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Parent Handbook

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WELCOME TO TRAVIS HEIGHTS!

Our goal is to develop life long leaders and learners. Helping students become scholars is a responsibility shared between students, parents and teachers. Learning is expected for every child, every day.

Our motto:  Learn, Serve, Lead!

You can download a copy of the THES Climate and Culture Plan, which outlines expectations for student behavior, dress code, and positive support systems here:
Climate and Culture Plan (English)
Climate and Culture Plan (Spanish)

You can download a condensed version of the following handbook:
2018-2019 Student and Parent Handbook.

ARRIVAL & DISMISSAL
The school day begins at 7:40 am and ends at 3:00 pm (Pre-K ends at 2:15 pm). Doors open at 7:10 and students/parents must enter through the front door. Kinder-5th students should go directly to the gym; PK will go to the cafeteria. Students will be escorted to class at 7:35am. Classrooms open at 7:35. Parents may drop students off in front of the main entrance or escort their child to their destination. All students should be in their classrooms by 7:40 am.

All students need to be picked up no later than 3:00 pm (Pre-K by 2:15pm), unless they are enrolled in one of our after school programs. Please make arrangements so no child is left behind without parent/guardian supervision before or after school. School personnel are not responsible for students before 7:10 am and after 3:10 pm.

Teachers will need to be notified if your child is a “car rider”, “walker”, “bus rider”, or enrolled in “aftercare” at the school. Students will be released only to persons listed in their file. Any changes to the authorized pickup list must be done in person at the office by the enrolling parent.

Walkers – Walkers are escorted by a teacher to the playpad (under the blue awning, just south of the main entrance). Parents or caregivers meet the children here promptly at 3:00pm. Students should “high five” the teacher before leaving their designated areas. Students 3rd grade and older may walk home independently with written permission from parents. Younger students may walk home with older siblings/cousins with written permission from parents. Pre-K walkers are dismissed from the front doors at 2:15pm.

Car Riders – Car rider parents receive a mirror hanger tag which is needed to pick up their child. Cars line up along Alameda for pickup. To join the car line you will need to drive down Mariposa to turn on Alameda. Please do not drive down or park on Rosedale Terrace as it creates dangerous traffic situations. Students will wait with a teacher in specific grade level area:

  • Pre-K-1st: chicken coop;
  • 2nd: tree near cafeteria loading dock;
  • 3rd – 5th: ramp in front of the school.

Parents will wait in car line and drive up to teacher. Teacher will walk students to car and open door for students. For the safety of students, car riders will only be released to individuals in the line.

Bus Riders – Students riding buses will be escorted to their buses by teachers.

After School Care – Students will be escorted by teachers to their after care programs. Check with your program for pick up information.

BREAKFAST IN CLASS  (BIC)
THES participates in Breakfast in Class (BIC). Breakfast is served in the classroom from 7:40-8am. Breakfast is offered to all students free of charge, regardless of background or income, but participation is optional. Students may bring their own breakfast to eat at that time if they prefer. Students may also eat at home before arriving but must be in their classrooms at 7:40am. Teachers will conduct their morning meetings and SEL lessons as students eat breakfast. Accommodations will be made for students with food allergies, please contact the office to arrange accommodations. Parents may not join students for breakfast during this time but they are encouraged to volunteer on a rotation basis to assist the teacher with BIC.

PARKING & TRAFFIC
Due to geography and space, we ask that families be mindful of our neighbors. Parking is not allowed in front of the school between 7-8am and 2-3:15pm. Please do not park in the parking lots, as these are reserved for faculty and staff. Additionally do not drive down Rosedale Terrace as it creates dangerous traffic situations. We also encourage parents not to block or park in front of the neighbor’s driveways to avoid backing up traffic.

Parents dropping off students should pull up to the curb and let children out. Parents picking up children after school are required to get in the car line at the north end of the campus by Wildman Woods. Those attempting to park will be asked to move. THES and AISD are not responsible for towed vehicles.

ATTENDANCE & TARDIES
Law requires daily school attendance. Notes are required for ALL ABSENCES and must be given to the office no later than 48 hours (3 days) from when the student returns to school. Notes turned in more than 3 days after an absence are not valid and will require a doctor’s note. Please note that absences will not be excused unless it is a district-approved excuse. Students not in the classroom when the bell rings at 7:40 are considered tardy. We are required by law to report the parents of students with 3 or more unexcused absences in 4 weeks or 10 unexcused absences in 6 months. Excessive tardies will also be reported to the court system.

Please do everything you can to ensure your child is at school and on time! Every day a student is absent costs AISD $45 in revenue from the state. Illness and family emergencies for absences are understandable. Vacations, extended trips, and other recreational activities, which can be scheduled during weekends, holidays, or during the summer, should be avoided during instructional time as these are not excused absences.

Excused & Unexcused Absences The following reasons will be accepted as excused:

  • Medical –The student has a personal illness, doctor’s appointment, or an appointment with a healthcare professional, and provides a note.
  • Religious Holy days – A student may be excused from attending school for the purpose of observing religious holy days when it is one generally recognized by the student’s religious denomination as a holy day that is required to be observed by all members of that denomination.
  • Extenuating circumstances –i.e. funeral or family emergency as approved by the principal
  • Shadowing at another school (with a note from the other school)
  • Court Appearance -The student is involved in court proceedings or is participating in an activity related to those court proceedings.
  • Citizenship Activities – The student is engaged in the process to secure his/her own U.S. Citizenship or participation in his/her own naturalization ceremony.
  • Weather – in rare instances where weather impacts school attendance, absences or tardies will be excused if AISD designates a late start or school closure.

The following are common reasons for unexcused absences and tardies:

  • Failure to provide documentation when student is out ill, or incorrect dates on the note
  • Being signed in or out during the day for a medical appointment without providing a note from the physician
  • Travel
  • Family event
  • Oversleeping
  • Car trouble or traffic

Appointments  Students are expected to attend school regularly and arrive on time. AISD’s official attendance is taken at 9:30 am. To be considered “present” for the day, a student must be physically present on campus at this time. If a student is not present at 9:30 a.m., the student is counted absent unless he/she returns to school the same day with a note from a medical professional indicating that the absence was due to a doctor’s appointment. We recommend scheduling appointments for as late in the day as possible, or first thing in the morning in order to minimize interruptions to their learning and attendance.

LEAVING SCHOOL EARLY
If a student must leave school before 3pm, the person picking up the student must sign the student out from the office. They must provide identification to verify that the person has authority to pick up the student. Students will be released only to persons listed in their file. Any changes to a parent’s contact information or authorized pickup list must be done in person by the enrolling parent. We cannot accept changes to child records over the phone. Please make sure your contact information is current with the office and your child’s teacher. In case of an emergency, we need to be able to reach you.

EMERGENCY INFORMATION
It is essential that we have current telephone numbers and addresses where parents, relatives, or friends may be reached as soon as possible in the event of an emergency.

Students will be released only to persons listed in their file. Any changes to a parent’s contact information or authorized pickup list must be done in person by the enrolling parent. We cannot accept changes to child records over the phone. Please make sure your contact information is current with the office and your child’s teacher. In case of an emergency, we need to be able to reach you.

ILLNESS
Your child should stay home for at least 24 hours if:

  • They are running a fever of 100 degrees or more
  • They have vomited more than once or have diarrhea
  • They have flu symptoms, like fever, cough, sore throat, chills, aches, and pains

Make sure your child is free of symptoms without medicine for a full day before sending them back. Central Texas is a hotbed for allergies, and some symptoms of allergies are similar to those of other illnesses. Students shouldn’t stay home for allergies unless it is extremely severe. If you have questions, contact the school nurse.

SECURITY
Security is a top priority at Travis Heights Elementary, and we need parents to follow the protocols just as much as the teachers and students. When entering the school, everyone must enter through the front doors and check in the front office. Do not enter through the side doors by the chicken coop. Often when parents are running late, they will ask someone to hold a side door open for them or ask a child that is inside to open the door. PLEASE do not do this. It’s important we set the example for following rules intended for every child’s safety.

If parents plan to stay at school/volunteer or have arrived late and wish to drop off their child, they MUST check in at the office where the ID will be checked and a visitor/volunteer sticker given. During the school day, children who need to be outside the classroom (ex: to see the school nurse) usually travel in pairs. Additionally, there are security cameras at access points to the school and doors require a badge for entry. Always raise any concern you have about security to the main office.

While it may be inconvenient at times to follow these rules, remember that these are in place to protect your child, and keep all students and staff safe.

VISITORS
Parents that wish to visit during the day for a conference or to volunteer are encouraged to make an appointment with the teacher beforehand. For the safety of our students and staff, all visitors are to report to the office where the ID will be checked and a visitor’s pass will be given. Visitors, including parents, must show a picture ID before being allowed to visit classrooms or other areas.

VOLUNTEERS
We encourage parents to volunteer whenever possible. All parents and family members wanting to volunteer at the school or attend field trips MUST HAVE COMPLETED A BACKGROUND CHECK. Volunteer Orientations are offered at the beginning of the school year for new volunteers. Information about volunteer opportunities is shared in Wednesday Folders, and at https://www.travisheightselementary.com/volunteering. Please note that background checks take 1-2 weeks, so parents should plan accordingly if they are planning on chaperoning a field trip.

CAFETERIA, BREAKFAST AND LUNCH
Breakfast is served from 7:40-8:00 in the classroom. Please see your child’s teacher to see if they need volunteers during this time. Lunch times are scheduled by classroom; please check with your teacher for the exact time. Parents may come and eat lunch with their child only (they may not bring other students) on Wednesdays and Fridays only starting the 4th week of school. Be sure to sign in at the office before meeting your child in the cafeteria. You may eat in the cafeteria with your child and their friends, or at one of the tables in the hallway or picnic tables outside.

Parents may load money onto their child’s account by visiting online at www.schoolcafe.com or by paying cash in the cafeteria. For Prices: www.austinisd.org/nutritionfoodservices/meal-prices.

Free/Reduced Lunch – Applications for free and reduced lunch can be completed online at SchoolCafe (parents will need to create an account) or fill out a paper version from the Cafeteria Manager or school office. For faster processing, filling out the application online or through the SchoolCafe app is preferred. For assistance in completing the form, please call 512-414-0251. A new meal benefits application must be submitted each school year for those interested in participating in the free or reduced meal program.

SNACKS
Depending on what time your child has lunch, teachers may offer your child a snack. If so, parents may be asked to bring snacks for the whole class. Please ask what snacks are appropriate because some students are dealing with severe food allergies. All snacks should be healthy (fruits/veggies/whole grain crackers, etc).

MEDICATION AND ALLERGIES
Any medication to be given at school must be sent to the Nurse in its original container along with proper utensils for dispensing the medication. A signed permission form (obtained from the Nurse) must also be submitted. Please do not send any medication for your child to take “on their own.”

Parents of children with food allergies should contact the Nurse for action plans. Due to severe allergies some grade levels may be nut, egg, or dairy free. Parents in these grade levels will receive information from their child’s teacher about what steps are needed to keep classmates safe.

ELECTRONICS
Personal electronics and cell phones should NOT be brought to school. Items will be confiscated and sent to the office for safekeeping until a parent can come pick it up. THES and AISD are not responsible for lost or stolen personal items. Parents may communicate messages to their students through their child’s teacher or the office.

TOYS
Toys should not be brought to school as they disrupt class and can get lost or stolen. THES and AISD are not responsible for lost or stolen personal items. Students caught using toys in class will have them confiscated at the teacher’s discretion. Items such as fidget spinners are considered toys, and will not be allowed in class unless they are part of an accommodation plan.

BIRTHDAYS
Birthday parties, flowers, or balloons for a student’s birthday are NOT allowed in the classroom. Students may share healthy snacks with classmates on their birthday at the end of the day (no earlier than 2:40 pm for grades K-5, or 1:45 pm for PK). Please notify the teacher beforehand that you will be sending snacks so as to reduce distractions to learning time. Some grades have specific allergies, so please see your teacher for appropriate snacks. Parents may NOT eat lunch with their student on their birthday unless it is Wednesday or Friday..

LOST & FOUND
When items are found at school they will be placed in the “Lost and Found” bin located next to the office, near the top of the stairs. A secondary lost and found bucket is in the gym. Children and parents are asked to check this area for items that are lost. After a few weeks, unclaimed items are donated to a local charitable organization. Adding your child’s name to lunchboxes, water bottles, coats, backpacks, and other items will greatly help lost items find their owners again! We strongly advise keeping valuable items at home to avoid losing them at school.

FRIDAY ASSEMBLIES
Friday Assemblies are an opportunity to celebrate student success and share school spirit, and parents are welcome to attend! Assemblies take place the first two Fridays of the month from 7:35am-7:55am in the gym. Upper grades (3rd through 5th) on the first Fridays and lower grades (K-2nd) on the 2nd Fridays. Pre-K students will join Friday assemblies during the second half of the school year and 2nd grade moves up to the Upper Grade Assembly at that time. For students attending assemblies, Breakfast in Class will begin after assembly ends, when students arrive in their classrooms.

AFTER SCHOOL CARE
Travis Heights does not provide after school care, but we are partnered with the following organizations: Extend-A-Care (512) 472-9402; Creative Action (512) 442-8773. Please contact these organizations directly for information on pricing and availability.

BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT
Back to School Night is an important opportunity for parents to learn about their child’s classroom and expectations for the year. Typically held in September, this evening event includes sessions where teachers meet with parents in groups and share information about curriculum, field trips, homework, behavior expectations and more. The evening also includes time to visit our special areas- art, music, PE, computer lab and library. All parents are highly encouraged to attend and child care is offered.

PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES
Communication between parents and teachers is essential for each student’s progress. Parent-teacher conference days are held in the fall and spring of each year on the dates indicated on the AISD calendar. Your child’s teacher will prearrange conferences on the set day, sometime within the week before, or the week after that day. Conferences have different forms–some will include students and others will be just parents. If you are unable to attend a conference, please notify your child’s teacher and reschedule the meeting.

**Please note that during the school day, teachers cannot hold conferences outside of their regular planning times because they cannot leave their class unattended while they meet with you. If you are unsure what time your child’s teacher has planning, please contact the teacher or the front office.

At the conference, teachers and parents discuss a child’s strengths and areas of need and review work, school-based assessments, and teacher observations. In the event a parent is unable to attend an in-person conference with the teacher, the parent may request a telephone conference.

If a child has learning or behavioral difficulties, additional conferences can be scheduled at mutually agreed upon times. If you have a classroom concern, please contact the teacher first. If after communicating with the teacher, the concern is not resolved, feel free to contact an administrator.

COFFEE CHATS
This is a monthly forum where parents can communicate directly with school administration about issues, concerns, and feedback. Coffee chats are typically held at 8am on a Friday morning. Information about Coffee Chat dates and topics will be sent home in Wednesday Folders..

COMMUNICATIONS
Website — Our website has lots of information about school programs and events as well as resources for parents. www.travisheightselementary.com

Wednesday Folders — This is the main form of communication for the school. Every Wednesday your student will bring home a folder that contains important information. Take time to read through the papers and fill out any necessary forms. Make sure you sign the outside of the folder and return it on Thursday along with any completed forms. Parents who prefer to receive flyers electronically may sign up for the E-folder.

E-Folder — The e-folder highlights school and PTA information including school events, community events, calendar dates, and other information. It also contains electronic copies of all flyers sent home in the Wednesday Folder. Sign up by scrolling to the bottom of any page of the website. In the turquoise banner, look on the right side for a place for you to add your email address.

Class Dojo — Our campus is now utilizing Class Dojo as another outlet for communication. Parents can create an account and access their child’s classroom with a special code from their child’s teacher. With the app, parents can communicate via in-app texting, receive notifications from the teacher and the school, and see how their child is doing in class. The app’s Skill Points tie into our Whole Child Pillar via SEL. Teachers award points to reward good behaviors and help students improve their SEL skills. Children can also share their accomplishments via picture or video with parents through the app. We encourage every parent to create an account and download the app to their phone and join the THES Class Dojo community!

Facebook — Like us on Facebook to see reminders, announcements and photos from events.

CALENDAR
The school calendar is available on our website: www.travisheightselementary.com/calendar . You can subscribe to our online calendar so important school dates will automatically appear in your Google or iCal calendars! Go to the calendar, scroll down and click on the appropriate red “Subscribe” button. There is also a link for help if you need additional instructions. A link to the AISD calendar is also available on this page.

CAC/THUNDERBOARD
The Parent and Teacher Association (PTA) is an organization dedicated to parents and teachers working together to improve the school. PTA membership meets monthly to discuss topics of interest (see the school calendar for exact dates). Information about PTA is sent home in Wednesday folders. The PTA also sponsors a number of community events throughout the year, like Carnival, Tamalada, Cultural Festival. See https://www.travisheightselementary.com/events-2/ for a complete list!

The Campus Advisory Council (CAC) aka Thunderboard is a council of parents, staff, and community representatives who stay involved in the planning, budgeting, curriculum, staffing and organization of Travis Heights Elementary. They meet once a month (see the school calendar for exact dates). Send questions or suggestions for the Thunderboard to thunderboard@travisheightselementary.com.

More info on both organizations can be found online at www.travisheightselementary.com and https://www.travisheightselementary.com/thunderboard/.

HOMEWORK POLICY
Our campus goal is to ensure homework is specific and purposeful. Our teachers have this goal in mind when they assign homework for their respective grade level/classroom. Best practices recommend no more than 10 minutes/grade level starting at Kindergarten (adding 10 minutes thereafter per year). Reading at home will always be a component of the home-to-school connection. Every child is encouraged to read, either by themselves or with a parent, for at least 20 minutes daily (Dual Language students should include Spanish and English reading during this time). Each grade level has a different policy regarding homework; please see your child’s teacher for more information on homework expectations.
If your child is struggling with homework or cannot complete assignments on her/his own or without a great amount of assistance, it is very important that you speak with your teacher so she/he can modify work or differentiate the work. Homework is meant to reinforce skills, not to discourage a child. If homework seems too easy or you are looking for ways to enrich your child’s learning, please speak with your child’s teacher as well. Should you have questions/concerns about your child’s homework after working with your child’s teacher, or if you need help speaking with your child’s teacher, please contact an administrator (Parent Support Specialist, Counselor, Assistant Principal, or Principal).

RECESS POLICY
Every child receives recess or active movement daily, weather permitting. Recess is 30 minutes of unstructured time for socialization and play every day. It is valuable for your child’s health and social-emotional growth. It is not to be used to complete homework nor is it to be taken away as a punishment (unless an altercation occurs during recess which requires a cool-off period/reflection). Should you have questions/concerns about your child’s recess, please contact her/his teacher first. If you continue to have questions/concerns or need help speaking with your child’s teacher, please contact an administrator (Parent Support Specialist, Counselor, Assistant Principal, or Principal).

WOW TIME
WOW time is separate from recess as it is structured time for teachers to engage children in body/brain breaks during the learning process within the school day. WOW Time is integrated throughout the day with brain breaks and active physical movement such as dancing or physical exercises. Many teachers pair WOW Time with learning activities or access ideas from websites such as “Go Noodle” which parents can access from home for free. Check it out!

SCHOOL RULES

Respectful
Follow directions the first time (hear it/do it).
Remain seated and raise hand to speak.

Organized
Work during work time giving your best effort.

Considerate
Keep your hands, feet and objects to yourself.

Kind
Speak kindly and listen to all.

Scholarly
Scholars ask questions, make time to learn, and do quality work.

A Thunderbird ROCKS!

SCHOOL SONG

Thunderbirds united,
Faithful strong and true!

Thunderbirds united,
Good at all we do!

Boys and girls together,
Cheerful, brave, and bright!

Here’s to the red!
Here’s to the white!
Here’s to Travis Heights!

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