Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, May 24, 2018

Thursday, May 24, 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 & HR Manager
Taylor Young, Operations Manage

Dates to Remember

May 28 - Memorial Day 
June 1 - Field Day & Parents' Night Out
June 6 - SPARK Night & 8th grade graduation
June 8 - Last Day of School (12:30 dismissal)

Middle School Field Trip


Middle School students will be going on a Barton Springs field trip June 1st. The cost of the field trip is $8. This includes the rental of a bus and Barton Springs Pool admission.

Payment are due by May 25th and can be made in cash at school to Jessica Langford. Kate Griffin is taking electronic payments via Venmo @KatherineGriffin and PayPal 
katelgriffin@gmail.comIf you have any questions, please feel free to email Jessica Langford.

5th graders will go on a field trip to the YMCA on June 1st.  E-mail Myra Simmons to volunteer to chaperone/transport students! 
Field Day for K-4 students will be June 1st. Here is the link for volunteers to sign up to help on this day full of water and fun in the sun. We also need watermelon, so if you're unable to make it you could help with our refreshments.  Can't wait to see everyone for our end of the year event! 
Hoot Outs this week go to:
  • Chad Mote, for fixing/welding/ painting/magicking seesaws!!!! - Taylor & Deborah
  • Our amazing PTO and officers, for the most fabulous One Fest ever! Thanks to all our families that came out to support ADS! Thanks to all our volunteers that helped to set up, work the event, and take it all down! We have an amazing school community!
  • Our amazing families for coming together on Wednesdays and bringing the ADS staff the most delicious lunches!!  We have enjoyed them so much this year!
  • Jennette, for being a grillmaster!
From the Front Office

Reminder - on the last day of school, June 8th, students will be released at 12:30 pm. 

We are preparing for 8th grade graduation on June 6th and need your help! If you have an 8th grade student, please send 5-10 pictures of them ranging from when they were a baby to now. Pictures may be brought in person to Sabra or emailed to
Thanks, families!

Starting today, Thursday May 24, the ADS playground will be open to the community after school from 3:05 - 3:30 pm.  After 3:30 pm, the playscape and swing set zones will be reserved for AfterCare Students only.  If you are still on campus with your kids after 3:30 pm, you can move into the tree stump/tiny house areas as those will remain open to the public.  This will be posted on the playscape area as soon as signs can be made, but please respect these hours and the directions of AfterCare staff members.

Starting in the fall, the ADS playscape/swing set area will be closed completely on Wednesdays during Early Release and will only be open after school until 3:30 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  During any time that the Playscape/swing set area is closed, the tree stump/tiny house areas will remain open to ADS families not in AfterCare. The Sand Box is never open to the public.  It is for school use only and should remain covered at all times before/after school.  

There has been a case of strep throat in the Happy Turtle Butterflies' classroom.

Annual Head of School Survey

The ADS Board of Directors conducts an annual survey to solicit feedback in order to evaluate the performance of the Head of School. Please take a few minutes to answer a brief survey about Leigh Moss, ADS Head of School. The survey will be compiled by software and reported to the board in summary form only. Please complete the survey by May 31.
The primary responsibilities for the Head of School can be categorized into:
• Instructional and Educational leadership,
• Community engagement,
• Public accountability and compliance,
• Fiscal management, and
• Grounds, facilities and safety. 

While the Head of School may delegate many of the above duties to personnel who possess the leadership and capabilities to perform these duties, the following cannot be delegated by the Head of School and will be performed with diligence and transparency: organization of the charter school's central administration, approval of reports or data submissions required by law, and selection of charter school employees. 

Your input in this survey is strictly confidential. A single board member has access to the survey results and shares the report with the board. Comments provided by survey respondents are included in the report to the board anonymously and verbatim. 

Your input is important and the board appreciates your participation!

Click here to complete the survey.
Survey link:

From Ms. Elizabeth, your librarian 
  • The popular Book Swap will return to the library tomorrow, Friday May 25th from 3-4 pm!  This is an opportunity for you and your kids to bring in books you no longer want and take books you do.  Kids who receive lunch assistance get one free book!  I NEED VOLUNTEERS TO HELP WITH THIS FROM 2:30-4:15.
  • Get your summer reading and activity books at the Usborne Book Fair on Monday and Tuesday June 4 and 5 from 7:30 am-4 pm each day!  This is probably my favorite fair of the year because of all the quality activity books and coloring books.  You can also order online at
  • All library books are due on Tuesday May 29th, so help your child remember to bring them in.  Email me at if you'd like to know what your child has checked out.
  • I have created a project through that will provide ADS with materials to document our outside classroom activities.  Right now it is eligible for matching donations (General Motors is matching 2x all gifts!!!!!!!). Check it out at Citizen Science in Action
In order to make the Parent LGBTQ+ and Allies Support Meetings easier to attend, the meeting times for parents and caregivers will be from 8-9 AM for the rest of the year. Meetings will take place at the picnic tables outside of the library.

We welcome all caregivers, despite your student's age or identity, to our meetings. Our goal is to build community, learn about LGBTQ+ issues that affect our students, and provide support to one another. Feel free to drop in; there are no commitment requirements.

Thursday, May 17: Celebrating our identities (and our students' identities!)
Thursday, June 7: Speaking your truth

Coffee and light snacks will be provided starting at 7:45 AM before the meeting officially starts. Feel free to contribute food and drinks as well as resources to share!

Middle school students going to the LGBTQ+ & Allies Club will continue to meet after school from 3-4 PM in the Cottonwood building. Please reach out with any questions or ideas to Middle School Social Worker, Ellen Wilder, at We hope to see you next week!
From Jennette Everett, Aftercare Director

AfterCare Enrollment is now open for the 2018-19 school year.  Sign up early to guarantee your child's spot in the ADS AfterCare program. 
Click here to Enroll!

Full Time Enrollment will be $13/day.  Part Time Enrollment (selecting specific days) will be $14.50/day.  Drop-In Care is also available for sporadic care for $16-20/day.  See Enrollment Form for more information! 


June 8th, 12:30 - 6 p.m.
ADS AfterCare is hosting a Last Day of School Pizza Party for ANY student enrolled at ADS.  Your child does NOT need to have been enrolled in AfterCare for you to take advantage of this awesome party!  Limited Space Available, so sign up now!

It is $25/child and guarantees them pizza for lunch at 12:30 p.m. as well as fun all afternoon with their ADS friends one last time before the summer!  Sign up online on the ADS website under Parents (Click on AfterCare and then Camp Registration): $25 must be paid in advance for your student(s) to participate.   Once you register, you will receive an invoice.  Deadline to sign up is June 7.


June 1st, 6 - 10:30 p.m.
The last Parent's Night Out for the year will be on June 1.  Sign up now to take advantage of this great babysitting service.  It is $20/child ($15/each additional child). 6 - 10:30 p.m.  Sign up on the ADS website under Parents/AfterCare!  Siblings age 4+up welcome.

A little owl told me….by Kelly McRee

I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Nisa Almaraz, our amazing PE teacher for the younger grades!  You can find Nisa most days working with students on the big field! Nisa has been on staff with us over the years teaching multiple grade levels in the classroom as well.

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community?  Morning Meetings are by far the best.  These are often related to a daily quote that emphasizes our classroom community.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why? Any place tropical and kid-free. Although my husband and I love our littles, a relaxing moment is needed in our near future.

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? I love using art (painting) as a source of therapy. As of last year I formed a small group based out of my house that allows me to practice this form of therapy with kids.

Share a happy childhood memory.  I love Northern Michigan.  We have a home up there where we can lay back and relax.  We have 35 acres of land to fish, 4 wheel, ride our dirt bike, boat, and build campfires.

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else?  How and why is it important to you? Having an open heart is by far one of thee most important qualities to have.  This allows for many relationships to form. Showing love is allowing others to see that we are all equal beings and have the ability to see the good in others.

What are you grateful for in your life right now?  I am grateful for my tribe of friends and family members who have helped me overcome my daily challenges.  Those who are also there with me to celebrate the successes life has to offer.

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do?  Hike to a natural spring (preferably waterfall) and a picnic with refreshing beverages/food.

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature? About 3 years ago, my class had the most memorable hike.  Mother nature decided to pour on us, cutting our hike short.  In order for us to get back much effort and collaboration was needed.  We made it back, shoeless, and soaking wet! We couldn't have done this without all hands on deck!

Who inspires you? My husband is my inspiration.  His natural balance in life is contagious and his love for life is admirable.

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down?  You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hays

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee

Dear Beloved Parents,

This is a fabulous article (blog) from our dear Dr. Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids and  This article talks about how to set effective limits and kids comply.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

“I took your vow of Yellibacy, but when I try to set limits my children just ignore me. So I end up yelling!" - Chris

Most of the time when kids feel understood, they're willing to do what you ask -- even if they don't like what you're asking. That's why the secret to setting limits effectively is to empathize as you do it. It's a three step process.

  • Set the limit:

"No pushing. Pushing hurts."

  • Offer empathy, or understanding of why the child is doing the behavior:

"It looks like you want your brother to move, so you can get your truck."

  • Tell the child what he CAN do, instead:

"You can tell your brother, 'Move please!'"

But what if you state an expectation and your child ignores it? It's hard to stay empathic then. This is where most of us start yelling, or casting about for some threat to get our child to do what we want. Luckily, there's a better way.

1. Be sure your limit is reasonable. Sometimes when we listen to our child, we learn something important that helps us re-evaluate our limit. For instance, if your child doesn't want to hold your hand when you cross the street, talk about it. Maybe your child is ready to walk across the street without holding your hand? Or maybe she's ready to hold onto your bag instead of holding your hand, so she feels a bit more autonomous?

2. If your limit is essential to you, insist on it. If you let your child have a cookie at the grocery store today, naturally he'll want one next time. It's their job to test the limits; how else will they know what the limits really are? If you waffle, naturally he'll keep pushing. If you're clear about your limit, your child has the freedom to rail against the limit, to cry and grieve about it, and finally to accept it and move on.

3. Connect before you correct or redirect. Don't try to give instructions or requests from across the room. Move in close. Touch her arm, make a comment on what she's doing to connect with her, then set your limit. "That looks like fun! But I'm afraid something could break when you throw that in the house."

4. Say it once. If you keep repeating yourself, you're training your child to ignore you until you raise your voice. If your child doesn't respond to your first request, you haven't connected and gotten his attention. Go back to Step 3 and look him in the eye. Remember, kids WANT to connect with parents who are warmly reaching out. If you're on the warpath, any child in his right mind will pretend he hasn't heard you.

5. Don't give up and don't give in. If you're serious about this limit, then act like it. (If you aren't, then state that you see how much this means to your child and you're willing to be flexible for another ten minutes, or whatever.) But if you think it's an important limit and you give in ("Ok, I guess you can keep playing that game, but don't come crying to me when someone gets hurt!"), you're training your child to ignore your requests. That will just make your next limit harder to set. Instead, keep your sense of humor and get in your child's face in a friendly way to show you aren't going to change your expectation: "Whoa, Buddy! Didn't you hear me? I said this is too dangerous a game to play in the house!"

6. Empathize. Acknowledge her perspective: "You wish you could stay up later...I hear you. It's so hard to stop playing and go to bed. I bet when you grow up, you'll play all night, every night, won't you?!"  Your child may well cry and rage. She has to do what you ask, but she's allowed to have her feelings about it. Your goal is to stay firm about your limit while empathizing with the feelings. Sometimes kids know we're right, but they still need us to understand that from their perspective, what you're asking is a huge sacrifice for them.

7. Manage your own emotions so you can stay calm and kind. Resist the temptation to be punitive in any way. Kindly, calmly, insisting on the limit will teach the lesson. Anything more forceful backfires. If you insist angrily, naturally your child will resist. Kids accept, and even adopt, our expectations when we regulate our own emotions, and support our child as he struggles to manage his. Find a way to support him so he can work with you: "You're so disappointed that we have to go home now. It wasn't enough for you that I gave you a ten minute warning; it's still hard to leave. Let's find a way to make it a little easier. Do you want to skip putting on your shoes, and we'll just bring them with us in the car?"

Is there ever a transgression that deserves punishment? No. The bigger the transgression, the bigger the disconnection your child is feeling, and the more help she needs from you to resolve what's eating at her inside. However, there might well be a need for repair of a relationship, or replacement of something she's damaged. Helping your child find that solution empowers her, but only once she's calm and can choose it herself.

8. Maintain a strong emotional bond and make sure your child knows you're on her side. If she experiences you as sabotaging her happiness by creating arbitrary or unfair limits, she won’t accept your empathy, or your limits. But if your child experiences you as looking out for her best interests, and -- when you can -- her happiness, she'll accept your empathy, which will help her accept your limits, and internalize them as her own limits.

For most parents, this sounds like a lot of work. And it is. But really, what is the work you're doing?

  • Regulating your own emotions.

  • Connecting with your child.

  • Coaching your child instead of threatening and punishing. Coaching means setting your limits firmly but with understanding, and helping your child with their big emotions in response to your limit.

These are the three big ideas of peaceful parenting. Not only will they get your child cooperating with your limits in the short term, they will help you raise a responsible, emotionally intelligent human being in the long term.

What does this "hard work" give you? A child who regulates his own emotions, because you regulate yours. A child who takes your expectations seriously, because you do. A child who feels connected to you, even while you're guiding his behavior, so he WANTS to cooperate.

And of course a child who cooperates when you set limits -- so it's easier for you to keep your vow of Yellibacy!