Inside FWISD April 19, 2018

Superintendent Scribner's Special Message For Teachers and Principals

Colleagues, please watch this special message from Dr. Scribner especially for teachers and principals.


Fort Worth, Texas - This summer Fort Worth ISD will again implement a four-day workweek. Fort Worth ISD employees will observe the first closed Friday on June 8, 2018. The four-day workweek will begin Monday, June 4, and end on Friday, August 3, 2018.

Employees will return to their normal work schedule beginning Monday, August 6, 2018. Employees not on a 240-day workweek are scheduled to return the week of July 23rd and will work their normal days and hours.

One exception will occur the week we celebrate Independence Day. We will be off Wednesday and Thursday, July 4 and 5, and work Monday, Tuesday, and Friday of that week.

During this summer schedule, administrative offices will open for business beginning at 7:30 a.m. and will close at 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Employees will report to work from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with a 30-minute lunch each day. If an hour lunch is desired, then the workday will be extended by a half-hour. Each department manager/principal will determine the schedule.

Some pay dates for semi-monthly and monthly employees will fall one day earlier during this period (please see below). Employees are encouraged to review their checks via ESS before or on payday since all administrative offices will be closed on Fridays.

Original Pay Date: New Pay Date:

Friday, June 15th & June 29th Thursday, June 14th & June 28th Semi-Monthly

Friday, July 13th Thursday, July 12th Semi Monthly

Friday, July 27th Thursday, July 26th Monthly

During the summer schedule, each absence reported (half-days or whole-days) will be multiplied by 1.25 and charged against employee absence balances as shown in the following chart:

Attached is a chart indicating your last day of work and your summer hours. Questions regarding absences or pay dates should be directed to the Payroll Department at (817) 814-2180. Questions regarding the implementation of the four-day workweek should be directed to the Policy and Planning department at (817) 814-1950.


The results of the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), better known as the Nation’s Report Card, were released recently. For the first time, Fort Worth ISD results are available along with results for the nation, state, and 26 other large urban districts in reading and mathematics for grades 4 and 8.

While students in Fort Worth ISD have always participated in NAEP, under the leadership of Superintendent Kent P. Scribner, the District volunteered to join the 2017 Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA), a special part of NAEP. As a TUDA, the District will receive objective, comparable data every other year to measure the progress of student achievement over time with other large urban districts in Texas: Austin, Dallas, and Houston, as well as urban districts across the nation.

From the 2017 baseline results, we note that:

Grade 4 Mathematics: The average scale score of 4th grade students in Fort Worth and the percentage who scored at or above the Basic level were not significantly different from the average score for public school students in large cities. The percentage scoring at the Proficient level or above was smaller than public school students in large cities.

Grade 4 Reading: The average scale score of 4th grade students in Fort Worth and the percentage who scored at or above the Basic level and the Proficient level were lower than public school students in large cities.

Grade 8 Mathematics: The average scale score of 8th grade students in Fort Worth and the percentage who scored at or above the Basic level and the Proficient level were all lower than public school students in large cities.

Grade 8 Reading: The average scale score of 8th grade students in Fort Worth and the percentage who scored at or above the Basic level and the Proficient level were lower than public school students in large cities.

“These new results from the Nation’s Report Card give Fort Worth ISD’s new leadership the evidence it needs to launch and accelerate its academic reforms and improvements for the years to come,” said Michael Casserly, Executive Director, Council of Great City Schools. “Congratulations to Fort Worth ISD for the courage and vision required to participate in such a rigorous program.”

The 2017 baseline results from NAEP are similar to the results from the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) which have been lower for Fort Worth than many of the District’s urban peers.

In response to the STAAR results, the District has undergone significant changes in the last year under the leadership of Dr. Scribner establishing a bold goal of 100 percent of 3rd graders reading on or above grade level by 2025. Dr. Scribner asked for broad support for his 100x25 FWTX goal leading to an innovative collaboration between the district, the city, and the local business and philanthropic community.

“These baseline NAEP results confirm that we are focused on the right thing: improving reading for all students with 100 percent of our third graders reading on or above grade level by 2025,” said Dr. Scribner. “Reading is a challenge for our students. Reaching our 100x25 goal will positively impact both our STAAR and NAEP scores, but most importantly, it will significantly increase learning and opportunities for our students.”

The 2017 baseline NAEP results did reveal more positive performances for Math when comparing to other jurisdictions for Hispanic and English Language Learners (ELL). The graphs and tables below provide a jurisdiction comparison of Hispanic and ELL performance in Math. *Jurisdictions with an asterisk indicate a statistical difference when compared to Fort Worth ISD. ‡ Indicates reporting standards not met.

“Our mathematics results are comparable to large cities with real bright spots in 4th grade math for our Hispanic students and English Language Learners,” according to Chief Academic Officer Charles Carroll. “As we work on rewriting our curriculum and strengthening professional learning opportunities for our teachers, we will be asking critical questions about how our students performed on both reading and mathematics especially on various types of questions. This detailed information will give us valuable feedback on any gaps in our curriculum and instruction.”


Fort Worth ISD, under the direction of the Early Learning Department, has just released a new “Countdown to Kindergarten” booklet for parents of infants and young children. Parents can use this resource to better understand the importance of the time they spend with their children from birth until they enroll in Kindergarten.

The booklet is in English and Spanish and will help parents get their child ready for school one year at a time. It begins with a letter from Superintendent Kent P. Scribner that tells parents how important the first three years of life are to a child’s brain growth and development and how parents play a vital role as their child’s first and best teacher.

“Unfortunately, parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual. So, we created this booklet as the next best thing,” he said.

“Countdown to Kindergarten” provides information about the important milestones in social skills, emotional development, language acquisition, and motor skill development that are part of children growing up and getting ready for school. It features a description of skills children need to be ready for Kindergarten. There are also sections for Birth to One-Year-Old and sections for each year from age 1 to age 5.

Each section of the booklet includes helpful examples of what children may be able to say and do at each age, such as “Birth to three months, your child may listen to sounds.” There are also suggested activities in each section to encourage development at each stage of a child’s life. By the time parents read the section called “Five-Year-Olds,” the examples of development will include “Your child may understand past and future tense” and “Your child may recognize very small details.”

The booklet features pages for parents to keep notes and record special moments, including a place to record age, weight, height; favorite activities; funny moments; and things to try. There is also a pocket to keep documents, records, photos and other keepsakes, as well as a page of “Helpful Online Resources.”

The Early Learning Department is focused on providing children from Pre-Kindergarten through second grade with high quality, engaging learning experiences that ignite in every child a passion for learning. The “Countdown to Kindergarten” booklet is one example of the valuable resources provided by the department.

Dr. Scribner also explained this booklet is a great support tool for 100x25 FWTX, which sets a goal of 100 percent of third-graders reading on grade level or above by the year 2025. The superintendent is partnering with Mayor Betsy Price and 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.

And, the fwisd district teacher of the year finalists are ...

Congratulations to the 2018 Fort Worth ISD District Teacher of the Year finalists.

The elementary District Teacher of the Year finalists are:

Stacey Barringer is a kindergarten teacher at Western Hills Primary.

She earned bachelor's degree in education from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and has taught for 23 years. As a kindergarten teacher, Ms. Barringer recognizes the responsibility of serving at the starting point of her students’ formal education and makes an effort to identify and support both the academic and social emotional needs of each student.

She aims to craft an environment where her students know that they are safe, respected, loved, and challenged to be the best individual they can be.

Andrew McKenzie is a fourth-grade teacher at North Hi Mount Elementary School.

He earned his doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Texas and has 17 years of teaching experience.

Dr. McKenzie began his teaching career through the Teach For America program in East Los Angeles. Dr. McKenzie strives to build an inclusive classroom community where all students know that they are valued members and aims to empower his students with new tools, skills, intellectual curiosity, and the confidence to meet any challenge they may face.

Isabel Moore is a fourth-grade reading and writing teacher at Charles E. Nash Elementary School.

She earned her bachelor's degree from Texas Christian University, her master's degree in education from Dallas Baptist University and has taught for 24 years. As a child, her lifelong dream was to be a bilingual teacher and help students like herself.

Ms. Moore believes that teachers must build a student’s confidence and work with their individual learning abilities to ensure that they can achieve their goals. The “lightbulb” moments her students experience after they have struggled is her greatest reward.

Lauren Ruth is a first-grade teacher at Bonnie Brae Elementary School.

She earned her bachelor's degree from Trinity University and has nine years of teaching experience. Ms. Ruth began her teaching career through the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme, which ignited her passion for working with students and watching their growth.

An avid athlete, Ms. Ruth shares her love for fitness by hosting yoga practices for faculty and coaching students at the Cowtown 5K every year. She believes that when students feel safe, healthy and loved, learning follows.

Laurie Stillwell is a librarian at Burton Hill Elementary School.

She earned her master's degree of library science from Sam Houston State University and has 23 years of teaching experience. Ms. Stillwell is a fourth-generation teacher and has brought her love of students and reading to Burton Hill Elementary for 19 years.

Her guiding principle is that learning should be interactive on all levels, and she prides herself that even her tech-savvy students still ask her what “board story” will be read that week. Her greatest reward is to build up her students and watch them succeed.

The secondary District Teacher of the Year finalists are:

Alexandra Checka is a seventh-grade English teacher at Applied Learning Academy.

She earned her master's degree of education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and master degree in English from Middlebury College. Her instruction is driven by the firm belief in the power of literature to allow students to develop a rich interior life.

She values her students as thinkers and aims to show them the skills they need to make their ideas shine. Her students know that she not only expects the best of them, but also that she cares about them as people.

Megan Ngo is an eighth-grade science and biology teacher at W.P. McLean Middle School.

She earned her bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Texas Wesleyan University and has taught for seven years. She believes that a science lesson should serve to entertain and engage the audience, as there is a potential career path behind every lesson.

Her goal is to ensure that students do not feel like science is foreign or frightening, and that they learn to welcome rigor and embrace challenges. Ms. Ngo aims to fill the workforce with scientists who believe anything is possible.

Zachary Reimer is a social studies teacher at Polytechnic High School.

He earned his bachelor's degree in international studies from American University, his master's degree in history from the University of Texas at Arlington and has taught for nine years. Zachary aims to “teach people, not history.” He takes pride in serving as a counselor, life coach, and cheerleader for his students when necessary.

Recently, one of his students asked Mr. Reimer “how to become a good man.” When he asked the student what that meant to the them, the student replied, “I guess I mean - how do I become a good man like you?”

Orion Smith is a social studies teacher at Arlington Heights High School.

He earned his bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary social science from Michigan State University and has taught for eight years. Mr. Smith began his career as a software developer and has used his software skills to create academic programs, including a virtual economic simulation and software to help students study.

He hopes his lessons create good students, good citizens, and good people. He aims to always “work smarter and harder,” so that his students are inspired to do the same.

Samuel Wilson is a history teacher at Southwest High School.

He earned his bachelor and master's degrees in history from the University of Texas at Arlington and has taught for 17 years. Samuel feels that the role of a teacher is to be a facilitator; teachers should enable students to become responsible for their own learning.

He believes that greater diversity leads to increases in the breadth and depth of learning, and that the diversity in Fort Worth ISD makes our District one of the most enjoyable and exciting places to work.

The 10 finalists will be celebrated and an elementary and secondary District Teacher of the Year winner will be named May 9 at an awards dinner hosted by Central Market. The dinner will take place at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

The two award winners will each receive a $5,000 honorarium from Central Market. The eight finalists will each receive a $1,000 award, also presented by Central Market.


Fort Worth ISD’s annual JROTC/JCC Final Review is slated to take place at 10 a.m. Friday, April 20 at Farrington Field.

The capstone ceremony is a culmination of hard work and accomplishments made by cadets throughout the school year, and it acknowledges the students’ leadership development. Cadets are awarded for their student achievement and those who’ve excelled scholastically are presented with scholarships. Patriotic and service organizations also present awards to select high school JROTC and middle school Junior Cadet Corps students at the ceremony.

Cadets will be reviewed by Col. Michael Stinnett who oversees the national U.S. Army JROTC program. Superintendent Kent P. Scribner will also be in attendance at the review.

For years, FWISD has hosted its JROTC/JCC Final Review ceremony which promotes citizenship, patriotism, community service and highlights this country’s heritage and values.

The District’s JROTC program, founded in 1915 with 100 students, is one of the oldest in the country and is FWISD’s premiere citizenship program.


Students at Eastern Hills Elementary were face to face this week with representations of just how far reading can take you.

On Tuesday, April 17, eight TV news personalities from NBC 5 (KXAS) and Telemundo 39 Dallas-Fort Worth (KXTX-TV) visited classrooms at the school and read to third-grade students and dual language kindergarten, first- and second-grade classrooms. The visit was a joint partnership of the Fort Worth ISD, Read Fort Worth, NBC 5 and Telemundo.

The journalists chatted with students about the books they read, their jobs in TV news and how important reading is to the students’ future successes.

Katy Blakey, an NBC 5 anchor, said she was pleased to see the joy students at Eastern Hills Elementary have for reading.

“If they can do this well and learn how to read and have a passion for reading, it will take them wherever they want to go,” she said.

Principal Whitney Scott said she’s hopeful her students see the excitement the TV news reporters and anchors have for reading and that they adopt the same mindset. From kindergarten to third-grade, children are learning to read, and it takes a community effort to ensure children are reading on grade level, she said. The TV personalities are a representation of where reading can take these students, Ms. Scott said.

The District’s mission is to preparing all students for success in college, career and community leadership, and that starts with learning to read, Ms. Scott said.

“It’s everything because they’re going to contribute to our society,” she said of her students. “This is not just a school effort. This is all of us coming together. Everybody is rooting for them and investing in them.”

100 X 25 FWTX is a District goal that 100 percent of third-graders are reading on grade level or above by the year 2025. Superintendent Kent P. Scribner is partnering with Mayor Betsy Price and 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 and encourages them to read to the city’s youngest readers.

View the full photo gallery from the recent visit here.

District Launches MyFWISD Application Portal

Fort Worth ISD has launched a student application portal, a central space where students can access their most frequently used apps, according to the FWISD divisions of technology and academics.

The portal can be accessed at my.fwisd.org. The portal includes access to approved apps with District-level licenses or subscriptions.

“The application portal allows students to gain access to FWISD applications faster,” said Charles Carroll, chief academic officer, in a recent memorandum to campus principals. “The app portal promotes learning, by giving teachers more time for instruction instead of waiting for students to find a site and log in.”

Beginning Monday, April 23, a password reset function will be available to adults and students in the fifth through 12th grades. When setting up the login, a user will be prompted to answer three security questions that will be used anytime in the future to reset a user’s portal password.

For more details, contact Jason Spears, digital learning coordinator, at 817-814-3100 or send an email to jason.spears@fwisd.org.

FWISD Teacher career fairs

Fort Worth ISD is hosting three teacher career fairs in May and June.

On-the spot interviews will take place at the invitation-only events. To be considered for an invite, apply to the 2018-2019 School Year Teacher vacancy pools at www.fwisd.org/careers.

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,

Technology is moving fast and heavy and now FWISD is staying up on the latest trends. It appears the District is migrating to Windows 10 platform. Has there been any training on this? If not, why not? I’ve been with the District for 20 years, and STILL I think it’s unfair to migrate a new operating system to our computers without training us how to use it.



Dear Anonymous,

I reached out to Becky Navarre, assistant superintendent of technology, and she had this to say on the matter: “During the summer of 2016, the District began upgrading laptops and desktops to Windows 10. As support for District employees, educational technology offered trainings during the summer. The training class was titled: Turn it Up to 10: Windows 10 and Google Chrome. The training was advertised through the campus technology liaisons and the District’s technology learning coaches via email and flyers.

As a follow up to the training, quick references guides were placed on the educational technology website: https://www.fwisd.org/Page/2697. Windows 10 was offered as training to central office departments as well.

Educational technology offers campus-based trainings and works with school administrators to offer training that is personalized to the needs of the school. We encourage all teachers to communicate training needs to their school administrator, first, to impact the entire school. Training requests can be made directly to technology learning coaches or educational technology at 817-814-3100.”

Thank you for your question.


Dear Elsie,

Parking at the Administration building is difficult. How many parking spots at Admin does the District own, both garage and service? And, how many people work in the Admin building full time?


Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your question. I reached out to safety and security regarding this matter.

There are 433 parking spaces available to be assigned to employees in the garage and surrounding properties at 100 N. University Drive. There are approximately 430 full-time employees. Many of these employees are deployed to campuses and various other District facilities throughout the day.

Total, there are 542 spaces at 100 N. University Drive, which include visitor and handicapped parking.

Thanks again 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.

Fort Worth Superintendent Helps Shape Healthier Future with Blue Zones Project

Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Paredes Scribner gets extra credit for his involvement with Blue Zones Project—a community-led well-being improvement initiative making healthy choices easier in Fort Worth and across the nation.

Dr. Scribner has played a key role in implementing healthy initiatives in Fort Worth ISD schools, and now Blue Zones Project has again enlisted his support in a campaign to inspire others in the community to get involved.

Blue Zones Project works with schools, worksites, grocery stores, restaurants, and faith-based organizations to create an environment that supports healthy options. When well-being goals are met, Fort Worth will be certified as a Blue Zones Community. The city is well on its way to meeting the Dec. 31, 2018 deadline, with more than 78,000 individual participants and 285 approved organizations, including 30 Fort Worth ISD schools.

“Blue Zones Project is making a real difference when it comes to the health and happiness of our residents, and I’m proud to lend my support,” said Dr. Scribner. “What’s happening benefits families today and lays the groundwork for better well-being for generations to come.”

Dr. Scribner and other leaders, such as Mayor Betsy Price, NBC 5 anchor Deborah Ferguson, and former City Council member Sal Espino are featured on outdoor boards, television and online commercials, Trinity Metro bus ads, print ads, street banners, and benches throughout the community. Their message? Join the Blue Zones Project movement and make healthy choices easier for you and your family.

Take a look at Dr. Scribner’s video.

“Dr. Scribner is an incredibly valuable part of our community success story,” said Matt Dufrene, vice president of Blue Zones Project, Fort Worth. “He understands the link between well-being and academic success and is helping shape a healthier future for our future leaders.”

Dozens of Fort Worth ISD campuses are already approved or in the process of becoming Blue Zones Project Approved schools. Fort Worth ISD is also working to become a Blue Zones Project Approved worksite. Blue Zones Project builds on existing efforts to incorporate movement into the workday, host Purpose Workshops and cooking demonstrations, and encourage staff, faculty, and administrators to take the Blue Zones Personal Pledge to improve their personal well-being.

To date, more than 1,800 FWISD employees have engaged with Blue Zones Project in one of these ways. And more than a dozen employees have taken it a step further by becoming Blue Zones Project ambassadors. To find out how to get involved, visit LiveLongFortWorth.com.

new teacher spotlight: steve todoroff

Just like experiments, the first year of teaching can consist of trial and error moments.

Experiments are a learning process, said Steve Todoroff, a first-year physics teacher at Eastern Hills High School.

“Sometimes when you do an experiment, it doesn’t come out the way you want, and that’s OK because you learn something from it, then you can do the experiment again,” he said. “You may be get it right, maybe it goes wrong again, maybe you learn something else.”

To guide teachers new to the District through their first year, Fort Worth ISD offers the new teacher induction and mentoring program. Beginning teachers are provided with support such as mentors, specialists who work with the teachers at select campuses, networking events with other educators and ongoing professional trainings.

“It was a really large help to just meet some teachers who’ve had experience and give me a leg up on different techniques to help manage the classroom,” Mr. Todoroff says.

This video takes a peek into Todoroff’s experience as a first-year teacher.

Preparations are underway for multiple invitation-only FWISD career fairs that will be hosted throughout the spring and summer. If you believe that your future is in a FWISD classroom, apply today at www.fwisd.org/careers for a chance at being invited to one of the District’s upcoming events.

For more details on the hiring process and the necessary documents needed for background checks, call 817-814-2717.


Thank you to the 50 eighth-grade students participating in the LeaderKids program, who joined 35 community volunteers, Tuesday, April 17, to complete a service beautification project for Fort Worth ISD’s Leadership Academy at Como Elementary School. The group completed wooden benches, an outdoor classroom, an outside mural on the gym depicting the school mascot, a reading nook with an emphasis on the enjoyment of reading and another highlighting the importance of higher education. Read more about the service project here.

Flags Ordered at Half-Staff in Memory of Barbara Bush

You may be wondering why flags at Fort Worth ISD schools are at half-staff this week.

In memory of former first lady Barbara Bush and as a mark of respect, President Donald Trump has ordered that the U.S. flag remain at half-staff until sunset Saturday, the day of Mrs. Bush’s burial. She died Tuesday in her Houston home. Mrs. Bush was 92.

It is also important to note that, per flag protocol, no other flag may be flown higher than the U.S. flag. So, the Texas flag was also flown at half-staff this week as well.

Most District schools remove their flags on Fridays when school ends. The flags will return to full staff on Monday.

Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day is Sunday, April 22

Let us know what you or your campus is doing to celebrate Earth Day. And, don't forget to send photos of the celebration to Inside FWISD.

Learning Model Awareness Sessions

Dual Language Informational Sessions for principals, Thursday, April 19 and 26

Billy W. Sills Lecture Series, Saturday, April 21

African-American Health Expo 2018, Saturday, April 21

Early Voting for Joint and General May 5 Elections, Monday, April 23- Tuesday, May 1

Earth Day, Sunday, April 22

World Book Day, Monday, 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

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

Joint and General Election Day, Saturday, May 5

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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