Read Fort Worth Newsletter – August 2019

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August 2019 Newsletter


  • Message from Executive Director Anel Mercado 
  • Making the Grade: How You Can Help 
  • Thank You, Classroom Library Campaign Volunteers! 
  • Reading Volunteers: Are You In? 
  • Expanded Learning: FWFD Boots on the Ground at Cobb Park 
  • Fort Worth ISD Attendance Vision: Attendance Adds Up 
  • Fort Worth Public Library: Tail Waggin’ Tutors 
  • ELA Corner: Help Me Grow North Texas  
  • Community Leader Receives Heroes for Children Award 
  • Raising of Fort Worth: Building the Best Place for Kids 
  • North Texas Giving Day: 9.19.19 

Executive Director's Message

Anel Mercado Photo

Kids across Fort Worth are back to school. With school back in sessionour work at Read Fort Worth transitioned from preventing summer slide to a focus back into the classroom.  

The latest Texas School Report Cards are out and we have work to do! Our collective efforts are more important now than ever. Fort Worth kids need our community to come together and help our schools make the gradeThey are depending on you. Read on for ways that you can help. 

We would like to thank each and every one of you that stepped up to answer the calls we made for the Classroom Library Campaign and those who have signed up as Reading Volunteers. In our August newsletter, you will also find information on the Attendance Vision Workgroup and updates from our Collaborative Action Networksas well as news from Fort Worth Public Library and Early Learning Alliance North Texas. We are also proud to share that a member of Read Fort Worth’s Executive Council is being recognized in a big way.  

Let’s get the school year off to a great start by getting involvedNeed to know how? Reach out to me at anel.mercado@readfortworth.org or at the phone numbers below. 

Anel Mercado
817-258-8130 (o), 602-614-2044 (c)

Making the Grade: How You Can Help

tea grades

The latest Texas School Report Cards are out and the results will help us focus our efforts. Fort Worth ISD continues to show progress, and we’re encouraged by the programs and leadership in place. 

FWISD may be a “C” district according to the TEA, but take a closer look (FWISD Report Card). The School Overview was measured at a 79, one-tenth of one point from a B. That’s four points higher than last year and a 12-point growth in the past two years. Also, School Progress was graded a B, which measures how much better students performed on the STAAR test this year versus last year. The District has made significant changes, especially in the area of curriculum and instruction. 

There’s still more work to do! 

That’s where you come in. Students in Fort Worth ISD need you! 

We haven’t had any growth in third grade reading and we’re asking the great and giving Fort Worth community to become involved in the lives of our children and in our schools. Fort Worth is a city of doers. It’s a city that gets things done. Educating our young leaders is both duty and a privilege which ensures a prosperous future for them and for all of Fort Worth. 

This is a call to action for everyone who holds a stake in our collective success in the decades to come. We’re calling on the business and faith and philanthropic and grassroots communities to get involved in charting this collective path. We can move the needle together. 

How? Ask how you can get involved in a school and a child’s life. Fort Worth ISD has initiatives such as volunteer and school partnership programs that are making a difference. So are our partners at Read2WinReading Volunteers North Texas and Kids Hope USA. Many church and civic groups are also putting boots on the ground. Tarrant Churches Together offers a number of impactful programs throughout the area.  

Reach out. Make a call. Send an email. Ask how and where you can help.  

We need you now. This is about so much more than test scores. This is about the lives of children that deserve to experience the entirety of the American Dream and about the future of our great city. Let’s do this together, Fort Worth. Let’s do this now! 

Thank You, Classroom Library Campaign Volunteers!


As part of the Classroom Library Campaign, Read Fort Worth staff and community volunteers collectively delivered, unpacked, labeled and organized more than 130,000 books for 84 Fort Worth ISD elementary schools this summer, outfitting every Pre-Kindergarten through second grade teacher with 100 books for their individual classroom libraries. Thank you to all the volunteers that made it possible! We couldn’t have done it without you.  

Read Fort Worth’s Classroom Library Campaign is a comprehensive initiative developed with FWISD leaders ensuring young students and teachers have effortless and equitable access to high-interest, culturally-relevant books throughout the school day. The Campaign raised more than $320,000, allowing for an expansion from an initial target of approximately 40 elementary schools deemed to be high-need to all 84 District elementary schools. We would like to also thank our generous Classroom Library Campaign donors.  

The Campaign is one of several strategies Read Fort Worth has implemented to engage the FWISD community, providing young readers and their families the support they need to succeed.  

Read More & View Photos

Reading Volunteers: Are You In?

Young students across Fort Worth ISD need you this school year. Can you spare an hour per week to make a huge impact? If so, sign up to be a Reading Volunteer!

Read Fort Worth is coordinating a bold reading initiative to support Fort Worth ISD and our community partners, Read2WinReading Partners and Kids Hope International. We need 1,000 volunteers who can commit one hour a week on campuses across the District. Volunteers will read with students (Kindergarten through 3rd grade) on campus each week, starting in late September and will continue through May 2020. Can we count you in? 

Expanded Learning: FWFD Boots on the Ground at Cobb Park

Responding to crisis is in a firefighter’s DNA. Not every crisis is built the same. There’s a critical need in Fort Worth — and around the country — in the space of early childhood literacyDeveloping strategies and collecting data to create system change is an ongoing process that requires the cooperation of community partners, school districts, government agencies and beyond. And while those processes are well underway in Fort Worth, boots on the ground are just as important.  

At the Valley at Cobb Park apartments in the Morningside area of east Fort Worth, those boots belong to the Fort Worth Fire Department. Under the direction of Capt. William T. Hackley in the Community Risk Reduction unit, the Fire Department launched a trial six-week program at Cobb Park, a low-income apartment complex feeding primarily into Fort Worth ISD’s Edward J. Briscoe Elementary. Read More

Fort Worth ISD: Attendance Adds Up


With attendance improvement at the forefront, Read Fort Worth is partnering with Fort Worth ISD to support the District wide attendance vision and tackling why kids are absent from school. Read Fort Worth will utilize data to help drive its Child Wellness Collaborative Action Network strategies to support the physical and social emotional well-being of students, with the goal to increase attendance in alignment with FWISD’s attendance initiatives. 

Fort Worth Public Library: Tail Waggin' Tutors

Fitz, Honey, Ranger and Gabby are excited to meet friends – new and old – and hear fun stories at the Tail Waggin’ Tutors “Back to School Kickoff Celebration” set for Saturday, September 7th from 1-3PM at the Fort Worth Public Library-Central. 

In its 10 year, the program invites children ages 6-16 who read independently to grab a book and practice reading aloud to one of the patient pooches. Fitz and Honey are veterans of the Tail Waggin’ Tutors program’s 10-year run, and all four are certified by Therapy Dogs International. Readers gain confidence and vocabulary skills, as well as an appreciation for the animals. The free event will also include craft-making and refreshments. Learn More

ELA Corner: Help Me Grow North Texas


The Early Learning Alliance will host the Help Me Grow National Center, National League of Cities, local elected officials and early education partners for a community celebration to launch the first Help Me Grow affiliate in the state of Texas — Help Me Grow North Texas! 
Help Me Grow is a nationally recognized, evidence-based system model that builds upon the strong collaboratives and programs in our community, creating a culture of celebrating children’s growth and development, and ensuring that every baby in Tarrant County is able to grow, develop, and thrive to reach their full potential!  

Tarrant County will join early childhood leaders across the nation in building a comprehensive approach to early childhood systems building.   For more information on these initiatives as well as resources for families, visit: EarlyIsBestNorthTexas.org 

Community Leader Loretta Burns to Receive Heroes for Children Award

lorettaFort Worth ISD volunteer and community leader Loretta Burns has been named a recipient of the 2019 Heroes for Children Award. The award announced by the State Board of Education is given to volunteers who have made outstanding contributions to student learning or who have demonstrated support of public education. Fort Worth ISD nominated Ms. Burns for her long-time advocacy work for at-risk children.  

Ms. Burns is the founder and executive director of AB Christian Learning Center which provides out-of-school time academic enrichment programs to vulnerable youth.  As an extension of this work, she started the Freedom School in 2014. This free six-week program focuses on summer reading and cultural enrichment for disadvantaged youth. 

Ms. Burns is a member of Read Fort Worth’s Executive Counciand was recently featured on our blog post, A Life’s Calling for Loretta Burns. She will be honored on September 13 in Austin. Read More

Raising of Fort Worth: Building the Best Place for Kids

Join Mayor Betsy Price, the Miles Foundation and the entire Raising of Fort Worth community for the 2019 event series highlighting local efforts in Building Fort Worth as the Best Place for Kids! The next event on Thursday, September 26th will focus on how local businesses – big and small – are working to implement family friendly policies that enable them to attract and retain top talent. Register Today!

North Texas Giving Day: September 19, 2019

Save the Date: 9/19/19 is North Texas Giving Day! As part of a regional movement, this day is designated to giving back in your communityOn North Texas Giving Day, everyone has the opportunity to be a philanthropist to build a stronger and more vibrant community. And the best part – your giving will be matched.  

When you donate to Read Fort Worth this North Texas Giving Day, you will help provide Books for Kids. The Books for Kids campaign will put high-interest books in the hands of kids that need them most. 

GET UP AND GIVE on 9/19/19:  

  • Go to www.NorthTexasGivingDay.org 
  • Search for: Read Fort Worth 
  • Donate on 9.19.19 or schedule your gift starting 9.9.19 
  • Tell your friends why you give with the hashtag #NTxGivingDay