February 19, 2024

Great morning and the happiest of Mondays to the Fort Worth ISD family! I am honored to serve our students, staff, and community as the Learning and Leading Associate Superintendent for Network 3. I am responsible for all schools in the Diamond Hill-Jarvis, Paschal, and Dunbar pyramids, as well as Trimble Tech High School and Young Men's Leadership Academy. Visiting all sites within my network is often the highlight of my week, and I am pleased to have been present for planning sessions, instructional walks, and special events at the schools. I am blessed to work with visionary colleagues and dedicated staff who work with me to support schools and district teams on a daily basis. My responsibilities also include the oversight of all initiatives related to English language acquisition.

Impacting more than 30,000 students, language programming is very near and dear to my heart, as I was also once classified as an English language learner. I personally know the challenge of moving to another country and struggling to adapt to a foreign educational system. Most importantly, I recognize the opportunities the American public school system offers and am fully committed to making them accessible to our students.

The Emergent Bilingual (EB) team is responsible for areas including:

·         One-Way Dual Language

·         Two-Way Dual Language

·         English as a Second Language (ESL)

·         Language Centers

·         Specialized English Teachers (SET)

·         Newcomer Programming

·         Immigrant and Refugee Support

This year, our visits to schools, observations in classrooms, and discussions with staff have resulted in a Comprehensive Needs Assessment. It is currently driving the work to realign, structure, and best support our students who are learning English. An Emergent Bilingual Handbook is currently being published and will serve as the guiding document for all staff next year as we provide language services to more than 41% of our student population. Additionally, the EB team is diligently preparing staff development to support all staff in achieving our three overarching goals:

1.    Decrease the percent of long-term EB students by at least 5% annually.

2.    Increase the Academic Achievement of EB students by at least 5% in Math and Reading Language Arts, as measured by STAAR/EOC, annually.

3.    Increase the percentage of EB students rated ‘Improved’ on TELPAS by at least 5% and decrease the percent of students who regress on TELPAS by at least 5% annually.

“Hope, Joy, and Urgency” is not just a motto for me; I thoroughly enjoy my work and consider it a privilege to get to do it in Fort Worth ISD! No two days for me have ever been the same in my 29 years as an educator. Below is a glimpse of what my week will entail.

Monday

I will start the week at our District Staff Development and will co-deliver the morning keynote message at Western Hills High School for elementary teachers. The afternoon will be spent in district-level committee meetings. I will also join the principals in the annual security training. The day will end with an Audit Committee meeting.

Tuesday

The morning will be spent visiting sites in the Dunbar Pyramid and conducting a Dual Language programming walk at W.M. Green Elementary. In the afternoon, I will review the budget for EB initiatives for the coming year, hold a 1:1 with the EB Executive Director, and attend the Middle School DL Pathway Task Force meeting.

Wednesday

Our Vertical Instructional Rounds will take place at Dunbar High School. All Service Network 3 principals will meet there to calibrate classroom observations and data-driven instructional planning.

In the evening, I will participate in a Zoom meeting with Parent Shield and then attend the community Meet-and-Greet of Mr. Manuel De La Cruz, the new principal at Diamond Hill-Jarvis HS.

Thursday

I will start my day with our weekly morning Associate Superintendent Huddle at 7:30 a.m. and will end with interviews for the Meacham MS principal position.

Friday

My 1:1 with Service Network 3 Learning and Leading Executive Directors will take up most of the morning. In the afternoon, I will have my 1:1 bi-weekly meeting with Superintendent Ramsey.

It will be a full week, but...

When you're surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.– Howard Schultz

Dr. Gracie Guerrero

Associate Superintendent of Learning & Leading, Network 3Fort Worth Independent School District