Inside FWISD February 7, 2019

In this edition:

2019 Commencement Ceremony Dates | How to Access Gold Seal Lottery Results | National Signing Day 2019 | Paschal HS Swimmer Sets Record, Qualifies for UIL State Swimming and Diving Championships | South Hills HS Boys Basketball Clinches Playoff Berth | FWISD Celebrates Black History Month | 2019 UNCF Employee Giving Campaign Information | Teacher Volunteer Transfer Information | Pre-K/Kindergarten Registration Details | FWISD Elementary Principal Nominated for LifeChanger of the Year Award | Benbrook Police Officers Association Celebrates Westpark ES Teacher | FWISD Preps for Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta Day of Service | National Hispanic College Fair Details | EHHS recognizes 2 Distinguished Alumni | Ask Elsie | Fort Worth ISD Snapshot | AAIL Spotlight | Employee Assistance Program Services | Calendar


High school 2019 graduation dates, times, and locations are finalized for Fort Worth ISD.

Click here to see the dates.


Check your inboxes. Notification emails for Fort Worth ISD’s Gold Seal Programs and Schools of Choice go out this week.

Families will receive an email the week of February 4 with instructions for accessing their child's results in the Gold Seal lottery. Parents must log onto choice.fwisd.org/Account/Login using the email account and password connected with their child’s Choice application to view results and any registration information.

Students not selected to their first choice will be placed on a waiting list for their first choice.

Nearly 5,400 students submitted applications to enroll in FWISD’s Gold Seal Programs and Schools of Choice for the 2019-2020 school year last fall.

Admission into Gold Seal programs and schools is based on a computer-generated lottery selection process.

Beginning March 1, 2019, students may still apply to Gold Seal programs and schools with available spaces.

Gold Seal Programs of Choice and Schools of Choice appeal to student interests and passions and equip students with skills to thrive in college and the workforce. The rigorous program categories include engineering, agriculture, business administration, fine arts, government and law, health science, hospitality, marketing, public safety, technology, visual and graphic arts and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) just to list a few. The programs allow students to finish high school college-and-career-ready and with opportunities to obtain multiple college credits, licensures and certifications.

For more details, visit fwisd.org/choice.

FWISD Student-Athletes Sign On to Play College Sports

The Fort Worth ISD congratulates the more than 30 student-athletes who signed letters of intent to play sports on scholarship at colleges and universities across the country.

The District held its National Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.

The following student-athletes were recognized at the signing ceremony:

View the full broadcast of FWISD’s National Signing Day ceremony here and more photos here.


An R. L. Paschal High School swimmer is headed to the UIL State Swimming and Diving Championships later this month after setting a new school record on Saturday, February 2 at the regional competition.

Ian Neville placed first in the 100-meter free and set a new Paschal High School record of 46.72 seconds at the 6-A Region 1 Swimming and Diving Championships. The event was held at the 1,500-seat Pete Ragus Aquatic Center in Lubbock.

The swimmer will compete in the UIL championships February 15-16 at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center on the University of Texas at Austin campus.

Sweet 16: SHHS Boys Basketball Clinch First Playoff Berth in Years

For the first time in 16 years, the South Hills High School boys basketball team is headed to the playoffs.

The Scorpions defeated the Arlington Heights Yellowjackets 51-48 to clinch the playoff berth.

Read more in the Star-Telegram.


The Fort Worth ISD will observe African American History Month throughout February.

During the month, we will celebrate, remember and reflect on the contributions of District heroes as well as share more information about the District's K-12 African and African-American History and Culture curriculum in the weekly Inside FWISD newsletter and on Fort Worth ISD social media platforms.

Each February, the United States reflects on and celebrates the achievements and contributions of African Americans to this nation.

The annual observance, officially known as African American History Month, or Black History Month, was originally established in 1926 by author and historian, Carter G. Woodson.

For 50 years, the acknowledgement of black history was a weeklong observance. In 1976, the United States bicentennial, the week was expanded to a month-long celebration.

FWISD Starts 2019 UNCF Employee Giving Campaign

The Fort Worth ISD kicked off its 2019 UNCF Employee Giving Campaign with a celebratory breakfast on Monday, February 4 at the Professional Development Center.

From February 4 to March 22, 2019, District employees are encouraged to contribute to the campaign, which supports scholarships for graduating FWISD seniors who plan to attend a United Negro College Fund (UNCF) member institution or a historically black college or university (HBCU).

Employees may contribute to the campaign three ways:

  • Online giving through the UNCF website (Donors must still complete a pledge form so that the amount contributed is counted towards campus/district campaign totals.)
  • Cash donations in any amount to a UNCF campus/district representative
  • NEW! Payroll Deduction:

a. One-time or monthly deductions can be set-up electronically through the UNCF website

b. Pledge form donation from UNCF campus/district representative: Employees must select or indicate a deduction amount on their pledge form. The amount selected is deducted per pay period. For example: If a monthly payroll deduction of $5 was selected for 4 months, the total contribution will be $20. Special Note: Payroll deductions begin July 2019 and end by December 2019

The District’s 2019 UNCF Employee Giving Campaign coincides with the start of Black History Month. UNCF coordinators and supporters, some in HBCU and Greek-letter apparel, attended the District’s Feb. 4 kickoff breakfast to hear about this year’s campaign and to pick up campaign materials.

Within the last eight years, FWISD employees have contributed more than $200,000 toward UNCF scholarships for deserving students. The District awards scholarships up to $5,000 to FWISD graduates attending HBCUs. This year, the District anticipates contributing $40,000 to UNCF scholarship recipients.

Students interested in the 2019 UNCF scholarship may view the requirements and apply via www.uncf.org/scholarships through March 22.

UNCF is the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization raising funds for deserving students to attend college. For more than seven decades, UNCF has awarded more than $100 million annually in scholarships, supported HBCUs and advocated for “the importance of minority education and community engagement,” according to the organization’s website.

For more information, contact Dr. Stacy Burrell, the FWISD campaign coordinator, at AskEval@fwisd.org or Ms. Cortney Lewis Smith, the UNCF representative, at 972-234-1007 or Cortney.lewis@uncf.org.

HCM Releases Teacher Voluntary Transfer Information

The following communications is from Human Capital Management:

Pre-K and Kinder Roundup Makes It Easy for Parents to Enroll Children for Early Learning Programs

Parents, the Fort Worth ISD is making it easier for you to enroll your child for Pre-K and Kindergarten. Backing up its belief that “Your Child Belongs Here,” the District is providing streamlined online registration and requiring fewer documents during enrollment.

Here are some important dates:

April 1: Easy, online Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration begins

April 6: The Fort Worth ISD Annual Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration and Literacy Fair provides important information about your child’s future

In addition, the Fort Worth ISD Bookmobile will visit local neighborhoods to help parents register their children. Children will receive free books to get them excited about learning as they prepare to begin school in the fall.

The District’s Pre-K program is free of charge, and there’s enough room for every child. Children attend school from 8 a.m. – 2:15 p.m. each day in classrooms that are nurturing, safe spaces that inspire discovery and learning.

Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers in Fort Worth ISD have earned their state certification. Pre-K teachers receive an extra 30 hours of training each year and Kindergarten teachers receive 16 additional hours of training annually. This additional training equips teachers with the latest tools to give young students the right balance of structure and play in their education. Our teachers focus on literacy, math, social interactions and other skills to help children successfully navigate the academic path that lies ahead.

Research shows young children who have positive early learning experiences are better equipped to develop the cognitive, social, physical, and emotional skills they will need throughout elementary and secondary school.

Mark your calendar for April 1 for the beginning of online enrollment and April 6 for the annual Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration and Literacy Fair. And, watch for more details about Fort Worth ISD Pre-K and Kindergarten enrollment.

The following communication is on behalf of the National Life Group Foundation

Fort Worth ISD Educator Nominated for National LifeChanger of the Year Award

Manuel Jara Elementary School Principal Marta Plata has been nominated for the 2018-2019 national LifeChanger of the Year award.

Plata was recognized for making a significant impact on her school over the course of her 13 years as principal. In 2013, she designed and implemented Parent University, a school program that empowers parents to become more involved in their children’s education. Nearly 500 parents have gone through this program, which also offers GED training and college credits through Tarrant County College.

“Principal Plata has been a game changer for our community,” said Daniel Castro. “Too many parents have to stop their education and focus on taking care of their families. With this curriculum put together by Principal Plata, parents can understand the importance of being involved in their child's education, but more importantly, they are being given a second chance.”

“As an educator, I've never been pushed more to reach my full potential,” said Angie Barreto, a staff member at Manuel Jara Elementary. “Principal Plata always encourages me and gives me everything I need to be successful in the classroom. She believes in me, and for that, I always strive to be the best teacher I can be.”

About LifeChanger of the Year

Sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, LifeChanger of the Year recognizes and rewards the very best K-12 educators and school district employees across the United States who are making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.

Each school year, LifeChanger of the Year receives hundreds of nominations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Seventeen individual LifeChanger of the Year awards will be given during the 2018-2019 school year.

  • (1) Grand Prize Winner – will receive $10,000 to be shared with their school/district.
  • (4) Grand Prize Finalists – will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district.
  • (10) LifeChanger Award Winners – will receive $3,000 to be shared with their school/district.
  • (1) Spirit Award Winner – This award is given to the nominee whose community demonstrates the most support for their nomination. The winner will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district.
  • (1) Spotlight Award Winner – This award is given to a nominee in a specific discipline each year. For 2018-19, the Spotlight Award will be given to a nominee who works in a counseling role (e.g, guidance counselor, social worker). The winner will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school or district.

Winners are announced via surprise award ceremonies held at their schools. The grand prize finalists will also be honored at a national awards ceremony in April 2019 in Hawaii, where the Grand Prize Winner will be revealed.

Winners are chosen by a selection committee comprised of former winners and education professionals. Nominees must be K-12 teachers or school district employees. To be considered for an award, nominees must

  • Make a positive impact in the lives of students
  • Enhance their school or district’s atmosphere, culture and pride
  • Demonstrate exemplary leadership at the school and/or district level
  • Possess a proven record of professional excellence
  • Show commitment to building a nurturing environment that supports learning
  • Adhere to the highest moral and ethical standards

A resource page with ideas for how to celebrate nominees can be found at http://lifechangeroftheyear.com/showspirit/.

To view Ms. Plata’s LifeChanger of the Year nominee profile, or to nominate someone from your school community, visit www.LifeChangeroftheYear.com.

Photo courtesy of Susan Hill

Benbrook Police Officers Association Celebrates Westpark ES Teacher

A $1,000 donation was recently made to Westpark Elementary School in honor of special education teacher, Isabel Shirley.

The contribution, made by the Benbrook Police Officers Association, will fund workplace furniture in the school atrium, according to the Benbrook News.

Ms. Shirley is Westpark Elementary’s 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year.

Photos courtesy of the Cesar Chavez Foundation and the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

District Preps for Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta Day of Service

Save the date.

Plans are underway for the Fort Worth ISD’s first Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta Day of Service, Monday March 25.

Be on the lookout for more details on how the District is observing the day soon.

The service day is one of two FWISD employees and students are leading this school year.

Last April, the Fort Worth ISD Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution deeming the Monday prior to March 31, Cesar Chavez’s birthday, an annual student holiday in the District. FWISD’s observance of Mr. Chavez and Ms. Huerta recognizes their work as labor and civil rights leaders.

This March is the first observance of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta Day in the FWISD.


What: National Hispanic College Fair

When:9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, February 15, 2019

Where: Game On Sports Complex, 2600 Alemeda St., Fort Worth

Summary: The National Hispanic College Fair will visit Fort Worth on Friday, February 15 for its Spring College and Career Fair at Game On Sports Complex. This event will bring representatives from as many as 50 colleges, universities and vocational training institutions to meet with Fort Worth ISD students.

Fort Worth ISD juniors will have the opportunity to attend the fair to become aware of the many educational options available at the participating institutions. Free transportation to the event will be provided from all Fort Worth ISD high schools.

Since 1998, the National Hispanic College Fair has traveled the country annually assisting Hispanic and Latino students successfully enter college.

Students will meet with institution representatives in a comfortable setting. Each student will be provided with a list of questions to help him/her solicit the information needed to make informed decisions.

For more details, call the Academic Advisement Department at 817-814-2575.

Courtesy photo

EHHS Adds Two to Distinguished Alumnus Ranks

The following communication is from the Eastside Alliance:

Mike Stewart, Eastern Hills High School class of ’75, and Bruce Conti, Class of ’77, became the newest members of the EHHS Distinguished Alumnus Hall of Fame during halftime of the men’s basketball game between EHHS and O.D. Wyatt at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center on Feb. 5. Handling the recognition at center court were Eastern Hills High School Principal Katrina Smith and School Board President Tobi Jackson, herself an EHHS graduate and Distinguished Alumnus.

Stewart is a long-time specialist in the healthcare industry, serving as president of Healthcare Recovery Alliance. In recent years, he founded the EHHS Alumni Support Association to assist the school and student groups in fulfilling unfunded needs. To date the group of more than 2,700 alums has raised over $70,000 along with manpower to help with athletics, performing arts, visual arts and academic endeavors.

Conti is president of Conti Warehouses, a commercial real estate company with holdings of well over 2 million square feet in North Texas, including several landmark properties like the old Ranch Style Beans factory. Recently he founded the Neurological Recovery Center in west Fort Worth, which is a $5 million state-of-the art, high-tech rehabilitation and physical therapy center for long-term patients of brain injury, stroke and spinal injury. He is also working on a clinic for disabled veterans to help them deal with such issues as PTSD. The goal is for the clinic to be a nonprofit 501-c-3 that accepts veterans at no charge with an economic model similar to that used by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Distinguished Alumnus status recognizes alums of Eastern Hills who have established extremely successful careers, achieved memorable milestones, or blazed pathways that serve the greater good of the community. This group includes Super Bowl champions, Pulitzer Prize winners, authors, industry leaders, public servants, entertainment icons and philanthropists.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ask Elsie is a column where Chief Financial Officer Elsie Schiro tackles employee queries, or in areas outside her purview, asks other District leaders to answer them.

Dear Elsie,

Are there serious efforts in the works to move all field trip requests and approval processes to an online medium? The current process is quite archaic and incredibly time-consuming for everyone involved. Making the move to an online process could vastly improve many operations within the District. It could allow for automatic tracking, ensure there is no missed information, improve reporting, and would probably relieve the cramped hands of those that have to sign many at a time. It would also be in line with any green initiatives that we have in the District. The most important issue this could resolve is just how long it takes to communicate and complete from beginning to end. Is this something that District staff can look forward to in the future?


Nicolle Sartain

Dear Ms. Sartain,

Thank you for your question. This item is currently being discussed and researched by Dr. Scribner’s Leadership Team, and we hope to have a new process soon.

Thanks again for your question Ms. Sartain.


Dear Elsie,

Why are Teacher of the Year recipients chosen solely by other teachers? It tends to lead to a popularity contest where the most deserving teachers are passed over in favor of the “most popular” teachers.


Frustrated Educator

Dear Frustrated Educator,

Thank you for your question. I reached out to Peg Murphy, director of community and strategic partnerships, regarding your question and here’s the response: “Thank you for your question about the Campus Teacher of the Year Program. Campus Teachers of the Year have been nominated by and selected by their peers, to include all certified staff, as long as that staff member works with students at least four hours per day. Each campus principal can structure the election in the manner that best fits that campus. Many times a principal and/or assistant principal will participate in the voting, especially if the election is close. When previous teachers of the year have been interviewed, their responses have always indicated that to be selected by their peers is the highest honor. Those teachers are respected and admired because they obtain student growth, they collaborate with colleagues and share their expertise, and they tend to be well-liked because of these qualities. We know there are so many highly-qualified and deserving teachers for this honor, and we continuously evaluate the program so that those who go above and beyond for their students and their school communities are honored. Below is the list of general criteria for selection. Again, thank you for your question,

Eligibility Requirements:

Candidates should:

  • Have taught in the Fort Worth ISD for a minimum of three years
  • Have a total of five years minimum teaching experience overall
  • Be a full-time, certified, pre-kindergarten-12 Fort Worth ISD teacher in good standing. Good standing means that no disciplinary action, pending or completed, has been taken against the teacher during the year including and prior to application. Disciplinary action includes, but is not limited to, suspension without pay or other restrictive measures based on a violation of policy or law. Determination of good standing is at the sole discretion of the FWISD.
  • Plan to continue teaching in the Fort Worth ISD for the 2019 - 2020 school year
  • Lead students of all backgrounds to demonstrate learning
  • Collaborate with colleagues, students, and families to create a culture of respect and success
  • Engage in leadership opportunities that contribute to the work of the profession
  • Connect the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community at large
  • Express themselves in an engaging and articulate way
  • Demonstrate leadership and innovation in and outside of the classroom walls that embodies lifelong learning
  • Communicate the District's vision and goals at all times”

Thanks again for your question Frustrated Educator and thank you Ms. Murphy for your response.


Direct your questions to Inside@fwisd.org and put the words "Ask Elsie" in the subject line. Please close your letter with your preferred signature as you wish it to appear in the column. When there are multiple queries on the same subject, we will select the one that is most representative of the subject. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following are recent photos from across the Fort Worth ISD.

Paschal HS Panther Corps Performs at Kimbell Art Museum Ahead of Historic TMEA Appearance: Ahead of its big performance at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention, the men’s ensemble from Paschal High School performed a free local concert at the Kimbell Art Museum's Recital Hall, Tuesday, February 5. The show titled “This Is My Song” celebrated diversity through music of various world traditions including Mexico, Pakistan, Germany, Estonia and Finland. The will become the District’s first choir performing at the TMEA Convention when it takes the stage Thursday, February 14 at San Antonio’s Henry B. González Convention Center. Click here to view video footage from the February 5 concert.

FWISD Celebrates National School Counseling Week: #FWISD celebrates by thanking our school counselors for helping students navigate their path to success in college, career and community leadership! Visit https://www.fwisd.org/domain/942 to learn more about #FWISD’s guidance and counseling resources. Pictured are counselors from Arlington Heights High School, Waverly Park Elementary School, Leonard Middle School Bill J. Elliot Elementary School, Glen Park ES, and Westpark ES. #NSCW18

The Cowtown CALF Donates to Bill J. Elliott and Sam Rosen Elementary Students: The organization presented students with shoes for the upcoming Cowtown 5K, this week.

Multicultural Education Institute: About 175 educators from across Texas attended the second annual Multicultural Education Institute, hosted by the Fort Worth ISD Social Studies Department. The department teamed up with Texas Christian University’s Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies to present the all-day event which included nearly 30 sessions that equipped teachers with curriculum and resources culturally responsive to educating today’s diverse classrooms of students.

Kids Vision Fest: About 400 FWISD students free vision screenings and eye glasses at the seventh annual Kids Vision Fest. Superintendent Kent P. Scribner attended the fest, gave brief remarks, and joined Andy Pawson, president and general manager of Global Vision Care Franchise eye company Alcon, in reading “Howard and the Amazing Eye Exam” to a group of fest attendees. He also volunteered for an eye exam following story time.

200 Fort Worth ISD Educators Attend Fifth Annual NACAC Essentials Professional Learning Conference: The conference offered educators more than 21 breakout sessions with essential tips on preparing students for success after high school..

About 100 People Attend ESL Classes at Student Placement Center: For the first time the SPC recently hosted ESL classes in collaboration with the FWISD Adult Education Department.

Trimble Tech Culinary Students Advance to ProStart State Competition: Five students enrolled in the culinary arts program at Trimble Tech High School have qualified for the Texas ProStart State Invitational March 8-9 in San Antonio.

O.D. Wyatt HS Students Advance to the UIL Cross-Examination Debate State Meet: Wyatt High School students took first and third, respectively, and have qualified for the UIL Cross-Examination Debate State Meet. Tarrius Miller and Simone Wallace took home first place honors at regionals, and Justyn Wallace and Wilson Castro finished third. The team from Wyatt also won the Cross-Examination District Sweepstakes.

AAIL Spotlight

The following communication is from the Advanced, Accelerated, and Innovative Learning Department:

In an effort to celebrate excellent employees and share best practices, the Advanced, Accelerated, and Innovative Learning Department is “spotlighting” outstanding individuals and schools. We are excited to spotlight Maria Cruz from Stripling Middle School this week.

We Can Help

The following communication is from the District's Employee Assistance Program provider, Alliance Work Partners:

Each day, millions of Americans struggle with their finances. Money matters go beyond not having enough money at the end of the month. The strain impacts health, well-being and relationships. Surveys indicate people sleep less, argue more, eat poorly, gain weight and get sick more often. Your EAP can help you get back on track!

Help is just a phone call or a click away!

For more information, contact us at 800-343-3822 or visit www.awpnow.com/main/fwisd-eap-resource-room/.

February is African American History Month

Professional Learning and Innovation Opportunities

Elementary Professional Learning Opportunities

Secondary Professional Learning Opportunities

Professional Learning Opportunities with Education Technology, Register in Eduphoria

Professional Learning Opportunities for Pre-Kindergarten to Second-Grade Teachers, Register in Eduphoria

Registration for ESL classes underway

Transition Student's First Coat and Food Drive: " A Gift from the Heart," Coats and food will be collected through February 8 in boxes at the University Grill in the Administration building and the Transition Center LIFT Program office in the Administration building (Suite 103). Donations will be distributed to area missions, The Salvation Army and shelter

Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, Through February 9

Elementary School History Fair, February 11-12

Board of Education Regular Meeting, February 12

District-wide Financial Aid Help Session, February 12

Council of PTAs Founder’s Day Luncheon, February 12

National Hispanic College Fair, February 15

FWISD Dance Showcase, 7 p.m. February 19 at I.M. Terrell Academy

District-wide Financial Aid Help Session, February 23

Board of Education Regular Meeting, February 26

Racial Equity Summit Registration, pre-register through March 7

Share your story ideas, successes, calendar items, photos, questions and feedback with us at Inside@FWISD.org. Check the Inside FWISD blog, www.fwisd.org/insidefwisd, regularly updated throughout the week with additional content and features.

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