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Inside FWISD February 28, 2019

In this edition:

Board Approves Contract with Texas Wesleyan to Manage, Operate Leadership Academies | Board Approves 2019-2020 School Calendar | PRE-K/K Registration Information | District Upgrades Absence Reporting System | Cyber Security for Education | 'Seeing It Through' : First-grade Teacher Completes Her First Full Marathon | FWISD Students Compete In UIL Events | Fort Worth ISD Takes Gold and More At TSPRA Conference | Apply for District Teacher of the Year | Captured: See What Maintenance Caught at the Administration Building | Say Something : App allows parents and students to anonymously report crimes and suspicious behavior | Ask Elsie | Fort Worth ISD Snapshot | Calendar

Board Approves Contract with Texas Wesleyan to Manage, Operate Leadership Academies

The Fort Worth ISD Board of Education gave its blessing to an innovative five-year partnership contract between the District and Texas Wesleyan University.

The performance contract, unanimously approved 6-0 by the board February 26, authorizes Texas Wesleyan to operate and manage FWISD’s five Leadership Academy campuses:

  • Leadership Academy at Como Elementary
  • Leadership Academy at John T. White Elementary
  • Leadership Academy at Mitchell Boulevard Elementary
  • Leadership Academy at Maude I. Logan Elementary
  • Leadership Academy at Forest Oak Middle School

Earlier this month, on February 12, board trustees approved Superintendent Ken P. Scribner’s recommendation selecting Texas Wesleyan University as the District’s partner in operating and managing the five campuses.

The new partnership aims to sustain the rising academic achievements of the District’s five Leadership Academies as well as establishes the Leadership Academy Network, a first-of-its-kind initiative that leverages the resources of the Texas Wesleyan School of Education and the Fort Worth ISD Office of Innovation and Transformation.

The Leadership Academy Network impacts about 3,000 students. Transition in leadership will take effect before the start of the 2019-20 school year.

Read more about this new innovative partnership here.

Board Approves 2019-2020 School Calendar

Results of the 2019-2020 school calendar vote are in and are approved by the Fort Worth ISD Board of Education.

View the results and the 2019-2020 calendar here.

pre-k/k registration Information

EDITOR’S NOTE: Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten online registration begins, Monday, April 1. Over the next few weeks, Inside FWISD will share preparation information with employees.

The Fort Worth ISD will simultaneously conduct pre-kindergarten and kindergarten online registration for the 2019-2020 school year, beginning April 1, 2019,

Keep these important dates in mind:

1. Data clerk training for the new Pre-K process is slated March 19 – 22

2. Pre-K student applications completed and recorded in PowerSchool from April 1-26, are being processed first

3. From April 29-May 10, data clerks will finalize any outstanding online registration applications, received between April 1 and May 10.

4. Families will receive letters about their Pre-K application status by May 13

5. Data Clerks will work four additional days, June 4-7, to ensure all Pre-K applicants are registered before summer break

We will continue sharing information about the Pre-K documentation and process over the upcoming weeks. Feel free to contact Jennifer Perez with any questions.

More Pre-K/K registration is available here.

Thank you for your support!

District Upgrades Absence Reporting System

Fort Worth ISD Employees:

Effective Saturday, March 2, 2019, the District Employee Absence Reporting System “SmartFind Express: eSchool Solutions” will be changed to “SmartFind:PowerSchool Unified Talent.”

Functionality and accessibility will remain the same, but employees will notice the new logo and color when logging in.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call 817-814-2780 or email TSSI@Fwisd.org.

Cyber Security for Education

The following communication is from the Network Services Department:

In this issue of Inside FWISD, the District is kicking off a weekly series on Cyber Security for Education. Each week, the Network Services Department will provide information in the form of presentations, videos, web links and other resources aimed at educating staff, students and the community on important aspects of safe technology use.

These articles will focus primarily on internet connected technology, but they will also address protecting information while living and working offline as well. Good security starts with an awareness of all the ways your personal information may be obtained and used.

Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring a Cybersecurity Lab created and maintained by NovaLabs. This lab includes short videos, simulations, and lessons developed to provide a quick, fun way to learn about Cyber Security. Although we will be presenting this material a week at a time, we encourage everyone to fully explore the Cybersecurity Lab on their own.

In this week’s issue, we will begin by obtaining some background information about the internet and cybersecurity.

CYBERSECURITY 101

Video

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/video_popup/5/32/

Self-paced Lab

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/lab/cyber/1/1/

Pictured far right in the third row is W.J. Turner Elementary Campus Teacher of the Year Angelica Hernandez who completed her first marathon, Sunday, February 24. The day prior, she ran alongside her students from the W.J. Turner Tigers Runners Club in The Cowtown Kids 5K.

'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.

Pictured from Left is Ms. Hernandez with her son, Diego following her marathon run; Ms. Hernandez and her family and the first-grade teacher running along the marathon course. Photos courtesy of Ms. Hernandez

Her running journey started nearly eight years ago as a way to get in shape, she said. Her two older siblings, who are avid runners, were her motivators. She began walking a mile here and there and eventually started to run. In 2017, she completed her first half-marathon, and then another the following year.

By then, the 2003 Paschal High School alumna had the itch to complete a full marathon.

Ms. Hernandez began training for The Cowtown in September. She is part of the Fort Worth Running Club and leads the student running club at W.J. Turner.

Running to her, she said, is therapy. Plugging in music or a podcast and hitting the trails, Ms. Hernandez said is her opportunity to clear her mind. She dedicated her marathon run to her son Diego, mother, Antonia and boyfriend, Joksan. She completed the race in just over five hours, according to Cowtown race results.

Prior to the race, she said it was surreal to think that she was about to complete a 26-mile run but that she was "mentally ready for it."

"The marathon was incredible! An experience I'll never forget," Ms. Hernandez said. "I can't believe I accomplished that lofty goal I set for myself many months ago. The weather was amazing, and I am super excited to sign up for my next marathon!!"

Read more photos of FWISD runners at The Cowtown in the gallery below.

FWISD Students Compete in UIL Events

Fort Worth ISD students recently competed in three UIL- sanctioned contests – two of which were state championships.

Four mariachi ensembles from Fort Worth ISD’s Carter-Riverside, Paschal, Polytechnic and North Side high schools performed in the 2019 UIL State Mariachi Festival, February 22- 23 at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg. Read more about their performances here.

Last week, five high school wrestlers from Arlington Heights, Western Hills, Paschal and Carter-Riverside represented the District at the UIL Wrestling State Tournament in Classes 5A and 6A. Although the wrestlers did not advance to the finals, the District is especially proud of their efforts. Job well done. Read more about the state qualifiers here.

Earlier this month, the District hosted Middle School UIL One-Act Play contests, and six teams are advancing to the finals, Saturday, March 2 at the I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA. Click here to see what middle schools advanced to the competition, and what they will be performing.

FORT WORTH ISD TAKES GOLD AND MORE AT TSPRA CONFERENCE

Fort Worth ISD brought home an armful of awards in education communications from the Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) Conference held February 18-21 near Bastrop, Texas.

Fort Worth ISD scored five Best of Category awards, 14 Gold awards, and four Silver awards. The District’s Best of Category winners were:

  • Video Documentary – JROTC 2018 Staff Ride

TSPRA recognizes communicators in school districts, education foundations, education associations and organizations for their work in print and electronic media categories.

APPLY FOR DISTRICT TEACHER OF THE YEAR

All Campus Teacher of the Year honorees are among an elite group of educators eligible to apply for the 2019 District Teacher of the Year award.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, in order to be evaluated by the judging panel. A $5,000 cash honorarium will be awarded to both the elementary and secondary winners at the District Teacher of the Year dinner, which will be held at the Savanna Events Pavilion at the Fort Worth Zoo on May 2. Additionally, eight finalists will receive a $1,500 honorarium.

Five finalists in each category -- elementary and secondary -- will be announced at the Campus Teacher of the Year Reception April 2 at the Kimbell Art Museum. Please direct any questions to Peg Murphy, director of Community Partnerships at peg.murphy@fwisd.org.

CAPTURED

Fort Worth ISD maintenance employees have captured two unlikely bandits within the last month.

In recent weeks, maintenance workers trapped two raccoons looking to make the parking garage in the Fort Worth Administration Building their new hangout spot.

Maintenance was first alerted of the critters earlier this month after employees noticed trash cans toppled over in the parking garage. Pest control officials were called and traps with cat food inside were set out to capture the elusive mammals. Within two weeks, two raccoons were captured and released back into the wild.

Plans are underway to place deterrents in the garage to keep racoons away.

Employees keep your eyes open for any other raccoons.

According to wildlife experts, raccoons will eat just about anything including garbage and pet food when around humans. Mating season for the critters begins as early as January and generally peaks in March or April.

Say Something

Speaking up can mean the difference between life and death.

Did you know that Fort Worth ISD offers an application called Friends for Life through a partnership with Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County?

This program allows parents and students to anonymously report a crime or suspicious behaviors that can put students and others at risk.

Access the program 24/7 on the Fort Worth ISD Mobile App or visit www.469tips.com for more details.

Also be on the lookout for more information about the app in a future edition of Inside FWISD.

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.

Dear Elsie,

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.

Thank you,

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.

Elsie

Dear Elsie,

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?

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

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.

Elsie

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.

Black History Month : To celebrate Black History Month, campuses across FWISD hosted theater productions, gospel concerts and programs.

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.

February is African-American History Month

February is Career and Technical Education Month

Professional Learning and Innovation Opportunities

Elementary Professional Learning Opportunities

Secondary Professional Learning Opportunities

Website Training Schedule

March is Women’s History Month

Gold Seal Late Application Opens, March 1

Report cards issued, March 6

Racial Equity Summit Registration, pre-register through March 7

2019 Scripps Regional Spelling Bee, March 7

East Handley ES 60th Birthday Celebration, 10 a.m. March 8

Spring Break, March 11-15

Board of Education meeting, March 19

Racial Equity Summit, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. March 23 at I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA

Billy W. Sills Lecture Series: “Early Transoceanic Pan Am Air Travel and the Amon Carter Connection,” March 23 9:30 a.m.- noon Billy W. Sills Center for Archives (Presenters: Bill Morris and Dan Smith)

Dolores Huerta-Cesar Chavez Day of Service (Students NOT in School), March 25

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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