first fundamental that we are learning in the book and the focus of Chapter 2.  Balance is the ability to regulate both our emotions and our body.

All the lessons we want to teach our kids, along with all the outcomes we’d like to see - meaningful relationships with family and friends, effective sleep, success in school, a general sense of happiness in life depends on balance.  So one of our primary jobs as parents, regardless of their age, is to help them be more balanced. We do this by being the external regulator for them followed by co-regulating with them and then ultimately self regulation.

We know that behavior is a form of communication that our child is letting us know sometimes not through words but actions.

Most of the times, kids misbehave because they can’t control their emotions and bodies right then, not because they won’t.  So before you ever begin to teach them lessons or talk to them about what you want from them, they need you to help them regain balance.

If we want to help our kids become more balanced, so they can remain regulated and handle life’s difficulties with more grace and composure, we need to help them get back into the green zone when they become upset and help them expand their green zone over time.

Ask yourself these questions regarding how hardy your child’s green zone is, how challenging circumstances, and big feelings typically affect your child, and which emotions have more narrow windows and which have wider ones.

1.How wide is my child’s green zone for particular emotions?

(In other words, how easily do they handle discomfort, fear, anger, and disappointment?  Considering age and developmental stage, are they able to deal with setbacks without quickly veering into red or blue zones?)

2.  How easily does my child leave the green zone?

(What kind of emotion or situation does it take to send them into the chaotic red or rigid blue?  Keep in mind again, age/developmental stage, do minor issues set him off, sending him outside the green zone and into emotional dysregulation)

3.  Are there typical triggers that lead my child to imbalance?  

(Do the triggers have to do with physical needs like being hungry or tired?  Are there certain emotional or social skills that are lacking and need to be practiced?)

4.  How far outside the green zone does my child go? (When they enter the red or blue zone, how intense is the reaction?  How imbalanced does her chaos or rigidity become once she’s outside the green zone?)

5.  How long does my child stay outside the green zone, and how easily do they return?  (How resilient is your child? Once they become dysregulated, how hard is it for them to regain a sense of balance and self control?)

The Science of Play:  This is a fundamental need of all humans but most especially children and the ability to have free play not scheduled play or activities.  Play is the work of children. It builds cognitive skills, improves language and problem solving abilities. Aside from social benefits, play offers psychological and emotional advantages as well, helping create a balanced brain.  When they play, children get practice at developing all kinds of Yes Brain qualities, such as handling disappointment, sustaining attention, and making sense of their world. They try out roles and conquer fears as well as feelings of helplessness.  They build emotional balance and resilience, and they develop the ability to tolerate frustration when they don’t get their way. All because of just being allowed to play!

What You Can Do:  Yes Brain Strategies that Promote Balance:

Strategy One:  Maximize Sleep

Sleep Recommendations:  3-5 years 10-13 (including naps) and 6-12 years 9-12 but every child is different, and each person’s need for sleep varies

Here are some of the factors that get in the way of sleep:

  • A schedule that is too full!

  • A chaotic or noisy environment

  • Parental work hours- not meant to create guilt but to be creative to solutions and support

  • Bedtime power struggles

  • Not enough time to “ramp down”

Strategy Two:  Serve a Healthy Mind Platter

Making sure that we include these seven daily essential mental activities (including play and sleep)

  • Focus time:  When we closely focus on tasks in a goal oriented way, we take on challenges that make deep connections in the brain.

  • Play time:  When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, we help make new connections in the brain.

  • Connecting time:  When we connect with other people, ideally in person, and when we take time to appreciate our connection to the natural world us, we activate and reinforce the brain’s relational circuitry.

  • Physical time:  When we move our bodies, aerobically if medically possible, we strength the brain in many ways.

  • Time In:  When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts, we help to better integrate the brain.

  • Down time:  When we are non focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, we help the brain recharge.

  • Sleep time:  When we give the brain the rest it needs, we consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day.

Dr. Dan Siegel has a great video explaining the healthy mind platter:

*All information taken directly from Yes Brain by Dr. Dan Siegel and Dr.Tina Payne Bryson

First take aways from the book:

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.

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.