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Travis Heights Elementary School PTA > Dual Language > Thursday Thunderword 11/18/2021

Thursday Thunderword 11/18/2021


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.

Coffee Chat

November 19th @8:00 am
November is a time for gratitude, reflection, and family. During this month at school we will be talking about the importance of empathy and equity.

We will discuss what it means to have empathy for others and why it is important for us to understand the experiences of others. Empathy will aid in our discussion of equity and how everyone has different needs.

Here at Travis Heights Elementary we make it a priority to meet the various needs of all of our students. We understand that times can be tough and we are here to support your needs to the best of our ability. Please take time this month to truly understand your children. The struggles that they are facing become easier to carry with your support. Show them empathy, and help us to help them receive the equity that they deserve. Spend time reflecting with your children on how far they have come and let them know that they can go even further. Cherish your family and take time for gratitude and as the holidays approach, make sure you are taking care of yourselves as well.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 974 0839 7150
Passcode: joinus


A Note from Our Principal

Dear Travis Heights Elementary families,
Recently we had an incident with a community member walking their dog on campus property during school hours and a staff member was hurt. The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. We respectfully request our community to follow district policy that states no dogs allowed on AISD campus grounds unless they are a certified guide dog or service dog. This includes morning drop-off and afternoon dismissal.

Thank you for your understanding and for helping us keep Travis Heights safe for all of our Thunderbirds. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at (512) 414-4495.

Michelle Amezquita-Navarro


Prospective Parent Tours

Travis Heights Elementary is a proud community supported In-District Charter School. Our current families are the best way to share great news about our school. We have exciting events coming up that we would love for you to invite your friends, neighbors, or coworkers to attend and learn more about THES. No RSVP is needed to attend any of these events. Prospective parents should bring a photo ID and are welcome to bring their child.

December 10: Tour at 8:30 am
January 14: Tour at 8:30 am
January 18: Tour only at 5:30 pm


Ms. Bright in the news!

One of the many things that makes Travis Heights Elementary a special place to learn is our diversity and how our teachers support all of our students!

Read on to find out how Ms. Bright is supporting our Aghan students. Congratulations, Ms. Bright, for being quoted in two different articles! And thank you to all of our Travis Heights teachers for the amazing work they do every day!

Here’s How Schools Are Helping Afghan Refugee Students

Thousands of Afghan children and teenage refugees will soon be enrolled in America’s public schools


A Message about our Mindfulness Garden

On behalf of the Mindfulness Garden Committee, I am excited to announce that our project has been approved by the district and our Donors Choose Website has launched. Please consider donating to our Mindfulness Garden and share the word. We have two months to reach our goal and then we will begin renovations in the Spring of 2022.

This project aims to revive the peace garden and butterfly garden first and foremost, with a mindful mission to inspire our students. The fundraising will allow our students to use these outdoor learning spaces in a hands-on way to gain experience in caring for the environment which is a scientifically supported measure in the improvement of mental health.

Thank you to our committee for all their hard work in getting this project off the ground. It is the season for giving and we are hopeful that this project will get a lot of support from the Thunderbird community.

Thank you in advance for sharing our website and supporting this initiative:

Mindfulness Garden Project

This post was updated on 09/19/21 to reflect that there have been many involved in this project, not only Ms. Bright, as the writer originally stated.  Many thanks to the committee! In particular, the writer would like to acknowledge the efforts of Raquel Brown, Mauricio Valdez, Christina Reeder, Collin Clark, and Wesley Paparone.–Many apologies, Mary Friedman


Picture Retakes Dec. 2nd


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


Creative Learning resources to use at home

To extend Dr. Elizalde’s August message that encouraged families to extend students’ learning at home, and in advance of school breaks when people may be looking for activities to engage & connect, AISD has published 5 family-focused Creative Learning resources:

  1. Art Talk
  2. Image Capture
  3. Model Making
  4.  Soundtrack
  5.  Statues
    They are available in English and Spanish.

Thanks to support from the Parent Engagement Support Office, these resources are being translated into 8 additional languages: Arabic, Burmese, Dari, Kinyarwanda, Mandarin, Pashto, Swahili, and Vietnamese. These translations will be linked to the posts as they are received.


Access to Healthy Food During the Thanksgiving Break

With many AISD students living in food insecure households, access to healthy food may be challenging when the district is closed. Families can use the community resources below to find free meals in their area while AISD offices and schools are closed from Nov. 22-26:

Food Service will continue to provide meal packs for enrolled virtual students only at the designated weekly pick up locations, (Anderson High School, Akins Early College High School, Bowie High School, Northeast Early College High School, and Travis Early College High School) from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17. All virtual meal pack pick-up locations are closed on Wednesday, Nov. 24 and will resume service on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

Questions? Contact, 512-414-0247.


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!


Translated School Breakfast and Lunch Menus
for Newly-Arrived Afghan Students

As the district continues to welcome newly-arrived Afghan students, Food Service will translate monthly elementary school breakfast and lunch menus in Pashto and Dari. Links to downloadable files will be posted each month on the homepage of the AISD Food Service Campus Toolkit. Schools may print copies or share with families electronically.

Schools may download the current menus at the links below:
Austin ISD November Elementary Menu – Pashto
Austin ISD November Elementary Menu – Dari


Welcoming Afghan Families Event

Join us in welcoming our Afghan newcomer families!
When: Tuesday, December 14th, 2021 3:30-4:30 PM
Where: Travis Heights Elementary School Play Pad (weather permitting) or Gym

Enjoy complimentary snacks!
Get a goodie bag* to take home! *Limited to first 50 families
Connect with interpreters and staff from the Refugee Family Support Office!


Attention 5th Grade!


Dual Language in Middle School

Did you know dual language is offered at 13 AISD middle schools and 4 high schools?
Continue the benefits of a bilingual education to middle school and high school! Please see linked video and flyers for more information:


Secondary Schools with DL programs: AISD Multilingual Education
Middle School DL: MS flyer
Enroll for DL in MS or HS: Enrollment Process



THES Chicken Coop Reimagined

The Coop has been a part of the THES landscape since 2014. Originally a Girl Scout project, the Coop became a featured learning space where our students were able to study the life cycle of animals and cultivate nurturing skills. Unfortunately, the years have taken their toll, and the beloved Coop is no longer safe for students or chickens.

But we have a plan to reinvigorate the space! Our youngest Thunderbirds (PreK and K students) need an area to foster holistic and authentic learning. This could be a space where we read, paint, draw, write, engage in dramatic play, garden, create stories, and create memories. We would like this to be a place where our earliest learners at THES participate in extensions of our learning targets while making meaningful connections to the real world.

To make this happen, we need your help! Please fill out the Google form linked to let us know how you can help us make this a reality. We have a clear vision of what this space will look like and of the exact supplies we need. We also need people knowledgeable in small structure demolition, people with trucks, people with trailers, people with gardening skills. Do you have any connections to donated dirt, plants, rubber mulch? We also need financial donations.

We have phases planned. The first one is demolition and removal of the structure. We will be repurposing the signage, so we need someone who can help us preserve the legacy of The Coop! We appreciate all of your support and dedication to our THES Family.

Please sign up to help us bring new life to The Coop. This will not happen overnight!

We will begin Phase 1 on Sunday, December 5, 1-5pm. Additional phases coming SOON!

If you have any questions, please contact Amanda Moore at or Sarah Wakefield at We will get back to you within 24 hours.

Sign up HERE!


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.


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.


Up & Coming

22-26 Thanksgiving Break

2 Picture Retakes
10 Prospective Parent Tour (8:30 am)
14 Welcoming Afghan Families Event
20 Winter Break Begins

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