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Travis Heights Elementary School PTA > Monthly Principal Letter > Thursday’s Thunderword! 09/02/2021

Thursday’s Thunderword! 09/02/2021


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)


Closed for Labor Day

Just a reminder that the district will be closed in observance on Labor Day on September 6th.  Enjoy your time off and stay safe!


PTA News

PTA Needs your help!

Hello Thunderbirds!  Hopefully this message finds you all well and adjusting to the new school year.  Even with the challenges in front of us, this is the best time we’ve had in school for over 17 months!

Of course, I have to drop a line about joining PTA and such (, but more importantly…

PTA needs your help!!  The letter below was penned by THES Parent and former Fundraising Committee Chair Oliver Bernstein and pretty much sums up what we are trying to do.

Hi THES families,

I hope everyone is healthy and that your kids are thriving. Carmen and Leo are enjoying being back in person, and we appreciate all the school is doing to keep them safe and engaged.

PTA has been working to help the school set up for outdoor lunches. This is one of the biggest steps we could take to limit the spread of COVID, as unmasked mealtime is problematic, and outdoors is way better than indoors.

The PTA is working with the principal to buy some outdoor box fans, and is going to buy some folding picnic tables that can be setup outside in covered areas like the playpad. 

The tables in mind are roughly $500 each, including shipping. While PTA is going to go ahead and order a bunch of them to get us started, we’re looking for donations to help cover those costs.

Can your family donate $500 to cover the cost of 1 table?

Or $250 to cover the cost of half a table?

Or $100 toward this effort?

You can donate via the website or send a check to the school made out to Travis Heights Elementary PTA. (please use the “Other” category and type in “tables”)

We appreciate your support, and we will keep you updated on outdoor eating logistics and timelines.

Thank you,
Oliver Bernstein

The fans have already been delivered to Travis Heights and, by the time you read this, the tables will be ordered.  So please, give anything you can to help support this cause and keep all our Thunderbirds safe and healthy this school year. 

Merrideth Jiles
PTA President


Welcome to our new librarian, Debbie Harris

Debby Harris was born and raised in a small town on the Gulf coast called Port Lavaca, but after graduating from the University of Texas, she, her husband, and their pup Huckleberry moved to Florida, then Germany, and then Norway. After having a little one in 2018, they wanted to be closer to family, so they came back to where it all started – Austin!

Amidst all the moving, she has taught middle and high school English while also getting her Master’s in Information Science. Overseas, she was the program coordinator at a research library. Her most recent position was raising her toddler while also working remotely for Dell Medical School library. Before Covid, she was also volunteering at the Twin Oaks Branch of the Austin Public Library.


Back to School Night!

Join your child’s teacher for a very special Back to School Night.  Teachers will be showing their classroom learning spaces, discussing schedules, routines and learning targets for the start of the year.  The event will be online through Zoom so look for a special link to join from your child’s teacher.   Below is the schedule.

For PreK through 1st Grade
Sept. 14th from 5:30-6:30
Meeting will be held via Zoom.  Look for details in ClassDojo

  • See the classroom
  • Focus for the semester and year
  • Communication

For 2nd Grade through 5th Grade
Sept. 14th from 5:30-6:30
Meeting will be held via Zoom.  Look for details in ClassDojo

  • See the classroom
  • Focus for the semester and year
  • Communication

Spirit Week

September 7th – 10th

Save the dates (right after Labor Day)! All of THES will be celebrating the beginning of the school year with some school spirit!  We are looking forward to seeing our Thunderbirds get spirited!

Tuesday will be School Spirit Colors
Wednesday will be Wacky Tacky Day
Thursday will be Fancy Pants
Friday will be Thinking Hats On!


Technology for Virtual Thunderbirds

Need a new Chromebook, iPad or hotspot? Exchanges, repairs, missing parts? Skip the lines and get right to what you need, when you need it. Use the calendly link below to choose a time best for you to come to the computer lab and we’ll get you fixed up!


Arrival & Dismissal

We will continue to refine and provide updated information regarding our arrival & dismissal procedures.

Parents can expect teachers to be at each of the entrances until 7:40 am.  At 7:41 am, all students must enter the main doors and will receive a tardy slip prior to going to class.

Entrances to be used from 7:10-7:40 am.

  • Pre-Kindergarten: Enter in the Kindergarten door (north entrance) leading to the Kindergarten hallway.
  • Kindergarten and 1st grade: Enter through the Cafeteria door.
  • 2nd and 3rd Grade: Use the Main Entrance door.
  • 4th Grade: Use the Annex entrance near the Art Room.
  • 5th Grade: Use the Main Entrance

All students use the Main Entrance if arriving after 7:40 a.m.



Walkers: Parents please wait in the designated area for your child to be called.
Car Riders: Please see the map showing traffic flow during dismissal for car riders.

Students are dismissed at 3:10.  Students not picked up by 3:30 will go to the office.

Procedure for CARS
ALL cars should line up north of the kindergarten hallway. Please DO NOT try to skip the line as that creates an impassable lane of traffic that only delays moving cars through.

The campus is divided into three areas. PK and Kinder; 1st-3rd; and 4th-5th.

Line up, drive along the curb with your yellow card on the dash showing your child’s name, teacher and grade.

Continue to drive along the curb to each area to pick up your child from that grade level. Once you have everyone, then exit up Rosedale (if you only have a PK or K student) or exit to the middle lane. (See the map.)

Following this procedure has shown that we can dismiss the entire school within 20 minutes.
Thank you!


Close Contact and Quarantine Updates

Defining Close Contact Between Students in the K-12 Indoor Classroom:

  • The CDC has published an exception to their close contact definition that impacts how close contact is defined in the K-12 Indoor Classroom when both the infected and the exposed students have been wearing well-fitting masks the entire time.
  • Austin ISD will be implementing the CDC guidance “exception,” beginning Friday, August 27, which clarifies that:
  • In the K–12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within* 3 to 6 feet of an infected student (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time.

Length of the Quarantine Period:

  • Austin Public Health (APH) and CDC agree that the length of the 10-day quarantine may be shortened under certain circumstances.
  • The quarantined individual may return after 7 days if:
    • The 7 days have been symptom-free, AND
    • The individual receives a negative test result (PCR or rapid antigen) on or after the 5th day,
    • The campus should make individual phone calls to any student who is eligible to return after 7 days.
  • Just as before, the negative test must be submitted to the health room
  • Note: This only applies to symptom-free individuals.


Health and Safety

Sick Individuals

If you or your child are feeling sick, regardless of whether you’re vaccinated or not, please stay home and contact your physician and campus as soon as possible. Anyone who is sick will need to isolate for 10 days. Those who show symptoms can return early if they receive a doctor’s note stating they do not have COVID-19 or receive a negative COVID test. Rapid antigen testing will still be available in campus health rooms at the start of the school year. Call our health office to get information on testing, 512-414-4495.



Family Resources

Integral care Mental Health
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, Integral Care has a 24/7 Crisis Helpline at 512-472-4357 (HELP). You can also Text TX to 741741 to connect to the Crisis Text Line. Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 crisis support via text.

For help with food, utilities, rental assistance or other community resources call 211 to speak to someone for assistance, or visit ConnectATX (United Way of Greater Austin)

Up & Coming

September 6th: Labor Day (No School)
September 7th-12th: Spirit Week
Begins in September: PrimeTime AfterSchool
Monday, October 11th: Parent Conferences
Friday, October 15th: First 9 weeks grading period ends