Austin Discovery School

Austin Family Reader's Poll Favorite 2018
"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, September 13, 2018

Thursday, September 13, 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 13 - Back to School night (4-6 pm)
Sep 15 & 16 - Garden Work Party (9 am-3 pm)
From Taylor Young, Operations Manager

Hello ADS Community! This week we are beginning the roll out of our more secure WiFi network. We are finally replacing the older SSID we have had for several years with new and improved access. What this means for you is: by Monday, September 24th, you will no longer have the option to sign into "ADS" for your WiFi needs. Instead, we are replacing it with a better and safer option. The community SSID is: 

Name: ADSGuest
Password: ADS!

There is a week and a few days to get used to this change before the "ADS" login is removed.
Hoot Outs this week go to...
  • The PTO and room parents for having several vegan options for Wednesday staff snacks! Feeling the love! - Taylor
  • Dr. Amy Benton, for her generous donation in sponsoring our professional development on Wednesday from Welcoming Schools.  It was an amazing professional opportunity for all of us! Check out their website athttp://www.welcomingschools.orgfor their amazing resources!
  • BookPeople and Staci Gray for the amazing visit from Sheila Turnage! ADS third and fourth graders had a great time with this high caliber author!  Thank you! 
  • Jon, for being super flexible and a great team lead! - anonymous admirer
If you are interested in substitute teaching at ADS this year, we want you!  Please e-mail Amity Taylor
Back to School Night is TONIGHT - 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 this weekend, 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
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 Ruthie Pankl, who teaches the third and fourth grade Cotton Candy Cows with Sabrina Sage in the Cedar Elm treehouse.  This is Ruthie’s second year at ADS.

Describe your favorite vacation (a real one or an ideal vacation).  I would love to go to either Tibet or the countryside of Scotland or Ireland. Amsterdam is high on my list as well!

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you? Try not to take things personally.

What brings you the most joy? Sitting outdoors with a cup of coffee, either while reading or chatting to family and friends

What is your favorite meal or the best meal you have ever had? The chashu bowl at Ramen Tatsuya...yum.

What do you do to take care of yourself? Take time to go on walks or runs, and doing Harry Potter puzzles!

Tell us about your favorite pet, or favorite animal if no pet. No pets, but I love bats, pandas, and birds.

What are you reading now? Love love loved the book 'Black Ants and Buddhism' I read two years ago.

What is your secret talent that no one knows about? I'm really good at cheating at the Uno card game...although I consider it 'strategy,' not cheating.

What is your favorite family tradition or ritual? My family likes watching the movie 'A Christmas Story' at Christmastime. It's a classic.
What is your favorite podcast or what podcast are you currently listening to right now? I don't listen to any podcasts! But I do regularly watch John Oliver's 'Last Week Tonight,' if that counts?

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee

Parenting is the hardest job ever, and I thought this was such a thoughtful response!  Take care of yourself and enjoy these times with your littles - they go so fast!

Great advice from the Washington Post- check it out

As a general rule, I manage my parenting anxiety by not reading parenting books. It’s too much contradictory information, and I get nuts about it. I’ve found that following my instincts works better for me. But I do feel like I need some guidance on what I should be doing with my toddler to prevent lifelong damage and get on course to raise a good kid. Any thoughts on how to manage this push-pull?

Here’s the deal: We have never had so much information at our fingertips in the history of parenting. Data, studies, websites, books, podcasts, articles, blogs, columns (ahem), classes, therapists, coaches (again, ahem). There is a never-ending list of ways that parents can get advice and instruction and information. Yet we have never been more anxious and insecure about our roles. Are we good enough? Are we providing the best opportunities for our children? Are we too lenient? Too strict? Too absent? Too present? For every question we have, we can sit at the computer and search and search, giving our brain unending fodder for worry and uncertainty. For every study we find, another will disprove it.

I remember being pregnant with my second and feeling amazed by the information available to pregnant women. Breast-feeding, swaddling, diapers, sleep classes, eating — you name it, and the information was out there. I had done all of those things (and more) while pregnant with my first, and guess what? I barely needed any of the information. Life has a way of throwing curveballs and changing up the game pretty quickly.

[Chaos is constant with twin toddlers. How can I rein it in?]

But I was amazed at how women are handed babies and almost no one (save a couple of great pediatricians) talks to parents about their kids’ development. When you are concerned about your 2-year-old’s tantrums, you usually get a “Yup, that’s normal.” Why is it normal? What role do tantrums serve for 2-year-olds? (And yes, they serve a purpose.) Why do 3-year-olds say “no” so much? Why do young children lie? Why do bedtimes become so fraught after the child had been going to sleep normally?

There are reasons behind behaviors. Yet parents who are browbeaten concerning the birthing process aren’t told the basic developmental stages of children.

The reason is both complicated and simple. Pregnancy and birth have been made into billion-dollar industries, but toddlers? Preschoolers? Elementary-aged children? Outside toys and technology, consumer culture tends to steer clear. And who can blame them? Differing opinions on parenting techniques, disorders, disabilities and more (just to name a few issues) keep basic information from reaching parents, and we don’t ask for help until we feel like we’re dealing with a crisis. It’s natural to not seek help until you have a problem, but even a basic understanding of child development would help parents so much. And if I can grasp it, then anyone can.

I am not going to recommend that you read much about parenting. Is that because what’s out there is bad or good? No. I recommend staying away from reading too many books, because your searches are feeding your anxiety rather than your thirst for knowledge. I mean, “lifelong damage”? Whoa. That’s heavy stuff. How powerful do you think you are as a parent? Life will dole out its own misery that will have nothing to do with you. The only way to prevent misery is to not live, and that is not our desired option.

So, first:

1. Get to the root of your anxiety. Having worries as a parent is normal, but if you feel kidnapped by your anxiety, you need help. Parenting has a way of unearthing our emotional issues, and a good therapist will help you unpack them. There are effective and easy tools to help you manage anxiety, so be brave and reach out.

2. Find parenting friends who don’t stoke your worry. Anxious parents tend to surround themselves with other anxious parents, and everyone stays in a worry loop. Consciously be with people who help you to feel relaxed, not amped. Finding a community can make a huge difference in your anxiety levels and how you understand your child.

3. Have one friend with children older than yours. I have a friend whose children are about four years older than mine, and I cannot tell you how many times I have called with a “Is this normal?” parenting question.

4. Have a small (and I mean small) library of parenting books in your home. I like basic development books (look around and see what speaks to you) and books about kids’ developing bodies (I like the “Care and Keeping of You” series, which also has a book for boys.) I like Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson books (“The Whole Brain Child ” and “No-Drama Discipline”), as well as Deborah MacNamara’s “Rest, Play, Grow” for understanding preschoolers. For a class on child development, look no further than the Neufeld Institute. It’s online, affordable, science-backed and thorough.  (My favorite go to books are:  The Whole Brain ChildNo Drama Discipline by Dr. Dan Siegel/Tina Bryson, Easy to Love/Difficult to Discipline by Dr Becky Bailey, and Peaceful Parenting by Dr. Laura Markham)

5. Although it’s good that you know that your instinct is powerful, I want you to reframe it as your intuition. When I hear “instinct,” I think of our reptilian brains, keeping us in fear and survival mode. Your intuition is a bit deeper; it goes past fear. It has some measure to it. It is more “in the gut.” Finally, don’t confuse not knowing what to do with failure. There is no way you can know what to do all the time. No matter how many books you read, you will make mistakes and lose your way. This is a guarantee. Forgive yourself, ask yourself what you need and keep moving forward. Your confidence will grow, and you will find your way. Like all of us did and do. Good luck.

Remember to reach out for support from me as well - you can find me in the Cypress treehouse in Room 209. E-mail me at with some of the parenting issues you would like to discuss this year!