Isaac Windes interviews a child at Hope Farm, an after school program for at-risk boys in Fort Worth.

Early Childhood Education Reporter - Crossroads Lab

Isaac Windes covers Early Childhood Education as part of the Star-Telegram’s Crossroads Lab. The position is funded with assistance from the Morris Foundation. Windes is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Before coming to the Star-Telegram he wrote about schools and colleges in Southeast Texas for the Beaumont Enterprise. He was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. Please reach out with your questions about Early Childhood Education. Email: or call or text (817) 668-5449. Follow Isaac on Twitter @isaacdwindes

6 North Texas school districts are closing on Election Day, citing security concerns

Fort Worth is joining five other districts across North Texas in giving most students a holiday and teachers a professional development day on Tuesday, citing security concerns at polling places on campuses. The Fort Worth school board unanimously approved the holiday in September. The changes do not affect Early College High School students, whose school calendars align with the Tarrant County College Academic Calendar, according to a release. According to the district, the holiday is meant t

Bond-approved infant and toddler program will be built in south side Fort Worth school

The first of four early childhood centers in Fort Worth schools approved as part of a historic bond in November of last year will be housed at the Morningside annex on the city’s south side. Few details have been shared about the project, which is planned to provide early learning services to infants and toddlers as Fort Worth ISD hones in on the earliest years of life — but a contract to build out the new center was approved as part of the consent agenda at a September board meeting. Austin-b

Fort Worth schools superintendent has been on the job for one month. How’s she doing?

In her first month at the helm of the Fort Worth school district, Superintendent Angélica Ramsey has visited more than 30 campuses, quelled outbursts from angry parents during a board meeting and ferreted out problems in the district she says need fixing. Fort Worth Board President Tobi Jackson said the leader is a “rare and special talent” and that there has been “exceptional communication with internal and external stakeholders” during the first month. But the issues she has identified in ju

Las Vegas Trail group gets $30K from community foundation for food, parent engagement

An organization founded to support families and children in the Las Vegas Trail neighborhood as part of a revitalization effort is hiring additional staff and providing clothing and food donations to children after receiving a $30,000 grant from the Fund to Advance Racial Equity at North Texas Community Foundation. “We are grateful for the generous support and partnership we have with North Texas Community Foundation and are proud to be a recipient of this grant,” LVTRise Executive Director Pai

Threats against Texas schools terrify parents, heighten safety concerns in Fort Worth

Parents are keeping their children out of school and districts are on high alert this week after threats were made against at least 12 school districts across Texas, leading to multiple arrests and classes being canceled. The startling spate of threats, made via phone and social media, come just months after a mass shooting in Uvalde sparked statewide debates on school safety, mental health and gun control. The threats also come the same week the Texas School Safety Center began conducting rand

Texas libraries are removing books about Queen Elizabeth. The reason may surprise you

When Fort Worth elementary school librarian Mindy Selby arrived at work Thursday morning, she hadn’t heard the news that Queen Elizabeth II was “under medical supervision” at Balmoral Castle. Hours later, Buckingham Palace confirmed in a statement that Britain’s longest-serving monarch had died at 96. “Once the news hit today, I began weeding my books showing Elizabeth as current UK monarch,” Selby said Thursday. Selby, who works at Hubbard Heights Elementary, used the moment as a “mini-lesso

New Fort Worth schools leader praised for academics, chided for equity efforts in Midland

Parents, teachers and school leaders in Midland have mixed emotions about Angelica Ramsey, the district’s superintendent leaving after just over a year on the job. “I wish that we would have kept her here longer,” Midland school board President Bryan Murry said. “I mean we had just signed a new contract, and bumped her up … and we would love to have her here longer.” Murry praised Ramsey for overhauling the district’s central office, now called the service center, and helping focus the distric

Where does your child’s school rank in Texas accountability scores? Find out here

Another school year is here, and we know you have questions. We’ve got answers on everything from mask guidance in schools to how to shop for deals on school supplies to what schools are doing to keep your children safe while they learn. If you have other back-to-school questions, email us at Most Tarrant County school districts gained or dropped a few points in accountability scores overall since 2019, according to data released by the Texas Education Agency on Mo

Back to school: Fort Worth seniors, superintendent celebrate their last first day

Clifford Davis Elementary School was buzzing with excitement Monday morning, with parents pushing strollers along to drop off older siblings, teachers helping students find their classes and a visit by Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker, who toured several schools on the first day. Parents at the school, which is one of the most diverse in the district and serves a wide range of students with more than two dozen languages spoken, welcomed the opportunity to bring their children back to school for a

This new Stop Six school had to add a pre-K classroom weeks before opening. Here’s why

Hundreds of excited kids packed into the new Dennis Dunkins Elementary School this weekend, pulling their parents along as they explored their new campus just days before the first day of class on Monday. “There have been 600 people coming through already,” said SaJade Miller, the superintendent of the new charter school in the Stop Six neighborhood, as he held up a balloon arch for parents to get through. “We’re excited.” The new Rocketship elementary school is on Berry Street, about a mile n

Fort Worth ISD narrows search for new superintendent down to six finalists

The Fort Worth school district board of trustees began interviewing finalists for the position of superintendent on Thursday after an Illinois-based search firm narrowed the applicant pool down to six semifinalists. District officials and board members declined to identify the candidates, citing attorney-client privilege, but the lone finalist will be announced following the interview process. Interviews were scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week. Trustee Michael Ryan, who join

If you’re the parent of a Fort Worth ISD elementary student, here’s some good news

Fort Worth schools have made significant progress in accountability scores since the last time the state letter grades were given in 2019, according to predictions made by school officials at a recent Fort Worth ISD board meeting. Based on preliminary data from the Texas Education Agency, the district predicts that it will slash the rate of failing schools from 18 to only two. In many subject areas, including third- and fourth-grade reading, the numbers signal a return to progress being made pr

Fort Worth police are training local school teachers. Here’s why.

Teachers and campus-level staff in Fort Worth can participate in a number of upcoming active shooter training courses provided by the Fort Worth Police Department. The four-hour training, which will be offered on Aug. 5 and 10 for the first session and Aug. 12 for the second session, will focus on what actions teachers should take to survive an active shooter event. Other topics will include hands-on training on how to stop severe bleeding and how civilians should respond to an active shooter e

Taking your kids to work? DFW companies are offering more options for working parents

When the pandemic sent children home from school in March of 2020, Vivian Allen was among dozens of parents at her Fort Worth manufacturing company left scrambling to find options for child care and schooling, virtually overnight. As the support director for SigmaPro, she was also responsible for helping all of the other parents, who couldn’t work from home like many at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. So she, and the rest of the company, got creative. “We turned one of our conference room

Fort Worth schools nixed a longtime approach to teaching reading. Here’s what changed

Kathryn Cottrell was taught a specific and popular method of teaching students how to read when she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies with a focus on literacy in 2020. As soon as she started her professional career as a student teacher at a Fort Worth elementary school, however, she could see that the status quo wasn’t working for all students. “It was relatively common that you would get fourth-graders who were not reading even on a second- or third-grade level,”

Child care workers aren’t making enough to pay the bills. Tarrant County has a plan.

City and county leaders are stepping up to fund major early education and child care initiatives this month, just as a new report previewed at a quarterly meeting of the Tarrant County Early Learning Alliance paints a grim picture of the availability of quality child care in the county. The study, exploring barriers to high-quality child care in Tarrant County, found local examples of long-standing structural issues in child care, including low compensation, high costs of living and a dwindling

Child care isn’t working for North Texas parents, educators. This institute wants to help.

As masks come off and parents return to work in person, they are still struggling to find seats for their children in child care. Some who can find seats are paying rates rivaling college tuition for their children to attend, analysis shows. The problems long precede recent attention, but the sector, which saw a mass exodus at the start of the pandemic, has been slow to recover, with local, state and federal funding keeping the sputtering industry afloat. As those dollars dry up and early educ

All 4-year-olds in Arlington can now go to free pre-K. Here are the details.

The Arlington school district is expanding pre-K to all 4-year-olds, with plans to roll out a new curriculum that implements Science, Technology, Engineering and Math alongside a more traditional, play-based model. The expansion builds on a move from half day to full day pre-K for eligible students two years ago, and comes as the district aims to increase kindergarten readiness scores that have fluctuated in recent years. “We know that early childhood education is critical in a student’s futur
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