Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, December 6, 2018

Thursday, December 6, 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 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
From the Front Office

Thanks to those of you who have asked what we in the front office need.  We need coffee! Whole bean or ground coffee donations will be delightfully and gratefully accepted in the front office.  

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

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.

Hoot out to the Kind Komodo Dragon parents for snacks yesterday! Thank you!! - ADS staff

From Leigh Moss, Head of 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 from 12/10-14.  The ADS Library does not receive a budget, so the Book Fair is the main way I add new books to the collection.  We receive 60% of sales, so please think about supporting the library by shopping!

Each class will be coming during the day to the Scholastic Book Fair.  Check with your child or teacher to find out which day.  You are also welcome to come shop with/without your child, we are open the following times:

Monday  7:30-7:45am and 3-6pm
Tuesday  7:30-7:45am and FAMILY NIGHT from 3-6pm
Wednesday  7:30-8:20am and 3-6pm
Thurday  7:30-8:20am and 3-6pm
Friday  7:30-8:20am

PLEASE sign up to help out for a shift or two.  This is the library's big fundraiser and super busy so I need tons of help with classes during the day and with cash registers after school.  

Please also sign up to help or bring snacks for the Family Night on Tuesday:

A Little Owl Told Kelly McRee

I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Rebecca Brinegar, one of our amazing Kindergarten teachers. Rebecca teaches English Language Arts/Social Studies in the Cypress treehouse with Kim Flint. This is her first year at ADS.

Describe your favorite vacation. I have been to Europe once before, but I would love to travel all over Europe with my husband, especially Germany and Austria. My Grandfather was a commanding officer when we liberated Dachau and lived in Austria for years after the war. I have always wanted to go visit that region.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?  “Pretty is as pretty does” My mom has said it to me my ENTIRE life..and before that her Mother said it to her, and her Grandmother to her Mother. :)

What brings you the most joy? My chocolate lab, Boone, my family, and my husband.

What is your favorite meal or the best meal you have ever had?  Tex/Mex, Chips and queso, and fajitas.

What do you do to take care of yourself?  Pedicures regularly.

Tell us about your favorite pet or favorite animal if no pet. My favorite pet is by far my precious chocolate lab Boone. He is perfect in every way!

What are you reading now? I have been listening to Michelle Obama’s new’s fantastic!

What is your secret talent that no one knows about? It is not really a talent, but I have always secretly wanted to be an Algebra teacher, because I LOVE solving equations and all things Algebra.

What is your favorite family tradition or ritual? Sitting by a fire and drinking hot chocolate on Christmas morning or going to church together on Christmas Eve.

What is your favorite podcast or what podcast are you currently listening to right now?Rise Together or Rise both are Rachel Hollis

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee

Dear Beloved Parents,

During this chaotic festive season, here’s some ideas for getting more connection, more family time, and creating memories/traditions for your kids long after they leave home.  It is so important to engage your kid in new family traditions that you can create together. Here’s some great ideas from the Motherly website. Remember to join us for some mindfulness ideas for creating connection/traditions on Tuesday, December 11th from 4:30-5:30 in Ms. Dianne Box’s math classroom in the Mesquite treehouse.  Please let me know if you would like to join us by emailing or texting me at or 512-791-5563.

All the best,


10 family traditions you should try out

1 | A “thankful day” ritual. There are many ways in which you can establish a gratitude tradition. One way is by selecting a specific time (for example, before meals) and having every family member say one thing s/he is grateful for. Another way to teach your kids to express gratitude and help you connect as a family is to establish a “thankful day” ritual. For example, you can make every Monday “Thankful Monday day” and ask everyone to write down what they’re thankful for, then hang it where everyone can see it for the entire week.

2 | Minimalism ritual. Most families acquire too much stuff over the course of a year. Starting a minimalist day – for example, the first day of each month or the first day of every year – on which each family member donates the stuff they no longer need is a great idea to reduce the clutter. Have a contest and see who can give away the most stuff.

3 | Morning ritual. Morning rituals that help family members connect are easy to start – a hug, a kiss, snuggling, a special handshake, specific words you always say. Don’t focus on length, the key is being consistent.

4 | Bedtime ritual. There are many bedtime rituals to choose from. One of my favorite rituals is from Jane Nelsen, the founder of positive discipline. As you’re tucking your children into bed, ask them about their “saddest” and their “happiest” moments during the day, then share the same information. Choose any other variation that is more appropriate for your family situation. When did you laugh? When were you sad? When were you shocked?

5 | International night. Establishing an “international night” (or an “international day”) tradition once a month is an awesome way to teach your children about other cultures and other people. It’s also a great way to make them participate as they need to find information about the country you’re celebrating: what do they eat, how do they dress, where is the country located, what’s the capital city, etc.

6 | One meal theme for each day of the week. I got this idea from the book, “Simplicity Parenting.” Basically, you choose one meal (pasta, rice, steak, pizza) and stick to it for each day of the week. According to the book’s authors, having a certain meal on a certain night each week makes meal planning easier and also provides children with roots – Monday is pasta night, Tuesday is rice night, Wednesday is pizza night, etc.

7 | Music ritual. A music ritual can teach your kids about music from around the world and can also provide you with an awesome opportunity to learn about musicians you didn’t know about. You can borrow music from groups and singers you don’t know about from your local library and discover them together as a family.

8 | A read-aloud tradition for the whole family. Reading together as a family (rather than reading separately to each of your kids) is a great way to bond.

9 | Family meeting ritual. Having family meetings (for example, at the start of the year) is an excellent way for families to connect. You can talk about what everyone expects in the new year, talk to your kids about the chores they’re expected to do in the new year, how much allowance they’ll have if they’re entitled to allowance, etc. It’s also an opportunity for families to practice the art of family negotiation. Print out the “family agreement” and having everyone sign to “make it formal.”

10 | Weekend breakfast traditions. Every Saturday or Sunday morning, do something different for breakfast – brunch, breakfast picnic, pancakes, etc.

Things to keep in mind when establishing family traditions for your family
  • Less is more. Don’t focus on quantity, focus on what you can comfortably achieve on a regular basis.

  • Strong family traditions are those in which everyone has a role.

  • Be consistent. If you think you’ll have a hard time keeping up with it, don’t start it. Or instead of making it a weekly tradition, make it a monthly tradition.

  • Make traditions fun. Remember that the family traditions we remember fondly are those during which we had fun.

  • Keep it simple. There are thousands of ideas that cost nothing.

  • It’s okay to let go if it’s not working.