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Travis Heights Elementary School PTA > District News > Thursday’s Thunderword 10/28/2021

Thursday’s Thunderword 10/28/2021


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.

PTA Update


With the return of events in 2022, we are really in need of not only parent volunteers, but specifically parents from lower grades (K through 3rd). We have a big group of parents that have some experience that will be graduating in May and taking all that institutional knowledge with them. Most have agreed to “do it one more time”, but would really like to be mentoring someone that they can pass the torch to. If you are a parent of a Thunderbird in the lower grades, please reach out and get involved before all of our experience advances to Middle School.

Express your interest by emailing:

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


Like 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 to find out how to get the meal menu for each day.
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!


Attention 5th Grade!

● 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 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.


Free Coats For Kids

Austin ISD students who qualify for free and reduced lunch services can receive a free coat by filling out the form below. No documentation is needed. The form will close on Friday, Nov. 12. Coats will be delivered to students at their campus before winter break.

If you need help with filling out the form, please email your campus parent support specialist
or email the Coats for Kids AISD Support Team with any questions at

Los estudiantes de Austin ISD que califican para los servicios de almuerzo gratuito y reducido pueden recibir un abrigo gratuito llenando el formulario de abajo. No se necesita ninguna documentación. El formulario se cerrará el viernes 12 de noviembre. Los abrigos serán entregados a los estudiantes en su escuela antes de las vacaciones de invierno.

Si necesita ayuda para llenar el formulario, por favor envíe un correo electrónico a su especialista de apoyo a los padres del campus o envíe un correo electrónico al equipo de apoyo de Coats for Kids AISD con cualquier pregunta a




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.


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


Science Festival 2022

The Austin Energy Regional Science Festival is one of Texas’ largest regional science fairs with about 3,000 students from 3rd through 12th grade. It encourages and rewards innovative student research and provides scientists, engineers and other professionals a chance to volunteer in the community. The Austin Energy Regional Science Festival serves students from Central Texas whose projects won at their schools’ science fairs. The deadline for submissions is January 27, 2022. For more information please visit

Winning Junior/Senior Division projects advance to the Texas Science and Engineering Fair. Best of Fair Senior Division projects advance directly to the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.


Supporting our Schools–Austin Ed Fund

Austin Ed Fund — Austin ISD’s non-profit education foundation – hosted its 7th annual Inspire the Future Event last week on October 19. We celebrated the amazing and talented work of our AISD students, staff, and families and recognized the community’s generous support throughout the pandemic. Sponsors engaged with ambassadors to learn more about their impact in schools across the district. Participants watched an interview between Dr. Stephanie S. Elizalde and Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune about her experiences throughout the first year as Superintendent.

Austin ISD raised over $250,000 which will support teachers and staff through grant programs that provide funding for innovative projects and enriching opportunities for students. Thank you all who generously supported Inspire the Future with your time or donations. We couldn’t have done this without you.

If you were unable to join us, you can watch the entire program on Austin Ed Fund’s YouTube Channel. The event will also broadcast later on AISD.TV at the following dates/times.


Times in English Times in Spanish
Friday, October 29

7:00 pm

6:00 pm

Saturday, October 30

2:00 pm

1:00 pm

Monday, November 1

6:00 pm

7:00 pm

Donations to Austin Ed Fund can still be made to help impact even more AISD students, staff and families. Please share this with your school community.


Let’s Talk Communication Platform

Let’s Talk is an online tool that takes your questions and feedback and sends it directly to the appropriate staff members for follow up.


Budget 101

How are schools funded?
How do campuses make decisions about staffing and programs?
How can I get involved?

Join us to hear from district leaders about these questions and more.

Wednesday, November 3, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Register for Zoom meeting at

Captioning and interpretation into Spanish will be provided.
This meeting will be recorded and uploaded at

Online Event

Flyers:  English and Spanish


Good Use App

We’ve partnered with Good Use, an app that helps us give what we no longer use within the community. It’s an opportunity for us to demonstrate our generosity with each other and strengthen our community. How it works

  1. Create an account via via your phone or computer.
  2. Post something to give away.
  3. Someone from within the community will request your item.
  4. Arrange for them to pick up the item.
  5. Feel good about helping someone!

Good Use has created a private page for Travis Height Elementary families so that we can connect with each other. To access the Travis Heights Elementary School Good Use Group click here:

If you sign up by Nov 15 and post something to give away, you’ll be entered to win one of three $100 gift cards.


All Together/ Todos Juntos- AISD Family Academy

In celebration of National Parental Involvement Day, Austin ISD presents the 2021 Virtual Family Academy. The academy will feature 12 live zoom sessions around various topics including mental health & wellness, educational programming and more. Please visit the newsletter for more information on sessions and registration.


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.


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.


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
If you missed getting a referral form at last week’s coffee chat, you can email our GT coordinator/librarian Mrs. Harris at .


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.


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

Close up , colorful pushpins on calendar

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)

1 Dia de los Muertos
2 Election Day
4 PTA Executive Board Meeting
5 Lower Grade Assembly
12 Lower Grade Assembly
22-26 Thanksgiving Break

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