Valentine's Day Teacher Appreciation Luncheon

Calling all Kinder, 1st, and 2nd grade parents! Please help us show our love and appreciation for our Travis teachers, admin, and staff as PTA hosts a Valentine’s Day Lunch in the Teacher Lounge tomorrow, February 14th from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Sign up here to bring some goodies. You can drop your donations in the Teacher Lounge at morning drop off on Valentine's Day. Please have all items there by 8:30 am so we can transform the space into a lovely oasis for these men and women who work so hard and love our children so well. Contact PTA Hospitality with any questions.

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One Book, One School

One Book, One School is in full-swing and we hope you are enjoying “The One and Only Ivan.” As a reminder, please try to read together as a family and enjoy the book each night. The nightly reading schedule may be found on your bookmark. Each morning, Ms. Sims will ask a trivia question and will choose two correct answers from each grade every day to win a prize, so make sure to READ, READ, READ! Additionally, watch the Travis PTA Facebook page for more visits from Ms. Sims including hints for the trivia questions……stay tuned! 

MOVIE NIGHT

Come out and join us on Thursday, February 22nd for our One Book, One School Family Movie Night featuring "The Jungle Book". We will be viewing the movie in the multipurpose room, so bring something cozy to sit on (sleeping bags, pillows). Chick-Fil-A will be on the menu (no need to pay ahead), along with juice, water, and chips, and the Spirit Store will be open for business! We’re looking for six volunteers to help sell dinner, so please consider signing up here even if this is your first time – it’s a wonderful community event and a great way to get to know other parents! 

Feel free to wear your pajamas and dance and sing along. The PTA meeting will start at 5:00 pm and movie time is 6:00 pm. Please join us for this fun family movie event!

For those of you who may not know, we have a troop of gorillas at our own Houston Zoo since 2015.  Here is a story about their arrival to the zoo: https://www.houstonzoo.org/mammals/gorillas-explore-their-habitat/ This recent story about the zoo’s “Gorilla Doctors” is also interesting and discusses how they are helping to care for gorilla populations in the wild: https://www.houstonzoo.org/conservation/no-ordinary-veterinarian-houston-zoos-gorilla-saving-wildlife-warrior-dr-noel-comes-town/  and would be of interest to any blossoming veterinarians out there.  

Lauren Lindsay, VP Programs

 

Teacher Fruit Bowl

Let's fill the bowl in the teacher lounge to shower our teachers with LOVE via FRUIT! We have many open slots for February, March, April, and May. If you haven't participated yet this year, now is a great time to grab a shift. Help show our Travis teachers some love by providing them with healthy fruit to snack on during the week. Families take turns to fill the bowl once a week on Wednesdays to help the teachers through hump day. Wednesdays don't work? Another day during the week is great, too! Contact hospitality@travispta.org to learn more or sign up here.

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Calm Crusaders

The Calm Crusaders 6-week program is coming to Travis Elementary! It is a small and fun group led by clinicians where children learn to identify stress/worry/emotions/anticipatory anxiety/overwhelm/fears/frustration in their body. We learn what happens to each of us, individually and uniquely, right before we behave a certain way.  Illustrating that particular situations lead to thoughts, thoughts lead to emotions and emotions lead to behavior.  This is a candid discussion lead by the child on how to observe, explore and navigate some of our feelings.   Come join us Tuesday, February 27th when we launch our first session. 

Please direct your questions to Leslie Smith , and/or email Barbie Atkinson, LPC at Barbie@Catalyst-Counseling.com and to check out www.catalyst-counseling.com and hit the tab Calm Crusaders to get more information.

 

A Message from Nurse Grooms

Doing a little early spring cleaning?  The clinic is low on bottoms for all age groups and would be most appreciative if anyone wants to clean out their children’s drawers and send washed bottoms (we have plenty of shirts!).

 

Making a Mark

Beginning Monday, February 12th, Travis is hosting an art exhibit in the library entitled, “The Periwinkle Foundation Presents Making A Mark®”, an exhibition of art and creative writing by children touched by cancer and blood disorders at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. As a vital part of the healing process, Making A Mark enables children with cancer and their siblings to celebrate self-expression and empowerment through creativity. Children from treatment centers all over the world contribute to the traveling exhibit, which includes the Periwinkle Foundation’s Postcards from the Road program which will allow our Travis community to write postcards to the artists. Postcards are then mailed to the artists to share with them the well-wishes and inspirational words that their art inspired. More information will be available in the library. Please stop by to view this amazing exhibit!

Julie O'Sullivan, VP Parental Involvement

 

2018 Election Update

Remember that early voting takes place from February 20th to March 2nd. To see sample ballots and learn more about polling locations, check out: http://www.harrisvotes.com/.  Election Day is Tuesday, March 6th.  There will be primaries for many Congressional and judicial seats, as well as for U.S. Senator.  Stay informed and engaged!

Ruby L. Powers, Legislative Action Chair

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Update on Mr. McKenzie

We are thrilled to report that Mr. McKenzie is up and around and even able to speak, with some assistance.  He will still be in recovery for some time but he is making great progress.  We also heard from his family that they are all set for items for their home for now and are so grateful to the Travis community for their generosity.  Thanks to Chris Dray for making visits to the family, to Lauren Lindsay for organizing the sign ups, to David Jordan for making deliveries, to Lauren Lindsay for organizing the sign up, and especially to Alan Krathaus for helping to coordinate the entire effort, liaise with the family and deliver the goods.  Most of all, thank you to so many donors who quickly stepped up to help them furnish their new home and make them comfortable while they recover.  Thank you, Travis community, for helping us take care of one of our own!

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ONE BOOK, ONE SCHOOL

One Book, One School is in full-swing and we hope you are enjoying “The One and Only Ivan.” As a reminder, please try to read together as a family and discuss the questions each night. The nightly reading schedule may be found on your bookmark. Each morning, Ms. Sims will ask a trivia question and will choose two correct answers from each grade every day to win a prize – so make sure to READ, READ, READ!

Thanks to Ms. Sims for all of her hard work to put it all together, and to the Travis PTA for ensuring this wonderful tradition continues into its fourth year. Thank you also to the following Travis parents for helping to sort and package all the books: Laura Hipps, Jennifer Jordan, Veronica Jurado, Stephanie Riceman and Mel Rose. Be sure to save the date for February 22nd for our One Book, One School celebration night. See you there!

Lauren Lindsay, VP Programs

 

PLAYGROUND CLEANUP

Looking for a way to help out Travis, but short on time? Travis Playground Cleanup is just for you. Sign up for a brief debris-hunt around the playground after morning drop-off, or bring the family on a Saturday. Playground cleanup is also perfect for troops looking for a service project. Sign up here, and contact Ashley Francis with questions.

 

VALENTINE'S DAY TEACHER APPRECIATION LUNCHEON

Calling all Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade parents! Please help us show our love and appreciation for our Travis teachers, admin, and staff as PTA hosts a Valentine’s Day Lunch in the Teacher Lounge on February 14 from 10am-1pm. Sign up here to bring some goodies. You can drop your donations in the Teacher Lounge at morning drop off on Valentine's Day. Please have all items there by 8:30am so we can transform the space into a lovely oasis for these men and women who work so hard and love our children so well. Contact PTA Hospitality with any questions.

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MARATHON KIDS RUNNING CLUB TIME

Marathon Kids Running Club on Tuesdays and Thursdays will remain 3:30pm-4:00pm despite the delayed dismissal time. Thank you to the amazing coaches who volunteer their time to make this happen, and cheers to the fantastic kids having fun and getting healthy at the same time! If you have any questions regarding Marathon Kids Running Club, please email Karen Miles, PTA Health & Wellness Chair.

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KINDERGARTEN AND 1ST GRADE MARATHON KIDS FINISHERS

Near the beginning of the year, numerous Travis students in Kindergarten-5th grade took the challenge of running at least one marathon of (26.2 miles) or more. They complete these miles in incremental steps, counting the mileage they run at recess, in PE class, in running clubs, at soccer practice, etc.

Coach Dodd is proud to announce that the following students in Kindergarten and 1st grade have already completed one marathon - or more - and have turned in their mileage logs:

Hudson Miles
Wren Fraske
Patrick Hickl
Maxwell Pace
Benjamin Orchard
Hazel White
Jake Davidson
Greyson Sims
Hollis Borden
Jane Cox
Charlotte Scales
Evan Lorado
Genevieve Bain
Aanya Foster

If you are a Marathon Kid who has completed a mileage log, remember to turn it in to Coach Dodd, the PE teacher!

 

LAST WEEK TO SUBMIT TO SILVER ROCKET! TURN IN SUBMISSIONS BY FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9!

Looking for something to keep those little hands and minds busy? The Silver Rocket is now accepting submissions!

Please include name, teacher, grade and “please return” (if needed) on the back of the submission. Legible handwriting allows us to properly credit the student; keeping identifying information on the back only allows for anonymous judging.

We accept all forms of the written word from poetry to song lyrics to short stories and all media from crayon to oil painting to sculpture. Give your submissions to teachers or the Silver Rocket box at the Front Desk. Deadline is Friday, February 9. Questions? Email Stephanie Yankowsky.

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TIGER BEAT SPECIAL EDITION

HISD MAGNET FUNDING UPDATE FROM TRAVIS PTA
HISD has released their first public statement about the budget cuts here, but note it does not address the loss of Vanguard magnet schools specifically. 

As a follow up to the information provided in last week's "Special Edition" regarding proposed funding cuts and elimination of Travis' status as a Vanguard magnet school, many of you have asked for more details and what more you can do beyond sending emails. At present, no truly new information has been released, largely because these are only proposals. When we hear more, you will know it!  

Having said that, the next board meeting of the HISD Trustees is February 8. At the time of writing, cuts to Vanguard magnets are not specifically on the agenda. But that doesn't mean your voice still can't be heard. If you would like to speak at the meeting, you may register to do so. Here is the current agenda for the meeting. Speakers can register to stand before the board on issues not on the agenda (this is called a "Hearing of Citizens"), although note that you will be limited to about one minute (yep...ONE). You can register here to speak. Advice we've been given about the process: bring a sweater, snacks, and a whole lot of patience. This may not be on the agenda, but it is on everyone's minds, so don't be afraid to make your voice heard. 

And still send those emails to Superintendent Carranza and HISD Trustees (click here for a full list - email all of them!). I have sent the below letter to Superintendent Carranza, all HISD Trustees, local elected city and state leadership, and am sharing with you - feel free to adopt any part for your own message. Note that it addresses only magnet cuts as it is difficult to take a specific stand on the budget proposal at present as there are so few details. More to come as information changes. 

If you need me, I'm here. 
– Jenny Teague, PTA President

——————

Dear Trustee,

I write to you today as a fellow educator, and, more importantly, as a concerned parent of a child at Travis Elementary, a Vanguard magnet school in District 1. Much uncertainty has been promulgated by HISD’s recent introduction of a proposal to, amongst other things, eradicate successful Vanguard magnet programs. However, with those proposals has come much fear but little detail for families. The proposals are largely based on assumptions that have been proven problematic in the past: that we must rob success in the name of equity. 

Rather than dismantling successful programs that meet the needs of the Vanguard learner, take lessons from those successes so that they may be replicated elsewhere. Seek to bring up the general standard of education rather than tear down the programs that make HISD shine at both the state and national level. Come visit Travis (and other high functioning programs) to see what makes Vanguard magnets so successful, and find pieces that can be taken to other programs. 

I also ask for greater transparency in this whole process regarding both magnet and funding changes. Back up big ideas with details in terms of both timing and impact. Seek input from your administrators, who deserve so much more than to read of these proposals on social media at the same time as the general public. Engage your community stakeholders to understand what they want and need in a program to call it ‘successful’. And resist the temptation to hide behind the premise of equity when your very proposals denigrate any portion of your population, including your GT learners. Most importantly, find the time to listen to your principals, your teachers, your families, and decades of research reinforcing the efficacy of GT programs like that at Travis. 

Travis is successful not solely because of any given designation but also because of the commitment, training, and engagement of our faculty, administration, and families. I invite you to come learn more about how that spirit might translate into other schools before you shutter this program entirely. Replication of existing success is a much more manageable task than reinventing it. 

I implore you NOT to eliminate Vanguard magnet schools in HISD. 

Humbly,
Jennifer Teague, Ph.D
Travis PTA President

DONATIONS FOR CROSSING GUARD MCKENZIE

We are happy to announce that Travis crossing guard Mr. McKenzie is awake and alert and was able to receive visits from some Travis parents last week, who brought cards from students and lots of good wishes. He and his daughter will likely remain hospitalized for several more weeks, but they are making good progress in their recovery.   As of Friday, they have a new home to live in and could use some help replacing the items lost in the fire.  Please visit HERE to donate items and HERE to donate funds.  We appreciate our Travis community rallying around the McKenzies!

NEW DISMISSAL TIME

HISD will add extra minutes to the end of each school day for the remainder of the 2017-18 year to make up for instruction time lost to this month’s winter ice storm, which closed schools for two days.

Travis will dismiss 10 minutes later (3:25pm) starting Monday, 1/29, for the remainder of the year.  HISD won’t have to add makeup days to the calendar, and no changes will be made to holidays, grading cycles, or the last day of school, which will remain June 1, 2018 for students and June 4, 2018 for teachers. If you have any questions, please reach out to Mr. Day (tday1@houstonisd.org).

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