Inside FWISD March 7, 2019

In this edition:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi Visits YWLA | BREAKING: McLean Eighth-grader Advances to National Spelling Bee | FWISD Announces New Parking Procedures for Administration Building| FWISD Observes Spring Break, Daylight Saving Time | Inside FWISD Updates Blog | FWISD Accepts Gold Seal Late Applications | Secondary School Transfer Requests Accepted March 1-29 | Donate to the MBK Suit Up! Campaign | Pre-K/K Registration Information | FWO Partners with FWISD to Pilot Opera Curriculum | FWISD Celebrates Women's History Month | Officially Home: Dunbar Alumnus Receives Award After 60 Years | Cyber Security for Education | Bayard H. Friedman Chair for Teaching Excellence in Performing Arts, Broadway at the Bass Chair for Teaching Excellence in Theater and Dance Applications | FWISD Celebrates National School Breakfast Week | Ask Elsie | Fort Worth ISD Snapshot | Calendar


Fort Worth, TX- Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33) welcomed U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to the Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Fort Worth, to take part in a student-only discussion led by YWLA principal Tamara Albury, highlighting the school’s success in inspiring and nurturing young diverse female leaders within the community, Monday, March 4.

Speaker Pelosi, noting that this is Women’s History Month, encouraged YWLA’s students to be true to themselves by understanding the importance of education.

“You have to work really hard, study really hard … so that you have all the options in the world,” she said. “The key to everything … is education.”

Speaker Pelosi urged the young women to have mental toughness and be courageous in the face of adversity.

“Know yourself. Know your power. Be Yourself,” she said.

During the visit, Speaker Pelosi took questions from students and met with members of the YWLA robotics team, The Dork Side.

Students lined the hall leading to the school cafeteria with signs greeting the Speaker and Congressman Veasey to campus.

YWLA presented Speaker Pelosi with a button designed by its graphic design students that read: “A Gem’s place is in the House and the Senate.” As a thank you, students also presented Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Veasey with a framed copy of the graphic and a framed photo of YWLA students.

Watch the full broadcast of Speaker Pelosi’s visit to YWLA here and view photos here.

With a focus on empowering young women in math, science, and technology, YWLA, Fort Worth ISD’s first and only single-gender school for girls, prepares students with the academic and leadership skills they need to distinguish themselves as they aim to pursue higher education and careers in STEM fields. To learn more about YWLA, visit www.fwisd.org/ywla.

Pictured is Maitri Kovuru after winning the FWISD area spelling bee in January

BREAKING: McLean Eighth-Grader Advances to National Spelling Bee

Maitri Kovuru, an eighth-grader at Fort Worth ISD’s McLean Middle School, is advancing to the Scripps National Spelling Bee this May in Washington, D.C. after surviving a marathon regional bee Thursday, March 7.

Maitri held out 63 rounds to be crowned the 2019 Scripps Regional Spelling Bee at Texas Christian University. She is the first FWISD student in recent history to advance to the national bee.

The eighth-grader went head to head with a seventh-grader from Bethesda Christian School that included 30 rounds and a written test to determine a winner.

“It’s a record,” said Norma Burks, head regional bee judge. “[We’ve] never had a bee go 63 rounds.

“It was very exciting and surprising that these girls were so well versed. Words I’ve never seen. They were very talented.”

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is slated for May 27-30 in Washington, D.C.

This story is developing. Look for more details soon on www.fwisd.org.

FWISD Announces New Parking Procedures for Administration Building

The following memorandum is from the FWISD Operations Department:


Fort Worth, Texas – The Fort Worth ISD will close for Spring Break from March 11 through March 15, 2019. All schools will be closed as will the Central Administration Building.

All students, teachers and staff will return to class on Monday, March 18, 2019.

Athletic events will continue during the break. Check the Athletic Department website for complete details.

And don’t forget to turn your clocks forward one hour for the return of Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, March 10, 2019.

Inside FWISD resumes after Spring Break.

Inside FWISD Updates Blog

Want more Inside FWISD?

Stay updated all week long on what’s going on around Fort Worth ISD over on the Inside FWISD blog.

Here’s just some of this week’s headlines:

  • Racial Equity Summit Registration Ends March 7
  • Reading with Barbers Host Successful Read Across America Event in Celebration of Dr. Suess’ Birthday
  • AAIL Spotlight

The Inside FWISD team will work to regularly update the blog throughout the week with fresh content and features.

Check it out today and often at www.fwisd.org/insidefwisd.

FWISD Accepts Gold Seal Late Applications

Fort Worth ISD is now accepting late applications for its Gold Seal Programs and Schools of Choice.

The District began accepting online late applications for the 2019-2020 school year, Friday, March 1 and will receive submissions through this September. Students submitting a late application may only apply for one program.

Click here to view what Gold Seal Programs and Schools of Choice have available spaces or opportunities for potential spaces to open.


Fort Worth ISD families may submit secondary school transfer requests for the 2019-2020 school year, through March 29, 2019.

Parents may request their child be transferred from their home school to another campus, where space is available. Public Education Grant (PEG) transfers from low-performing schools, will also be accepted. However, a student may not transfer to another low-performing school.

Request forms are available at secondary schools, and parents are responsible for taking the completed form to the school they anticipate transferring their child to.

Click here to learn more.


Invest in the accomplishments and success of a graduating senior.

Be part of the 2019 My Brother’s Keeper Suit Up! Campaign. Fort Worth ISD, the Education Foundation for Fort Worth Schools and Jos. A. Bank are partnering to recognize graduating male seniors with a tailored suit, dress shirt, tie, belt and shoes. Contributions in any amount are being accepted through April 5 that will go toward outfitting about 60 students.

“Our goal is to ensure each graduating senior that meets the criteria receives a suit to wear when interviewing for college admissions or college functions,” said Sherry Breed, FWISD’s chief of Equity and Excellence.

Launched by President Barack Obama in 2014, My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) is a national initiative addressing persistent opportunity gaps boys and young men of color face and ensures all youth reach their full potential.

Fort Worth ISD has 17 MBK high school chapters that meet weekly for discussions on cultural history and consciousness, personal growth, leadership development, college preparation, career choices and community involvement.

Eligible MBK students will be fitted for suits later this spring at Jos. A. Bank.

Donors contributing $450 or more to the MBK Suit Up! Campaign will receive an invitation to attend FWISD’s MBK Graduation Stole Draping Ceremony, May 22, 2019 at Texas Christian University’s Dee J. Kelly Alumni and Visitors Center. The annual event celebrates accomplishments of MBK’s graduating seniors and presents the seniors with a distinctive stole to be worn at graduation that symbolizes cultural pride and personal academic accomplishments. Young men who attend a majority of their MBK chapter meetings are eligible for the stole.

Visit http://www.ef4fw.org/ to donate to the 2019 MBK Suit Up! Campaign.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten online registration begins, Monday, April 1. Over the next few weeks, Inside FWISD will share preparation information with employees.

Three Little Pigs is one three performances seven FWISD schools will see as part of a new pilot launched with the Fort Worth Opera called Opera FUNatics (Photo courtesy of Sheran Goodspeed Keyton/ Fort Worth Opera)

FWO Partners with FWISD to Pilot Opera Curriculum

Fort Worth Opera meets the FWISD classroom.

This month, FWO will launch Opera FUNatics in seven Fort Worth ISD schools. The program, a spinoff pilot of FWO’s two-week summer intensive program, will introduce FWISD students to opera performances and career options.

“I was looking at just how much the students that we had in the summer camp were affected positively by being part of the program, and I wanted to find a way to expand it and allow more children [to participate],” said Sheran Goodspeed Keyton, FWO manager of education and community engagement and creator of the Opera FUNatics curriculum. “I’m hoping to enlighten them to the fact that opera is not just an unattainable thing … that it’s a viable career path for them.”

Approximately 4,000 students from Title 1 schools will be exposed to 12 weeks “of lessons plans highlighting the fundamentals of music theory (rhythm, melody, harmony, and the construction of music), key opera terminology, and an analysis of Western music history (medieval to the 21st century). The program will also provide students with a detailed breakdown of classical voice types, operatic styles and an overview of famous opera singers and composers who have impacted the art form over time,” according to theater news website, Broadway World. Teachers will receive video and audio to supplement the curriculum.

Additionally, FWO will visit classrooms for three performances throughout the spring, which will include “The Musicians of Bremen” and “Three Little Pigs.”

Participating schools include:

  • The Leadership Academy at Maude I. Logan Elementary School
  • Springdale Elementary
  • The Leadership Academy at Mitchell Boulevard Elementary
  • Natha Howell Elementary
  • Sam Rosen Elementary
  • Carroll Peak Elementary
  • Glencrest Sixth-Grade Center

“We want to give our non-traditional students … the most traditional form of fine arts that brings all the mediums together and addresses all types of life scenarios and that has been around since the 16th century,” said Dinah Menger, FWISD director of choral and elementary music. “There’s not one experience that cannot be found in opera.”

Chrissie Seligson, FWISD elementary music specialist, said Opera FUNatics not only enhances student learning but reinforces music and classroom objectives.

“It’s a fabulous program,” she said. “Our children don’t ordinarily get to go to the opera because it’s not accessible to them, but this is an art form that’s being brought into the classroom.

“This brings into the classroom a way for them to express themselves through drama, dance and production.”

Participating schools will complete an evaluation and administer an opera post-test at the end of the semester. The results along with teacher surveys and testimonials will be shared with the FWO at a retreat this summer in which they will work with teachers at refining the curriculum.

Opera FUNatics is grant funded with support from groups such as the Arts Council of Fort Worth.

Pictured from left to right is Ginger Rogers, a graduate of Fort Worth's Central High School and a Academy Award-winning actress, dancer, singer and Kennedy Center honoree; Hazel Harvey Peace, a civic leader, 1919 graduate of what came to be known as I.M. Terrell High School, and one of the school’s former teachers, counselors and administrators. Ms Peace who died in 2008 has a FWISD school, a city youth center and municipal building named in her honor; Sue Huffman in December 1880 became superintendent of the public school system established in Fort Worth and is is known as the first female superintendent in Texas.

FWISD Celebrates Women's History Month

Fort Worth ISD is celebrating, remembering and reflecting on the impact of its numerous female role models in observance of Women’s History Month.

Throughout March, the District will share photographs and stories in Inside FWISD and on District social media platforms about prominent female figures with connections to Fort Worth schools and FWISD history.

Each March, the nation commemorates the female role in American history. According to the Library of Congress, origins of a national Women's History Month celebration date back to 1982 when it was first observed in a weeklong celebration. Since the late 1980s, the United States has commemorated the contributions of women to this country in a month-long observance in March.

Annually, women are celebrated globally on International Women's Day, March 8.

Learn more about Women's History Month here.

Officially Home

Dunbar Alumnus Receives Award After 60 Years

It’s been nearly 62 years, but a historic award is now home with its rightful owner.

The Fort Worth ISD Board of Education recently presented Maurice Spruell, a member of Dunbar High School’s first graduating class, with a citizenship award. At his graduation in May, 1957, Mr. Spruell became the District’s first male student to receive the award, which had always been presented to female students.

He received a plaque from the District superintendent to commemorate the recognition.

“When the ceremony was over, Maurice wasn’t sure if he was supposed to keep it, so he gave it to a teacher, and never saw it again,” said Clint Bond, FWISD spokesman and external and emergency communications executive director. “There are no photos of Mr. Spruell with the award. After all, it was a surprise and no one in his family was prepared for that. He doesn’t remember if anyone with the school took photos, but he has never seen any.”

From top is a 1957 yearbook photo of Maurice Spruell and the February 26, 2019 award presentation.

Trustee Christene Moss, whose district includes Dunbar High, presented Mr. Spruell with a citizenship award to replace the one lost over 60 years ago at the board’s February 26 meeting.

“I’m very humbled to accept this award. It’s been about 62 years, so it was a long time coming,” Mr. Spruell said with a laugh at the meeting. “I never though this would happen, but it did, and I just appreciate Mrs. Moss and all the others that had something to do with it.

“It’s really been a privilege. I’m glad to be here to accept it.”

As a Dunbar student, Mr. Spruell was an athlete, artist and student council member. The first graduating class was tasked with selecting the school name, alma mater, school colors and mascot. Mr. Spruell designed sketches of football uniforms, and athletes selected the colors blue and white and the wildcat mascot. A member of the student council, Mr. Spruell also was part of discussions on the alma mater and maintaining Paul Laurence Dunbar High School as the campus name.

Upon hearing Mr. Spruell’s story, Mrs. Moss wanted to present him with a lasting reminder of his award. At the February 26, she thanked him for his service on behalf of the District and Dunbar’s first graduating class.

“We hope that this will take the place of that lost achievement that you [had],” she said.


The following communication is from the Network Services Department:

In last week’s issue, we reviewed some basics about why internet devices are vulnerable.

This week’s video delves deeper into the trustworthiness of the communications systems that we utilize for business and personal use every day.

Cyber Codes



Self-paced lab


SOURCE: Rosenthal, Alex, et al. “Cybersecurity 101.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/video_popup/5/32/.


Apply today for the Bayard H. Friedman Chair for Teaching Excellence in Performing Arts and the Broadway at the Bass Chair for Teaching Excellence in Theater and Dance.

Find eligibility requirements and the application form on the Community and Strategic Partnerships Page.

Submit your application to the Department of Community and Strategic Partnerships by 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 27. For more details, contact Peg Murphy at peg.murphy@fwisd.org

FWISD Celebrates National School Breakfast Week

The Fort Worth ISD Child Nutrition Services Department is celebrating National School Breakfast Week with themed days in cafeterias, locally-sourced food and additions to the morning menu.

Daily, Fort Worth ISD serves 33,000 nutritious breakfast meals in school cafeterias and in classrooms through the Kick-Start with Breakfast program, said Jessica Reyes, FWISD dietician. Students receive a grain, fruit, milk and sometimes a protein component for breakfast.

This week, breakfast menus include Dannon yogurt -- which has a plant here in Fort Worth -- a Canadian bacon and egg croissant, cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit and vegetables, Ms. Reyes said.

National School Breakfast Week, first launched in 1989, is celebrated the first full week in March, and raises awareness about school breakfast programs.

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,

With all the health changes being made by the District such as Blue Zone Project, which focuses on living a healthy lifestyle, we have seen changes in the food choices in the cafeteria to have more healthy options.

Has the District ever thought about putting in some sort of fitness facility near the Administration Building for the employees to use before work or during an employee’s lunch hour?

Thank You


Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your question. This has been requested in the past and we will share this idea with the Leadership Team. Currently we have several fitness options listed in our Employee Perks Program located at this link that could be utilized as this request is discussed.

Thanks again,


Dear Elsie,

What would be the proposed start and end times of the school days (for teachers and students) for each of the proposed calendars both Secondary and Elementary?

Thank you,


Dear Angela,

Thank you for your question. According to the information included with the calendar voting information, “School start/end times will be determined after the proposed calendar is adopted and transportation logistics have been worked out for the calendar option that is approved.” You can view that information at this link.

Thanks again,


Direct your questions to Inside@fwisd.org and put the words "Ask Elsie" in the subject line. Please close your letter with your preferred signature as you wish it to appear in the column. When there are multiple queries on the same subject, we will select the one that is most representative of the subject. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.

Please bear with us as we have a backlog of Ask Elsie questions and are responding to questions as soon as we can.

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

Lipstick Ready Graduation

Students Take Citizen Diplomat Oath: Multiple Fort Worth ISD students were part of a group of nearly 100 local teens and delegation leaders taking the Citizen Diplomat Oath at the Fort Worth City Council meeting, March 5. The students will represent Fort Worth as youth ambassadors later this month in youth exchanges to Budapest, Hungary; Reggio Emilia, Italy; Toluca, Mexico; and Trier, Germany, Fort Worth sister cities. Exchanges to Nagaoka, Japan and Bandung, Indonesia are slated this summer. Click here to see what FWISD students will participate in the youth exchange program.

Leadership Academy at Como Elementary School Celebrate Night on the Town: Nearly 30 fifth-grade students were celebrated March 5 with dinner and a limousine ride for being accepted into FWISD Gold Seal Schools and Programs of Choice. Ten educators accompanied the students. "Even if students were not accepted or put on a waiting list, they were still allowed to participate. Meals were partially sponsored by Texas De Brazil for each student and adult. We were also partially sponsored by MBEG Limousines with regard to transportation," said Thomas Mayfield, fifth-grade math teacher at the Leadership Academy at Como.

Photos courtesy of Thomas Mayfield

Jacquet Middle School Students Tour New Orleans Colleges and Universities: Students from Jacquet Middle School recently participated in the school's annual college tour, March 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana. College and Career Coach Annette Cummings led students on tours of Dillard University, Xavier University and Southern University.

W.J. Turner Elementary anti-bullying pep rally: Rowdy, the mascot of the Dallas Cowboys, visited W.J. Turner Elementary, February 28 for an anti-bullying rally

Photos courtesy of the W.J. Turner ES Facebook page

Army STEM Adventure Trailer: Students at Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School participated in the Army STEM adventure trailer, February 27. This event demonstrates how the Army is using STEM now and in the future.

I.M. Terrell String Orchestra: Congratulations to the first group from the I.M. Terrell Academy of STEM and VPA to earn a UIL rating. "The 6A String Orchestra had a fabulous performance on stage and in sight reading earning them a Division I in each area - Sweepstakes!! Kudos to Mr. Hunter Lewis for his hard work," reads a tweet from the FWISD Visual and Performing Arts Department.

March is Women's History Month

March is Texas History Month

March is Youth Art Month

Professional Learning and Innovation Opportunities

Elementary Professional Learning Opportunities

Secondary Professional Learning Opportunities

Professional Learning Opportunities with Education Technology, Register in Eduphoria

Website Training Schedule

Gold Seal Late Application Opens, March 1- September 6

Racial Equity Summit Registration, pre-registration closes March 7

2019 Scripps Regional Spelling Bee, March 7 at TCU

East Handley ES 60th Birthday Celebration, 10 a.m. March 8

Texas Public Schools Week, Continues through March 8

National School Breakfast Week, Continues through March 8

Daylight Saving Time Begins, March 10 (don’t forget to turn your clocks forward one hour)

Spring Break, March 11-15

St. Patrick's Day, March 17

Board of Education meeting, March 19

Racial Equity Summit, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. March 23 at I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA

Billy W. Sills Lecture Series: “Early Transoceanic Pan Am Air Travel and the Amon Carter Connection,” March 23 9:30 a.m.- noon Billy W. Sills Center for Archives (Presenters: Bill Morris and Dan Smith)

Dolores Huerta-Cesar Chavez Day of Service (Students NOT in School), March 25

Fort Worth ISD Day at the Texas Rangers vs. Chicago Cubs Game, March 31

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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