'SEEING IT THROUGH’
First-grade Teacher Completes Her First Full Marathon
W.J. Turner Elementary Campus Teacher of the Year Angelica Hernandez completed her first full marathon this weekend at The Cowtown.
“I am just really excited about that and hoping to come back Monday with a shiny medal to show my kids,” the first-grade teacher said prior to the race. “I think it’s a positive message to my kids, my students that I had this goal and I accomplished it. It’s kind of what it’s all about – sticking with your goals and seeing it through to the end.”
Ms. Hernandez was among students and staff from 60 Fort Worth ISD schools that participated in 2019 Cowtown festivities, February 23-24. Prior to the February 24 marathon, ran alongside her students in the Kids 5K, the previous day.
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.
The following questions are edited for clarity.
Many teachers are concerned about the amount of testing that is required for grades second through fifth. Recently, students completed benchmarks and interim tests in a period of one week. At the same time, we were administering the middle of the year level sets for Achieve and MAP. After that, we’re administering three-week assessments. This is way too much for these students.
Teachers do not have enough time to teach their students. For teachers who teach multiple grade levels, the tests are never ending. We cannot teach or have them ready for any assessments if we do not have any time built in to teach. Not to mention, the level of paperwork is increasing.
Instructional planning calendars and student action plans do not actually allow us to be creative and plan our classroom lessons. We are too busy completing additional paperwork. I would love to know how Mr. Carroll feels about these issues. Spacing out these tests would provide us with more time to teach.
Love to Teach
Dear Love to Teach,
Thank you for your question. I reached out to Charles Carroll, FWISD chief academic officer, regarding your question and here’s the response: “Thank you for your inquiry about the amount and types of assessment currently occurring in FWISD classrooms in grades 2-5.
There is a significant amount of monitoring in the elementary grades this year, and as a correction to very little mandated assessment in the two previous years it appears to be, and is, an impediment to large blocks of uninterrupted teaching time.
The testing calendar will be re-examined at the end of this year, and every year, to make sure data derived from testing is being used at campuses to drive instruction; if that is not the case, the assessments in question will be removed to clear time for instruction. The District is obligated to track student growth, but there does need to be a reasonable balance between assessment and instruction, and we will strive toward that when the assessment calendar is written this summer.”
Thanks again for your question Love to Teach and Mr. Carroll for your response.
First, why doesn't the District utilize waiver days for administrative assistant's meetings and trainings, rather than pulling us out on a regular school day?
Elementary secretaries have three days this month alone that we will be off campus at meetings. Two are half days and could have been held on Friday, February 1st's waiver day. The departments holding the meetings/trainings do not pay for a substitute. They tell us the principal must pay for a sub out of the school budget. Budgets are cut every year and we need to use that money to benefit the students, not pay for subs so we can go to meetings that should/could be held when we have no students in the building.
In elementary especially, we only have two of us in the office and pulling one out for even a half day makes the office so busy. We wear many different hats as it is and to add another person's duties to the mix when it could be avoided just does not make sense.
Second, does our District not have a calendar that can be looked at before planning meetings/trainings? So often things are scheduled on top of each other and have to be rescheduled or you have to pick which is more important to attend. This does not only happen for administrative assistants but also teachers, principals and other support staff. In today's day and age and with so much technology why can't we implement a District-wide calendar or if there is one in place why aren't we using it?
Thank you for the suggestion for utilizing District/campus waiver days for administrative assistants’ trainings.
We will work across departments to bring the concern and the suggestions for the 2019-2020 school year.
Please continue to provide suggestions and feedback on this topic and others as we plan for the 2019-2020 school year.
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.
Please bear with us as we have a backlog of Ask Elsie questions and are responding to questions as soon as we can.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following are recent photos from across the Fort Worth ISD.
YMLA Alumnus Returns Home: Kirk P. Preston II, the 2018 valedictorian at Young Men's Leadership Academy, returned to his alma mater to speak with students, Wednesday, February 27. Mr. Preston, who was part of YMLA's first graduating class, is pursuing a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana.
South Hills Silver Dancers Drill Team Wins Sweepstakes: The Silver Dancers walked away with Sweepstakes and Judges Award trophies and a runner-up for Best in Category in Jazz at the Showtime International Texas Championship in Mansfield, Saturday, February 23. The team is competing in the MA Dance North Texas Regional 4 contest in North Richland Hills this Saturday.
The Cowtown: Students and staff from 60 Fort Worth ISD schools signed up to participate in 2019 Cowtown festivities. Pictured are students and staff who participated in Saturday's 5K events.
U.S. Military History Staff Ride: Approximately 30 Fort Worth ISD cadets and employees participated in the District’s JROTC Honors U.S. Military History Staff Ride to Fort Concho and Fort Davis, February 21-25. The staff ride focused on Texas, U.S. Military and Black history. Look for more about this trip in a future Inside FWISD edition.
D. McRae Elementary School Career Day: The event, hosted Friday, February 21, included professionals from more than 20 organizations including the Fort Worth Police Department, Cook Children's Medical Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service .
ML Phillips ES Cultural Heritage Night: Families learned about countries around the world at the event hosted February 20.
2019 FWISD Dream-Maker Exhibition: The 27th annual event, held February 18 at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden Conservatory, encouraged elementary- and middle school-aged students to create art pieces based on the theme "Connecting Through Creativity." Students were also asked to write a dream statement or dream story to enhance their creative thinking about their artwork. The exhibition was hosted by the District and Imagination Fort Worth.
Dunbar HS Seniors Participate in Clean-Up Effort: The seniors painted near the Trinity Trails and Interstate 30 earlier this month.