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Travis Heights Elementary School PTA > Monthly Principal Letter > Thursday’s Thunderword! 10/21/2021

Thursday’s Thunderword! 10/21/2021


Have an announcement or other great news to share? Please submit your info to the school the week prior to when you’d like to see it in this newsletter.


Bullying Awareness Month and Unity Day

We hope you all are having a great weekend! October is Bullying Awareness Month. We have begun our classroom guidance lessons to teach all our students about what to do if they are ever bullied, or see someone else being bullied. We are also discussing what the difference is between someone who truly is a bully, and someone who is making some mean, or poor choices. There is a difference and it’s important not to mislabel kids as a bully, if that’s not what is going on. We have talked about how if someone is being mean, Kelso’s Choices may work for them, but if it is truly bullying, they will need to go to an adult they trust for help. Please help continue these conversations at home.

We have also talked about how it is important to be an “upstander,” rather than a “bystander”. It’s not okay to see someone being bullied and to just watch and do nothing. They should never join in the laughing or teasing, and they should help the person by talking to an adult, or sometimes standing up for them. This depends on the situation. For more information on bullying and Unity Day, you can follow this link:


Red Ribbon Week:  October 25-29

The last week of October is also Red Ribbon Week: October 25 – 29, 2021. This is a time when we encourage students to commit to loving their brains and choose a drug free life. There will be an Optional Classroom Poster Contest: Each teacher can opt in to participate in the annual Red Ribbon Week Contest. Classrooms will work together to create a poster. The theme is “Love Your Brain” and we will be encouraging students to make healthy choices and turn their back on drugs. 

  • Day 1: Mindful Monday – Pledge to be drug free 
  • Day 2: Artsy Tuesday – Creative Coping Skills- Wear a creative outfit! 
  • Day 3: Wellness Wednesday – Healthy Habits- Wear workout clothes!
  • Day 4: Turn back Thursday – Practice Gratitude- Wear your shirt backwards!
  • Day 5: Storybook Friday – Love Your Brain Day- Dress up as a storybook character!

Parents are one of the most important factors in alcohol and drug use prevention. According to the National Family Partnership, children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs that those who don’t, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

We encourage you to take some time this week to talk to your child about your expectation that they avoid drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. There has been a recent rise in vaping or “e-cigarettes” amongst Central Texas teenagers, and parents are key to preventing teen smoking. This resource from the surgeon general provides some tips for parents on how to have the conversation and sample talking points. 


PTA Update

Looking back at the start of the school year is pretty grim.  COVID numbers were rising, school protocols were uncertain, and I personally had just recovered from Delta. So when we met to discuss “events” for the 21-22 year, it was easy to just say “it’s all cancelled”.  Maybe better just say it won’t happen than to face the constant disappointment we had last year, with event after event falling to the virus. 

Well, now we are back in  Stage 3 and there is promise of a vaccine for all but our littlest Thunderbirds in the near future. With all this in mind, we have decided that it is time to forge ahead and start thinking about a normal life on the other side of this pandemic.  So, we want to move forward with some THES traditions for the Spring Semester in 2022. With that in mind, here are some things we are hoping for, but will need a small army of volunteers to pull off.  If you have the ability to help with any of these events, please let us know so we can start planning now.  Some of these events have people that have been involved in the past, but others are now orphans. You can send your interest to 

Events we want to do:

  • Parent Tours (on Campus) 
  • Young Writers Workshop
  • Campus Beautification
  • Shamrock Dance (specifically 4th grade parents)
  • ***NEW*** Spring Carnival  (we will likely go back to Fall for 22-23, but we gotta get our Carnival on!!!)
  • Steam Day 
  • Family Fun and Fitness Day

Hopefully, you can make some time to help us get Travis Heights back to normal and to ensure some of our favorite traditions continue on. 

Merrideth Jiles, PTA President


Art Contest — I will change the world…

Every year students in Pre-K through Grade 12 create original works of art in response to an annual PTA Reflections theme. The 2021–2022 Reflections theme is “I Will Change the World By.” Interested students can submit their completed works of art in one or all of the available arts categories: Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography, Visual Arts, or Special Artist. The Special Artist Division is designed for students who identify as having a disability and may receive services under IDEA or ADA: Section 504 may enter the Special Artist Division or grade division most closely aligned to their functional abilities. The Special Artist Division welcomes all grades and abilities and offers non-artistic accommodations for students to participate fully in PTA Reflections. Reflections eligibility requirements can be found at


Coffee Chat & Principal Update
October 22nd at 8:00 am.

Join Principal Navarro, counselors, and librarian for our monthly coffee and campus update. This meeting will go over the current status, Gifted & Talented nomination process, tips from the counselors and any important Information going forward. There will also be an opportunity for Q & A.

This month students have participated in classroom lessons that discussed the importance of kindness, accepting differences, and bully prevention. What is the difference between being mean and bullying? Our coffee chat on October 22nd will focus on Bullying Prevention.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 974 0839 7150
Passcode: joinus


Facebook-donateLike and visit our Travis Heights Heights Elementary Official Facebook Page!
Check here for the latest updates and parent resources.


Request for Parent Volunteers to monitor lunch

Wow! How fun is this?  Now that we have moved lunch to outdoors we need help to make sure our Thunderbirds stay safe while eating and visiting with friends.  This is a greater opportunity to engage with our students.  If you are interested, please follow the process for becoming an authorized Travis Heights Elementary Volunteer by following this link before completing this form for lunch monitoring  Our Assistant Principal Samantha Barrett will contact you to coordinate scheduling.  Thank you!! 


Cafeteria Menus

Please see the link below for the Breakfast and Lunch Menus for this month!

  • AISD will provide free meals for all students through June 2022.
  • Meals are free for all students regardless of income, or without any application or documentation.
  • At AISD, we encourage all students to take advantage of free school meals!

Breakfast and Lunch Menus for this month: OCTOBER


Having a Snack Attack?

Just like you, your kids need an energy boost in the afternoon. Plan for healthy snacks between meals. Make sure you and your family get the nutrients you need. If you are on the run, try these healthy GO snack ideas from the CATCH Program: 

  • Baby carrots, jicama, celery sticks, bell pepper slices.
  • Apple slices, grapes, dried fruit and nuts.
  • Low fat cheese or yogurt.
  • Whole grain cereals.
  • Low fat crackers.


Attention 5th Grade!

  • 5th Grade will be participating in virtual visits on October 21, 2021 
  • 5th Grade will go to Lively for an in person visit on November 12, 2021 
  • Applications for middle school are now open: 
  • The deadline for submission of applications is January 7, 2022 
  • Please take a look at your students choices on the AISD website

School Choice | Austin ISD

Kealing Magnet Event Flyer: 

Kealing Parent Information Nights are virtual and families must sign up to receive a zoom link (Spanish translation available)

Thursday, October 21, 2021
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Thursday, November 4, 2021
6:00 – 7:00 PM

Kealing Showcase is an annual in-person event for families to tour the campus, visit with staff and students, and learn about the innovative curriculum Kealing has to offer. (Spanish translation available)

Thursday, November 11, 2021
5:30 – 7:30 PM
Kealing MS Courtyard Entrance (Pennsylvania Ave)
No Sign Up Required – Come and Explore at Your Leisure!


Book Character Dress Up Day

Start getting your child’s book character costumes ready!  On Friday, October 29th, we will host an outdoor school-wide Storybook Character Parade.  Teachers, students and staff are encouraged to dress up as their favorite storybook character. Students who are dressed as a Storybook Character will walk in the parade.  Students may choose any character from a book they enjoy following certain guidelines.

To support students’ feelings of safety and security in our building, violent or frightening costumes are not acceptable.  No weapons or dangerous-looking items will be permitted to accompany a costume.  If there is a costume that does not meet the “Acceptable Examples” parents will be called and asked to please come to school and have their child change out of the costume.  Information will be sent out to parents via ThunderWord (the weekly eFolder) and ClassDojo.


Operation ThunderJoy

Did you know that each year, THES works with our amazing community to bring holiday joy to the Thunderbird families who need it most? Through OPERATION THUNDERJOY, our Parent Support Specialist collects wishlists while parent volunteers find donors for hundreds of clothes, shoes, and gifts and make sure they’re appropriately wrapped, tagged and delivered.

Register Here:

Each year ThunderJoy selects 50 families to sponsor for the holiday. In past years, items such as clothes, shoes, large grocery gift cards, beloved toys, bikes… even necessities such as prescription glasses, beds, A/C units and extermination services were donated. Students may be nominated through a teacher or THES staff or families may request to be sponsored. Nominations and requests do not automatically mean acceptance. The team must review selections. To better serve more families, we will select families who have not received assistance in the past. 

If you have any questions about donations or would like to volunteer to assist with Operation ThunderJoy, please contact

If your family or one you know is in need of significant assistance and would like to be considered for the ThunderJoy program, contact Travis Heights Parent Support Specialist Sura Jasim at


Shout out to your Travis Heights Team!      

Did one of our own deliver for YOU?

Teacher and Employee well-being is essential to our overall success as a school. The benefits of expressing gratitude and recognizing staff are limitless. Please join us in prioritizing our RAVE Employee Recognition program! 

What is a RAVE? 

The RAVE (Recognizing All Valuable Employees) program helps us honor our AISD team who take the extra steps to provide equitable and exceptional experiences for our students, families, staff, and community members. 

Submit a digital Rave online ! The District shares all positive Rave submissions with each employee and their Principal or Supervisor. 

Please spread the word about Raves with your community.


Please DO NOT use Teacher Parking Lots

There are two parking lots reserved for faculty and staff at the north and south ends of the school.  Please DO NOT enter, park, drop off or pick up during the hours of 7:00am and 5:00pm.  Doing so impedes staff from getting to their duty spot on time and creates havoc when there is a lack of spaces.  Club Cadet families must park on Alameda and use the sidewalks to walk your child to class.  Thank you for respecting the rules that are in place to best serve all families. 


2022 Humanities Texas Outstanding Teaching Awards

Humanities Texas is immensely thankful for the hard work of amazing teachers across Texas! We look forward to recognizing outstanding K–12 teachers with our 2022 Outstanding Teaching Awards. We encourage you to nominate a deserving teacher in your school or community today! 

In 2022, Humanities Texas will present a total of fifteen awards in three different categories: 

  • Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award: This award recognizes exemplary contributions of teachers of humanities subjects in Texas elementary, middle, and high schools. (12 recipients) 
  • Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award: This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the teaching of Texas history at the primary and secondary levels. This award was established in memory of Ms. Howell, former chair of the Humanities Texas Board of Directors, as a lasting tribute to her service to the organization and her commitment to the study of Texas history. (1 recipient) 
  • Award for Outstanding Early-Career Teaching: This award recognizes exemplary contributions of early-career humanities teachers in Texas who have completed three or fewer years of teaching. (2 recipients) 

Humanities Texas will select one of the fifteen recipients who demonstrates exceptional leadership in the educational field to receive the Julius Glickman Educational Leadership Award. The award honors Humanities Texas board member Julius Glickman for his extraordinary leadership of our organization and many others.   All award winners will receive a $5,000 prize, with an additional $500 for their schools to purchase humanities-based instructional materials. 

To nominate a teacher, please complete the online nomination form available on the Humanities Texas website. Nominations will be accepted through Friday, December 10, 2021


Neighborhood Pumpkin Patch

SoCo Pumpkin Patch_Flyer2021


Gifted and Talented Nominations: K-2nd Grades
Open October 25- November 5

Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are eligible to be screened for Gifted and Talented (GT) and Talent Explore (TE) in Austin ISD through a nomination and screening process. All campuses in Austin ISD provide screening, identification, and services for Gifted and Talented students.

Additionally, students screened for Gifted and Talented who are not identified for GT services are automatically considered for Talent Explore. Talent Explore identification is for high ability students who do not qualify for Gifted and Talented but demonstrate the potential to perform at high levels when grouped with Gifted and Talented students. Students may be identified through the screening process in one or more of the following areas: 

  • GT STEM (science and mathematics), 
  • GT Humanities (language arts and social studies), 
  • Talent Explore STEM (science and mathematics), or 
  • Talent Explore Humanities (language arts and social studies).  

If you’d like your child to be considered for the GT program, please fill out the following online referral form. Paper copies are also available in the front office.

English and Spanish referral form

There will be a GT information session during the Coffee Chat on Friday 10/22 and our GT coordinator/librarian Mrs. Harris will be available to answer any questions. You can also e-mail her at for help as well. 


Income Verification

If you have not provided income verification to qualify for free or reduced lunch, please fill out the form at the link below. This can impact your child’s ability to receive free or reduced lunch at the start of next school year, so please fill it out. The form can only be completed once for each family. Families will need to enter their student’s ID number to access the form:

Note that not all students are available through this link. Students whose families had already provided income verification prior to the release of the survey and students who enrolled in the district after September 17 are not available through this link.

Income verification data may impact campus accountability outcomes and many resources for your school, including staffing allocations, tools and technologies for the classroom, and expanded access to meals.


Shout out for free books

Shout-out to one of our Thunderbird parents Jill Husak who delivered free books from her company Disney/ESPN to 3rd and 4th graders last Friday. The students were so excited to take home their new books. Disney/ESPN has also gifted the library with a $250 gift certificate to purchase more great reading materials for our Thunderbirds. Thank you, Jill!

Link to pics:


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 PCR COVID test.


Health and Safety 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.


Update: 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, (home tests are not acceptable)
  • 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.

Many accidental overdoses occur from children taking unused prescription medications.This is also a good time to check your medicine cabinet and dispose of medication properly. Local Walgreens Pharmacies have “take back” programs, so you can take your old medicines there. 

Thank you for partnering with Austin ISD as we help keep our students healthy and safe, so that they can graduate college, career, and life ready!

Up & Coming

21 Fall Pictures
21 Faculty Meeting @3:30 pm cafeteria
22 Coffee Chat @8 am
25-29 Red Ribbon Week & Love Your Brain Week (Sponsored by the Counselors)
28 T.ILT Meeting @3:30 library
29 Storybook Character Parade (start thinking about your character)

For holidays and district-wide events you can view the AISD calendar here: