5-6

  • 5th and 6th grade students jumping An Innovation and Design Committee came together in the spring of 2017 and made a recommendation to adopt a new educational model and convert Smith and Rhea elementary schools into 5th and 6th grade intermediate campuses. The Forney Learning Academy (FLA) was also selected to be renovated to house an Early Childhood Center. The three conversions have added space for an additional 1,200 students in Forney ISD.  The additions at FLA, Rhea and Smith will add 1,200 additional student capacity, with 300 at FLA and 450 at each Rhea and Smith. 

    “With Forney ISD being one of the fastest growing districts in the State of Texas, we will need to continuously evaluate the efficient and effective use of our facilities,” Forney ISD Superintendent Dr. Justin Terry said.  “Our growth has been faster than anyone expected. Demographers projected we would hit 10,800 students by the end of October 2018, but we exceeded that mark on the third day of school. Therefore, the additional capacity helps manage growth needs while supporting a great instructional model for the future.  As of October 5, 2018, student enrollment had reached more than 11,110 students.”

    The estimated cost to build a new elementary school, where the average capacity is 700 students, is approximately $34,285 per student.  In comparison, the construction costs to add 1,200 additional capacity to Smith, Rhea, and the Forney Learning Academy costs approximately $16,667 per student, creating more than a 50 percent savings.

    Forney ISD's current elementary school structure includes kindergarten through 6th grade students attending school in the same building. In Region 10, only three percent are still using the K-6 model. Almost 50 percent utilize an intermediate structure.

    At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, the structure of nine elementary schools will change to kindergarten through 4th grade students in seven elementary schools and two of the elementary schools will re-open as intermediate schools with 5th and 6th grade students.

    The two schools that will be converted to intermediate schools are Rhea Elementary and Smith Elementary. Blackburn, Claybon, Criswell, Crosby, Henderson, Johnson and Lewis will become K-4 campuses. The K-4 Dual Language Program will be housed at Criswell while 5-6 Dual Language will remain at Smith and Rhea.

    Both Rhea and Smith have the exact same floor plan and both will be expanded to include 18 classrooms as well as additional opportunities for advanced academics and extracurricular programs, such as band, choir, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

    • Forney ISD is working with our demographers to analyze the growth patterns and projections of our community. New attendance zones will be finalized December of 2018. Opportunities for feedback and public hearing will be available throughout the process for all stakeholders.

    • Personnel transfer plans were shared last year with all Forney staff. Teachers will have the opportunity to provide input to the transfer process. Personnel transfers will be finalized following the adoption of the new attendance zones in winter of 2018.

    •  Forney ISD will continue to work with demographers to monitor future growth in our school district. 

    For additional information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions listed below.

Intermediate Schools and Principals

  • Rhea Intermediate School - (Start of 2019-20 School Year)
     - Principal - Dr. Barbi Donehoo

    Smith Intermediate School - (Start of 2019-20 School Year)
     - Principal - Jeff Hutcheson


    Intermediate Schools Administration

    Dr. Barbi Donehoo, currently the principal at Rhea Elementary School, has been named the principal for the future Rhea Intermediate School. Assistant principals Jessica Murphy and Rushing Mays will join Dr. Donehoo on the administration team at Rhea Intermediate School.   

    Jeff Hutcheson, current principal at Smith Elementary School, has been named the principal for the future Smith Intermediate School. Hutcheson will be joined by assistant principals Courtney Rodriguez and Vashunda Warren. In addition, Deri Hooper will join the Smith Intermediate School administration team as the Dean of Instruction.


    Intermediate Schools FAQs

    • What is the timeline for the transition to a K-4, 5-6 configuration?

      • The conversion and the new educational model will open in August 2019.

    • What will the new attendance zones look like? When will they be decided?

      • Forney ISD is working with our demographers to analyze the growth patterns and projections of our community. New attendance zones will be finalized during the Spring of 2019. Opportunities for feedback and public hearing will be available throughout the process for all stakeholders.

    • Are there safety concerns with an innovative design?

      • Committees are working on updating our emergency operating procedures to align to our new designs and ensure the safety of our students and staff.

    • What is the process for transferring teachers from a K-6 model to a K-4, 5-6 model?

      • Personnel transfer plans are currently being shared at this time with all Forney staff. Teachers will have the opportunity to provide input to the transfer process. Personnel transfers will be finalized following the adoption of the new attendance zones in spring of 2019.

    • ​Will office space be added to accommodate additional positions?

      • Additional space has be taken into consideration in the design of the new additions for future office areas.

    • What is the district plan to add innovative spaces to the Elementary,  Middle and High Schools?

      • The district has already begun an innovative and flexible furniture program throughout our district. As renovations, maintenance, and new construction are needed, we will focus on updating facilities to align to the learning environment vision of our Innovation and Design Team.

    • What is the process to move and redistribute materials?

      • Resources will be inventoried over the 2018-19 school year and redistributed during the summer of 2019. Procedures will be shared by campuses principals throughout the process of inventory and redistribution.

    • What will the new school times be?

      • Committees are currently evaluating best practice, transportation options, and instructional needs to propose start and end times for all campuses.

    • ​Do Smith and Rhea have adequate parking for evening events? Is there a plan to allow a good flow during drop off and pick up?

      • Architects are utilizing code requirements and capacity needs to design appropriate additional parking opportunities for both campuses.  Additional special event parking is being considered and will be added if budget allows.

    • Will Highway 80 remain the dividing line?

      • Attendance zones will be evaluated and proposed in the Spring of 2019. No final decisions have been made at this time.

    • When will bus routes be determined and shared with parents? Will students still be picked up from each house?

      • Transportation will be determined once attendance zones and start/end times have been finalized. These decisions will be made during the Spring of 2019.

    • How will construction affect school during the school year?

      • Construction on the Rhea/Smith additions will begin in June 2018. At this time, construction areas will be identified and safety fencing installed to maintain separation from construction and the unaffected areas of the schools. All construction workers will be required to have background checks and remain in the isolated construction areas at all times. This is a common practice for school districts across the state and in past construction projects throughout Forney ISD.

    • Will we keep the playgrounds at Rhea and Smith?  

      • Outdoor play areas will be designed for Rhea/Smith. The equipment needed for these spaces will be determined throughout the program development process.

    • What will the master schedule look like at the 5th and 6th grade centers?

      • Committees will begin meeting this spring to examine best practice, research, and instructional needs to propose a master schedule for the 5th/6th grade campuses.  

    • Does this approach eliminate our need for portables?

      • With the addition of an estimated 1200 student capacity between the 3 projects, we do not foresee the need for portables at this time. Forney ISD will continue to work with demographers to monitor future growth moving into our school district.

    • Will all campuses keep their current names and mascots?

      • Committees will begin to evaluate campus names and branding in the Spring of 2018 to make recommendations to the school board for the conversion to the new educational model.

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