Our Schools

2021-2022 District Blog

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Whether a child is 4 years old or 12 years old, Mansfield ISD’s Camp Destination is ensuring students continue the learning process while participating in hands-on activities throughout the summer.

The camp, which started June 1 and will last through July 30, is housed at J.L. Boren Elementary School. Operating hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. 

Camp coordinators say the day is packed with adventure.

“Camp Destination is a place that we hope that the students come to experience things during the summer that are positive and fun and engaging and enriching,” said coordinator Ryan Murphy. “We created the camp to service the parents, but to also make sure the students have a great place to go that is safe and fun.”

Campers rotate through eight learning experiences every day. The various activities focus around science, technology, engineering, art, math and all-around creativity. 

Lily Luken, an incoming fifth grader, said her favorite rotation is called Express Yourself.

“We would mostly do crafts and drawings to express what we're thinking and our type of mindset and personality,” she explained.

On top of the daily activities, the students go on weekly field trips to local attractions like the Fort Worth Zoo, Top Golf and Medieval Times.

Camp organizers said they noticed students are making connections, and they’re making positive relationships with staff members too.

“Some of the students actually cry when they get picked up because they don’t want to leave,” said Murphy. “We're thankful that MISD parents trust us with their children that much.”

Camp Destination filled up to its capacity of 150 campers just weeks after registration opened in April. Since coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions have been lifted, the camp is expected to increase its capacity for next year.

In the rain, sleet and sunshine, the Mansfield ISD Student Nutrition Services (SNS) could be counted on to provide free meals to the community.

The free curbside meal service began in March 2020 during the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite operations transitioning to a virtual setting at the time, the student nutrition workers still ensured that kids had healthy meals every day.

“You get to know these families,” said Tammy Baggett, student nutrition supervisor. “You deal with them on an everyday basis when they come through. The kids roll their windows down, they talk to you, they smile, they wave. It’s very heartwarming.”

As students transitioned back into the buildings last fall, SNS provided free meals to all in-person learners and still served free meals in a drive-thru fashion for families who opted for online learning.

The free meals didn’t stop in the summer. From June 4 through July 30, all kids up to age 18 and adults with special needs up to age 21 can receive free meal bundles from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Three breakfast meals and three lunch meals are provided on those days.

“This has been a great experience,” said Tiffany Campbell, an MISD bus driver who worked with Student Nutrition Services during the summer. “There are so many details that the cafeteria staff does to service our students. I think it’s very good for the community.”

So far, the nutrition crew has served more than 1 million free meals to families.

That number will continue to increase because free meals will also be provided for all MISD students for the 2021-22 school year. Learners at all Mansfield ISD campuses will be able to access their free meals in the cafeteria serving lines as usual during their designated meal periods. 

“It is our passion. We love it. We love supporting the community,” said Baggett. “We love interacting with the children and parents. It’s just an awesome program.”

Although meal services will be free for students next year, families that might qualify for the Free and Reduced Price School Meals program are still encouraged to submit an application for the 2021-22 school year. Approved applications provide valuable benefits and services to children.

To help students maintain and practice the skills they learned throughout the school year, Mansfield ISD’s special education department hosted different camps in July that allowed students to continue to thrive.

The camps helped learners prepare for the real world with activities aimed at developing social skills and excelling through their disabilities.

As part of the social skills camp, students learned about emotions so that they can be more aware of self and others.

“We’re directly teaching them how to regulate their emotions, but we’re also directly teaching them how to collaborate and how to be in a group,” said Kimberly Schwartz, special education coordinator.

Teachers utilized a variety of games to help students learn about how they feel. Students said it’s fun, and they’re making new friends in the process.

“My teachers are pretty nice. They play emoji dance and spikey ball, and we play hot potato. Pretty good stuff,” said Jaken Wolf, an incoming fourth grader at Martha Reid Leadership Academy.

Students who are visually impaired had the opportunity to expand on their core curriculum and learn neat ways to navigate their world. The camp focused on cooking skills, life skills and community skills.

“I’m newly blind, so learning how everything is different from how my life was before and how I can accommodate it using my cane and braille is very interesting,” said Marianela Ortiz Vazquez, an incoming senior at Lake Ridge High School.

Vazquez said she spend the week learning things like how to type and how to utilize her cane. She even took a field trip to the grocery store to incorporate what she learned.

“The teachers are absolutely amazing,” Vazquez continued. “They’re probably the best teachers I’ve ever met, and I’m definitely going to be using the things that they teach me in the future.”

MISD’s mission is to inspire and educate student to be productive citizens. Schwartz said camps like these help accomplish that.

“We have to make sure that we’re getting kids ready for life—whether that be for academics or functional behavior skills. “At whatever level that they’re at, our goal is to educate them and give them the skills to be successful in life.”

The MISD special education department aims to provide and support customized educational opportunities for students, parents and staff. Learn more information about their programs here.

Mansfield ISD’s Charlotte Anderson Elementary School underwent a name change to better reflect the work being done to prepare scholars to be college, career and life ready.

The school is now Charlotte Anderson Preparatory Academy (CAPA). Although the name change took place at the launch of the 2021-22 school year, campus administrators said the transformation was years in the making.

“We’ve wanted to rebrand our school for a while—11 years, actually,” said Principal Sheira Petty. “It’s taken that long to get to this point because to be a preparatory academy, you have character, you’re learning leadership, you’re learning what does it take to go toward college and career.”

The academy incorporates Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) concepts into its lessons, which focus on writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading. AVID is an internationally recognized support program for students with the goal of making them ready for life after graduation.

Campus administrators said since AVID is already incorporated at upper grade levels within the attendance zone, it was a natural fit to begin AVID at the elementary school as well.

“Why not start them out thinking about their future at an early age? We want our kids to know that they are capable of greatness,” said April Becker, AVID teacher at Charlotte Anderson Preparatory Academy. “I want them to leave my class knowing that I believe in them—that they can do anything. And I also want them to believe in themselves.”

AVID is an added rotation class for all students at the elementary school. In the AVID rotation, students learn grade-appropriate techniques and strategies to accelerate their academic performance and prepare them for the next level.

Principal Petty has seen the positive effects of the program within her own family. She said she is excited for how the preparatory program will impact the lives of students at her campus.

“My own child went through AVID in Mansfield, and I saw the student that she was in college. So, I know that what we’re instilling in the students—those are the components that students need to get to where they possibly want to be one day,” she said.

Several Mansfield ISD schools have received national certifications and distinctions for their excellent implementation of the AVID program.

James Coble Middle School, T.A. Howard Middle School and Timberview High School are National Demonstration Schools. It’s an honor given to only 4% of AVID campuses.

Those three schools plus Linda Jobe Middle School and Rogene Worley Middle School have also been named an AVID Schoolwide Site of Distinction, which is the highest level of certification for AVID schools.

Everybody needs somebody; and when people don’t have that somebody, it can take a toll on their well-being.

To focus on the power of connectedness, kindness and helping one another, Mansfield ISD schools and departments collectively participated in Start With Hello Week.

The week is a nationwide initiative that was started by Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit organization led by several family members who lost loved ones at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The organization’s mission is to prevent gun violence before it happens by teaching empathy and empowering students to end social isolation.

Mansfield ISD held its Start with Hello Week Aug. 30 through Sept. 2. During those days, students and staff were intentional about noticing and welcoming others through various activities.

“Every day this week has been a different dress-up day and a different challenge for students, so today is ‘Crazy Hair Day’—crazy for kindness,” said Lauren Knox, counselor at Linda Jobe Middle School.

Knox said in advisory class with their social-emotional learning (SEL) groups, students brainstormed random acts of kindness they can do on campus or in the community. They shared those ideas aloud in class and were challenged to do three random acts that day.

“It’s about making kids at the school feel welcome so that nobody feels like they have to hide, nobody feels like they don’t have any friends,” said Katie Keating, an eighth grader at Jobe Middle School. “I think we all kind of tend to stay in our little friend groups, and I think it’s sometimes nice to reach outside of your friend groups and be like, ‘Hey! Do you want to sit with us?’”

This is the first year Mansfield ISD has held a districtwide Start with Hello Week. Organizers said it’s a great launch to the rest of the social-emotional learning lessons and initiatives that are in store.

“We have our Hope Squads ramping up in a few weeks, and we have our kindness week in the spring, so we’re wanting these actions of kindness and inclusion to continue,” said Knox. “It just means a lot that our district came together to do an event like this.”

According to Sandy Hook Promise, Start With Hello has seen great results across the country. Schools have reported reductions in bullying and other harmful behaviors and an increase in emotional wellness of students.

Visit Mansfield ISD’s social and emotional learning webpage to read more about how students are empowered with the skills needed to create more positive learning environments.

It was a sea of red, white and blue at the Dr. Sarah K. Jandrucko Academy of Early Learners as students and staff members took part in Patriot Day.

Patriot Day is observed every year on Sept. 11 to memorialize the deadliest terrorist attacks on U.S. soil that occurred 20 years ago on that day.

Although the Mansfield ISD prekindergartners weren’t born when the events happened, staff members decided to commemorate the day by wearing patriotic colors and learning about good citizenship.

“As adults, we know that Patriot Day is due to the events of 9/11, and we’re not teaching our 4-year- olds all of the ins and outs of that. But we are teaching them how to be good citizen because that’s what makes our country so great,” said Ashton Oliver, dean of instruction at the school.

With such a diverse campus, Oliver said it’s important to teach about patriotism because it helps the students learn about cooperation and being a part of a greater whole.

Teachers helped the young learners identify the U.S. flag, recite The Pledge of Allegiance and learn about the national anthem. Oliver said it was a great way to introduce the country’s core concepts in an age-appropriate way.

“They may not always put their hand over their heart in the right hand. They may not say all the words right. They may not know the meaning of it, but we’re teaching them the foundation,” Oliver continued. “Just like reading, we can’t just hand a kid a book. You’ve got to start with the basics first, and so we’re providing them with that background knowledge.”

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.

People across the country spent the week celebrating the transformative power of the arts in education.

National Arts in Education Week was passed by Congress in 2010 and is held annually during the week beginning with the second Sunday of September. The designation is meant to bring attention to the importance of the arts—dance, music, theatre, media arts, literature, design and visual arts— and highlight how it is essential to the balanced education of a child.

Mansfield ISD’s fine arts programs include art, band, choir, cheerleading, drill team, elementary music, orchestra and theatre arts. Dr. Darwert Johnson, director of fine arts, said through those programs, students are learning 21st century skills to prepare them for life beyond graduation.

“Arts promote that critical thinking skill and that creativity and collaboration that we want to see our students have when they leave our schools and go into college or the workforce,” he said.

This year, MISD added its fine arts academies to the list of its choice programs. The elementary and intermediate school students who are enrolled in those academies are able to engage in a rigorous academic environment while encouraging artistic exploration and integration.

“It gives them an outlet to express their emotions and really find their creativity, which are just things that they can use later down in life, and it helps find that self-expression as they grow up,” said Jessica McPherson, P.E. and dance teacher at Alma Martinez Intermediate School. “It gives students another way to show their knowledge. Instead of just standard assessments, they can show it through a creative outlet.”

As the students move on to upper grade levels, the hope is that they have been exposed to many disciplines of the arts and have a better understanding of whether they’d like to continue in more competitive levels of MISD’s award-winning fine arts programs.

“We want to be one of the leading districts in the state in all of our fine arts programs,” said. Dr. Johnson. “We want to see all of our students performing at the state level, and nationally, and be known for how amazing our fine arts programs are.”

MISD’s fine arts department thrives to make a valid and lasting contribution to the education of students through study, participation and performance in the arts. For more information about the programs offered, visit the fine arts webpage.


Mansfield ISD's strategic plan, Vision 2030, is a reflection of the great responsibility schools have—to ensure students are prepared for the real world.

The mission, vision, values and guiding statements of the plan were put into place to ensure that all MISD students graduate college, career and life ready.

An important component of Vision 2030 is the student scorecard. The scorecard is designed to take students of all grade levels on a journey of continuous development by combining technology and educator support to assist students with developing critical skills for success beyond high school.

The scorecards are scheduled to roll out to all students in October. Before then, high school student leaders from across the district met to brainstorm ways to spread the news of the scorecards to their peers.

“They’re actually going to design how this communication looks, and be a part of the communication, and really explain what the student scorecard is and means for students,” said Superintendent Dr. Kimberley Cantu. “Who better to do that than the student leaders themselves.”

During the Sept. 21 meeting, students learned about the sections of the scorecard, which include various research-based college-readiness, career-readiness and life-readiness indicators. They are using the information they learned to inform others.

“I think it was a great way to see all the student leaders from all the student councils and MISD and collaborate ideas, be able to showcase what we know, and how to implement this idea into students' minds in order for them to understand,” said Leah Richard, senior at Mansfield High School.

Richard added that she thinks the scorecard is a great way to measure where she is as a student and thinks it’s a great help in getting her prepared for her future.

“It allows me to see, ‘Hey! I’m lacking in this area. I can talk to my counselor about that. How do I apply for FAFSA? Where do I apply for FAFSA?’ I think it’s a really great way to reference the things I need to know,” she said.

No matter which path a student chooses to take after graduation, the student scorecard can help them prepare for it. Superintendent Dr. Cantu said it was exciting to see the students engaging in dialogue and taking ownership of their scorecard.

“I think it’s important for students to be a part of their scorecard, partly because of ownership and accountability,” said Dr. Cantu. “It’s also getting them prepared in tracking their own data and really seeing what it is that they need to be college, career and life ready; and then owning that, and then also being able to engage in dialogue with their parents, with their counselor, with their teachers about where they are in the process.”

Student scorecards are broken down into four levels—kindergarten through fourth grade, fifth through sixth grade, seventh through eighth grade, and ninth through 12th grade. More information about the readiness indicators in those scorecards is available here.


October is National Bullying Prevention Month; but at Mansfield ISD schools, the tools students need in order to prevent bullying on their campus are taught year-round.

Through social and emotional learning (SEL) activities, students are able to understand and manage their emotions in order to make meaningful relationships with others and make responsible decisions.

“From the time school starts, we start working on things to help students be more connected with each other,” said Michelle Sykes, counselor at Imogene Gideon Elementary School. “We know that when children are connected—and they find things in common with each other—they’re less likely to bully each other.”

Sykes said strategies like encouraging students to sit with different friends, start conversations and be kind to one another has made a huge difference in the school’s culture. She noted that students love coming to school more and behavior issues have reduced.

“It’s important to not be a bully because that shows everyone that you’re not happy with your own life, and you’re taking your anger out on somebody else,” said Fela Shoyemi, a fourth grader at Gideon Elementary. 

Along with lessons to prevent bullying, Sykes said staff members are also teaching students how to tell an adult if a bullying incident does occur. She added that it’s important to teach students these actions at a young age because they’ll be able to retain it and use it in adulthood.

“My goal is for the kids to be productive citizens as they grow up and in life,” the counselor added. “I tell them all the time that the things that happen in the kids’ world, they happen in the adult world too, so I think that it starts at the base.”

Learn more about MISD’s social and emotional learning here.


More than 38 million people in the United States experienced hunger in 2020, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To make a dent on that number close to home, Mansfield ISD high school students are using their creativity to raise money and awareness for the cause.

The Empty Bowls project is a national movement in which artists create and paint a ceramic bowl. The unique bowls are then auctioned off at an event to the highest bidder.

The project came to MISD several years ago after some art teachers got together wanting to make a difference in the community using their skills.

“It is very community based,” said Dr. Chuck Roe, assistant fine arts director. “You don’t have to pay anything to participate. It is for your community the way you want it to be.”

At Mansfield ISD’s Empty Bowls event, the bowls are created in high school art classes and then put on display to purchase. This year, the event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 23—at the district’s first ever WonderFALL Fest—in the lobby of the MISD Center for the Performing Arts.

Students who participate in the project said it feels good to use their talents for a good cause. Jessie Martinez, senior at Lake Ridge High School, has created a bowl for the event for the past three years.

“Seeing the different projects the students work on is so cool,” she said. “It’s really fun to have events to showcase what you do and also give back to the community.”

The proceeds from the fundraiser go to Mansfield Cares. Mansfield Cares is an umbrella organization that supports Mansfield’s many active community charities and wellness programs.

“Our partners at Mansfield Cares are just so grateful and thankful,” Dr. Roe explained. “Particularly, our money goes to Feed the Kids, which provides food to our students. So, we’ve given thousands of dollars to them for the past several years, and it really does help.”

To date, tens of millions of dollars have been raised through Empty Bowls events around the country. All money raised benefits local food banks, soup kitchens and shelters.