Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, January 10, 2019

Thursday, January 10, 2019



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 Martinez,Student Services Director
Taylor Young, Operations Manager

Dates to Remember

Jan 11  PTO Coffee Chat
Jan 25 Science Fair and Middle School Dance (6:30-9pm)
Jan 29 Bluebonnet Voting
Feb 1  PTO Coffee Chat
Feb 7  Open House
Hoot Outs this week go to...

Marcus and Robin Gary, for their personal efforts and dedication in securing and erecting our fabulous new ADS sign! - Krista

The ADS PTO, for the amazing coffee & breakfast cart on the last day of school before Winter Break. - ADS staff

All ADS staff who came back after a long break energized and ready to take on this semester! - Taylor

ADS art classes love trash- but you probably don't!

Calling all hoarders and trash-collectors alike! We can always re-use trash such as...
-egg cartons (the styrofoam kind makes for a great paint keeper!)
-toilet paper rolls
-random plastic and paper products

Art 3-8 thanks you!! <3 
Please drop items off in the front office.
ADS Parliament has extended the Homelessness Outreach Project and are still collecting essential items between now and Wednesday, January 23. We invite you to donate items that will be included in kits that will be given to people who are homeless in the Austin area. Suggested items by grade level are listed below, but if you would like to purchase additional items, that would great. If purchasing an item is not possible, you are welcome to bring in a kind note to be included in the bags. All items can be dropped off under the bench in the Main Office or to Middle School Social Worker, Ellen Wilder, in Mesquite. 

Suggested donation items:

Kindergarten: Bandaids (especially big ones to cover blisters)
1st: socks (high quality ones are key: think wool or thermal)
2nd: warm accessories (hats, gloves, scarves, hand warmers, etc.)
3rd: wet wipes
4th: lip balm/Chapstick/Vaseline
5th: toothbrush and toothpaste
6th: food (PB crackers, beef jerky, protein bars, tuna and crackers, water, Gatorade, oranges)
7th/8th: deodorant (non-scented would be best)

Thank you for your generosity!
From the Front Office

Do you have a 10' or longer trailer we can borrow sometime Jan 18-22? We need it to haul furniture. If so, email Taylor(

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

Yearbooks are on sale for $30. An order form is included at the bottom of this newsletter.

There have been a few cases of lice in the Shimmering Sharks' class.  

From Leigh Moss, Head of School

ADS Open House

Know anyone interested in learning more about ADS? On Thursday, February 7th ADS will host an Open House for prospective parents and families from 5 - 6:30 pm in the library.  Most of of our families hear about our school through word of mouth, so help reach out to other families in your neighborhood and community!  Information and sign-up will be be posted early next week on our website, so be sure to check it out!

From Ms. Elizabeth, your Librarian
Library News 
  • It's almost time for eligible 3rd-6th graders to vote for the Bluebonnet Award!  The Bluebonnet list is created by the Texas Library Association, but the award is decided by 3rd-6th graders who have read a minimum of five books from the list of 20.  Check out the list at  Voting at ADS will be on Tuesday 1/29 from 8-9am in the library.
  • It is a time-honored tradition here at ADS that after the kids vote I treat them to a breakfast of foods that are featured in this year's books.  This is a powerful incentive to get kids to read these books!  If your child is reading the Bluebonnet books and planning to vote, please think about signing up to help me serve them or signing up to bring in food.  The food may look a little strange for breakfast, but trust me, they are in the books!
  • Go to to sign up to bring food or help serve.
Science Fair News
  • The Science Fair is on Friday 1/25.  Check out the flyer for more info about when you can come view the projects!
  • If you are interested in judging (NO science background needed) please email Elizabeth at
  • Judges will meet on 1/25 from 8-9am for training and general information (coffee, tea and breakfast provided).  You will be assigned to judge in one room; judging will happen from 9-10:30.  From 10:30-noon you will meet back in the library with the other judges to decide who will go to Regionals.  Awards are at noon.
  • This is a fun job and just requires a smile on your face and an interest in listening to kids talk about their projects.  Our judges always say they love it!
  • I will host 2 more after school work days for students to complete their boards.  Work sessions will be 1/17 and 1/18 from 3-4pm in the library.  Email Elizabeth at to let her know your child will attend and she will pick them up from class.
  • Your child has a sheet listing what needs to be on their poster.  It's glued in their Science Fair notebook and they've seen a presentation about it.  The information can be found in the science fair packet at

Hello!  The annual ADS Unofficial Campout will be February 15-18. Please join other ADS families for up to 3 days of beautiful camping in Reveille Peak Ranch This is a great experience for campers of all ages and skill level, as there is always someone nearby willing to lend a hand if you need anything at all!

We can camp for up to three days at Reveille Peak in the group campsite (which is very thankfully located close to the restrooms!).  You are welcome to attend for less than three days, but please specify which days you’ll be there so we can invite others to have your spot part of the time, since we are limited on the number of campers.  This is a first come, first served event, so please don’t delay in signing up, as spots fill up very quickly!

You are responsible for bringing your own camping gear, but if you forget anything there’s a really good chance someone else will have it to share.  Here are some suggested items: tent, sleeping gear, extra clothes, weather appropriate coverage, flashlight, bug spray, towels, swimsuits, hiking shoes, food and water, sunscreen, hammocks, cooking stove, sleeping bags, pillows, camp chairs, lantern, utensils, dishsoap (preferably natural!), garbage/recycling/compost bags, first aid kit (I will also have a bigger one in case you forget), bikes, and outdoor toys/games.  All activities are at your own risk.

We will have a group wide potluck on Saturday night, so bring a dish to share.  I think “the easier the better”, but some people go all out, so bring something that fits your comfort level. Please bring firewood if you have it.  Please don’t bring glass, and since I know some of you will do it anyway, please be responsible!

I will have details soon on pricing, as I am waiting on a response of the caretaker of the ranch.  Please stay tuned to the Thursday folder for updates! If you have any questions, please email me See you there!

Sheri Guess (Mom to Lorelai and Jagger)

A Little Owl Told Kelly McRee

I had the pleasure of interviewing, Ellen Wilder, our middle school social worker and part of the SEL team here at ADS.  This is Ellen’s second year with us.

Describe your favorite vacation.  Last summer, I went to Kauai with 3 close friends and my husband. It was gorgeous and we had so much fun exploring different parts of the island. Between shave ice, gorgeous sunsets, and body surfing, it was a great time with special people in a very beautiful location.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?  My mom has always encouraged me to ask for what I want or need; the worst that can happen is that the other person will say no.

What brings you the most joy? Spending time outside with my husband and our dogs makes me feel very happy. I also love cozying up with a book and tea, getting together with friends, driving with the windows down, and being in nature.

What is your favorite meal or the best meal you have ever had?  This is a tough one. My favorite meal changes over time but I love a really good pizza.

What do you do to take care of yourself?  How much space do I have here? :) I build self care into my daily routine so that over time it has become second nature. I aim to get 8+ hours of sleep every night, include nutritious foods with most meals, give myself downtime, go on walks, snuggle with my dogs, practice yoga, take time to eat lunch at work, positive self talk, and stretch. I am also compassionate with myself with any/all of these strategies fall to the wayside on a given day!

Tell us about your favorite pet. My two dogs, Moose and Winnie, are amazing. They are both plott hound mixes that we adopted from APA. I am smitten even though they tend to chew up or get dirt on too many of my belongings to count.

What are you reading now? God Save Texas by Lawrence Wright. I also am reading Calvin and Hobbes: Scientific Progress goes 'Boink' before bed. Bill Waterson cracks me up!

What is your secret talent that no one knows about?  I make delicious Thai curry! I also spend a lot of time at the pottery studio and have finally gotten to a place where all of the bowls and mugs I use at home are ones I made. Woo!

What is your favorite family tradition or ritual? My husband and I have a book with daily questions that we fill out every night when we go to bed. It's fun seeing our answers from the previous year and noting both what has changed and what has stayed the same.

What is your favorite podcast or what podcast are you currently listening to right now? My top 2 are Dan Savage's Lovecast and Therapist Uncensored. So good.

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee

Dear Beloved Parents,

I hope you are having a great start to the new year!  It has been such a great week to see everyone’s happy and smiling faces again!  I hope you had a wonderful break making lots of lasting connections and memories.  Here are some great ideas for having a fabulous start to the new year from Dr. Laura Markham and!

Here are 10 Easy Ways To Improve Your Parenting, No Resolutions Necessary.  I guarantee you less drama and more love.

1. Empathize more. Children don't always need to get their way, but they do need to feel understood. Isn't that what we all need? Whatever your child says or does, she has a reason. Even while setting limits, try acknowledging that reason. Instead of "Stop pushing him!" try "You want your brother to move so you can reach the truck. Say 'Move Please.'"

2. Tell them what they CAN do, instead of what they can't. Instead of "Stop playing with the ball in the house!" try "Balls are for outside. Inside, you can throw the stuffed animals into the bathtub."

3. Get them laughing every day. Laughter changes the body chemistry, decreasing stress hormones so kids are more cooperative and sleep better. It also increases bonding hormones, so when you laugh with someone, you strengthen your relationship.

4. Say Yes more often. We're parents, so we have to set limits and say No, over and over all day long. So when you can say yes, say it. Even when you have to say no, can you say it with "Yes" energy? "YES, it's time to clean up, and YES I will help you and YES we can leave your tower up and YES you can growl about it and YES if we hurry we can read an extra story and YES we can make this fun and YES I adore you and YES how did I get so lucky to be your parent? YES!"

5. Spend "special time" every day with each child. If you want to strengthen and sweeten your relationship with your child, here's your prescription. Just show up and pour your love into your child without controlling him. Parents often tell me that their children react to getting this one-on-one time "like they were missing an essential vitamin." They were. Every child needs this tangible expression of your love.

6. Use your pause button to yell less. How will they learn to regulate their emotions if we don't regulate ours? You're the role model.

7. Turn your screen off when you're with your child.  Many children say their parents' phone is the most important thing in the parent's life. They'll remember for the rest of your life that you turned your phone off when you were with them.

8. Go outside and move with your kids.  Research confirms what your grandmother said. Children really do need daily fresh air, greenery and movement to de-stress and be their best selves.

9. Allow emotions, limit behavior.  Of course you need to set limits. But when we allow emotions, children learn to manage them faster. Just say "You must be so upset to use that tone of voice. Tell me about it, Sweetie. We can figure this out together." Your child will start calming down before your eyes.

10. Put yourself back on the list. You can only be emotionally generous if you take care of you. I know, that's tough, but it isn't sustainable to leave yourself off the list. Start by getting enough sleep and talking to yourself like someone you love. Monitor your well-being as you go through your day. Every day, do something that increases your level of joy. You'll see your good mood rub off on your child.

Happy New Year! I hope 2019 is your family's best year yet.