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Sutherland for Schools blog

Installation of safety equipment of elementary schools

by Ann Sutherland on 03/22/15

Several days ago, a reader of this blog asked whether there was a delay in installing the surveillance equipment at our elementary schools.  FWISD promised to complete the first few schools in Feb.  Here is Mr. Cavazos' response:

"Most of the surveillance, cameras and intercom systems are operational.  If there are any specific schools with particular concerns... please direct them to my office...  or security office and we will address immediately.

"As of last week there were some schools whose system needed fine tuning due to older doors, delivering photo ID for staff access, making sure campus communication was sent to parents so they know of the changes on accessing the school, and a few needed warranty work on the equipment.  I have scheduled a meeting for Monday morning so I can get a new report.  

"The implementation of elementary schools started February 1.  Our strategic plan calls for completion of all elementary schools by the end of this school year.    The process is mostly complete at all elementary schools and we are ahead of schedule."

I hope this fully answers the question.

Revised: March 24 Agenda and Board book available

by Ann Sutherland on 03/20/15

The agenda and board book are online and available on the "data" tab.  

Included are a request for a waiver on the  3rd of our 3 snow days so we don't have to make it up, another amendment to the election paperwork, and a lot of purchases.  

At the end, the board will discuss progress toward hiring a superintendent; however, no action will be taken on this item.  

Join me after school Thurs 4-6

by Ann Sutherland on 03/17/15

Please come by Blue Mesa, 1700 University at University Village, 4-6 p.m.Thursday for the (belated) campaign kickoff.  $25 donations accepted.  Yard signs available free, plus beer, soft drinks and some eats.  

The time change was necessary so that we could fit into Blue Mesa's previous schedule after we had to re-do because of the ice and snow.  Sorry for the confusion.

We already have a strong roll-out but are looking to see you.  

Requesting data on student disturbances at Paschal

by Ann Sutherland on 03/09/15

I have sent the following request for information to Dr. Linares:

I am reading many comments regarding fights and other disturbances at Paschal and other high schools.  I want to review them.

Please send me copies of all  office referrals involving student behavior at Paschal High School between the August 2014 start of school and March 6, together with the report(s)  of action taken in each case.

Because the names will be redacted, I would like the data to be numbered for reference.

I need this information prior to the March 24 board meeting.


Thank you for your assistance.

Let's take a real break this coming week

by Ann Sutherland on 03/08/15

Readers, we've got a really busy three months coming up, with elections, decisions about our superintendent search, and the budget.  I'll be asking for changes in the budget which reflect classroom needs.

This week, however, the blog will be silent absent any real news.  See you next week.

Campaign kick-off postponed to Thurs Mar 19th

by Ann Sutherland on 03/05/15

The snow and FWISD's cancellation means we need to postpone.  The new date, for your calendars, is Thurs Mar 19th 4:30-6:30 at Blue Mesa.

Dennis, Blue Mesa manager, has been very nice about the postponement; I appreciate their flexibility.

Sutherland re-election campaign kick-off Thursday Mar 5 3:30-6:30

by Ann Sutherland on 03/04/15

Please come by Blue Mesa in University Village tomorrow, if you can, and have a beer and some nibbles with us.  Donation of $25 is requested.  Credit cards, cash and smiles accepted!    


by Ann Sutherland on 02/28/15

"Dr. Boyd has withdrawn his candidacy for the position of Superintendent of the Fort Worth ISD.  We will cancel our Monday evening meeting and the associated school event on Tuesday."

Norman Robbins, FWISD president, email to board members

My vote on the new Superintendent appointment

by Ann Sutherland on 02/27/15

            Here is my response to the Star-Telegram’s request that we justify our positions on our upcoming vote for FWISD superintendent.

      The Fort Worth ISD board’s 9-0 vote to choose Dr. Boyd as our sole finalist resulted from three interviews, one involving responses by 16 candidates to five questions via video and two subsequent rounds of interviews.  The first of the subsequent rounds involved seven candidates.  At the close of these interviews, we agreed on a further interview with three, selecting a fourth as a back-up in case one candidate withdrew.   However, even after two of the candidates withdrew, the president declined to call the fourth person.  Thus Dr. Boyd was the sole individual considered at our final interview.  In retrospect, this was unfortunate.

These interviews were supported with statistical information provided by our search firm which we were allowed to read only during our interview sessions.  Although we could search online, we were not allowed to talk to individuals in candidates’ districts. 

           Dr. Boyd’s performance during this final interview was outstanding.

Unfortunately, our post-interview examination of Dr. Boyd’s tenure in Santa Fe reveals great tension between teachers and Dr. Boyd.  There have been many teacher resignations, including one of a nationally recognized teacher, as well as at least one major walk-out by students in protest over his testing regimen.  Anecdotal comments from the community also report that he has treated teachers with unusual disrespect, including (a) entering classrooms and criticizing teachers in front of students and (b) during meetings with teacher representatives, banging on the table, talking on his cell phone and making other disrespectful gestures. 

           Here in Fort Worth, I have watch the relations between school site personnel and the central office deteriorate.  I am very concerned.   Although our board and administration are much more professional than what is being reported from Santa Fe, our failure to address the needs of our school sites is a crucial cause of this decline.  Thus I believe Dr. Boyd’s management pattern, including his increased testing program, is directly counter to Fort Worth’s needs.  

 During his final interview with us, I asked Dr. Boyd his opinion of FWISD’s heavy testing regimen and the consequent need for many principal meetings.  His response was that he did not see the need for either a three-week testing cycle or lengthy principal meetings.  As I indicated during our vote to announce his candidacy, this was a crucial reason for my support.  I now see that his management at Santa Fe is not too different from what we are experiencing.   

 Our board’s #1 job is to restore a positive relationship between our school site staff and our central office staff.  I will be voting “no” on any motion to employ Dr. Boyd.

Another SFPS writer

by Ann Sutherland on 02/26/15

I was given permission to post this anonymously.  Both this writer and the previous one are very nervous about retaliation.

"My opinion: I'm compelled to write to open the window for some additional insight into why you may be feeling uneasiness about selecting your top candidate for Superintendent. Your intuition is "pinging" for good reason. 

"Although our District constituents are elated at the prospect that "The Bully",as he is referred to by our parents and teachers, may finally be leaving I can't help but reach out and let you know your reservations are not unfounded.

"The SFPS Board is meeting in closed session Friday to discuss the Superintendents contract, that is Joel Boyd's ploy to convince YOUR board that he is wanted here. He has the Board in his pocket, but not the constituents. It's also a show by him so that he can "decline" your offer because his own board made a counter offer in the event you guys choose against hiring him. Manipulative. Read the article in today's New Mexican, it's sad. 

Our Board has depleted all funds during Boyd's tenure here, and is looking at soliciting "handouts" from the community to pay for his salary? Our SFPS budget is depleted and our reserves are diminished. Boyd influences the Board to spend, spend, spend without looking back or asking questions. The community finds out after the fact. The disadvantaged community he has convinced you that he serves here doesn't even know his name.

The increase in graduation rates that Joel Boyd purports are not differentiated between the cohort and graduation rates. The general public doesn't know the difference, but you do! 

He is not personable, he forces everyone call him "Dr" or else he won't respond. He never replies to constituent emails, rather pawns people off on "staff". 

I really admire your being the ONE voice of reason and want you to know that your fears are right. 

Boyd's numbers and achievements here at SFPS are a smoke screen of "data"?that he manipulates for a Board that never questions anything he brings forward. He has openly stated that he holds his Board in his poacher and keeps them in line. I don't doubt that. But I believe Ft. Worth's Board would be different.

Candidate filing closes Fri @ 5 p.m.

by Ann Sutherland on 02/26/15

Here is the link to check for new candidates although the Star-Telegram should have a report also. 

Board meeting Monday March 3 5:30 re superintendent selection

by Ann Sutherland on 02/25/15

Check the Star-Telegram this weekend and this blog for updates.

Filing for the May 9th election closes Friday at 5:00.  So far my only opponent is retired FWISD administrator Cecelia Speer.  Mrs. Jackson has two opponents; Mrs. Moss and Trustee Needham have none.

New Mexico statistics on Hispanic students in Santa Fe

by Ann Sutherland on 02/23/15

Thanks to my friend Ann Cotton for sending the newspaper's summary of 2014 scores.  It is available on the Data tab.

I pulled this information on Santa Fe's Hispanic students from the state website.  The 2013-14 data is not yet posted.  
Percent passing state test

2011-12                  2012-13               Change
Reading            38.5    39.3                    +0.8
Mathematics      39.3                         27.8                    -11.6

Attendance         91.9                         90.9                    -1.0

Communication from former Santa Fe teacher

by Ann Sutherland on 02/22/15

This was sent to board members on Sunday, Feb. 22:

Recently, many of us who live in Santa Fe have read articles regarding Joel D. Boyd’s impending move to the Fort Worth Independent School District.  So much of the rhetoric attributed to Mr. Boyd, subsequent to the announcement, is a carbon copy of Mr. Boyd’s words when he was selected to lead the Santa Fe Public School District approximately three years ago.  During his tenure, nothing here has changed, except SFPS has lost hundreds of qualified teachers and administrators.  I suspect if Mr. Boyd becomes the leader of FWIDS, the same will be true for your district three years from now.


I was heartened to read comments from members of your Board when they referred to Mr. Boyd as being Harvard “trained,” rather than Harvard “educated.”  There is a difference – something people in Santa Fe failed to notice when Mr. Boyd was hired.  The program from which Mr. Boyd attained his on-line doctorate, has, I believe, lost its affiliation with Harvard, perhaps because Harvard no longer wants the negative association with this type of program.


I also noticed your district is focused on the academic growth of students in Santa Fe, specifically, the graduation rates.  This is an area which deserves your attention.   The growth in SFPS, referenced by Mr. Boyd, is highly influenced by students graduating from on-line courses, taken at schools converted to promote virtual learning. Students review the same questions repeatedly, take the same rote “tests,” day after day, and eventually some pass the “test,” and some finally graduate. 


In addition, many of these same students were actively recruited from the city’s two high school campus.  When the recruiting took place, many of the current on-line students were currently enrolled at the high school sites. They were offered electronic devices to enroll in the on-line programs, and were quickly accepted into the virtual programs.


There is also a great deal of controversy, and many questions around the people with whom Mr. Boyd has contracted or attempted to hire to administer programs or obtain services.  A name you may want to remember is Joseph Wise.


In the spirit of transparency, I was, until May of 2014, employed by SFPS.  I left my ten-plus year teaching position to pursue other interests.  I wish the best to the students and teachers in SFPS, and can say in all honesty, they are not receiving the “world class” education promised by Mr. Boyd when he rushed to Santa Fe in 2012.

IMPORTANT: Here are the schools that still have to administer SCAs (edited 2/25)

by Ann Sutherland on 02/20/15

Thanks to Dr. Linares and to Dr. Sorum for the following clarifications--

1.  No high schools have to give the tests.  If your principals are assigning tests they are doing it on their own.  Call 817-814-1900 and leave a message for Dr. Linares.  You don't have to leave your name.
2.  EXCEPT for the list of schools at the bottom, no elementary or middle schools have to give tests either.
3.  IN THE FOLLOWING SCHOOLS, only those subgroups of children where the aggregate passing average was below 60% do the students in the subgroups have to take the tests.  

For example:  School A has 59% of the kids passing so it is listed below.  Within this school, ELL students score 60%.  The ELL kids in this school do not have to take the SCAs.  Kids in subgroups scoring below 60% still take the test.

Elementary schools:
--Eastern Hills
--Geo. C. Clark
--West Handley

Middle Schools:
--Forest Oak

Many schools are very close to the 60% level and should be removed from this list with future administrations.

 Welcome to the Sutherland for Schools blog!  I will be posting items here which are of interest to the Fort Worth Independent School District community..  You will find recommended news items on my Twitter feed 
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