Inside FWISD April 18, 2019

In this edition:

‘The Ellen Show’ Features Leadership Academy At Como Elementary—And Presents Big Surprise | Lily B. Clayton Crowned Readers Become Leaders Champion | Mandatory Training Slated For New Kronos Timekeeping System | FWISD Schools Closed This Friday | District Advisory Committee Nominations Due Friday | FWISD Names Bridgewood Facility | FWISD JROTC Pass-In-Review Ceremony Set For April 26 | Communications Presents Monthly Webby Awards | Secondary Leadership Announces Monthly FAFSA Challenge Winner | FWISD Students Earn National Merit Scholarships | FWISD Invites HS Seniors To Participate In Exit Survey | Heritage Golf Tournament Set For April 27: Proceeds Support Marine Creek Collegiate HS Graduating Seniors| Reception Today To Recognize Moss’ Service To FWISD School Board | Ask Elsie | Donate To The MBK Suit Up! Campaign | AAIL Spotlight | Calendar | View more stories throughout the week on the Inside FWISD Blog

‘The Ellen Show’ features Leadership Academy at Como Elementary—and presents big surprise

Fort Worth ISD’s Leadership Academy at Como Elementary is in the national spotlight, thanks to Ellen DeGeneres. The comedian and talk show host featured the school on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” April 16—highlighting the turnaround the campus has made in recent years with the support of exemplary teachers and staff as well as the dedication of Como students.

The Leadership Academy at Como Elementary caught DeGeneres’ attention with music videos in which students rapped about the positive changes. Principal Valencia Rhines, counselor Tomeka McGee and math teacher Thomas Mayfield, who coordinated the music videos, were in the audience as DeGeneres played a clip, but they had no idea they would be called to the set. Rhines, McGee and Mayfield shared stories of the challenges faced by their students and described how everyone on campus has come together to make changes that would promote student success.

DeGeneres surprised the Como employees by sending a camera to the campus to put hundreds of students on TV and then presented the school with a special donation—$50,000 from Cheerios. The gift includes a $20,000 contribution to the school’s food pantry, to ensure students have enough to eat at home, and $30,000 to fund the purchase of student laptops.

“What an experience of a lifetime. I am so grateful and humbled by all of this,” Mrs. Rhines said. “We are made better daily because of the students we have the honor of serving.

"We were extremely surprised and grateful that [Ellen, Cheerios and Box Tops for Education] would even do something like that for our campus."

Watch the heartwarming segment below. NBC 5 also highlighted the news.

In 2019, Fort Worth ISD partnered with Texas Wesleyan University to establish the Leadership Academy Network, made up of the Leadership Academy at Como Elementary and four other schools. The Leadership Academy Network is designed to maintain and enhance the achievements experienced since Fort Worth ISD designated the schools as Leadership Academies in 2017.

The District’s Leadership Academy approach to teaching and learning—with highly effective educators, an extended school day and student enrichment, among other benefits—has resulted in rising academic outcomes and transformed campus cultures. To maintain that momentum, Texas Wesleyan will now operate and manage the District’s Leadership Academy Network schools. For more information, visit Fort Worth ISD’s Leadership Academy Network homepage.

Lily B. Clayton Crowned Readers Become Leaders Champion

Fort Worth ISD’s Lily B. Clayton Elementary School is the District’s inaugural Readers Become Leaders elementary literacy program champion.

The school was crowned champion at a celebratory Readers Become Leaders finale ceremony, Thursday, April 18, at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena. More than 1,400 students in kindergarten through fifth-grade from Clayton Elementary and runners-up, H. V. Helbing and the Leadership Academy at Como, were invited to watch Open Practice ahead of the start to the National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championship, April 19-20 at the convention center.

All students at Clayton will receive books and a medal. Books will be donated to the school libraries at H. V. Helbing and the Leadership Academy at Como.

The Fort Worth ISD partnered with the NCAA, Scholastic, Read Fort Worth and Visit Fort Worth to implement Readers Become Leaders into the District’s elementary schools earlier this year. More than 17,000 students from 38 elementary schools participated in the inaugural event and logged more than 6.7 million minutes.

The participating schools were divided into four groups:

  • Balance Beam
  • Floor Exercise
  • Uneven Bars
  • Vault

Balance Beam group winner, Meadowbrook Elementary, will receive a special visit from Clifford the Big Red Dog. The highest average minutes read in each of the four groups were entered in a drawing for lunch with an author, and fourth-graders at Rosemont Elementary are the winning grade level.

NCAA’s Team Works division sponsors Readers Become Leaders to help address the literacy problem facing the nation’s youth. Readers Become Leaders encourages students in kindergarten through fifth grade to read by creating a fun environment where they can compete against other schools. Students win prizes that may include NCAA items, pizza parties, and tickets to NCAA events.

Readers Become Leaders supports 100 X 25FWTX, the District’s early literacy initiative with a goal to ensure 100 percent of third-grade students are reading at or above grade level by the year 2025. 100 X 25FWTX will ensure all children in Fort Worth are prepared for college, career and community leadership.

Superintendent Kent P. Scribner is partnering with Mayor Betsy Price, BNSF Executive Chairman Matt Rose to lead the community-wide Read Fort Worth initiative. Anel Mercado serves as the executive director. This cradle-to-career strategy puts childhood literacy front and center and aligns the resources of the Fort Worth ISD with the city’s business sector, city leaders, higher education, nonprofit organizations, the faith-based community as well as educators and parents. Childhood literacy can determine success in all subjects for years to come, including math and science.

The 2019 National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championships selected Fort Worth as the host city after a successful bid process spearheaded by Visit Fort Worth, Texas Woman’s University and the Knight Eady Sports Group. Fort Worth will host the event through 2022 with the final three years hosted at the new Dickies Arena.

The Championship will feature the eight top Division I gymnastics programs competing in two semi-final events at noon and 6 p.m., Friday, April 19, with the Championship set to take place at 6 p.m., Saturday, April 20. ESPN will televise all events on both days.

Mandatory Training Slated for New Kronos Timekeeping System

The following memorandum is from the Division of Business and Finance:

FWISD Schools Closed This Friday

All Fort Worth ISD schools are closed Friday, April 19, 2019 for a student holiday. Friday is a workday for the District’s 240- and 245-employees.

The District will resume normal business and class schedules on Monday, April 22, 2019.

District Advisory Committee Nominations Due Friday

Fort Worth ISD staff nominations to the District Advisory Committee (DAC) in Places 1-12 are being accepted through Friday, April 19.

The DAC is a 21-member group that meets four to six times a year to advise the superintendent and Board of Education of educational plans, goals, performance objectives, and major classroom instructional programs. Other matters brought to the DAC include the District budget, calendar, professional development plans and new education programs and initiatives.

The committee includes representatives from the District’s professional staff, parents with children enrolled in the FWISD, business and community partners. Terms on the committee are two years.

Nominations and self-nominations are being accepted here through 5 p.m. Friday, April 19 for FWISD personnel. Staffers may only recommend their peers to the committee. District employees will vote for DAC members, in their peer groups, April 22- May 3, 2019.

Elementary and secondary teachers and principals and non-instructional staff such as librarians, nurses, counselors, instructional specialists or central administration personnel are eligible to serve on the DAC. The committee includes eight classroom teachers, one at-large non-instructional employee and three campus administrators voted onto the committee by District staff. The remaining 11 committee members are appointed by FWISD school board trustees.

For more details, contact Dr. Amanda Coleman, director of Board policy, governance and strategic support/elections officer in the Policy and Planning Department at 817-814-1956 or email amanda.coleman@fwisd.org.

A rendering of the TLC sign pending city approval.

FWISD Names Bridgewood Facility

The Fort Worth ISD’s facility in the 1000 block of Bridgewood Drive officially has a name.

The facility, acquired by the District the 2015-2016 school year, will be known as Fort Worth ISD Teaching and Learning Center or the TLC. The name was recently decided by a FWISD Leadership Team vote.

Learn more about the facility and how it will be utilized in a future edition of Inside FWISD.

FWISD JROTC Pass-In-Review Ceremony Set for April 26

The Fort Worth ISD will host its annual JROTC/JCC Pass-In-Review ceremony, at 10 a.m. Friday, April 26 at Farrington Field.

The capstone ceremony is a culmination of hard work and accomplishments made by approximately 3,000 cadets throughout the 2018-2019 school year, and it acknowledges students’ leadership development. Approximately 300 cadets will be awarded for student achievement or presented with scholarships. Patriotic and service organizations are expected to present awards to select high school JROTC and middle school Junior Cadet Corps students at the ceremony.

Cadets will be reviewed by Capt. Jonathan R. Townsend, commanding officer at the Naval Air Station Fort Worth, Joint Reserve Base.

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.

Thomas Ketchersid, FWISD’s web communications coordinator, poses with Wedgwood Middle School Principal Robert Burrell at the Secondary School Principals Meeting, Thursday, April 18.

Communications Presents Monthly Webby Awards

Congratulations to the Leadership Academy at John T. White Elementary School and Wedgwood Middle School, this month’s Fort Worth ISD Webby Award winners.

The two campus websites were recognized for testing resources posted on the two pages for families to view.

Thomas Ketchersid, FWISD’s web communications coordinator, made Webby Award presentations at elementary and secondary meetings, April 17 and 18 at the Professional Development Center. The two schools will keep the trophy for the next month and receive a $100 Kroger gift card for campus use.

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

For more details on next month’s challenge or assistance with your campus website, visit www.fwisd.org/websitetraining or email web@fwisd.org.

Dr. Anita Perry (left), director of Academic Advisement, and Cherie Washington (right), chief of Secondary Schools, present Eastern Hills High School Principal Katrina Smith (center) with the FAFSA Challenge banner, Thursday, April 18.

Secondary Leadership Announces Monthly FAFSA Challenge Winner

Congratulations to Eastern Hills High School for earning the highest percentage of students completing the FAFSA application in March.

Principal Katrina Smith received a banner to recognize the achievement at the Secondary School Principals Meeting, Thursday, April 18.

In October, the District launched its FAFSA campaign, #StartHereGoAnywhere, which encourages graduating seniors to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

Through this month, students who apply for FAFSA will receive a T-shirt and be entered into a drawing for prizes.

Click here to learn more about the campaign.

FWISD Students Earn National Merit Scholarships

The 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program includes two Fort Worth ISD students who have won corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards financed by a corporation.

The scholars were selected from students who advanced to the Finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and meet criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for Finalists who are children of their employees, residents of communities the company serves, or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the grantor wishes to encourage.

Most of these awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study

and provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000. Recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited college or university.

The FWISD students are:

Kathleen M. Durkin – Paschal High School – National Merit Novartis Scholarship -

Probable career field: Applied Mathematics

Devon M. Nenon – Paschal High School – National Merit Novartis Scholarship

Probable career field: Neonatology


Class of 2019, it’s almost time for graduation, and it’s also time to leave your parting words for the Fort Worth ISD.

The District invites its seniors to participate in an online Senior Exit Survey, April 17 through May 10. Students will receive a link to the survey via thier District email address, or they can click here to participate.

Survey data will be used for future senior planning and in offering follow-up support services to seniors after graduation. Participants taking the survey will be asked about their post-graduation plans, extracurricular involvement and the quality of instruction and services they have received as a high school student.

All seniors are encouraged to participate.

Students needing technical assistance are encouraged to email AskEval@fwisd.org.

Heritage Golf Tournament Set for April 27

Proceeds Support Marine Creek Collegiate HS Graduating Seniors

The fourth annual Heritage Golf Tournament, benefitting the Marine Creek Heritage Fund Scholarship is slated for Saturday, April 27 at Iron Horse Golf Course in North Richland Hills.

Tournament proceeds support scholarships for Marine Creek Collegiate High School graduating seniors committed to attending a four-year university. The last three years, the Marine Creek Heritage Fund has awarded $11,000 in scholarships to Marine Creek students, said Principal Tom Fraire.

“This scholarship will help financially support and recognize exceptional MCCHS students who have successfully completed curriculum to obtain an associate degree in addition to their high school diploma,” he said. “Because of these scholarships MCCHS students are now able to attend their dream universities: University of Texas, Texas A&M, Texas State, and the University of North Texas to name a few.”

MCCHS is an early college high school partnership between the Fort Worth Independent School District and the Tarrant County College- Northwest Campus. The campus offers at-risk, low-socioeconomic students in the greater Fort Worth area an opportunity to earn their high school diplomas while simultaneously taking dual credit courses to obtain their associate degree.

Visit bit.ly/mcchsgolftournament to sign up, donate or get additional details on the upcoming golf tournament.


Christene Chadwick Moss’ namesake school is hosting an event today recognizing her nearly three decades on the Fort Worth ISD Board of Education.

A reception celebrating Mrs. Moss’ 29 years of service takes place this afternoon at Christene C. Moss Elementary School, 4108 Eastland St. The event is underwritten by architect firm, KAI.

Performances from Dunbar High School and Jacquet Middle School are among expected entertainment for the event. Students from multiple District 3 schools are also slated to speak.

In February, Mrs. Moss announced that she is not seeking re-election and will step down from the District 3 seat when her term ends this May.

A product of the Fort Worth ISD who attended Como Elementary through Como High School, Mrs. Moss was first elected to the Board of Education in 1990.

She currently represents East Handley Elementary, Bill J. Elliott Elementary, Maude Logan Elementary, Lowery Road Elementary, Atwood McDonald Elementary, A.M. Pate Elementary, Sunrise-McMillan Elementary, Maudrie Walton Elementary, West Handley Elementary, John T. White Elementary, Jacquet Middle, Young Men's Leadership Academy, Handley Middle, McClung Middle and Dunbar High School.

As a trustee Mrs. Moss has been part of decisions to transform the Board of Education from an 8-1 governance model to nine single-member districts. She led efforts for single-gender schools, which resulted in creation of the YMLA and the Young Women’s Leadership Academy and she created the first FWISD community, student and youth forums.

She is the immediate past president of the Texas Caucus of Black School Board Members.

Mrs. Moss’ work as a FWISD trustee has led to numerous accolades.

Eastland Elementary School, built in 1953, was renamed for Mrs. Moss in 2005. The Salvation Army also named its Children’s Library in her honor for her assistance establishing a facility for homeless students.

Read more about Mrs. Moss 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,

I am confused about the District policy concerning terminating contracts. It is my understanding that when a District employee chooses to terminate their contract any time before the end of the contract, that employee is blackballed and can never be rehired by the District for any position. I am asking specifically about teachers who break their contract and then a few years later come back to sub, tutor, or teach. I have seen this happened as recently as this year and would like to know the specifics of the policy so I can be correctly informed.

Thank you,

A Concerned Employee

Dear Concerned Employee,

Thank you for your question. I reached out to Cynthia Rincón, FWISD’s Human Capital Management and Legal Services chief, regarding your question and here’s the response:

“There are a number of reasons an employee may separate from the District.

In some cases, such as the one you reference, the District may flag a former employee's record for review should the former employee choose to re-apply. Former employees who have resigned from the District and have a separation code may appeal the District decision and be considered for reemployment with the District.

Upon appeal, the District reviews and researches the circumstances of each separation. Appeals are submitted to the Employee Relations Department. Board Policy DAC and DFE outline criteria by which the District makes personnel decisions. These and all other Board Policies can be found online.”

Thank you, Concerned Employee for your question, and thank you, Ms. Rincón for your response.


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.


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 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 ensure 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.

AAIL Spotlight

The following communication is from the Advanced, Accelerated, and Innovative Learning Department:

In an effort to celebrate excellent employees and share best practices, the Advanced, Accelerated, and Innovative Learning Department is “spotlighting” outstanding individuals and schools. We are excited to spotlight Maria Sanchez at Ridglea Hills Elementary this week!

April is Child Safety Month

April is Month of the Military Child

April is School Library Month

April is National Autism Awareness Month

FWISD is looking for Bilingual Testers

Professional Learning and Innovation Opportunities

Elementary Professional Learning Opportunities

Secondary Professional Learning Opportunities

Website Training Schedule

Gold Seal Late Application Window, Continues through September 6

Training Schedule for New ELAR TEKS for Grades 3-5 Teachers and Administrators, Register in Eduphoria

Training Schedule for New ELAR TEKS for Grades 6-8 Teachers and Administrators, Register in Eduphoria

Spring VOLY Training Sessions for FCLs, new campus staff and campus partners

Celebrating the Legacy of Christene C. Moss, 4:30-6:30 p.m. April 18, C.C. Moss Elementary, 4108 Eastland St.

2019 Women’s Gymnastics Championships, April 19-20 Fort Worth Convention Center

Good Friday (Student Holiday. 240- and 245- employees must report to work), April 19

Easter, April 21

Public School Volunteer Week, April 22-26

Early voting for May 4 Joint General and Special Elections, April 22-30 (Rosemont MS is the only FWISD polling location)

Board of Education Regular Meeting, April 23

Report cards issued, April 24

Administrative Professionals Day, April 24

JROTC Pass-in-Review, April 26, Farrington Field

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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