by Jacob Sanchez, Fort Worth Report
September 26, 2023
Read Fort Worth is trying to go bigger.
The organization’s work is now part of a regional collaboration between Tarrant County school districts called the Rev Partnership.
Elizabeth Brands, founder of the partnership, sees the new nonprofit as a grassroots coalition of Tarrant County superintendents who can share solutions to common challenges and drive improvements.
“Success breeds more success,” Brands told the Fort Worth Report.
The Rev Partnership is emphasizing school system improvements that check one of two boxes: either impact an entire school district or multiple districts.
“We want to make sure we’re lifting up the great work across our education system,” Brands said. “Lots of community partners are doing tremendous work. We’re not here to duplicate or replicate any of that, but to really fill a gap of systems-level acceleration and improvement.”
The Morris Foundation has worked for more than a year to bring together more than 16 superintendents to align on six shared focus areas:
- Teacher recruitment, compensation and retention
- Building up teacher pipelines with higher education institutions
- Creating an early childhood education campaign encouraging parents to enroll their children in public pre-K
- Starting a shared public pre-K enrollment site for parents
- Continuing the Extended Learning Collaborative
- Aligning districts’ career pathways to be roughly the same across the county
“We’re really focusing on the entire academic pipeline from early learning through post-secondary success,” Brands said.
Dana Barnes, deputy superintendent of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, called the Rev Partnership a great opportunity for all Tarrant County school districts to advocate for students, teachers and public education.
“In Tarrant County, we have amazing teachers, parents that partner with our schools, and community support creating incredible opportunities for our students,” Barnes said. “It is nice to now have a partnership that allows a place for all of us to come together and represent that quality of public education within Tarrant County.”
The Rev Partnership is continuing Read Fort Worth’s Extended Learning Collaborative, an effort that brought together community organizations to provide literacy enrichment activities to Fort Worth ISD students.
Now, the Rev Partnership plans to expand that collaboration across Tarrant County.
Read Fort Worth’s board wanted to move away from its former name partly because of the history of who started it and the narrow focus on Fort Worth ISD, Brands said.
“We want to make sure that we’re wrapping our arms around all these kids across our city, as we know that Fort Worth ISD is not the only district that struggles to have kids meeting and mastering critical reading metrics,” Brands said.
The private organization was started as a way to advance kindergarten readiness and improve third grade reading scores through partnerships with the city, school district and other organizations.
Read Fort Worth supported Fort Worth ISD’s goal of having 100% of third graders reading on grade level or above by 2025.
In 2023, 32% of third graders can read on grade level. In 2017, 34% of the district’s third graders read on grade level.
The Rev Partnership is similar to the more than 10-year-old Commit Partnership in Dallas County.
Lifting students across Tarrant County brings numerous benefits, Brands said.
“It’s better for our kids. It’s better for our community. It’s better for our economy,” Brands said. “And I think it’s absolutely possible when we think about the scale of responsibility, opportunity and impact that we have in this great place that we call home.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated Sept. 27, 2023, to clarify that the Read Fort Worth board started the Rev Partnership.
Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.