Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, November 29th, 2018

Thursday, November 29th, 2018



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

Amity Taylor, Assistant Principal
Deborah Freeman,Registrar & 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

Dec 6  Picture Retake Day
Dec 7  PTO Coffee Chat 
Dec 10-14  Book Fair
Dec 13-14  Holiday Bazaar
Dec 24 - Jan 7 Winter Break
Jan 8  First day of classes in 2019
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

Hoot Outs this week go to...

  • Kelly McRee, for continuing to give amazing, selfless support for parents and children in our community. - Ryan, Ellen, & Deborah
  • Disco Donkey parents, for FOOD! - ADS staff
  • Tracy Armitage-Moran, for always being willing to help. - Deborah 
From the Front Office

Picture Retake Day is next Thursday, Dec 6.  If your child was absent on Picture Day, we will make sure his or her picture is taken!  You can preorder pictures by following the instructions on the order form at the bottom of this newsletter, or wait and order pictures once you see the proof sheet.  Every child will have a picture taken for the yearbook.  If your child already had a picture taken and you would like a retake, e-mail Deborah ( to let us know, and for instructions!

ADS is always looking for good substitute teachers!  Interested?  Please contact Amity Taylor (

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

Yearbooks are on sale and order forms will be sent home tomorrow! Before Dec 22, they are $25; after Dec 22, they will be $30.

From Leigh Moss, Head of School

3rd - 8th graders will be taking benchmark tests during the next two weeks - please make an extra effort to be on time for school!

#GivingTuesday Year-End Giving is off to a Great Start!

As we kicked off our end-of-year giving on #GivingTuesday within a 24 hour period, we were able to reach 1/5 of our total goal of $5000 by December 31, 2018.  Any funds raised will continue to help ADS offset the lower enrollment from earlier this year so we can start the year strong in 2019.  

A huge THANK YOU to the 2 dozen families and friends of ADS who gave at this time.  If you are still interested in helping to support our end-of-year giving you can do so in ANY one of these ways:

 Go to the Austin Discovery School Facebook page and click "Donate"

2. Round up your purchases with the CoinUp app So far more than a dozen families have raised over $400 through donating their spare change through round ups.  

3.  If you're not feeling high tech, you can always donate through the old school method of donating cash or a check in the amount of your choice to Austin Discovery School.  

Together we can make this happen!  

Sign up for Arts & Movement classes for the Spring semester NOW!  Do not wait!
The ADS PTO Holiday Bazaar is soon (Dec 13-14)!  We will need volunteers to help; please sign up here to volunteer at this super fun event. 
From Ms. Elizabeth, your Librarian

It's Book Fair time!  The Book Fair will be in the library Dec 10-14.  Family Night will be on Tuesday, Dec 11 (3 - 6 p.m.)  The ADS Library does not receive a budget from the school, so the Book Fair is the main way we add new books to the collection.  We receive 60% of sales, so please think about supporting the library by shopping!

Please sign up to help or bring snacks:

A Little Owl Told Kelly McRee

I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Jay DiPrima, one of our amazing Middle School teachers. Jay teaches English Language Arts in the Mesquite treehouse. This is his first year at ADS.

Describe your favorite vacation. A month in the Yucatan Peninsula

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you? The meaning of life is to love and to play.

What brings you the most joy? A theatrical performance

What is your favorite meal or the best meal you have ever had? Uncle Rocky’s meatballs and my wife’s leg of lamb

What do you do to take care of yourself?  I meditate and play golf.

Tell us about your favorite pet. Maxi - a tiger cat we had for 17 years

What are you reading now? The Printer’s Devil - a play based upon young Benjamin Franklin

What is your secret talent that no one knows about? Percussionist

What is your favorite family tradition or ritual? Meals

What is your favorite podcast or what podcast are you currently listening to right now? NPR- Moth

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee

Dear Beloved Parents,

Making this year’s holiday season mindful for everyone in your family means slowing it down. The most important thing we can do is focus on balance. Holiday time is a really great time to practice mindfulness. If you can work it into your busy schedule during this season, then it will be easy to be mindful all year long. It’s really about adding some simple, fun activities that help harmonize the stressful running around we all do during this time. Remember one of the easiest ways to destress is just to breathe.  It takes at least three deep mindful breaths to calm so take a minute during the madness to allow for some stillness and quiet. Here are some simple steps to keeping it mindful this holiday season.

1) Cross it off the list! What I mean by crossing off things is that you don’t need to go to everything. If you have six parties to go to, cross three off the list. Try cutting your commitments by half.

2) Find time to craft such as making handmade ornaments, gingerbread houses, or do holiday baking and make gifts for loved ones (or teachers).  Everyone appreciates the time and thoughtfulness of a homemade gift. Take time to do this as a family or invite some friends over to make something beautiful together.  Add in hot chocolate and some holiday music for a festive holiday vibe! Then you can add a hand-made card expressing gratitude and what this person means to you and your family.

3) Plan a movie night and or a game night. Pop the popcorn, get in your jammies, let the whole family (including the dog) climb into bed to watch a movie or play a favorite card/board game. Share some of your favorite holiday movies from when you were a child or experience a favorite game.  

4) Add some family yoga into the week or if that is not your thing, then some movement so a family dance party!   This is a great way to blow off stress and to create family memories together!

5) Make a storybook with your child about Holiday traditions in your family.  This can be for Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, or whatever traditions happen in your family and if not, maybe create some together.  Print photos, draw pictures and write about how they felt, what brings each of you joy, and what memories you want to pass down. This will be a storybook treasure that will last many generations.

6) Go for a walk in nature and really find some a way to incorporate your senses to increase the fun!

7) Even though I know the Elf on the Shelf is so controversial, find a way to infuse some humor into your holidays.  We have our children create the elf on the shelf shenanigans and we all have so much fun finding him and seeing the scenarios that are created.  Remember it is your family’s holiday and you can all create your own traditions and memories!

8) Enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.  Together as a family plan what holiday outings bring you joy so it could be doing the beautiful luminaries at the Wildflower Center, walking around the neighborhood looking at lights, deciding to carol with friends, or any other activities that bring you joy.  The caveat is that it must be joyful not just a forced march so there is mindfulness and true enjoyment so don’t be afraid to drop traditions that no longer work for you as a family and be open to creating the most joyful season with everyone’s input.

Here’s to your holiday being peaceful, loving, mindful, and connecting!  

My holiday gift to you is to offer a mindfulness in parenting workshop on Tuesday December 11th from 4:30-5:30.  We will be meeting in Ms. Box’s classroom in the Mesquite treehouse (Middle School building). Please let me know if you would like at attend