Our final PTA event of the year is on Thursday, May 23rd, from 6-7: 30 pm. Dinner in the Garden (DIG), an annual PTA tradition, means time to kick back in our beautiful garden and enjoy dinner with family and friends. Bring your own meal or purchase dinner from our Concessions crew. Spirit Store will also be on hand so you can stock up on all those end-of-year tiger swag needs. Faculty and staff will also be on hand to dedicate a new garden mural project subsidized by PTA. We hope you can join us as we bid adieu to another successful year of learning, fun, and friendship.
Due to STAAR testing on May 13, we will be moving Playground Cleanup to Friday, May 24, the day after our Dinner in the Garden celebration. Sign up here to show our playground and garden some love before we leave for the summer. As a reminder, we are happy to schedule a cleanup at any time that would be convenient for you or your group!
More than 60 HISD students have been selected to read at the Writers in the Schools (WITS) “Blooms: Young Writers Reading” event in May.
These students will be sharing their original poems, stories, and essays on stage at Discovery Green. Congratulations to the following students for being selected: Eemani A., Sophia E., Vivienne P., and Ava A. Read the full story and see all winners here!
Did you know that our PTA pays all costs for WITS tuition at Travis for third and fourth grades? That’s *your* PTA dollars at work!
Well, if it's not one thing, it's another!
A new bill has recently emerged in the Texas legislature. HB 281 is a bill that prohibits any political subdivision (including school districts) from providing money or other compensation to any organization that attempts to influence legislation. Texas PTA's understanding is that the primary intent of the bill was large municipalities; however, school districts are clearly implicated and legal opinion has concluded that this would extend to in-kind services such as meeting space, use of school property, electrical or other services.
HB 281 was proposed primarily to curb publicly-funded lobbying, but because Texas PTA and Travis PTA advocate on behalf of students and families, an unintended consequence means that local parent organizations like Travis PTA will not be able to use the school for meetings or events. This puts fun community-building endeavors like World Cultures Night, Family Movie Night, and Dinner in the Garden in jeopardy, but it also means that fundraising efforts like the beloved Travis Carnival would be prohibited, costing us valuable fundraising dollars as well as cutting off a vital source of funds for teacher supplies and resources.
Please CLICK HERE to send a message (sample language available) to all your state representatives to let them know that HB 281, while well-intentioned, will cripple parent groups like PTA. Contact Travis PTA President Jenny Teague with any questions.
Thanks to everyone who joined Coach Dodd last Tuesday after school to celebrate our Final Mile participants. Travis students ran a final mile, enjoyed snacks and won prizes for their participation over the year. We had a total of 203 Travis students who completed one or more marathons this school year, and second grade had the highest participation with 35 of those total students. An incredible 13 students completed a total of FIVE marathons this year.
Congratulations to the following children for this amazing achievement:
1st grade: Hollis B., Aanya F.
2nd grade: Patrick H., Benjamin O., Max P., Zane S., Sophie S., and Henry W.
3rd grade: Finley S., Patrick C. and Isiah G.
4th grade: Max S. and Roman S.
Thank you also to our wonderful Travis parent volunteers who served as coaches each week. We are so grateful for: Kristian Bordon, Erin Bain, Guin Basnight, Marizol Cabrera, Kelley Davidson, Mandy Olson, Kris Sonneborn, Jay Tchakarov and Peter Welch. They received huge hugs from their team and we thank them for a fantastic year.
Rhonda Welch, PTA Health and Wellness Chair
The Shared Decision-Making Committee (SDMC) meets this Wednesday, April 24. If you have feedback, concerns, or praise that you would like addressed at the meeting, you may send a note to SDMC@travispta.org or drop a written note in the box at the school’s front desk. You may choose to remain anonymous in either instance if you wish. Please submit any notes by 3pm on April 24 to ensure inclusion in the meeting. Bringing information or concerns to this committee is one way to see action taken on the matters that matter most to you!
— Jenny Teague, PTA President
Join Principal Day this Friday, April 26, at 7:30am in the Travis library for the final “Coffee with the Principal” of the school year. Mr. Day will provide updates about fun, funding, and all the other things you want and need to know about the happenings at Travis. PTA is bringing breakfast, so you can grab a bite while you listen!
The first week in May is Teacher Appreciation Week, and we want to show our teachers how much we love them! Let's thank them for all their hard work by giving them a luncheon they'll remember. On Wednesday, May 8, we're going to have a Tex-Mex buffet. It’s all hands on deck, so sign up to help HERE.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 16, from 7:15 to 8:30am. Travis PTA would love to thank all our volunteers, donors, and sponsors with a special breakfast honoring YOUR collective superpowers. This is a fun time to catch up with your Travis family and share some successes from the concluding school year. Beginning at 7:45, PTA will host the final general meeting of the year. The 2019–20 budget will be proposed for adoption, and updates and exciting developments for the next school year will be shared. We hope to see you there!
Results are in, and VegOut! was an absolute success! Once again, the kindergarten class owned the competition, collectively logging over 4,000 vegetables during the month of March. The entire kindergarten class (both students and teachers) deserve major kudos for a job well done.
Additionally, 120 students successfully completed the VegOut! challenge of eating 30 different veggies within 30 days. Each of these kids will receive a “VegOut! Superstar” pin (designed by Marie Wise and donated to the school by Jessica Taylor) to commemorate their achievement. The top veggie-eater from each grade will also receive a $10 Spirit Store gift certificate. A huge congrats to the following winners:
4th Grade - Cord C.
3rd Grade - Nora E.
2nd Grade - Henry W.
1st Grade - Genevieve B.
Kindergarten - Anastaisa C.
A double high-five also goes to our 18 students who successfully ate more than 60 veggies during the month of March: Cord C., Christian J., Nathan B., Cora B., Anna H., Ava M., Cameron M., Cecilia W., Charlotte S., Finn B., Isla H., Viviana V., Adrian E., Holden S., Tai C., Genevieve B., Tierney S., and Hollis B. And finally, special bragging rights are reserved for the three members of our Travis family who successfully consumed over 90 veggies each during the challenge: Anastaisa C. (93), Mrs. Cress (114), and Henry W. (117). And of course, every kid who tried even one new vegetable last month is a winner. Congrats to all of our 2019 VegOut! participants!
— Rhonda Welch, Health and Wellness Chair
Let your state senator know how you feel about public school funding - ask them to support HB3, which increases the general per student funding allotment across the board. Not sure who to contact? Find your elected officials HERE. Make your voice heard! Here’s how:
1. Old school snail mail.
Organize a postcard writing party. Get some friends together and spend an hour writing messages to your elected representatives.
2. Get your social media on.
Your elected reps are on Facebook, too. And Twitter. And maybe even Instagram. Find them, post on their pages/feeds, and direct message them to share your concerns. Share their handles and pages with your friends so they can do the same. Consider using the ‘Town Hall’ function in Facebook to find all your elected representatives.
3. Hold the phone.
Pick it up and dial to reach your reps. Find their Austin phone number HERE. Sometimes you’ll have to leave a message and sometimes you’ll get a staffer. Always leave your name and details and have a preset idea of what you want to share. Every call and opinion is logged, so make sure both of yours are clear. Here’s a brief script idea:
“Hello, my name is _____ ______ and my zip code is ______. (pause to allow staffer to write this down). I am calling to ask [Senator/Rep] ___________ to [support/oppose] [legislation]. This matters to me greatly because of ______. Thank you for your time.”
4. Email FTW.
You email. They email. Everybody emails! Send an email to your senator and representative to share your position on school funding. Every email is logged by issue and stance, so be sure to state your zip code and be clear about where you stand on the current school funding model as well as your desire for them to support HB3.
Texas PTA has recently awarded Travis PTA with the “3 Year High” Award. This means we have had our largest number of members this year compared to the previous three years. And, spoiler, this year is actually our largest group of members in the history of Travis PTA!
Winning awards is cool for sure. But what matters, even more, is that we have 641 members to be voices for Travis, for Houston, and for Texas public school students. We’re glad to have YOU in our corner!
Haven’t joined yet? There’s still time this school year. We’d love to have you as member #642: www.travispta.org/join
Travis students have been running and running and running! Six months ago hundreds of Travis students made a goal of completing at least 26 miles or more of running this year and nearly everyone has completed the challenge. Heck, we even had some students do over 100 miles of running this year!
The time to celebrate is just around the corner. On Tuesday, April 23 after school we will have our final mile celebration. Click HERE for more details. There will be healthy snacks, sports prizes and lots of running! Be sure to turn in all those mileage logs to Mrs. Dodd.
Join Principal Day on Friday, April 26, at 7:30am in the Travis library for the final “Coffee with the Principal” of the school year. Mr. Day will provide updates about fun, funding, and all the other things you want and need to know about the happenings at Travis. PTA is bringing breakfast, so you can grab a bite while you listen.
Second-grade families enjoyed community building and fun (and a little rain -- it’s not a Travis camp out without it!) at Huntsville State Park. Thanks to the super Second Grade teaching team for organizing exciting and educational activities for all.
Did you know that Travis PTA subsidizes the costs for official campouts in kindergarten and second grade? That’s *your* PTA dollars at work!
HB3/SB3 - SCHOOL FINANCE REFORM
The Senate Education Committee will have its hearing on school finance reform TODAY, Tuesday, April 16. They will discuss House Bill 3 (HB3), which has already passed in the Texas House of Representatives, and it is important to contact everyone on the committee (links available HERE) to let them know that you support comprehensive school finance reform and especially an increase in the basic allotment. We need to be sure that the school finance reform that comes out of this session is comprehensive. Further, we need to be sure that the legislators do NOT require a special session to accomplish school finance reform—it is currently budget season, and districts need appropriate budget information ASAP so they can plan for the next school year.
If you are concerned about dedicated funding to Gifted and Talented (GT) programs, you can also mention to your senators that you do not want to repeal the GT allotment in Texas Education Code (TEC) Section 42.156. If you are interested in advocating for or learning more about GT education in Texas you can sign up with the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) here: https://www.txgifted.org/advocacy
HB242 - STAAR TEST REFORM
Texas PTA supports HB 4242, which urges lawmakers to reform the STAAR test. The bill as written would stop the penalties associated with the 2018-19 STAAR test and allow the test to be vetted by independent groups of educators to assess if the test is reliable in its readability. Several studies have found that the STAAR reading passages are inappropriately difficult and above grade level (or inconsistent in grade level readability) for grades 3-8. If you would like to advocate for this, please contact your state representatives and tell them that you support HB 4242. Information on STAAR reform bills here: https://www.statesman.com/news/20190409/committee-tackles-bills-targeting-staar
FIX SCHOOL FINANCE TOOLKIT
Finally, HISD has a Fix School Finance tool that will allow you to contact all of the members of the Senate Education Committee at once. You can find that here: https://www.houstonisd.org/fixschoolfinance The toolkit includes sample tweets and sample emails.
Important note: When contacting your representatives, be clear in the HB/SB that you are supporting/not supporting. The representatives’ offices keep tallies of constituent support/lack of support, and they use this information to make their votes.