District in Pictures

May 15, 2020

Big picture

WFISD Announces its 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year Recipients for Elementary, Secondary

WFISD announced Friday that Franklin Elementary Teacher Courtney Kittrell and Wichita Falls High School teacher Debby Ford are the District's 2019-2020 Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year. The announcements were made in surprise visits on the front lawns of each teacher's school. Ms. Kittrell teaches reading and language arts at Franklin Elementary and has been teaching for seven years. Ms. Ford teaches math at WFHS and has been teaching 20 years. Typically, this Teacher of the Year announcement comes at a special banquet but changes were made this year to adhere to the COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.
Big picture

Zundy Elementary Teacher Receives Dorothy Huffman Award in Surprise Presentation

In a surprise presentation Thursday, Adriana Avila, a third grade math teacher at Zundy, received the Dorothy Huffman Award. For many years, this special award from the WFISD Foundation has honored an outstanding third-grade teacher. Zundy Principal Rebecca Hernandez praised Ms. Avila for using “every modality she can think of to motivate students.” She makes time to contact families to involve them in the learning process and to create incentives for students to work hard and receive rewards from their work. This award originated when Dr. Louie Huffman made a donation to the WFISD Foundation to honor his wife, Dorothy Moser Huffman, who was a WFISD teacher from 1952-1990. She loved teaching third grade and thought it was a crucial year. Dr. Huffman continues to present the award of $1,000 each year to a deserving third-grade teacher. Pictured left to right: Community Partners Coordinator January Cadotte, Ms. Avila, WFISD Foundation President Lance Spruiell.

Big picture

Nine WFISD Seniors Receive TCTA Senior Scholarships

The Wichita Falls chapter of the Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA) honored 10 WFISD employees and their graduating seniors this year with nine 2019-2020 TCTA scholarships. Recipients are (pictured left to right from top, middle, and bottom): Gavin King, son of Rider’s Marina King; Abigail Kaspar, daughter of Barwise’s Ferran Kaspar and Zundy’s Krista Kaspar; Lucas Brownfield, son of Burgess’ Teri Brownfield; Madeline Price, daughter of Hirschi’s Cindy Price; Kenneth Hopkins, son of Booker T. Washington’s Cristina (Miser) Manzel; Rylee Johnson, daughter of Barwise’s Tonya Johnson; Michael Moser, son of Milam’s Jennifer Moser; Jaclyn Nava, daughter of Brook Village's Jennifer Nava; Emmiley Brown, daughter of McNiel's Maurice Brown.

Big picture

Career Education Center Twins Receive Welding Certifications

Zane and Zach Nitcher are both seniors who attend the Career Education Center's welding program. Both earned certifications from the American Welding Society to mark their welding accomplishments this year. The brothers, who are twins, transferred from New Jersey to Wichita Falls with their Air Force family during their junior year. The boys have shared classes throughout their education careers. "They seemed to work well together," said welding instructor B.C. Gilbert, "and were able to offer each other constructive criticism when needed." Pictured left to right: Zane, Zach.
Big picture

Two Zundy Teachers Snag Win for Zundy from ‘Imagine Nation’

Zundy Elementary bilingual kindergarten teachers Jessica Rivers and Maritza Pacheco led Zundy Elementary to win an award for “Imagine Espanol” from Imagine Nation, documenting their students' prowess with the digital curriculum. Zundy was among 231 schools honored for showing exemplary usage and implementation of the Imagine Learning digital curriculum. “We are excited to be among the honored schools this year,” said Zundy Principal Becky Hernandez. “Our students and teachers have worked consistently all year in the Imagine Learning programs, and we’re so proud of them.”

Big picture

Booker T. Washington Staff Hold Surprise Retirement Parade

The staff at Booker T. Washington Elementary surprised Jamie Holland (pictured second from right) with a retirement parade held in her honor. It was one last chance for them to greet the teacher – in a socially distanced way -- who has been teaching for 29 years in WFISD and will retire at the end of this school year. As of May 14, Ms. Holland was one of 33 individuals who have submitted retirement letters so far this spring, with more expected to come in throughout the summer, said Human Resources Director Cyndy Kohl.

Big picture

Jefferson Elementary Student Teacher Creates Bitmoji Class Picture and Mails It Out to Students

Jefferson student teacher Nia Gonzales created a digital class picture of her students, which seemed appropriate for 2020, “since we are doing everything digitally right now,” she said. “I created each student’s own Bitmoji based on them. Some were harder to recreate than others just because I felt like Bitmoji didn’t allow me to show just how wonderful each one is.” Then she put all their Bitmoji avatars together into one class picture, printed a copy for every student and mailed them out last week “to commemorate our time together,” said Ms. Gonzales.

Big picture

Architects Survey Teachers on Specific Classroom Details

COVID-19 may steal all the headlines, but, quietly, work is still progressing on the planning of new high schools for WFISD. At this stage, architects are surveying teachers about the specific things they need in their classrooms. Rider High School science teacher Bryce Henderson has been part of the team giving feedback on science needs – mostly focusing on space requirements, design and ideal layouts for science labs and classrooms. “We have discussed the varied demands of each type of science and how a one-size-fits-all approach is not ideal,” said Mr. Henderson. “We have shared feedback on wanting collaborative spaces, writable surfaces, and flexible arrangements to meet the varied needs of facilitating science instruction.” Pictured: A physics class before the COVID-19 quarantine.

Big picture

Assistant Principal of Early Learning Dresses for Success

Paula Tinker, Assistant Principal of Early Learning, couldn’t resist dressing “up” on May 5, since the day fell on Taco Tuesday, Cinco de Mayo and Teacher Appreciation Week. She wanted to feel professional, since she had three conference calls scheduled during the span of four hours, but she also wanted to have fun. So she put on a sombrero and ate chips and salsa when her mic was turned off. Showing up in full view was actually a surprise to her staff, she said, since she had just recovered from surgery and had been working from her bed with her camera turned off for all meetings up until that day.

Big picture

Milam Teachers and Staff Thanked by Faith Baptist Church

As one of Milam’s PIE Partners, the congregation of Faith Baptist Church reached out to Milam teachers to thank them for their hard work. They gave each teacher and staff member a thank-you yard sign and provided a meal for them on Friday, May 8. But how do you feed so many during a time of COVID-19 restrictions? Teachers signed up for a time slot and informed the church how many people were in their families, then drove by Faith Baptist Church at a specific time to pick up their meals. “Such a blessing!” said Allison Wilson, a Milam teacher.

Big picture

Associate Superintendent Helps Deliver End-of-the-Year Bags to Southern Hills, Franklin and Brook Village

These handy blue carry-all bags, imprinted with “WFISD,” will be the perfect tote for students to lug home their school supplies at year end. Teachers are emptying out student desks and lockers and using grocery bags or, when possible, these blue bags to hold everything that needs to go home. Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths is pictured here, masked, as he helps deliver the blue bags to Southern Hills Elementary, Franklin Elementary and Brook Village.

Big picture

Family Adopts All Lamar Elementary Teachers in Drive-Through Event

Chelse Costilla and her daughters didn’t want to leave anyone out when they treated Lamar teachers to a special surprise. They adopted them all and distributed gifts to everyone during a drive-through event held May 8. “Thank you Lamar teachers for keeping the kids ‘rolling along’ during this unexpected pandemic,” said Chelse Petty Costilla. “These girls are grateful for all of you who have taught them over the years.”

Big picture

Jefferson Teacher Continues Goal to Read One Picture Book Per Day to Her Students

They don’t call Sarah Reeder’s students, “Reeder’s Readers” for nothing. Their teacher, Jefferson’s Sarah Reeder, made it a goal to read one picture book per day to her students. “For School@Home, I’ve continued that by hosting a Google Meet every morning to share a picture book,” she said. So far, she has read them more than 100 picture books. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, she also reads them a few chapters from a novel. Last week, they finished Front Desk, by Kelly Yang, a middle-grade novel chosen for this year’s Global Read Aloud. The story follows the story of a Chinese immigrant girl running a motel in California with her parents as she tries to figure out what the American Dream means for her family. “My students begged for one more chapter each time I read it,” said Ms. Reeder. “When I finished it, one of my students said, ‘That was the best book ending ever!’ Sharing a book with them each day just for the sake of reading has been so refreshing!”

Big picture

Virtual Career Fair Introduces Students to Variety of Options

Ordinarily, about this time of the year, middle school students would attend a career fair to learn about a multitude of career options. But since an actual fair wasn’t possible during the pandemic, Tara Li at McNiel Middle School and Shonna Norton, director of social and emotional services, worked together to create a virtual introduction to a dozen careers. Because it was a virtual fair, it was open to students and their parents.

Big picture

Milam Teacher Creates Popsicle Holders as End-of-Year Gift for Her Bengals

Milam teacher Laura Erwin will send her students off into summer with a useful gift: personalized popsicle holders. She used a Cricut to cut out each student’s name, then ironed the names onto the holders, which she purchased from Amazon. Each one has a tag that says, “Have a COOL summer!” Ms. Erwin said she hopes the gift “is a reminder of the good times we shared in the classroom.”

Big picture

Fowler Elementary Teacher Uses School’s Free Meals to Entertain Children

A small thing like a free meal every day has been a big help to Fowler teacher Ashley Burross, who is parenting her own children at home while managing her Fowler class online, also from home. Since a school bus brings free breakfasts and lunches to a serving spot at the school, most days they walk to the school bus or the children ride their Power Wheels or bikes. “The bus helper always puts their food inside their car and waves goodbye as we drive off,” said Mrs. Burross. “This has been one of our fun activities to do each day. We take a break from our school work and get out of the house.” Pictured: Konner Burross, a Fowler first-grader, and Kinsley Burross, a 3-year-old, drive up to the school bus in the Fowler circle drive to get their free meals. Chartwells K12 food service has provided thousands of free meals for WFISD families during the pandemic.

Big picture

Booker T. Washington Students Take Field Trips All Week

The COVID-19 quarantine hasn’t stopped Booker T. Washington Elementary teachers from using technology to take their students on many exciting trips. The kindergarten team of Kathleen Stutzman, Jaci Hanes and Chantel Brooks took their students to Disney World, using Google Earth to make it appear as though they were taking off in an airplane and landing in Florida at Disney World. Kandice Edwards took her second-grade class to a chocolate factory and space station in a similar way.

Big picture

Two Barwise Middle School Teachers Reward 30+ Hard-Workers with Treats

Barwise teachers Robert Wilkinson (pictured top) and Jeff Spurgers (pictured bottom) spent Monday afternoon recognizing some of their students who have excelled during School@Home. “These students worked very hard attending their Meets, turning in quality work, earning points in other ways during the six weeks, and winning a competition held within their classes,” said Mr. Wilkinson. The two teachers delivered ice cream treats – ice cream sandwiches, ice pops, Blue Bell ice cream bars and drumsticks – and even Walmart and Bahama Bucks gift cards -- to more than 30 students. Students responded with excitement over the ice cream and mortification over having one of their teachers show up at their house, said Mr. Wilkinson.

Big picture

Southern Hills Elementary Teacher Sends Prizes for Progress

When fourth-grade students in Priscilla Ford’s Southern Hills homeroom make progress in all their core subject areas for the week, she sends them a special prize. “A mom sent me these photos of her little ones enjoying their sweet treats,” said Ms. Ford. “I sent his little sister a prize, too, because she’s also working hard from home.”

Big picture

Zundy Teacher Waits Alone as Students Complete Her Assignment

When Zundy first-grade teacher Whitney Wedel gave her students a scavenger hunt during a recent Zoom meeting, they abandoned their computer screens to begin enthusiastically searching out their clues: Rhymes with hush but starts with br; Rhymes with pup but starts with c; hook, but starts with b. “They had to use their phonemic awareness skills that we have been working on throughout the year and go find that object in their house as quickly as they could, then come back to their device with it so we could check it,” said Ms. Wedel. Meanwhile, Ms. Wedel was left strangely alone at her computer...waiting. “These kids rocked it! Phonemic awareness for the WIN!” she said.

Big picture

Cunningham Elementary Teachers Create End-of-Year Gifts for Teachers

Two Cunningham teachers – Katie Miller and Michelle Keller – made sure the Cunningham staff members received teacher appreciation gifts so they would end the year knowing how fabulous they are. Mrs. Miller asked PIE Partners to help fund the gift. For each gift, Trinity United Methodist Church donated $10 gift cards, Girl Scouts donated a box of cookies, and Mrs. Miller made jars spray-painted to look like pencils and filled them with felt markers and highlighters. Cunningham teacher Michelle Keller cut out vinyl letters on her Cricut, which were then attached to the jars to say, “The influence of a good teacher can never be erased.” The two teachers spent two days driving to each teacher’s home to drop off the gifts – even visiting the staff members who live in Walters, Okla., Burkburnett, Alvord, and elsewhere.

Big picture

WFISD Foundation Sets Up New PayPal Account for Easy, No-Cost Giving

Wichita Falls Independent School Foundation, Inc. is now listed on PayPal as an official charity that can accept donations through the PayPal Giving Fund. Besides making giving easy, the PayPal Giving Fund pays all fees associated with the donation. All donations will receive a PayPal Giving Fund tax receipt. To donate with a click, click here.

Big picture

Booker T. Washington Elementary Teachers Go All Out for Movie Night

Booker T. Washington fourth-grade teachers Armetha Blackmon and Veronica Molina gathered up their fourth-graders online to watch the movie, "Annie." In preparation for their movie date, the teachers visited all their students on the day before to deliver popcorn bags (pictured).
Big picture

Lamar First-Grade Bilingual Teacher Praises Her Class Moms

Lamar Elementary first-grade bilingual teacher Claudia Lopez gave a shout-out to the unseen helpers in her classroom this year: her children’s mothers. “They are not teachers, but they have been resourceful and creative,” she said. Pictured: Students complete activities at home, thanks to their moms.

Big picture

'Goodnight Wichita Falls' Continues with Two Celebrity Readers

The "Goodnight Wichita Falls" nightly reading feature on Facebook continued this week with visits from Burgess teacher Jennifer Taylor (top) and Lamar Elementary Principal Amanda Garcia (bottom).
Big picture

Booker T. Washington Elementary Students Receive Treats from Good News Club Representatives

When you're part of the Booker T. Washington Good News Club, it doesn't matter that you can't go up to your school building for a meeting. Good News Club representatives Mrs. Porter and Mr. Desi visited all of their students and delivered 11 Bibles and 30 treat bags. "They loved seeing our kids and parents and can't wait to begin Good News Club again in the fall," said Booker T. Washington Principal Angela Rooney.
Big picture

Wichita Falls High School Grad Follows in Grandfather’s Footsteps

WFHS senior Kordell Dorman is part of the Class of 2020, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Arley Fancher, who graduated exactly 60 years ago from WFHS with the Class of 1960. “Lots of school history has been written in the last 60 years. But I would bet that none of it compares to the history written in the last 60 days!” wrote WFHS Assistant Principal Kory Dorman, daughter of Mr. Fancher and mother to Kordell, in a Facebook post this week. The elder WFHS grad (pictured, right) was the youngest of nine children and the only one to graduate from high school. He has closely followed all his grandson's activities at his alma mater.

Big picture

#IAMWFISD

District in Pictures is a weekly publication developed by the WFISD Community Relations department. If you have events, recognitions or classroom activities taking place on your campus that you would like us to cover, please let us know by emailing Ashley Thomas at athomas@wfisd.net or Ann Work Goodrich at awork@wfisd.net. We would love to include you in our weekly district news. (Please know that we will do our best to cover every story idea submitted but it may not be possible to include everything every week due to time constraints.)