Inside FWISD January 30, 2020

In this edition:

Fort Worth ISD Announces Campus Teacher Of The Year Honorees | Teen Shares Story of Her Personal Vaping Battle with FWISD Community: Fort Worth Board of Education, City Council Pass Anti-Vaping Resolutions | Third FWISD Multicultural Education Institute to Focus on Culturally-Relevant Instruction | Staff Waiver Day Set For Monday | District Issues Memo Regarding 2020 W-4 Forms | FWISD JROTC Cadets Attend Medal Of Honor Luncheon | FWISD Announces Area Spelling Bee Winners: 6 Advance to 2020 Scripps Regional Spelling Bee |North Side HS Wins Inaugural FWSSR Mariachi CompetitionFWTC Equips Teachers with Technology Integration Tools for the Classroom | 400 FWISD Students To Receive Free Eye Exams, Glasses At 2020 Kids Vision Fest | Seven FWISD Schools Compete For Wellness Innovation Grant | Game Day Recipes From FWISD’s Gold Seal Culinary Programs | 8 To Represent FWISD On TMEA All-State Ensembles This February | Buzz Worthy: Coffee With The Principal | Communications Celebrates January Webby Award Winners | Fort Worth ISD Snapshot | Calendar | View more stories throughout the week on the Inside FWISD Blog

Fort Worth ISD Announces Campus Teacher Of The Year Honorees

Fort Worth ISD will recognize 135 Campus Teachers of the Year at a special after-school reception April 2, 2020, hosted by Central Market and other community partners.

The highlight of the reception will be the announcement of the 10 finalists for the elementary and secondary District Teacher of the Year Awards, who will advance to the next level of the award selection process.

Community businesses and organizations have partnered with Fort Worth ISD since 1985 to recognize outstanding classroom teachers in our District. One teacher from each school is elected by fellow teachers for the honor of 2019-2020 Campus Teacher of the Year.

Click here to view a complete list of this year's honorees and learn more about the Campus Teacher of the Year Program.

Teen Shares Story of Her Personal Vaping Battle with FWISD Community

Fort Worth Board of Education, City Council Pass Anti-Vaping Resolutions

Anna Carey began vaping and using e-cigarette products at 14 years old.

Seeing news reports linking e-cigarettes to serious respiratory illnesses and even death didn’t deter her.

“It didn’t really hit me that that would happen to me,” she told a packed auditorium of students and educators Wednesday, January 29 at Fort Worth ISD’s I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA.

Everything changed for Anna, now 17, when the effects of vaping and e-cigarettes left her in a hospital bed, she said.

“It was the worst pain in my entire life,” said the homeschooled student. “Imagine a brick being thrown at your chest like constantly.

“Everything is just so scary when you’re actually in that [hospital] bed.”

Anna was among multiple guests brought to the Fort Worth ISD this week for two discussions – one with parents and another with students and educators – hosted January 28 and 29 about vaping’s impact on youth, it’s effects and how to detect e-cigarette devices. Other panelists included medical professionals, state officials, high school and college-aged and students.

The Fort Worth ISD and its Council of PTAs partnered with the American Heart Association, Fort Worth SPARC and State Rep. Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth) to host the two community discussions about this epidemic and its impact on youth.

Ahead of the two discussions, the Fort Worth ISD Board of Education and City Council each approved anti-vaping resolutions Tuesday, January 28, advocating for community dialogue on the health risks of vaping and an end to tobacco and nicotine use among youth. FWISD is among one of the largest school districts in the nation to pass such a decree, according to officials with the American Heart Association.

Click here to read more of Anna's story and the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes.


More than 300 educators are expected to gather for discussions on culturally-responsive instruction at the FWISD Multicultural Education Institute (MEI) Volume 3 this Saturday at Texas Christian University.

The one-day event, hosted by FWISD’s Social Studies Department in partnership with TCU’s Department of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies and TCU's College of Education ANSER Institute, includes an opening and closing keynote address and 34 breakout sessions focusing on four strands --- community connections, culturally relevant instruction, social emotional learning, and literacy, language and sociolinguistics. Learn more about each strand here.

Rickie Clark, Executive Director of FWISD’s My Brother’s Keeper Program, and Dr. Francyne M. Huckaby, professor of Curriculum Studies at TCU’s College of Education, are the opening and closing keynote speakers for the event.

An Expo Room with community organizations and resources -- such as Fort Worth Sister Cities and Fort Worth Capoiera, African drums from Baba Kwasi, Decolonizing the Music Curriculum and more -- will also be open to attendees.

“MEI creates space where every educator’s authentic self can show up and learn ways to empower students beyond the single story of teaching and learning,” said Joseph Niedziela, FWISD’s director of Social Studies.

Festivities get underway at 8:30 a.m. at TCU’s Rees-Jones Hall, 2901 W. Lowden St.

MEI organizers say the event advances teaching and learning with an understanding of history, race culture and identity; unity among diverse cultures and history; individual pride; self-confidence and respect for all.

For more details, contact Mr. Niedziela at 817-814-2470 or email Joseph.niedziela@fwisd.org.


There are no classes in the Fort Worth ISD Monday, February 3 because of a staff development waiver day.

Waiver day trainings for staff will vary by campus and specialty. Employees should consult with their campus principal or direct supervisor for activities scheduled for the day.

The District will resume normal business and class schedules on February 4, 2020.

District Issues Memo Regarding 2020 W-4 Forms

EDITOR's NOTE: The following memorandum is from the Division of Business and Finance:

FWISD JROTC Cadets attend Medal of Honor Luncheon

A small group of Fort Worth ISD JROTC cadets were selected to have lunch with some U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor recipients today, January 30.

The luncheon marked the official announcement that the Congressional Medal of Honor Society would hold its 2020 National Convention in Fort Worth, September 22-26.

As part of their annual meeting, Medal of Honor recipients make it a priority during their convention to meet and visit with local students in addition to active duty and retired military personnel.

The Fort Worth ISD Social Studies Department and the JROTC program are making plans to unveil a special history program related to the Medal of Honor to coincide with the convention later this year.

There currently are 70 living recipients, and 50 heroes of those are expected to attend the convention this fall.

The JROTC cadets at today’s luncheon personally met Medal of Honor recipients Michael Thornton and Britt Slabinski, both former Navy SEALS. The students also posed for a photo with Fisk Hanley, a Paschal High School graduate, who was shot down in the Pacific and held captive by the Japanese during World War II.

FWISD Announces Area Spelling Bee Winners

6 Advance to 2020 Scripps Regional Spelling Bee

The results are in for the Fort Worth ISD’s 2020 Spelling Bee.

More than 100 FWISD elementary and middle school students competed in one of six area bee competitions, January 27-29 at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, with six prevailing as winners. Winning the area spelling bee was a qualifier for the 2020 Scripps Regional Spelling Bee, March 24 hosted at Texas Christian University. Runners-up from the area bees are alternates for the regional competition.

“Students, parents and family members, sponsors, and campus administrators all were wowed by the spelling ability of our FWISD students,” said Norma Burks, FWISD’s academic activities coordinator.

The following students will represent FWISD at the 2020 Scripps Regional Spelling Bee this spring:

Area 1: Winner – Richard Perez, eighth grade, J.P. Elder Middle School; Runner-up -- Brian Hernandez, seventh grade, Riverside Middle School

Area 2: Winner – Terrance Williams, fifth grade, Bill J. Elliott Elementary School; Runner-up – Brayden Jones, fourth grade, Sagamore Hill Elementary School

Area 3: Winner – Gabriel Zuraa, fifth grade, Clifford Davis Elementary School; Runner-up – Quentin Brooks, fifth grade, W.M. Green Elementary School

Area 4: Winner – Hudson Felker, sixth grade, Benbrook Middle-High School; Runner-up – Juliette Hernandez, fifth grade, Bruce Shulkey Elementary School

Area 5: Winner – Ayan Butt, sixth grade, Young Men’s Leadership Academy; Runner-up – Peggy Carr, eighth grade, Young Women’s Leadership Academy

Area 6: Winner – Ava Stubblefield, eighth grade, Daggett Montessori; Runner-up – Landon Fike, sixth grade, McLean 6th Grade

Former FWISD employees and the current Collegiate Programming Coordinator served as the judges for the area bees.

First-place winners and runners-up from each FWISD elementary and middle school were invited to compete in one of six area bees this week. Area bees group competing schools by geographic regions across FWISD.

Students moving on to the regional spelling bee are vying for the chance at advancing to the Scripps National Spelling Bee May 24-29 in National Harbor, Maryland, and following in the footsteps of Maitri Kovuru who qualified for the 2019 the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Maitri finished No. 35 in the national finals.

Photo Courtesy of Dora Tovar and the fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo

North Side HS Wins Inaugural FWSSR Mariachi Competition

Fort Worth ISD’s North Side Mariachi Espuelas de Plata took home the top prize in the inaugural Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo Invitational Mariachi Competition.

The mariachi group was heads and shoulders above its competition, completing the January 25 contest with 764 points. More than 20 points separated Mariachi Espuelas de Plata from the competition’s runner-up, Mariachi Sol Azteca from Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy.

Prior to the awards presentation, Mariachi Espuelas de Plata, paid tribute in song to senior Benjamin Castañeda Floran, a member of the group who died in a tragic car accident, Thanksgiving Day 2019. Benjamin’s family joined the group for the awards presentation, and Ramon Niño, the group’s director, placed a medal around Benjamin’s mother’s neck to honor him, officials with the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo said.

“We know that North Side is missing a violinist tonight and that person is Benjamin Castañeda, who is no longer with us. And we know that one of those medals goes to him,” Norma Garcia, news anchor for Telemundo 39 and the program's host, said in Spanish during the awards presentation. “Thank you for the effort made tonight in his name and memory. No doubt he was cheering them on from above. Congratulations and enjoy this win in his name.”

Photos courtesy of Imelda Martinez

Mr. Niño told NBC 5 (KXAS-TV) prior to the competition that with Benjamin “on the hearts and minds … students are always playing for something bigger than themselves.”

“The thing that they don’t forget when it comes to Ben, or anything else, is that they’re doing it for the culture, they’re doing it for the community and the city of Fort Worth so we want to have that pride regardless of who’s here or who’s not here,” he told the station.

Other Fort Worth ISD mariachi groups competing in the FWSSR Rodeo Invitational Mariachi Competition included Polytechnic Mariachi Alas de Oro and Paschal Mariachi Panteras.

Mariachi Espuelas’ first-place finish at the FWSSR Rodeo Invitational Mariachi Competition comes on the heels of the group and its junior varsity ensemble, Mariachi Espuelas de Cobre, earning Division 1 ratings at the Texas Association of Mariachi Educators (TAME) Area Mariachi Contest earlier this month and qualifying for the state competition, February 8 in Seguin.


The 15th annual Fort Worth Technology Conference (FWTC) offered teachers courses on how to “integrate technology seamlessly” in the classroom, said Dr. Becky Navarre, FWISD assistant superintendent of technology.

Relive the 2020 event in photos and video.

The one-day event, hosted by the District’s Educational Technology Department, Saturday, January 25 at Southwest High School, offered something for everyone, Dr. Navarre said. Nearly 100 presentations, sessions and workshops led by local, regional, and national digital-instruction innovators offered tools for how teachers can integrate technology in elementary, secondary and special education classrooms and subjects including music, science, math and social studies.

“It was the best attended,” said Dr. Navarre who was still in the process of tallying participation numbers, Tuesday, January 28. “The energy was palpable.”

Educators from 19 other school districts, private schools and higher education institutions joined teachers from FWISD in the courses including activities that showed teachers how to incorporate augmented and virtual reality into learning. An Escape Room immersed attendees in classroom technologies, and a Digital Playground allowed educators to test out tech tools for enhancing student comprehension.

Read more about the 2020 FWTC here.

400 FWISD Students to Receive Free Eye Exams, Glasses at 2020 Kids Vision Fest

Who: Approximately 400 Fort Worth ISD students will receive free eye exams and glasses, if needed

What: Eighth annual Kids Vision Fest, hosted by Essilor Vision Foundation and Alcon in partnership with Fort Worth ISD

When: Monday, February 3 (February is a Staff Day and there are no classes for students)

Where: Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus, 300 Trinity Campus Circle, Fort Worth. The event is invitation-only and not open to the public.

Summary: Approximately 400 Fort Worth ISD elementary school students are being gifted with free vision screenings and eyeglasses at the 2020 Kids Vision Fest, Monday, February 3 at Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus.

Superintendent Kent P. Scribner and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price will join representatives from the Essilor Vision Foundation, Alcon and TCC-Trinity River in a brief program with a select group of fourth and fifth grade students reinforcing the connection between vision care and literacy. During the program, children will create cards explaining why they love their glasses and why vision is important to them. Following the program, Dr. Scribner and Mayor Price will tour the fest, interact with children and take eye exams.

Elementary school nurses recently gave vision pre-screenings to kindergarten- fifth grade students. More than 600 children from 32 FWISD elementary schools requiring further evaluation were invited to attend Kids Vision Fest, a mobile vision clinic. About 400 students are eligible for free vision screenings and eyeglasses, according to the District’s Health Services Department. If it’s determined that a child needs glasses, they will choose eyeglass frames and lens onsite, and the prescription glasses will be delivered to the student’s school within the next several weeks.

Kid Vision Fest is sponsored by Essilor Vision Foundation and Alcon in partnership with Fort Worth ISD. Dallas-based Essilor Vision Foundation launched its program Kids Vision for Life in 2008 to increase access to vision screenings and new glasses for children. Within the last decade, Tarrant County youth have received free on-site eye exams at nearly 100 schools and thousands of pairs of free prescription glasses.

Kids Vision Fest is an invitation-only event and not open to the public.

Essilor Vision Foundation’s Kids Vision Fest aligns with the District’s 100X25 FWTX initiative, a partnership Dr. Scribner and Mayor Price assisted in launching years ago that sets a goal of 100% of third graders reading on or above grade level by 2025. Vision is critical in a child’s ability to read and learn. For more details about the 100X25 FWTX initiative, visit ReadFortWorth.org.


Students from seven Fort Worth ISD schools competed for one of four $5,000 Blue Zones Project Wellness Innovation Grants, Saturday, January 25.

Teams from the seven schools will learn this week if the proposals they pitched for the grant to be used for student-led, on-campus health and well-being initiatives will be awarded.

Teams from the Leadership Academy at Como Elementary, Christene C. Moss Elementary, Westcliff Elementary, Western Hills Elementary, Oakhurst Elementary, Daggett Montessori and the Applied Learning Academy were finalists selected to pitch projects. The teams were selected from more than 20 applications submitted. A committee of local educators and wellness experts heard presentations from the Fort Worth ISD schools and one other finalist .

The presentations were at the Fort Worth ISD Professional Development Center. Students showcased their leadership skills including communication, public speaking, and creativity. The proposed ideas include designating a wellness area where frustrated students can retreat to learn techniques on controlling their emotions and implementing roving food carts intended to teach students how to prepare healthy meals for themselves.

The grants are provided by R4 Foundation, which funds local programs supporting education, community, wellness and the arts, in partnership with North Texas Healthy Communities, the community outreach arm of Texas Health Resources that implements Blue Zones Project.

Implementation of better health practices comes down ultimately to resources, and this grant opportunity aims to provide Blue Zones Project schools with necessary funding to implement student-led campus health and well-being initiatives.

Grant recipients will be announced today and Friday , and projects must be completed by June 1, 2020.

Game Day Recipes from FWISD’s Gold Seal Culinary Programs

Wow your guests at this Sunday’s Super Bowl party with recipes from Fort Worth ISD’s Gold Seal culinary arts programs.

This week leading up to the big game, FWISD Culinary Arts instructors from three high schools are sharing recipes for the appetizers that were served to audience members at the recent Whiz Quiz Finals.

Make a big impression with these dishes

Kroger sponsored the culinary addition to the 2020 Whiz Quiz contests and provided all the ingredients needed for making the dishes.

Bon appétit and may the best team win!

8 To Represent FWISD on TMEA All-State Ensembles This February

Eight Fort Worth ISD students will represent the District as members of multiple all-state ensembles this February at the centennial Texas Music Educators Association Clinic/Convention in San Antonio.

The following students will perform with all-state ensembles at the TMEA Clinic/ Convention, February 12-15:

All-State Choir

Emily Bunn, alto, Paschal High School

Micaela Ostrander, alto, Benbrook Middle-High School

Eduardo Guerrero, bass, Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School

All-State Orchestra

Mary Martin, violin, Benbrook Middle-High School

All-State Jazz Ensemble

William Woodard, tenor saxophone, Paschal High School

Liam Heffley, drums, Paschal High School

All-State Band

Adam Parham, clarinet, Arlington Heights High School

Lucas King, trombone, Benbrook Middle-High School

The students selected to all-state ensembles are chosen through a rigorous audition process. Selection is the highest honor a student musician in Texas can receive. The eight FWISD students are among 1,795 students across Texas selected to all-state ensembles.

Fewer than 3% of students who audition become all-state musicians.

All-State students participate in rehearsals for three days directed by nationally recognized conductors leading up to concerts that close out the TMEA Clinic/ Convention. For a complete schedule of TMEA Clinic/Convention activities, visit www.tmea.org/conventions.

Buzz Worthy: Coffee with the Principal

Fort Worth ISD campuses are always posting great ways to motivate students and staff. Regularly, Inside FWISD will post tricks of the trade. If you see an idea you like, try it at your campus!

In an effort to engage with families, Whitney Scott, principal at Eastern Hills Elementary School and her leadership staff, hosts monthly Coffee with the Principal events.

“One of our focus areas is Family and Community Partnership. We truly wanted to make a direct effort to intentionally connect with our community,” she said. “Coffee with the Principal allows parents and community members an opportunity to meet with campus leadership to talk, receive information, resources and more. This is a great opportunity to build relationships with our community and take time to learn and listen.”

How it works: Monthly from 7:30-8:30 a.m. parents meet in the school’s Family Room for coffee and food. “We spend time getting to know each other, sharing information about the school, listening to areas of praise and feedback and seeking ideas from our families,” Ms. Scott said.

Impact: Increased connections and relationships with families. “We will continue outreach initiatives, so we can start building a strong community support system for our students,” Ms. Scott said.

Ms. Scott offers three tips for organizing a monthly Coffee with the Principal event on your campus:

  1. Have a coordinator for the chat. Our Family and Community Partnership Specialist Saida Santiago has done an excellent job in coordinating our chats as well as David Rush, our Student Success Specialist.
  2. Be willing to learn from another school. We are connecting and learning from Oakhurst Elementary School. We got the idea from them to implement the principal chats.
  3. Be willing to listen. Sometimes we always want to pour on all of what we want someone to know, but it is important to take intentional time to listen to your families.

What a great way to engage families!

Want to be featured in the Buzz Worthy column? Follow these easy steps:

  1. Post it on your campus social media page or email Inside@fwisd.org
  2. Provide photos of the impact

Try Coffee with the Principal out on your campus and let us know the benefits and challenges!

Communications Celebrates January Webby Award Winners

The Fort Worth ISD Communications Department recently recognized Waverly Park Elementary School and Morningside Middle School for how each campus website celebrated community partners this month.

On Monday, January 27, principals from the two schools were presented with the coveted Webby Award trophy during elementary and secondary principals’ meetings held at the Professional Development Center. The winning schools will keep the Webby Award trophy for the next month and receive a Kroger gift card for campus use.

Distributed monthly by the FWISD Communications Department, the Webby Award recognizes campus websites that engage families, students, alumni and the community at large. Elementary and secondary campus websites that best complete monthly challenges are recognized with the award at principals’ meetings.

The Webby Award challenge for February is “Love For Our Families.” Each campus webmaster is encouraged to put a spotlight on parents, guardians, caregivers, family leaders and organizations and the work they do to keep the school moving forward daily.

For more details or assistance with your campus website, visit www.fwisd.org/websitetraining or email web@fwisd.org.

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

Whiz Quiz: In this Sport of Knowledge, two five-member teams square off nightly, January 21-23, to answer rapid-fire questions about science, literature, social studies, geography, grammar, math and pop culture in the Jeopardy-style academic competition. The top two teams squared off for Whiz Quiz trophies in the categories of sixth grade, middle school and high school. The following teams clinched 2020 Whiz Quiz titles --World Languages Institute, sixth grade; McLean, middle school and Paschal, high school. Pictured are images from the high school competition. 

January is Board Appreciation Month

Multicultural Education Institute, February 1

Trauma Informed Classroom Management Training, February 1

S.S. Dillow ES Community Health Fair, February 1

Waiver Day (Staff Day, No Classes for Students), February 3

Kid Vision Fest, February 3

Families Notified of Gold Seal application status, February 3-7

National Signing Day, February 5

Go Red Day, February 7

Elementary History Fair, February 10-11

Board Meeting, February 11

Fort Worth Council of PTAs Founders Day Luncheon, February 13

National Hispanic College Fair, February 14

End of Fourth Six Weeks, February 14

Save the date for the Racial Equity Summit

Save the date for Summer Professional Learning

Girls and Boys Basketball Schedules

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.