School Times Now!
RHS Seniors Publish Physics Books for Children
Transition Luncheon
Black History Month
2009 National Merit
Finalists Announced
Empty Bowls
The Pool: Property
of RISD Coaches
Forest Ridge Green Team
Super SAC Coats for Kids
Network of
Community Ministries
100th Day Celebration at Prestonwood Elementary
Grandfriend's Day at
Canyon Creek Elementary
Northrich Elementary
Spaghetti Dinner
History Day
Competition Winner
This Weekend in RISD
Fine Arts Schedules
Athletics Schedules
RISD Teacher Job Fair
Open House Schedule
Excellence in Education
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RHS Seniors publish Physics books for children
Looking for a good book to read? Grab a copy of ‘Optics,’ which tells the tale of Timothy T. the physics prodigy and his sidekicks Earl and Pearl as they explore the world of mirrors, light, lenses, microscopes and telescopes. It was written last year by Richardson High School seniors. Yes, high school seniors wrote it, and yes, it’s all about physics - with a rather interesting twist: it caters to elementary students. But it’s likely to stimulate higher level scientific thinking from all age groups because it’s presented in a highly entertaining and enjoyable way and is illustrated with some very talented original art.

During the 2007/2008 school year, RHS AP Physics instructor Dr. George Hademenos gave his class the assignment of writing physics related short stories for upper elementary students. Dr. Hademenos says of the project entitled ‘So You Want To Be An Author,’ “One of the things I like to do as a teacher is to think outside the box. I don’t want to give my students standard, tailored projects. Instead, I like to involve other aspects of their educational experience. The premise behind my students writing science books was this: it’s one thing to learn something, but to totally understand it you have to be able to communicate it to a variety of audiences. The challenge was to learn the subject well enough to be able to relay and teach the concept to a child.”

RHS senior Julie McKinney, co-author of ‘Optics,’ and her classmates met the challenge and wrote fourteen 32-page children’s books that covered a variety of topics such as motion, energy, temperature, sound, electricity, and magnetism, to name a few. The books all have fully developed characters that children can relate to, and story lines that children can easily understand. The authors also had to come up with hands-on activities relating to each topic in each book that could be done at home using inexpensive readily available materials. Oh yes, and they also had to get their books published.
In April, Julie will be representing the RHS AP Physics class as a speaker at the annual Texas Library Association State Conference in Houston. She will also take part in the Teen Book Talk panel while there. The theme of this year’s TLA conference is ‘Texas Libraries: Creating Communities of Ideals and Innovations’. And certainly, the cross-curricular methodology that Julie and her classmates employed to write physics stories for elementary aged students is innovative. Says Julie, “Our use of a fiction format to present scientific information allowed us creative expression, and also encouraged participation from the younger students.”

Julie was also chosen to represent RHS because she also co-authored a paper with Dr. Hademenos about her classes’ experience with the project entitled ‘Learning as They Write: A Project-Based Learning Assignment to Conceptualize Physics Concepts’.

Her paper details the process of the project from conceptualization to the publishing phase, including working as a group, formatting, layout and illustration, ‘field testing’ the experiments in each book and final editing. This paper will appear in an upcoming issue of the national publication ‘The Physics Teacher.’

RHS AP Physics students Dana Braff, Eva Brutto, Sam Buckley and Ryan Monaghan rounded out the project team, and RHS librarian Nancy Kubasek was instrumental in arranging Julie’s upcoming TLA presentation.

The Timothy T. series is available through for both soft cover purchase and free download. >Top
Transition Luncheon
RISD's Transition Services Program held their 19th Annual Business Luncheon last week at the Renaissance Dallas-Richardson Hotel.

The Transition Program assists students with disabilities by providing training, life skills and employment experience to help prepare them for independent employment and living as valuable, productive members of the community.

The purpose of the annual luncheon is to recognize existing employers who work with the program by providing employment opportunities, and offer potential employers the opportunity to see the powerful impact that a transition student can have on their workplace focus and culture.

Local weather icon Troy Dungan served as master of ceremonies.

Student speakers included:

Kate Andereck and Angela Schaar, employed at Women’s Health Specialists of Dallas.

Kyle Hoover and Jan Weisner, employed at Starbucks in Highland Park Village.

Evelyn Huang and Shawn Hurst, employed at Marshalls.

Thanks to all employers for providing these important opportunities, and a special thanks to the Renaissance Dallas-Richardson Hotel for hosting the luncheon at no cost.

If you are a parent of a child with a disability or a business potentially interested in offering employment through the program, please contact 469-593-7440 for more information. >Top
Black History Month
Like many campuses across RISD, Stults Road Elementary sixth graders recently celebrated Black History Month, demonstrating a sense of community and cooperation by creating quilts for their classrooms in art class.

After studying facial proportions, contour and gesture drawing, each student chose a prominent person from Black History as a focal point and a quilt pattern from the secret quilt code for the background of their square.

Oral tradition tells of African slaves using quilt patterns to guide them to freedom along the Underground Railroad. The patterns originated in Africa and were used in America to communicate information on when and how to escape on the Underground Railroad and the landmarks to look for and instructions to follow. Knots were used in the construction of the quilts which often indicated the important dates by the number of knots. For example, six knots for June and knots two inches apart meant prepare to travel twenty miles. The quilts were hung on fences and clotheslines in a pretense of being aired to avoid suspicion.
Students participated in every step of the quilt-making process, from cutting the squares to helping with the sewing. Besides their art teacher, Mrs. Nancy Newhouse and Mrs. Deborah Bundage were involved in the project.

Stults Road quilts had a secret surprise too. In the middle square of each quilt there is a picture of their classroom teacher. Their teachers were also surprised by receiving the quilts as gifts of appreciation from their students.

The quilts will be displayed through March 23, 2009 at the Richardson Public Library as part of the Rosemary Cheney Show for the Richardson ISD Art Department. >Top
2009 National Merit FinalistS
Congratulations to RISD's top academic achievers for being named National Merit Finalists for 2009. Their stellar academic performance has placed them in the top one percent nationally among high school seniors, and they're now eligible to receive National Merit Scholarships.

Drew A. Albert, Pearce High School
James S. Anderson, Pearce High School
Alex S. Devine, Pearce High School
Alexandru Firan, Pearce High School
Young J. Lee, Pearce High School
Kevin Wang, Lake Highlands High School
Matthew F. Weir, Pearce High School >Top
Empty Bowls
This year, art students at thirteen RISD schools created hand-made, one of a kind bowls to donate to the Empty Bowls Project. Empty Bowls is an international charity project to raise awareness and funds for food banks. The Dallas event benefits the North Texas Food Bank. The list of participating schools and the sponsoring art teachers is below.

Aikin Elementary, Teresa Parsons
Apollo Junior High, Susan Bynum
Berkner High School, Hope Lattauzio
Forestridge Elementary, Kathleen Kirchoff
Moss Haven Elementary, Sarah Norman
Northlake Elementary, Kim Temple
Northrich Elementary, Kate Schatz
Parkhill Jr. High, Jeanine Gaston
Pearce High School, Kenny Fulton and Don Longo
Prairie Creek Elementary, Anne Gallo
Richardson Heights Elementary, Lance Norman
Richardson High School, Randy Findley
Spring Creek Elementary, Liz Salmon and Kate Schatz >Top
the pool: property of RISD coaches
Talyna Neff
Regina Moss
RISD coaches recently swept the Regional Coach of the Year honors for aquatic sports.

By a vote of their peers, Berkner High School’s Talyna Neff was named the Regional Diving Coach of the Year, and Richardson High School’s Regina Moss was named the Regional Swimming Coach of the Year. Both were previously named district coaches of the year for their respective areas and also have athletes competing at the Texas State Swimming and Diving Championships this weekend.

Congratulations! >Top
forestridge elementary recycling team
The Forestridge Elementary Green Team is excited to help the school and community with their recycling efforts. Their new blue recycling bin from the City of Dallas was delivered last week, and these students plan to work hard to recycle as much as they possibly can.

The new Big Blue bin from the City of Dallas program is a “Single Stream” recycling bin accepting not just paper, but cans, plastics, and bottles also, without the need to sort.

The City Program will also return a portion of the money earned back to Forestridge. >Top
super sac coats for Kids
Every year, the Superintendent's Student Advisory Council (Super SAC) creates a competitive service opportunity for all four high school campuses to give back to the community.

This year the competition was collecting coats and blankets for distribution to children from less fortunate circumstances. Of the schools, Richardson High School collected the most coats and won the trophy.

In all, more than 600 coats and 50 blankets were collected.

Thanks to all who participated to help those less fortunate. >Top
network of community ministries
The Network of Community Ministries was created in 1986, specifically to benefit RISD families in need. A major part of their mission is providing/supplementing food for district students and their families who aren’t able to afford regular meals. The Network’s food supplies are getting alarmingly low, and they are in need of any non-perishable food items the community is willing to donate. One hundred percent of items donated go directly to RISD students in need and their families, including those at RISD campuses in the City of Dallas.

Items may be dropped off at the Network’s facility at 741 S. Sherman Street in Richardson.

For more information, please call 972-234-8880, email or visit >Top
100th day at prestonwood elementary
The 100th day of class was eagerly anticipated by younger students across the district as many campuses use the calendar as a way to teach counting and numbers. When the magical "100" was reached at Prestonwood Elementary students got to go through the 100th day snack line to count out their 100 items of yummy (yet nutritious!) snacks. >Top
Grandfriend's day at canyon creek elementary
This Valentine’s Day was especially sweet at Canyon Creek Elementary. On Friday, February 13th, the CCE PTA hosted their annual Grandfriends’ Day celebration during the students’ lunch periods. A long-standing Canyon Creek tradition, Grandfriends’ Day provides an opportunity for relatives and family friends, old and young alike, to visit students and reminisce about their own days in elementary school.

This year, approximately 400 Grandfriends joined the students and staff of Canyon Creek for lunch, with many visitors experiencing the school through a second generation of loved ones, having had their own children attend CCE decades before. While plenty of candy was undoubtedly exchanged among the students during the classroom parties later that day, none of it could have been as sweet as the time spent with their loved ones on Grandfriends’ Day. >Top
northrich elementary spaghetti dinner
Many Northrich Elementary students, parents and staff attended the NRE annual spaghetti dinner, science fair and bake sale this month.

Wonderful food and decorations, as well as visiting time, made for an enjoyable evening.

Thanks to all who made it possible! >Top
history day competition winner
Pearce High School student Joseph Tessmer claimed the ultimate prize in RISD's National History Day Competition, winning 1st place in the region.

Congratulations! >Top
This weekend in risd

Soccer – Friday, Feb. 27
RHS Boys vs. Skyline @ Eagle Ram Stadium, 5:45 p.m., 7:00 p.m. (JV, V)
RHS Girls vs. Skyline @ Forester Fieldhouse, 5:45 p.m., 7:30 p.m. (JV, V)
BHS Boys vs. LHHS @ Wilcat-Ram Stadium, 5:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m. (JV, V)
BHS Girls vs. LHHS @ Berkner B Field, 5:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m. (JV, V)
PHS Boys vs. Highland Park @ PHS B Field, 5:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m. (JV, V)

Softball – Friday, Feb. 27
LHHS vs. Rockwall @ LHHS Softball Field, 4:00 p.m. (V)

Baseball –Friday, Feb. 27
PHS vs. BHS @ Pearce Baseball Field, 6:00 p.m. (JV)

Baseball –Saturday, Feb. 28
PHS vs. Jesuit @ Pearce Baseball Field, 12:00 noon (JV)
RHS vs. Rowlett @ RHS Baseball Field, 12:00 noon (JV)

Tennis – Friday, Feb. 27
PHS vs. Frisco @ PHS Tennis Courts, 4:00 p.m. (V)
LHHS vs. Rockwall @ LHHS Tennis Courts, 4:00 p.m. (V)
RHS to Fair Oaks tournament @ Fair Oaks Tennis Center, all day (JV, V) >Top
RHS 5k Run - March 7
Richardson High School 5K benefiting the RHS Excellence in Education Fund.

When: March 7, 2009 at 9 a.m.
Where: 1250 W. Beltline Road
Richardson, Texas 75080

Registration at or in person at Run On! Richardson

$15 Early Bird-if registered by February 25 - $20 after February 25 - $25 Race Day - $10 for all students

Packet pick-up March 4-6 at Run On! Richardson, 1469 W. Campbell Road, Richardson, TX.

For more information please visit, >Top
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