School Times Now!
Superintendent Update
RISD Receives Highest
Marks for Efficiency
Four RISD Spellers Advance
Vouchers for Juniors
Dallas Area Team Wins
Construction Challenge
RISD Artists
Continue to Shine
Little Ladies Lunch Group
Rangers Winter Caravan
Stops at RISD Academy
Partners Corner
PHS to Host Regional
Academic Decathlon
High School Highlights
29th Annual RISD Council
of PTAs Used Book Fair
Come Dance With
The RHS Eaglettes
Upcoming High School
This Weekend in RISD
Follow RISD on Twitter
2010-11 Academic Calendar
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Superintendent Update
As we shared previously, we want to consistently inform all RISD stakeholders about the challenges facing public education in light of the state's current deficit budget and projected shortfall for the next biennium. To recap, the state is facing a significant revenue shortfall. Initially, Texas school districts were anticipating a state-wide shortfall of approximately $4 billion to public education. Figures released last week more than doubled the number. House Bill 1 reflects a shortfall of $9.8 billion, and the Senate's version reflects a shortfall of $9.3 billion for public education. These projections are unprecedented. As the session progresses, the legislature will have a number of options, including use of the Rainy Day Fund, to offset the impact to school districts. We anticipate numerous discussions and debates prior to any final decisions. We will continue to monitor proposals and provide information as the session unfolds.

What do these projections mean to RISD? Depending on the method used at the state level to cut funds, the district's shortfall could range from $19-$54 million (8-20% of the total operating budget). The good news is that RISD has been conservative and currently has a surplus operating budget that will partially offset this projected loss of state funds.

To help offset the budget shortfall, I have recommended a "salary freeze" for all employees in the 2011-12 budget. By this action, the district will save $4 million from next year's operating budget and will need to consider many other budget reductions as well.

During the next several months, many budget proposals will be discussed, and multiple scenarios for public education will be presented to the Legislature. Please know that we are committed to staying abreast of the process and will be diligent in communicating with RISD elected officials and district stakeholders. Regardless of the decisions at the state level, RISD will continue to shape lives and influence attitudes of our students. The district's mission remains constant, and we will face these challenges together.

Kay Waggoner >Top
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RISD Receives Highest Marks for Efficiency
The Washington, D.C.-based Center for American Progress released a study this week comparing more than 9,000 U.S. school districts in areas of academic achievement and dollars spent. The Return on Educational Investment Report uses financial and test score data to offer a "district-by-district evaluation of U.S. educational productivity."

The report evaluates data to offer three educational productivity indexes, Basic Return on Investment (ROI) Index, Adjusted Return on Investment Index and Predicted Efficiency Index. In all three measures, RISD received the highest ROI available.

"We appreciate objective efforts to measure school districts in achievement and fiscal efficiency," said Dr. Kay Waggoner, RISD Superintendent. "Studies like this present an opportunity to evaluate areas in which RISD can operate more effectively or efficiently, and we'll consider this report with those goals in mind. High ratings are always gratifying, and are a testament to our students and employees, and the support they receive from parents and our community."

For additional information on the report, please click here. >Top
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Four RISD Spellers Advance
Emily White
Ben Mason
Abigail Taye
Afra Kamal
Four Richardson ISD students will be advancing to the Dallas County Public Schools Spelling Bee at UTD on February 24. Each recently won their school's spelling bee, and then a district spelling bee against other students from their high school's feeder pattern. In addition, four alternates were named for finishing second in their district bee.

Congratulations to:

Berkner Area
Winner: Abigail Taye – Big Springs Elementary.
Winning word: Lightning

Alternate: Angela Yeh – Dartmouth Elementary

Lake Highlands Area
Winner: Ben Mason – Merriman Park Elementary
Winning word: Marshmallow

Alternate: Naomi Reffell – Thurgood Marshall Elementary

Pearce Area
Winner: Afra Kamal – Prairie Creek Elementary.
Winning word: Misdemeanor

Alternate: Jay Schmidt – Richardson North Junior High

Richardson Area
Winner: Emily White – Richardson West Junior High
Winning word: Misanthropic

Alternate: Shankar Lal – Spring Creek Elementary >Top
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Free ACT/SAT Vouchers for Juniors
The State of Texas is making one free ACT or SAT college entrance test available to currently enrolled 11th graders in Texas. Students are eligible for one state-funded exam, either ACT (with or without writing) or SAT, on one of the eligible test administration dates in April, May or June 2011. To register for an eligible free exam, students must obtain an exam voucher from their high school counselors.

The state has funding available for approximately 60 percent of 11th graders in the state. Vouchers are expected to arrive Monday, January 31 and be ready for distribution Tuesday, February 1. They will be distributed on a first come, first served basis through the high school where the student is currently enrolled.

To obtain a voucher, students must go to the counselor's office. Students are required to sign for the voucher. Only students may request the voucher. Parents may not request one for their child. Students may not pick up a voucher for a friend or sibling. When students receive their exam voucher, they will also receive a flyer from ACT and SAT explaining the benefits of each exam. Parents are encouraged to take a few minutes to review this information with their child in order to select the exam that best fits his/her needs. If you have any questions about this opportunity, please contact your child's counselor. >Top
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All RISD Team Wins Construction Challenge
Glenn Anderson (Manager), Kathleen Francis, Molly Francis, Andrew Matsil, Aaron Kawalsky and Max Anderson.

On January 15, a all RISD team of five high school students took 1st place at the Construction Challenge Regional Rally held in Irving, Texas, competing against high school teams throughout Texas. They are preparing now for the Champion Finals in Las Vegas the week of March 21, where they will compete with the top teams from 8 other Regional tournaments across the nation.

The Dallas Area team includes Max Anderson (Richardson HS), Molly Francis (Pearce HS) Andrew Matsil (Pearce HS), Aaron Kawalsky (Pearce HS) and Kathleen Francis (Pearce HS).

The Construction Challenge is a joint effort by The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and Destination Imagination (DI), with a goal of developing the workforce of the future with teen participants competing and solving infrastructure, manufacturing design, and service tech challenges using teamwork, creativity and problem solving.

For more information about the Construction Challenge, please visit >Top

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RISD Artists Continue to Shine

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Emma Smith, 1st Place Portfolio Division
from Richardson High School
Young Masters Exhibition
The O’Donnell Foundation is proud to announce that out of 42 Studio AP art students selected to participate in the 2011 Young Masters Exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art, February 26 through April 17, 2011, four of them came from Richardson ISD! Jurors deliberated over 366 entries to determine the final art works for the show. Congratulations to each artist that submitted work and to each art teacher for their outstanding job in AP® Studio Art.
  • Kathy Tran - Richardson High School
    Art Teacher: Sonia Krusleski

  • Morgan Weidner - Richardson High School
    Art Teacher: Sonia Krusleski

  • Anna Pham - Pearce High School
    Art Teacher: Becky Keeton

  • Jonathan Amaya - Berkner High School
    Art Teacher: Hope Lattauzio
Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony and reception on Tuesday, March 29, 5-8 pm at the DMA. 

Young People's Scholarship Show
Congratulations to the art students and teachers who participated in the annual Richardson Civic Art Society’s 2011 Young People’s Scholarship Show. The exhibit runs through February 12, 2011 at the Richardson Public Library- 2nd floor. A special thank you to the City of Richardson and the Richardson Arts Commission who underwrote the financial scholarships awarded at this event.

Click here to download the full list of winners.
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Little Ladies Lunch Group
Members of the Little Ladies Lunch Group from RISD's Richland Elementary recently enjoyed a formal luncheon hosted by Elizabeth Hart, President & CEO of the RISD Excellence in Education Foundation. The luncheon concluded a fall semester eight week program in self-esteem, the idea of Richland Assistant Principal Misty Wilson and Counselor Laura Payne.

Launched last September, eight 5th grade girls were invited to participate. The course covered self-confidence, etiquette, decorating, academics, career choices and more.

Funded by an E -3 Grant from the RISD Excellence in Education Foundation, RISD Superintendent Kay Waggoner and community partners joined the girls for their "graduation luncheon." The program was so successful that sponsors have decided to add additional material and continue into the Spring Semester.
In addition to the EiE Foundation, additional thanks to Altrusa Inc., Whole Foods Market, Jean Moses of Social Power, Inc. and Half Price Books for supporting the group through donations that enhance the curriculum and experiences. >Top
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Rangers Winter Caravan Stops at RISD Academy
Nelson Cruz: "Exercise every day!"
The 2010 American League Champion Texas Rangers Winter Caravan stopped in at RISD Academy recently to the delight of fans young and older.

Three Rangers, outfielder Nelson Cruz, minor league Player of the Year Engel Beltre and minor league pitcher Jose Felix were joined by Rangers broadcaster Eleno Ornelas. The group spoke to approximately 400 students about the importance of hard work, exercising, staying in school and listening to the teachers and adults in their lives who work to help them be successful.

Among the questions from the elementary students: "How heavy is the bat?" "Was it fun beating the Yankees?" and "Have you ever gotten injured and how much did it hurt?"

Thanks to the Texas Rangers Baseball Club for choosing to visit RISD Academy! >Top
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Partners Corner
Verizon's Adopt a School Partnership!
Congratulations to Verizon for their two year partnership with RISD, benefitting Stults Road Elementary and Mark Twain Elementary. In 2009 their partnership began as a part of the RISD Partners Program's Adopt a School effort, focused on meeting the volunteer and donation needs of individual campuses. Stults Road Elementary was the first school to be adopted, and was immediately flooded with school supplies, holiday gifts and volunteer help for a variety of school events. In 2010, Verizon decided to expand their partnership and also adopt Mark Twain Elementary. Their first donation consisted of more than $25,000 worth of office supplies for these two campuses and other RISD schools that expressed a need. This generous donation was immediately followed by more than $6,000 worth of school supplies for both schools in the fall, and more than $2,700 worth of holiday gifts. Skyview Elementary students were also included in the holiday gift giveaway.

Many thanks to Verizon for their dedication and outstanding efforts to meet the needs of our schools! >Top
Kilgore Agency of Farmers Insurance –
RISD Partner's Program Rookie of the Year!

The Kilgore Agency of Farmers Insurance first joined the RISD Partners Program in the Spring of 2010 by donating $750 for the Berkner High School annual RAM JAM event. Their support for RISD quickly expanded to impact all areas of the district through their leadership as a tri-chair for the Richardson Chamber of Commerce's Education Committee. Through this committee, they have sponsored and coordinated events like the RISD New Teacher's Luncheon and the RISD College/Career Summit. Their sponsorship for the New Teachers's Luncheon included a generous donations of tote bags for more than 200 new teachers in the district. In addition, they have committed to providing door prizes and other incentives for a variety of staff throughout the year.

Currently, the Kilgore Agency volunteers as instructors for an Enrichment Cluster class at Springridge Elementary, spending an hour a week for six weeks teaching students how to build a successful business.

RISD is extremely grateful to all our partners and their generous efforts in supporting our students and teachers! >Top
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The Regional Academic Decathlon competition will be held at Pearce High School on Jan. 28-29. All four RISD high schools will be competing along with 24 other high schools from Dallas, Plano, Rockwall, Garland, Highland Park and Forney ISDs.

Academic Decathlon consists of ten academic competitions, including Essay, Interview, Speech, Math, Music, Economics, Science, Language/Literature, Art and Super Quiz. The contest theme this year is the Great Depression, on which most of the tests focus.

The public is cordially invited to the Super Quiz portion of the competition, during which each competitor must answer questions about the Great Depression. The Super Quiz will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29 in the large gym at Pearce High School, 1600 N. Coit Road in Richardson. >Top
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High school highlights
Berkner High School
The public is invited to the Multicultural Open House on March 8. Download flyer here.

The Berkner Academic Decathlon team recently competed in the Richardson ISD District competition over the past two days, finishing first in the district. Team members Derek Hammons, Gina Chou, Alexander Flores, Eun Ji Seo, Erin Kim, Elena Najjab, Meaghan Roche, Aysha Najjab, Michael Knapp, Rodolfo Macias, Marisa Durham, Luke Nicholson, and Andrew Rabago demonstrated poise and teamwork in an excellent effort. >Top
Lake Highlands High School
(pictured) LHHS's DECA (an international association of marketing students) students recently toured Cowboys Stadium during preparations for Super Bowl XLV. Sponsor Gretchen Iglehart took her marketing classes to learn about the transformation of Cowboy Stadium into the Super Bowl. The National Football League is one of the most successfully marketed brands in the United States.

Former LHHS and major league baseball player Scott Livingstone was recently named to the UIL All Century Third team as one of the top high school players in the history of Texas. He played third base for the Wildcats in the early 1980s. >Top
Pearce High School
(pictured) The PHS AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination – a college preparation and skills program) department, headed by Pam Jones, recently hosted their 2nd annual 8th Grade AVID Day. AVID students from North and Parkhill junior highs came to Pearce for an introduction to the high school environment, including the rigorous expectations . A teacher from each core class talked to the group about the differences between regular and advanced core classes to help the students best decide which advanced core courses best fit their academic strength. The students also spent time observing an advanced placement class, hosted by a Pearce upperclassman. A lunch and tour of the school completed the eye-opening day for current 8th graders. >Top
Richardson High School
RHS student Nick Anderson received the Silver Medal and certificate for the 2011 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Traveling Exhibit. His teacher is Sonia Krusleski.

(pictured) The RHS Programming Team had a successful showing at the 3rd Annual Wildcat Invitational at Plano Senior H.S. this month. Entering four Novice and three Advanced teams, RHS students earned nine medals, including two top finishes. Team members include Yaseen Ahmad, Michael Breedlove, Raiyan Choudhury, Eric Coldewey, Jacob Echols, Mark Fulbright, Raul Guarda, Tim Harris, Bailey Myers-Morgan, Noel Negusse, Jason Nguyen, Makenna Taylor, Stuart Taylor, Kate Terry, Zoe Zalta, Eduardo Zapata and Scott Zeid. They are sponsored by Henry Vo.
(pictured) RHS Law Magnet students recently placed sixth in Texas at the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Competition. It consisted of the students participating in a mock congressional hearing on a particular aspect of U.S. constitutional history and government. This competition is a national competition put on by the Center for Civic Education and is hosted in Texas by Law Related Education and the State Bar of Texas in Austin. Students use our State Capitol's congressional hearing rooms and are judged by a panel of professionals from the government and academic fields. Their teacher is Sara Hofeditz. >Top
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Come Dance With The RHS Eaglettes!

The RHS Eaglettes Dance Mini-Clinic is scheduled for Monday, February 21, 2011 from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. in the RHS Large Gym. Registration forms for girls ages 6-16 are available at RHS Elementary and Junior High feeder schools. Registration forms are also available at

Mini-Clinic participants will receive a T-shirt, CD, and snacks, along with the opportunity to perform at the Eaglette Revue on April 2, 2011..

For more information, email Eaglette Director Liz Thompson at or Clinic Coordinator Zipporah Young at >Top

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29th Annual RISD Council of PTAs Used book Fair
This year's Used Book Fair will be held in the Dal-Rich Shopping Center on the South-East corner of Belt Line and Coit Rd on Feb. 17-19 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Feb. 20 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Click here to download the flyer. >Top
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Upcoming High School Performances
Berkner High School Presents: Once Upon a Mattress
Berkner High School is pleased to announce the incredible performances of Once Upon A Mattress February 3, 4, 5 at 7:30pm in the Berkner High School auditorium.

This is the musical story of the "Princess and the Pea" written by Mary Rogers and Marshal Barer. The cast has been rehearsing dances, songs, and all manner of pageantry to bring you the best show possible on a high school stage. This fairy tale is suitable for all lords and ladies no matter what their age in years!

Tickets are available from Jan Flesch (469-593-7002) for $8.00 in advance for students and $10.00 for adults. Tickets at the door will be $12.00 for students and adults. >Top
Pearce High School Presents: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels The Musical
February 17-27, 2011 - Reserved seats $9-$15 are now available online here.

General admission tickets $5 & $8
available at Box Office only.
See Buy Tickets tab for Box Office hours.

The musical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, is based on a popular 1998 film by the same title. It's about two fraudsters, Lawrence Jameson and Freddy Benson, living on the French Riviera. Lawrence is a cultivated and suave gentleman who cons rich ladies out of their money. Freddy on the other hand is a small time American thief who cons women into giving him money by telling made up stories about his sick grandmother. The two men soon find out that the small French town they live in isn't big enough to support two scammers, so they setup a challenge. The battle between them offers many twists, turns and laughs along the way. >Top
Richardson High School Presents: Singin' In The Rain
You know the plot. You love the characters. You're probably humming the song right now! It's not less than the stage adaptation of one of the most celebrated and beloved films of all time.

1920s Hollywood is the setting for this zany, light-hearted romantic comedy about the early days of sound in film, when many a movie studio found itself scrambling to salvage the career of its chipmunk-voiced silent picture star. >Top

February 3-5 at 7:30 p.m.
February 6, at 2 p.m.

In the Auditorium
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This Weekend in RISD
Fine Arts
January 16 – February 12 - Richardson Civic Society’s Young People’s Scholarship Art Show featuring the artistic accomplishments of art students at Berkner, Lake Highlands, J. J. Pearce & Richardson High Schools @ Richardson Public Library

Band, Saturday, January 29     
Lake Highlands High School Winterguard to Richland High School Winterguard Competition @ W. G. Thomas Coliseum in North Richland Hills.  All day event, admission fee applies.

High School Sports
Basketball, Friday, January 28
Berkner High School boys vs. Jesuit Prep @ Berkner High School, 7:30 p.m.
Richardson High School boys vs. Skyline High School @ Richardson High School, 7:30 p.m.
Richardson High School girls vs. Skyline High School @ Skyline High School, 8:000 p.m.
Pearce High School girls vs. Highland Park High School @ Pearce High School, 7:30 p.m.
Pearce High School boys vs. Highland Park High School @ Highland Park High School, 7:30 p.m.
Lake Highlands High School boys vs. W. T .White High School @ Loos Fieldhouse, 8:00 p.m.
Lake Highlands High School girls vs. W. T .White High School @ Lake Highlands High School, 7:30 p.m.

Soccer, Friday, January 28     
Pearce High School boys to Round Rock Classic, locations and times TBD
Lake Highlands High School girls vs. Hebron High School @ Lake Highlands High School, 7:00 p.m.
Lake Highlands High School boys vs. Hebron High School @ Hebron High School, 7:00 p.m.
Berkner High School girls vs. Home School Association @ Berkner High School, 6:00 p.m.
Richardson High School boys vs. DeSoto High School @ DeSoto High School, 7:00 p.m. >Top
Did you miss an issue of School Times Now!? Click here to view the archives. >Top
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