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Travis Heights Elementary School PTA > Monthly Principal Letter > Thursday’s ThunderWord! 08/19/2021

Thursday’s ThunderWord! 08/19/2021

The Wednesday e-Folder is now Thursday’s ThunderWord!


Have an announcement or other great news to share? Please submit your info to communications@travisheightselementary the week prior to the e-folder publish day (Thursdays at 10am). 


Dear Travis Heights Thunderbird Families,

As proud principal of Travis Heights Elementary, it is my pleasure to welcome everyone back for another great school year! We have taken several precautions to ensure a safe start at Travis Heights elementary. The school/classrooms have plex-glass installed, Hepa air filters are located in every classroom/throughout the school, lunch will be eaten in the classrooms, outdoor learning is encouraged, and masks will be worn by everyone. We are all excited to have students back in our classrooms and hallways filling them with energy and enthusiasm for learning.

It is our mission to help every child feel welcomed, connected, and part of the Travis Heights family. Additionally, we strive to educate the whole child and challenge each student to grow in his or her academic abilities. At Travis Heights, we have amazing teachers who spend hours planning and creating classroom activities that engage our students in learning. Our teachers utilize research-based best practices and analyze academic data to determine current skill levels and to set goals for growth and improvement. Our teachers believe all students can and will learn!

We would like to invite you to Back to School Night, September 14th from 5:00 – 6:30 pm (PreK-1st) and September 16th from 5:00 – 6:30 pm (2nd-5th) to meet your child’s teacher(s) and hear about all the learning your child will be doing this year.

I am honored to serve as principal of Travis Heights Elementary. It is truly a privilege to be a part of a community where parents, teachers, and students care for each other and strive to build positive relationships that support academic and social growth. I look forward to working with each and every one of you this year!

Once again, welcome back! Let’s make it another great year at Travis Heights together!

Michelle Amezquita-Navarro



Samantha Barrett is starting her 16th year in education and third year as an assistant principal. As a classroom teacher, she taught 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade serving emergent bilingual students. Her teaching experience also includes teaching dual language summer school for students transitioning from kinder to first grade, 5th grade summer school, science camp for rising 5th graders, and teaching after school art classes for elementary students in Peru.

“I am passionate about public education and am excited to be joining this culturally diverse and dual language campus! I am looking forward to working with you and supporting you to continue to develop and grow our young Thunderbirds.“



  • School doors open at 7:10 am
  • School begins promptly at 7:40
  • Students arriving after 7:41 am will be counted tardy.
  • PK: 7:40 am – 3:10 pm
  • K-5th: 7:40 am – 3:10 pm
  • Office Hours: 7:15 am – 4:00 pm
  • Please call the school if your child will be absent from school (512) 414-4495


Principal Update: School Start Information / Procedures
Join Principal Navarro and Assistant Principal Barrett for a comprehensive look at the new school year and procedures in place to make it a safe, fun, in-person learning experience for all our Thunderbirds!

Available on the Travis Heights Elementary KTHE-TV YouTube Channel:


How awesome is this…!?
DHL and Charisma Cantu (daughter of Ms. Sharon Chavez, Kinder) stepped up and hit it out of the park by providing school supplies to our Thunderbirds. In her new job at DHL Ms. Cantu was able to rally employees of DHL to spend their own money to provide much needed school supplies and backpacks to students at THES – just in the knick of time as we had run short! BIG appreciation pump to Charisma Cantu and DHL for making the first day of school a magical one with every child being able to start with the supplies needed to kick off a great year. Thank you!


Click on the image or the link below to view our Campus Welcome Plan

2021_2022 Travis Heights Campus Welcoming Plan


*parents/caretakers must wait with students at bus stops*
Austin ISD is committed to providing safe and reliable transportation to our students. We are implementing protocols that all families who qualify for bus transportation should know if they plan on using this service. The full plan for our bus-riding families can be found on the AISD Reconnect.

Below are highlights of this communication:

  • Update your parent contact information in the Parent Cloud.
  • Take your child’s temperature each morning – don’t send students to school if they are sick, have symptoms or have a temperature at 100.4 or greater.
  • Accompany students to the bus stop and school in case your child registers a temperature greater than 100.4 – they will be sent home.
  • Masks are required on all AISD buses.
  • To reduce virus exposure on buses, we encourage families to drop off or walk with their students to school.
  • Bus drivers will wear personal protective equipment including masks, gloves and face shields.
  • All buses will have hand sanitizer and will be disinfected regularly.
  • Seating will be assigned.

We look forward to welcoming your child aboard!


Join Ms. Navarro for a monthly principal update to review the first two weeks of school. Hear about the successful school start for our on campus learners, changes in procedures, upcoming events and special announcements. The chat will be open for questions and comments. 


Join our amazing counselors Ms. Raquel Brown and Ms. Gloria Cano for online Open House via zoom.

  • Meeting ID: 967 8064 4760
  • Password: THES


We are excited to welcome your child back to school! We are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment so that we can welcome each and every student back to our classrooms in January. If you are participating in our virtual option, please remember school starts on Tuesday, August 24th. Orientation is August 20th and additional information can be found here:


Austin ISD will continue 1:1 devices for on-campus and virtual learners. These devices align with instructional targets across elementary school students and will be checked out directly to students/ families who will be responsible for their care and return.

Students in Kindergarten to 2nd will use iPads. Students beginning 3rd grade will exchange their current iPad for a Chromebook.

THES will handle all issues related to student devices: Chromebook and iPad check-out (to student), check-in (back to campus), exchanges (2nd grade iPads to 3rd grade Chromebooks), and repairs are available at the Travis Heights Elementary Campus for registered students only.  



Virtual Learners 
Virtual learners will be able to have their devices exchanged, serviced or assigned on campus.  Please contact Mr. Hawes at to set an appointment – or regarding any questions for device pickup, exchange, repair or hotspot assignments.

On Campus Learners
Report any device issues to your teacher.  Each classroom will be scheduled as needed to return, replace or exchange devices.

What to bring for a smooth exchange.

  • Bring your device
  • Bring your charger
  • Bring your child’s student number (S number)
  • Your child’s first and last name

Please contact Mr. Hawes at regarding any questions for device pickup, exchange, repair or hotspot assignments.


We were awarded $7,500 from the Austin Ed Fund Special Grant Program! The Early Childhood Literacy Lab’s mission is to provide students with reading instruction in an immersive and developmentally appropriate environment that provides experiences that will improve oral and written literacy skills. By focusing on developing students’ oral language, we will meet the district’s goal of students reading on grade level by the third grade. The Literacy Lab is a classroom where teachers will use research based strategies to teach oracy, the foundation of reading and writing, to our youngest English and Spanish Language Learners. This will be the first Literacy Lab in Austin, modeled after the Rice University OWL (Oral Written Language) Lab in Houston, our Literacy Lab will provide a safe space for students to take risks with their language development and encourage meaningful interactions between students and teachers by providing time to build the critical bridge between early language and the more mature language of reading and writing. Big thank you to Maribeth Armintor and Faith Boyer! The lab is being developed in portable 3 and should be ready by early Fall.


Congratulations! Ms. Alvarez-Sims for receiving the Austin Ed Fund for her project, Academia Cuauhtli Summer Coding Camp + Teacher Professional Development. We have been awarded funding through the Special Grant Program. Travis Heights Elementary School (on behalf of Academia Cuauhtli) has been granted $5,000 for project costs. These funds will also support the program with Perez and Sanchez Elementary Schools. This project will positively impact students and inspire the future for the students of Austin ISD.



If you still have library books from last year, you can drop them off any day on the front of the school in the box labeled library books. We’d really love to get all our books back so we can check them in and have them cleaned and ready for student use later this year. Look in your backpacks, under your beds, on bookshelves or anywhere they may be hiding. Thanks!




Greetings Thunderbirds,  

Well, here we go. The first couple of days are behind us and so far, so good. While we haven’t “returned to normal” it is great to see (most of) so many familiar faces again – I think I’ve gotten better at recognizing people by a portion of their face these days!

Hopefully, you’ve already taken a minute and joined the PTA for the 21-22 School Year. If not, please go to

A couple of misconceptions that many people have:

  • I already joined last year.  A PTA Membership is for one school year and has to be renewed each year.
  • I don’t have time to volunteer with the PTA. Joining the PTA does not obligate you to volunteer. While we can ALWAYS use help with things, just joining is a great way to support our school. No other commitment needed. 

Speaking of volunteering, many of you came up to me at “Meet the Teacher” and expressed an interest in helping with PTA. Well, we can really use your help. If you are interested in helping out please email me at We have positions open in Advocacy, Social Media and Communications, Volunteer Coordination, and many more. We will work to find a spot that is rewarding for you and helpful for us. 

In the future, look for some fun things coming from PTA. We are hoping for a return of the Zoom Dance Party and we will soon be taking orders for the Student Art T-Shirts. 

Stay safe out there Thunderbirds and we look forward to seeing you soon.


Merrideth Jiles 
PTA President


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!