School Times Now!
Superintendent Update
TEA Grants Waivers for
Snow Makeup Days
Berkner HS Teacher
Named STEM Winner
29th Annual Used Book
Fair Nets More Than
$30,000 for Scholarships
STAAR is Replacing
TAKS in 2011-2012
Ten RISD Teams Advance
to State Destination
Imagination Competition
White Rock Elementary
& Richardson High School
Mentor Program
Northlake Health Fair
ACM Raises More Than
$10,000 For Healthy Hearts
Richland Elementary's
Annual Oratorical
Bukhair Elementary
Art Students Help
PHS Help Kids
RISD's White Wins
County Spelling Bee
High School Highlights
RISD Planetarium
to Host: Yuri's Night
Save the Date
This Weekend in RISD
Follow RISD on Twitter
Like RISD on Facebook
2010-11 Academic Calendar
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Superintendent Update
In this update, we would like to recognize staff on recent national and state awards and provide you with updates on several key issues, at the state and local level.

Join us in congratulating two Principals on recent awards – Darwin Spiller, Stults Road Principal, who was named a TEPSA National Distinguished Principal finalist from Texas, and Charles Pickitt, RHS Principal, who was named one of the state's five HEB Secondary Principal Finalists. This is a tremendous honor for Mr. Spiller and Mr. Pickitt, both campuses and the district. Congratulations!

Please mark your calendars for May 14. In addition to the Bond election, we anticipate a Board of Trustees Election as well. If you are not currently registered to vote or if you have moved since the last election, we encourage you to register by early April. To vote in the May 14 election, you have to be registered 30 days prior to election day. We have recently updated the district's Bond webpage – see the updates at Please feel free to share these documents.

At the Central Administration Building, we are reducing several departmental budgets to stay as far away from classrooms and instruction as possible. Click here to review the updated Budget Reduction list that we shared with the RISD Board on March 7. We will be deliberate and thoughtful in the budget reduction process. The next step is an opportunity for all RISD stakeholders to assist us in the prioritization of budget reduction ideas.

Two Trustees and I spent the past two days in Austin as part of the Chamber's City of Richardson Day at the Capitol. We had the opportunity to visit with our elected officials, and we expressed support of legislation that would continue to fund programs and services. We also expressed the importance of accessing a portion of the state's Rainy Day fund for public education. Overwhelmingly, we received positive feedback for the job we are doing in RISD – both in the district's student successes and financial stewardship. They are facing tremendous challenges this legislative session. We left with the assurance that they are working hard for us and are very cognizant of the impact of decisions on local programs and services.

Thank you for your support of RISD, and we wish you a safe and enjoyable Spring Break! >Top
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TEA Grants Waivers For Snow Makeup Days
The Texas Education Agency has granted RISD's requests for waivers for the missed instructional days in February due to inclement weather. This means that beyond the already-scheduled snow makeup day on Friday, April 22, no additional makeup days will be needed. The final day of the school year for students will remain Thursday, June 2, and Friday, June 3 will remain a Records Day for campus staff.

Please note that Friday, April 22 will be used as a snow makeup day, and schools will be open and operating on a normal schedule. >Top
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Berkner HS Teacher Named STEM Winner
Berkner High School mathematics teacher Kelly Tackett has been named the winner of the prestigious Texas Instruments Foundation Innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Teaching Award. Surprised in her classroom by Dr. Waggoner, the TI Foundation's Ann Pomykal and RISD Excellence in Education Foundation Chairman Richard Ramey, Tackett wanted her students to share the moment as she received flowers, balloons and an oversized check for $10,000 ($5,000 for her and $5,000 for her classroom, equipment or professional development). The STEM Teaching award is sponsored by the Texas Instruments Foundation, administered by the RISD Excellence in Education Foundation and recognizes an outstanding, creative and student-focused teacher in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

Congratulations Kelly! >Top
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29th Annual Used Book Fair Nets More than $30,000 for Scholarships
Long before the doors opened on the morning of February 19, the line of people toting bags, carts and suitcases – yes suitcases – waiting to shop the 29th annual rash of reading extravaganza was several hundred deep.

Thanks to volunteers like Geralyn Hill, one of the many hardworking PTA volunteers, this year's RISD Used Book Fair was yet another success.

"We collected over 62,000 books from all the schools in our district," says Hill. "This year's book fair earned the J.J. Pearce Scholarship Fund $30,918!"

"This is a real leap from the roughly $20,000 we earned last year when there was a snow storm on our opening day."
Scholarships awarded from the money raised will go to students from all four of the RISD high schools, as well as teachers in the district who are continuing their education.

To pull off the four day sale, a total of 250 volunteers were recruited. That figure doesn't include the many students who volunteered hours for the National Honor Society and a variety of youth leagues.

In all, says Hill, it takes over 500 volunteers to help with the preparation, sorting, set up, sale days and clean up.

While she had no official count of how many customers visited the sale, Hill did report on what was most popular.

"The kids section is always a good seller, particularly elementary fiction series like the Magic Tree House, Captain Underpants, and the older hardback Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys."

"We also sold a lot of hardback fiction, with dealers snapping them up," said Hill. " And this year we also had a 'special books' section."

"George Daley, a retired principal from Apollo Junior High, went through incoming books looking for signed copies, first editions and antiques. We were able to charge more than the $2 hardback price for these, and all of them sold on the first day."

"We had outstanding volunteers this year," added Hill. "There's really not much to improve upon for next year, except maybe the weather during the weeks of collection."

As to the disposition of remaining books, there's no loss for organizations willing to purchase them for a song, and it's a win-win.

RISD garners additional monies for the fund, and the books are affordable, heading to spots like Belize, China, Girl Scout troops and groups like Dallas Can Do Better and Green is Good.

Hill also shared another bright spot from last month's sale about a gentleman who she says comes in every year on the last day of the event, known as Bag Day.

"He purchases 10 brown grocery bags and fills them with paperbacks, then sends them overseas to our troops."

"This year, he's sending the books to Afghanistan. What a wonderful thing to do!"

(Article courtesy of >Top
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STAAR is Replacing TAKS in 2011-2012
Beginning in the 2011-2012 school year, STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) will begin replacing TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) as the new student assessment program of Texas. STAAR will assess the same TEKS standards in a deeper, more rigorous way. Richardson ISD is working hard to prepare each of our students and teachers for a smooth and successful transition to this new program.

Please review the attached document for more information.
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Ten RISD Teams Advance to State Destination Imagination Competition

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RISD had more than 60 teams compete in DAL-RICH regional Destination Imagination (DI) competition recently. Teams formed in the fall, and worked for months preparing for the competition, which offers a choice of eight Team Challenges that build on and showcase team members' strengths in Fine Arts, Improvisational, Scientific, Technical, Structural, DI Extreme, projectOUTREACH and Rising Stars.

DI teams learn creative problem solving and critical thinking skills to solve the open ended challenges presented to them.

RISD had 10 teams earn the honor of placing first in their challenge and age group and earning the opportunity to advance to the state level of competition in April.

Congratulations to students, sponsors and volunteers from:

3GB, Pearce High School
All Stars, West Junior High
Brain Train, Brentfield Elementary
Devils of Tasmania, West Junior High
Disco Jammerz, Parkhill Junior High
In-3D, Brentfield Elementary
Moss Haven Hippies, Moss Haven Elementary
Not So Average Joes, Richardson High School
Out O' the Box, Brentfield Elementary
TBD's, Moss Haven Elementary >Top
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White Rock Elementary & Richardson High School Mentor Program
Some White Rock Elementary students recently completed their Science Fair process with some unusual guidance – AP Physics students from the Richardson High School Science Magnet have visited with them several times since last year to mentor them in applying the scientific process to their projects. The meetings began with the older and younger students meetings and brainstorming about project ideas, with subsequent meetings held so the younger students could share their progress and ask questions and advice. The final meeting this week was the first time the RHS students were able to see their mentees' finished projects and learn how they fared in the competition. The experience was valuable and enjoyable for all the students. Thanks go to WRE teachers Amy Burger and Barbara Rhoden, and RHS teachers Aurora Everett and Kristin Gonzales-Vega for making this unique pilot happen. >Top
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Northlake Health Fair
Northlake Elementary recently hosted a health fair for students and parents Attendees learned about asthma, fitness and nutrition, heart health, dental health and safety issues in the home. Dr. Manvinder Kainth, a Lake Highlands family practice physician, gave away bike helmets to many students. Several RISD nurses were available to provide blood pressure and vision screenings and immunization information. Lake Highlands YMCA provided summer program information and set up a bounce house in the gym.

Thanks to Northlake's community partners, staff, volunteers, and attendees for making the event a success. >Top
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ACM Raises more than $10,000 for Healthy Hearts
Through the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart program, Arapaho Classical Magnet students gathered to celebrate their achievement of raising more than $10,000 for the cause. P.E. teacher Gil Martinez promised students that if they raised more than $8,500, he would allow them to shave his head in front of the school. Fortunately for the Heart Association, Mr. Martinez was duly shorn in front of hundreds of students, with second grader Olivia Sherbert, who raised the most money, given the honor of making the first cut.

Congratulations and thanks to all the students who participated! >Top
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Richland Elementary's annual oratorical competition
Richland Elementary held its annual oratorical competition, with students performing poems or monologues for a panel of judges. KTVT reporter Stephanie Lucero served as a special guest judge and spoke to students about the importance of public speaking. >Top
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Bukhair Elementary Art Students help PHS Help Kids
Art students from Carolyn Bukhair Elementary recently helped out Pearce High School student council members design and create posters to be used to motivate and advertise a service project called "Strengthening the Link from A to Zinc."

The goal is to collect at least 2000 bottles of children's vitamins for Medical Wings International. This event was coordinated by CBE art teacher Becky Keeton and PHS art teacher Kelly Norman. >Top
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RISD's White Wins County Spelling Bee
For the third time in five years, RISD student Emily White has won the Dallas County Schools Spelling Bee. She has advanced to the county bee for the last five years, after winning her quadrant in RISD. The Richardson West Junior High student will now advance to the 53rd Annual Dallas Morning News Regional Spelling Bee on March 26 (broadcast on Channel 8). Emily finished in the top five at last year's Regional bee, which includes competitors from 38 Texas counties. The regional champion advances to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations Emily & best of luck! >Top
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High School Highlights
Congratulations Bandos!
Berkner High School
Congratulations to boys basketball coach Rod Wright for being voted District 9-5A Coach of the Year. The team finished the season 26-10, including 13-1 in district. >Top

(pictured) The Bandoleras Drill team recently fared well at the Crowd Pleasers Dance/Drill Contest at Timbercreek High School in Keller. More than 50 teams from around Texas competed, and the Bandos brought home the following awards:

Team Awards
Super Sweepstakes; Team Novelty - Best in Class; Team Hip Hop - 2nd Runner Up

Elite Awards
Gold Sweepstakes; Kickline - Best in Class; Dance Team - Best in Class

Officer Awards
Super Sweepstakes; Officer Jazz - Best in Class; Officer Lyrical - 1st runner up; Officer Contemporary - 1st runner up; Choreography Award for Jazz

Showcase Elite Award – Top 5 officer groups of overall contest

The Bandoleras annual Spring Show will be March 31, April 1 & 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the BHS auditorium. Please visit for details. >Top

Question: How can you attend a Dallas Stars game at a discounted rate, see the Berkner Ramblers perform, and have a portion of the cost support the Ramblers?

Answer: Open this flyer with all the details! >Top
Lake Highlands High School
(pictured) Six LHHS students recently attended the Texas Association of Future Educators annual conference in San Marcos, learning more about careers in education through attendance and competition at this TEA-recognized Career & Technology student organization.

Contestants and Delegates from LHHS include:
President: Stesha Tacker; Vice President: Decheil Cooper; Secretary: Anna Harris; Reporter: Bianca Henderson; Photographer: Rocio Gonzales; State Finalist: Sarah Kent (Education Leadership Fundamentals Exam)

LHHS students also received a Blue Ribbon for Project Visualize and for Scrapbook documenting meetings, projects, fundraising, and classroom participation and teacher appreciation activities. They are sponsored by Gretchen Iglehart. >Top
(pictured) A LHHS Team finished second in the annual RISD 24 Hour Video Race last weekend. Videography teams met Friday afternoon to receive their instructions, including items and dialogue that had to be included in all of the videos. The teams had 24 hours in which to write, shoot, and edit their video and submit it on Saturday. Collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and technical expertise were required. Congratulations to team members:

Jake Gaba, Lizzie Housewright, Carly Kaplan, Doug Keffer, Ethan Lewis, Christmas Myers, Rebeca Orman, Isabel Pask, Xan Parry, Josh Pilles, Peyton Slater and Bubba Smitham. >Top
Pearce High School
(pictured) Pearce H.S. AP Human Geography students recently participated in a collaborative project with students from Chicago, Los Angeles and Anchorage to research, create and present presentations on cyber bullying. With help from Cisco Systems, the project culminated with students gathering for a half day videoconference among the four cities to offer information, multi-media presentations, and exchange feedback. Students were able to utilize technology, critical thinking, teamwork and presentation skills throughout the assignment. Their teacher is Susan McClellan. >Top
Richardson High School
(pictured) Richardson High School principal Charles Pickitt was surprised this week at school by the representatives from HEB Corporation with the news that he is a secondary principal finalist in the prestigious HEB Excellence in Education awards program. To the cheers of students and staff, he received a check for $1,000 and RHS will receive a check for $2,500. Mr. Pickitt will now compete to be named the sole statewide winner, announced in May. That winner receives $10,000 and another $25,000 for their school. Congratulations! >Top
RHS teacher Bobbie Weir was recently named Junior Achievement's Teacher of the Year for 2011. She was nominated for her former principal, Forest meadow JH's Charles Bruner, for her implementation of the JA Finance Park curriculum that teaches students about personal finance.

Congratulations! >Top
(pictured) RHS student Lisa Trieu finished second in the state of Texas recently at the 22nd Annual Texas State Japanese Language Speech Contest.

Her division 1 poetry recitation earned her state runner up status – congratulations! >Top
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RISD Planetarium to Host: Yuri's Night
Yuri's Night: April 12, 2011 from 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Human Spaceflight became a reality 45 years ago with the launch of a bell-shaped capsule called "Vostok 1." The capsule was carrying Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who took his place in history as the first human to leave the bounds of Earth and enter outer space.

Exactly 20 years later, the United States embarked on a new era in spaceflight with the inaugural launch of a new type of spaceship — the Space Shuttle. Designed to carry a larger crew and large volumes of cargo to orbit, the Space Shuttles became synonymous with human spaceflight for an entirely new generation of young people.

When the next 20-year point arrived, that generation (often called "Gen X") laid a new space milestone by connecting thousands of people around the world to celebrate and honor the past, while building a stairway to the future. That event was Yuri's Night, and it continues to bring the excitement, passion and promise of space travel closer to people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds.

Come join us for an Open House, celebrating the history of space travel!
April 12, 2011 - 6 -7:30 p.m.
RISD Planetarium
9465 Whitehurst Dr.
Dallas, TX 75243
469-593-2426 >Top
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save the date
RISD Excellence in Education Presents: An Evening of Honors - Technology Triumphs! Gala
April 8, 2011 at the Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel
Keynote Address: Dr. James Reilly - LHHS Graduate & Former Astronaut

Click here to download the flyer.
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This weekend in risd
Fine Arts
Rosemarry Cheny Memorial Art Exhibit of Elementary Children’s Art runs through March 25 at the Richardson Public Library

Band, Thursday-Saturday, March 10-12
Pearce High School Percussion Concert @ Pearce High School Auditorium, Thursday, March 10, 7:00 p.m.
Lake Highlands High School Winterguard to competition @ Midlothian High School, Saturday, March 12.  All day event, contact band director for competition schedule.

High School Sports
Soccer, Friday-Saturday, March 11-12
Pearce High School boys vs. R. L. Turner High School @ Pearce High School, Friday, March 11, 7:15 p.m.
Pearce High School girls vs. R. L. Turner High School @ R. L. Turner High School, Friday, March 11, 7:15 p.m.
Berkner High School boys vs. Sunset High School @ Berkner High School, Friday, March 11 7:00 p.m.
Berkner High School girls vs. Sunset High School @ Sunset High School, Friday, March 11, 7:00 p.m.
Richardson High School boys vs. W. T. White High School @ Loos Fieldhouse, Friday, March 11, 7:00 p.m.
Richardson High School girls vs. W. T. White High School @ Eagle/Mustang Stadium, Saturday, March 12, 10:00 p.m.
Lake Highlands High School girls vs. Skyline High School @ Lake Highlands High School, Friday, March 11, 7:00 p.m
Lake Highlands High School boys vs. Skyline High School @ Forester Fieldhouse, Friday, March 11,7:00 p.m.

Softball, Thursday-Saturday, March 10-12

Lake Highlands High School vs. Berkner High School @ Lake Highlands High School, Thursday, March 10, 7:30 p.m.
Pearce High School vs. McKinney North High School @ Pearce High School, Friday, March 11, 7:00 p.m.

Baseball, Thursday-Saturday, March 10-12
Pearce High School to Denison Tournament @ Denison High School, 2:30 p.m., March 10-12.
Lake Highlands High School to Elks Lodge Tournament @ Lake Highlands High School, Times to be announced, March 10-12.
Richardson High School to Elks Lodge Tournament @ Richardson High School, Times to be announced, March 10-12.
Berkner High School vs. Lovejoy High School @ Berkner High School, 7:15 p.m., Thursday, March 10.
Berkner High School vs. Trimble Tech High School @ Berkner High School, 7:15 p.m., Friday, March 11.
Berkner High School vs. Bishop Lynch High School @ Berkner High School, 7:00 p.m., Saturday, March 12.
Berkner High School vs. Richardson High School @ Richardson High School, 10:00 a.m., Saturday, March 12.
Berkner High School vs. Lake Highlands High School @ Lake Highlands  High School, 2:30 p.m., Saturday, March 12.
Berkner High School vs. Bishop Lynch High School @ Berkner High School, 7:00 p.m., Saturday, March 12.

Track, Thursday, March 10
Lake Highlands High School to Theo Rigsby Relays @ Birdville High School, Thursday, March 10.  Contact school for time.
Berkner High School to Denton Guyer Bill Utter Ford Wildcat Relays @ Denton Guyer High School, Thursday, March 10, 2:00 p.m.

Pearce High School to Reliable Chevrolet Relays @ Eagle Mustang Stadium, Thursday, March 10, 3:00 p.m.
Berkner High School and Richardson High School to Richardson Invitational @ Eagle Mustang Stadium, Friday, March 11, 8:00 a.m.
Did you miss an issue of School Times Now!? Click here to view the archives. >Top
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