Inside FWISD November 29, 2018

FWISD Gold Seal Application Help Sessions Continue December 3-7

Approximately 3,000 students have submitted applications for enrollment into Fort Worth ISD’s Gold Seal Programs or Schools of Choice for the 2019-2020 school year.

For families still needing help with completing the application, Gold Seal Programs of Choice representatives are hosting Application Help Sessions, December 3-7 at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center, 5201 C.A. Roberson Blvd.

These events allow families to complete their online Gold Seal applications and ask questions about the process.

Application Help Sessions are slated for:

  • 8 a.m.-1 p.m. December 3-4
  • 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. December 5-7

Assistance is also available through campus counselors and College and Career Readiness coordinators.

Online Gold Seal applications are now being accepted. Because all applications are now submitted online, it’s extremely important that parents have an active email address prior to starting the application process. The District can help parents set up individual email accounts during the Help Sessions.

District employees submitting applications for their own children may use their active directory login.

Applications are due no later than 5 p.m. December 7.

For more information visit, www.fwisd.org/choice, view the 2019-2020 Gold Seal catalog or call 817-814-2584.

FORT WORTH ISD STAKEHOLDERS SURVEY continues Through December 21

We want to know what you think!

The 2018-2019 Fort Worth ISD Stakeholders’ Climate Survey will be administered this year from November 27 to December 21, 2018. The District is asking our key stakeholders to share their attitudes and beliefs about FWISD’s climate and culture.

Last school year, we had 32,894 total survey participants, a good representation for our pilot year; However, this year our goal is to significantly increase our response rate from 40 percent to 65 percent --especially among our internal stakeholder groups.


  • School administrators (principals, assistant principals)
  • Students (3rd – 12th grades)
  • Parents and guardians of FWISD students
  • Teachers (all grade levels)
  • Non-instructional school staff (school monitors, cafeteria workers)
  • District staff (central administration, bus drivers, maintenance)
  • Fort Worth community (at-large)


The survey link is available on the District website beginning November 27. In addition, every FWISD employee will receive the survey link through his or her District email. Each campus will have the autonomy to administer the survey to students according to the school’s schedule. The survey format will automatically adjust to most electronic devices (computers, iPads, and cell phones).


All responses are anonymous. FWISD students and employees will be asked to enter their student or employee ID to authenticate their association with the district. Vital demographic data will be added to the data file automatically; however, names and other individual identifiers will not be included in the data set. To protect respondents’ confidentiality, no data will be disaggregated at the campus level that would allow for individual student or staff identification. In addition, FWISD employees who have students attending our schools can take the survey as a parent or community member without using the authenticator.


Fort Worth ISD principals are encouraged to develop a campus plan to administer the survey to students. They are asked to provide time in class for students to complete the survey on their smartphones, tablets and laptops as well as notify students well in advance of your school’s date to administer the survey.

If you have any questions, please contact the Grants Compliance and Monitoring department at 817-814-1850 or via email at Askeval@fwisd.org.

Adopt An Angel

The following communication is from the Early Learning Department:

Adopt an angel today at: www.fwisd.org/angeltree

Academics Department Accepts Nominations for Instructional Materials Committee

Are you a Fort Worth ISD teacher interested in reviewing instruction materials and making recommendations for District-wide adoptions?

Nominations are currently being accepted for the Fort Worth ISD Instructional Materials Advisory Committee.

The committee will begin meeting January 10 to review the following areas:

  • English & Spanish Language Arts and Reading; Kindergarten – Grade 2
  • English & Spanish Language Arts and Reading; Grade 3 – Grade 5
  • English Language Arts and Reading; Grade 6 – Grade 8
  • Spanish Language Arts and Reading; Grade 6
  • Handwriting; Kindergarten – Grade 2
  • Handwriting; Grade 3 – Grade 5

Candidates must meet the following criteria:

Educators interested in being considered for the committee are encouraged to email the required aforementioned information to maria.phillips@fwisd.org and susan.hyman@fwisd.org by December Wednesday, December 5.

Nominees will be notified of their status by mid-December.

For more details, call 817-814-2465.

District schedules another flu clinic

The following communication is from the Health Services Department:

The flu season is here! FWISD would like its employees and their families to remain well and certainly not get the flu. In an effort to curtail and hopefully prevent flu in our District, we are offering another flu clinic. Other preventative measures are being taken for our employees also, e.g., reminders will be posted throughout the District for frequent hand washing, covering coughs, etcetera.

An additional flu clinic is scheduled for:

Time: 4 – 6 p.m.

Date: December 5, 2018

Location: Fort Worth ISD Board Room – 2903 Shotts St.

Registration Still Open for FWISD’s Conference on the Education of Hispanics

About 200 educators are expected to attend the 25th annual Conference on the Education of Hispanics, from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday December 8 at Fort Worth ISD’s World Languages Institute.

Professors from local universities and master educators from FWISD will present professional development sessions for all grade levels with emphasis on literacy, language development, diversity, college and career readiness. Conference proceeds support Mexican American College Education student scholarships.

Dr. Raul Peña, FWISD’s chief of elementary schools, will lead the conference’s opening session.

Attendees will also have an opportunity to meet with conference exhibitors at display tables receive door prizes. FWISD students are slated to greet and cheer conference attendees on as the enter. Breakfast and lunch are provided.

“The 25th Annual Conference on the Education of Hispanics will be a very memorable event due to the collaboration of surrounding universities, various sponsors, and dedicated stakeholders,” said Elda Rojas, executive director of FWISD’s multilingual programs. “In a large urban district with over 86,000 students in which we value their diversity, it takes a village to maximize student outcomes and making their dreams become a reality.”

Originating as a conference specifically for FWISD bilingual teachers, the Conference on the Education of Hispanics has expanded to an event attended by teachers from surrounding districts. Conference proceeds in previous years have supported more than $320,000 in student scholarships. This year’s theme is Celebrating 25 Years of Making Dreams Become A Reality.

Conference registration is open through Wednesday, December 5 at bit.ly/RegisterCEH18. For more details, contact conference co-chairs Berty Magaña, director of new teacher induction at 817-814-3400 or Lily Belew, a specialist with FWISD’s dual language enrichment program, at 817-814-2435.

Submit Your Inside FWISD Favorites

Next week, we will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Inside FWISD reboot.

We want to know from you, the readers, what have been your favorite stories, items in the newsletter over the last year?

Some submissions will be included in next week’s edition.

Email your Inside FWISD favorites and ideas for how we can improve to Inside@fwisd.org. And, don’t forget to Like Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter.


More than 1,000 FWISD high school juniors are receiving the District’s distinguished academic sweatshirt at a ceremony, Thursday, December 6.

The annual Academic Sweatshirt Award Ceremony, sponsored by the Fort Worth ISD and Lockheed Martin, recognizes students who complete their 10th-grade year with a 3.8 GPA or better. Students receive a sweatshirt with initials of their high school, the academic banner, and their personal monogram on the sleeve.

Read more about the event here.

FWISD Recognizes Top Elementary Programs for November

The Fort Worth ISD Elementary Schools Leadership Department recently recognized campus principals whose schools exhibited “spectacular student engagement” and phenomenal learning communities” within the last month.

Executive directors with the Elementary Schools Leadership Departments recognized 13 campuses for their efforts in November engaging students and building strong learning communities. Principals were awarded certificates at an elementary schools principal meeting, November 14.

Honorees for November include:

Spectacular Engagement

Riverside ALC

Bill J. Elliot

Lily B. Clayton

Harlean Beal

Manuel Jara


Ridglea Hills

MH Moore

Phenomenal PLC

Versia Williams

Van Zandt-Guinn

S.S. Dillow

Como Montessori

Leadership Academy at John T. White


Get into the holiday spirit with Fort Worth ISD’s elementary, middle and high school choirs, orchestras and bands.

Once again, the District its host its annual Holiday Concert Series, December 10-20 at the FWISD Administration Building, 100 N. University Drive. Daily, two groups of student performers will present mini-concerts in the building’s main lobby at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

The following concerts are scheduled:


Nearly two dozen Arlington Heights High School dance students recently auditioning for college dance programs were accepted -- on the spot.

Representatives from 13 colleges and universities visited AHHS on November 12-13 for its College Recruitment and Senior Showcase: two days of master classes, a senior spotlight performance, auditions and a college fair.

See a complete list of Arlington Heights dancers accepted into college dance programs here.

Very Special Art Exhibit Celebrates FWISD’s Special-Needs Student Artists

Artwork from more than 100 Fort Worth ISD students was recently displayed at the District’s Very Special Art exhibit.

The 17th annual showing, hosted November 14 at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, displayed matted artwork created by students from FWISD’s special education program. The District’s Special Education and Art departments partnered to host the event.

“The purpose of this event is to recognize student-artists with special needs. It is a way to demonstrate to the community that people with disabilities are people first, with their own unique personalities, talents and gifts,” said Mariagrazia Sheffield, the District’s Assistant Superintendent of Special Populations. “‘Very Special Art’ is one of my favorite events because art is the universal language that touches the human heart.

“Through ‘Very Special Art,’ students, families, educators, and the community can focus on abilities, not disabilities, and celebrate the unique gifts that each one of us brings to our society.”

More than 100 families, teachers and local residents came out to view the student artwork and hear from the student artists about their respective creations.

Student participants received a certificate of recognition, a medal and an art supply kit encouraging them to continue at sharpening their artistic abilities, according to event organizers.

Once again, renowned Fort Worth artist Randy Souders attended the event and shook hands with the student artists recognized. Mr. Souders, a disability-rights advocate, has been commissioned by the Walt Disney Company since the 1990s to create original artwork that’s reproduced as limited-edition items.

The District’s Very Special Art exhibit event is an extension of VSA (Very Special Arts) Texas, an organization founded in 1974 that provides art and education opportunities to disabled people.

View more photos from the event here.

FWISD Third-Graders Offered Free Admission to Fort Worth Botanic Garden Despite New Fees

Fort Worth ISD third-graders can still visit the Fort Worth Botanic Garden for free despite a recent general admission fee approved by the city council.

Sponsored field trips to the garden for FWISD’s third-graders was among the free and reduced-price options recently approved by the city. Each third-grader will also receive a free family pass.

Earlier this month, the Fort Worth City Council approved general admission fees to the garden that will take effect in July 2019. The fees will offset costs for garden improvements, according to a city press release.

Read more about the Fort Worth Botanic Garden admission fees here.

Veteran Journalist to Discuss, Sign Book at December 4 Presentation

The following communication is from the Fort Worth Public Library:

On Tuesday, December 4 the University of North Texas Special Collections department, the TCU Press and the Fort Worth Public Library will host a book signing and discussion with accomplished local journalist Bobbie Wygant.

The free event will be held in the Tandy Lecture Hall at the Fort Worth Central Library, 500 W. Third St.

Ms. Wygant will discuss her memoir, Talking to the Stars: Bobbie Wygant’s Seventy Years in Television. She will share stories about her experiences, and also her observations on how television broadcasting has changed during her career.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Inside FWISD’s new emergency preparedness column, written by Ed McGinley, FWISD’s Safety and Security Emergency Management Coordinator.

Preparation goes a long way in keeping you and your family with food, shelter and light in case of an emergency.

Continuing our discussion from November 15, regardless of your decision to stay or evacuate in an emergency, there are certain things you will need. So let’s continue building our 72-hour kit.

Supply – Week Two

We got our buckets or containers hopefully last week. If not, keep looking. The goal is to get them at low costs.

So, let’s add edible supplies to the bucket. Our goal eventually is three days of food for each family member that doesn’t require cooking or that can be eaten with minimal heating. We also want food we can eat right out of the container.

Here are some foods to consider that are relatively inexpensive and we can stay in the $5 a week budget. Pick up a few of these. Our goal is enough for at least one meal per family member.

  • Tuna fish (in water). The cans can be found for less than a dollar if you shop around. Tuna now comes in foil packs with little water but you will pay a lot for the convenience
  • Single-serve ravioli, 15-ounce can. I keep ravioli in my kit and my deployment bag because it tastes the same room temperature or hot.
  • Peanut butter – a small jar is about $2.50
  • Vienna sausages
  • Chili – various brands.

If you go to fast-food restaurants, pick up wrapped eating utensils, packs of honey, jelly and straws (we will do something with them later).

A note about MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat). MREs made for the military (dark brown or tan packages) are created to provide about 1250 to 1500 calories per meal. This is a lot of calories for the weight conscious. There are civilian MREs available that have 800 to 1050 calories per meal, a better choice and also cheaper. Another concern about military MREs is that they are very low in dietary fiber, so the troops don’t have to “go” as often when deployed. A low-fiber diet will cause constipation in unprepared civilians. Be careful choosing this option. WinCo has components of MREs in their preparedness section.

A valuable tool to look for: Look around for a hand-crank can opener. They aren’t that expensive new, but often found cheap at a yard / garage sale.

Preparedness Tip of the Week:

Important papers:

Make a copy of the important papers you will need if you can’t come back to your home. Make a copy of your home insurance (or renters insurance), your health insurance cards, driver’s licenses, vehicle insurance cards and one of your utility bills. Put them in a Ziploc bag and then inside another second bag. Place this in your emergency kit. If you have a vacuum sealer, then seal them in a bag.

If you have the capability, also scan the documents and place them in storage in the cloud.

The next emergency preparedness column will focus on developing an emergency communications plan for the family.

FWISD Board Recognizes Leadership Academy at Mitchell Boulevard PTO

The Parent Teacher Organization at the Leadership Academy at Mitchell Boulevard Elementary School was recently recognized by the Board of Education for family engagement.

PTO members were presented with certificates of appreciation at the Fort Worth ISD board meeting on November 13.

Collectively the group volunteered more than 480 hours the 2017-2018 school year and is on track to complete even more volunteer hours this year. The Mitchell Boulevard PTO has supported student events, award ceremonies, teacher appreciation events, family night activities and house celebration incentives at the campus.

“Our PTO is an integral part of our school,” said Principal Aileen Martina-Quiñones. “With their support, our school has been able to celebrate student successes and sponsor events throughout the year. The amount of dedication they have shown is truly amazing.”

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,

As report card testing begins again, at our campus there is some confusion on how we mark grades for things that have not yet been introduced in Pre-K and K. We assign students either an “E” for emerging, “D” for developed, “U” for unsatisfactory and in previous years, we would give “NI” for "not introduced."

However, this year we have been told by administration that we cannot give any “Nis” this time. It is only the second six weeks, and in early childhood there are some things that our students have not yet been exposed to. For example, adding, subtraction, rhyming, counting words in a sentence, etcetera. I would like to know what the Early Childhood Department says about giving students an “NI” on report cards. Is this a new District policy or is this a decision that each campus is allowed to make?

Anonymous and confused

Dear Anonymous and confused,

Thank you for your question. I reached out to Dr. Cheryl Mixon, executive director of Early Learning, and here’s the response: “Thank you for your question. The Early Learning Department has not issued a statement that Not Introduced (NI) may not be used. That sounds like a campus level directive.”

Thanks again, Anonymous and confused for your question and thank you Dr. Mixon for your response.


Dear Elsie,

Why has the District scheduled a school shut-down benchmark test for Election Day?


Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your question. I reached out to Sara Arispe, associate superintendent of accountability and data quality, and here’s the response: “The window for the benchmarks for grade 7 Writing, English I, English II was November 5-7. Campuses selected the day within the window on which to administer.”

Thanks again, Anonymous for your questions and thank you Ms. Arispe for your response.


Dear Elsie,

I often see stipends and/or bonuses (during hiring process) offered to teachers who can speak dual languages. But I was wondering why FWISD never uses funds to offer Spanish classes to teachers who speak English but would love to learn the Spanish language to better serve our populations.

Elisa Williamson

Dear Ms. Williamson,

Thank you for your question. I reached out to Cynthia Rincón, chief of Human Capital Management, and here’s the response: “The District is currently researching options to ensure that the dual language and Spanish class vacancies are filled with quality teachers. Your suggestion is appreciated.”

Thanks again, Ms. Williamson for your question and thank you Ms. Rincón 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.

Please bear with us as we have a backlog of Ask Elsie questions and are responding to questions as soon as we can.

In Development

The following are sneak peek computer renderings of FWISD 2017 bond projects

Dunbar HS Field House Expansion

O.D. Wyatt HS Athletics Expansion

Benbrook HS Athletics Facility

Follow 2017 bond updates at http://fwisd2017bond.com

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

FWISD Secondary Hiring Fair

Photos Courtesy of Panther Island Ice

FWISD Sixth-Grade Honor Choir concert at I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA

#ThankYouThursday: Thanksgiving Donors

Thank you to the numerous community groups and businesses that provided meals to Fort Worth ISD families for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Among the generous donors were ramp operators from Dallas-based Southwest Airlines who donated 20 LUV baskets to 20 families at Harlean Beal Elementary School. The baskets were filled with what was described as a “grocery bill” worth of goods. read more here.

Over at Sam Rosen Elementary, employees of Federal Medical Center Carswell presented 10 families of students at the campus with a turkey and trimmings for a holiday feast. Read more here.

During the Thanksgiving break, 900 FWISD families received a turkey and a bag of groceries to prepare a holiday dinner. The meals were supported by a fundraiser put on by Joe Hidrogo of Round 1Boxing, an organization with the United Hispanic Council.


The International Newcomer Academy is looking for volunteers to help make their upcoming 25th Anniversary Celebration a success.

Volunteers are needed to serve, greet guests and assist with event set-up and breakdown.

INA’s 25th Anniversary Celebration is slated for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 20 at the campus, located at 7060 Camp Bowie Blvd. Come hear about the history of INA, as well as listen to success stories from former and current students. Cake and drinks will also be provided.

To volunteer contact Richard Johnson, a FWISD family Communications Specialist, at Richard.johnson@fwisd.org.

For more details on INA, click here.

Contact Information Needed for Former O.D. Wyatt Faculty

The O.D. Wyatt Alumni Association needs help contacting former faculty members for its 50th anniversary celebration next spring.

The event “Past, Present … the Legacy of Wyatt Nation,” slated for April 13, 2019, will recognize former principals, faculty and students.

Alumni members are looking to involve past educators in the celebration and need their mailing addresses to notify them of the event.

Former school faculty or individuals with information on how to contact them are encouraged to email Mary Wahle Balch, a O.D. Wyatt Alumni Association board member, at mbalch@att.net.

Technology Tip

The following communication is from the Department of Technology:

November is Native American Heritage Month

New Teacher Professional Learning Opportunities

Professional Learning and Innovation Opportunities

Elementary Professional Learning Opportunities for November, December

Secondary Professional Learning Opportunities

Financial Aid Help Sessions, October 2-December 3

Website Training: Blackboard Open Labs, November 2- December 14

2018-2019 Fort Worth ISD Stakeholders' Climate Survey, November 27- December 21

Gold Seal Help Sessions, November 28, December 3-7

STAAR End Of Course Testing, December 3-7

Professional Learning Opportunities with Education Technology, Register in Eduphoria

Hanukkah Begins, Monday, December 3

Academic Sweatshirt Award Ceremony, Thursday, December 6, Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center

Monnig Middle School Choirs Present: Deck the Halls Holiday Concert, Thursday, December 6

Gold Seal Applications Due, Friday, December 7

I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA Dedication, Friday, December 7

Conference on the Education of Hispanics, Saturday, December 8

Fort Worth ISD Holiday Concert series, December 10-20

Board of Education Meeting, 5:30 p.m. December 11

Early College High School Fall Semester Ends, Friday December 14

Arlington Heights HS Dance Department's Cowtown Christmas, December 14-15, W.E. Scott Theatre, 1300 Gendy St.

Instrumental Music and Dance Winter Collage Concert, 7 p.m. December 17, I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA

International Newcomer Academy 25th Anniversary Celebration, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 20

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, Saturday, December 22

Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24

Winter Break, December 24-January 4

Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25

Kwanzaa Begins, Wednesday, December 26

New Year's Eve, Monday, January 31

New Year's Day, January 1, 2019

Save the Date: Fort Worth Technology Conference, Coming January 2019

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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