Inside FWISD DECEMBER 21, 2017


Fort Worth, TX – For the sixth consecutive year the Fort Worth ISD will play a significant role in the 2017 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

The Bowl will be held on Saturday, December 23, 2017 at TCU’s Amon Carter Stadium and broadcast on ESPN. The Aztecs of San Diego University will battle the Black Knights of Army (West Point).

Among the activities planned for District students are:

  • A combined service JROTC Joint Service Color Guard will present the U.S. and armed forces service flags during the annual Kick-off Armed Forces Bowl Luncheon being held on Friday, December 22.
  • A drumline from Southwest High School will greet luncheon attendees as they arrive
  • The Lone Star Youth Chorus, under the direction of Cole Stanley from Trimble Tech High School, will perform the national anthem at the Kick-off Luncheon.
  • Luncheon guests will be treated to a special patriotic art show with works created by Fort Worth ISD students.
  • Hundreds of uniformed JROTC/JCC students will hand out American flags to fans as they arrive for the Saturday game
  • And a special video highlighting the Fort Worth ISD JROTC program will be shown on the big stadium screen during the game itself.

“We are excited to continue our collaboration with the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl as yet another example of how Fort Worth ISD is a part of the fabric of this great community,” said Superintendent Dr. Kent P. Scribner. “Working together we are preparing our students for college, career and community leadership.”

JROTC emphasizes character education, student achievement, wellness, leadership and diversity. It is a cooperative effort to produce successful students and citizens. JCC offers 6th, 7th and 8th grade students lessons in professional courtesy, respect, discipline and basic leadership traits preparing them for the transition to high school.

The Lone Star Youth Chorus is an ensemble for students enrolled in Visual and Performing Arts programs in the Fort Worth ISD.

This choir provides opportunities for in-depth performances within the city, throughout the state, nationally, and internationally. A place for urban high school students who are intensely devoted to the choral art form, this chorus provides a common ground to forge relationships founded in music and self-expression.


The Fort Worth Independent School District has been selected to participate in the George W. Bush Institute’s School Leadership District Cohort, a professional learning community consisting of four selected school districts across the U.S. that will work hand-in-hand with the Bush Institute’s Education Reform team to implement their Principal Talent Management Framework. The Framework was published in 2016 as a part of the School Leadership Initiative, formerly known as The Alliance to Reform Leadership (AREL).

“We know that campus leadership is one of the most important ingredients in student success, second only to a highly-effective teacher,” said Superintendent Kent P. Scribner. “Principals set the tone for school climate and culture, and we are grateful to the George W. Bush Institute for their investment in our District and its leaders.”

Be sure to watch this video featuring our Fort Worth ISD colleagues.

The following school districts were also selected to participate in the District Cohort:

Austin Independent School District (Austin, TX)

Chesterfield County Public Schools (Chesterfield, VA)

Granite School District (Salt Lake City, UT)

The Principal Talent Management Framework is an evidence-based pathway for districts to attract, develop, and retain high-quality principals. The Framework represents a distillation of the best research available on principal talent management strategies.

Over the course of a three-year period, the Bush Institute will work with participating districts to identify their individual needs related to each Framework component and build district-level capacity accordingly. The Bush Institute will also provide expert coaching, access to tools and resources, and other support to the district professional learning community. Former Charlotte-Mecklenburg superintendent Ann Clark and Denver Public Schools’ Mikel Royal will bring their expertise and experience as District Advisors to the project.

“We have chosen four school districts that understand how critical school leadership is to improving student outcomes,” said Eva Chiang, Deputy Director of Education Reform at the Bush Institute. “We are eager to use our research to help these school districts improve their policies and practices for preparing, supporting, and retaining the best principals.”

For more information on the School Leadership Initiative and the District Cohort, please visit http://www.bushcenter.org/schoolleadership.

About the School Leadership Initiative:

The School Leadership Initiative is part of the Bush Institute Education Reform Initiative’s ongoing efforts to help improve student outcomes and the quality of schools through data and research. Research shows that principals account for 25 percent of a school’s total impact on student achievement. Principals play a critical role in hiring, supporting, and retaining effective teachers, improving the overall school climate, and enhancing student progress. While significant focus has been paid to effective teachers, little attention has been given to the role of the school leader despite the important role they play in student success. Rooted in President and Mrs. Bush’s belief that “excellent schools must first have excellent leaders,” the Bush Institute developed the School Leadership Initiative, formerly known as the Alliance to Reform Leadership (AREL), to dramatically improve the way our Nation’s principals are prepared and supported. The School Leadership Initiative is transforming the district level systems in place to manage principal talent, helping districts find, support, and retain great school leaders. The School Leadership Initiative is one of the Bush Institute’s flagship programs.

About the George W. Bush Institute:

Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization with the mission of developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. The work is achieved through three Impact Centers – Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and the Engagement Agenda – by which the Bush Institute engages the greater community with its important work.


It is with sadness that we inform our Fort Worth ISD family of the passing of one of our educators, Reginald Seastrunk. Coach Seastrunk, a teacher and head girls’ basketball coach at Southwest High School, died Sunday. Just weeks ago, he was diagnosed with cancer.

Coach Seastrunk was hired at Southwest in 2013. His dedication to the girls’ basketball program impressed all who knew him.

“Coach Seastrunk has left a lasting impact on the entire Southwest community,” said John Engel, principal at Southwest High School. “He was a great educator and a wonderful coach.”

“What made him special was the love he had for his athletes and his determination to teach them life skills that would serve them beyond the court,” said Robert Goebel, head football coach and boys athletic coordinator at Southwest. “He was my friend and someone I could count on if I ever needed anything.”

At a special meeting of the FWISD Board of Education on Monday, December 18, Board member Dr. Ann Sutherland asked that the meeting close in honor of Coach Seastrunk. Dr. Sutherland remembered the educator as a “much-loved coach.”

"He was a social studies teacher and girls’ basketball coach,” she said. “This is a double whammy to the athletes and people of Southwest High School as we also lost coach [John] Church last fall. So, we have lost two coaches in one year.”

Counselors from the District’s Student Support Services Department met with students and staff on the Southwest High School campus this week. They will continue to be available as needed.

All of us at Fort Worth ISD extend our deepest sympathy to Coach Seastrunk’s family.


Texas Christian University honored Hall of Fame Coach Robert Hughes, Sr. in a halftime ceremony, Monday, December 18.

Coach Hughes, the legendary retired Dunbar High School coach, was recognized for his September induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Making the ceremony even sweeter, it took place at a game against Coach Hughes’ alma mater, Texas Southern University. Several of Coach Hughes’ former players were scheduled to attend the ceremony.

The nation’s all-time winningest boys high school coach, Coach Hughes coached 47 years in the Fort Worth ISD. He led teams at Dunbar and I.M. Terrell High Schools to 35 District championships and five state championships. He completed his career as a high school basketball coach with a 1,333-247 (.844) coaching record.

Among other accolades received by Coach Hughes is the 2003 National High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year award and the Morgan Wootten Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. In 1993, he was inducted into the Texas Basketball Hall of Fame, followed by an induction into the High School Basketball Hall of Fame a decade later.

View photos from the ceremony here.


Melanie Grubbs, a geography teacher at Marine Creek Collegiate High School, is a 2017 National Geographic Certified Educator.

The certified educator program selects pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade educators in the United States, Washington, D.C., Canada and Puerto Rico to participate. Certified educators are required to complete a National Geographic certification workshop where they learn tools for encouraging students to “think like explorers,” complete two classroom activities with students based on what they learned in the certification workshop and complete a visual and creative multimedia project telling a story of how their students learn from the framework implemented, according to the National Geographic website.

“National Geographic has a vision to help educators foster global awareness and responsibility among their students,” Ms. Grubbs writes. “As such, National Geographic is offering a Nat Geo Certified Educator distinction to educators they deem are in the forefront of those meeting this vision.”

Ms. Grubbs was recently one of about 50 teachers selected as a certified educator this year.

For more information about the National Geographic Certified Educator program, click here.

FWISD Distributes Gifts to 300 Angel Tree Recipients

A special thank you to Fort Worth ISD employees who gave to this year’s Angel Tree efforts.

Recently, the Fort Worth ISD Early Learning Department distributed gifts to 300 Head Start students at the District’s eight PK Satellite Centers. The Angel Tree recipients are dually enrolled in FWISD and the Head Start program, which supports economically-disadvantaged children. Contributions from FWISD employees as well as local businesses and other entities supported this year’s Angel Tree efforts.

Officials with the Early Learning Department said it warmed their hearts to see people contribute to this year’s Angel Tree recipients.

“We definitely want to make sure that they have a happy Christmas, and so this is our way to do that,” said Dr. Cheryl Mixon, the Early Learning Department executive director. “It’s definitely a group effort through the District as well as the business community.

“We can’t say thank you enough to those who have been able to contribute and help us in this effort.”

The Department met its goal just a few days shy of its distribution date. With about 30 children remaining on the tree, XTO Energy came through with a generous donation to ensure Christmas is bright for some of FWISD’s youngest students.

“You know you think that kids are excited about the toys, but when you see them jumping up and down about clothes, it’s tough. The families are very appreciative,” said Tracy Gunn, a prekindergarten specialist who has participated in Angel Tree efforts for years. “For some kids, this is it. This is all they get.”

View photos from a recent Angel Tree distribution here.

Be Proactive. Get a Flu Shot

There’s still time to receive a flu shot.

Texas is one of four states in the nation experiencing high influenza-like illness activity in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so taking preventative measures is key.

From 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, January 17, Fort Worth ISD will offer onsite flu vaccinations for employees at the Administration Building, 100 N. University Drive.

“I certainly would encourage employees to get their flu shots and to practice good handwashing,” said Alice Turner-Jackson, FWISD health services director. “See your physician or health care provider if you feel you are getting the flu.”

A flu shot is recommended for individuals six months and older, according to the CDC.

Flu season in the United States generally occurs in the fall and winter, according to the CDC, and peaks between late November and March. According to media reports, the nation is on track to experience its worst flu season in years.

For more details on FWISD’s onsite flu vaccinations this January, click here.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Welcome to the first edition of Ask Elsie, a column where Chief Financial Officer Elsie Schiro will tackle employees’ queries or, in areas outside her purview, ask other District leaders to answer them.

Let's get started!

Q:How are the bond improvements coming along? At Southwest HS, we were informed of key card entry access from the prior bond, yet we still don’t have such to date. When is this expected to occur? Additionally, why was Benbrook Middle School built with three gymnasiums when other schools in the District such as ALA & INA (MS & HS) share a small-sized gym and have limited outside recreational activity space?

Kyle Borne, Southwest HS

A: Mr. Borne - Thank you for your recent questions.

I reached out to Operations Chief Art Cavazos who tells us that the Access Card Entry, funded through the 2013 bond program, was broken into two phases. The first phase was on the east side of the District and the second phase is on the west side of the District. The second phase is underway. All 2013 bond projects are to be completed by August 2018, and it is anticipated that the access card entry project will be finalized before that time.

Benbrook MS was built with two gymnasiums per District specifications. ALA (Applied Learning Academy) and INA (International Newcomer Academy) are special schools that share many amenities. As the District developed its Facilities Master Plan, we recognized that all schools, including our special schools, require amenities that meet the needs of today's students. We are moving in that direction.

Thank you again for your questions.

Elsie Schiro, CFO, Fort Worth ISD

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.

I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA Now Accepting Teacher Applications

The I.M. Terrell legacy has produced great individuals, and with the opening of the new I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA next fall, its educators have the opportunity to shape and mold the future generation of leaders, Principal Baldwin Brown says.

“We have to make sure that we don’t lose sight of the past but keep in mind we’re creating the next generation of leaders,” Mr. Brown said. “We have an opportunity coming into this campus to really shape the future leaders that are going to be coming out of Fort Worth ISD and the city of Fort Worth.”

Prospective teachers for the new academy recently met with Mr. Brown to discuss what they can contribute to that vision.

I.M. Terrell Academy opens for the 2018-2017 year to high school freshmen in fall 2018 and will add grade levels every year. At capacity, the campus will serve approximately 800 students.

More than 100 people attended the standing-room event. The event, hosted at Van Cliburn Recital Hall, included remarks from Superintendent Kent P. Scribner, Cherie Washington, chief of secondary schools, Lynsey Charles, a Specialist for Professional Learning and Innovation, Charles Carroll, chief academic officer, and Principal Baldwin Brown.

Prospective staffers also received a campus overview, including the history about the facility, campus expectations and the school’s next steps. Educators with STEM and VPA-related content departments were available at tables to answer questions for prospective teaching candidates.

Dr. Scribner in his remarks called the Terrell Academy “a gift to the community.” He asked prospective teachers in attendance what types of gifts might they bring to the campus.

“Are you a teacher with advanced skills and knowledge in your area? A teacher who connects with students because it’s not only about content,” Dr. Scribner said. “It’s about content and connection. That’s what we’re looking for, content and connection.

“It’s my belief that this high school will be the epitome and the best example of high-achieving students and high achieving faculty and staff, preparing all students for success in college, career and community leadership, and we want you to be part of that story.”

Job postings for the inaugural year at the I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA are now available for viewing here.

More Than 200 Attend Family Communications Resource Fair

More than 200 Fort Worth ISD employees from various departments recently attended a Resource Fair, hosted by the Family Communications Department.

The come-and-go event allowed liaisons, counselors, college coaches, social workers, intervention specialists and others to meet with approximately 30 internal and external vendors offering resources that educators and liaisons can share with the families they assist.

“We hope this is the first of many resources fairs, and our department can help District and campus staffs build relationships with our community partners,” said Jennifer Perez, Family Communications director.

The Family Communications Department is planning a similar event for the spring in which liaisons and educators will receive resources for assisting families during the summer months.

Mayor Promotes Health, Reading at FWISD Schools

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price has made three stops in recent days to FWISD schools to read to students and support fitness and healthy eating habits.

The mayor kicked off her visits on Wednesday, December 13, at Waverly Park Elementary School. Along with Superintendent Kent P. Scribner, she recognized the school for clocking the most minutes of daily physical activity and dedication to living a healthy life out of all Fort Worth ISD campuses in the FitWorth Mayor’s challenge. As this year’s challenge winner, the school received a $1,000 check to purchase recess and physical education equipment. Waverly Park Elementary finished the challenge with 122 minutes of daily activity, five servings of fruit and vegetables, six servings of water and 111 minutes of daily reading.

On Monday, December 18, Mayor Price returned to her alma mater, South Hi Mount Elementary School, as a Celebrity Reader. The annual Celebrity Reader event promotes literacy and a love of reading, according to South Hi Mount Elementary Principal Melissa Bryan. Parents, District officials and community residents are generally invited to read books to the student body at the event.

Dr. Scribner joined Mayor Price, Fort Worth District 3 Councilman Brian Byrd and FWISD Board of Education members as volunteer readers at the Pajama Reading Day at Western Hills Elementary, Thursday, December 21. The community officials, along with high school student leaders and athletes were slated to read to various classrooms at the literacy event.

Mayor Price’s last two visits coincide with the community-wide 100X25FWTX initiative, an effort to ensure that 100 percent of third-graders are reading on grade level or above by 2025. Dr. Scribner is partnering with Mayor Price and Matt Rose, BNSF executive chairman 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.


Winter break is quickly approaching.

Beginning Friday, December 22, Fort Worth ISD will close for winter break to observe the holidays.

Students at most FWISD high schools will have an early dismissal, Thursday, December 21. Check with your campus leadership for more details. All other schools are expected to dismiss students at the regular-scheduled time.

District staff will return to work January 8 for a teacher preparation and in-service day. Classes resume for students on January 9.

Happy Holidays!


A young talented pianist, the I.M. Terrell construction site, a magical trip to New York, and the power of belief all come together in Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent P. Scribner’s December video message to teachers and staff.

Watch this enjoyable riff on the poem commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas” for a peek at what went into the recent selection of a grand piano for the new I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA.

The selection team included Maite Hererra, South Hills High School senior; Chris Walk, Executive Director of Fort Worth ISD’s Visual and Performing Arts Department: Don Devous, Secondary Choral Music Director for Fort Worth ISD; Baldwin Brown, Principal of the I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA, and Buddy Bray, pianist with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

The video also provides an inside-the-work-zone look at the piano’s future home, which will also be grand – the I.M. Terrell auditorium.

Armed Forces Bowl Kick-off Luncheon, Friday, December 22

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, Saturday, December 23

Winter Break, Friday December 22- Friday, January 5, 2018 (Staff returns January 8 and students on January 9)

20th annual Fort Worth ISD Boys Basketball Classic, Thursday, December 28- Saturday, December 30, Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 15, 2018 (No school)

Whiz Quiz, Tuesday, January 16- Thursday, January 18, 2018

Flu vaccinations, Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year, from Fort Worth ISD.

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