Inside FWISD August 26, 2021

In this edition:

Fort Worth ISD Administrators Take On New Roles | FWISD Board Approves Temporary Virtual Learning Option (TVLO) This Fall Semester Rediscover FWISD: Get To Know FWISD's Board Of Education | FWISD Partners with Perrone Pharmacy To Host COVID-19 Vaccination ClinicsFort Worth ISD Offers Elementary Students “Hands-on” Experience in STEM* Education: *Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Mobile Labs Are Transforming Instruction for Younger Pupils | Billy W. Sills Center for Archives Settles Into Temporary Home | Photo of the Week | View more stories throughout the week on the Inside FWISD Blog

Fort Worth ISD Administrators Take on New Roles

Several top Fort Worth ISD administrators will take on new roles in a reorganization approved by the Board of Education on Tuesday, August 24.

Jerry Moore, who has served as Chief Academic Officer, will become the District’s sole Chief of Schools.

Dr. Marcey Sorenson will take on the role of Chief Academic Officer. She was formerly the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning.

Dr. Raúl Peña will now serve as the District’s Chief Talent Officer, leading the Human Capital Management Division.

Both Dr. Pena and Dr. Cherie Washington previously were co-chiefs of Student and School Support.

Dr. Washington now becomes the Chief of Student Support Services.

Additionally, the Board approved the appointment of Olayinka Ojo as Executive Director of Early Childhood.


Families may now register for the Fort Worth ISD Temporary Virtual Learning Option (TVLO) .

The FWISD Board of Education approved the temporary virtual learning option for students who have been unable to return to school due to a documented medical condition. The Board action took place at a regularly scheduled meeting, Tuesday, August 24. Registration opened at noon Wednesday, and families may apply for the program through noon Monday, August 30 at www.fwisd.org/TVLO. Classes begin on Monday, September 13 and continue through the rest of the fall semester.

While we know in-person instruction is best for academic success, we also recognize that some medically fragile students need a virtual learning option. This opportunity will be for those younger students --kindergarten through sixth grade --who are unable to receive COVID vaccinations at this time and have a documented medical condition that prevents them from attending school in - person due to COVID – 19.

There are a limited number of seats; our intent is to meet the needs of our students who can furnish the verifiable medical documentation that prevents them from attending in-person instruction.

The Board of Education heard a presentation about the TVLO prior to voting on funding for the program on Tuesday. View a recording on the presentation on the Fort Worth ISD LIVE YouTube Channel.

Visit www.fwisd.org/TVLO for additional information about the virtual learning option, including an FAQ and a form for application. The site will also contain some learning resources for parents.

On Tuesday, the board also:

  • Recognized organizers of the Wildcat, Welcome Back! Registration and Resource Fair. Hosted July 31 at Dunbar High School, the pyramid-wide event offered families nearly 150 backpacks and registered 125 students for school. Families had opportunities to engage with 30 community and District vendors, enjoy food and entertainment including food trucks, face painting and bounce houses. The Wildcat, Welcome Back! Registration and Resource Fair was hosted by FWISD’s Division of Equity and Excellence along with the Family and Community Outreach and Marketing Department.
  • Adopted a tax rate of $1.3432 per $100 valuation, which is a 3.5% reduction from the previous rate of $1.3784. For every $100 a taxable property is worth, $1.3432 will go to the District’s its operating budget and payments for bond projects.
  • Approved the 2021-2022 FWISD Compensation Manual. The official document will be available for viewing soon on the Compensation and Employee Records webpage. A draft of the Compensation Manual notes is available in the Board agenda book beginning at page 296.

The FWISD Board of Education will convene again for a special meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. Here is the meeting agenda. The meeting will be held at the FWISD Professional Development Center Room 108, 3150 McCart Ave.


Editor's Note: In efforts to Rediscover FWISD, Inside FWISD will introduce or re-introduce District staff to Fort Worth ISD leaders and departments over multiple newsletter editions. This week, get to know the FWISD Board of Education.

Learn more about the Board and the regions of the District they represent at fwisd.org/board.

The following is the Board of Education's 2021-2022 Meeting Workshop Schedule.


The Fort Worth ISD, in partnership with Perrone Pharmacy, is hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics at 15 District secondary schools August 23-September 23.

Click here for vaccination dates and locations on registration details.

Fort Worth ISD Offers Elementary Students “Hands-on” Experience in STEM* Education

*Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Mobile Labs Are Transforming Instruction for Younger Pupils

“Three! Two! One!” a group of excited D. McRae Elementary School students shout as their classmate lowers her finger onto a black button.

She presses the button. A sound, similar to a trumpet blaring, echoes through the air school grounds as a paper rocket catapults from a pressurized launcher and soars through the air.

“Whoa,” the students shout in amazement as the rocket floats over the school’s back fence before making a landing on Vaughn Boulevard where parents wait their vehicles for afternoon pickup.

“Good job,” instructor Lila LeCuyer tells the student pleased with her result, as another child prepares for their own rocket launch.

Over and over, students shout “3,2,1!” as approximately 20 children take turns at launching their own rockets. Some fly out into the faculty parking lot; others whimper a few yards, while others soar high before landing out of view.

“Where did it go?” the students ask.

Second through fifth grade students at D. McRae Elementary were the first to experience the District’s STEM Mobile Innovation Lab tour across the Fort Worth ISD this academic year. They were also the first to meet the District’s new mobile STEM lab teachers, Ms. LeCuyer and Joshua Grizzelle.

The two science teachers hold certifications for early childhood through eighth grade. Ms. LeCuyer, who is from New Mexico, is starting her first year with the District and her fourth in Texas. Her background is in third-grade science. Mr. Grizzelle, now in his 26th year as an educator, has been with the District eight years. He’s taught fifth grade science and kindergarten.

Earlier this month the District’s Career and Technical Education Department hired Ms. LeCuyer and Mr. Grizzelle to take its STEM Mobile Innovation Lab trailers “on the road” to District campuses throughout FWISD to engage students in STEM-related activities and modules at each stop, like flying drones, 3-D printing, programming robots and much more.

The two educators will write curriculum that exposes students to skills they may not learn in the classroom. Curriculum can also be customized by campus. If a school or class struggles with a particular Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standard and needs additional help, lessons can be designed to address the needs of the school or class, Ms. LeCuyer said.

“There’s a really cool opportunity for us as science educators to kind of grab it by the reins and get to come up with our own ideas and make it our own which is really, really exciting to me,” she said. “I’m really excited so far to see all the students that we’re going to be able to inspire through doing this.”

This week, CTE began dispatching one trailer to one campus per week, Monday through Thursday. Following the Labor Day holiday, two trailers will be dispatched to District elementary and middle school campuses weekly. The mobile STEM labs will also be part of FWISD’s Saturday Learning Quest programming, which launches September 11.

On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, the Board of Education approved the purchase of two additional STEM Mobile Innovation Lab that the CTE plans to staff soon with two additional mobile STEM lab educators.

The trailers will first visit campuses in the Polytechnic High School pyramid before venturing out to other pyramids across the District throughout the school year.

“It’s wonderful. The vision of the trailers and the overall goal is to create an experience,” said Timothy Rogers, a CTE instructional specialists who trained the new instructors. “When you look at the learning gap over the last 12-18 months … now we’re able to target that by grade level.

“Here’s a way to support K-5 [and middle school] in a way that we’ve never been able to before. This is a great opportunity.”

The FWISD STEM trailer offer students hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activity modules including Building Materials, Alternative Energy, Robotics, and 3-D Electronics (ZSpace). Through ZSpace, an augmented and virtual reality technology, students learn STEM subjects using immersive images that they can move and manipulate.

“Instead of just working with one group of fifth graders or one school worth of students, I’m able now to reach thousands of students,” Mr. Grizzelle said. “We’re going to work with every elementary school in the District this year and every middle school, so we’re going to walk away having reached 30,000 students at least.

“The idea of bringing out to the kids … or out to the schools was very enticing – being a traveling science teacher or traveling STEM teacher.”

Throughout the school year, Ms. LeCuyer and Mr. Grizzelle hope to present lessons about robotics; coding; programming; alternative energy; materials processing and forensic science at the middle school level.

As the school day came to a close back at D. McRae Elementary earlier this week, students escaped from the Texas heat and into an air-conditioned classroom. Separated into three groups, the children took turns – with direction from their instructors – operating small drones from an iPad just minutes before the final school bell rang.

As the drones levitated from the classroom tables, hovering above the students’ heads, some began to wave at the floating devices. Others’ eyes lit up with excitement while multiple smiles escaped from behind the children’s face coverings.

“I have not seen any students walk away that didn’t have a smile on their face,” Mr. Grizzelle said. “Whether their rocket flew, or it didn’t fly, whether they crashed the drone or didn’t crash the drone, everybody walked away looking like they had enjoyed themselves and had a good time. Really that’s the goal – trying to get them excited about these fields of study.

“It’s something they’re not seeing daily in an elementary school, so this is unique in that aspect.”

Billy W. Sills Center for Archives Settles Into Temporary Home

Fort Worth ISD’s Billy W. Sills Center for Archives is open for business at its new, temporary home and ready to serve the community with its expansive slice of Fort Worth ISD history.

The Sills Center, has moved to 100 N. University Drive in the FWISD Administration Building. Visitors have access to District information, such as the history of schools, individuals who have made an impact, yearbook collections and more from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The staff is also available to assist visitors with their research needs and photo requests.

People needing to visit the center outside of its general operating hours may do so by calling 817-814-2040 to book an appointment. Visitors must check in at the FWISD Information Center before entering the Sills Center from the outside doors on the far south end of the Administration Building complex -- the former Transition Center space.

The Billy W. Sills Lecture Series is currently on hold, however, due to space restrictions.

The Sills Center houses a vast collection of materials and artifacts, such as band and cheerleader uniforms, a prom dress from 1958 and school banners. The original, hand-written minutes from the first school board meeting in 1882, and for about the next 40 years, are also preserved there. Among the documents are minutes documenting the hiring of the District’s first superintendent, Alexander Hogg, and notable FWISD educators including I.M. Terrell, R.L. Paschal and Lily B. Clayton.

The Sills Center is seeing more foot traffic since relocating to the Administration Building, said Lenna Hughes Recer, the center’s caretaker. People see something different and come in to check it out, she said.

“The huge advantage I see to being here is that we have a lot of passerby people that will see it and come in. People will see it and don’t know we exist,” Ms. Recer said. “That has always been a goal of mine to let the community know that we’re here.”

Many of the physical items are being stored until the Sills Center moves into his permanent location. The Center’s previous location was sold as part of a District-wide surplus property plan, and it was relocated to the Administration Building in July 2021. A new location is expected to open the fall of 2022.

At that point, the Sills Center will act as a both a museum and research center. The displays will include school histories and clothing, equipment used by teachers through the years, and desks and artifacts from a typical classroom in the 1930s,’40s and ’50s.

Late social studies teacher Billy Sills began collecting artifacts and other material about the FWISD and its history. In 1963, he was appointed the first full-time social studies consultant. With the help of the Fort Worth Council for the Social Studies and others, the archives continued to grow. The Board of Education honored him 1983 with the naming of the Billy W. Sills Center for Archives of the Fort Worth ISD.

Photo of the Week

Students from D. McRae Elementary School wave to a drone operated by their classmate during the District's 2021-22 STEM Mobile Innovation Lab Kickoff Monday, August 23.

Share your story ideas, successes, calendar items, photos, questions and feedback with us at Inside@FWISD.org. Content submissions are due no later than 10 a.m. Fridays for the next edition. Check the Inside FWISD blog, www.fwisd.org/insidefwisd, regularly updated throughout the week with additional content and features.


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