Inside FWISD April 5, 2018

Spread the Word: Pre-K Literacy Fair Is Saturday

Share with families on your campuses, loved ones and friends with young children that Fort Worth ISD’s Pre-K registration is currently underway.

Parents unable to register online or at a campus by Friday will have one last opportunity to do so, Saturday, April 7 at the District’s annual Pre-K Literacy Fair.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., families are invited to a fun-filled day at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center, 5201 C.A. Roberson Blvd. Enjoy fun activities and receive FREE books and resources from more than 20 District departments and community organizations.

Clifford the Big Red Dog is an expected featured guest, and the Tarrant County Clerk’s Vital Records office will be onsite providing services for obtaining a birth certificate.

District personnel will assist families registering for Pre-K at the event. The Student Placement Center, an office of the District’s Bilingual/English as a Second Language Department, will be onsite administering assessment tests. Students who have never been enrolled in FWISD and who do not speak or hear English at home must take an assessment test to determine the best program placement for them.

Click here for more details.

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,

I’m just wondering if the year-round employees will be working a four-day work week this summer like we did last year, and when it will start and end.

I loved it last year and would like a chance to make plans!

Thank you,


Dear Debbie,

Thank you for your question.

Many people have asked about our “summer schedule” involving the four-day work week. We are currently preparing a memo to share with all employees that will include all the details for this coming summer.

I can tell you that our first Friday off will be June 8. As soon as all the details are finalized, we will make sure everyone is provided with a copy of the memo. We will also be publishing those details right here in an upcoming edition of Inside FWISD.

Thanks again,


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.

Mother-Son Duo to Be Honored as FWISD CTOY Honorees

A mother and son are among the 133 Campus Teacher of the Year honorees being recognized at a special after-school reception, Thursday, April 5.

Debbie and Zach Reimer, said that they always joked about and wondered “what if” the two of them would become a FWISD Campus Teacher of the Year.

“We laugh about it, because we’ve never even been nominated before,” said Mr. Reimer, a world history teacher at Polytechnic High School. “It’s just a real honor to be able to share the same award with my mom in the same year.

“It’s such an unusual thing, or at least to us [it is.]”

The Reimers say they look forward to standing alongside one another and cheering the other on at this year’s ceremony.

The Campus Teacher of the Year reception, hosted by Central Market, is being held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. April 5 in the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) atrium, 1700 University Drive. Musicians from the Paschal High School Chamber Strings, directed by Toby Jones, will provide the reception entertainment.

Mrs. Reimer, a math teacher at Paschal High School, said that she’s overwhelmed at her selection as a Campus Teacher of the Year honoree. It’s “pretty cool” she added that two generations of her family are being recognized in the same year.

She said that since her son, the oldest of four, was a child, she’s always been there cheering on his successes, and Thursday will be no different. Whether she advances to the FWISD District Teacher of the Year round of the competition is not something she worries about.

“Just to be in that elite group is an honor for me,” Mrs. Reimer said. “If Zach gets it, and I don’t, I’ll be standing right behind him cheering him on.

“I’m just honored to be able to stand alongside my son.”

Mr. Reimer has taught nine years and has been with the District for seven years. Mrs. Reimer, who has taught 20 years, has spent 16 years of her career teaching at FWISD’s Paschal High.

The two come from a large family of educators who often share best practices, success stories and the joys and pains of teaching, they say.

The Reimers are believed to be the first mother-son Campus Teacher of the Year recipients honored since the award was established in 1985.

“It’s obvious that the Reimer family has teaching in their blood,” said Peg Murphy, director of FWISD Community and Strategic Partnerships, which organizes the annual reception. “How wonderful that this mother and son can support one another and share best practices.”

For more than 30 years, community businesses and organizations have partnered with Fort Worth ISD to recognize the District’s outstanding classroom teachers. Teachers are selected for the campus award by their peers.

Ten campus honorees will be singled out and announced as finalists for the elementary and secondary District Teacher of the Year awards, which will be presented this May. One elementary and one secondary teacher will be named District Teacher of Year and receive a $5,000 honorarium from Central Market. The eight award finalists will be presented with $1,000.

Below are the 2017-2018 Campus Teacher of the Year honorees:

getting through staar

State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing for students in the fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth grades and End-of-Course (EOC) exams at the high school level will take place April 10-13 across the state.

Recently, Inside FWISD spoke with some of your coworkers in elementary and secondary leadership about how administrators and teachers can prepare for and get through STAAR week.

Here are their tips:

  • Principals set the tone for the testing environment and teachers set the tone in the classroom prior to and during the test. Ensure you have a valid testing process and that all stakeholders, including the students are aware of the process. Practice the process if needed.
  • Principals should:

1. Encourage all stakeholders, including teachers, to get a great night’s sleep and have a good breakfast.

2. Touch base often with the test coordinator and be on hand to assist if needed.

3. Keep calm, positive and resolve issues as they arise.

4. If possible, show appreciation for your teachers’ work and dedication

  • Ensure there’s a complete and accurate list of testers for each teacher with matching test booklets. If teachers have anyone who is not supposed to be in their rooms or testing materials for students not on their list, they must let an administrator or testing coordinator know immediately.
  • Ensure there’s a system for giving teachers their planning periods back after testing is complete to avoid any conflicts afterwards.
  • It is always nice to provide snacks or lunch for staff on test days. Look for community donations. Staff really does appreciate it!
  • Teachers, plan for interesting and engaging activities after all testing is complete for the day for students who tested. If the testers worked hard, then they will be drained.
  • Don't forget to say THANK YOU to the students and all who helped with testing. Yes, it's their job, but it is always nice to feel appreciated.

Thank you to Cherie Washington, chief of secondary schools, and Maria Sanchez, secondary leadership executive director, for providing us with these helpful tips.

Fort Worth ISD Celebrates National Volunteer Week April 16-20

National Volunteer Week, a weeklong celebration to thank and recognize individuals who give of their time and effort to support a cause, will be observed April 16-20.

Fort Worth ISD joins the nation in thanking volunteers, specifically the District’s nearly 10,000 “volunteers who give their time, talents, and support to advance education for all students,” said Jennifer Perez, director of Family Communications.

A "box of appreciation" packed with lapel pins, appreciation stickers, certificates and other goodies will be sent to campus volunteer coordinators to support volunteer celebrations at each school.

District employees are encouraged to join in the celebration by thanking those who lend a helping hand at FWISD schools.

“It takes a city,” said Superintendent Kent P. Scribner. “The transformation of Fort Worth ISD will only be successful by leveraging servant leaders inside and outside of the school building.”

Learn more about the FWISD volunteer program here or by calling 817-814-2973.


Tickets are available through noon Friday, April 6, for the Texas Rangers’ very first Fort Worth ISD Game Day, featuring the Paschal High School Choir performing the United States and Canadian national anthems. The game against the Toronto Blue Jays begins at 2:05 p.m. Sunday, April 8.

Discounted tickets for Fort Worth ISD employees, students, friends, and family can be found at texasrangers.com/schools or purchased by using a Fort Worth ISD Day flyer.

Contact Danielle Stenger at danielle.stenger@fwisd.org with any questions regarding the Texas Rangers Fort Worth ISD Game Day.

kudos TO nash es tEACHERS Whitney Vickers and Phong Nguyen

Whitney Vickers and Phong Nguyen, fifth-grade teachers at Charles Nash Elementary School, are using creative methods to engage students in the classroom.

Ms. Vickers is engaging her students by using a flexible seating layout in her classroom, while Mr. Nguyen is getting students excited about math and science with a comic book he created.

Robin Whitehead, counselor at Nash, recently contacted Inside FWISD to offer kudos to the two fifth-grade teachers. He said that their techniques are showing other teachers that trying new methods to engage students is not out of reach, and that they too are capable of doing it.

“When a person is walking by, and they can see a kid engaged, and they can see how connected they are, that is a big part of a classroom being successful,” Mr. Whitehead said. “That’s what ideally you would want your school to do, and these people are being the leaders.”

Exercise balls, a rocking chair, elevated desks, tables and comfortable saucer chairs are just some of seats available to students in Ms. Vickers’ English-language arts classroom. For more than a year, she’s utilized a flexible seating layout in her classroom.

She said it not only gives students a choice on where they want to sit, but it impacts how students focus on class assignments. Students have opportunities to choose daily where they want to sit or stand to learn. Ms. Vickers said variable seating is designed to improve classroom management and focus because of student choice.

“Kids that need to be moving, I’ve seen them doing much better,” she said of the seating arrangement. “It really requires [being proactive] on the teacher’s part."

Mr. Nguyen one day hopes to produce his own YouTube videos that get students engaged in math and science. In the meantime, he’s doing the job with a comic book he creates for classroom lessons. The comics, are a storyboard for future videos, he said.

He said he’s noticed how excited students have become about learning when he utilizes the comics and how it’s even helped students do well on exams.

“I think it helps a lot for the low-level readers because they can read and visualize it,” Mr. Nguyen said. “If they can see the process, rather than just reading, it helps.”

Both Ms. Vickers and Mr. Nguyen agree on the importance of looking outside the box and trying new and effective methods of engaging students. First and foremost is the success of students, they say, and they’re looking for ways that not only engage students but lead them to success.

Know someone who deserves being recognized with Kudos? Email us their story at Inside@fwisd.org.


More than 50 Fort Worth Independent School District students and employees joined Mayor Betsy Price and Superintendent Kent P. Scribner for a morning walk, Monday April 2.

The walk, part of the Mayor’s Fit15 campaign, encourages local businesses to give their employees 15 minutes during the workday to exercise.

Mayor Price said she was thrilled to see so many people taking responsibility for their fitness and setting an example for students.

“It’s very important for the health of the city, for the health of our students,” Mayor Price said. “The example that it sets for kids to know that their teachers and administrators are out doing something will inspire them to do things, and, that’s great for our future workforce.

“Healthy kids learn better, and healthy teachers are going to teach better, and when I say teachers, I mean admin people too. We’re all teachers.”

Fit15 is one of the many initiatives offered through FitWorth, a movement encouraging the Fort Worth community to become physically active and adopt healthy eating habits.

In a brief walk, FWISD employees and students strolled from the District Administration Building to the Trinity Trails route on Shamrock Avenue and back.

“Health and wellness activities like this not only are good for our physical health, but it allows us to reconnect with our colleagues and build strong relationships,” Dr. Scribner said.

The walk concluded with a group picture and a fresh fruits and vegetable station for participants to enjoy.

View the photo gallery from the walk here.


Monnig Middle School is the latest Fort Worth ISD school to receive the Heart Safe School designation through the Project ADAM program.

The designation signifies that personnel at the school have successfully completed an automated external defibrillator (AED) program in which they’ve been educated on child sudden cardiac arrest and how to provide lifesaving attention should an incident arise on campus. Training in how to effectively resuscitate or apply defibrillator shocks to an individual whose heart has stopped could mean the difference between life and death.

Monnig has a dedicated cardiac team that’s been trained in chest compressions and that undergoes cardiac drills.

The other FWISD schools with Heart Safe School designation are:

Bruce Shulkey Elementary

Daggett Elementary

M.G. Ellis Elementary

J. Martin Jacquet Middle School

Lily B. Clayton Elementary

Rosemont Sixth Grade

South Hills Elementary

Tarrant County College South Collegiate High School

Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences

Young Women’s Leadership Academy

Versia Williams Elementary

Project ADAM is named for 17-year-old Wisconsin boy Adam Lemel of Wisconsin who collapsed and died in 1999 while playing basketball.

For more details on the program, click here.


The Meadowbrook Elementary School Junior Optimist International Club (JOI) student chapter and Principal Terri McGuire presented a $300 check to Fort Worth Police Officer Damon Cole in support of his Heroes and Cops against Childhood Cancer program.

The students raised nearly $180 through a “wear a hat to school” cancer fundraiser at the school. Students contributed $1 for the opportunity to wear a crazy hat on Dr. Seuss Day, Friday, March 2. The Breakfast Optimist Club of East Fort Worth, which sponsors the MES JOI club, bumped the donation up to $300 in support of the students’ efforts.

The students also met the North Texas Junior Optimist District Governor, Eastern Hills High School junior Zaliah Butler. Officer Cole was the keynote speaker for the weekly Optimist breakfast meeting.

He personally met and thanked the students and staff who chose to support his program, which helps bring attention to the devastating effects of childhood cancer on children and their families.

Officer Cole is well known for spending his personal time and money traveling around the country in different superhero costumes visiting with and uplifting the spirits of children with cancer. He elects to use superhero costumes and themed vehicles as a unique way to break down barriers that exist between children and law enforcement.


When Jack Farr accidentally burned down a loved one’s barn a few years ago, he said he took a visit to the local fire station where he learned how to prevent fires.

Now, the Paschal High School junior spends weekends and school breaks with his father and serves as a member of the Cresson Volunteer Fire Department junior firefighter program. He’s been part of the junior program about two years assisting with all firefighter duties except actually entering burning buildings or driving the department’s fire engine.

What started as a lesson learned has evolved into a desire to give back to the community. Jack said that by participating in Cresson’s junior volunteer program he’s progressed in his leadership skills, and learned the importance of responsibility and camaraderie.

“It’s definitely a morale boost just gaining leadership skills and responding to several incidents,” Jack said.

Lt. Col. Derrick A. Corbett, Jack’s JROTC instructor at Paschal High, said he was amazed and impressed to learn Jack serves as a volunteer firefighter.

“I was surprised because here is a young cadet/ student volunteering his time on the weekends doing something that epitomizes selfless-service…the very thing that we impress upon all of our cadets,” he said. “JROTC is one of the best citizenship and leadership programs in the nation. We support the mission of preparing all students for success in college, career and community leadership.

“Jack’s selfless service to our community exemplifies the very best of what we desire to see in our cadets and students alike."

Cresson, a city approximately 20 miles southwest of Fort Worth in Hood County, has a population of fewer than 800 residents, according to Census estimates.

Fire Chief Ron Becker said that Jack has learned some emergency medical skills, such as CPR, as well as how to help extract the injured from vehicle accidents. The teen has also assisted with hose operations from the outside, cleaning up after incidents, controlling traffic and general station chores. Chief Becker said that Jack is a mature teen who uses good judgment and is just about ready to become a full-fledged volunteer firefighter when he turns 18 years of age.

“He’s done a great job,” said Chief Becker. “Jack has matured greatly, and he’s dependable.

“Jack has been really good for our department, and I hope that our fire department has been a real positive thing for Jack.”

Jack said he one day hopes to serve as a professional firefighter.

Professional Development: FWISD Teachers Assist with Trinity River Turtle Survey

Nearly 20 Fort Worth ISD science teachers participated in a professional development, Friday, March 30, in which they prepared traps for the Trinity River Turtle Survey.

Launched last October, the three-year project traps, weighs, measures and tags turtles for tracking before releasing them back into the Trinity River. The survey is supported through a grant provided by the Texas Christian University College of Education Andrews Institute. The project is executed by Paschal High School students and teacher Andrew Brinker.

Through the Trinity River Turtle Survey, students also study the type of algae on the backs of turtle shells, analyze turtle toenails for mercury concentration and determine growth rates, population and movement through the river via tracking devices injected into the reptiles.

On March 30, 18 science teachers prepared turtle traps with bait including tilapia, cantaloupe and crayfish, which were used to capture 25 turtles for the survey. They learned how to build and prepare the traps. Teachers participated in setting the traps, removing turtles from the river, analyzing turtle behavior, measuring the reptiles, determining the sex of turtles and the overall “nuts and bolts of a mark-recapture study,” according to Mr. Brinker.

Monthly, turtles are surveyed for the study by Paschal High students and other volunteers. Earlier this year, Paschal students Katherine Faulkner and Taha Sharaf and TCU graduate student Shelly Wu presented a poster about the survey at the Informal Science Educator Association of Texas conference, hosted by the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.

Follow the progress of the Trinity River Turtle Survey at www.facebook.com/phsturtlesurvey/.

In the top four photos, Woodway Elementary School teacher Becky Paniagua Rojas models for her prekindergarten students as they paint her portrait during a recent class activity.

The bottom three photos show fourth-grade students at Lily B. Clayton Elementary recently participating in a training in which they learned cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) device.

Do you have photos of interesting things going on in your classroom that you would like featured in the Fort Worth ISD Snapshot? Email us at Inside@fwisd.org.

AVID Summer Institute Slated June 20-22 in Dallas

Fort Worth ISD personnel in leadership and FWISD teachers who work with the District’s more than 30 Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) programs are encouraged to register for the AVID Summer Institute.

The professional learning event will take place June 20-22 in Dallas.

“AVID [Summer Institute] is a fantastic [professional development] in student-centered, highly-engaging best practices in education,” said Brenda Raymond, FWISD’s AVID coordinator. “Our goal is to support equity, access and achievement for FWISD students.”

Early bird registration continues through May 1. Registration information is available at at my.avid.org.

For more details, contact Ms. Raymond at 817-814-2592.

Dual Language Sessions Set Throughout April for Principals

The FWISD Multilingual division is hosting Dual Language Information Sessions for principals every Thursday in the month of April.

Principals will receive general information for strengthening the current dual language programs and ensuring a successful model. The sessions, led by Elda Rojas, executive director of Multilingual programs, and Bilingual Director Xavier Vasquez, will also focus on dual language implementation and alignment and future programming opportunities.

“If our programs are aligned across the District, that’s going to ensure consistency across the District for our students,” Mr. Vasquez said.

Scheduled discussion topics include:

  • Program structure
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Staffing
  • Professional learning
  • Support and resources

All sessions will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

The April 5 and 12 sessions will be held at the Professional Development Center, 3150 McCart Ave., in Room 239 on April 5 and Room 240 on April 12. The April 19 session is being hosted at Rosemont Park Elementary, 1401 W. Seminary Drive. The following week’s session, April 26, will be held at South Hi Mount Elementary, 4101 Birchman Ave.

“It’s an opportunity to come together and share on the current happenings and learn about opportunities for the future,” Ms. Rojas said.

Principals are encouraged to click here to register.

For more details, call the Bilingual/ ESL Department at 817-814-2422.


What: EF4FW Employee Giving Campaign

When: March 26 – April 13, 2018

Summary: The Education Foundation for Fort Worth Schools (EF4FW) will conduct its 2nd annual employee giving campaign, “Engaged Community; Successful Student,” from March 26 – April 13.

The EF4FW will support the District by addressing four target areas:

  • the upgrade of all elementary libraries
  • support of Kids Vision Fest, an event where children receive free eye exams and glasses
  • partnering with “My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) with the goal of helping young men of color achieve academic and career success
  • providing scholarships for graduating seniors

All campuses participating in the employee giving campaign will receive 50 percent of the funds raised by the campus’ staff. There is no minimum investment per employee or minimum total raised by campus. The funds will be an unrestricted grant to the campus and will be issued March 2019.

FWISD employees may donate through the secure Fort Worth ISD portal here. Employees may log in using their active directory username and password and complete the form. Employees may choose the payroll deduction option or the one-time donation deduction.

Campus Teacher of the Year reception, Thursday, April 5 at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT)

Learning Model Awareness Sessions

Pre-K Roundup, April 2-7

Dual Language Informational Sessions for principals, Thursdays, April 5, 12, 19 and 26.

Pre-K Literacy Fair, Saturday, April 7

National Library Week, April 8-14

National Assistant Principals Week, April 9-13

Fort Worth Board of Education meeting, Tuesday, April 10

The 2018 Fort Worth ISD Stakeholders’ Climate Survey, closes April 13

End of Six Weeks, Friday, April 13

National Volunteer Week, April 15-22

Billy W. Sills Lecture Series, Saturday, April 21

African-American Health Expo 2018, Saturday, April 21

Earth Day, Monday, April 22

World Book Day, Tuesday, April 23

Fort Worth Board of Education meeting, Tuesday, April 24

Report cards distributed, Wednesday, April 25

Administrative Professionals Day, Wednesday, April 25

National Arbor Day, Friday, April 27

Education Foundation for Fort Worth Schools employee giving campaign, March 26-April 13

Mexican American College Education employee giving campaign, March 28-April 27

2018 Fort Worth ISD Career Fairs are being scheduled for later this spring. Apply to the www.fwisd.org/careers 2018-2019 Teacher vacancy pools to be considered for an invitation.

2018 Graduation Dates, Friday, May 18- Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Visit the Inside FWISD blog on Mondays for a look at The Week Ahead.

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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