District in Pictures

May 1, 2020

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Nine Rider High School Choir Members Honored with Elite Texas Music Scholar Award

Nine of Rider High School’s 200 choir students were honored with the prestigious Texas Music Scholar Award from the Texas Music Educators Association. This award goes to students in high school music programs who excel in the areas of scholarship, musicianship, and citizenship. Students must have maintained an overall “A” average in coursework for the year and attended and participated in specific concerts and auditions. They also each performed an approved UIL solo for competition or public performance. 2020 Rider recipients are (pictured left to right in top row) Trinity Anderson, Isabella Campbell, Amberly Schell, Samantha Smith, Aaron Hawkins; (bottom row) Maranda Rose-Adame, Emily Spicer, Jenny Claus, Cassie Coons.

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Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Partners with WFISD for Free Sock Giveaway

More than 5,000 WFISD children received a new pair of quality socks on Tuesday from a free sock giveaway spearheaded by the local Children’s Miracle Network hospital and WFISD. Socks were distributed along with lunches at all school feeding sites and at mobile delivery sites on April 28. “The smiling faces on the socks are a reminder of the commitment to the youth in our community,” said Noel Filer, United Regional Foundation Director.

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Attendance/Truancy Coordinator Finds All ‘Missing’ WFISD Students, Makes 85 Home Visits

With schools closed for the remainder of the school year, Attendance Coordinator Verna Honeycutt has kept busy tracking down “missing” students. She recently worked her way through a list of 51 students and found them all. She has located more than 200 students in recent weeks. Ms. Honeycutt has also made 85 home visits during the past month to locate and check on students. A new computer system that she began using in January has helped her find even the students who did not have updated contact information in Skyward.

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Rider High School Photographers’ Work Featured in ‘Remember’ Video

The activities of the 2019-2020 school year may have ended prematurely, but what a year it was! Rider journalism teacher Zach Duncan created a Rider Raider video using yearbook photographers’ photos to showcase the great moments of the school year. The script, in part: “Maybe it feels like a lost year, but let us not forget…we sang…we danced…we ran toward our goals…we hugged…we cheered…we swung for the fences and always went down fighting….we learned…we dreamed…we grew…we beat Old High twice and shined under the lights…so as we reflect on a truly historic year…let us not lose sight of how hard we worked…how much we gave, and the memories we made. Ride on!”

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118 Applicants Submit Videos to WFISD Virtual Job Fair

This hiring season – smack in the middle of a pandemic – is unlike any other hiring season orchestrated by WFISD’s Human Resource team. This year, the Human Resources department used Flipgrid and Google Meet to take in applications. The technology set-up of the WFISD Virtual Job Fair Flipgrid was installed by Frank Murray and Instructional Technology Facilitators Joe Camacho, Julie Yandell and Lexi Law. Each campus and several departments had a “table” within the virtual fair. Job Fair candidates submitted videos to the Flipgrid along with an application and resume through the WFISD Employment website. There were 118 applicants who submitted videos, which are in the process of being viewed by principals and department directors for follow-up interviews. For Human Resources staff, the virtual job fair “consisted mainly of downloading and forwarding information to other people,” said Director Cyndy Kohl. “During the traditional Job Fair, all of the HR department employees play a part in organizing, advertising, setting up, scheduling food, and doing maintenance and custodial support, registration, and clean-up.”

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School Lunch Heroes Provide More Than 161,000 'Grab & Go' Meals Since WFISD Schools Closed for COVID-19 Quarantine

Chartwells school lunch workers have morphed into heroes during this unusual time of school closures. They have continued to serve WFISD students, providing 161,551 "Grab & Go" meals to children since schools closed in mid-March.
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Fain Family Fun@Home Facebook Page Unites Fain Families

The Fain AMPEL team – art, music, PE, and library teachers – came up with the idea to create a special Facebook page that would give Fain families a chance to see each other working on School@Home. “We all contribute by posting interactive sessions, like directed drawings, reading books, demonstrating PE and music activities live or through videos,” said Stephanie Dorsey. “The kids are not just our students. The whole family belongs to Fain, and the Facebook page lets us see everyone!” The page has helped them feel connected and has been a way to document this crazy stage of life, she said. Pictured clockwise from top: Kristin Shipp Gonzales posts (in top two photos), “We are working our arms and legs tonight doing yard work”; Myranda Jordan-Echols posts, “We built a fort for P.E. today. They’re watching 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2' in there”; Another posted, “The boys pooled their creative talents to make a rocket ship! Complete with three pieces to lose during the flight to the moon.”

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Booker T. Washington Students Pal Around with Flat Mrs. Evans

Kellie Evans, dyslexia interventionist at Booker T. Washington Elementary, made a “flat” version of herself and asked her students to take her with them when they did something fun, then send her a picture. Such a fun assignment is typical of Ms. Evans, said Principal Angela Rooney. “She always has creative ways to keep students reading. Siblings of her students join her Google Meets because they think she’s so fun. Her Google Meets are structured, and so much learning is going on.”

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Burgess Reading Teacher Surprises Students with Large Slushies Delivered to Their Homes

Jennifer Taylor, reading teacher at Burgess Elementary, surprised her third-graders this week with a special treat. She purchased 20 large cherry slushies and spent five hours over two days delivering them to her students. She also handed them out to brothers and sisters who were tagging along with her students. “If I was in the neighborhood and saw a student from another third-grade class, I just stopped and gave them one, too,” she said. “They ran to hug me, but I had to stop them. That was sad. But we had an air hug!” She will continue her deliveries next week, with about 25 more to go.

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Zundy Elementary Students Show Off Favorite Books on ‘World Book Day’

Zundy bilingual teacher Patricia Ramirez asked students to celebrate the Letter F by sharing their “Favorite Book.” As it turned out, her assignment fell on World Book Day. She collected pictures of her students reading their favorite books.

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Technology Team Creates Helpful, Fun Videos

WFISD’s technology specialists believe that School@Home can be overwhelming to some, so they don’t want technology to add to the frustration. They’ve demonstrated their own upbeat attitudes by creating funny videos like, “Who You Gonna Call…Parent Help Desk!” and “The Corona” to help parents and students. “We all make little video clips, record ourselves singing and dancing, then edit them together,” said Instructional Technologist Julie Yandell. “We have used recording features in Google Meet, GarageBand, iMovie, Screencastify and Camtasia. We want to offer any tech support we can but also lift spirits and bring a little joy and humor to WFISD staff and parents.” The videos feature (clockwise from top left) Frank Murray, Joe Camacho, Lexi Law and Julie Yandell.

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West Foundation Art Teacher Posts Art Work to Artsonia

The clever projects drawn and painted by West Foundation Elementary art students at the beginning of the school year live on, thanks to the Artsonia website, where art teachers post their students’ art work. West teacher Catherine Norton reminded her students and their parents that they can still view their art work on the website, even during the COVID-19 quarantine.

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Fain Staff Completes Final Round of Packet Deliveries in Record Time

When you do something over and over, you find more efficient ways to do it – and making School@Home packet deliveries is no exception, said Fain Principal Clarisa Richie. “After the first round, I fine-tuned a route that worked much more efficiently,” she said. Even though she added different school supplies to each delivery, her team got faster and faster. The first round of deliveries took almost an entire day. The second round took two hours. “By the last round, I had them separated so well that it only took about an hour,” she said. Pictured: Ms. Richie and Fain Instructional Coaches Tammy Spray and Veronica Snell.

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Cunningham Elementary Teacher Finds a Way to ‘Be There’ for Her Kindergartners

Cunningham kindergarten teacher Jennifer Gillespie sent a note to her kindergarten students this week that included a picture of her as “Flat Mrs. Gillespie.” She told them, “This time apart has been hard on us all, so I want you to know I am always there.” Then she suggested that they take pictures of themselves doing their School@Home activities with her and send the photos to her. They could even give Flat Mrs. Gillespie a hug, talk to her or write her a note.

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Zundy Elementary Staff Members Hand Out Supplies – in Tutus

Just because you have to do something productive doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun. Zundy staff members dressed with a sense of humor for the day they handed out school supplies to students. Families who drove to the school collected 150 packages of school supplies to last them the rest of the school year and finish strong with School@Home.

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Lamar First-Grade Teacher Shows Children How to be ‘Friends of the Earth’

Students may not be able to recycle like they used to at school, but students in Claudia Lopez’s first-grade class learned that they can still recycle at home. During a Google Meet, students discussed with their teacher how they have reused materials to create new things. For example, they have used pots and pans to make musical instruments. They made a high frequency word memory game out of a box of cereal. One student made a puppet out of paper towels and crayons. “The simple fact that we are staying home and not out driving around is reducing the amount of resources we are using, and that is helping the Earth,” said Ms. Lopez.

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Fain Elementary Staff Members Parade Through Fain Neighborhoods to See Students

Principal Clarisa Richie drew out a route for her staff to efficiently parade through Fain neighborhoods last week. “We sent the route to parents with estimated times when we would be on their street,” said Allyson Edge. “We encouraged families to decorate signs, bring noisemakers, draw on sidewalks with chalk, and get out any work they were proud of.” Fain staff decorated their cars with signs, shoe polish, balloons, and streamers, then lined up by grade level and paraded along the assigned route. “It was so great to see their faces light up,” said Ms. Edge. “It lifted our spirits for sure.” The parade was designed to build community togetherness and encourage families to keep working hard with School@Home.

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Lamar Kinder Teacher Delivers Her Own Kind of Joy

When Lamar kindergarten teacher Stephanie Roberts compiled a package of school work to deliver to her students on April 30, she made sure to include some fun supplies – like modeling clay and chalk for hopscotch.

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Haynes Northwest Academy Principal Introduces Pets to Students

Each day, a Haynes staff member leads a “Show and Tell” video and introduces his or her pets. The idea for including the pets came up when a staff member mentioned that her dogs certainly liked the new work set-up at home. “It made me think that maybe our families would like a little glimpse into our daily lives during the quarantine,” said Mrs. Apple. “Staff members who do not have any pets are welcome to share a hobby or interest that keeps them busy and provides comfort while we spend our days at home.” Pictured: Haynes Principal Lori Apple shows off her dog.

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'Chat with Kirby' Unites, Informs Kirby Families

Nine parents joined two Kirby Middle School staff members Monday at the first "Chat with Kirby," held virtually by Stacey Hohertz and Deneka Johnson. They will host the virtual get-togethers twice a week to share their thoughts about today’s "new normal." Their virtual meetings will be Mondays at 7 p.m. and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. In the first meeting, participants discussed a new help site called School@Home Family Resource Center, created by Ms. Hohertz, who is Kirby's webmaster. The site provides information to parents and summarizes topics discussed during Chats. "The Chats are a way for us to connect with parents, answer questions and provide resources," said Ms. Johnson, Kirby social worker/parent engagement liaison.

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Milam Elementary Teacher Redefines ‘Class Photo’

Milam second-grade teacher Allison Wilson brought new meaning to the 2020 definition of “class photo.” Instead of rows of grinning children, her class photo featured a photo of her classroom. She sent it on a postcard to students with the note, “I wanted to bring our classroom to you. Keep up the amazing work on your assignments. I miss you!” Like all WFISD students, her second-graders have been working at home since spring break.

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Lamar Elementary Teacher Organizes a Birthday Parade

On Tuesday, Lamar first-grade teacher Cynthia Polk organized a birthday parade for one of her students. She collaborated with the student’s family and several other Lamar teachers to pull it off. “The parade brought loads of joy for everyone,” said Kaycie Taylor, Lamar At-Risk coordinator.

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Wichita Falls High School Choir Creates ‘Senior Spotlight’

The “Old High Choir” Twitter feed is honoring seniors through its Senior Spotlight, featuring photos and a short bio on its members. Pictured clockwise from top: Mattie, who will attend college to major in criminology; Jeremiah Carter, who will go to the military; and Shannon, who is headed to the University of Texas.

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Franklin Elementary Teacher Cruise-By Parade Ranks as Principal's 'Best Thing So Far About COVID-19'

The Franklin Elementary attendance zone is so large that when Principal Angie Betts and her staff members planned a drive-by parade, they scheduled it over three evenings -- Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thirty-five staff members participated each evening, some bringing along their husbands and families to ride with them. Teachers made signs and used streamers, balloons and shoe polish messages on cars to communicate their best wishes to students. "We had so much fun and did not want it to end," said Ms. Betts. "We had former Franklin students join in with current students, so we saw MANY Franklin faces. All of our cups are very full because we saw kids and parents we love so much." She recalls that one kinder student broke down into tears when she saw her teachers. "The mom started crying, and then all of the kindergarten teachers lost it, too. It was an emotional but amazing moment." According to Ms. Betts, "The cruise-by parade was the best thing so far about COVID-19!"
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'Goodnight Wichita Falls' Bedtime Stories Feature Celebrity Readers, Songs

This week, WFISD's celebrity reader program, "Goodnight Wichita Falls," featured former Wichita County Justice of the Peace Janice Sons, Franklin Elementary music specialist Abi Parker, and WFISD Board Member Bob Payton. Last Friday, Booker T. Washington’s music teacher Jaylan Moore sang through her special book. This week, Ms. Parker (pictured) also sang her book selection of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton.

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Sheppard Teachers Parade on Friday

There’s something about a parade that makes everybody feel good – especially when it brings out smiling faces from along the route. Sheppard teachers had fun seeing their students’ smiling faces as they cruised by homes in a parade last Friday that was done in conjunction with Sheppard Air Force Base. "It was great!" said Principal Cindy Waddell.

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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.)