ABUS Spotlight – Westcliff Elementary School

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Fort Worth, TX

Grades: PK-5

2018 America’s Best Urban Schools Award Winner


Westcliff Elementary School in Fort Worth Independent School District is a thriving and active place, from their classrooms to their outdoor learning center to the multiple community and parent volunteers and student teachers from Texas Christian University. They have benefitted from consistent leadership from their principal, Sara Gillespie, who has created a family environment and continuous improvement culture. The focus the past two years has been on “differentiation for all.” Teacher PLC groups deeply examine data, identify priority standards, and group students in quintiles for targeted instruction. Monthly RTI meetings focus on creating specific interventions for struggling learners, special needs students, ELL students, and others. While PLC meetings every two weeks focus on creating advanced activities, novel studies, and research projects for students in the top two quintiles of performance. Staff recognized that their advanced students were stagnating, and they were determined to raise the bar for them while also ensuring mastery of standards for all students. Teachers bring student work to examine its alignment with the standards and with advanced thinking and communication skills. One way they accomplish this differentiation is by using Title I tutors and developing a rich volunteer program.


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[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Congratulations to Fort Worth ISD’s Westcliff Elementary School, which was recently recognized with a resolution from the Texas House of Representatives for receiving a 2018 America’s Best Urban School Award.

The resolution, adopted by the House on March 21, 2019, was presented to school officials by State Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth) last week in Austin.

“Congratulations to the Westcliff Elementary community for making history in the TX State Legislature,” Principal Sara Gillaspie wrote in a May 24 Twitter post. “State Rep. Craig Goldman presented us with House Resolution No. 691 as an ‘expression of High Regard by the TX House of Reps.’ for the 2018 America’s Best Urban School Award!”[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”33210″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Westcliff Elementary was one of four FWISD schools presented with the America’s Best Urban School Award. Other honorees included Young Men’s Leadership Academy, World Languages Institute and Bonnie Brae Elementary.

Presented by the National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST), the America’s Best Urban School Award recognizes schools nationwide for outstanding transformational work in urban centers of more than 50,000 students. Winning schools are awarded cash prizes, a banner, certificate, and bumper stickers.

Selected schools’ students are from all ethnic and special population groups, such as Special Education and English Language Learners, and consistently outperformed state averages for all respective student groups. Additionally, these schools serve a large percentage of students as economically disadvantaged, meeting requirements to be eligible for ABUS awards. The winning schools have high attendance and low suspension rates. Finally, students who have matriculated into the next level of school must continue to demonstrate high-performance levels.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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established in 2005 , NCUST strives to help urban school districts and their partners transform urban schools into places where all students achieve academic proficiency, evidence a love of learning, and graduate well prepared to succeed in post-secondary education, the workplace, and their communities.


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