Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, May 10, 2018

Thursday, May 10, 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 14-17 - STAAR testing
May 19 - OneFest
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)


Did you know that our students and classrooms help build baskets that we then auction off at OneFest?  We hope you'll bring something to contribute to your building's theme and help make our last event of the year a RAGING success!!

*PARENTS*  Starting Friday morning please bring items for your building’s themed basket which will then be put together as one big awesome silent auction item for Onefest! There will be a large box in the main hallway of each building, labeled with your building’s name and theme, for you to drop off the items you bring. Below is a list of each building and their themes:

Cypress: Summer Picnics - Bring your favorite foods/accessories for fun in the sun!
White Oak: Travel Bug - Send your favorite travel must haves for your summer vacation!
Prickly Pear: Weekend Camping/Glamping - Bring your favorite must have for your c/glamping trip!
Cedar Elm: Family Date Night - Send your favorite items to enjoy time with your favorite people!
Cottonwood: Poolside Dreams - How do you celebrate summer fun in the water?
Mesquite: Backyard Fun - When looking for items, think grilling, games, drinks, and more!

We always have such cool things donated and we know with this new twist having themes, this year is going to ROCK!!! 

Middle School Field Trip

Middle School students will be going on a Barton Springs field trip June 1st. Field Trip permission slips have been passed out in advisory - 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

Permission slips will be going out to the students soon. Our transportation will be provided by buses, which is included in the total cost per student. Please sign and return the permission slips by Friday, May 25th.

If 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.  Permission slips will be sent home soon.  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:
  • Wilson and John, for putting together the ADS talent show. ADS has talent!  
  • Staci Gray, for helping the talent show go on!
  • Our huge body of immensely talented students and their parents for their support!

  • Our amazing parents, who continue to feed us on Wednesday even though we no longer have early release!

  • The most talented, dedicated, hard-working staff!  You are the absolute best and we are so lucky to have each and every one of you!

From the PTO

The final Penny Challenge numbers are in!

#1  CYPRESS            $38.46
#2  PRICKLY PEAR      $9.46
3  COTTONWOOD      $0.46
#4  WHITE OAK          -$4.61
#5 CEDAR ELM          -$6.74
#6 MESQUITE            -$7.97

The kids really got into the competition and the PTO thanks all the parents who made runs to the store to break bills for change!  The total coin counts will be shared with classroom teachers and parties will be based on their schedules.
From the Front Office

Thank you so much for the donations and please keep them coming:
coffee; copy paper; smallish gently-used pants, shorts, and leggings; and Kinetic Sand (TM) Beach Sand

Parents, please do not EVER park in the staff parking marked as such near the classroom buildings. It causes a real problem for teachers.

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!

The ADS community is invited to a Student Innovation Showcase of sustainability projects and an awards ceremony honoring our very own Thora Gray, tomorrow, Friday, May 11th, 5:30-7 p.m. at Austin City Hall. Thora has been awarded the EcoRise Legacy Award, which is given to an outstanding educator who has demonstrated continued commitment to student innovation and sustainability on a K-12 campus for 5 or more years. We are so excited and proud! Check it out:

STAAR testing continues next week on Monday, May 14th and Tuesday, May 15th (3rd-8th graders).  It continues on Wednesday, May 16th for 5th and 8th graders. To best support your children and our school, please be sure that your child is presenton timewell-rested,well-fed, and ready to do their personal best!  

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 
  • Head over to the AISD Performing Arts Center at Mueller on May 19th for the kickoff of the Book People/AISD/Austin Public Library summer reading program!  It's a free day of authors such as: Kate DiCamillo, Max Brailler and Lauren Tarshis.  Get more info at
  • The popular Book Swap will return to the library on Friday, May 25th from 3-4pm!  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!
  • Get your summer reading and activity books at the Usborne Book Fair on Monday and Tuesday, June 4 & 5.  More info to come!  This is probably my favorite fair of the year because of all the quality activity books and coloring books.
  • 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
We are happy to announce an LGBTQ & Allies Club at ADS! The club will meet every other Thursday from 3-4 p.m. 6-8th grade students are invited to meet with our Middle School Social Worker, Ellen Barg-Walkow Wilder, in one room, while adults have the opportunity to have a separate meeting that will focus on education and support. Below are the dates and topics. You and your student may come to as few or many club meetings as you'd like. Neither you nor your student must identify as LGBTQ to come learn and participate in conversations. 

Thurs, May 17: Healthy relationships
Thurs, May 31: Coming to terms with who you are
Thurs, June 7: Speaking your truth

Feel free to reach out with questions or ideas to Ellen at Thanks for your support!
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 Jennifer Taylor-Burton, our amazing Dyslexia/504 Coordinator!  You can find Jennifer most days teaching students or working with adults in the Mesquite treehouse!

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community?  In my small reading groups we check in about our weekends on Mondays - this builds a sense of connection because the students come from different classrooms.  It allows us to holistically practice social skills and etiquette because the students listen attentively when others are speaking and ask each other questions.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? Too hard to pick one place. Alaska, Belize, or Costa Rica for the nature, Portugal and Spain for the history, culture and beaches. Canada - I want to go back and explore nature and meet people who have universal health care.

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? Professionally - teaching students with Dyslexia/Learning Disabilities to read. Personally, I feel close and connected with my husband and children.  For fun - walking, hiking, yoga, reading and watching movies.

Share a happy childhood memory.  Riding horses 300 miles and back to the Smokey Mountains with a group of girls when I was 12 - this adventure has recently been published in an ebook.

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else?  Good communication.How and why is it important to you? Good communication fosters a sense of safety and connection.

What are you grateful for in your life right now?  My family (including my cat), and my students.

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do?  Drink tea and read with my cat purring on my lap, then do yoga and go for a walk (hopefully with my husband).

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature? There are too many. I feel lucky to have hiked in the Smokey and Rocky Mountains; spent time on the beach in Oregon, California, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas; and I spent a summer in Seldovia, Alaska, which can only be reached by ferry, and I was lucky to spend time in Mt. Denali National Park.  I loved it all!

Who inspires you?  Professionally: researchers and experts in the field of dyslexia and reading.  Personally, so many people I can’t list them all.

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down?  I read about 2-3 books a week so this is hard: The Rebirth of Suzzan Blac is the last book I read this weekend and I definitely could not put it down (not for children).  I am now in the middle of Paradise by Toni Morrison and I don’t want to put it down.

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee

To all the Mamas and Caregivers in the world, Happy, Happy Mother’s Day. Here’s a little gem from Brene Brown and the Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto:

Most of us would love a color-coded parenting hand-book that answers all of our unanswerable questions, comes with guarantees, and minimizes our vulnerability. We want to know that if we follow certain rules or adhere to the method espoused by a certain parenting expert, our children will sleep through the night, be happy, make friends, achieve professional success, and stay safe. The uncertainty of parenting can bring up feelings in us that range from frustration to terror.

Our need for certainty in an endeavor as uncertain as raising children makes explicit “how-to-parent” strategies both seductive and dangerous. I say “dangerous” because certainty often breeds absolutes, intolerance, and judgment. That’s why parents are so critical of one another —we latch on to a method or approach and very quickly our way becomes the way. When we obsess over our parenting choices to the extent that most of us do, and then see someone else making different choices, we often perceive that difference as direct criticism of how we are parenting.

Ironically, parenting is a shame and judgment minefield precisely because most of us are wading through uncertainty and self-doubt when it comes to raising our children.

I’m not a parenting expert. In fact, I’m not sure that I even believe in the idea of “parenting experts.” I’m an engaged, imperfect parent and a passionate researcher. I’m an experienced mapmaker and a stumbling traveler. Like many of you, parenting is by far my boldest and most daring adventure.

One of the very best pieces of parenting advice that I ever received was from the writer Toni Morrison. It was May of 2000 and my daughter Ellen was just shy of her first birthday. Ms. Morrison was on Oprah talking about her book “The Bluest Eye.” Oprah said, “Toni says a beautiful thing about the messages that we get about who we are when a child first walks into a room,” and she asked Ms. Morrison to talk about it.

Ms. Morrison explained that it’s interesting to watch what happens when a child walks into a room. She asked, “Does your face light up?” She explained, “When my children used to walk in the room when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up. . . . You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them. It’s not. When they see you, they see the critical face. What’s wrong now?” Her advice was simple, but paradigm- shifting for me. She said, “Let your face speak what’s in your heart. When they walk in the room my face says I’m glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see?”

I literally think about that advice every day — it’s become a practice. When Ellen comes bounding down the stairs dressed for school, I don’t want my first comment to be “Pull your hair back” or “Those shoes don’t match your dress.” I want my face to convey how happy I am to see her — to be with her. When Charlie comes in the back door and he’s sweaty and dirty from catching lizards, I want to flash a smile before I say, “Don’t touch anything until you wash your hands.” So often we think that we earn parenting points by being critical, put out, and exasperated. Those first looks can be prerequisites or worthiness-builders. I don’t want to criticize when my kids walk in the room, I want to light up!

I wrote the following parenting manifesto because I need it. Steve and I need it. Putting down the measuring stick in a culture that uses acquisitions and accomplishments to assess worth is not easy. I use the manifesto as a touchstone, a prayer, and a meditation when I’m wrestling with vulnerability or when I’ve got that “never enough” fear. It reminds me of a finding that changed and probably saved my life: Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting.

The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto

Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions—the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.

I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.

We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.

We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.

You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.

I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.

I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.

When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.

Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.

We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.

As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.

I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.

Click over to to download an illustrated copy of this manifesto. Adapted with permission from Gotham Books. © Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, 2012. Not to be reproduced or reprinted without permission. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown