Austin Discovery School

Austin Family Reader's Poll Favorite 2018
"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, September 6, 2018

Thursday, September 6, 2018



Please contact administrators via e-mail to schedule meetings as needed.

Amity Taylor, Assistant Principal
Deborah FreemanRegistrar & Office Manager
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

Sep 7 - PTO Coffee Chat (8 am)
Sep 13 - Back to School night (4-6 pm)
Sep 15 & 16 - Garden Work Party (9 am-3 pm)
Hoot Outs this week go to...
  • ADS, because I love you! - Hudson Camp
  • Elizabeth, because you are so great at directing the after school kid traffic!  Thanks for helping!
  • Machaela, Mia, Ashley, Cade, and Weston: thank you for helping kindergarteners find library books! - Elizabeth
  • Staci Gray, for being such a great friend of the library; I appreciate everything you do to build a reading culture at ADS! - Elizabeth
  • All the generous people who heard our plea and donated coffee!  THANKS!  We will make it for a while now.  :)  - Deborah
  • Elizabeth O'Connor, for about 1000 reasons, not least of which is batteries. - Deborah
If you are interested in substitute teaching at ADS this year, we want you!  Please e-mail Amity Taylor
Back to School Night will be Thursday, Sep 13, 4-6 pm.  Come hear specifics about your child's classroom, schedule, curriculum, and much more!

Also visit the essentials team during Back to School Night! ADS' active and engaging essentials teachers (Art, Music, Theater, PE, EcoWellness, and Library) want to share with you during Back to School Night!  Stop by the essentials classrooms, say hi and see a little about what they're working on, take a walk through the gardens, and stop by the library.  We're all excited to meet you!
Enrichment Fee
Have you paid your child's $50 enrichment fee for this year?  Every contribution helps provide essential materials for classrooms, supports enrichment and project-based learning throughout the school, covers insurance for student laptops, and provides for consumable supplies for our essentials classes (art, music, PE, library, and ecowellness).   Please remit check or cash to the front office ASAP!  

Garden Work Party

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!

Also, Tim & Thora, ADS Ecowellness teachers, welcomedonations of wooden pallets

Hey families!  If you have any interest in helping out with landscaping and gardening projects around campus, or if you'd like to help weed, pick up trash, etc. please consider joining the Garden Owls group.  Send an email to for more information.
Library News
I have exciting news for 3rd/4th graders! Author Sheila Turnage will be visiting on Tuesday, Sep 11, which is the release date of her new book!  She's the author of Three Times Lucky (a Newbery Honor Book), The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing (a Bluebonnet book in 2015-2016), The Odds of Getting Even, and the new The Law of Finders Keepers.  Thank you to BookPeople for providing this amazing opportunity to ADS! Ms. Turnage will give a presentation, do a Q&A, and also sign books.  You can fill out the order form attached and return to me or order online at

The Battle of the Books team, for 6th-8th grade, meets every Monday and Thursday during lunch and every other Tuesday from 3-4 pm in the library.  We will meet again after school on Sep 18.  Encourage your student to participate on this fun team!  You can find out more general information about the competition at and specific ADS team info from me at
A little owl told me….by Kelly McRee


I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Tad Bertrand, who teaches the first and second grade Kind Komodo Dragons with Justine Ly in the White Oak treehouse.  This is Tad’s first year at ADS.

Describe your favorite vacation (a real one or an ideal vacation). Tokyo, Japan

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you? Stay in school.

What brings you the most joy? My 8 nieces and 1 nephew.

What is your favorite meal or the best meal you have ever had? Thanksgiving meal

What do you do to take care of yourself? Watch movies, Stretch

Tell us about your favorite pet, or favorite animal if no pet. My chihuahua, Austin

What are you reading now? You’re on an Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir/Conscious Discipline

What is your secret talent that no one knows about? I was an actor in college.

What is your favorite family tradition or ritual? Going to the beach in the summer.
What is your favorite podcast or what podcast are you currently listening to right now? I don’t listen to podcasts.  I usually listen to music.

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee


Dear Beloved Parents,

I want to introduce you to a few of my go-to parenting books and must reads!  I introduced you last week to Dr. Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parenting, Happy Kids.  Another fave is Dr. Dan Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson! The Whole Brain Child is amazing and will transform your parenting.  I am introducing some books so we can survey parents to see what book/times/place for our parent book club this year! Please feel free to email me any suggestions at

Refrigerator Sheet: The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

• Survive AND thrive: Watch for ways to take the difficult parenting moments when you’re simply trying to survive, and turn them into opportunities for your children to thrive.

• Integration Health and Success: The brain performs at its best when its different parts work together in a coordinated and balanced way. An integrated brain results in improved decision-making, better control of body and emotions, fuller self-understanding, stronger relationships, and success in school.

• The River of Well-being: The more integrated our kids are, the more they can remain in the river of well-being, avoiding the bank of chaos on one side, and the bank of rigidity on the other.

Chapter 1: Integrating the Left and Right Brain

• Left + right = clarity and understanding: Help your kids use both the logical left brain and the emotional right brain so they can live balanced, meaningful, and creative lives full of connected relationships.

• What You Can Do: Helping your child work from both sides of the brain

Connect and Redirect: When your child is upset, connect first emotionally, right brain to right brain. Then, once your child is more in control and receptive, bring in the left-brain lessons and discipline.

Name it to Tame It: When big, right-brain emotions are raging out of control, help your kids tell the story about what’s upsetting them. In doing so, they’ll use their left brain to make sense of their experience and feel more in control.

Chapter 2: Integrating the Upstairs Brain and the Downstairs Brain

• Be patient with the upstairs brain: Unlike the primitive downstairs brain, which is intact at birth, the sophisticated upstairs brain is “under construction” during childhood and adolescence. Plus, it’s especially vulnerable to being “hijacked” by the downstairs brain, especially in high-emotion situations. So don’t expect your children to make good decisions all the time, or to remain in control of their emotions and actions.

• What You Can Do: Helping develop and integrate your child’s upstairs brain

Engage, don’t enrage: In high-stress situations, engage your child’s upstairs brain, rather than triggering the downstairs brain. Don’t immediately play the “Because I said so!” card. Instead, appeal to your child’s higher-order thinking skills. Ask questions, ask for alternatives, even negotiate.

Use it or lose it: Provide lots of opportunities to exercise the upstairs brain so it can be strong and integrated with the downstairs brain and the body. Play “What would you do?” games and present them with dilemmas. Avoid rescuing them from difficult decisions.

Move it or lose it: When a child has lost touch with his upstairs brain, a powerful way to help him regain balance is to have him move his body.

Chapter 3: Integrating Memory

• Make the implicit explicit: Help your kids make their implicit memories explicit, so that past experiences don’t affect them in debilitating ways. By narrating past events they can look at what’s happened and make good, intentional decisions about how to handle those memories.

• What You Can Do: Helping your child integrate implicit and explicit memories.

Use the remote of the mind: After a painful event, a child may be reluctant to narrate what happened. The internal remote lets her pause, rewind, and fast-forward a story as she tells it, so she can maintain control over how much of it she views.

Remember to remember: Help your kids exercise their memory by giving them lots of practice at remembering. In the car, at the dinner table, wherever: help your kids talk about their experiences, so they can integrate their implicit and explicit memories.

Chapter 4: Integrating the Many Parts of Myself

• The Wheel of awareness: Sometimes our kids get stuck on one particular point on the rim of their wheel of awareness, and lose sight of the many other parts of themselves. We need to give them mindsight, so they can be aware of what’s happening in their own mind. Then they can choose where they focus their attention, integrating the different aspects of themselves and gaining more control over how they feel.

• What You Can Do: Introducing your child to the wheel of awareness

Let the clouds of emotion roll by: Remind kids that feelings come and go. Fear and frustration and loneliness are temporary states, not enduring traits.

SIFT: Help your children pay attention to the Sensations, Images, Feelings, and Thoughts within them. They can’t understand and change their inner experiences until they are first aware of what’s going on inside.

Exercise mindsight: Mindsight practices teach children to calm themselves and focus their attention where they want.

Chapter 5: Integrating Self and Other

• Wired for “we”: Watch for ways to capitalize on the brain’s built-in capacity for social interaction, especially by being intentional about creating positive mental models of relationships. Parents and other important caregivers create children’s expectations about relationships that will affect and guide them throughout their lives. Help them develop mindsight, which offers them insight into themselves as individuals, and empathy for and connection with those around them.

• What You Can Do: Helping your child integrate self and others:

Enjoy each other: Build fun into the family, so that your kids enjoy positive and satisfying experiences with the people they’re with the most.

Connect through conflict: Try not to view conflict as merely an obstacle to avoid. Instead, use it as an opportunity to teach your kids essential relationship skills, like seeing other people’s perspectives, reading nonverbal cues, and making amends.