Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Carroll ISD Announces Assistant Principal Assignments

On August 6, 2021, Carroll ISD announced two assistant principal assignments beginning this school year. Christina Benhoff will serve as the assistant principal for Carroll Senior High School while Steven Silvia will serve as the assistant principal for Carroll High School. These new assignments were due to open positions with principal transitions this summer. Additionally, Benhoff and Silvia are known for their excellent leadership and support to students, parents and staff.

“We are excited to have our assistant principals serve in their new roles,” Gordon Butler, Assistant Superintendent of Student and Staff Services, said. “Both are known for their high energy and continuous pursuit of excellence, which is what CISD is all about.”

Prior to her new appointment, Benhoff was the assistant principal at Carroll High School and is excited to see former students who recently moved to the senior high. Benhoff has served at Carroll High School as assistant principal since 2018. In 2012, she joined the Dragon family as a math teacher and coach at Carroll Middle School and then became the assistant principal for Walnut Grove Elementary School in 2013. Then, she was appointed the assistant principal at Dawson Middle School in 2014 before joining Carroll High School. Benhoff has 14 years of education experience. She received her bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and her master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Missouri.

Silvia is leaving Durham Intermediate School where he served as an assistant principal. Due to his instructional and communication skills, Silva will serve as an asset to the Carroll High School leadership team. Silvia has been part of the Dragon family since 2010 where he started as a teacher and coach at Dawson Middle School. Then, in 2013, he was named the assistant principal at Durham Intermediate School. With his 14 years of education experience, Silvia earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and his master’s degree in educational leadership from University of Texas Arlington.

District Seeks Input On Modified COVID-19 Response Calendar

Carroll school officials are seeking input on a COVID-19 Response Calendar before voting to consider altering the originally-adopted 2020-2021 school calendar. The proposed modified calendar does not include a change to the start date of August 17, but it does take the long breaks in October and February, as well as one bad weather day in April and makes them COVID-19 exchange days.

The exchange days are like bad weather days; if the district has to close due to COVID-19, the exchange days would become school days as needed.  If the district doesn’t need them, they remain school holidays or breaks. The modified calendar also has two weeks of COVID-19 exchange days added in June.

CISD will be accepting comments and questions about the proposed calendar until noon on June 15. Trustees hope to vote on the COVID-19 calendar at their June 15 meeting. A copy of the COVID-19 Response Calendar can be reviewed by clicking on CISD’s DRAFT COVID RESPONSE 2020-2021 Calendar.

The Administration and School Board started discussing options for the 2020-2021 school calendar following prompts from Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath for public schools to consider earlier start dates, periodic breaks in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak and intersessions for remediation. School officials discussed the challenges of changing the already-adopted start date as it relates to family vacations/plans, teacher contracts and preparation time for in-person instruction. There were also concerns that CISD would use the COVID-19 exchange weeks/breaks to take vacations or trips.

In visiting with other districts, CISD staff learned that neighboring districts did not intend to adopt a revised calendar, but instead may look at simply adding weeks in June should they be needed.

Dr. Janet McDade, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, reviewed calendars shown as examples by the Commissioner and discussed 2-3 options with the School Board in May. There did not seem to be a strong sentiment among the Board or Administration to change the start date and add long breaks, but there was some interest in considering time in June to make up for COVID-19 closures should it be necessary.

Dr. McDade said TEA has been extremely cooperative and lenient in granting waivers due to COVID-19 and is not requiring districts to alter their calendar. In turn, school officials believe if a resurgence of the COVID-19 virus happens, the district is now in a better position to pivot to online learning. Still, it seems prudent to plan for potential closures by looking at the Board-adopted calendar and making possible revisions.

McDade said the COVID-19 exchange days/weeks in June give local officials greater flexibility to respond to potential outbreaks during the 2020-2021 school year. The district is also proposing adding five minutes to the end of the school day for all elementary, intermediate and middle schools. This gives CISD some additional flexibility when it comes to managing unforeseen closures for either bad weather days or COVID-19.

Elementary schools would end at 3 p.m.; intermediate and middle schools would end at 3:45 p.m., if the COVID-19 Response Calendar is approved by Trustees. Schools are required to provide 75,600 minutes of instruction each year. The instructional minutes for secondary students in CISD already well exceeds the required amount, but school officials believe adding the five minutes at the end of each day for grades PK-8 is a good move to ensure greater flexibility. The additional five minutes per day gives CISD as many as three additional instructional days that would not have to be made up due to a COVID-19 outbreak/closure.

To submit a question or comment about the proposed calendar to CISD by the noon, June 15 deadline, please visit our Let’s Talk COVID-19 Response Calendar link.

Celebrating Community Planning!

Join the Planning and Development Service Department in celebrating Community Planning during the month of October! This month-long campaign recognizes the importance of planning comprehensive and community-focused initiatives that enhance the spaces where people work, live and play.

“Our job in serving the Southlake community means creating long-term, vision-oriented master plan documents (such as those included in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan) and implementing those plans to create great public places and services for all who live and visit Southlake,” stated Senior Director of Planning and Development Services Ken Baker. “The Southlake 2035 Comprehensive Plan is focused on providing a framework for a flourishing business environment, protecting Southlake’s natural environment, and ensuring the built environment promotes healthy opportunities and active living.”

Through skillful preparation and strategic execution of plans and policies, the Planning and Development Services Department works overtime to make sure that Southlake is sustainable, attractive and safe for residents.

As part of the 2019 National Community Planning Month campaign, this year’s theme focuses on ‘planning for infrastructure that benefits all’, which can include roadways, transportation, parks and more. During the City’s 2020 fiscal year the Planning and Development Services Department plans to work jointly with the Community Services Department and Public Works Department to update the Parks Master Plan, the Water and Wastewater Master Plan and the Mobility Master Plan.

The Planning and Development Services Department was presented a proclamation by Mayor Laura Hill on October 9th to commemorate the occasion.


To learn more about Community Planning Month, please visit American Planning Association’s website. For more information about planning efforts for the City of Southlake, visit our website or give us a call at (817) 748-8621.


Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership Annouces its New Wave of Students

This new group of 20 students was selected after enduring a rigorous selection process conducted by Carroll Senior High School, where each candidate is evaluated based on several criteria. These students have earned their spot in this program and have already begun to demonstrate leadership qualities.

SKIL is a youth leadership program where students and adults can work together to make Southlake a better community by enhancing engagement with the City’s youth through educational and leadership opportunities. The program was created in partnership between the City, the Carroll Independent School District and the Southlake Chamber of Commerce. By participating in the program, these students will be directly involved to create positive dialogue and an engaged government while opening the community to a new generation of ideas.

“Our children have amazing ideas about what they would like to see now and in future,” says Mayor Hill, founder of the SKIL program. “When any citizen, including our youth, are involved and engaged in the community, we all benefit from it because it brings all of our ideas together. These young leaders will grow up, know the value of being engaged and rely on the systems that are in place so they can improve them when they become leaders in their community.”

This group of students and will continue to elevate the status of this elite group of students. They will work with the school district, the City and the local business community on various matters that impact the community all while becoming engaged leaders.

The next generation of SKIL students will kick-off their first meeting in Southlake Town Hall on October 21st.

For more information about SKIL, please visit the City’s website.

October 2019: Southlake Business Spotlight – Chelsea Hall

Founded in 2019, Chelsea Hall is an after-school academic learning center located at the corner of Southlake Boulevard and Players Circle which is approximately one block from Carroll Senior High.

Their mission is to provide an affordable and fun learning environment that enables each of their members to achieve his or her highest possible GPA in every class that he or she takes at Carroll High and Carroll Senior High.

Rather than try to meet the rigorous challenges of high school alone, their members reinforce their school learning within an academic support system that is more effective and about half the cost of a one-on-one tutoring program. At Chelsea Hall, their members collaborate with their peers and learn their class material in our small Group Study Sessions taught each week by their energetic and experienced teachers, or they study individually or with friends in their Study Hall with the tutoring guidance and assistance of Carroll Senior High School’s top students.

Monthly events are an essential part of the Chelsea Hall experience. These events are designed to help our members better navigate the college application and admission process with valuable tips from our expert lecturers, as well as excel in their academic experience at Carroll High and Carroll Senior High through shared experiences and advice from their student tutors, teachers, and staff members.

Their offerings include four separate services to their members: Group Study Sessions, Pop-Up Test Reviews, Study Hall, and SAT/ACT test prep. Learn more about Chelsea Hall here.

Birthplace of Carroll Schools and the City of Southlake Turns 100

To celebrate the centennial of Carroll Hill School, the first school in our award-winning school district and the place where the City of Southlake was born, the Southlake Historical Society is presenting an exhibit from July 12-September 6 in the lobby of Town Hall and in the Southlake Public Library located at 1400 Main St. A free ice cream social and reception open to all will be 5-6:30 p.m. on July 28.

For years, the school was the centerpiece of the community; in 1917, Tarrant County consolidated one-room schools in now-Southlake into District No.99. Farmers and others in this poor, rural district (property values totaled $207,000) voted to raise their taxes to build a brick schoolhouse. In 1919, after World War I had ended, it was built. The school was named for B. Carroll, the Tarrant County Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Carroll Hill, the school built on a hill, was not fancy like schools in Grapevine and Bedford. It had three classrooms that held nine grades. “The original Carroll building … is as plain, sturdy and practical as the farmers who built it,” Mary Ann King, Carroll’s granddaughter, told Carroll ISD trustees in 2009 when it was feared the building would be torn down. “In this throwaway society, it is important to have an anchor to the past. It takes tangible things, something to touch, to remind us all of the history that has gone before.”

The school still stands, at 1055 N. Carroll Ave., north of Texas 114 and next to the former Carroll Intermediate School (now Southlake Baptist Church). There is a Texas historical marker out front. The school is not open to the public.

The exhibit will include pictures of students from 1919 into the 1960s, plus a special picture of 2019 Carroll graduates in front of the school. Drawings made with the input of women and men who attended Carroll Hill in the 1930s and ’40s will give a look at the school’s classrooms, stage and removable chalkboards. Visitors will also see pictures and history of the early days of Southlake, established in 1956.

Because of racial segregation, black and biracial students could not attend Carroll Hill. In 1920, local rancher Bob Jones had Walnut Grove School built for his grandchildren and neighbors’ children. The school closed in 1951 because most of its seven or so students were ready to enter junior high, for which they had to go to Fort Worth. Carroll ISD’s newest elementary school is named in honor of the one-room Walnut Grove School.

This being a school exhibit, there will be lots to learn. Learn which city was aiming to annex our area when local citizens voted at Carroll Hill School to incorporate into the town of Southlake. Learn lots of Carroll “firsts,” including which activity earned the district its first state championship (no, it wasn’t football — or any sport).

Also learn about Denton’s Annie Webb Blanton, who in 1918 was the first woman elected to statewide office (state Superintendent of Public Instruction) and whether Clyde Barrow attended Carroll Hill School.

The future of the old school is not yet known.


Artist: Courtney Fray-Dingemanse

Graphic design for the exhibit was done by Courtney Fray-Dingemanse of Grapevine, owner of the boutique marketing agency Fray Design Firm. She is a Grapevine Heritage Foundation board member.

Drawings were done by artist Karen Davidenko of Grapevine, who also teaches special education at Cannon Elementary School in Grapevine.

The exhibit is free and will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday -Thursday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The exhibit is closed on Sundays, except for the reception from 5-6:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 28 in Town Hall. The reception is open to the public.

Graphic Header – Artist, Karen Davidenko

Student Leaders Honored in Fourth Annual SKIL Awards Reception

The City of Southlake along with CISD Trustees and members of the Southlake Chamber of Commerce came together on Thursday, May 9 at The Marq Southlake to honor the students involved in the SKIL (Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership) program in the fourth Annual SKIL Awards Reception.

SKIL is a youth leadership program where students and adults can work together to make Southlake a better community by enhancing engagement with the City’s youth through educational and leadership opportunities. The program was created in partnership between the City, the Carroll Independent School District and the Southlake Chamber of Commerce.

“I always had the vision for SKIL to be an opportunity for our community’s youth to have a seat at the table with our local leaders and help us solve our local challenges.  SKIL has given these young leaders a chance to learn how things work in our community, what it takes to get them done and how good choices can be made,” said Mayor Laura Hill, the founder of the SKIL program.

Over the last year, SKIL students have had the opportunity to spend a day on the job with area business leaders during the program’s Annual Day of Internship, where area businesses like The Barrows Firm, Educational Employees Credit Union (EECU), Highland Landscaping and many others gave students an inside perspective to their business operation. The students also got the opportunity to learn from leaders at TD Ameritrade, who became a partner in the SKIL program just this last year. The students learned about the inner workings of the financial services company and presented solutions to obstacles that were presented.

In addition to learning about businesses, municipal government and school district operations, the SKIL students paid a visit to the Texas State Capital, where they had a chance to meet Representative Giovanni Capriglione and Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen about important matters affecting everyone in Texas and the importance of leadership in those matters.

“This program has become more comprehensive and illustrates all the different aspects that impact a community,” said City Staff Liaison, Daniel Cortez. “Not only do the students learn about what’s going on locally, but they get the chance to see how it fits into the larger picture with our state leadership.”

Since the program began in 2015, it has seen a phenomenal amount of support from the community and program volunteers. Each year, 20 high school Junior students are selected by Carroll Senior High School staff, which now makes a total of 80 students that have participated in the program.

As the latest 20 students of the SKIL program were honored at the May 9 reception, a scholarship was also awarded by the Southlake Chamber of Commerce. The recipient was Zeena Mahmud, who demonstrated a high level of engagement in the program and willingness to lead in a variety of capacities. “I cannot put into words how thankful I am for the city of Southlake and what they have done and provided for us,” said Mahmud.

For more information about SKIL, please visit the City’s website.

City of Southlake and Carroll ISD Strong Partnership

City Council approved an Interlocal Agreement with the Carroll Independent School District (CISD) for the utilization of a fiber optic network at the April 16 City Council meeting.

The ten-year agreement is for the shared usage of the existing CISD fiber infrastructure. The network runs underground from DPS North to The Marq Southlake. It is designed to provide high-performance data, networking and telecommunications for long distances, and supports everyday technology like Cable TV, telephone systems and the internet.

This partnership not only allows the City and Carroll ISD to support the community, it also increases redundancy across the City, while decreasing the cost for the taxpayer by sharing what is already in place.

The cost associated with the connection will come out of the FY 2019 Community Enhancement Development Corporation (CEDC) Operating Budget where the City will assist with 50% of the maintenance cost.

The City has a long history of working with Carroll ISD, programs like Southlake Kids Interested In Leadership (SKIL), the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program and MySouthlakeNews.com, to name a few, are partnerships  that the City and Carroll ISD  have joined forces to accomplish the commitment to excellence by  building a sustainable safe community for residents and visitors.

“The City of Southlake and CISD have sustained a valuable partnership throughout history because it allows both parties to work together and provide the best results for our residents and the community,” stated Chief Financial Officer Sharon Jackson.

SKIL Students Engage with Area Businesses During Annual Day of Internship

Students from Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership (SKIL), the community’s youth leadership program, experienced a day on the job with area business owners and managers during the program’s Annual Day of Internship March 22.

With the participation of 14 area businesses, including AT&T Corporate Offices, Educational Employees Credit Union (EEUC) and Highland Landscaping, SKIL students got an insider’s perspective in several industries and businesses had an opportunity to showcase their companies while mentoring the next generation of potential employees and business leaders.

“The SKIL program provides real-life shadowing opportunities for our students. Students learn theory in the classroom, and the SKIL program provides them a chance to translate the classroom to a real-world job environment,” stated EECU Director Barbara Walker.

This is the fourth year of SKIL, a program created in partnership between the City of Southlake, the Carroll Independent School District and the Southlake Chamber of Commerce. The program provides opportunities to develop leadership qualities in young citizens and create better decision makers by engaging students in their community.

SKIL does more than simply educate students about opportunities, it creates experiences for the students to participate and engage in leadership activities. Students learn about and actively contribute to projects within the City of Southlake’s various departments, as well as work with the Carroll Independent School District and the Southlake Chamber of Commerce. Through the program’s Annual Day of Internship, students also expand their entrepreneurial experiences as well. Carroll Senior High School students interested in participating in the program apply at the beginning of each academic year, and then 20 high school juniors are selected and begin program activities each October.

“SKIL offers current Southlake community leaders, business owners and residents a valuable opportunity for cultivating the next generation of leaders, which ultimately strengthens our community. The real-world insight youth leaders gain during the experience fosters an interest in government and business, which gives students a better understanding about leadership paths they may want to pursue in the future,” stated Mayor Laura Hill.

For more information about SKIL, contact Daniel Cortez in the City’s Economic Development Department at 817-748-8039.