Inside FWISD April 12, 2018

FWISD Sells First Capital Improvement Bonds From 2017 Bond Program

District Turns Process into Teaching Event for High School Students

Almost a dozen Fort Worth ISD students were on-hand to watch the District sell approximately $185 million in Unlimited Tax School Building Bonds that will finance much needed construction projects approved by voters last November.

Students from Carter-Riverside, North Side, Paschal and Polytechnic high schools watched in real-time Wednesday, April 11, as investors around the world placed orders to purchase an estimated $185 million in bonds. This was the first of multiple bond sales that will take place over the next four years.

Financial advisers and underwriters briefly explained municipal finance and investments over the course of the sale and offered a basic understanding of capital markets.

One important lesson for the students was that real-time news events, such as the continued struggle in Syria, have real-world impacts when it comes to things like the sale of bonds. The Fort Worth ISD was able to negotiate substantially better terms because investors were seeking the stability of the bond market.

Fort Worth ISD recently received a AAA long-term rating and AA underlying rating by Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings. At the same time, Moody's Investors Rating Service issued an Aaa enhanced long-term rating and an Aa1 underlying rating. Both agencies spoke to the financial stability of the District, its good financial management practices and future plans to maintain strong reserves to affirm a stable financial future outlook.

Last November, 78 percent of voters approved a more than $750 million bond package that will fund renovations to 14 FWISD comprehensive high schools, the relocation of three specialized schools and also address school overcrowding and student growth at Tanglewood and Waverly Park elementary schools.

The finance professionals shared their experiences of how and why they got into the business. Among those imparting wisdom into the students was a Polytechnic alumnus who now works as a managing director for an investment banking firm.

“My greatest takeaway is that we have begun educating the students in Fort Worth ISD regarding the finance side of a business operation,” said Elsie Schiro, FWISD chief financial officer. “It was important in that I understand at a young age they may not understand the finance and accounting side of an organization.

“For students to hear professionals who have worked in our industry for some time… listen to their stories, it may provide them with a pathway to a career that they may have otherwise not understood.”

The experience offered students a behind-the scenes look at what goes into funding the District’s capital improvement projects, said Dacia Carter, a teacher at Carter-Riverside High.

Her student Mariana Diaz, a senior, said the opportunity was an exciting one in which she got an in-depth look into finance.

“It was eye-opening,” she said. “I was able to see how we get the money.”

Bianca Rodriguez, a junior at North Side High School, said that engaging with finance professionals was interesting. One takeaway lesson from the day was that getting things done requires hard work – nothing comes for free, she said.

“I learned a lot more about investment banking than I thought,” Bianca said. “Meeting more people, I’m able to get a better idea of different career paths for myself.”

With the first series of bonds sold, the District can start construction soon on Phase 1 of the 2017 bond projects.


Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, all secondary schools in the Fort Worth ISD will adopt a common schedule of eight class periods. This change will provide more opportunities to students while allowing the District to operate more efficiently.

The introduction of the common schedule follows an in-depth study performed by the 33-member Common Schedule Task Force comprise of principals, assistant principals, teachers, athletic, and central office representatives.

The team identified the following benefits for the change:

  • High school students will now have the opportunity to gain up to 32 credits. This will also support students who need additional credits to graduate
  • Students can accelerate courses such as dual credit, CTE certifications and early graduation
  • Class for CTE programs can be double blocked utilizing distance learning and providing equity for all students
  • There will be a common time for distance learning and sharing of teacher resources
  • Middle school students will be able to accelerate and take high school courses
  • Campuses will have the option of incorporating athletics into middle school allowing coaches to better align athletics for high school, as well as to monitor team performance and support program development

Teacher worktime will not increase even though a student’s daily instructional day will be increased by 15 minutes. This will have a significant impact for the District over the course of the school year.

In adopting the eight-period day, Fort Worth ISD joins districts in Arlington, Austin, Crowley, Cypress-Fairbanks, Dallas, Fort Bend, H-E-B, Houston, Irving, Katy, Keller, Lake Worth, North Side and San Antonio with a longer school day.

Common Schedule 8 Period Day FAQs

1. Why should we move to an eight-period day?

  • A common schedule will give students an opportunity to gain 32 credits.
  • The additional credits will allow students to retake important EOC courses such as English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology, and U.S. History needed for graduation without sacrificing electives important to each student.
  • This will also increase access to accelerated courses and the ability to enroll in CTE and Advanced Placement courses.
  • The common schedule also improves access to dual enrollment distance learning.
  • Ideally, it will provide instructional staff both a daily conference period and a PLC/Team planning period.

2. If I am in Pre-AP or AP classes, does that mean I will have to take additional classes?

  • No. High school principals will have options for early dismissal, late arrival, and high school enrichment (homework assistance) period.
  • The additional class periods provide opportunities for students to engage in classes of interest and to extend learning in areas they might not have been able to address in a schedule without eight periods.
  • Students meeting or on track to meet the required 26 credits for graduation will have multiple options annually, based on campus course availability.

3. Will the passing period be changed?

  • The passing period/transition time will remain 5 minutes.

4. Will PD for teachers be provided in the summer to compact lessons to 45 minutes?

  • Yes. Curriculum and Instruction will assist in transitioning to 45-minute instructional period.

5. Will the Learning Model be implemented in addition to the common schedule?

  • Learning Model implementation will assist the transition to an eight-period day.

6. If teachers are teaching six classes but students are taking eight, will we now require more teachers and more funding for schools that currently teach seven classes?

  • No. We will continue to follow staffing ratios. We will also continue our practice of reviewing master schedule as driven by student course requests. This will better enable us to implement distance learning; more students will have access to a greater number of courses.

7. With the extended school time, will there be an advisory period?

  • Campuses still have the ability to have a zero-period and ninth period as needed.
  • Campuses also have the flexibility to build in activity schedules as needed for special events.

8. Can middle schools start earlier to better align with high schools?

  • We will convene a future focus group to consider this.

9. If we want to have eight periods, can we have a block or modified block schedule?

  • No. Building principals will have the option to build master schedules with double block classes where they are programmatically necessary and in the best interest of students. For example, a cosmetology CTE class can be scheduled back-to-back or double-blocked in order to meet required minutes for certification.

10. Will EOC teachers receive a teaming or extra planning period?

  • No. Teachers will teach six out of eight periods.

11. What if a student needs to travel for an internship?

  • Under the eight-period day the student schedule can be adjusted under double-blocking to accommodate allow for travel time.

12. How will an eight-period help students if he or she is behind on credits?

  • Classes can be scheduled during the school day to recapture lost credits instead of before or after school.

13. What implications does the eight-period day have for students who are in athletics and/or band?

  • Having a common schedule helps align high schools and middle schools for increased opportunities for middle school students to develop in both fine arts and athletics.

14. How will the eight-period help middle school students prepare for high school and college?

  • The eight-period day opens sections for college prep courses for all middle school students. This allows to begin dual credit work as early as the ninth grade. The District does not currently allow this.

15. What is the bottom line – why are we doing this?

  • So a greater number of our students can go to college without having to take remedial courses.

16. Is the District making this decision just to save money?

  • The guiding principle for this decision is to empower students by offering them more opportunities and an increased number of course offerings. However, it is possible the District may realize potential cost savings.

17. Has the District developed sample bell schedules for campuses to use in planning for the 2018-19 school year?

  • Yes.

We welcome your questions about the eight-period bell schedule. Send them to Inside FWISD.


On Tuesday, April 11, 2018, the Fort Worth ISD Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution setting aside a class holiday each spring to honor Latinos and Latinas who have greatly contributed to our country.

Specifically, the resolution identifies Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta for their 30 years as labor and civil rights leaders and who recognized that working together they could achieve more than they might separately.

In reading the resolution, District 1 Representative Jacinto “Cinto” Ramos, Jr. encouraged students not to think of the day as a day off, but rather a day on.

“I heard this from all different children of all different backgrounds at our recent Racial Equity Summit who asked why don’t we see ourselves in the literature and in the holidays,” Mr. Ramos said. “I encourage all students to participate in service-learning projects, based on the life, work, and values of Cesar E. Chavez and Dolores C. Huerta.”

The student holiday will be observed on the Monday prior to March 31, Cesar Chavez’s birthday, beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. View the complete resolution.

FWISD Schools finalist for Gold, Silver Honors by National Center for Urban School Transformation

The Fort Worth ISD has learned that four of its schools are finalists for silver or gold National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) awards. The schools are among only 18 national finalists considered the best urban schools in the nation.

The FWISD nominees for NCUST’s 2018 America’s Best Urban School Award (ABUS) are

  • Young Men’s Leadership Academy
  • World Languages Institute
  • Bonnie Brae Elementary School
  • Westcliff Elementary School

A fifth Fort Worth ISD school, M.H. Moore Elementary, received honor roll designation in December. At that same time the District learned four of its schools met the bronze level for the NCUST award. Just recently, FWISD received word that four of its schools may potentially be gold or silver winners.

“Each of these schools is an exemplar of both excellence and equity,” said Superintendent Kent P. Scribner of the honored campuses last December. “Congratulations to all -- principals, faculty, students and families -- on your commitment to academic achievement.”

The 18 finalists --among thousands of applicants across the nation – are being recognized for outstanding transformational work in urban centers of more than 50,000 students.

Selected schools’ students are from all ethnic and special population groups, such as Special Education and English Language Learners, and consistently outperformed state averages for all respective student groups. Additionally, these schools serve a large percentage of students as economically disadvantaged, meeting requirements to be eligible for ABUS awards. All finalists have high attendance and low suspension rates. Finally, students who have matriculated into the next level of school must continue to demonstrate high performance levels.

NCUST winners will be recognized at America’s Best Urban Schools Symposium this October in San Diego, California.


Fort Worth ISD is offering parents of 4-year-olds a convenient way to register online for prekindergarten for the 2018-2019 school year.

They may register at home, using their phone or tablet and accessing fwisd.org/registration. Parents can find their neighborhood campus by using the Fort Worth ISD school locator at the same web address.

Parents may also receive online registration assistance at branches of the Fort Worth Public Library.

As of Thursday afternoon, April 12, there were more than 3,600 submitted applications for the Pre-K program.

To register, families will be asked to upload:

  • Parent/Guardian photo identification
  • Proof of age and identity of student
  • Immunization record
  • Proof of address (Utility bill or lease)
  • Proof of income

If some of these items are not available prior to submission of the online application, there will be an opportunity for parents to share them at a later date. However, parents are urged to upload as many of the requested documents as they can.

Pre-K is vitally important to early childhood development and school-readiness. The Fort Worth ISD recognizes how critical a child’s social, emotional, cognitive, language and physical development is to their overall success academically and socially. Students attending Pre-K experience a high-quality and engaging learning environment.

“It’s not play school,” says Superintendent Kent P. Scribner. “It’s important preparation for first-grade and beyond.”

For more details about FWISD Pre-K, visit www.fwisd.org/prek.

Technical assistance registering online is just a click or phone call away. For help, email support@infosnap.com or call 866-434-6276, Press 1 and then 4 for Registration Support from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday Central Time.


Hey FWISD Employees! One day remains to complete the 2018 Fort Worth ISD Stakeholders’ Climate Survey, and we’re encouraging you to motivate your students to participate so that they’re voices are heard and that they’re part of the process.

The survey, which was originally scheduled to close March 16, remains open through Friday, April 13, allowing everyone from elementary students to the community at large to participate.

Survey results will provide rich data about the current climate and culture in Fort Worth ISD. The District will use this and other data when making future key decisions.

The survey is open to students in grades three through 12; parents and guardians; school administrators at all levels; all teachers; non-instructional staff; central administration and district staff; and the community at large.

The survey will cover engagement, safety and environment. The engagement section will include cultural and linguistic competence, relationships and school participation. The safety section will include items about bullying, emotional safety and physical safety. The items about environment will address instructional, physical, discipline and mental health.

Dr. Stacy M. Burrell of the Grants Compliance & Monitoring Department said the survey data will provide information about what is working well and will identify critical gaps and opportunities for improvement.

“This process provides a lens into the thinking and perceptions of our stakeholders in which improvement strategies can be developed and successes can be celebrated,” Dr. Burrell said. “Survey results will also establish a ‘Culture of Conversations with Data’ that is based upon best practices,” she said.

The District can use the survey data to help make decisions in a variety of areas, including Campus Needs Assessments and Campus Educational Improvement Plans. Data will be available in an online reporting tool that can easily make district-level and school-level comparisons. It is important for the District to have as many people participate in the survey as possible in order to have enough data when making future decisions.

“Collecting perception data benefits district and school leadership in an ongoing continuous process, and all stakeholders play a part,” Dr. Burrell said.

For information about the survey contact the Grants Compliance and Monitoring Department at 817-814-1850 or via e-mail at AskEval@fwisd.org.


Fort Worth ISD has selected its finalists for the 2017-2018 District Teacher of the Year awards.

At a special after-school Campus Teacher of the Year reception, April 5, 2018, 10 semifinalists for the elementary and secondary District Teacher of the Year awards were announced.

They are:

Elementary-Lauren Ruth, Bonnie Brae Elementary School; Laurie Stillwell, Burton Hill Elementary School; Isabel Moore, Charles E. Nash Elementary School; Dr. Andrew McKenzie, North Hi Mount Elementary School; Stacey Barringer, Western Hills Primary School;

Secondary- Alexandra Checka, Applied Learning Academy; Orion Smith, Arlington Heights High School; Megan Ngo, McLean Middle School; Zachary Reimer, Polytechnic High School; Samuel A. Wilson, Southwest High School.

A total of 133 teachers from across the District were honored at the April 5 reception, hosted by Central Market.

A mother-son duo, both selected by their peers at separate campuses to be Campus Teachers of the Year were elated when Mr. Reimer from Poly High School, was selected as a finalist for District Teacher of the Year. His mom, Debbie Reimer who teaches at Paschal High School was standing with him when his name was announced.

Previously Mrs. Reimer had 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.”

The reception was held at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas(BRIT) in Fort Worth. View the full photo gallery here.

Since 1985, community businesses and organizations have partnered with Fort Worth ISD to recognize outstanding classroom teachers in our District. One teacher from each school is elected by fellow teachers for the honor of 2017-2018 Campus Teacher of the Year.

Teachers selected are eligible to apply for the District Teacher of the Year award for elementary or secondary. Each of the two award winners receives an honorarium of $5,000 from Central Market. The eight finalists also receive an award of $1,000 from Central Market.

Nominees must:

  • Have taught in the FWISD for a minimum of three years and have a total of five years’ experience.
  • Be a full time, certified, highly qualified classroom teacher.
  • Be exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled
  • Inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn
  • Have the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues
  • Play an active and useful role in the community, as well as in the school

This year’s Campus Teachers of the Year are:

A.M. Pate Elementary School, Cherrelle Tillis-White

Alice Carlson Applied Learning Center, Talor Garza

Alice D. Contreras Elementary School, Rosa Quezada

Amon Carter-Riverside High School, Walter Padgett

Applied Learning Academy, Alexandra Checka*

Arlington Heights High School, Orion Smith*

Atwood McDonald Elementary School, Shawneequa Smith

Benbrook Elementary School, Lisa Murray

Benbrook Middle/High School, Mikki McCoy

Bill J. Elliott Elementary School, Brooke Rhodes

Bonnie Brae Elementary School, Lauren Ruth*

Boulevard Heights, Sarah Mayfair

Bruce Shulkey Elementary School, Greg Henahan

Burton Hill Elementary School, Laurie Stillwell*

C.C. Moss Elementary School, Arlinda Brown

Carroll Peak Elementary School, Donna Williams

Carter Park Elementary School, Melissa Penrod

Cesar Chavez Elementary School, Dianne Cochran

Charles E. Nash Elementary School, Isabel Moore*

Clifford Davis Elementary School, Ramona Colbert

Como Montessori School, Danielle Quijano

D. McRae Elementary School, Eunice Jamison Granados

Daggett Elementary School, Stacy Gordon

Daggett Montessori School, Sandy Yeandle

David K. Sellars Elementary School, Gloria Palmer

De Zavala Elementary School, Corey Steinberg

Diamond Hill Elementary School, Elizabeth Kelz

Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School, Liliana Hinojosa

Dolores Huerta Elementary School, Maribel Aragon

Dunbar High School, Charla Washington

E.M. Daggett Middle School, Bobbie Addington

East Handley Elementary School, Sequoia Ford

Eastern Hills Elementary School, Gregorey Thomas

Eastern Hills High School, Rose W. Irungu

Edward J. Briscoe Elementary School, Sharla Chadwick

George C. Clarke Elementary School, Taylor Wilson

Glen Park Elementary School, Roxy Glass

Glencrest Sixth Grade, Nettie Scott

Green B. Trimble Technical High School, Corri Brosius

Greenbriar Elementary School, Charryse J. Law

H.V. Helbing Elementary School, Luciano Orozco

Handley Middle School, Toyin Okunade

Harlean Beal Elementary School, Paula Pope

Hazel Harvey Peace Elementary School, Misty Hollis

Hubbard Heights Elementary School, Belinda Garcia

International Newcomer Academy, Blanca Olivo-Andrade

J. P. Elder Middle School, Robyn Rasberry

J. T. Stevens Elementary School, Bess Anderson

Jacquet Middle School, Master Sgt. John L. Whitfield

Jean McClung Middle School, Franchesca Parker

Jo Kelly School, Debbie Croschere

Kirkpatrick Elementary School, Cynthia Flores

Kirkpatrick Middle School, Jennifer Cruz

Leadership Academy at Como Elementary School, Cara Lightner

Leadership Academy at Forest Oak Middle School, Cer'Princeton Harden

Leadership Academy at John T. White Elementary School, Letha C. Gaines

Leadership Academy at Maude I. Logan Elementary School, Safiyyah Omar

Leadership Academy at Mitchell Boulevard Elementary School, Julie Rowe

Leonard Middle School, Sara Tipton

Lily B. Clayton Elementary School, Ellen Ruthart

Lowery Road Elementary School, Yolanda Collins

Luella Merrett Elementary School, Hannah Stinson

M. M. Walton Elementary School, Kristi York

M.G. Ellis Primary School, Catherine Adkinson

M.H. Moore Elementary School, Jose Ramirez

M.L. Phillips Elementary School, Kerry Boatright

Manuel Jara Elementary School, Vanessa Silvas

Marine Creek Collegiate High School, Jennifer Pate

McLean Sixth Grade, Michael O'Brien

McLean Middle School, Megan Ngo*

Meacham Middle School, Kelsy Daniels

Meadowbrook Elementary School, Pablo F. Orozco

Meadowbrook Middle School, Renisha Payne

Metro Opportunity High School, Abel Calderon

Middle Level Learning Center, Lela Anderson

Morningside Elementary School, Nona Landers

Morningside Middle School, Floyd Slay

Natha Howell Elementary School, Gregory Gallimore

North Hi Mount Elementary School, Dr. Andrew McKenzie*

North Side High School, Ramon Niño III

O.D. Wyatt High School, Montana Hopkins

Oakhurst Elementary School, Cristina Sigala Szmigiel

Oaklawn Elementary School, Lily Salas

Paschal High School, Debbie Reimer

Polytechnic High School, Zachary Reimer*

Richard J. Wilson Elementary School, Nidia M. Escobar

Ridglea Hills Elementary School, Jennifer Dutton

Riverside Applied Learning Center, Cynthia Kohn

Riverside Middle School, Leon Ybarra

Rosemont Sixth Grade, Juan Escamilla

Rosemont Elementary School, Marquise Taylor

Rosemont Middle School, Robyn Leonardi

Rufino Mendoza Elementary School, Leslie Miller-Garcia

S.S. Dillow Elementary School, Denise Zwald

Sagamore Hill Elementary School, Alfredo Ornelas

Sam Rosen Elementary School, Marcia Bender

Seminary Hills Park Elementary School, Emily Mason

South Hi Mount Elementary School, Amy Hernandez

South Hills Elementary School, Jacob Austin

South Hills High School, Brent Schooley

Southwest High School, Samuel A. Wilson*

Springdale Elementary School, Maria Esther Rodriguez

Stripling Middle School, Nathan Henderson

Success High School, Abdolreza Darigan

Sunrise-McMillan Elementary School, Jennifer Adams

T.A. Sims Elementary School, Diana Herrera

Tanglewood Elementary School, Louann Walton

TCC South - Fort Worth ISD Collegiate High School, Donna Cole

Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences, Lucas Tucker

Transition Center, Matthew Bostick

Van Zandt-Guinn Elementary School, Francine Shelton

Versia L. Williams Elementary School, Teresita Salinas

W. M. Green Elementary School, Mario Mateo Carbonell

W.J. Turner Elementary School, Carlos J. Batista

Washington Heights Elementary School, Nicolas A. Neria

Waverly Park Elementary School, Martha Alvarez

Wedgwood Sixth Grade, Moniqueca Long

Wedgwood Middle School, Brent Kaether

West Handley Elementary School, Katherine Campbell

Westcliff Elementary School, Ebony A. McDonald

Westcreek Elementary School, Cherika White

Western Hills Elementary School, Agueda Medina-Torres

Western Hills High School, Vincent Gil

Western Hills Primary School, Stacey Barringer*

Westpark Elementary School, Isabel Shirley

William James Middle School, Marie Pascaline Boodhna

William Monnig Middle School, Effie Hallman

Woodway Elementary School, Ellen Eilerts

World Languages Institute, Maria de los Reyes Frederickson

Worth Heights Elementary School, Edward Evans

Young Men's Leadership Academy, Sarah A. Voelker

Young Women's Leadership Academy, Amber Bailey

*Signifies a District Teacher of the Year Finalist

FWISD Celebrates National Volunteer Week

Did you know that in 2017 Fort Worth ISD’s 10,894 volunteers donated 190,956 hours of their time to support students?

The volunteer value in Texas is actually $25.15 per hour, which equates to $4.8 million for the 2016 – 2017 school year. This data illustrates a substantial return on the District’s investment in the volunteer program.

Next week, Fort Worth ISD will take time out to thank “volunteers who give their time, talents, and support to advance education for all students,” said Jennifer Perez, director of Family Communications.

National Volunteer Week is from April 16-20. The weeklong celebration thanks and recognizes individuals who give of their time and effort to support a cause.

FWISD will join the nation in thanking volunteers by providing a “box of appreciation” packed with lapel pins, appreciation stickers, certificates and other goodies to each campus to support volunteer celebrations at their school.

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

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

Child Nutrition Services Offers Free Lunch for FWISD Staff

Fort Worth ISD Child Nutrition Services will celebrate District employees with a Staff Appreciation Lunch, Tuesday, May 1.

Employees are encouraged to show their FWISD-issued badge for a free lunch including an entrée, two fruit items, vegetables and a choice of milk or tea, if available. All other a la carte drinks and snacks are available for purchase.

“We (CNS) want to show our appreciation to all of the school heroes that make student learning possible,” said Ashley Phillips, assistant Child Nutrition Services director, in a recent memorandum to principals and teachers. “We care about the health and nutrition of our students as well as FWISD staff.”

The May 1 lunch menu will include:

red chicken tamales, cheese enchiladas, fresh chef salad, kiwi, grapes, charro beans and sautéed squash.

There may be additional “express” menu offerings at some FWISD schools, and campuses under construction will offer a modified menu.

Sponsor A My Brother’s Keeper Senior

The My Brother’s Keeper Program is asking for nearly 30 people to sponsor a suit for its graduating seniors.

A $350 donation covers a tailored suit, shirt, tie, belt and dress shoes from Jos. A. Bank, which the young men can use for graduation, senior events, interviews and as they transition on to college.

Rickie Clark, My Brother’s Keeper coordinator, said that it “means the world” to the seniors who receive their very own tailored suit. Eligible students must have at least a 70 percent attendance rate in the My Brother’s Keeper program.

“They feel confident about themselves. They feel like someone cares,” Mr. Clark said. “It increases their self-esteem. They’re more confident.

“I don’t think people realize what these suits do for these boys, and in encourages the other young men to participate.”

Learn more about the My Brother's Keeper program here.

For more details on becoming a sponsor, contact Mr. Clark at 817-448-2787 or Dana Harris, executive director for Education Foundation for Fort Worth Schools, at 817-720-5210.

Southwest HS Qualifies for SkillsUSA National Contest Eighth Straight Year

For the eighth consecutive year, the Advanced Media Program at Southwest High School, is the SkillsUSA Texas Broadcast News contest winner and a qualifier for the national competition. The team bested 20 Texas teams in its campaign to qualify once again for nationals.

Additionally, students from Southwest High nabbed multiple medals at the recent SkillsUSA state contest in Corpus Christi.

Southwest High School earned the following awards at this year’s SkillsUSA state competition:

Broadcast News Production

1st Place team of Chelsea Lyles, Laura Nunez, Gloria Ortiz and Jacob Wells

3rd Place team of Jolina Abito, Leslie Garcia, Jerlycia Gilbert and Jamyce Marshall

Prepared Speech

1st Place Jacob Wells

Career Pathways Arts, AV Cluster

2nd Place team of Jerlycia Gilbert, Chelsea Lyles and Sandra Randjelovic

Broadcast News Production Technical Test

Gold: Jessica Acevedo and Jocelyn Corona Luis

Silver: Damaris Salazar

Southwest High School will defend its title at the National Leadership and Skills Conference June 25-29 in Louisville, Kentucky.


Congratulations to Fort Worth ISD fifth-grader Alondra Villa, whose design is being turned into a die-cast model car that will be available at major retail stores nationwide.

The Diamond Hill Elementary student is the winner of the third- to sixth-grade division in a contest sponsored by Lionel Racing, the official die cast of NASCAR. Students from elementary schools participating in Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding to Read program submitted designs of their fantasy stock car and wrote an essay explaining the inspiration behind their design. Winners were selected in two divisions – kindergarten to second-grade and third to sixth-grade.

On Thursday, April 5, Alondra was presented a die-cast model car of her very own, red, white, blue and yellow design. She was treated to a surprise visit from race car driver Aric Almirola, presented with four tickets to this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway and other promotional items. Almirola currently drives in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series.

Students lined the halls for a parade welcoming their special guest to the campus. They held race flags and posters. The school hosted a celebratory pep assembly in the cafetorium that coincided with an assembly for the upcoming STAAR test.

According to a recent Texas Motor Speedway media release, designs were judged on “originality, incorporating reading and/ or school elements into the design … an orderly appearance that can be transferred to an authentic die-cast, and the essay behind the theme.” The winning designs will be added to Lionel Racing’s NASCAR Authentic line and available for purchase at retailers like Walmart and Target. Every student and faculty member at Diamond Hill Elementary School will receive a die-cast car with Alondra’s design at a later date.

In her contest essay, Alondra wrote about her love for reading and how her design was inspired by her teenage brother who loves cars. Her winning design is a blue race car with red and yellow flames, a peace sign, the number 18 draped in the American flag and the Diamond Hill Elementary mascot, an eagle.

View photos from the rally here.

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,

My question is in regard to the four-day work during the summer for FWISD employers. Would this apply to the subs if they are willing to work as a clerk during the summer?

Thank you in advance on this matter.

Vonell Morgan

Dear Ms. Morgan,

The four-day work week only applies to full-time staff whose calendar work days continue during the summer months through August 31, 2018. It would not apply to substitutes, temporary and/or part-time help.

Thank you for your question.


Dear Elsie,

Does the District offer any programs for people with student loans? Do you have to be a teacher to receive aid? If you leave the District, can you still receive assistance?


Dear Anonymous,

I reached out to Cynthia Rincon, chief of the Human Capital Management Department, and she had this to say on the matter: “I’m not aware that the District provides ‘programs’ for people with student loans. However, we do receive loan forgiveness forms daily from District employees (not just teachers) but those originate from the loan programs like federal student loan forgiveness for public service.” Click here for student loan forgiveness options for teachers.

Thanks again for your question.


Dear Elsie,

Does the District offer any partnership perks with restaurants, AT&T, airlines, or any company?


Dear Anonymous,

The District offers an Employee Perks Plus Program. Please review this list on the District website for information on discounts available to employees from our area business partners.

Thank you for your question.


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.

Learning Model Awareness Sessions

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

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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