Your weekly look at Fort Worth schools
Happy Tuesday from the Fort Worth Report, and it’s time for the School Report! This is your weekly newsletter of education news you can use. We will be in your inbox every Tuesday morning. From testing data to Election Day reminders, here’s what you need to know about your schools.
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We had a double dose of data looking at how students performed on tests. First, there were the results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and then Fort Worth ISD examined reading benchmarks. Jacob checked out what all these numbers mean.
- The federal test showed that Fort Worth ISD fourth- and eighth-graders have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels on math and reading. Proficiency in both subjects also is lower than rates for Texas, the nation and other large cities.
- But there’s a caveat: The National Assessment of Educational Progress is used only to get a long-term look at the state of education in the U.S. The test is low stakes and does not impact students.
- Fort Worth ISD administrators see positive indicators that more third-graders may meet grade level on this spring’s State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.
- If they took the reading STAAR now, 25% of third-grade students would meet grade level. That’s 12 percentage points lower than what was recorded this past spring.
- Seven. That’s the number of months until students take STAAR in May. Administrators expect that to be plenty of time to boost reading skills.
- Officials are focusing on using data from tests administered at the beginning of the year to inform how to target students and build up their literacy.
- One more thing: Superintendent Angélica Ramsey and her administration are working to form partnerships across Fort Worth to help parents to lay the foundation for reading between their child’s birth and when they enter pre-K.
The odds of your child having a Hispanic man as a teacher are low. Across the nation, Hispanic men account for fewer than 2% of teachers. Jacob spotlighted a new program called Maestro that Texas Christian University hopes will boost those numbers.
- Texas — despite Hispanics growing to the state’s largest demographic group — has a shortage of Hispanic men teachers.
- Maestro supports students’ efforts to earn a bachelor’s degree and teaching credentials through financial help and connects each future educator to a mentor. In return, students have to dedicate five years of teaching service to a Fort Worth-area school district.
- Why is this important? Steve Przymus, the faculty lead for Maestro, frames it this way: “We want kids to have mirrors to see themselves in the classroom, but we want them to have windows as well to see possible futures after school and what education can bring them. When you see yourself represented in schools then those mirrors and windows come easier.”
Texas Christian University and Fort Worth ISD are partnering to help bring counseling services to district families. Kristen visited an open house to learn more about the collaboration.
- Students can get referrals from their school or a doctor and go to the Carter-Riverside Family Resource Center.
- Leaders of both organizations said the partnership is a win-win: The TCU students get their clinical hours and more Fort Worth ISD families get access to services.
- One TCU student said the program uses solutions-focused therapy, meaning staff spends more time working toward solutions to issues a student is experiencing versus talking about the problem.
Grapevine-Colleyville ISD named Brad Schnautz as the interim superintendent of the district.
- Schnautz currently serves as the deputy superintendent of the district, where he’s worked since 2017.
- His interim superintendent duties begin Jan. 6.
- In his role, Schnautz has led instructional, athletics and fine arts programs and worked with other district leaders.
- Aside from Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, he’s worked in Bryan ISD, Conroe ISD, Magnolia ISD and Lexington ISD.
- According to the district, the board will begin the process to hire a search firm and set plans to gather community feedback over the coming weeks and months.
Election Day is a week away! Early voting ends Friday, and Election Day is Nov. 8. When you vote, consider taking your kids with you. This could be a valuable lesson for your children to see democracy in action and begin laying the building blocks of a good citizen.
- Research shows that lifelong voting habits start when you are a child. Bringing your child when you cast your ballot shows them that this is a big deal and a sign of being an adult.
- For children 2 to 5, this is an opportunity to introduce them to what an election is and can serve as a math lesson. Children 6 to 8 likely have a better understanding of elections so you can talk about civic engagement and why it’s important for everyone to vote. PBS Kids has some more tips for you.
- Before you go to your voting center, talk to your children about how the offices you’re voting for impact their lives. If your child is passionate about a topic, find a way to connect it back to the election and explain how both candidates would affect their passion. Explain why voting is special and how this right came to be. The Girl Scouts has more tips.
- Don’t forget: Some school districts, including Fort Worth ISD, have designated Nov. 8 as a day off for students. Be sure to double check your school’s calendar on Election Day to ensure your student has class.
Also, check out our Election Central, where you can learn more about the races, candidates and issues — and use this information as you talk to your child about elections.
Off campus: Dates to know
Here’s what’s coming up in Fort Worth and Tarrant County:
- Nov. 4: Fort Worth ISD choices expo 4-7 p.m. at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center, 5201 C.A. Roberson Blvd. Gold Seal applications available.
- Nov. 5: Fort Worth ISD choices expo 9 a.m. to noon at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center, 5201 C.A. Roberson Blvd.
- Nov. 7: Carroll ISD, HEB ISD special board workshops.
- Nov. 8: Fort Worth ISD school board meeting. Student holiday for some Fort Worth ISD students and Keller ISD.
- Nov. 9: HEB ISD school board meeting.
- Nov. 12: Saturday school in Fort Worth ISD.
- Nov. 14: Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, Keller ISD, Carroll ISD, HEB ISD school board meetings.
- Nov. 21-25: Thanksgiving break.
Always check your specific school for the official calendar in case of late scheduling changes.