Travis Elementary School was founded in 1910. Preserved and renovated portions of the original building remain, though the majority of classes are now held in a state-of-the-art new facility on the same campus. Today, Travis Elementary is a Vanguard Magnet school, specializing in advanced education for Gifted and Talented children.
As a magnet school within HISD, Travis Elementary has no religious affiliation. Students’ religious convictions do not factor into admissions, and the curriculum does not include theological material. While there is no institutionalized prayer in the school, there is a daily minute of silence during which students may choose to pray. Additionally, absences due to religious holidays do not count against a student’s record, though the student is still responsible for make-up work.
Travis Elementary School is located in the Greater Heights area, and the surrounding neighborhood is primarily residential.
The school was originally constructed in 1910, and significant additions were made in 1926. The 1926 portion of the building is still in use, though it has been renovated. The parts of the building dating to 1910 were demolished to make way for a new, state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2006.
In addition to the spacious new building, Travis Elementary boasts a number of outdoor educational facilities, including a garden, an outdoor classroom, a bird sanctuary, and a butterfly garden, as well as a school park which doubles as a city park.
Travis Elementary is a zoned magnet school, and as such, students residing in the attendance zone (see map below) are given preference. However, Travis’s Vanguard Magnet program is schoolwide, and as such, only zoned students who are certified as Gifted and Talented are guaranteed admission. HISD will provide alternative school options for zoned students who do not qualify as Gifted and Talented.
In order to apply for the magnet program at Travis Elementary, students must complete an online or paper application and send additional materials to the school by mail. These additional materials consist of proof of age 5 by September (for kindergarten applicants), proof of HISD residency, and a statement of preferred dates for the entrance exam.
The entrance exam required for admission to the magnet program is not the ISEE, but rather the Woodcock-Johnson III Test of Achievement, which is used in the official Gifted and Talented Identification Matrix for HISD. Testing is organized through the school, and after the application has been submitted, the school will contact parents with additional information.
Applications are accepted from early November to mid-December for the subsequent school year, and admitted students are notified by late March. Admission to the magnet program is contingent upon passing the entrance exam, and available spots are filled on the basis of a lottery system. Travis Elementary is one of the most selective magnet programs in HISD, with an acceptance rate of 6.97%.
While neither interviews nor school visits are required for the admissions process, visits are available. Parents of potential kindergarten and PreK students may be particularly interested in the PreK and Kindergarten Round-Up in late March.
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Travis Elementary offers a single academic track, the Vanguard Magnet program for Gifted and Talented students. The Vanguard elementary curriculum is designed to be more quickly paced, complex, rigorous, and varied than standard elementary education. The goal is to foster intellectual development, academic growth, and a deeper understanding arising from connections between concepts and subjects. Course material at Travis Elementary is often presented in an interdisciplinary, integrated format in order to encourage students to make connections. There is also a focus on individual and collaborative problem-solving.
The curriculum at Travis incorporates a number of Enrichment classes, which include staples such as Art, Music, “Creative Movement,” Physical Education, Library Skills, and Computer Skills. Enrichment also incorporates some relatively uncommon classes, such as Gardening, Economics, and, for older students, Chess.
Travis Elementary’s curriculum also includes a bilingual education/ ESL option.
Accommodations are available for students with special needs who meet the requirements for admission. If the parents already have documentation about the student’s special needs, the school will need a copy of that documentation. After receiving the documentation, the school will set up an annual ARD meeting that the parents, the student, an administrator, a core subject teacher, a special education teacher or 504 representative, and an HISD advocate will attend to discuss the specific modifications necessary for the student and to create an individualized education plan (IEP) for the student. Every teacher will receive a copy of the modifications for the student after they are set in the ARD meeting.
If the parents want to request modifications for their child, then the special education teacher will give the student’s teachers paperwork to document the student’s behavior and any modifications the teacher uses for the student. After 6 weeks of documentation, the teachers will turn in the paperwork, and the special education teacher or 504 representative will call a meeting similar to an ARD meeting. If the meeting determines that the student needs accommodation, then the school will have documentation of the student’s special needs and will follow the same procedures as above.
Travis Elementary is well-equipped to meet a variety of special needs. The school offers an Exceptional Education program for children with learning differences and other special needs. Through this program, students are given the individual attention and help they need but are integrated into the general student body to the greatest extent possible. Travis also offers a Dyslexia Intervention Program in which children can receive specialized instruction on reading and oral comprehension as well as written language.
Apart from the bilingual education option which serves Spanish-speaking students, Travis does not offer any foreign languages.
The arts are incorporated into the Enrichment curriculum at Travis Elementary, with visual arts, music, and dance taught at every grade level. In the visual arts program, students learn grade-level-appropriate art skills and theory, and their work is displayed at the school’s annual Fine Arts Night. The study of visual arts is also incorporated into the curriculum by means of a school-wide study of a famous artist each year. In the music program, students are introduced to several instruments, including the keyboard, mallet percussion, drum percussion, and the recorder; classes also include a choir component. Music classes also incorporate listening and learning about the works of the great composers and the Kodaly method of music pedagogy. The school hosts performances in which students can showcase their musical development. In the “creative movement” program, students learn the basics of dance, including expressive motion, rhythm, and choreography.
In addition to the Enrichment curriculum, students are also provided with opportunities to experience the fine arts “beyond the classroom.” Students may take field trips to local theatrical, dance, and musical performances, and a program called “Music Encounters” brings local musicians to the school. Travis Elementary also hosts an annual Fine Arts Night. At this event, local artists, writers, musicians, and other performers put on a show for the students, and students have the chance to interact with them and learn from them in structured activities.
No information about Travis Elementary’s technological facilities is available at this time.
Cell phones are permitted on campus, but they must be turned off and kept in the student’s backpack for the entire time that the student is on campus. If a student is caught with a cell phone on his or her person, the phone will be confiscated and returned to the student’s guardian.
After-school activities at Travis Elementary are offered in partnership with Kidventure. In the Finale program, students have time for active play and for homework. In the Encore! programs, which are not mutually exclusive with Finale, students can take courses in “creative motion,” chess, piano, guitar, and violin.
Travis Elementary also hosts a wide range of extracurricular activities which do not meet regularly after school. In addition to the annual Fine Arts Night, the school also holds an annual Literacy Night and an annual Math/Science Night. Furthermore, the curriculum at each grade level incorporates an educational field trip. The school also offers community service opportunities in the form of grade-level class projects for students in grades 3-5 and an annual school-wide canned food drive for Super Bowl of Caring.
Travis Elementary does not offer interscholastic athletic programs.
Parents who wish to be more involved in their children’s education at Travis Elementary can join the Parent-Teacher Association. This organization coordinates parent volunteering and raises funds for a number of school events and functions. The PTA is also instrumental in bringing in educational programs such as Writers in the Schools and maintaining the school’s Health and Wellness and Environmental programs, as well as publishing the school newsletter. Parents who wish to volunteer through the PTA must also register through HISD’s Volunteers in Public Schools program.
The school also has a Shared Decision Making Committee, through which interested parents can join with teachers and community members to advise the principal on important administrative matters.