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Thursday Thunderword 12/02/2021


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 News- Sweet Treats Needed!

Happy Holidays Thunderbirds! We’ve got a few things coming up that we need your help with.

First, we want to help celebrate and appreciate our teachers and staff by providing them with some holiday yummies! On Wednesday, Dec. 8th we are providing them with Candy Bars and on Wednesday Dec. 15th we will be doing cookies and milk. We are asking for donations of these items and you can sign up HERE with what you can bring.

Also, the teachers and staff will be putting together a gift for every student and we need Candy Canes (like 500 of them)! Sign up for this is also at the same page, HERE.

Finally, we have a Parent Tour scheduled for Friday, Dec. 10th at 8:30am. We need a couple of parents that can simply walk parents around the school and answer a few questions. Please reach out to me directly at if you are available for this.

Thanks parents for helping out and please reach out if PTA can help you or if you would like to get involved.

Merrideth Jiles
PTA President


Coffee Chat

December 17th @8:00 am

Happy holidays to our THES community. This month we are putting a focus on personal safety and kindness as well as holiday cheer! We have a lot of fun activities planned to lift the spirits of our community during this time. We want to embrace the cultural diversity of our school and encourage all of our students to find joy and peace however they can as the end of the year approaches. We have almost made it halfway through the school year and we want to acknowledge you for everything you have done to help us get here. As we go into the new year, we can and we will make the necessary adjustments to finish this school year strong. Let’s lift each other up and make this a special holiday season, spreading cheer and wellness to everyone we know.

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


Spring Welcome Back School Night at THES for returning Virtual Thunderbirds

December 14, 2021 from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Welcome families to home campuses to host a Spring Welcome
Back to School Night

  • Review Spring Academic calendar
  • Safety procedures on campus
  • Review in-person student expectations
  • After school opportunities
  • Opportunity for students to meet their spring semester teacher
  • Receive spring schedule
  • Morning drop-off & afternoon pick-up details


Dual Language is for Everyone: AISD Virtual Dual Language Workshops

Interested in learning more about Dual Language programming?
Whether your child currently participates in Dual Language or you’re exploring options, we’ve got you covered.

Choose a date:

Each event will include workshops facilitated in English, Spanish,
Mandarin and Vietnamese.

For more information, contact Janeth Medrano at 512.414.9648 or

Flyer: Dual Language


Voluntary Parent Study

The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at The University of Texas at Austin is conducting a research study about parental and family attitudes on topics in education. Parents and guardians are requested to complete the 8-minute online survey by December 10, 2021. Participation is completely voluntary, and all answers will be anonymous. If you are interested in participating, please click on the link for the survey and additional information:

Research results will be shared during the 2022-23 school year. If you have any questions, please contact

Thank you for your participation.

Sr. Educational Outreach Coordinator & Lecturer
The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life
Moody College of Communication | The University of Texas at Austin


El Instituto Annette Strauss para la Vida Cívica de la Universidad de Texas en Austin está llevando a cabo un estudio de investigación sobre las actitudes de los padres y la familia sobre temas de educación. Se solicita a los padres y tutores que completen la encuesta en línea de 8 minutos antes del 10 de diciembre de 2021. La participación es completamente voluntaria y todas las respuestas serán anónimas. Si está interesado en participar, haga clic en el enlace de la encuesta e información adicional:

Los resultados de la investigación se compartirán durante el año escolar 2022-23. Si tiene alguna pregunta, comuníquese con

Gracias por su participación.
Sr. Educational Outreach Coordinator & Lecturer
The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life
Moody College of Communication | The University of Texas at Austin

Flyer: Volunteer


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


Like and visit our Travis Heights Heights Elementary Official Facebook Page!Facebook-donate
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.


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:


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!

● 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

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 Flyer


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!

But 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.


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

4 Dual Language Workshop (10:00 am)
10 Prospective Parent Tour (8:30 am)
10 Voluntary Parent Study due
10 Humanities Outstanding Teacher Nominations due
14 Welcoming Afghan Families Event (3:30 pm)
14 Welcome Back to School Night (5:00 pm)
17 Coffee Chat (8:00 am)
20 Winter Break Begins

5 Classes Resume
5 Chicken Coop Work Phase 1
7 Middle School Applications due
12 Dual Language Workshop (6:00 pm)
17 Student Holiday

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