School Times Now!
Superintendent Update
21 RISD Schools Recognized
for Academic Performance
RISD Debaters Shine
on Way to Nationals
Parkhill Students Spend
Spring Break Learning
Northwood Hills Student
Thinks Big...And Green
Volunteering for Children
Richland Elementary
Rhythm Rockets
RISD Fine Arts
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
Welcome back from Spring Break! Today we want to share some positive budget news from the state level and talk about next steps in RISD.

During last week, two important items occurred at the state level. Gov. Perry publicly stated that he would access $3.2 billion out of the Rainy Day fund to provide relief to the state deficit. He proposed approximately $1.4 billion for public education and $1.8 billion for health services. Initially, RISD heard that the Governor would not entertain accessing these funds, so we are pleased to see that he has listened and responded to requests from school districts and elected officials. Based on his announcement, RISD's anticipated loss of state funding may fall within the lower end of the range, projected at $20 million. The session officially ends late May, so these numbers remain estimates until the state finalizes its budget.

The second important item at the state level was the March 18 deadline to file a bill in this session. The district is monitoring the various bills that could impact public education, aside from the expected loss of state revenue, and we will continue to engage the district's elected officials. Since original bills will be amended during debate and conference committees, now is a critical time to communicate with legislators. RISD will continue to keep stakeholders apprised of key educational issues.

So, now to the district's next steps in the budget planning process -- First, we are finalizing the survey for district stakeholders to provide input, and it will be available next week via the district's website. We will use all communication resources to generate awareness, and we look forward to stakeholder participation and feedback. Please click here to see the district's updated budget website and budget reduction ideas.

We will continue to be thoughtful and deliberate in decisions affecting the district's great future. Thank you for your support of RISD! >Top
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21 RISD Schools Recognized for Academic Performance
The Texas Education Agency recently announced that 21 RISD schools have been recognized as 2010-11 National Title I Distinguished Performance Award winners. These schools have earned a Recognized or Exemplary TEA rating in 2008 and 2009, earned an Exemplary TEA rating in 2010, met Adequate Yearly Progress under No Child Left Behind in 2009 and 2010, and served student populations comprised of at least 40 percent low income students in 2010-2011.

Congratulations to the following RISD Schools:
Aikin Elementary
Audelia Creek Elementary
Bukhair Elementary
Dover Elementary
Forestridge Elementary
Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet
Heights Elementary
Mark Twain Elementary
Merriman Park Elementary
Northlake Elementary
Northrich Elementary
Northwood Hills Elementary
O Henry Elementary
Prestonwood Elementary
Richland Elementary
RISD Academy
Skyview Elementary
Spring Valley Elementary
Springridge Elementary
Stults Road Elementary
Terrace Elementary

For more information, please visit >Top
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RISD Debaters Shine on Way to Nationals
Fourteen RISD students recently qualified for the National Forensic League (NFL) National Tournament, being held in Dallas in June. At the LBJ District Qualifying Tournament, teams from Lake Highlands H.S., Berkner H.S. and Richardson H.S. took six of the nine possible team qualifying spots in a competition that included 499 students from 37 schools across the area. In addition, RHS student Rafin Faruk was named the Student of the Year in the LBJ District, one of approximately 60 across the U.S.

Congratulations to the following NFL National Tournament qualifiers from RISD:

Public Forum Debate (RISD Sweep!)
Jared Barton & Mark Hamilton - Lake Highlands H.S.
Shola Orunrayi & Roman Milan - Lake Highlands H.S.
Sasha Butt & John B. White - Lake Highlands H.S.
Kenneth Kohl Neal & Rafin Faruk - Richardson H.S.

Policy Debate
Christine Brock & Adam Goin, Berkner H.S.
Kelsie Steeves & Danny Abraha, Berkner H.S.

Dramatic Interpretation
Carly Kaplan, Lake Highland H.S.

Congressional Debate – House
Richard Ralston, Richardson H.S.

Berkner is coached by Chuck Brandon, Lake Highlands by Hunter Wood, and Richardson by Jason Jordan. >Top
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Parkhill Students Spend Spring Break Learning
Parkhill Junior High students Sophia Kellner and Emma Nance spent the recent break in Austin after being selected to participate in Education in Action's Lone Star Leadership Academy spring break program. They were selected based on demonstrated academic success and leadership ability, an educator recommendation, and involvement in school and community activities.

The girls joined delegations of other distinguished students from around Texas for the week long residential Lone Star Leadership Academy program to develop leadership skills while learning about the great state of Texas. Participants experienced what they are learning in school through visits to historically, politically, scientifically, and environmentally significant Texas sites.

Congratulations! >Top
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Northwood Hills Student Thinks Big…and Green
Northwood Hills elementary fifth grader Nicholas Chatto has some ideas……some really global ideas. These ideas won him an award of excellence, a regional award and honorable mention in the 2009 and 2010 statewide PTA environmental contests.

One of his ideas is the Eco for Education Challenge, where participating supermarkets contribute 1% of a total grocery bill to their local school district anytime someone agrees not to use the store's plastic grocery bags and instead uses their own bags or boxes. It sounds simple, but as Nicholas says on his website,, "Not using a plastic bag may seem like a small thing to do, but imagine if everyone in the country joins the Eco for Education Challenge. We would be protecting our environment and helping our schools at the same time… bag at a time." Nicholas hopes to find a solution to the problem of plastic bags, which in his opinion are the worst things contaminating our land, rivers and oceans.
Nicholas's passion for the environment began in preschool, when on walks with his family he picked up trash along the way and posted signs in the forest asking people to keep it clean for everyone to enjoy. His awareness to protect our environment is genuine and he sees the larger global picture. He explained, "People don't think about how they are polluting the earth and what is going to happen if we don't start protecting it. Many things that we can do are simple and we need everyone to help."

Nicholas is currently working on his next project, the "One World Challenge" to identify ways to prevent litter. His goal is to become an environmental engineer in order to help clean up our planet. He won the overall award of excellence in the 2010 Texas PTA environmental contest with the following poem:

100 Years from Now
In 100 years, what will we see?
It depends on you and me…
Will we have nice places to play and jump,
Or just be wading through a city dump?
Will there be enough food to eat,
Or will we be starving on the street?
It all depends on what we choose-
Protect our Earth or we all lose!
We have only one planet to share,
And it's time we all began to care.
Our planet can be saved,
If the road is paved…
With less waste and more care,
We'll have good things to share.
I'm asking you to help me try,
To save our Earth or it will die.
Don't waste, don't litter, just do your part.
If we all help, that's a great start!
Just think about what you want to leave.
Anything is possible if we just believe.
It's so simple what I want to see…..
A clean and beautiful legacy!
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Volunteering For Children
Four days a week, since last year, Susan Garza shows up at RISD's Mark Twain Elementary. The former electrical engineer and collegiate math instructor quietly greets staff and goes to a third grade class to pick up a student struggling with English skills. For the next hour, she works one on one with the student in the otherwise empty cafeteria, reading, correcting and encouraging. Her progress with students is impressive, and the one on one attention she provides perfectly supplements the RISD ESL program. She isn't paid, yet has continued to show up, almost every day, for a year.

Ms. Garza has taken it upon herself to serve children, working primarily with students who have entered RISD schools knowing little or no English, and working with them until they are speaking and reading at or beyond their grade level, and sometimes well beyond that point.

She describes herself as a bit of a despot. Her expectations of her students run high, and her students learn. "I want very much to work with each of my students throughout their school careers," she says.
Ms. Susan Garza is a tutor who has served students at all educational levels, from Elementary School through College. She even teaches a 60 year-old woman who seeks to improve her English. Senior citizens at the Richard Senior Center are other adults who enjoy the Spanish Conversation class she teaches there.

"She is simply wonderful," says Mark Twain Principal Carmen Casamayor-Ryan. "She is quietly determined to make a difference in lives, and we are thrilled to have her help. I wish I had 20 more just like her."

RISD salutes Ms. Garza for her devotion to helping children, and her willingness to serve. If you are interested in volunteering in an RISD school, please contact the RISD Partners Program at 469-593-0307.

(Retired teacher, Richardson resident, and fellow MTE volunteer Jane Hercules was the primary contributor to this article) >Top
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Richland elementary rhythm rockets
The Richland Elementary Rhythm Rockets recently performed at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio. The ensemble is composed of fifth and sixth graders, and explores elemental music and movement through rehearsal and performance. The Rhythm Rockets meet for rehearsals Monday and Wednesday afternoons.

The students are joined in the picture by Principal Greg Gaston and music specialist Ben Torres. Ben is assisted by music specialist Ludi Srinivasan (not pictured). >Top
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RISD Fine Arts

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The art department would like to congratulate the following students whose art work was chosen for exhibition to the following art competitions:

Max Anderson (Richardson High School):  Texas Visual Art Association High School Competition at UTD - The reception and award ceremony for students and parents is on March 20, 2011 at UTD from 2:30 – 4:00 pm.

Nick Anderson (Richardson High School) & Jonathan Amaya (Berkner High School): Young American Talent – sponsored by the Visual Arts Guild of Booker T. Washington School for Performing and Visual Arts.

The reception and award ceremony for students and parents is on April 3, 2011 at El Centro College from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. >Top

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High School Highlights
Berkner High School
(pictured) The Berkner debate team won 3rd place at the UIL State Debate Tournament last weekend, the  highest finish for an RISD debate team at the state tournament since the inception of the UIL in 1910. Danny Abraha and Kelsie Steeves defeated teams from Houston, Austin and San Antonio before losing a close round to 3 time state champion Sugar Land Dulles in semifinals.  Christine Brock and Adam Goin also placed in the top 20 statewide. Along with qualifiers from LHHS and RHS, all four students will also be competing at the National Forensic League national tournament (unrelated to UIL) in Dallas in June.  They are coached by Chuck Brandon. Congratulations! >Top
Lake Highlands High School
(pictured) The February 2011 issue of The Physics Teacher magazine presents a joint paper by Dr. Ken Taylor of LHHS and recent LHHS graduate Zein Nakhoda.  The paper, “Effective Torsion and Spring Constants in a Hybrid Translational-Rotational Oscillator,” credits Mr. Nakhoda, a former AP student of Taylor, as the first author and Taylor as the second.  This order of authorship reflects the significant role taken by Nakhoda in performing the series of experiments required for the paper and his role in writing the manuscript, which required advanced mathematical calculations.  Taylor considers this accomplishment of Nakhoda as a demonstration of what is possible for advanced and motivated students throughout RISD. 

The Physics Teacher, a peer-reviewed monthly publication, is published by the American Association of Physics Teachers and is dedicated to improving physics education from high school through college introductory. The article marks the second consecutive month that Taylor has had an article appear in the publication, following January’s submission entitled "Resonance Effects in Magnetically Driven Mass-Spring Oscillations."

Currently, Zein Nakhoda is a student at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. >Top
The LHHS Wrestling Team completed their season with a 27-3 record in dual meets, and were the UIL District 18 Champions. They then were UIL Region 3 runner ups behind eventual state champion Allen.

Individually, ten wrestlers advanced to the regional meet in their weight class:
D’Andre Brumfield – District Champion
Thayer Atkins – District Champion
Duncan McAulay – District Runner Up
DD Fields – District Runner Up
Nathan Schulman – District Champion
Biak Thang – District Runner Up
Yordi Calix – District Runner Up
Henry Offord – District Runner Up
Juan Maldonado – District Champion
Ryan Branch – District Champion

At the state meet, Thayer Atkins finished 4th and D.D. Fields and finished in the top 8.

They are coached by Pete Grieder. >Top

The LHHS Boys Basketball team completed their season with a 19-14 record and a fourth place finish in district 9-5A.

Trey Bingham and Taylor Stell were named first team all district and James Preston was named to the second team. Stell was also named Newcomer of the Year.

They are coached by Rob Wylie. >Top

Pearce High School
The PHS Boys basketball team completed their season with an 18-15 record, finishing third in District 10-4A, with a 10-4 district record.

Corey Coleman, Curtis Gile and Darius Revels were named first team all district, and Greg Shoope was named to the second team.

They are coached by Marc Johnson.

Richardson High School
(pictured) The Hyatt Regency North Dallas Hotel recently hosted the RHS Hospitality Program's annual luncheon in celebration of their partnership. The Hyatt has partnered with RHS for three years and has provided students with the opportunity to learn all aspects of the hotel business. Students work under the direction of the Human Resources department and rotate working and learning in areas such as customer service, sales, spa management, custodial services and even catering.

The luncheon was catered by the culinary students, who were proud to show off all they had learned under the Hyatt's direction. The Hyatt staff has dedicated more than 1700 volunteers hours to our students this year, and has employed students after they graduate high school.

Thank you to the Hyatt Regency for their outstanding support of our students! >Top
(pictured) RHS senior Kassidy Testut has been named as finalist in the TXU Red Carpet Energy Contest by the Dallas Film Society and TXU. Her video, Looking Out For Texas, and two others from students in the DFW area will be now judged to see who gets the 1st prize and $7,500 for their school.

Because Kassidy is a finalist, RHS is guaranteed at least $2,500 if she finished third, with $5,000 for second place. In addition, she will be part of the Dallas Film Festival's Red Carpet Awards night in April. Her film may be viewed by visiting the contest website. Congratulations to Kassidy and her teacher, Brent Morton. >Top
(pictured) Richardson High School welcomes Mr. Tim Linley as RHS's new Director of Bands and Fine Arts Coordinator. He comes to RHS from Frisco's Centennial High School, where he served as Director of Bands since 2006.

Welcome! >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 50 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
Rosemarry Cheny Memorial Art Exhibit of Elementary Children’s Art runs through March 25 at the Richardson Public Library

High School Athletics
March 25
Berkner High School Tennis  - LV Berkner High School to Embassy Suites Invitation Tournament @ San Marcos, TX, 8:00 a.m.
Lake Highlands High School Tennis JV/V Lake Highlands High School to Fair Oaks Tournament @ Fair Oaks, All day
Pearce High School Tennis V Pearce High School to Varsity Tournament @ Allen High School, 300 Rivercrest, Allen, 75002, All day
Richardson High School Tennis JV/V Richardson High School to Fair Oaks Tournament @ Fair Oaks, all day tournament

March 26
Pearce High School Tennis V Pearce High School to Varsity Tournament @ Allen High School, 300 Rivercrest, Allen, 75002, All day

March 25
Berkner High School Baseball JV/V Berkner High School vs. Lake Highlands High School @ Lake Highlands High School, 9449 Church Rd., Dallas, 75238, 5:00 p.m./7:00 p.m.                  
Lake Highlands High School Baseball JV/V Lake Highlands High School vs. Berkner High School @ Lake Highlands High School, 9449 Church Rd., Dallas, 75238, 5:00 p.m./7:00 p.m.
Pearce High School Baseball JV/V Pearce High School vs. McKinney High School @ Pearce High School, 1600 N. Coit Rd., Richardson, 75080, 4:30 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Richardson High School Baseball JV/V Richardson High School vs. Jesuit High School @ Richardson High School, 1250 W. Belt Line Rd., Richardson, 75080, 5:00 p.m./7:30 p.m.

March 26
Berkner High School Baseball JV/V Berkner High School vs. Hillcrest High School @ Berkner High School, 1600 E. Spring Valley, Richardson, 75081, 11:00 a.m./1:30 p.m.

March 27
Berkner High School Baseball V Berkner High School vs. W. T. White High School @ Berkner High School, 1600 E. Spring Valley, Richardson, 75081, 7:30 p.m.

March 25
Berkner High School Softball JV/V Berkner High School vs. Sunset High School @ Sunset High School, 2121 W. Jefferson, Dallas, 75208, 5:30 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Lake Highlands High School Softball  JV/V Lake Highlands High School vs. Skyline High School @ Lake Highlands High School, 9449 Church Rd., Dallas, 75238, 5:30 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Pearce High School Softball JV/V Pearce High School vs. Wylie High School @ Wylie High School, 2550 W. FM 544, Wylie, 75098, 5:00 p.m./7:00 p.m.

Richardson High School Softball JV/V Richardson High School vs. W. T. White High School @ Richardson High School, 1250 W. Belt Line Rd, Richardson, 75080, 5:30 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Track and Field
March 25
Berkner High School Track Berkner High School to Cougar Relays @ Sam Houston High School, 2000 Sam Houston Dr., Arlington, 76014, 2:00 p.m.
Lake Highlands Track and Field VG, JVB, JVG Lake Highlands High School to CFBISD Relays @ Stanridge Stadium, 1330 Valwood Pkwy., Carrollton, 75006

March 25
Berkner High School Track Berkner High School to Jesuit Sheaner Relays @ Jesuit High School, 12345 Inwood Rd, Dallas 75244, 8:00 a.m.
Lake Highlands Track and Field VB Lake Highlands High School to Sheaner Relays @ Jesuit High School, 12345 Inwood Rd., Dallas, 75244

Fine Arts
March 25
Berkner High School Choir Berkner High School Choir Pre-UIL Concert @ Berkner High School Choir Room, 1600 E. Spring Valley Rd., Richardson, 75081. 7:30 p.m.
Pearce High School Theatre Pearce High School Theatre presents 'Playing for Time' @ Pearce High School Black Box Theatre, 1600 N. Coit Rd., Richardson, 75080. 7:30 p.m.

March 26
Pearce High School Theatre Pearce High School Theatre presents 'Playing for Time' @ Pearce High School Black Box Theatre, 1600 N. Coit Rd., Richardson, 75080. 2:00  & 7:30 p.m.
Lake Highlands Band Lake Highlands High School Winterguard to Competition @ Aledo High School, 1000 Baily Ranch Rd., Aledo, 76008. All Day. Contact your student's director for competition schedule.

March 27
Pearce High School Theatre Pearce High School Theatre presents 'Playing for Time' @ Pearce High School Black Box Theatre, 1600 N. Coit Rd., Richardson, 75080. 2:00 p.m.

Westwood Jr. High Band
Westwood Jr. High Symphonic Band performs with Richardson Symphony Orchestra @ Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Dr., Richardson, 75082. 2:30 p.m.

For complete athletics and fine arts schedules, please access RISD's online calendar. >Top
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