Our Schools

2020-2021 District Blog

Date Range

Providing a stellar education is at the core of the mission of Mansfield ISD, and establishing positive relationships is one of the ways that mission is being accomplished.

School started on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Although all instruction will be conducted online until Tuesday, Sept. 8, MISD educators are not letting the distance keep them from making closer connections to students.

“Our department tries to impress on our teachers that before they can correct, they need to connect,” said Karrye Aquino, the district’s social-emotional learning facilitator. “It’s the most important, number-one factor in education.”

Now more than ever, MISD teachers are finding unique ways to keep students engaged and connect with them on a personal level.

Some of the ways those connections are being made are through classroom compacts, which gives students ownership of how they will treat their teachers and fellow classmates. Other times, a positive relationship is made by simply taking a dance break.

Joshua Holder, seventh-grader at James Coble Middle School, said those types of fun interactions keep him motivated to log into class every day.

“My English teacher—sometimes when she notices us getting tired or something, she’ll give us an activity to do, like a brain break. Yesterday, we did jumping jacks,” said Holder. “I feel like if teachers can connect with students, they’ll know what will help the students the best.”

Aquino said the results of making real-life connections with students lasts beyond their years at school; it helps shape them to have a more productive future.

“We want to teach our students to be able to take those positive relationships and to go into the community and be high-functioning community members that give back, just as we’re having our teachers give back to the students,” she said.

Holder noted that although his classes are all online for now, he’s already having a great school year.

“I just wanted to thank [my teachers] because they have done so much, and they’re still trying to make this the best school year possible.”

The MISD Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Department equips teachers and students with the tools needed to improving school climate and student engagement. For more information, visit the SEL web page.

When deciding how to make learning fun, educators at some Mansfield ISD schools turned to a source that has already captured the attention of 126 million users every month—Minecraft.

The game allows players to explore a 3D world made of blocks in which they can discover and build.

Victoria Wood, who teaches sixth grade science at the Jerry Knight STEM Academy, said she implements the educational version of the game into her lessons, and it immediately captured the attention of her students.

“Having fun and learning can go hand in hand,” said Wood. “There’s actually a world in Minecraft where they spawn and craft compounds, and they learn what elements are and how many atoms are in a compound.”

Wood said one of her favorite parts about using the game as a lesson is that her students are able to teach her how to create subject-related items as well.

“It’s like virtual project-based learning,” she added. “They learn a concept and can immediately implement it into their virtual world. They have taught me a lot.”

Gaming education is a tool of which many Mansfield ISD educators have taken advantage. Resources like Kahoot!, Quizizz and Gimkit are other popular choices.

“You can capture their attention; and then pairing it with science as a subject or English or history, it’s a lot more engaging and a lot more fun,” said Wood. “Those types of games spur and spark conversation that sometimes learners are missing out on, especially in virtual learning.”

MISD has a department dedicated to the integration of education and technology. The MISD Educational Technology, or EdTech, team provides teachers with professional development, digital resources and support to teach with current and emerging technologies.

More information about EdTech 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.


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.

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.

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.

In October, Mansfield ISD joins forces with other organizations across the country to celebrate National Principals Month.

National Principals Month honors school principals for their significant impact on the success and well-being of students. They are school leaders who fight every day to give their students the best education, and MISD appreciates them for their tireless dedication.

This school year has presented some unique challenges for principals, and MISD's campus leaders continue to juggle the duties of prioritizing students while support teachers.

Although principals are appreciated year-round, National Principals Month is the public’s opportunity to thank principals and to share with the community all the wonderful things that principals do.

Mansfield ISD is grateful for its highly qualified school leaders who guide students and teachers to greater levels of success. View each MISD principal on the district website here.

Jordan Duran may not be able drive yet, but he can already fly.

The Timberview High School junior recently took off and landed by himself at the Grand Prairie Municipal Airport as a 16-year-old, the minimum age to obtain a student pilot license and fly solo.

“I just have a big, deep passion for it,” said Duran. “I feel free, and it’s really fun.”

The aspiring airline pilot first realized he loved flying as a young boy when he flew with his uncle for the first time. Since then, he has put in countless hours to study, start flight training and earn his flight hours.

“This is just huge. He did this all on his own,” said Danielle Flores, family consumer science teacher and aviation club sponsor. “He’s 100% self-initiative. This is what you want from a student. He’s funding it himself; he has a part-time job. Jordan is an exceptional student.”

Flores added that the cost to obtain a private pilot’s license is anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. She said she started the aviation club at Timberview High to allow students to see the opportunities available to them in that field.

“You can do this as a hobby, but you can also have a great career as a pilot,” explained Flores. “If you realize that you love aviation early, there are scholarships available to offset the costs, and there are so many different jobs you can pick as a pilot.”

Duran, who is a member of the aviation club, said he will continue studying and receiving his pilot ratings and licenses. He said he won’t let anything get in the way of reaching his goals.

“Just but in the work, study—just pursue your dream.”

In Mansfield ISD, parents and students have the opportunity to choose the educational pathway that is the best fit for them, even if it is located outside of their designated attendance zone.

The offerings range from two-way dual language programs and leadership academies to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) academies and an Early College High School.

For fall 2021, the district will expand its offerings even more.

Three STEM programs will be added within the newly built Brenda Norwood Elementary School, Alma Martinez Intermediate School and Charlene McKinzey Middle School.

At Norwood Elementary and Martinez Intermediate, there will also be a fine arts academy.

“I think the thing that’s unique about the fine arts integration academies is that we’re taking those core academic subjects our students have to go through—math, science, social studies, English language arts—and we’re finding some new ways to integrate all four of the fine arts disciplines—art, music, dance and theatre—into those cores subjects,” said Dr. Russell Sanders, director of fine arts.

The new fine arts and STEM academies will be available for third- and fourth-graders at Norwood Elementary and fifth- and sixth-graders at Martinez Intermediate.

The STEM Academy at McKinzey Middle School will be available to students in grades 7-8.

Mansfield ISD will host a Power of Choice Virtual Expo on Saturday, Oct. 24 to provide an overview of the district’s STEM, fine arts and Early College High School programs. The event is geared toward students entering grades 3-9 in the 2021-22 school year.

“The Power of Choice initiative is a very unique feature of Mansfield ISD and gives students the incredible opportunity to pursue something they’re passionate about,” said Jennifer Young, chief innovation officer. “And they can start that as early as kindergarten and take that all the way up through high school.”

Additional parent meetings will be held in November before the application window to the choice programs opens in January 2021. All students wishing to be in the STEM or fine arts academy must apply, even if they are already zoned to one of the schools. 

View more information about MISD’s Power of Choice here.

The mission of Mansfield ISD is to inspire and educate students to be productive citizens.

Part of achieving that mission is ensuring that students are successful and making good choices in and out of the classroom.

At Charlotte Anderson Elementary School, kids know that character counts. It’s something that is often said around campus, and there are several activities throughout the school year as a reminder of it.

“We believe that character is essential for everything that we do,” said Angela Wish, character coach at Anderson Elementary. “Years ago, our principal started a character initiative that has evolved into the current program that we have now.”

The school’s character program is centered on the six principles of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

Every morning, the students recite a character pledge during the morning announcements. The principles are also integrated in lessons and family nights so that students can apply what they’re learning at home.

Community service is also a big part of the character initiative at Anderson Elementary.

“We believe that community service is something that everybody is capable of,” said Wish. “We do small programs throughout the year, and we also do large drives for certain individuals, organizations or companies.”

Students are encouraged to help out the community individually, and they receive different rewards depending on the number of hours they serve.

Staff members say the rewards are a bit of an incentive, but there is a greater lesson to learn.

“I hope that it teaches them that no matter what capacity, what role they follow in life, they’re an essential piece of the community that they’re a part of,” said Shannon Wilson, school counselor. “Showing character in that role is always going to make a positive difference.”

Anderson Elementary has won awards for its character program. On the national level, the campus has received an honorable mention for the School of Character distinction. The distinction lasts through 2024.