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Inside FWISD December 6, 2018 (One-Year Anniversary Edition)

FWISD To DEDICATE NEW I.M. TERRELL ACADEMY FOR STEM AND VPA Friday

What: Dedication of the new I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA

When: Friday, December 7, 2018

Where: 1900 I.M. Terrell Circle, Fort Worth

Summary: Last December, Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent P. Scribner delivered a holiday message to the community about big goals, dreams, and things not yet seen. Don’t remember it? View the video below for a look back at a promise.

On Friday, December 7, starting at 9:30 a.m., that unrealized dream comes alive as the Fort Worth ISD formally dedicates the new I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA. And, that same young lady returns to the stage to bathe the new 900-seat performance hall in the glow of a Steinway Grand piano.

Read more here.

Gold Seal Applications Due Friday

The application deadline for enrolling in Fort Worth ISD’s Gold Seal Programs and Schools of Choice for the 2019-2020 school year is 5 p.m. Friday, December 7.

Need last-minute assistance completing your application?

Gold Seal Programs of Choice representatives are hosting Application Help Session through Friday, December 7 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center, 5201 C.A. Roberson Blvd.

The District began airing commercial spots Saturday, December 1 on NBC5 (KXAS-TV) and CBS11 (KTVT) about its Gold Seal programs and schools and the upcoming application deadline. Look for them during the morning news shows.

Read more here.

FWISD ADVISES EMPLOYEES OF EMAIL PHISHING SCAM

Do you know that someone in another part of the world could be watching what you are doing on your computer right now?

Unfortunately, the Fort Worth ISD has been slammed by a recent increase of e-mail phishing scams. This means you could unknowingly be providing important information to scammers hoping to benefit while you are just doing your normal work.

Some phishing scams look very authentic. That’s why you are the first and best line of defense when protecting your computer and your personal data from phishing scams.

As a result of this most recent attack, every employee in the Central Administration Building this week was prompted to change their log-on password.

Information on password requirements and steps on how to change your password may be found at http://changepassword.fwisd.org.

Watch the E-mail and Messaging Safety video from SafeSchools to learn how to employ safe e- mail and messaging practices to avoid and help prevent cyber threats and attempts at fraud and identity theft.

Consider the following before opening an e-mail link or e-mail attachment:

The District, the Division of Technology, FWISD Help Desk, or an “Email Administrator/Email Admin” will not send e-mails with links asking to you to validate your account; nor send e-mails notifying you of the need for more mailbox space or your mailbox is full. Do not click on links in these types of emails.

Communication from the Division of Technology will come through the Principals’ Packet, your Technology Learning Coach, Campus Technology Liaison, the Footprints ticket system, or the FWISD Communications Department.

Ask yourself:

o Does this message seem normal? Is there anything out of place or unusual?

o Is it requesting an immediate response that includes District or personal information?

o Is this message in the normal style and tone I expect to see from this sender?

o Does this message include links to websites that look suspicious or are out of character for the sender?

o Are there unexpected or unusual attachments?

Being a good digital citizen requires us to be more vigilant in our daily use of e-mail. Working together, we can ensure a safe and secure digital environment. If you have any questions, please contact Customer Service at 817-814-HELP (4357).

FORT WORTH ISD STAKEHOLDERS SURVEY CONTINUES THROUGH DECEMBER 21

We want to know what you think!

The 2018-2019 Fort Worth ISD Stakeholders’ Climate Survey is being administered through December 21, 2018. The District is asking our key stakeholders to share their attitudes and beliefs about FWISD’s climate and culture.

Last school year, we had 32,894 total survey participants, a good representation for our pilot year; However, this year our goal is to significantly increase our response rate from 40% to 65% --especially among our internal stakeholder groups.

WHO SHOULD TAKE THE SURVEY?

  • School administrators (principals, assistant principals)
  • Students (3rd – 12th grades)
  • Parents and guardians of FWISD students
  • Teachers (all grade levels)
  • Non-instructional school staff (school monitors, cafeteria workers)
  • District staff (central administration, bus drivers, maintenance)
  • Fort Worth community (at-large)

Learn more here.

BOARD EXTENDS SUPERINTENDENT'S CONTRACT

Fort Worth, Texas – At a Special Board meeting on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, the Fort Worth ISD Board of Education extended the contract of Superintendent Kent P. Scribner. This amounts to the superintendent now having a contract of (5) years. Under the extension, his contract will now expire on December 31, 2023.

The contract extension does not include any change in Dr. Scribner’s base salary of $330,000. The Board, however, did provide Dr. Scribner a bonus of $15,000.

The contract extension and bonus votes followed almost two hours of discussion in Executive Session regarding Dr. Scribner’s annual evaluation.

“We are greatly encouraged by the academic results we are seeing but are more excited about the promise and commitment to graduate Fort Worth career leaders who will drive prosperity and attract opportunity to every neighborhood in our rapidly growing city,” Dr. Scribner said.

FWISD Remembers President George H.W. Bush

This week as the nation pays its final respects to President George H.W. Bush, the Fort Worth ISD joins Americans in remembering its 41st commander in chief. President Bush, 94, died November 30 in Houston.

As a mark of honor and solemn tribute to the memory of former President Bush, President Trump has ordered that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff for a period of 30 days from the date of President Bush’s death, an order with which the District is complying.

The passing of President Bush is personal for one FWISD employee. Faiha Al-Atrash, a coordinator for the Home School Program at International Newcomer Academy met the president in the early 1970s when he served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Ms. Al-Atrash’s husband was the Syrian UN ambassador at the time. The Bush and the Al-Atrash couples lived in China at the same time and became good friends, she said.

Photo courtesy of Faiha Al-Atrash

Ms. Al-Atrash said that she sat and she cried as she watched T.V. footage of the state funeral for President Bush’s, Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral.

“I had the honor of knowing President Bush and Mrs. Bush. The world lost a great LEADER and most important unparalleled human being,” Ms. Al-Atrash said.

President Trump declared a Wednesday, December 5, a National Day of Mourning. The following day, a private funeral service was held at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston. The president was carried by train to his final resting place in College Station.

Joseph Niedziela, director of social studies, said that while he’s unaware of specific lessons that teachers have planned this week relating to President Bush, it’s certainly a teachable moment.

“When and how they do it will vary based on the course they teach and what else they have planned for the week. This week, many teachers will likely assign a news article to read or video to watch and follow up with discussion and/or writing tasks,” he said. “The teachable moment will carry forward for the remainder of the year several courses and grade levels. In particular, a study of President HW Bush would take place in grades 4 (Texas History), 5 (US History), 7 (Texas History), 11th grade US History, and Government. The history courses are organized chronologically so the years of presidency would be covered later in the Spring.”

Photo courtesy of the University of North Texas/Gary Payne

Former TABS Student Becomes UNT’s Youngest Known Ph.d Graduate

Noel Jett, a former student of Fort Worth ISD’s Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences, will become the youngest-known Ph.D graduate at the University of North Texas, when she accepts her degree in educational psychology, December 14.

Miss Jett, 19, entered TABS as a 12-year-old freshman and briefly studied at the early college high school. Her mother was the school’s first parent liaison, said Troy Langston, the school’s former principal who currently leads FWISD’s Paschal High School.

“I was proud to hear about her doctoral degree,” Mr. Langston said.

When Miss Jett left TABS, she went onto study at Tarrant County College. In 2015, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in psychology. That same year she began studies at UNT with a focus on gifted and talented students like herself.

“As a gifted person, I want to know how people like me work,” she told UNT’s alumni magazine The North Texan in 2015.

Read more about Miss Jett’s story of becoming UNT’s youngest-known Ph.D graduate as covered by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and NBC 5 (KXAS-TV).

Area District Names New Elementary School for FWISD Educator June Davis

A new North Texas elementary school is being named for June Davis, Fort Worth ISD’s director of Special Programs.

The Crowley ISD Board of Education unanimously voted to name the school for Mrs. Davis, the district’s board president, on November 29. The elementary school, which is being constructed on the west side of Chisholm Trail Parkway between McPherson Boulevard and Risinger Road, is slated to open its doors in fall 2019, according to a Crowley ISD news release.

“It was a total surprise, and I am still trying to process it all,” Mrs. Davis said this week. “I’m incredibly, incredibly humbled to have received such a recognition. We don’t do what we do to receive recognition. It is truly heart work.”

Mrs. Davis’ career as an educator spans more than 40 years. She joined the Fort Worth ISD in 1987 as a fifth-grade teacher at Hubbard Heights Elementary School. Throughout her career with the District, she’s also served as a school counselor. The last 17 years, Mrs. Davis has provided outreach and services to support FWISD students who are homeless, in foster care and who require disability accommodations.

A Crowley resident of more than 20 years, Mrs. Davis was first elected to the Crowley school board in 2003, and in that time has served as board secretary, vice president and for the last eight years as the board president.

FWISD’S CITY-WIDE READ PROGRAM CULMINATES WITH EXCLUSIVE PERFORMANCE

When Mona Golabek, an author and a renowned classical concert pianist, was a girl, her mother taught her a piano.

“Each piece of music tells a story,” her mother, Lisa Jura, would tell her.

On November 26 and 27, in exclusive piano performances, Ms. Golabek brought her mother’s story to life before more than 6,000 Fort Worth ISD sixth-graders. The performances, which took place at Will Rogers Memorial Center and the I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA are associated with themes of the book “The Children of Willesden Lane.”

“I always believed that if I could get this story out there, if I could get a book published, I could inspire so many young people,” Ms. Golabek said.

This year, FWISD partnered with the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance and Hold On To Your Music to launch a city-wide Holocaust education program, engaging 200 educators and 6,350- sixth graders in an innovative, interactive, curriculum incorporating literature, social studies, the performing and visual arts. During the second six weeks of school, sixth-graders read the book “The Children of Willesden Lane,” a memoir by Mona Golabek about her mother, Lisa Jura, a Jewish girl from Austria that sought refuge in England as part of Kindertransport, a rescue mission to save children threatened by Nazi persecution during World War II.

Read more about this story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and by viewing the video below.

FWISD BOARD PRESIDENT TOBI JACKSON NAMED TO CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY PRIORITIES BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Tobi Jackson, who serves as President of the Fort Worth ISD Board of Education as well as and District 2 Trustee, has been named to the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) Board of Directors. CPPP is an independent public policy organization headquartered in Austin. CPPP uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential.

Read more 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 wanted to ask you about the dental insurance. When I got the Humana Advantage, nowhere did it say it was an HMO plan. I called Benefits and was told it was a PPO plan. I scheduled dentist appointments for my children and no one takes it for pediatric patients. I am having a hard time finding a dentist that takes that insurance. I wanted to cancel the plan since it does no good for what I need but Benefits will not cancel it, so now I am having pay $64 per month for insurance that I do not want. Is there any way you can help me get this insurance plan removed from my paycheck?

Sincerely,

Frustrated

Dear Frustrated,

Thank you for your question. I reached out to Max Ates, senior officer of payroll, benefits and risk management, and here’s the response: “The Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) strives to provide as many benefits to the employees as possible. FWISD must remain in compliance with the Internal Revenue Code Section 125. Therefore, you cannot drop or change your current dental insurance coverage until the next open enrollment period, unless you experience a qualifying special enrollment event. An employee cannot elect to drop coverage retroactively; a future cancellation date is required. Likewise, an employee cannot elect to add or change coverage without experiencing a change in family status (such as: marriage; divorce; a child is born, adopted, or is placed with the employee for adoption; a child marries or reaches age 26; a court orders the employee to provide health coverage for a child; involuntarily loses other health insurance coverage; or an eligible dependent involuntarily loses other health insurance coverage).”

Thank you for your question, Frustrated, and thank you Mr. Ates for your response.

Elsie

Dear Elsie

My question is why does the District not upgrade and modernize their very aging portable classroom systems? Some schools have had portable classrooms for over 50 years. I know of several that received portables the year they opened, showing the lack of foresight that District planners had back then. I have taught in portables that have poor electrical, heating and air conditioning, and their roofs leak. Many need new paint jobs, and most, the interiors are dirty stained carpets, and collapsing panel walls. Does the District even have a plan to upgrade and modernize these? Ramtech, the company that makes many of our portables, which by the way builds them right here in north Texas, has many modern options with multiple classrooms (some with up to 24 classrooms) with bathrooms, offices, large center halls as well as modernized for central heat and air, digital hookups, bells/intercoms and offices. The portables at our school looks crazy with literally hundreds of wires, power and digital, strung between them. So, to reiterate, does the District plan on modernizing and replacing these at all, or actually creating new classrooms in existing schools, or are we going to continue with our aging portables for the next 50 years?

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your question. I reached out to Art Cavazos, chief of District operations, and here’s the response: “The portable building inventory provides our schools the flexibility to meet both programming and space needs as our individual schools experience fluctuating enrollment. The District’s long-term goal would be to bring all students back into the buildings. Portables that are in poor condition are occasionally decommissioned and removed from service. Rarely are new temporary buildings purchased as it is preferable to build additional permanent instructional space. New classroom wings at many schools have already occurred with our 1999, 2001, 2007, and 2013 bond programs. The District undertook the creation of a facilities master plan in 2016. Through this plan, we will address the long- term needs of our facilities. We have started on the implementation of the first phase of this facilities plan at our high school campuses. The 2017 bond includes over $580 million directed at improving our current high school facilities. As this work progresses, we are working on identifying the needs for our middle and elementary schools, which we hope will be funded with upcoming bonds.”

Thanks again for your question Anonymous and thank you Mr. Cavazos for response.

Elsie

Dear Elsie,

My question is about breakfast in the classroom. I have tried to address this on my own, but no one knows whom is in charge of this program.

I was never a fan of it to begin with - for example - food all over the floor, spills that make the floor sticky, kids that want to save food for later and then forget about it etcetera, and I teach fourth grade - I cannot imagine what a lower grade classroom is like!

However, now with school starting at 7:50 a.m., the kids are only given 10 minutes to eat (they are allowed into our rooms at 7:40) yet many of them are here earlier and have to wait in the cafeteria until the 7:40 bell. Why can they not just eat in the cafeteria? It seems that this would solve a ton of problems and many more that I didn't even mention above - milk that is not drank has to be disposed of on that day (no matter the expiration date, because if it has been un-refrigerated it cannot be put back in), the amount of plastic baggies being used to bundle the milk and juice (because they have to be served in bundles - kids can't just take what they want - it's a package deal. So, my kids are throwing away GOOD food and they are learning that this is okay! I could go on about more problems than benefits with eating breakfast in our classroom, but hopefully you get the point.

Sharon Pate

Dear Ms. Pate,

Thank you for your question. I reached out Art Cavazos, chief of District operations, and here’s the response: “Thank you for sharing your concerns.

Breakfast in the classroom was designed to help improve breakfast participation while minimizing classroom interruption. The program helped improve participation. Today, over 65,000 students receive a breakfast to start the school day. Prior to this only 23,000 students received breakfast. Serving breakfast to students helps improve their comprehension, alertness, and learning. Concerns with discarded foods are valid, much of this is required by the USDA guidelines. We will continue to look at ways to improve our service.”

Thanks again for your question, Ms. Pate and thank you Mr. Cavazos for response.

Elsie

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.

FWISD Fine Arts Recognized by Steinway and Sons

Renowned piano manufacturer Steinway and Sons recently recognized Fort Worth ISD’s Visual and Performing Arts Department for its comprehensive fine arts program and for its District-wide acquisition of Steinway pianos.

Pictured from left are Todd Sanders, vice president of sales and marketing for Steinway & Sons; Christina Walk, FWISD executive director of visual and performing arts; Bryan Elmore, director of institutional sales and educational services for Steinway & Sons; Danny Saliba from Steinway Hall of Dallas/Fort Worth/Plano.

The department was recognized during the Texas Music Administrators Conference last month in Austin.

“[I’m] honored to be recognized by an amazing company with the most passionate, caring representatives I have ever known,” Christina Walk, FWISD’s Visual and Performing Arts executive director, wrote in a post on the Department’s Facebook page recently. “Their pianos are the best in the world, as well as the folks that represent them. Thank you, Steinway and sons for all you have done for the students, teachers, and music programs in the FWISD.”

FORT WORTH PD LAUNCHES OPERATION GRINCH PINCH

The following release is from the Fort Worth Police Department:

FORT WORTH, Texas - During the holiday season, package thefts are a major issue in the City of Fort Worth. To limit the amount of package thefts, FWPD’s Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) has instituted a multi-stage and detailed baited package program called “Operation Grinch Pinch.” The detailed plan involves packages provided by FWPD’s Electronic Surveillance Unit (ESU), cooperation from select community members, and daily monitoring of the baited packages by the RTCC.

Read more about Operation Grinch Pinch here.

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

Invention Convention

Transition Center Students Decorate the Holiday Tree in the FWISD Administration Building Tree lobby

Trumpets for Kids: Three J.P. Elder Middle School students in the Mariachi program each received trumpets from Freddie Jones' Trumpets4Kids program

Photos courtesy of the Visual and Performing Arts Department

B Sharp Holiday Concert: The B Sharp Youth Orchestra recently hosted its Holiday Concert. The B Sharp Program Of Choice and After School Holiday Concert is slated for 6 p.m. Thursday, December 13 at the Leadership Academy at Como Elementary Gym.

Courtesy of the B Sharp program Facebook page

Student design charette at South Hills High School: Architects Jacobs & Associates held a student design charrette at South Hills High School recently. Students received a layout of the school to draw on and discussed various areas around the campus for proposed renovation. It prompted a collaborative discussion between all the students as an exchange of ideas and common themes surfaced related to the overall renovation. The architects will utilize the students’ valuable input as reference and inspiration during their design process.

Description and photos courtesy of Procedeo

Student design charette at Polytechnic High School: BRW Architects recently held a student design charrette at Polytechnic High School. Thought-starter image boards featuring exterior building images, instructional versus collaboration spaces, and discovery zones were displayed, and students tagged which images they liked or disliked and made notes on what they thought about each image they tagged. Students also designed their vision of a new library. It prompted a collaborative discussion between all the students as an exchange of ideas and common themes surfaced related to the overall renovation. The architects will utilize the students’ valuable input as reference and inspiration during their design process.

Description and photos courtesy of Procedeo

Student design charette at Southwest High School: Architects from Parkhill Smith & Cooper recently held a student design charrette at Southwest High School. Thought-starter images and image boards featuring exterior building images, instructional versus collaboration spaces, and discovery zones were displayed, and students placed sticky notes with comments on the different images. Students were separated into groups and designed their idea of new spaces throughout the school. They presented their ideas to each other using a combination of drawings and images they liked the best. It prompted a collaborative discussion between all the students as an exchange of ideas and common themes surfaced related to the overall renovation. The architects will utilize the students’ valuable input as reference and inspiration during their design process.

Description and photos courtesy of Procedeo

Paschal High School Celebrates Native American Heritage Month: Paschal High School recently closed out Native American Heritage Month with a display including a lodge, display in the front foyer, and the books by Native authors in the school library.

Photos courtesy of the Paschal High School Twitter page

Flu shots: A flu vaccine clinic was hosted for employees and their families, Wednesday, December 5

Dancing Semifinal: On Tuesday, December 4, 15 FWISD elementary fifth-grade ballroom dancing teams competed for gold. The schools represented were: Leadership Academy at Como Elementary, Daggett, Diamond Hill, S.S. Dillow, W.M. Green, Dolores Huerta, M.L. Kirkpatrick, M.H. Moore, Charles Nash, M.L. Phillips, Sam Rosen, Springdale, J.T. Stevens, Washington Heights, and Versia Williams. A total of 18 other FWISD elementary schools will compete in the Spring Semi-Final Competition. Only five teams will advance to the finals next May to compete in the Metroplex Championship. They are Como, Dillow, Huerta, Moore and Springdale.

Description and photos courtesy of Georgi Roberts, director of health, physical education and coordinated health

FWISD Urges Principals to Use Parentlink/Blackboard Communication System

The following communication is from Clint Bond, executive director of external and emergency communications, regarding the Parentlink/Blackboard Mass Communications System

New Teacher Professional Learning Opportunities

Professional Learning and Innovation Opportunities

Elementary Professional Learning Opportunities for December

Secondary Professional Learning Opportunities

Website Training: Blackboard Open Labs, November 2- December 14

2018-2019 Fort Worth ISD Stakeholders' Climate Survey, November 27- December 21

Gold Seal Help Sessions, November 28, December 3-7

STAAR End Of Course Testing, December 3-7

Professional Learning Opportunities with Education Technology, Register in Eduphoria

Academic Sweatshirt Award Ceremony, Thursday, December 6, Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center

Monnig Middle School Choirs Present: Deck the Halls Holiday Concert, Thursday, December 6

Gold Seal Applications Due, Friday, December 7

I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA Dedication, Friday, December 7

Conference on the Education of Hispanics, Saturday, December 8

Fort Worth ISD Holiday Concert series, December 10-20

Board of Education Meeting, 5:30 p.m. December 11

Early College High School Fall Semester Ends, Friday December 14

Arlington Heights HS Dance Department's Cowtown Christmas, December 14-15, W.E. Scott Theatre, 1300 Gendy St.

Billy W. Sills Lecture Series: “The Yanks Are Coming, Over There, Over There,” Saturday, December 15

Instrumental Music and Dance Winter Collage Concert, 7 p.m. December 17, I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA

International Newcomer Academy 25th Anniversary Celebration, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 20

Burton Hill Hispanic Winter Festival, Thursday, December 20

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, Saturday, December 22

Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24

Winter Break, December 24-January 4

Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25

Kwanzaa Begins, Wednesday, December 26

New Year's Eve, Monday, January 31

New Year's Day, January 1, 2019

Fort Worth Technology Conference, January 26, 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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