Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, November 15th, 2018

Thursday, November 15th, 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

Nov 16  Progress reports sent home
Nov 19-23  Thanksgiving Break
ADS' compost system relies on the fallen leaves of trees, and we are running low!  Please consider donating your leaves this fall to our school!  Leaves should be brought in compostable or recylable paper bags, and left in front of the EcoWellness classrooms in the gardens. There is no way that you could bring too many.  If you have a thousand, we will take a thousand.  If you have a million, we will take a million. Thank you in advance! For more compost information, contact Tim Ornes at
I am so excited to announce that I will be leading a Mindfulness for Parenting Workshop on Dec 11th, 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the ADS Library.  Please send me a text or an email if you would like to join.  There is no charge for this workshop!  

All the best,
From Leigh Moss, Head of School

Middle School parents (only Middle School parents!), if you have not created a Powerschool account yet so that you can access your student's grades online, here are instructions for how to do so.  Powerschool account instructions

Hoot Outs this week go to...

  • Our amazing essentials team for the best Fall into the Arts Week
  • The ADS PTO, for funding the new water filters! - Taylor
  • Everybody who contributed to the Thanksgiving food drive, and to Sabrina's and Ruthie's Cotton Candy Cows, who assembled the bags. - Lydie
  • Roger Peet of the Center for Biological diversity, and all of the volunteers and speakers that made the Mural Ceremony amazing. - Taylor
  • Our essentials team: Fall into the Arts has been so great! Thanks for your hard work!!!! - Taylor
  • Our very own Taylor, who was the emcee, and Leigh, Head of School, who kicked off the festivities on Wednesday
  • Our fabulous Fall into the Arts speakers: Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity; Roger Peet, Muralist, Center for Biological Diversity; Robin Gary, ADS parent with the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District; Tonya Sommer, US Fish and Wildlife; Nathan Bendik, Austin Watershed Protection; and Meredith Longoria, ADS parents with the Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Nongame and Rare Species Program
  • All of our guest artists that gave their time and passion to our students: Stephennie Mulder, Courtney Jimenez, Brady Foster, Shauna Woullard, Robin Gary, Juliet Whitsett, Myranda Harris, Ariel Hinojosa, 
  • Ashley, Brynn, Evan, Nya, Forrest, Elo, Machaela, Jonas, Hez, and Weston for helping at the interactive science tables yesterday! - Ms. Elizabeth
  • All the mamas who helped with the interactive science tables yesterday!  We could not have educated and entertained so many kids without your help. - Ms Elizabeth
  • Deborah, who is awesome at everything! <3
From Ms. Elizabeth, your Librarian

Science Fair Fall Into the Arts

We will culminate our week-long celebration of the arts with a Friday concert featuring Grupo Massa!  They will play some Brazilian tunes for us on the stage from 1:30-2:30.  Come enjoy!

A Little Owl Told Kelly McRee

I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Michelle Vuong, one of our amazing Kindergarten teachers teaching Math and Science.  She co-teaches with Susan McGinn in the Prickly Pear treehouse. This is Michelle’s second year at ADS.

Describe your favorite vacation (a real one or an ideal vacation). My favorite vacation so far was to Seattle because it was my first time being up north, and I can definitely see myself living there.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you? An employee at a fast food chain recently told me he was “too blessed to be stressed”, which made me laugh, but is so true, and I try to remember that on hard days.

What brings you the most joy? Winter festivities...counting down to the weather, holidays, food, and family.

What is your favorite meal or the best meal you have ever had? My grandma’s food in general. If I had to pick one, it’d probably be flat rice noodles with beef and chinese broccoli.

What do you do to take care of yourself?  I like having movie nights with cozy blankets and cuddles with my fur-babies.

Tell us about your favorite pet. I have a dog named Piglet and a cat named Molly. Piglet is the most tightly wound and loving senior doggo, and Molly is a rather entitled yet super cuddly cat.

What are you reading now? I’m rereading the Ultimate Guide to the Galaxy with my fiancee.

What is your secret talent that no one knows about? I like crafting, but I also sing in the shower.

What is your favorite family tradition or ritual? My fiancee and I look forward to Longhorn football and our “tailgating” snacks.

What is your favorite podcast or what podcast are you currently listening to right now? I haven’t really gotten into podcasts, but I love Levar Burton Reads (his reading rainbow voice is so soothing!)

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee

Dear Beloved Parents,

In this time of reflection and pause to appreciate/feel gratitude, take some time to really celebrate all of your hard work as a parent.  You may think 'I am so far from where I would like to be as a parent' as you hold yourself to a high ideal. Parenting is one of the things we want to get right and to help our children become their best selves.   The most helpful advice I was ever given was that we can’t make anyone behave or really do anything but we can work on ourselves. Take this time to truly celebrate your gifts instead of looking at what you would like to improve in this month of gratitude!  I know I am truly grateful to be among this rich community of amazing parents/families! Wishing you the best Thanksgiving and hopefully lots of quality family time to fill your cup!

With love, Kelly

"By taking the time to stop and appreciate who you are and what you've achieved - and perhaps learned through a few mistakes, stumbles and losses - you actually can enhance everything about you. Self-acknowledgment and appreciation are what give you the insights and awareness to move forward... - Jack Canfield

What are your biggest strengths as a parent? Don’t worry about humility; just be honest. What would an impartial observer admire if she could watch your best moments with your child or children?

Now, let's build on those strengths.  

1. Make a list, in writing, of what you're most proud of about yourself as a parent.  Include all those things no one else ever even notices. And the things that might look simple from the outside, but take extra effort for you. And yes, include those moments when you don't completely pull it off, but you're able to notice things going downhill in the middle of an interaction and turn things around. Those moments are your growing edge, where transformation happens. Keep adding to your list until you have at least ten things that you're proud of about yourself as a parent. (Better yet, 20 or 30!)

2. Read through your list and give yourself appreciation for everything on it. You may find your inner critic offering a counterpoint of all the things you don't do as well. There will always be those things if you're human, because there's no way for humans to be perfect. Join the club. For right now, just let those things you're still working on go. Today, focus on all the things you do right as a parent. Give yourself total appreciation and credit for all that hard work. Savor that feeling.

Appreciating yourself lifts your mood and helps you feel more emotionally generous. But let's take this a step further. What can this list teach you to help you be your best self more often?

3. Consider what helps you be at your best as a parent.  I know, you're a better parent when your child behaves -- but you can count on children exhibiting childish behavior. What helps you be your personal best as a parent, even when your child isn't at his or her best? What support would help you to be that parent more often? How can you give yourself that support every single day, until it becomes a habit?

4. Give yourself an internal hug or a high five every time you notice yourself acting toward your child in a way that makes you feel good about yourself. Notice how that helps you be your best self more often.

The times you don't feel so good about? Use them as motivation to do better. Notice what might help you and see if there's a way to give that to yourself. Resist the urge to beat up on yourself. Let those tough moments go, and move on to better interactions.

Not only will appreciating yourself make you happier with the way you parent, you'll find you enjoy parenting more. See how long it takes your child to comment on the difference.



"Appreciation and self-love are the most important tools that you could ever nurture. Appreciation of others, and appreciation of yourself, is the closest vibrational match to your Source Energy...." -- Abraham-Hicks