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Travis Heights Hosts Press Conference on In-District Charter Application

Elementary School Hopes to Educate Public Prior to School Board Vote

Austin, TX—Travis Heights Elementary School, 2010 Alameda Drive, will host a press conference on at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 to discuss the school’s decision to submit an application to become the first campus-based, in-district charter in the district’s history. If accepted, the change could alter the landscape of public education in Austin.

“We want more relevant, real-world experiences for our children,” PTA President Blake Trabulsi said. “Travis Heights will be a pioneering campus for innovative teaching and learning and a model for building school improvement from the inside out.”

For more than two years, Austin Independent School District, with grant support from the American Federation of Teachers’ Innovation Fund, worked closely with Austin Interfaith and Education Austin to develop the plan that would make parents, teachers and administrators full partners in designing and governing the school. Travis Heights’ parents and teachers worked with Principal Lisa Robertson to hold hundreds of conversations within the Travis Heights community to define their collective priorities and vision for the school. The school proposes to use a student empowered, holistic approach that integrates real-world issues with themed, problem-based learning blended with technology, and further development of the existing dual language program.

“I want our students to be truly engaged with school,” fifth grade teacher Mary Friedman said. “I want them to gain the skills to be life-long learners and leaders.”

The school gathered support from over 80 percent of Travis Heights’ parents, teachers, and staff in order to apply to become a campus-based, in-district charter. The school will remain a neighborhood public school, part of Austin ISD, with the same teachers, staff members and students but will have the autonomy to make key decisions at the campus level.

Britt Adams, special education teacher, leader of Austin Interfaith leader and member of Education Austin, said the decision reflects the belief that vibrant neighborhood schools are a key part of building strong communities.

The School Board is scheduled to vote on the application at the next regular meeting scheduled for Dec. 17.