Inside FWISD September 27, 2018

Deep Roots

Fort Worth Public School System Turns 136

Next week marks 136 years since Fort Worth’s public education system opened seven schools in the city to schoolchildren.

On October 2, 1882, Fort Worth Public Schools opened seven schools with a total of 17 teachers, according to officials with the District’s Billy W. Sills Center for Archives. By the following month, the Fort Worth Public Schools had 798 students enrolled, and by the close of the school year, there were 1,258 students, according to archives documents.

During the first decade of operation, Fort Worth public schools rented buildings and homes, used churches or constructed framed buildings to educate the city’s schoolchildren until brick and mortar facilities were built.

Pictured above is the First Ward school, a frame structure built in 1883 at East Second Street and Crump. It was later renamed Crockett Elementary School.

Cuban Donates $100,000 to Support YWLA Mission

Fort Worth ISD’s Young Women’s Leadership Academy will benefit from a generous $100,000 donation from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The funds will come through Mr. Cuban’s recent donation to the Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth.

The Foundation, which supports the mission of Fort Worth ISD’s first and only single-gender school for young women, was among seven North Texas nonprofits Mr. Cuban committed a combined $850,000 to during North Texas Giving Day, Thursday, September 20. The donations are part of $10 million in donations Mr. Cuban announced September 19 that he’s contributing to women’s advocacy nonprofits following an NBA investigation relating to the workplace climate with his basketball club.

The Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth is the only Fort Worth-based organization and the only education institution benefitting from the contribution, according to Foundation officials.

Tamara Albury, principal at Fort Worth ISD’s Young Women’s Leadership Academy, said she was awakened September 21 to text messages about Mr. Cuban’s donation. She said that with support from the Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth, YWLA invests in the “whole child,” ensuring that the school’s girls are socially, emotionally and academically prepared for college. Ms. Albury said she’s appreciative of the support from the Mavericks organization and that people believe in the mission of YWLA and the Foundation that supports it.

“I was so excited,” she said. “I was so excited for the potential opportunity that my students would be able to participate in because of this contribution.

“They see the value in what we’re doing and in my students. It’s fantastic. It’s heartwarming.”

The Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy supports YWLA’s three pillars: college readiness, leadership and wellness life skills as well as its STEAM initiatives. With the Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth’s support in just the last year, YWLA students have had opportunities to study abroad, participate in college test preparation courses and visit colleges and universities, according to school officials.

Courtney Radcliffe, executive director for the Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy, said that when she left her office Thursday, September 20, the nonprofit had raised about $3,000 in North Texas Giving Day donations. About three hours later, North Texas Giving Day officials informed her via email that the Foundation was the recipient of a $100,000 gift from Mr. Cuban. It came as a complete surprise, she said.

“I was thrilled. Excited,” Mrs. Radcliffe said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

YWLA educates girls in grades six through 12. The school is a member of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network.

North Texas Giving Day is an annual online 18-hour giving event that supports nonprofits across the North Texas region.

About the Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy

The Foundation supports Young Women’s Leadership Academy, a single-gender public school in the Fort Worth Independent School District. Its purpose is to provide funding for programs that enhance academic achievement and offer leadership opportunities that promote the success of every student in college, career and life. For more details, visit http://ywlafortworth.foundation/

About Young Women’s Leadership Academy

Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA) is a U.S. Department of Education recognized, National Blue Ribbon School. Fort Worth ISD’s first and only single-gender school for girls is designed to prepare young leaders for college readiness, college completion, and life-long community leadership. This seven-year program optimizes student potential through rigorous academics, social-emotional programming, community service, leadership development and individualized college planning. YWLA is a member of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network, which provides the private enhancements to our public school based on college readiness, leadership and wellness life skills, so that our graduates achieve academic success and are prepared for college and life. Learn more at www.fwisd.org/ywla.

Local Nonprofits Raise Thousands on North Texas Giving Day

Multiple nonprofit organizations that support Fort Worth ISD programs and students received thousands of dollars in contributions during the annual North Texas Giving Day event, Thursday, September 20.

North Texas Giving Day is an annual online 18-hour giving event that supports nonprofits across the North Texas region.

Officials with Read Fort Worth say the organization raised nearly $25,000 on North Texas Giving Day.

Read Fort Worth exists to provide unique, actionable data; to organize and align partners under the shared 100X25 goal; to develop strategies for significant improvement, and to communicate best practices and drive results.

Fort Worth ISD’s initiative – called 100 X 25 FWTX – sets a goal of 100 percent of third-graders reading on grade level or above by the year 2025. Superintendent Kent P. Scribner is partnering with Mayor Betsy Price, 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, nonprofit organizations, and the faith-based community.

The following are preliminary totals raised by just a few nonprofits that support the District as reported by North Texas Giving Day officials. It’s not yet clear how the District programs could benefit from the funds raised.

Education Foundation for Fort Worth Schools- $1,009

Read 2 Win- $1,866

North Side High School Legacy Foundation- $567

B Sharp Youth Music- $512

United Way of Tarrant County- $50,823

Preliminary totals show that more than $48 million was raised for nonprofits across North Texas last week. For more details on North Texas Giving Day, visit https://www.northtexasgivingday.org/.

FWISD Prepares For 2018 United Way Campaign Kickoff

Fort Worth ISD will launch its 2018 United Way Campaign Monday, October 15.

A couple of kickoff events were hosted this week ahead of the campaign’s start.

Fort Worth ISD campaign managers spent Thursday morning, September 27, in training preparing for the launch of the District’s 2018 United Way Campaign. On Wednesday, September 26, United Way of Tarrant County hosted its 2018 Campaign Kickoff Breakfast for Fort Worth ISD principals and employee campaign managers. The breakfast included a confirmed guest list for 200 people and was hosted at The Great Hall of the ACH Child and Family Services’ Hickman Center.

United Way of Tarrant County and Fort Worth ISD leadership officials made remarks at the breakfast, including Superintendent Kent P. Scribner and TD Smyers, president and chief executive officer for United Way of Tarrant County.

This year’s campaign message is: Live United.

The 2018 campaign will run from October 15 – 26. Once again, this year, employees will have an opportunity to make online donations. Employees will receive an email with more details on how to donate.

Other important campaign dates include:

  • Coin pickup (elementary schools only) – October 29-30
  • Secondary packets due – November 2 to the United Way Headquarters
  • FWISD Department packets due – November 2 to the FWISD Communications Department office

Last year, FWISD contributed more than $175,000 to its United Way Campaign. This year, the District anticipates contributing $250,000 in donations from its students and employees.

United Way of Tarrant County has long invested in Fort Worth ISD students and continues to make education a funding priority. In recent years, funds donated to the District by the nonprofit has supported programs focused on improving elementary students’ literacy skills, helping middle school students identify and prepare for career dreams and preparing high school students for college and careers.

Additionally, the nonprofit offers resources to assist FWISD families, including placing low-income families on a path to financial stability and assisting families with ongoing health issues.

For more details or questions about the campaign, contact Cindy Ybarra cindy.ybarra@fwisd.org or 817-814-3350.

Images from the 2018 United Way Campaign Kickoff Breakfast on Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Board Approves Zone for Tanglewood Relief Campus

Attendance boundaries for a new school within the current Tanglewood Elementary School boundary are finalized.

Board of Education Trustees unanimously approved the boundary changes, Tuesday, September 25, which will zone students residing south of Bellaire Drive South and west of Hulen Street for a new elementary school expected to open fall 2020. Students living north of Bellaire Drive South/ Benbrook Boulevard and east of Hulen Street will remain zoned for Tanglewood Elementary School.

“Adjustments to the boundaries are necessary to accommodate a new elementary school,” according to board agenda documents.

In November 2017, voters overwhelmingly approved plans for a $750 million capital improvement bond project which includes a new campus to alleviate overcrowding at Tanglewood Elementary School.

Earlier this year, the District reached an agreement to purchase land from Congregation Ahavath Shalom where the new elementary school will be built.


Guidance and Confidential Counseling for You and Your Family

The Fort Worth ISD reminds all employees that a wide variety of life assistance services are available at no cost through the District’s employee assistance program (EAP) with Alliance Work Partners.

This EAP is designed to help you, and your family, manage daily responsibilities, major events, work stresses, or any issue affecting your quality of life. And, it is completely confidential as is required by federal law. Any assistance you seek cannot be reported to your employer or your supervisor.

All of the benefits offered through the FWISD EAP are available with just a toll-free phone call 24 hours a day, seven day a week. Your EAP benefits include:

LawAccess – Legal and Financial services provided by a lawyer or financial professional.

HelpNet – a customized EAP website featuring resources, skill-building tools, online assessments and referrals.

WorkLife – Resources and referrals for everyday needs.

SafeRide – Reimbursement for emergency cab fare for eligible employees and dependents that opt to use cab service instead of driving while impaired.

1 to 3 Counseling Sessions – Per problem, per year. Short-term counseling sessions which include assessment, referral, and crisis services.

In addition, there are regular newsletters, a webinar training series, and tips for everyday living all prepared with the right information to help you as life happens.

The Fort Worth ISD Employee Assistance Program is available right now to serve your needs! You can check out all the benefits available at www.awpnow.com/main/FWISD-EAP-Resource-Room. The toll-free phone numbers are:


1-800-448-1823 TDD

1-800-334-TEEN (8336) for dependent or other teens in your family

Remember this service is completely confidential and is provided by the Fort Worth ISD at no additional cost to you. In the coming weeks, Inside FWISD will highlight many of the different benefits available through this beneficial employee resource.

Mariachis Espuelas de Plata perform at the September 25, 2018, Board of Education meeting

FWISD Celebrates Contributions of Hispanic Americans, American Indians

Fort Worth ISD observed Hispanic Heritage Month and American Indian Heritage Day with art, a musical performance and a resolution at the Board of Education meeting, Tuesday, September 25.

Observed nationally from September 15- October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the history, culture and contributions of Hispanic Americans, who are descendants of individuals from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America.

The last Friday in September, Texas observes American Indian Heritage Day. The observance recognizes “the historic, cultural, and social contributions American Indian community leaders have made to this state,” and celebrates “the rich traditional and contemporary American Indian culture” with ceremonies, activities and programs in public school and other locations, according to Texas Government Code. The District recognized representatives of the American Indian community present at Tuesday’s board meeting.

An art exhibit, curated by the FWISD’s Director of Art Education Beverly Fletcher, that features work from students who attend seven FWISD schools was on display in the Board of Education foyer to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. The District also observed the month with a performance of “Mexico Lindo y Querido” by the renowned Mariachis Espuelas de Plata ensemble from North Side High School, under the direction of Ramon Niño, Corina Cantu and Elliot Johnston.

Video footage from the recent unveiling of a 110-foot wall mural featuring Mariachis Espuelas de Plata on September 16 in the North Side community, was also shown at the meeting.

Board trustees unanimously approved a resolution, September 25, honoring American Indian heritage. Under the resolution, the second Monday in October, the District will annually observe a day of service honoring and recognizing American Indian Heritage for Fort Worth ISD students. The resolution was brought to the board at the recommendation of committee made up of District students, teachers and parents and local residents of Native American descent, according to board trustees.

“A day to honor American Indian heritage is an opportune time to educate the public about tribes and to raise awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically, and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges,” according to the resolution. “A day to honor American Indian Heritage is also a time to celebrate the rich and diverse culture of the 3.2 million Native Americans residing in the United States keeping in mind all of the historical sacrifices they have made in the country, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people.”

The nation will observe Native American Heritage Month in November.

Images from Fort Worth ISD's observance of Hispanic Heritage Month and American Indian Heritage Day, Tuesday, September 25, 2018
FWISD employees received on-site immunizations at the Central Administration Building, Wednesday, September 19, 2018

FWISD Offers On-Site Vaccine Clinics

The following communication from the Health Services Department includes detailed information about Fort Worth ISD's remaining fall vaccination clinics for employees and their families:

FWISD becomes nation’s largest Blue Zones Project Approved School District

Fort Worth ISD is the largest school district in the country to become a Blue Zones Project Approved™ worksite.

Blue Zones Project® is a community-led well-being improvement initiative that works in select cities across the nation. Partnering with municipal leaders, neighborhoods, employers, schools, restaurants, grocery stores, and faith-based organizations, Blue Zones Project helps optimize a sense of purpose and downshifting to ease stress through principles patterned after lifestyles in Blue Zones® areas—pockets of the world where people are most likely to reach age 100 and beyond.

“Blue Zones 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 Superintendent Kent. P. Scribner. “What’s happening benefits families today and lays the groundwork for better well-being for generations to come.”

Many FWISD employees have gotten involved in the initiative. Meanwhile others are serving as Blue Zones Project ambassadors, sharing information and modeling well-being including Director of Athletics Dr. Lisa Langston.

“In the course of my day I get up and walk outside, get some fresh air and come back in. Everyone sees me doing that,” said Dr. Langston. “It’s something I recommend to everybody in the office.”

Students are also benefiting from Blue Zones Project, with the understanding that well-being and academic success go hand in hand. Thirty-three FWISD campuses are now Blue Zones Project Approved schools.

“Healthy behaviors and academic success go hand in hand,” said Matt Dufrene, vice president of Blue Zones Project, Fort Worth. “We also know that if we want our community-wide efforts to be sustainable, we have to engage the next generation. That’s what we’re doing in Fort Worth ISD.”

Throughout Fort Worth, more than 300 businesses and organizations have joined the movement to better well-being, while 87,000 residents have taken the Blue Zones Personal Pledge or gotten involved in a Blue Zones Project activity. Fort Worth is expected to be certified as a Blue Zones Community® by the end of the year.

Guess Who? It’s the September Webby Award Challenge

Does your campus website have what it takes to clinch the September Webby Award?

September’s challenge theme is : Guess Who?

Are your administration, faculty, staff and/or department pages up-to-date? Do they include contact information? What about photos or biographical details?

This September challenge is all about critical information -- like the name and email address of a child’s teacher – appealing, organized and readily accessible.

Distributed monthly, the Webby Awards recognize campus websites that engage families, students, alumni and the community at large. Elementary and secondary campus websites that best complete the monthly challenge are recognized with the Webby Award at principals’ meetings.

Looking for ways to enhance your campus website?

The FWISD Communications Department will host its final Blackboard open lab from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, September 28 in the Board Conference Room, 2903 Shotts St. The lab is open to campus Web managers appointed by school principals.

Attendees must bring their own laptop and email Thomas Ketchersid, Web communications coordinator, at thomas.ketchersid@fwisd.org to reserve a seat. Web managers will receive training on the Blackboard content management system, how to update faculty pages and calendar items and upload pictures to campus websites.

For more details, visit www.fwisd.org/websitetraining or email web@fwisd.org for assistance with your campus website.

Photo courtesy of the Trinity River Turtle Survey Facebook page

Agreement Allows FWISD Students to Resume Study at Trinity Park

Paschal High School students can continue to research turtles in the Trinity River.

The Fort Worth ISD Board of Education recently approved an agreement with the City of Fort Worth that will allow Paschal students access to a new study site adjacent to the city’s Botanic Garden, said Paschal High teacher Andrew Brinker, who oversees the project.

“With this agreement passed with the city, it’s going to help us get the students back in the field,” Mr. Brinker said.

Launched in October 2017, the Trinity River Turtle Survey is a three-year project that traps, weighs, measures and tags turtles for tracking before releasing them back into the Trinity River. The survey is funded with a grant from the Texas Christian University College of Education Andrews Institute.

Photos courtesy of the Trinity River Turtle Survey Facebook page

Through the study, students research the algae on turtles’ backs, analyze their toenails for mercury concentration, determine growth rates, population and movement through the Trinity River via tracking devices. Turtle behavior and determining the sex of the reptiles is also part of the research collected.

In recent months, Paschal students and Mr. Brinker and other FWISD educators have presented their research from the study at scientific conferences, and the work has been featured in stories by a local media outlet and the Tarrant Regional Water District. In March, nearly 20 FWISD science teachers participated in a professional development in which they prepared traps for the Trinity River Turtle Survey.

“I wish there had been something like this when I was at Paschal,” said Trustee Judy Needham.

Trustee Ann Sutherland thanked Mr. Brinker and his students for their efforts at a board meeting earlier this month.

“I thought this was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever heard of,” Trustee Sutherland said. “To see work of this quality coming out of our classrooms and the diligence with which [Mr. Brinker has] pursued the approval of the board to get this thing OK’d, I thank you very much for sacrificing the time that you did, and all of the kids, children … thanks a lot. I appreciate it.”

Mr. Brinker said that he and his team are gearing up to lead a Waiver Day professional development for FWISD science teachers, Monday, October 8. The team will also lead an educational excursion when the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching rolls into Fort Worth this November.

Follow the progress of the Trinity River Turtle Survey at www.facebook.com/trinityturtlesurvey/.

2 FWISD Athletics Trailblazers Pass Away

The Fort Worth ISD extends its condolences to the loved ones of former educators Mary Lou Robertson and Miriam Moore, who both recently passed away.

Touted as “two icons that changed the game for female athletics” in Fort Worth ISD in a recent Star-Telegram article, Ms. Robertson and Ms. Moore each worked more than 30 years for the District. Both women died Monday, September 10.

Ms. Robertson, 88, joined FWISD as a physical education teacher in 1951. The 1975-1976 school year, Ms. Robertson was named assistant director of girls’ athletics, a role she served in until her retirement in 1987. She was laid to rest September 14. Ms. Robertson is survived by one sibling and numerous loved ones, according to her obituary.

Ms. Moore, 92, worked for the District in several roles for nearly 40 years. She joined FWISD as a PE in 1948 and retired in 1984. She returned to the District in 1991 serving as a substitute teacher and hourly athletic coordinator until 1996. According to the Star-Telegram, Ms. Moore was founded the Fort Worth Girls Coaches Association.

Read more about these trailblazers in Fort Worth athletics in this recent Star-Telegram article.


The Fort Worth ISD is willing to do what it takes to hire – and keep – good school bus drivers.

The District is paying a $500 bonus to new bus driver hires who commit to one year of employment.

Also, both new and veteran drivers are eligible for additional pay when they have perfect or “almost-perfect” attendance. This fall, drivers who complete 100 percent of their routes during the school year will receive an extra $12 per day. Drivers who complete 95 percent of their routes (that means they are only absent five days) will receive an additional $9 a day.

The $500 “new bus driver” bonus will be paid at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

The “attendance payouts” will happen twice a year, in January and June.

To reiterate the details:

New Hire Incentive

As of July, any newly hired drivers are awarded a $500 sign-on bonus at the completion of the 2018-2019 school year.

The $500 “new bus driver” bonus will be paid at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

Attendance Incentive

ALL fully-credentialed bus drivers will be eligible for this incentive. The pay will be based on the number of instructional days (students are in class) that bus drivers complete all their scheduled routes.

“Attendance payouts” will happen twice a year, in January and June.

Instructional Days for the 2018-2019 total 177 days.

One hundred percent is defined as a driver completing all of his or her scheduled routes. One hundred percent attendance equals an additional $12 per day.

Ninety-five percent is defined as a driver having no more than five allowable absences per semester. Ninety-five percent attendance equals an additional $9 per day.

Taxable incentive pay will be paid in the January and June paychecks.

For questions, please contact the Fort Worth ISD Transportation Recruiting Office at 817-815-7918.

FWISD On Track to Become State’s Top Ranked Energy Star District

The Fort Worth ISD is on track to become the top ranked Texas school district for conserving energy.

According to Energy Star, a government-backed energy efficiency certification program of the Environmental Protection Agency, Fort Worth ISD has seen a 16 percent decrease in energy use from October 2016 to June 2018. There are 115 FWISD schools that will soon be recognized with Energy Star certification. Principals at the awarded schools were notified last week, according to officials with the District’s Operations Department.

In 2016, FWISD set out to achieve three energy program goals in its facilities:

  • Improving and maintaining building comfort;
  • Saving money and using found resources efficiently
  • Changing District culture toward becoming a national sustainability leader
Students at South Hills High School view voter registration information at a National Voter Registration Day event, Tuesday, September 25.


Tarrant County Judge Sergio De Leon and the Tarrant County Election Administration facilitated a student voter registration drive and student assembly at South Hills High School on National Voter Registration Day, Tuesday, September 25.

Speakers included Fort Worth ISD Board President Tobi Jackson, Trustee Anael Luebanos and Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 Sergio De Leon. The school’s student council president also made remarks and encouraged fellow students to register to vote in time for the November election. After the assembly, Tarrant County Election Administration officials facilitated the voter registration drive and will process all applications.

Several Fort Worth ISD high schools hosted National Voter Registration Day events on September 25 including Paschal, Dunbar and Trimble Tech high schools.

Images from National Voter Registration Day events (starting from top left) held at South Hills, Paschal and Trimble Tech high schools where eligible students registered to vote. Demonstration machines were set up at Trimble Tech where students could see what they may experience at the polls on Election Day.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following are recent photos from the Bond Bid Preview hosted Wednesday, September 26. The event was an opportunity for the construction community to meet with Capital Improvement Program leadership, owner representatives, and architects, as well as learn specifics about upcoming bid opportunities.

Social Media Guidelines

The following communication is from Social Media Coordinator Kiana King:

Campus Back to School events, August 7- September 28

Website Training for Web managers, Friday, August 24- Friday, September 28

Professional Learning and Innovation Opportunities in September/October

Educational Technology Professional Learning Opportunities in September/October

Voly Training, September 5- November 9

Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15-October 15 (Send photos of events hosted at your campus to Inside@fwisd.org)

UNCF Empower Me Tour, Friday, September 28

American Indian Heritage Day, Friday, September 28

Stop Six Family Festival, 10 a.m. Saturday, September 29, Eastover Park, 4300 Ramey Ave.

Teens' Workshop: Make Your own Zine, 1-3 p.m. Saturday, September 29, Sid Richardson Museum

Elementary Literacy Professional Learning Opportunities in October

HAM Radio Technician Licensing Course, 5:30- 7:30 p.m., October 1, 15, 22, 29 and November 5

Financial Aid Help Sessions, October 2-December 3

Mariposa Market, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, October 6, Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Monarch Migration Festival, 1-4 p.m. Saturday, October 6, Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Waiver Day, Monday, October 8

Last day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 General Election, Tuesday, October 9

Board of Education meeting, Tuesday, October 9

Movies That Matter: He Named Me Malala, Tuesday, October 11

Unity in the Community Family and Youth Summit, 8:30- 1 p.m. Saturday, October 13, Dunbar High School

Billy W. Sills Lecture Series: The Evolution of Sundance Square, 9:30-10 a.m., Saturday October 13

Join O.D. Wyatt HS for the First Cowtown High School BBQ regional competition, October 19-20

Early voting for the Nov. 6 Election, October 22- November 2

Board of Education meeting, Tuesday, October 23

Save the Date: Conference on the Education of Hispanics, Saturday, December 8

Save the Date: Fort Worth Technology Conference, Coming January 2019

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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