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The Official Blog of the Mansfield Independent School District.

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Observing the excitement on the faces of students during a robotics tournament two years ago was the push staff members at Roberta Tipps Elementary School needed to transform their school into one that emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math.

But instead of becoming STEM focused, staff members wanted to add another subject into the equation as well.

“We felt like the arts gets left out a lot, and our students are really creative in that department," said Principal Cristina Hernandez. “The singing, the dancing, the acting, the drawing—we didn’t want to exclude that.”

To incorporate the arts, the decision was made for the school to become a STEAM academy. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

This school year is the Roberta Tipps STEAM Academy’s first year of operation under this new cross-curricular learning model.

“We present our students with a variety of activities or challenges that help them to think critically, to be creative, to collaborate and communicate with their peers,” said Hernandez. “We’ll also incorporate STEAM clubs in which kids get to rotate into a new subject every grading period. It’s a way for our learners to get even more interaction with these subjects in a fun way.”

Hernandez admits that the coronavirus outbreak has slowed down some of her plans a bit, but she and her team are still finding ways to encourage a collaborative campus.

She said the students have given her positive feedback already.

“They were so excited, and it lets us know that we’re doing something right,” Hernandez added. “That’s what it always boils down to. If they’re happy and learning, we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”

The Roberta Tipps STEAM Academy is an option in Mansfield ISD’s Power of Choice initiative. Admission is based upon available space.

As the demographics of Mansfield ISD changes, it’s important that those changes are reflected throughout all areas of the district as well.

MISD has embarked upon a strategic journey to ensure the district is intentional about becoming more inclusive. The decision was made under the guidance of the MISD Board of Trustees and Superintendent Dr. Kimberley Cantu.

The first step was to hire an employee dedicated to that purpose. The district’s new director of diversity, equity and Inclusion position was filled by Danyell Wells.

Wells started in August and said her main focus will be building positive relationships.

“I want people to feel included. I want them to feel celebrated; but most of all, I want them to feel seen,” said Wells.

Wells has led the formation of MISD’s new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion District Advisory Council to bring students, parents, staff members and community members from various backgrounds together.

The council’s first meeting was held on Sept. 16.

“The real purpose and why behind forming the committee is for us as a school district to really take advantage of an opportunity that we have been given to take a real hard look at or system, at our processes, at our policies and the way we do business and evaluate its fairness and inclusivity,” said Superintendent Dr. Cantu.

In addition to the meetings, MISD has partnered with third-party agencies, the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and Curriculum Management Solutions, Inc., to lead the district through an equity audit. The audit will include surveys and an inspection of the district’s current practices, policies and procedures.

“Our auditors will be looking into all areas of the district,” Wells explained. “They will be looking to see if Mansfield ISD is assuring equity in its treatment of all students and staff members and whether the district is assuring equal access to all services and educational opportunities.”

The findings of the audit will be brought to the advisory council. The council will then make recommendations to the MISD Board of Trustees in the spring to ensure that the district is a safe learning community in which all voices are valued and in which students and staff have a sense of belonging and connectedness.

“The future and next steps are putting specifics in place in order to make Mansfield ISD a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for all,” said Wells.

Wells said diversity, equity and inclusion is an ongoing process. The district will continually be reviewing its practices, policies, and procedures even after the audit is complete.

Even though most Mansfield ISD students were not even alive during the attacks on Sept. 11, staff members are making sure it is a day that will not be forgotten.

Sept. 11, 2001 marked the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil in U.S. history after a series of airline hijackings killed nearly 3,000 people.

The day has since been memorialized as Patriot Day.

At Anna May Daulton Elementary School, the day was remembered by wearing symbols of unity—red, white and blue. Principal Alycen Phan said she wanted to remind her students that there is strength in coming together, especially during hard times.

“The children at the elementary level are very young," said Phan. "If they can take anything from just wearing the three colors together, I hope that they know that it signifies unity for all of us in one country and one nation.”

Phan said the students also had a moment of silence and learned more about 9/11 through age-appropriate lessons.

Caylee McCarty, a fourth-grader at the school, said the lessons are an added bonus because she visited Ground Zero earlier in the year.

“I actually got to go to New York City and see the 9/11 memorial. I saw where the Twin Towers stood,” she said. “I saw all the names of the victims they had listed. There were so many, and the memorial was nice.”

Along with a day of remembrance, 9/11 also serves as a day of service, inspired by the goodwill and compassion shown by first responders and other citizens in the moments that followed the attacks.

More information about the Sept. 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance is available here.

Resiliency is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

It’s one of the core values of Mansfield ISD—and one that sets us apart from the rest.

Our mission is to inspire and education students to become productive citizens. And whether that student is learning in-person or virtually, we’ll remain dedicated to providing them the best education possible.

Mansfield ISD’s success has never been about buildings. Our success is built on the talent, dedication, and compassion of our staff, the unwavering support of our parents and community, and most of all, our students.

Students who never give up. Who break down barriers and forge new paths. Who rise to every challenge and exceed expectations.

2020 will look different. But those differences will not change our success.

We’ve been on this journey together. You know us, and you can trust us to take care of your child.

Together, we can do this. Together, we will defy the odds.


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