School Times Now!
RISD's 2007 National
Merit Finalist
Veterans Day
Observance Award
Spelling Bee Winners
20 Years of Service and
Still Going Strong
All-State Fine Arts Students
RISD Step Teams
Commit Not To Quit Campaign
Signing Day
Partners Corner
Stadium Renovations
Graduation Times
Students at three Richardson ISD junior high schools will have a longer school day next year – approximately ten full minutes longer. Classes at West, North and Liberty junior high schools will begin at the same time, but end 10 minutes later in the day in order to pilot a new reading initiative. All junior high schools now have seven-period days, and next year, the extra minutes will allow for a reshuffling of bell schedules to create eight-period days at the three campuses.
North Principal Melissa Gassman said, “For elementary students, 90-minutes of reading per day is the norm. At the junior high level, that time is cut to about 50 minutes of Language Arts that includes literature and grammar as well as reading. Across the district, data over the last three years showed a significant decline in seventh-grade reading and math scores. This new initiative is an opportunity to find a solution to that problem.”
To better meet the needs of adolescent learners and to accommodate the additional courses, the present seven-period school day will be reconfigured into an eight-period day.  Classes will be cut by about 4 minutes and passing periods will be shortened to find the time. This ‘extra’ time will allow students of all levels to concentrate more on reading and reading comprehension, a skill that provides the groundwork for all other core subjects.

Beginning in 2008, the State will require all-eighth grade students to pass both the reading and math portions of TAKS to be promoted to ninth grade. In order to accomplish RISD’s goal of raising the standards of achievement for all students, the Curriculum and Instruction Department made the proposal for the pilot reading program.
Liberty Junior High Principal Steve Quisenberry said, “We have designed a three-tiered reading program to address the needs of all students in seventh grade.” Strategic reading will be provided for students who did not meet the standard on their sixth-grade TAKS reading.
Students meeting the standard, but not  at a commended level, will enroll in reading classes to help them increase their level of comprehension and improve in all subjects.
Students who excelled in sixth-grade reading will be included in the Advanced Reading component to be challenged to further develop themselves as independent learners. This course will focus on SAT preparation, reading in content areas, literary analysis and reading for pleasure.
All three groups will be involved in independent reading where books are loaned out for home access. The design of all three reading courses is to make reading fun as well as beneficial.
West Junior High Principal Walter Kelly said, “As a particular point of emphasis, the additional reading class will not increase homework requirements for students. We plan to use the additional time for reading and language arts to provide more guided instructional time for work that previously may have been homework.” 

Elective courses will be maintained, and even increased, especially for eighth graders. Those eighth-grade students who have mastered their reading levels will then be permitted to choose another elective.
Teachers, now assigned to teach five of seven periods, will teach five of eight periods, allowing for daily staff development and planning to accelerate the quality of teaching across the curriculum.

Pilot programs in RISD have been tested before. Both the AVID program, (described on page 5) and the RISD/Texas Instruments Math Initiative began as pilots in one or two junior high schools. When student success was proven, the district expanded these programs into more schools. The reading pilot, chosen after extensive research into programs in similar school districts, will be expanded the following year if successful.
For more information on the reading pilot program, please visit the district website, and choose either North, West or Liberty junior high. >Top
Three RISD schools recently underwent the rigorous examination to be named AVID National Demonstration Sites – West Junior High, Lake Highlands Freshman Center and Lake Highlands High School. All three schools began using the AVID program four years ago. AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, began in California as a philosophy to close the achievement gap. The program provides in-school support for grades 5-12 that prepares students for college eligibility and success. That philosophy is, “Hold students accountable to the highest standards, provide academic and social support, and they will rise to the challenge."

Less than 25 of the 300 AVID schools in Texas pass the review process to become demonstration sites – where AVID strategies are utilized throughout the school to create a quality of learning that sets the campus apart.
AVID levels the playing field for minority, rural, low-income and other students without a college-attending tradition in their families. This May, the first RISD AVID students will graduate-those who began at Lake Highlands Freshman Center and are now seniors at LHHS. AVID classes are available at all RISD secondary schools. For more information, contact your local school or visit the AVID website at >Top
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.
Christina N. Auldridge, Berkner
Elizabeth R. Biasatti, Pearce
Odessa P. Hamidi, Pearce
Christopher C. Irvin, Berkner
Isabelle C. Jargowsky, Richardson
Sarah M. Jenevein, Pearce
Tammy J. Lee, Berkner
Jenna K. Nolan, Richardson
  Rebecca A. Piroga, Pearce
Michael V. Sheetz, Richardson
Luke Shelton, Pearce
Kathryn P. Strong, Pearce
Elson Wang, Pearce
Kendra R. Woodall, Pearce
Albert Young, Berkner
Grace D. Yuan, Richardson >Top
Bowie Elementary has been named a finalist for the 2006 Veterans Day Observance/ Celebration Award for their program last fall. Thanks to the efforts of parent John Boyle, the school will be recognized at the Veteran’s Commission Fall Conference. >Top
This year’s RISD Area Spelling Bee was held in January in the Administration Bldg. Auditorium. Among the students who participated in the contest, four outstanding winning spellers went on to compete in the County Bee. The winners of that competition will go to Washington, D.C., for national honors.

The RISD winners and their school attendance area are shown below from left: Annie Chou, Forestridge Elementary, last spelled word: Crochet; Corinne Ryan, Canyon Creek Elementary, last spelled word: Aggressor; Christian Anniboli, Arapaho Classical Magnet, last spelled word: Triceratops; Emily White, Moss Haven Elementary, last spelled word: Triceratops. >Top
Some of the first elementary students that Gordon Humphrey 'crossed' are now sending their elementary-age children to him for 'crossing.' In February, Mr. Humphrey celebrated 20 years as a school crossing guard at Northrich Elementary in Richardson ISD. Retiring at age 62 to admittedly 'sit and do nothing,' his wife Gladys had other ideas. A longtime staff member at Rexall Sun Drugs, she found the crossing guard job for him, telling him that if she had to work, he had to work. And 20 years later, at age 82, he is still at the job. Mr. Humphrey said, “Oh, I love it. I will do it as long as I can. I love taking care of my kids and 'crossing' them safely.” >Top
Several students represented RISD at the Texas Music Educators Convention in February as members of the all- state choir, band, and orchestra. Students attending the convention include, from Lake Highlands High School: Mallory Adams, Choir, Chris Atieno, Band, Claire Daniels, Choir, Robin Davis, Choir, Torsten Knabe, Band, James Peters, Band, Cami Welch, Choir, Loraine Wells, Choir; from Richardson High School: Kyle Johnson, Band, Chris Peart, Choir, Donald Pratt, Choir, Jacob Smith, Jazz Ensemble; from Pearce High School: Haley Bates, Band, Rachel Boone, Orchestra, Everett Burns, Band, Greg Cotten, Choir, Lindsay Fyffe, Band, Sierra Hayden, Orchestra, William Hughes, Choir, Stafford Hutchins, Band, Amy Lanford, Choir, Zachary Sutton, Choir, Merick Yamada, Band; from Berkner High School: Stephanie Elliot, Band, Callie Haley, Band, Samuel Lee, Orchestra, David Ngo, Band, Chelsea Orr, Band, Calvin Owens, Band, Sharon Riemann, Band, Beau Yoder, Band, Wen-Cheng Yuan, Orchestra. They are pictured above as they were recognized by the RISD Board of Trustees. >Top
Step teams across the district are practicing their crafts for performances and competitions. This increasingly popular dance form of stomping, clapping and stepping is present in several RISD schools, and not only is excellent physical exercise, but teaches students teamwork, cooperation, work ethic and rewards for excellence. Here the RHS girls step team practices for their upcoming performance at the Third Annual Step Show Explosion, held in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. Last fall, the Lake Highlands boys step team showed their talents at the RISD Convocation. >Top
Secondary students in all RISD schools are taking time out from lunch to pledge to graduate. Week-long dropout prevention information campaigns culminated in a pledge signing day, where students read a pledge card and promised to stay in school to graduate. Their pledge cards will be kept and returned to them upon graduation. The inaugural campaign in February netted thousands of pledges. Pictured here are future graduates currently attending Lake Highlands Junior High. >Top
February 7 was a special day for a number of RISD student athletes who signed letters of intent at their schools to attend college on athletic scholarships.
From Richardson High School: Cameron Harmon - Truman University (football); Jill Rosen - University of Arkansas (track)   From Pearce High School: Hunter Hightower - Baylor University (football); Melia Miller-Oana - University of Missouri-Rolla (soccer); Amanda Flink - Davidson College (soccer)
From Berkner High School: Justin Johnson - University of Houston (football); Josh LeRibeus - Southern Methodist University (football); Kramer Lucio - Rice University (football); Adrian Campbell - University of Arkansas (football)   From Lake Highlands High School - Lauren Shepherd - Southern Methodist University (soccer); Jeremy Ransom - Kansas Wesleyan University (football); Rodney Bradley - Southern Methodist University (football) >Top
Twenty degrees, ice and snow, RISD has experienced it all! With the intense weather conditions, the Richardson East Rotary, discovered the need to help RISD students stay warm at Carolyn Bukhair Elementary.

Rotary members generously raised funds to provide elementary students the extra warmth needed. Karen Ellis, an RISD Board member and Rotary Community Service chair, used the donated money to visit many apparel stores in town to purchase coats for Bukhair students. Mrs. Ellis stated: “We’re just so thankful that the kids now have something warm to wrap around them, it’s truly our pleasure to help.”

Mrs. Ellis is pictured below with Bukhair principal Oscar Figueroa. >Top
As promised in the 2006 Bond referendum, Richardson ISD is hard at work on renovations at the two district stadiums, Eagle-Mustang and Wildcat-Ram. To upgrade facilities to better meet the needs of patrons with disabilities, coaches and scouts, the 60s-era press boxes are being replaced with new construction, complete with elevators. To see more photos of the progress as the stadiums are readied for next fall's football season, visit the RISD website at under bond update. >Top
Graduation times have been set for this school year.

Seniors will graduate at the Special Events Center in Garland on Saturday, May 19, 2007.

9:00 a.m.
12:30 p.m.
4:00 p.m.
Lake Highlands
7:30 p.m.

Times between ceremonies have been increased from last year to alleviate traffic and parking issues. >Top

Did you miss an issue of School Times Now!? Click here to view the archives. >Top
Subscription Information
Unsubscribe Contact Us