District in Pictures

May 8, 2020

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CEC Graphic Design Student from Rider High School Wins First Place in T-Shirt Design Contest

When Rider High School student Yaquelin Anaya, who is deaf, entered her T-shirt design in the 2020 Imagination Texas Weekend for the Deaf event, she thought she would be attending the April 3 conference at Tarrant County College/Trinity River campus in downtown Fort Worth. The COVID-19 shut-down changed that, but it didn’t interfere with her design winning first place. Her vivid graphic entry became the organization’s official 2020 T-shirt design for its 30th year celebration in April 2020. Yaquelin is a graphic design student in CEC teacher David White's class.

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Wichita Falls High School Student Wins Region 9 ‘Texas Citizen Bee’ for Second Consecutive Year

Wichita Falls High School student Elie Lam won the Region 9 Texas Citizen Bee for the second consecutive year. Schools may be shut down because of COVID-19, but he was one of four WFHS students who completed written and oral tests using ZOOM in the two-day contest. Elie will go on to compete in the state competition via Zoom on May 19 and 20. The Bee is sponsored by Texas Law Related Education. Other WFHS contestants: Kennedy Baker, Meredith Hodge, William Presson.

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WFISD Superintendent Explains Graduation Plan on ‘The Pulse’

Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce President Henry Florsheim interviewed WFISD Superintendent Mike Kuhrt Wednesday on a live Facebook feed of The Pulse about the changing landscape of local education brought on by the pandemic. Mr. Kuhrt explained how plans were developed for the high school graduations, which are now scheduled for June 4, 5 and 6. “The good news is we will have graduation,” said host Henry Florsheim. Mr. Kuhrt responded, “Yes, unless it changes. Flexibility is the new norm. What we know today is not what we know tomorrow.” He also explained that the district continues planning its future high school buildings and is honing in on two properties with high visibility locations to build new schools and may soon announce contracts.

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WFISD Celebrates ‘Teacher Appreciation Week’ May 4 through 8

WFISD has 1,000 teachers who serve its 14,000 students. Because they go above and beyond for students, school staff members at WFISD’s 27 campuses celebrated their service in various ways during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4 through 8. For example, at Southern Hills Elementary, teachers received a basket of small gifts in the school’s signature purple. Kirby Middle School recognized its teachers with a special Flipgrid. Fain Elementary mapped out a week of special appreciation activities, including writing notes to teachers on Wednesday and challenging students to “dress up like your teacher” on Thursday.

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Career Education Center's Graphic Design Students Create Self-Portrait Drawings

Graphic Design students in David White’s class at the Career Education Center tackled the project of creating self-portraits using a life-like or cartoon style. The impressive results are pictured clockwise from top left: Wichita Falls High School’s Olivia Tromans, Rider High School’s Leon Hernandez, Rider’s Yaquelin Anaya, WFHS’s Piper Meek, Rider’s Gage Bost, and WFHS’s Chante Brown.

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For West Foundation Elementary Teacher, a Duck Saves the Day

During weeks 2 and 3 of School@Home, West Foundation 4th grade reading/writing teacher Kathy Callaway was struggling to get her students to join her on Google Meet. She knew she had to do something new to create excitement. So she began telling the students about a mallard duck named Lucy that had hollowed out a nesting spot in the vine around her oak tree, and that her family was on duckling watch. Mrs. Callaway had already been taking pictures and sharing “Lucy” stories with her three grandchildren. But now she began telling her class about Lucy. “The duck changed everything,” said Mrs. Callaway. “Students began doing research on ducks and sharing it with me to pass on to the class. But the most amazing thing: All but one student would show up twice a week for 30 minutes to work -- and ask about Lucy.” They learned that Lucy must sit on her eggs at least 28 days. Mrs. Callaway had no idea how this story would play out…but sure enough, soon there were ducklings – nine of them. “Lucy and her ducklings made all the difference in these kids’ lives during School@Home,” said Mrs. Callaway.

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Each WFISD School Team Recognizes Their School's ‘Teacher of the Year’

The biggest honor of the year is always the Teacher of the Year award, which is given to one elementary and one secondary teacher. The selection process begins at the campus when teachers nominate one of their own as their school’s Teacher of the Year. These school representatives go on to compete in the district-wide contest that typically culminates in a celebratory banquet. But, of course, the 2020 quarantine has changed that. This year, principals and staff members congratulated their school winners by delivering flowers (for women) or a gift (for men) to their homes, where everyone has been operating for the final few weeks of the school year. The overall district winner for elementary and secondary will be announced later this month.

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'Teacher of the Year' Video Honors Teacher of the Year Nominees

A video posted Friday on WFISD's Facebook page introduces each school's nominee for 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year, along with a comment about that teacher from his or her principal. A similar video is typically shown at the annual Teacher of the Year banquet, which has been canceled for this year. Pictured: a few pictures of teacher nominees from the video.
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Kirby Middle School Hosts ‘Open Mic Night’

Everybody knows student talents are not limited to singing, dancing and playing an instrument. The first Kirby Open Mic Night, held May 1 at 6 p.m. on Google Meet, featured students showing off other talents, like art and juggling. Eight students participated in the first Open Mic Night with jump-roping, poetry reading, tricks with juggling sticks – and singing. “I used the theme song from American Idol to open and close the show,” said emcee Datra Lonon, Kirby assistant principal. “The students felt comfortable sharing their talent in an untraditional way and did a wonderful job.” During the performance, teachers and students used the chat feature to praise and encourage performers. Now there’s a waiting list of performers for the next Kirby Open Mic Night on May 15.

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Curriculum Specialists Pull Late Nights to Write Final Three Weeks of Curriculum

“I’m sure we will all laugh about this one day!” tweeted Mae Walker (pictured far left) during one late-night session of curriculum writing. Superintendent Mike Kuhrt gave a shout-out to the curriculum team during a recent interview on "The Pulse," praising them for their hard work in writing the School@Home program activities.

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McNiel Middle School Staff Members Make Surprise Teacher Deliveries

The administrative team at McNiel Middle School prepared nearly 80 goodie bags for McNiel teachers in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day. On Wednesday, the team divided up and delivered the treats personally, house to house. McNiel teachers received gift cards from Market Street, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, and Chick-fil-A. The McNiel PTO also provided a sleeve of Lolly’s Cookies and a soda. “It was so fun delivering to all our hard-working teachers,” said Lisa Williams.

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Zundy Elementary Teacher Re-Creates Classroom Fun of Dressing Up

Zundy kindergarten teacher Jessica Rivers couldn’t stand it any longer. “I was missing the fun of dressing up,” she said. “So here I am.” She showed up to see her students at Google Meet in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume. “It is not the same as being in the classroom, but I had fun with my babies,” she said.

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Chartwells’ Lunch Heroes Keep Up Busy Schedule

The need for food never slows down, and Chartwells’ workers continue serving children and family members, despite the quarantine. They operate 10 feeding sites during the week, and Durham bus drivers deliver food to 56 bus stops. Chartwells serves up to 6,500 meals a day.

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WFISD Principals Honored for ‘Principal’s Day’

Happily, the calendar just keeps churning out special days to celebrate – quarantine or no quarantine. On Friday, staff members across WFISD celebrated their school principal on Principal’s Day. At least one principal was caught off guard. “I didn’t realize it was Principal’s Day,” said Franklin Elementary Principal Angie Betts. “I went to pour my coffee and saw something in my yard. I walked out to this display! I love my Franklin Lions community! My cup runneth over!”

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Milam Elementary Community Hosts ‘Spirit Parade’

Milam Elementary staff members led a “Spirit Parade” last week, with the route divided up into two days so that everyone could be included. Principal Gena Ayers and Assistant Principal Willis Norton mapped out the parade, then teachers shared the maps with parents. Twenty-five decorated vehicles displayed signs, balloons and excited teachers as the parade wound through Milam neighborhoods on Thursday and Friday. “The smiles were amazing, and the students calling out to their teachers just warmed my heart,” said Donna Burch, Milam K-5 instructional coach. “We all needed it during this time.” The staff now plans to schedule a parade annually to let families know how much they are loved.

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Lamar Elementary Teachers ‘Stake Out’ Students with Signs

Lamar kindergarten teachers Elena Martinez and Stephanie Roberts set up signs in their students’ yards to let them know they are loved and missed.

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Franklin Elementary Teacher Sets Up Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Franklin’s Courtney Kittrell challenged her students by giving them a virtual Scavenger Hunt on “Fun Friday”—a time when she tries out unique activities and games to add a little excitement to School@Home. She created the Scavenger Hunt by giving students riddles that they had to solve. For example, one clue that led to a shower head said, “I rain on you when you need a scrub.” When students solved the riddle, they took a picture of the item, then showed it on their camera. “It was so much fun!” said Ms. Kittrell.

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McNiel Middle School Creates ‘Endorsement Decision Day’

One of a student’s biggest decisions in 8th grade is what endorsement (career path) he or she will pursue in high school. Tara Li, McNiel’s Career, College and Military Readiness Advisor, said McNiel staff borrowed the excitement of National Decision Day (when high school students announce the college they plan to attend) and gave it a twist by creating “Endorsement Decision Day.” Pictured: A McNiel student who decided to participate in the school’s first Endorsement Decision Day.

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Lamar Elementary Paraprofessional Enjoys Retirement Parade

When you retire into a pandemic, how is it done? The Lamar staff gave Special Education paraprofessional Erlinda Richie a farewell parade on Monday. She is retiring from serving students for 27 years, said Lamar Principal Amanda Garcia. “She has served students at Cunningham, Rose Street and Lamar,” she said. “She has been an important part of our Lamar family, and we are truly going to miss her.”

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Rider High School Band Director and Wife Celebrate Seniors with Visits, Video

Rider Band Director Loy Studer and his wife, Jessica, made the rounds to see every senior in his program – all 34 of them -- and deliver a custom-made yard sign to honor their importance in Rider’s band and orchestra. “We miss them terribly,” said Mr. Studer. “They are a great senior class. It was good for the soul to see them.” The 34 visits (just a few pictured) took about six hours to make.

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Superintendent Does Guest Spot on ‘The Social Space’

Superintendent Mike Kuhrt (pictured top left) was a featured guest last week on “The Social Space,” with KAUZ TV 6, hosted by Jackie Hoegger. He spoke about the amazing work of teachers during the past several weeks as WFISD transitioned to School@Home and continued to meet students’ needs in a wide variety of ways.

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Zundy Elementary Teacher Dresses with Star Wars Theme

When Lindsay Rogers, Zundy 5th grade science and social studies teacher, saw that she would be conducting a Google Meet on May 4, she took full advantage of it. She dressed in a Darth Vader mask, played the Imperial March (Darth’s theme song) and greeted her students with, “May the ‘fourth’ be with you.” It was a hit. “The kids loved it. They laughed and played along,” said Ms. Rogers. “They enjoy having ‘class visitors.’”

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Rider, Hirschi, Wichita Falls High Schools Create ‘Virtual Decision Day’ for Graduating Seniors

The Class of 2020 has come up with its own way of acknowledging their future ambitions. On Virtual Decision Day on May 1, seniors at Rider High School, Hirschi High School and Wichita Falls High School posted photos marked with their colleges of choice. Pictured top to bottom: Rider High School’s Abby Ruth, Wichita Falls High School’s Ellora Ashish, and Hirschi High School’s Aidan Parker -- just a few of the many who participated.

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Chartwells Helps Celebrate Teachers with Food Truck Gig

May 5 fell on Teacher Appreciation Week, Taco Tuesday and Cinco de Mayo. So when Rider High School administrators asked Chartwells K12 to cater tacos from the WFISD Food Truck to create a drive-by Teacher Appreciation Week treat, they were all in.

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Lamar Elementary Treats Teachers to Drive-Through Biscuits and More

When Lamar teachers drove through the school’s circle drive this week, they were greeted with a smile and breakfast – a sausage and jelly biscuit donated by McDonald’s and a drink donated by Sonic Drive-In. All Lamar teachers also received a special yard sign, a bag of treats and a Frank & Joe’s gift card for Teacher Appreciation Week, all personally delivered by Lamar administrators.

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Hirschi High School Student Council Students Create Teacher Appreciation Video

Hirschi students Ivy and Camelia and the rest of the Hirschi Student Council didn’t want Teacher Appreciation Week to pass without saying a proper thank you. The Student Council members created a socially-distanced but cohesive video thanking all teachers and specifically Hirschi teachers for their hard work for students. The Hirschi Student Council is sponsored by Jacqueline Ameluxen.

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Lamar Elementary Teacher and Classmates Join in Student’s Birthday Parade

When one second-grader’s family decided to celebrate her birthday with a parade, they included her Lamar teacher Blanca Brezina and her classmates. “Victoria Mendoza was all smiles to see her school friends,” said Lamar Principal Amanda Garcia.

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High School Students Participate in ‘Goodnight Wichita Falls’ Bedtime Reading Activity

Athletes Kordell Dorman from Wichita Falls High School and Jacob Rodriguez from Rider High School each took a turn reading a bedtime story to WFISD students as part of the nightly “Goodnight Wichita Falls” Facebook feature. Hirschi student Sonya Ganeshram, a student leader in coding and a member of JROTC, also took a turn reading a book to WFISD students. The regular Facebook video features celebrity readers from around Wichita Falls. Pictured left to right: Kordell, Jacob, and Sonya.

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Lamar Teacher Supports WFISD in Country Run as Quarantine Persists

Melissa Horn, Lamar 5th grade reading teacher, remains socially distanced as she goes for a run in the country. Even on this lonely road, she supports WFISD as she wears her #IAMWFISD T-shirt.

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#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.)