FWISD Superintendent Seeks Transformative Culture with Clear Focus, Tight Alignment
Dr. Kent Scribner, Fort Worth Independent School District Superintendent, after almost one year on the job, sees a district that does many things well, but he seeks a laser-like focus on areas where the district is not performing as it should.
“Fort Worth is well-positioned to be a global city with its diverse population,” said Scribner. “Diversity is an asset. Employers are looking for bi-lingual, multi-cultural, resilient, collaborative employees,” said Scribner. Scribner says Fort Worth is growing quickly and so is his district. He is responsible for 12 percent of the city’s population, 87,000 students and 11,000 staff.
In the Fort Worth system, 129 schools participate in an annual state assessment of skills--108 are exceeding standards, 21 are not. “Our focus will be on the schools that need improvement. Our most talented staff will go where they are needed most,” he added. College and career preparedness is the district’s focus, not graduation rates.
“Graduation statistics are meaningless,” he said. “A high school diploma is a passport to poverty. Sixty-six percent of jobs earning a family sustainable wage require at least two years of college or certifications. Our students need to be ready for college.”
He said that of 4,000 FWISD graduates, 52 percent went on to college. Of that 52 percent, only 60 percent were prepared for college-level work. Forty percent were required to take remedial classes before they could continue with their college education.
“The three Rs today are not reading, writing and arithmetic as they have been in the past. Our three Rs are rigor, relevance and relationships,” Scribner said. He seeks more meaningful work in the classroom, higher expectations of students, and expanded opportunities for students and teachers.
“One of the greatest predictors of success is whether students are reading at their grade level by third grade,” he said. “We are going to create a cradle to career culture. Our transition to a transformative culture will require a collective impact from all community partners."
Scribner’s goal is for 100 percent of third graders to read at their grade level by 2025. Currently, 30 percent are reading at their grade level. By focusing on this critical year for reading, Scribner believes he can position Fort Worth students to achieve the governor’s goal of 60 percent of Texas students having a post-secondary degree by 2030.
“Our children are assets we need to develop. Every Fort Worth resident should believe it is in their best interest for children on every side of the city to do well,” Scribner said.