TO:             Northwest ISD Parents and Caregivers

FROM:       Ryder Warren, Superintendent of Schools

SUBJECT:  Superintendent’s Update


The first thing everyone needs to get from me is a huge “Thank You” for the first week of school. Having walked our schools and visiting with our students and staff this week, I can truly say this has been the best first week of school in my career - and understand how old I am, that is a long career! I appreciate the support and encouragement you are providing at home. Please remember the kids are truly served with excellence when students know parents and schools are together in their expectations. I am glad to have students back in our schools, excited and ready to learn. I hope you and your family have had a great start to the school year.
 
Growing Student Enrollment
We welcomed hundreds of new students on the first day of school compared to this time last year, and we have families who continuied to register every day this week. Today, we have more than 24,800 students, and we expect that number will grow to over 25,000 by October.

Elementary Classroom Adjustments
One challenge has come up (and it comes up every year at this time), and I want to make sure our elementary parents understand this issue. Northwest ISD staffs our campuses with teachers based on years of demographic reports, forecasts, and preregistration information. I am happy to report that, as I write this to you, 99.996% of our teachers were correctly placed in our schools in relation to our student population. However, we do have six elementary schools that have too many students in specific grade levels. 

After the first week of school, we “level” these classrooms, so every teacher in the district has the optimum number of students in all of our classes. To make sure our academic bar is set high, but also out of respect for our taxpayers, we transfer teachers from the campuses that have fewer students per grade level, and we place them in the over-populated grade levels. The schools we have targeted that are over our required student/teacher ratios are Beck Elementary (second grade), Cox Elementary (third grade), Granger Elementary (kindergarten), Justin Elementary (kindergarten), Prairie View Elementary (fourth grade), and Schluter Elementary (first grade).

All of this means that we have six teachers who will leave their current classes and move to other schools in the district. The families and teachers affected by these classroom adjustments will be contacted directly, and I understand the frustration this might cause. While I know kids are resilient and that our students will receive the same excellent education from any one of our wonderful teachers, please know that I understand that changes like this are difficult. We don’t want to make changes any more than you do, but we must ensure we maintain effective learning environments by meeting the required student/teacher ratios for all classes in NISD.

As the year and growth continues, we will continue to monitor our class sizes across the district at both the elementary and secondary levels.

Transportation and Route Adjustments
We currently have 12,300 students registered and using our transportation services, and we are continuing to add more students as families register and request bus transportation. We will be adding students to our routes through the weekend, which may change bus route times for your child. On Sunday, August 25, every regular education parent should recheck bus service information on the HAC (home access center) or on the district’s transportation website for updated bus route times.

We are aware that the SafeStop app has had some intermittent outages the last couple of days due to the increase in the number of users. The third-party vendor has since resolved the issue to allow for more users. We appreciate your patience, but do not expect parents to have any other problems connecting to the app from this point forward. If you have any concerns with SafeStop, please call 1-800-843-8936 or email Support@safestopapp.com .

For parents of our PreK through first-grade bus riders, please remember that it is imperative that you are at the bus stop on time in the afternoons if your child is alone (i.e. isn’t walking home with a sibling). We want to ensure the safety of your child, as well as maintain timely routes for our other students and families.

School Traffic Flow
Another painful side effect of our growth has been the impact on our roadways and traffic congestion. We know this first week of school can be especially busy as we adjust to traffic patterns and drop-off and pick-up routines. Thank you for your patience and helping us ensure our students’ safety.

We will continue to monitor traffic flow around all of our schools, and we are particularly aware of the concerns around Schluter Elementary, Adams Middle School, and Eaton High School in the Haslet/Fort Worth area. We hope that everyone will continue to be patient with any delays due to the road construction in this area. District and campus leaders will continue to monitor our end-of-day, on-site procedures at each of the schools and make any necessary adjustments to improve our dismissal strategies. We have already seen improved traffic flow due to implemented adjustments, and we will continue to observe and adjust as necessary. If you have any concerns about the road construction in the area, please contact the City of Fort Worth.

I am excited to see where this year leads us as we work together to empower learners and leaders to positively impact the world. I am proud of our staff and our students for starting the year with excellence. As always, your support for your child’s education is appreciated.

Thank you,

Ryder Warren, Superintendent of Schools
Northwest Independent School District