Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thursday, September 27, 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

Oct 4  Science Fair info sessions
Oct 5  PTO Coffee Chat, 8am
Oct 8  NO SCHOOL, staff development day
Oct 9  2nd Helping Tuesday at Phil’s Ice House and Amy’s Ice Cream (Burnet Road Location Only)
Oct 13  Fall Fest, 2-6pm
From Taylor Young, Operations Manager
Please use our crosswalks to cross the streets on campus, especially during morning drop-off and afternoon dismissal!  Staff are there to help, and it is very dangerous and stressful to the crossing guards when people cross in other places.

Hello ADS Community! We are rolling out our more secure WiFi network. We have finally replaced the older SSID we had for several years with new and improved access. The community SSID is: 

Name: ADSGuest
Password: ADS!
From ADS Aftercare
Register now for the Day Camp on October 8 (professional development day for staff - no school for students!).  Camp is from 7:30 am - 6 pm.  

Early Bird Registration ends tomorrow ($45).  Starting Saturday, the cost is $50/day.  Families with 2 or more kids get a 10% discount. The registration link is 
From the ADS PTO
We are currently recruiting volunteers for our FallFest on Saturday, Oct 13.  We need volunteers to help make this FallFest a success!  Please sign up at the link below.  There is also a need for baked goods, pies, caramel apples, etc --- all things you can do in advance if you are out of town and can't volunteer in person!  Sign up with this link: 

Pre-Sale Ticket Packages for the FallFest will start in the courtyard on Monday, Oct 8 and continue after school every day.  Buy your tickets early for a discount!
From the Front Office 
The Shimmering Sharks in White Oak have been hit with a stomach bug.  So far it has not spread to other classes, but be on the lookout!

Thanks for your continued generous donations of coffee!  We really, really appreciate every bean.  

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!  
Hoot Outs this week go to...
  • Mr. Ryan, for the new delicious lunch program. - Xander
  • Iridescent Iguana parents, for SNACKS! Thank you so much! - ADS staff
  • Kim Hiles, Jess Rather, and Ryan Knight, for exuding so much calm it leaks onto kids who need it!
  • The Garden Owls who dug out the pond in front of the administration building. - Taylor
  • Stancy & Andrew for masterminding an awesome shelf donation! - Taylor
If you are interested in substitute teaching at ADS this year, we want you!  Please e-mail Amity Taylor
From Leigh Moss, Head of School
Thanks so much to all of you who reached out in response to my message to our community last week! We are all in this together, and together we can make it.  Here's how all of you can help:

1. Recruit new students to our school! 
2. Participate in our annual giving campaign.
 Find out more by taking the Coin Up tour.
3. Find out if your employer will match your volunteer hours or donation.
4. Ensure that your children are on time and present at school as much as possible.  

Coin Up

What if you could simply donate your spare change from everyday purchases to support our amazing school? Well now you can, because there’s an app for that ADS has partnered with a revolutionary mobile donation app called Coin Up. 
This short video explains why we think Coin Up is so awesome.

Join other ADS families who have already made a monthly impact through Coin Up in 3 Easy Steps:

1. Download the (free) Coin Up App from the Apple Store or Register at
2. Select ADSI Austin Discovery School as your charity
3. Link your bank card & set a monthly limit

Coin Up rounds up each transaction to the nearest dollar and donates the “spare change” directly to our charity. Your information is secure and encrypted with bank-approved technology. And, you’re always in control of your Coin Up donations by setting your monthly limit.

Imagine hundreds of friends like you donating even $10 a month in spare change from credit/debit card purchases. Together we can make real CHANGE for ADS!  
Download the Coin Up app today! Or find Coin Up on the web at

ADS Families - The Importance of YOU

A few weeks ago, I sent a few whole-school emails that now I have reason to believe did not make it to our entire community.  As I work through this communication error, I wanted to take the time to share some of that important information that was included in these mailings:

1.  My first monthly newsletter - the first of 10 - that I will be sending on the First Friday of each month.  Here's the link to that first newsletter in case you missed it a couple of weeks ago.  
Head of School Monthly Newsletter 1 - 9/7/18

2. An important message about 2 scheduled presentations for Back to School Night.  The presentation can be found in the News section on the main landing page of the ADS website.  I am currently working on an alternate time to schedule these presentations.  Stay tuned for a new time / date.
Library News

SCIENCE FAIR: Science Fair has begun for all 3rd-5th grade students (and 6th graders who decide to participate)!  Students have all learned about the rules and deadlines and have started their science journals.  They all have a sheet for parents to read and to sign---ask them about it!

What is Science Fair?  It is an experiment or exhibit that students choose, design, research, and present to a judge here at ADS.  This will be the 8th year ADS has participated.  Most of the project will be done at home, with some classroom time and all library time from now until January focused on supporting their projects through research and mini-lessons.

You should be checking this weekly column as well as the Science Fair webpage ( for updates and due dates.  There will be parent information sessions in the library on Thursday October 4th from 7:30-8:00 am and 3:15-3:45 pm.  The presentation will also be posted on the Science Fair website if you can't come in person. 

TTBF:  The Texas Teen Book Festival is on October 6th at St. Edward's University.  It is truly an amazing addition to the Texas Book Festival weekend and I highly encourage you to take your middle grade and YA readers to this event.  The keynote speaker this year is Nic Stone!  Here are some highlights: Marissa Meyer, Mary E. Pearson, Neal Shusterman, David Levithan, Ngozi Ukazu, and Patrick Ness.
A little owl told me….by Kelly McRee


I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Dianne Box, teaching middle school math in the Mesquite treehouse. This is Dianne’s first year at ADS.  Dianne’s daughter Arinne is a Kind Komodo Dragon in Tad & Justine's class.

Describe your favorite vacation (a real one or an ideal vacation). Key West, Florida

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you? Time spent learning is not wasted time.

What brings you the most joy? My daughter Arinne.

What is your favorite meal or the best meal you have ever had? Anything that my grandmother makes.  Especially her chocolate pie.

What do you do to take care of yourself?  I walk when I can.

Tell us about your favorite pet or animal. My current favorite pet is my Boston Terrier Stormy.

What are you reading now? Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey

What is your secret talent that no one knows about? 
I am very good at flower arrangements and mums.

What is your favorite family tradition or ritual? 
I don’t currently have any family traditions.

What is your favorite podcast or what podcast are you currently listening to right now? Jay Shetty

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee


This article from Dr. Laura Markham reminds me why I love mindfulness.  It reminds me to fully engage in being present - the world moves much too fast.  Hope this encourages you to take time to listen and fully engage at least some time every day!  Wishing you all a little more space in your life!

To listen fully means to pay close attention to what is being said beneath the words.  Ears operate at the speed of sound, which is far slower than the speed of light the eyes take in. Generative listening is the art of developing deeper silences in yourself, so you can slow your mind's hearing to your ears' natural speed, and hear beneath the words to their meaning." -- Peter Senge

Many parents ask their child how their day was and hear "fine." They wonder how to get their child to share anything meaningful. And yet many children say they wish they could talk to their parents more, but their parents don't listen. Or they overreact. Or they just wouldn't understand. Most of all, parents are too busy. Moving too fast. But slow listening is a skill we can develop. We can start by slowing down. One role model is Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who is known for listening deeply and moving slowly. He's been described as a cross between a snail, a cloud and a piece of heavy machinery. 

I could never be called a snail given my preferred pace, but I do aspire to the lightness of a cloud and the powerful presence of a piece of heavy machinery. Lately, though, I've been realizing that moving more slowly might be a precondition for that lightness of touch and depth of presence.  In fact, reclaiming our inner still point might be an essential part of showing up as a peaceful parent for our children. Some questions I'm finding useful on that journey:

Does slowing down make everything in your life deeper, including your listening?

  • Can you use your pause button to bring your deepest attention every time you interact with your family today?
  • What do you need to do for yourself today so that you can slow down enough to really hear your child?
  • What happens if you just sit for three minutes with the intention to feel a state of peace?
  • How does your child's behavior change when you slow down and really listen?

For today, try this powerful little experiment:

Slow down, so you can listen.

That's it. Just slow down and pay attention. For instance, you might:

  • Pause before you take any action.
  • Find that deeper silence and stillness within yourself.
  • Notice the sensations in your body.  
  • Linger longer with each hug.  
  • Savor the light glinting on your child's hair.
  • Look your child in the eye when she speaks.
  • Breathe.
  • Notice that an upset tone is a plea to be heard.
  • Listen for the meaning under the words.
  • Notice that everything your child says is code for "Please love me."