Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, August 23, 2018

Thursday, August 23, 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
Maria MartinezStudent Services Director
Taylor Young, Operations Manager

Dates to Remember

August 24 - PTO FIRST COFFEE CHAT - 8am
August 31 - PTO Skate Party (6-11 pm)
Sep 15 & 16 - Garden Work Party (9 am-3 pm)
If you are interested in substitute teaching at ADS this year, we want you!  Please e-mail Amity Taylor
Hoot-Outs go to...

Taylor and Tim, for all their work "behind the scenes".... ya'll are on it! - Holly

All of our amazing students, staff and parents, for an amazing start to the 2018/2019 school year.

Caitlin and all of the PTO officers, for making our boo hoo breakfast such a success!  It so helps to have a community soft-landing when you are saying goodbye to your little one, sometimes for their first school experience!

Elizabeth, for her superior laminator skills. - Deborah

Front office donation requests...

We would be so grateful for donations of whole bean or ground coffee. A newshredder would also be wonderful.  Thank you, parents, for you generosity!  


Join us for our Fall Garden work party on September 15 & 16

This will be our first big push of the year to ready our school gardens for the Fall planting season! We will also be working on installing our award-winning ‘Discovery Pond’ (thousands of gallons of Discovery). In addition, there will be other campus improvement projects that everyone can get on board with! Sweat, muscles, music, food and straight up community!

The Work days will begin at 9am and last till 3pm both Saturday and Sunday. Come for an hour, come for a day or come for two!

More info coming soon!

Free/Reduced Lunch and Aftercare

If your students are returning to ADS this year and last year they qualified for free/reduced price lunches or aftercare, or if you feel your family may newly qualify this year, please fill out a
Compensatory Education Form for this year.  

All new-to-ADS students have already been asked to complete this form as part of the enrollment process.
From Taylor Young, Operations Manager

Drop Off/Pick Up:

What a great first week we have had around here! Compared to years past, the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up process has gone much more smoothly for the first week. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help us on campus and help you leave campus most successfully:
  • Campus Drop Off Locations:
    • Kindergarten-2nd grade: Playground
      • Please remember that school expectations are always in place on the playground even with a parent present. If you wish to stay with your child until class starts, please do it within the zones monitored by staff so other children are not encouraged to explore zones that are not being supervised
    • 3rd and 4th: The central courtyard
    • 5th-8th: the area between Cottonwood and Mesquite
  • Please do not linger with students away from these morning zones. In order for us to keep children safe, they should proceed to the designated areas listed above. Please help by not waiting at building entrances or between buildings with students.
  • Parking can be a challenge around here. In order for our staff to be present on time to supervise children and prepare for the day, we need to make sure staff parking remains open at all times. These are the spots to the left between the road and Mesquite, as well as the driveways around the interior of campus and the parallel spots in the road from the drop-off area leading back to the beginning of the loop/playground.
    • The parking lot is for parents exclusively! The spots at the beginning of the loop (before the crosswalk) and the stretch of land along the road also are. 
  • Pick Up: Please have the paper with your student's name and their teacher's name(s) in your windshield when going through the car line.
Building Access/Safety Plan:

We have continued to develop our Campus Safety Plan in accordance with State guidelines and our own district-level specifics. In order for our students to feel safe and remain safe throughout the school day, please help us incorporate the Safety Plan into our day.
  • School begins promptly at 7:50 a.m.. 
    • At this time, we ask that parents in the buildings leave the classrooms so students can start their day. If you have the staff member's approval ahead of time, please sign in as a visitor in the front office and get a sticker in order to remain in the building past 7:50.
    • If you are tardy, your choices are to say your good-byes at the entrance of the building where they will be let in to go to class, or sign in as a visitor in the front office if you wish to enter any classroom building after 7:50 (with or without your student).
  • Doors will remain locked throughout the day. If you need access, please check in as a visitor in the front office.
  • School concludes at 3:05 p.m. (1:50 p.m. on Wednesdays)
    • If you need to pick up your student early, even by a few minutes, please follow the visitor sign-in procedures in the front office. 
Our New Lunch Program!

Despite a few administrative hiccups with the new software, our first week with Haute Lunch has gone very well! The feedback we are getting is on par with our goals: to provide great-tasting, healthier options to the community. 

All students are enrolled in the software. So, if you do not participate yet but want to, all you need to do is send us an email ( and we can send you instructions on how to get started. You can order for one day, the whole week, or anything in between (actually, you can order for an entire month at a time if you wish!). Please provide any feedback you may have to the above email address. We want to keep hearing from you!

School Supplies

It is crucial to the academic success of all students throughout the year that everyone brings school supplies. If you have not yet provided these, please do so at your earliest ability. Next week we will reach out to those families we have not received supplies from to troubleshoot a solution. Any comments, questions, concerns can be directed to Taylor at
From the ADS PTO

The ADS PTO will host a Skate Party at Playland Skate Center (6 -11 pm)
$9 - All Children 3+ up and Skating Adults
$0 - Non-skating adults and children under 3.
Price includes Roller Skate Rental and more than 40% of the cost comes directly back to ADS!!! You must say you are with ADS for us to get credit towards our fundraising goal!!  Bring your family, ADS and non-ADS friends, etc!!!!!

The ADS PTO is currently looking for volunteers to be room parents in each classroom.  Please email if you are interested!

The ADS PTO has ADS merchandise (t-shirts, hats, water bottles, etc) for sale.  Show your school spirit with ADS merchandise.  Check out the ADS PTO website or ask for Jennette at the front desk.


Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee

Welcome back to the 2018/2019 school year!!  It has been so great to see all of your smiling faces this week.  We have missed everyone and we are excited for the start to a great school year.  We have some minor changes in the world of social emotional learning that I wanted to make you aware of as you start to navigate this school year.

Our ADS classrooms will come up with their unique names sometime this week or next, but we are all the ADS Owls!  

We love to share random acts of kindness, so please come fill out an owl feather in Building 1.  There is a mailbox next to the water foundation for you to leave these notes of kindness.  Any parent, teacher, or student (any member of the ADS community) can fill out an owl feather recognizing some amazing/positive kindness that someone has done to brighten their day or week! There is a special spot in our weekly folder to give a Hoot out to… to share these kind acts with the rest of our community!

Each week in this newsletter there will be a column called "Social/Emotional Mindfulness" in which I will share messages about the importance of social/emotional learning.  I would love to have your input so feel free to email me some suggestions or topics.  Send emails to

I will have a book club again for parents and I will come by to this week’s coffee chat to talk about some ideas/feedback as well as to introduce myself.

Social/emotional learning is part of the mission of Austin Discovery School, and we use a lot of positive strategies to help children relax during stressful times as well as learn to manage their emotions.  These strategies are helpful when they are practiced at school and at home. We teach students to notice their body reactions to their feelings.  We want to empower students to use strategies to manage intense emotions.  Some of the techniques we use are from Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey. She has a great parent book called Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline, and a website loaded with resources - check it out at

Here are a few techniques we teach students and some of our favorite calming strategies:

·         STAR: You may hear your student talk about being a STAR, which stands for stop, take a breath, and relax.   Ask your student for a demonstration!

·         DRAIN: Put your arms out straight, make fists in both hands, squeeze as tight as you can, and then slowly let your arms/fists relax (visualize letting your tensions go down the drain).

·         BALLOON: Put your interlocked hands on top of your head and pretend to blow up a balloon until your hands have created an imaginary balloon.  Let all the air out of the balloon.

·         PRETZEL: With your arms straight out in front of you, cross your hands at the wrists and clasp your hands together. Bring hands toward your body, twisting them down and then up towards your chest. Hold them close to your chest and let go slowly as you take nice deep breaths.

·         SAFE PLACE:  An important place in our classrooms, but even at home, it is important to have a place for children to go on their own until they are ready to re-connect with us about how they are feeling.

We use these tools to help teach ourselves composure and remind ourselves about the power of perception - no one can make you angry without your permission. It is important to teach our children that they can make mistakes (Oops) and then do it over again differently.  Children need to be able to "download" or mirror the calm of a trusted adult through the mirror neuron system in the brain. Noticing is a valuable skill to invite this connection.  Mirror and notice the child’s body language - “Your feet/body/face are going like this..”

Our fabulous new space is now called RESTORE.  We are located directly off the playground to the right and you can see our door from the playground.  We are located in the Cypress treehouse in Room 207. My new office is located in the Cypress treehouse as well, in Room 209.  Jess Rather and Ryan Knight are keeping our RESTORE room running smoothly and meeting student needs. We also still have Kim Hiles, SEL Specialist/RTI Coordinator and Ellen Wilder, our middle school social worker, all working to help our students this year.

Why might your student need RESTORE?  

  • Restore is a place for all students (K-8) and teachers to feel supported.

  • Restore is not a consequence or threat; please help support your student feeling comfortable using this space if needed.

  • We want students to thrive in their classroom environments, so coming to Restore is an extension of the classroom, not as a way to exclude a student from their classroom.

  • We are partners working together to help the student feel a part of their classroom community.

  • Our goal is to help support students be an integrated and fully functioning classroom community member.  We support and explicitly teach the students sent and get them back as quickly as possible so they are building relationships within their classroom.

What might happen in Restore?

  • Restore is a great place to use for any separation anxiety, so parents drop off in the Restore room.   We have developed a protocol to show care for your student and have you be able to leave in a timely fashion.

  • A place for a student to take a 10 minute break to regroup/refocus before heading back to the classroom

  • A calming break (not to exceed 10 mins) to draw, use fidgets aids, or clay

  • Restorative chats/restorative circles to problem-solve conflicts that fall out of the scope of the classroom (for conflicts that aren’t easily solved or where it’s difficult to get to the root of the problem)

  • Time machine/reflections as needed for conflicts

  • Crisis de-escalation

How can you support us?

  • We will create an amazon wish list for the Restore room and the SEL team.

  • We have a full size refrigerator.  We would love to have some donations of snacks because we get kiddos all day that are in need of more food and it is hard to solve problems on an empty stomach.

  • Great ideas for snacks:  fruit (especially apples and oranges), cheese sticks, low-sugar chocolate-free granola bars, herbal tea, popcorn, etc.