Inside FWISD July 26, 2018


Fort Worth ISD released 2018-2019 insurance benefit details in English and Spanish to employees, Thursday, July 26. Among benefit changes this year is a slight increase in health premiums and new benefits for accidental injury and emergency transportation.

Open Enrollment began Tuesday, July 24 and continues through Friday, August 24, 2018. Coverage changes will take effect September 1.

Because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), ALL employees must either enroll, opt to keep the same coverage or decline health coverage.

Earlier this year, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees adopted new rates and plan changes that reflect an average 5.7 percent medical and pharmacy premium increase, according to its website.

What does that mean for FWISD employees?

Approximately three-fourths of the District’s employees covered by TRS are enrolled in the TRS ActiveCare 1-HD (high -deductible) plan, according to the benefits office.

Workers currently paying $64 in health premiums monthly under the TRS ActiveCare 1-HD employee-only plan will pay $80, beginning September 1.

Under the same plan, employees with coverage for a family will see premiums increase $58 from $1,029 to $1,087.

The TRS website states that the board reviews funding annually to determine whether changes or premium increases are needed to ensure there’s enough capital for covering health care costs.

Health premiums are the only increases for FWISD employees the 2018-2019 year, according to District benefits officials.

Changes and new benefits

  • TRS ActiveCare 2 Plan: Employees currently participating in this plan may remain enrolled. However, the plan is closed to new enrollees beginning September 1.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts: Fort Worth ISD is changing its Health Savings Account (HSA) provider from HSA Bank to EECU. By switching providers, the District is working with a local credit union. There’s no charge to employees and no monthly fee, according to the Benefits Department. Additional details will be sent to current HSA Bank participants.
  • New benefits: This year, Fort Worth ISD is offering two new benefits for accidental injury and emergency transportation. The supplemental accident plan assists with unexpected costs related to an accidental injury. The emergency transportation plan covers expenses not picked up by health coverage for medical transportation services.

The District will host multiple open enrollment sessions beginning August 7. Employees can meet one-on-one with an enrollment representative who will answer questions and assist employees with the online application. FWISD employees will need their username and password to access the online portal.

Postcards with session details were mailed July 10 to the home address employees have on file with District.

Please check your email or visit www.mybenefitshub.com/fortworthisd for additional details about the available health, dental, vision and other insurance plans.

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 Ask Elsie question originally appeared in the May 3, 2018 edition of Inside FWISD.

Dear Elsie,

Given the current information from the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) board and the upcoming changes to our insurance, I wanted to check and see how the District/school board are proposing to help out employees with the rising costs and decreasing coverage which continues to plague TRS-Activecare insurance.

I know that "the law" says once a district signs up to be a part of TRS-Activecare, it cannot withdraw, but there must be some option out there besides just continuing to get less coverage for more money for insurance. Has the District looked into filing suit against them to get released from it? Has our school board spoken with other districts to see what they are doing to help employees? What do we know about being able to get more reasonable rates for our employees? Many in our District end up working only for insurance, or worse yet, get a high deductible plan and end up paying for insurance and still having huge medical bills as well.

I also keep reading that we are considered "public employees," but yet we pay many times more for our insurance than county, city or even state employees do for better insurance. I know our budget and school board endeavor every year to give employees a raise of some kind, but many of the past years, I have seen my net income go down with every raise.

I appreciate your information.


Dear Anonymous,

In an attempt to answer your questions, I will provide an answer to each question asked.

On how the District/school board is proposing to help out employees with the rising costs and decreasing coverage:

“Currently, the District is looking to provide a salary increase effective Sept. 1, 2018, in an attempt to assist in covering the rising costs of health care.

Of the 11,800 full-time employees, only 7,591 are enrolled in one of the health care programs offered through TRS-Activecare. A salary increase helps all eligible full-time employees with the rising costs of everyday living. At the same time, it will increase the employee’s average of his/her highest salaries at the time of retirement from TRS, which is a long-term benefit.”

On the District’s other options for insurance:

“At this time, there is no provision to withdraw participation in TRS-Activecare health coverage. FWISD benefits staff remain active at the TRS board meetings expressing the concerns you raise. During the 2017 Texas legislative session, Senate Bill 789 was introduced that stated TRS entities that employ more than 1,000 individuals may not continue to participate in TRS-Activecare on or after Sep. 1, 2018. Senate Bill 789 required TRS entities with more than 1,000 employees to secure health coverage elsewhere. However, this Senate Bill was not passed; therefore, FWISD may not offer any other health coverage outside TRS-Activecare, and there is no provision to withdraw participation in TRS-Activecare. The District has heard of no class-action lawsuit(s) that has been proposed by districts statewide to change the current law.”

On what other Districts are doing to help employees and the possibility of more reasonable rates for our employees:

“There is nothing FWISD can currently do to negotiate rates that are more reasonable for our employees for the reasons previously stated. The minimum a TRS entity may contribute toward the cost of health coverage with TRS-Activecare is $225 per month ($2,700 annually). Fort Worth ISD currently contributes $287 per month ($3,444 annually). The Fort Worth ISD Benefits Department surveys other school districts periodically about the health coverage contribution amounts and other benefits. Some districts contribute more money toward the health coverage and some contribute less than Fort Worth ISD.”

“The cost of health coverage is high for all employers, private and public. As a public entity, the District does its very best to provide annual cost of living pay increases within budgetary limits.”

Thank you for your questions,


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.


The following are details regarding Fort Worth ISD’s attendance guidelines. The policy is also available for viewing on the District’s Back to School webpage and will soon be distributed in letters to FWISD families.

It’s unfortunate that some media reports about the guidelines were inaccurate. The District is in the process of creating a FAQ that explains the guidelines in detail.

Inaugural Coaches Academy Slated July 30-31

With fall practices for secondary school volleyball and football right around the corner, Fort Worth ISD coaches are gearing up to attend the District’s inaugural Coaches Academy.

The academy is being hosted Monday and Tuesday, July 30-31 at Southwest High School, 4100 Altamesa Blvd. Monday sessions are from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and sessions are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday. The academy is open to District coaches, cheer and dance sponsors.

Last year, District coaches were asked about their professional needs, and this event caters to those needs, according to Athletics Department officials.

“We want to be intentional in the professional learning of our coaches,” said Dr. Lisa Langston, FWISD athletics director. “What makes this [academy] a little different is that its tailored to more identified needs for our coaches.”

An estimated 11 people are slated to speak throughout the course of the academy in addition to athletic coordinators who are presenting on various topics.

Athletic directors from area school districts will touch on what it takes to become a head coach. A psychologist will present on how to better reach and motivate student-athletes, and a strength and conditioning coach from Texas Christian University is presenting on benefits of multi-sports participation. Another session will focus on building a practice plan and creating a successful practice culture.

The book “InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives” is also a big part of the training being presented.

“I hope that [coaches] get more tools for their tool kit,” Dr. Langston said. “Ultimately what we’re trying to do is give our coaches the tools and strategies to assist in making positive impacts in the lives of their student-athletes every day.”

Practices for secondary school athletics will start to get underway the first week of August.

High school volleyball begins practice August 1, said Dean Pritchett, assistant athletic director. With the exception of Southwest High School, high school football practices begin August 6. Southwest High, which held spring practice, will start drills August 13.

Mr. Pritchett is encouraging students to drink plenty of water before, during and after practice to stay hydrated and inform a coach if they start to feel lightheaded.

Middle school volleyball and football practices begin when school starts.

The first volleyball matches of the season begin August 6, and football games are scheduled to begin August 30. Visit the athletics webpage for game schedules.


District Employees:

We have reopened the online registration portal for students. PowerSchool, the District’s vendor, has assured us it has made improvements and the online experience should be better.

Online registration was unavailable to families earlier this week because of technical difficulties.

Please advise families experiencing problems with online registration to contact the District by sending an email with their name, contact information, Snapcode and details about the issues encountered to Parentinfo@fwisd.org.


The following educators have been appointed as principals at the schools listed:

Godswill Barrah – currently assistant principal at O.D. Wyatt High School to principal at Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences (TABS)

Reginald Terrell – currently interim principal at J. Martin Jacquet Middle School to principal at Handley Middle School

Miguel Del Toro – currently assistant principal at Paschal High School to principal at Rosemont Middle School

Ronnita Carridine – currently principal at Harlean Beal Elementary School to principal at Como Montessori

Important notice for Munis fINANCIAL END-USERS

The following is a memorandum for all MUNIS Financial Software System end-users:


Families can sign up for free school supplies at approximately 20 pre-registration events through August 7. The school supply giveaway will take place at Tarrant County’s 14th annual Back to School Roundup, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. August 9 at Will Rogers Memorial Center.

Pre-registration events kicked off June 27. Of those that remain, two are scheduled at Fort Worth ISD campuses:

Thursday, July 26

3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Hills High School, 5701 Shelton St.

Wednesday, August 1

4 to 6 p.m., North Side High School, 2211 McKinley Ave.

Families that pre-register will receive a voucher admitting them to the Back to School Roundup and guaranteeing a free backpack and school supplies.

To qualify for the supplies, families must produce:

  • Valid photo identification
  • Proof of Tarrant County residency (water bill, electric bill, etc.)
  • Proof of income (must meet 2018 poverty guidelines)

The Back to School Roundup is a one-stop shop event that prepares families for the upcoming school year with supplies, free haircuts, health, dental and vision screenings, immunizations, health and social resources.

For more details on pre-registration events, how to volunteer or donate, visit backtoschoolroundup.org.


What: FWISD Summer School Graduation

When: 7 p.m. Friday, August 17, 2018

Where: Wilkerson Greines Activity Center, 5201 C.A. Roberson Blvd., Fort Worth

Summary: High school diplomas are being conferred to 125 students at the annual Summer School Graduation Ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, August 17 at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center

“Offering a summer graduation allows students who were not quite finished with their academic requirements in May to complete their coursework in the summer and graduate before the next academic year begins,” said Ms. Melissa Rincon, summer school principal. “These students can continue on with their postsecondary plans in the fall.”

Students adorned in the graduation gowns of their home schools will walk across the stage to receive their high school diplomas. Board of Education President Tobi Jackson is expected to attend.


Thank you to EECU who donated books to Fort Worth ISD elementary schools, Wednesday, July 25.

The books will be delivered soon to Westcreek, East Handley, Western Hills, Oaklawn, Kirkpatrick and Harlean Beal elementary schools.

The donation is part of the credit union’s effort to support the District’s 100x25FWTX initiative, which sets a goal of 100 percent of third-graders reading at or above grade level by the year 2025. Superintendent Kent P. Scribner is partnering with Mayor Betsy Price, BNSF Executive Chairman Matt Rose to lead the community-wide Read Fort Worth initiative. This collective impact strategy engages parents, grandparents, and caregivers as well as volunteers from the city’s business sector, higher education, non-profit organizations, and the faith-based community.

In Case You Were Wondering...

In case you were wondering what brought Fort Worth firefighters to the Administration building Monday afternoon, they were responding to a sedan in a parking lot billowing with smoke.

A motorist traveling northbound on University Drive pulled into the lot just outside the Human Capital Management and Business and Finance offices. Men sitting in the payroll lobby used a fire extinguisher in an attempt to put out the smoke. Employees watched from their windows as firemen arrived worked to put the fire out on the Honda sedan.

Smoke charred the car’s hood, and smoke could be smelled from the Administration Building’s second floor.

The woman driving the car isn’t believed to be an employee, and there appeared to no injuries.


Eight rising seniors from the Fort Worth ISD are joining the Lockheed Martin High School Internship Program for the 2018-2019 year.

The students were among 47 incoming seniors from the Arlington, Crowley, Fort Worth and Keller school districts recognized at a Lockheed Martin signing event, Monday, July 23. The program also recognized students who started as high school interns in 2014, who have been offered jobs with the company upon graduating college next year.

The students were among 47 incoming seniors from the Arlington, Crowley, Fort Worth and Keller school districts recognized at a Lockheed Martin signing event, Monday, July 23. The program also recognized students who started as high school interns in 2014, who have been offered jobs with the company upon graduating college next year.

This year’s high school interns will work weekly August 2018- May 2019 in fields including quality, production operations, IT and engineering and technology, serving in a variety of roles, including but not limited to quality control, business analysis, integration and testing, software engineering, electronics engineering and aeronautical engineering.

The Fort Worth ISD students joining this 2018-2019 Lockheed Martin High School Internship class include:

Benbrook Middle/ High School: Payton Lucas, Connor MacAdam, and Mason Thielvoldt;

Western Hills High School: Lessly Ariza;

Young Men’s Leadership Academy: Matthew Burgos;

Young Women’s Leadership Academy: Jasmine Castaneda, Mia Flores and Lezly Sierra.

Lockheed Martin’s High School Internship Program is a partnership with Project Lead the Way that originated in 2014 with the goal of high school students beginning an internship with the company that continues through their college years and ultimately concludes with the student becoming a full-time engineer.

Norman Robbins, a Fort Worth ISD Board of Education trustee who had a 30-year community relations career with Lockheed Martin, calls the internship program “a wonderful program which pays huge dividends for our students.” He said he’s encouraged that this is a tremendous advantage for Fort Worth ISD students.

“I think that this is the finest opportunity that we could possibly provide our students,” Mr. Robbins said. “By participating in this internship program, they actually receive a leg up over all their peers and, in many cases, they will gain actual engineering knowledge.

“Not only does it provide them with excellent knowledge, but it provides them with an opportunity figure out what it’s like to work in a large organization.”

This year marks the first year the Lockheed Martin High School Internship Program is expanding to three area school districts. Originally launched with five students at Arlington ISD, the program currently has more than 60 student interns in addition to the nearly 50 interns joining the program this August. According to Lockheed Martin officials, more than 85 percent of the current interns are continuing to pursue STEM degrees to date.

Students were encouraged to apply for the highly sought-after internship during the previous school year.

Interns from Fort Worth will serve as ambassadors to incoming juniors within the District who look to apply for the program next year.

All PLTW (Project Lead the Way) students can apply for the internship program. PLTW is an educational organization that provides curriculum, instruction, and professional development around engineering, biomedical sciences and computer science. PLTW is nationally-recognized, and partners with Fortune 500 companies, like Lockheed Martin, to provide teachers and students with powerful curriculum and opportunities outside of the classroom. The high schools that employ the PLTW Engineering curriculum are Diamond Hill-Jarvis, Western Hills, Benbrook, YMLA and YWLA.

YES! Conference Slated for August 2

The Fort Worth ISD Accounting Department will host the fourth annual YES! Conference, Thursday, August 2 at Benbrook Middle/High School.

Open to District secretary, clerical, and administrative associate employees and some counselors, the one-day conference offers professional development training with sessions focusing on payroll, budget, accounts payable, travel, health and physical education, maintenance and communications among other things.

Betti Coffey, conference keynote speaker, will present Mindset + Momentum = Achievement: 20 Ways to Stay Relevant in Your Job.

The YES! Conference is an invitation-only event. Attendees must register to attend.

Those who experienced difficulties registering for the YES! Conference can contact Vanessa Anders, management and business administrative assistant, at vanessa.anders@fwisd.org.


The following is an important notice about a software upgrade to the new Kronos timekeeping system and new TRS eligibility regulations.

Mandatory training is currently underway for principals, managers and payroll secretaries regarding the new timekeeping system.


The namesake for Clifford Davis Elementary School was recently spotted out and about by a District employee sporting his campus polo.


What's on #FWISD's EdTV? We asked a #FWISD team member to choose this week's #FWISDFridayMovie. Let's see what Leigh Frazier from Fort Worth ISD's Bilingual Department chose as the #FWISDFridayMovie! Friday movies and much more are broadcasted live on EdTV and via Charter or AT&T U-Verse.

Teachers, please share this information with your students about the Summer Reading Incentive (www.fwisd.org/summerreading)

PowerSchool training, Tuesday, July 31- Friday, August 3, Register in Eduphoria

Yes! Conference, Thursday, August 2, Benbrook Middle/High School

Blue Jay Camp, Tuesday, August 7, McLean 6th Grade

Tarrant County Back to School Roundup, Thursday, August 9

Teacher Prep/In-Service, August 13-17

Secondary Literacy Professional Learning Opportunities, Register in Eduphoria

Early College High School First Day of School, Thursday, August 16

Professional Learning Opportunities for Sixth-Grade Literacy, Social Studies and Music Teachers and Campus Librarians, Register in Eduphoria

Texas Home and Garden Show, August 17-19, Will Rogers Memorial Center (FWISD Teachers and Support Staff tickets are half-price)

Convocation 2018, Friday, August 17, Originating at Board Conference Room, 2903 Shotts St. and streamed to all schools and campuses

Buzz Back to School Event, Saturday, August 18

First Day of School, Monday, August 20

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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