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Inside FWISD March 19, 2020

In this edition:

FWISD To Remain Closed Through April 3, 2020 | A Special Video Message from Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent P. Scribner: Staying Connected During the Coronavirus Shutdown | Fort Worth ISD Closes In Response to COVID-19 | FWISD Adds Seven More “Meals to Go” Sites for Students: Seventeen Locations Serve Students During Coronavirus Shutdown | FWISD Board Approves Pay For Employees During COVID-19 Closure | FWISD Learning At Home Now Available Fort Worth ISD Students Asked to Reset Passwords To Access Online Resources | Important Information for Dual Credit, Early College High School, and OnRamps Teachers and Students |Governor Waives STAAR Testing Requirements | Stop the Spread Calendar | View more stories throughout the week on the Inside FWISD Blog

FWISD TO REMAIN CLOSED THROUGH APRIL 3, 2020

The Fort Worth ISD will be closed through April 3 by order of Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Governor Abbott announced that all Texas schools will be required to comply with his temporary executive order.

The Fort Worth ISD began its regularly scheduled Spring Break on March 9. The spread of COVID-19 forced the continued closure of the District through March 29. Now the District will be closed for a third unscheduled week.

For all current information regarding Fort Worth ISD and COVID-19, please visit fwisd.org and click on COVID-19.

A Special Video Message from Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent P. Scribner

Staying Connected During the Coronavirus Shutdown

Fort Worth ISD is making decisions daily to continue the teaching and learning, take care of our employees’ needs, and help keep our entire community safe. In the first in a series of special video reports, Superintendent Kent P. Scribner tells how we are staying connected with all our District family to keep you up-to-date on coronavirus-related news that affects how we live and how we educate students.

Watch the video now.

And, stay tuned for regular messages from Dr. Scribner as, in his words, “we navigate this challenging, new road together.”

Fort Worth ISD Closes in Response to COVID-19

The Fort Worth Independent School District will remain closed through Friday, April 3 as our community works together to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All District activities, including travel for both adults and children, through April 3, are also canceled. All athletic events, UIL competitions, and athletic strength conditioning sessions have been canceled, as well.

Superintendent Kent P. Scribner initially announced the District closure in a March 13 letter to Fort Worth ISD students, teachers, and parents. He also sent a phone message to every District family with the same information. Since the letter was released, the closure has been extended an additional week.

“This will not be easy,” Dr. Scribner said. “But we are working to find ways to support our families and continue educational instruction over these next two weeks.”

Learning At Home

Online activities, prepared by Fort Worth ISD’s Teaching and Learning Division, are now available to keep students engaged and involved in their academic studies during the closure. More detailed curriculum and a process for delving more deeply into student learning is forthcoming.

“These are challenging times for us all. Students, although you are not in school right now, you remain our number-one priority,” FWISD Chief Academic Officer Jerry Moore wrote in a recent letter to families and students.

To view the online learning activities, visit www.fwisd.org/learningathome.

Meals To Go

The District’s Child Nutrition Services Department and its food service vendor SODEXO Magic will provide healthy “to go” meals for children who rely on eating each day in the school cafeteria. Breakfast and midday meals will be available Monday through Friday at 10 school locations for pickup. Seven additional District locations will open for pickup, beginning Monday, March 23.

View an interactive map of the “meals to go” locations and additional details at fwisd.org/mealstogo.

Families needing food assistance or individuals who know of a family needing help are encouraged to email parentinfo@fwisd.org with the parent name, contact number, student name(s) and school(s) if possible.

FWISD Facilities Closure

Every District building will remain closed through April 3. Only personnel designated as essential by their supervising chief or chief-level administrator will be allowed to enter District sites.

The District recently completed a thorough, deep cleaning of our campuses and offices. Extra crews were brought in to ensure this is done properly. Schools and offices will remain closed to prevent those facilities from becoming contaminated. If someone has to enter a building for any reason, that building will be scheduled for another deep cleaning prior to school reopening.

Fort Worth ISD Family Resource Centers and all co-located services will also shut down until March 30 pending further recommendations from the Tarrant County Public Health.

Additional Resources

The District’s Know The Plan webpage offers tips for identifying coronavirus for preventing spread of the disease.

For the latest District updates, visit the Fort Worth ISD Mobile App and a special District website, www.fwisd.org/COVID19, which offers multiple resources for students and families during this unprecedented event.

FWISD Adds Seven More “Meals to Go” Sites for Students

Seventeen Locations Serve Students During Coronavirus Shutdown

The Fort Worth ISD will add an additional seven “meals to go” sites to serve children during the extended school closure prompted by the coronavirus. This will bring the District’s total number of feeding locations to 17, beginning Monday, March 23.

A map showing the locations of all feeding locations can be found on the District website.

The District began with eight locations earlier this week and quickly expanded to 10. Now, Superintendent Kent P. Scribner has asked the District’s Child Nutrition Services Department and SODEXO to add even more locations to help replace those meals children receive each day at school.

FWISD Child Nutrition employees prepare meals to go at Polytechnic High School, earlier this week.

Each student will receive a lunch for that day as well as a breakfast for the next morning, Monday through Friday.

Parents must be accompanied by their children if they intend to pick-up the meals.

Locations and hours are:

10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Springdale Elementary School, 3207 Hollis St. Fort Worth

Western Hills Elementary School, 2805 Laredo Drive, Fort Worth

Paul L. Dunbar High School, 5700 Ramey Ave., Fort Worth

Clifford Davis Elementary School, 4300 Campus Drive Fort Worth

Como Montessori School, 4001 Littlepage, Fort Worth

Atwood McDonald Elementary School, 1850 Barron Lane, Fort Worth

Burton Hill Elementary School, 519 Burton Hill, Fort Worth

Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Manuel Jara Elementary School, 2100 Lincoln Ave., Fort Worth

Hubbard Heights Elementary School, 1333 W. Spurgeon St., Fort Worth

Eastern Hills High School, 5701 Shelton St., Fort Worth

De Zavala Elementary School, 1419 College Ave., Fort Worth

Polytechnic High School, 1300 Conner Ave., Fort Worth

Dolores Huerta Elementary School, 3309 Long Ave., Fort Worth

Southwest High School, 4100 Altamesa Blvd., Fort Worth

Harlean Beal Elementary School, 5615 Forest Hill Drive, Fort Worth

Meacham Middle School, 3600 Weber, Fort Worth

Luella Merrett Elementary School, 7325 Kermit, Fort Worth

FWISD BOARD APPROVES PAY FOR EMPLOYEES DURING COVID-19 CLOSURE

A resolution approved 8-0 by the Board of Education guarantees most Fort Worth ISD employees will continue to be paid while schools are closed.

Trustees approved the resolution during a relatively short Board meeting, Tuesday, March 17. You can view the entire Board meeting on the FWISD website.

As Board members socially distanced themselves, following CDC guidelines and not sitting close to each other, Representative Tobi Jackson read the resolution authorizing continuing wage payment for District employees. The resolution covers a period of one month unless extended by the Board.

“Whereas the Board finds that a need exists to address wage payments for employees who are idled…serves the public purposes of maintaining morale, reducing turnover and ensuring continuity of District staffing when schools reopen…the Board of Trustees authorizes continued wage payments for all regular employees, contractual and non-contractual, salaried and non-salaried and qualified substitutes…,” Mrs. Jackson read from the resolution.

The resolution impacts approximately 11,500 regular employees, contractual and non-contractual, salaried and non-salaried, and qualified substitutes.

Substitutes who have worked at least 100 days for the 2019-2020 school year are considered “qualified” and serving the public purpose of making sure the District has a qualified pool of substitutes when classes resume. The resolution does not authorize pay for substitutes who’ve worked fewer than 100 days or part-time employees.

The resolution included additional provisions for premium pay (time and a half) for specific employee categories.

FWISD employees who work in the following positions will receive their current hourly rate for the guaranteed daily hours:

  • FWISD CNS workers = 5 hours
  • FWISD CNS managers = 8 hours
  • FWISD bus drivers and bus attendants = 5 hours

The District will honor the start dates for all new employees who were processed, cleared, and given a start date by Human Capital Management. New hires with a start date of March 6, 2020 or prior will receive a payroll check on March 27, 2020. New employee hires that were processed, cleared, and given a start date of March 7, 2020 or after by HCM will receive their first check on April 28, 2020.

Approval of the March 17 resolution, cancels all scheduled Paid Time Off (PTO) days employees entered and were approved for during the closure period. No employee will be charged leave days for the shutdown, and no absences should be reported during this closure period.

Approved leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will not be counted during the time the school District is closed. However, temporary disability leave continues to be counted, and maternity leave days continue to accrue toward the six (6) weeks allowed, according to District Board policy.

Below is the resolution approved by the Board.

FWISD Learning At Home Now Available

Fort Worth ISD students now have content and grade-appropriate online materials for staying engaged and stimulating learning at home.

The District launched its Learning at Home webpage, Wednesday, March 18, at www.fwisd.org/learningathome with elementary and secondary resources. The District intends to share more detailed curriculum and a process for delving more deeply into student learning soon.

“These are challenging times for us all. Students, although you are not in school right now, you remain our number-one priority,” FWISD Chief Academic Officer Jerry Moore wrote in a March 18 letter to families and students. “We encourage students and parents to explore the materials we’ve provided.”

If you have a question about FWISD’s Learning at Home program, please email Mr. Moore at Jerry.Moore2@fwisd.org.

For more details on the curriculum available, visit www.fwisd.org/learningathome.

Fort Worth ISD Students Asked to Reset Passwords To Access Online Resources

The Fort Worth ISD is asking all students to reset their online District password as distance learning becomes more important than ever before.

This one-page information sheet will guide you through the password change, step-by-step. http://www.fwisd.org/studentpasswords

The process will take about ten minutes – and will ensure secure access to the District’s online academic resources. Students will need to use a device other than their Chromebook to make the change – like a laptop, an iPad, or even your Smartphone. Once a new password is established, they will be able to utilize their District-issued Chromebook.

If you run into problems, you can call 817-814-8378 for assistance.

Important Information for Dual Credit, Early College High School, and OnRamps Teachers and Students

Fort Worth ISD has been in constant contact with our collegiate partners as they make their own adjustments to meet the needs of our students. The following information applies to teachers and students in: Tarrant County College Dual Credit (TCC), TCC Early College High Schools, Texas Wesleyan Early College High School (Dunbar), and University of Texas at Austin – OnRamps.

All of our collegiate partners will transition to online courses on March 23. Please see the information below for specific information from our various partners.

TCC Dual Credit Students and Early College High Schools

TCC will begin online instruction for Dual Credit classes and Early College High School courses on March 23, 2020. All TCC students need to review this document https://www.tccd.edu/info-ribbon/coronavirus/coronavirus-dual-credit/ and follow the instructions carefully. TCC has also provided information for those needing assistance with logging in.

Texas Wesleyan Early College High School Students (Dunbar)

Texas Wesleyan University will transition to online courses on March 23, 2020. These courses will be available through their Blackboard system. Please use your login credentials to access your courses.

If you need support logging on, the Texas Wesleyan IT Department is available to assist. Call the Help Desk directly at 817-531-4428. You have two other options: Option 1 – contact Blackboard support at 817-531-4428; Option 2 – message helpdesk@txwes.edu.

University of Texas at Austin ONRamps Students

OnRamps is already using an online system so you should be able to log in and begin work on March 23. As normal, these courses will be available through their Canvas system. Use your login credentials to access your courses. Any new information will be posted through the Canvas system. FWISD will work to post any of those updates through our communication channels.

Please continue to refer to the District website, the FWISD Facebook page, and your college email address for the latest information.

Governor Waives STAAR Testing Requirements

State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing requirements for the 2019-2020 are being waived, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced, Monday 16. The governor has also requested the Department of Education waive federal testing requirements.

The decision to waive STAAR requirements comes just days after a national emergency was declared to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease, and as a result multiple Texas schools canceled classes. Coronavirus also known as COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that within the last week has become a worldwide pandemic.

"Your health and safety are top priorities, and the state of Texas will give school districts flexibility to protect and ensure the health of students, faculty, and their families," Gov. Abbott said in a statement. "We will empower schools to make the best decisions to protect their communities from COVID-19."

Gov. Abbott will join Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath and officials from the Texas Department of State Health Services and Texas Division of Emergency Management for a virtual statewide town hall meeting at 7 p.m. today to discuss the state’s COVID-19 response and available resources. The town hall will air locally on KDAF-TV (Channel 33). Viewers are encouraged to submit questions for the town hall using the hashtag #AskAbbott.

In a separate statement, officials with the Texas Education Agency expressed gratitude for the governor’s decision, which “allows schools the maximum flexibility to remain focused on public health while also investing in the capacity to support student learning remotely.”

“The educators we have been working with across the state remain concerned about the possible impact COVID-19 will have on student academic growth. TEA will continue to support them in every way we can, including ensuring the availability of free tools to diagnose student learning,” Commissioner Morath said in a statement released earlier the week.

STAAR exams, administered to Texas schoolchildren in grades 3,4,5,7 and 8 and at the high school level, assesses what students have learned during an academic year and measures student understanding of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills curriculum.

According to a recent Associated Press report, it is unclear how cancellation of STAAR testing will impact graduation for Texas schoolchildren or advancement to the next grade level. Abbott told the AP that he’s working with Texas educators to “ensure students are prepared for next year as schools brace for a possible shift to online learning.”

Stop the Spread

The following graphic from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention offers tips for preventing the spread of COVID-19

March is Women's History Month

March is Social Work Month

Join the mayor for live virtual updates on the city's COVID-19 response

The Board of Education Regular Meeting, originally scheduled for March 24 has been rescheduled for March 31

The following events have been canceled or postponed:

  • The Fort Worth ISD Equity Summit (originally March 21) and large gatherings associated with the Cesar Chavez-Dolores Huerta Day of Service (originally March 23) have been canceled.
  • The groundbreaking for the expansion of the Young Men’s Leadership Academy (originally March 26) has been postponed.
  • The Fort Worth ISD Campus Teacher of the Year Celebration (originally April 2) is postponed.
  • The Pre-K/ Kindergarten Registration and Literacy Fair (April 4) has been canceled

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.

Credits:

Created with images by Dries Augustyns - "untitled image" • Alissa De Leva - "I took this photo in a private school in Italy (Bologna) and I found beautiful these two girls studying together."