How to pass a bond: A tribute to FWISD leadership

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Back in the summer of 2017, Fort Worth ISD had a problem. Its schools needed an updated infrastructure and the district experienced overcrowding at some campuses.

To solve these issues, Superintendent Scribner and the Board of Trustees hired engage2learn, an educational service provider. That might seem like a strange solution unless you subscribe to the mantra “Instruction Drives Construction.” FWISD leadership understands that the heart of strategic decisions regarding facilities needs to reside with the community vision for learning and they wanted educators to facilitate that design process.

Voters in Tarrant county overwhelmingly approved the largest bond in the county’s history - $750 million - to improve FWISD schools. Click To Tweet

As a result, voters in Tarrant county overwhelmingly approved the largest bond in the county’s history – $750 million – to improve FWISD schools. The bond focuses on instructional technology, repairs to existing infrastructure, renovations, and intentionally designed new construction.

The Fort Worth Star Telegram interviewed FWISD Superintendent Kent Scribner, who said, “This bond program is extremely important. We are already seeing success in our academic strategies with early literacy and middle-years math. This will allow us to invest in our capital infrastructure and focus on the college and career aspect as well.”  

Again, the focus in Dr. Scribner’s comments is on how the learning environments can enhance the learning itself. The investment is going to yield academic ROI.

The bond was the result of the process led by e2L that pulled the community together to create their vision for learning. The vision of the Fort Worth community created the guidance to develop a plan that led to a bond that the community could support.

FWISD did the hard work as e2L facilitated them through the Long-Range Master Facilities plan with the architect PBK. e2L helped FWISD engage its community, facilitate the design of a learning model, and create strategies to improve the entire system. FWISD held additional community meetings specific to certain parts of the plan. This included meetings with the community to address concerns for specific parts of the plan, such as building a new facility to accommodate more students.

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FWISD district leadership were incredibly visionary to put learning at the heart of their master planning process and bond election. This will ensure FWISD learners will have access to the necessary experience and environment to be Future Ready for college and career when they emerge from its quality public schools.

FWISD district leadership were incredibly visionary to put learning at the heart of their master planning process and bond election. Click To Tweet

Ultimately, this process gave the district what it needed to make intentional decisions about what to put into this bond. FWISD was able to show how extensive its design process was, and to demonstrate to the community the level of care FWISD puts into its student- and teacher-oriented plans. FWISD integrated many opportunities for the community to give input and have a dialogue about the plans.

Various levels of the organization were involved, which made it easy for the community to support the bond. The community involvement enabled local stakeholders to see that this was not a Band-Aid bond, but truly a long-range vision to solve learning and facilities challenges.


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