Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, May 31, 2018

Thursday, May 31, 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

June 1 - Field Day & Parents' Night Out
June 4 & 5 - Usborne Book Fair
June 6 - SPARK Night & 8th grade graduation
June 8 - Last Day of School (12:30 dismissal)
Hoot Outs this week go to:
  • Kelley Ballew and the volunteers from Dell who came out and trimmed bushes around the courtyard. It looks great! - Taylor
  • Melissa Bailey, for organizing the fundraiser for poison ivy removal, and a big thank you to all parents that donated! It's making a huge difference! - Taylor
  • All of our dedicated Directors of the ADS School Board. HUGE THANKS! - Elizabeth O'Connor
  • Jamie Schue and Virginia Franco, whose board terms are up. We appreciate all those late nights and long weekends volunteering and donating time and resources to the school for the last few years! - Elizabeth O'Connor
From the Front Office

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

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.  

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 Leigh Moss, Head of School

Starting June 13, student STAAR scores will be available for immediate access through the Texas Assessment Portal. STAAR results for the second administration of Grades 5 and 8 should be available next week (the first week of June).  

You will be able to access your child's STAAR results and starting this year there will also be a suite of other resources to support summer learning opportunities.  

To access your child's scores go to and click "Find My Unique Student Access Code"

Next,  it will prompt you to type in your child's first name, Social Security number, and birth date.  After you do this, click "Go."

The access code will appear where you typed your child's name and you can click "Go" again to access your child's STAAR scores.

This method of delivery is different than in years past when your child's individual results were sent to the school some time in June and a mailing of these results was sent to your home.  While the school will still receive your child's individual results in the traditional paper copy format, the online access will allow you to access these results much sooner than in previous years.  If you wish to pick up a paper copy of your child's STAAR scores in lieu of accessing them online, the front office will be open on Tuesday, June 26th, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. for pick up, or you may pick them up in August.  

If you have any questions about how to access your child's scores, please email me directly at

From Ms. Elizabeth, your librarian 
  • 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 NOW DUE, 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've got to inventory 15,000+ books and it can't happen if the books are in the car or under the bed!
  • I have created a project through that will provide ADS with materials to document our outside classroom activities.  Check it out at Citizen Science in Action
  • Summer reading info and Bingo sheets have gone out to classes.  If they didn't make it home, you can print them from the Library webpage.  Have a great summer of reading!
Free Youth Summer Art Program
June 22nd - July 6th, 2018
Conducted by Greater Tomorrow Youth Art Program & UT Austin
Ages: 9-18  Application Deadline: June 20th 
 Join the University of Texas at Austin’s art education professor, Dr. Christopher Adejumo, in a skills development summer art program for artistically gifted youth at the University of Texas at Austin.
  If you are interested in participating in the program, please contact Dr. Christopher Adejumo at or click here for more info.  The application can be found here.
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, 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 Deborah Freeman, our Office Manager and Registrar.  You can usually find her in the front office!  Deborah has been part of the ADS community for 13 years in various roles.

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community?  If I were part of a classroom community, I think I would love taking hikes! In my role in the office, I enjoy fostering community through one-on-one interactions with students, parents, and staff.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why?  Mexico City, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Tirol, central Russia, Glacier National Park, Switzerland, Redwood National Park, the Yukon territory, the Grand Canyon, northern Italy, Finland, northern Japan, Nepal, South Korea, really I could go on and on...because being reminded of the amazingly diverse and beautiful world we live in, and our smallness in it, is profound.

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? Learning how to do things I have never done before or am not good at.  

Share a happy childhood memory.  My family took a lot of really fun off-the-beaten path camping trips, and my parents would often leave my brother and I at the campsite and go off on their own sight-seeing adventures without us, which we thought was fabulous.    

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else? How and why is it important to you?  It depends upon the type of relationship! Respect and tolerance are basic to any authentic relationship.  I cherish love and understanding as well.

What are you grateful for in your life right now?  My and my family's health, my job, our school community, and the ease with which I recently became vegan.  

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do?  Truth = projects and household tasks that, once completed, allow me to feel like things can keep keeping on.  Wish = yoga, hiking, running, cooking, reading and/or writing, swinging in my hammock...wait what, a free day?  

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature?  Skiing and hiking in the Swiss Alps, swimming in Puerto Rico, hiking in Seminole Canyon at night because it was too hot during the day, swimming in lakes in Finland, canoeing part of the Lewis and Clark Trail - how can I choose?

Who inspires you?  Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker, Ursula LeGuin, Anne Lamott - they are all so honest in such different ways.

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down?  Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit and Tell Me How it Ends by Valeria Luiselli.  I usually read more than one book at a time.

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee


Dear Beloved Parents,

The summer heat has just begun and school is rapidly coming to an end.  It is time to take advantage of the beautiful summertime and create new memories with your family.  Here’s a list of 101 activities to do with your child this summer. You could put them all on a popsicle stick and put them in a jar.  Then every time someone complains about being bored and there being nothing to do, they can pull out an activity. Make new connections and get out to explore, even if it is only in our lovely city!  Take time to create new memories and get your child involved in creating their own ideas for the popsicle stick jar!

Happy connecting!  With love, Kelly

  1. Bake cookies for ice cream sandwiches.

  2. Volunteer at a nature center.

  3. Make a photo journal or a family yearbook.

  4. Have a luau in the backyard.

  5. Visit the beach and collect shells.

  6. Make a fort out of cardboard boxes.

  7. Visit a farmer's market.

  8. Stage an A to Z scavenger hunt, where you have to find something that starts with every letter. Here are 8 more scavenger hunt ideas.

  9. Pick berries.

  10. Have a picnic at a state park, or anywhere, including your own backyard!

  11. Make ice cream. Tipograph loves using YayLab's ice cream ball, which you fill with ice cream base and kick around until frozen.

  12. Go canoeing at a local lake.

  13. Build a sandcastle.

  14. Write and illustrate your own book and have it published into an actual hardcover book using IlluStory.

  15. Forget cooking -- set up an ice cream sundae buffet for dinner.

  16. Clean up trash at a local park.

  17. Have a backyard campfire...or just use the grill! Roast hot dogs on sticks, pop popcorn, and finish off with s'mores.

  18. Make homemade pizza.

  19. Go for a walk and then make a collage from nature objects you find along the way.

  20. Head to a creek and look at the ducks. (See some duck games)

  21. Set up a lemonade stand.

  22. Have a water balloon fight.

  23. Practice your origami skills and make objects to hang from the ceiling.

  24. Go biking on a trail

  25. Interview an older relative about what life was like when they were young.

  26. Plan a Master Chef competition and let everyone cook a dish where everyone in the family rates the dish.

  27. Print out a list of children's books that have won Caldecott Medals, Newberry Medals, or Lone Star List depending on the age.   Visit the local library throughout the summer and try to read as many as you can.

  28. Create salad spinner art: Place circles of paper inside a cheap salad spinner, dab tempera paints on top, cover, and spin away.

  29. Practice making interesting shadow puppets and then put on a show with your characters.

  30. Plant a garden of herbs and veggies.

  31. Make a sidewalk chalk mural.

  32. Create a craft day complete with ideas from Pinterest.

  33. Have an outdoor painting party using huge canvases or cardboard.

  34. Visit a fish hatchery.

  35. Plant a butterfly garden with flowers.

  36. Pretend to be pirates for a day -- dress up in costumes, plan a treasure hunt, and talk like a pirate.

  37. Make an indoor sandbox using colored rice: mix 4 cups of rice with 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food coloring and let dry overnight.

  38. Turn the backyard into a carnival -- set up a face painting area and games like ring toss.

  39. Make totem poles out of paper towel rolls and decorate them.

  40. Visit a museum you've never been to.

  41. Make a giant hopscotch or Twister game on the lawn (with spray paint) or driveway (with chalk).

  42. String beads into jewelry.

  43. Make a bird house out of Popsicle sticks.

  44. Learn about stargazing and identify as many constellations as possible -- see if there are any local astronomy groups for kids.

  45. Create leis with wildflowers.

  46. Go fossil hunting near a lake.

  47. Break out your baseball gloves and start a game, sandlot style. (3 baseball games you can play without a team)

  48. Make paper boats and race them in a kiddie pool using straws to propel them.

  49. Play mini-golf -- or set up a course in your driveway by laying different size containers on their sides.

  50. Make your own colored sand and create sand art.

  51. Get a map of the United States and mark off all the exciting places you want to visit -- create the ultimate road trip.

  52. Set up a net and play badminton and volleyball. Or try one of these 11 Backyard Games for Kids.

  53. Visit an amusement park or water park.

  54. Wade through a stream and search for minnows or tadpoles.

  55. Go zip-lining.

  56. Have a tricycle race at the park.

  57. Investigate an ethnic grocery store and make lunch using interesting spices and kid-friendly international recipes.

  58. Visit a fire station.

  59. Collect rocks and paint them to use as paperweights or pet rocks.

  60. Go roller skating.

  61. Visit a zoo or aquarium to learn about animals.

  62. Run through the sprinklers.

  63. Blend your own smoothie.

  64. Set up a bike wash and raise money for a local charity.

  65. Batter up at a batting cage.

  66. Let kids paint the sidewalk or patio with plain old water and sponge brushes. When their creation dries, they can begin again.

  67. Bake cupcakes in ice cream cones and then decorate them.

  68. Assemble a family cookbook with all your favorite recipes.

  69. Go horseback riding.

  70. Make popsicles in Dixie cups using fruit juices.

  71. Catch fireflies in a jar (and let them go at the end of the night).

  72. Stage your own Summer Olympics with races, hurdles and relays.

  73. Create a backyard circus -- kids can pretend to be animals and dress up as clowns.

  74. Decorate bikes and have a neighborhood Fourth of July parade.

  75. Take a sewing/crochet/knitting class.

  76. Make Mexican paper flowers using different colored tissue paper.

  77. Go to a flea market.

  78. Volunteer at an animal adoption organization.

  79. Visit a retirement home and read stories to residents.

  80. Attend an outdoor festival or concert.

  81. Pick a nearby town to visit for the day.

  82. Visit a cave.

  83. Get a map of your area, mark off all the local parks -- then visit them, take pictures and vote for your favorite.

  84. Take in a fireworks exhibit.

  85. Make crafts with recyclable items like stickers using old photos, magazines and repositionable glue.

  86. Make your own hard-to-pop bubbles with 1 cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap and 1 tablespoon of glycerin.

  87. Paint canvas sneakers with fabric paint pens or acrylic paint.

  88. Create three dimensional buildings using toothpicks and mini marshmallows.

  89. Make bird feeders by covering pine cones with peanut butter and rolling in birdseed.

  90. Paint with ice by freezing ice cube trays with washable tempera paint.

  91. Create unusual s'mores by experimenting with ingredients like cookies, bananas, flavored marshmallows and white chocolate.

  92. Have a fancy tea party.

  93. Make a giant slip-n-slide with a painter's tarp and shaving cream.

  94. Go camping in the backyard or at a campsite. Follow these tips for camping with kids.

  95. Let kids paint each other with washable tempera paint, then wash it off in the sprinklers.

  96. Visit a national park and help the kids earn a junior ranger badge.

  97. Go to a ballgame and teach your kids (and yourself!) how to keep a scorecard.

  98. Set up a tent in the backyard to use as a summer playhouse.

  99. Take a free kid's workshop at stores like Lowe's, Home Depot or Pottery Barn.

  100. Have a game night with charades, Pictionary and bingo.

  101. Take a boring brown paper bag and have kids brainstorm creative things to do with it -- you'll be surprised at how many things you can come up with.