School Times Now!
The Class of 2007
Board of Trustees Sworn In
Autism Awareness Month
Bond Rating
Invention Convention Student
Now A U.S. Patent Holder
Gatorade National Soccer
Player of the Year
Elementary Teaching
Internship Program
PHS Choir Receives Honor
Marathon Kids Rock!
Tennis Trifecta!
State Web Contest Winners
PTA Scholarship Winners
Richardson Rotary
Scholarship Winners
Central Market Celebrates RISD's Recent HEB Award
What would you do?
This past weekend, more than 2000 RISD seniors proudly crossed the stage, turned their tassels and received their diplomas, becoming the latest graduates from Richardson ISD.

Leading them were the valedictorian and salutatorian from each class, who along with the other top ten graduates, were introduced at each ceremony.

RISD's 2007 "Vals & Sals" include:
Berkner High School
Bonny Stephany Su - Valedictorian
Christina Nicole Auldridge - Salutatorian

Lake Highlands High School

William Zein Nakhoda - Valedictorian
Lindsey Grace Adams - Salutatorian
Pearce High School
Kathryn Page Strong - Valedictorian
Elizabeth Rush Biasatti - Salutatorian

Richardson High School
Michael Vincent Sheetz - Valedictorian
Grace Deng Yuan - Salutatorian (Not Pictured)
On the heels of the May 12 election, four RISD trustees were officially sworn in Monday evening at a ceremony in the Administration Building.

Lake Highlands resident and former RISD parent Judge Martin Lowy did the honors, officially beginning three year terms for returning board members Lanet Greenhaw, Carol Kent and David Tyson. In addition, new board member Kim Caston was sworn in to fulfill the unexpired term of former trustee Pat Epstein, who resigned. Ms. Caston has two years remaining on her current term.

In other board business, officers were selected for the next year, including:

Luke Davis, President
Kim Quirk, Vice President
Carol Kent, Secretary
Karen Ellis, Treasurer
David Tyson, TASB Delegate >Top
Greenwood Hills staff and students recognized that April was Autism Awareness month. The school uses a peer support program called HEROES (Helping Everyone Reach Outstanding Educational Success) to promote positive influences in areas of deficit for children with disabilities.
GHE sixth-grade students are encouraged to help students with autism and other developmental disabilities once or twice a week in the Developmental Programs. These students must apply and receive training before working with other students.

Each sixth grader is assigned a student and, under supervision work together on specific goals.
The program's goal is not only to assist students with disabilities, but to educate their non-disabled peers what joys and challenges an individual with disabilities experiences.

Autism affects each individual differently and at different levels of severity, and one in every 150 children born in the U.S. has autism. >Top
Richardson ISD has again maintained its exceptional stand-alone bond ratings as assigned by independent rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

The rating of “Aa1” from Moody’s Investors Services continues to be among the highest stand-alone ratings currently provided to any Texas school district, and RISD is one of just four districts to earn a Aa1 rating or higher. Standard & Poor’s assigned a rating of “AA,” which remains the highest stand-alone rating currently given to any Texas school district.

“These ratings reflect the commitment our administration and Board of Trustees have made to being proactive and prudent financial stewards of the district’s tax dollars,” said RISD Assistant Superintendent for Financial Services Tony Harkleroad.

The exceptional ratings allow the district to issue bonds at a lower interest cost, resulting in savings to district taxpayers over the life of issued bonds.

A high bond rating for an institution provides benefits similar to what an excellent credit score provides to individuals taking out a mortgage or loan, just on a much larger scale. >Top
As a fourth-grader at Canyon Creek Elementary three years ago, Celia Beron was pondering how to approach that year's Invention Convention competition. A soccer player, Celia attended a soccer skills clinic that year, where a fellow player was hearing-impaired. She wondered how such athletes would know when the whistle was blown during a game, and decided to focus her invention on this.

So Celia's idea was a device, such as a sports-appropriate wristband, which allows an individual to feel a vibration and see a visual cue when a signal is sent. Celia's idea was judged the "most patentable" that year by Invention Convention sponsor Baker, Botts, L.L.P., who began the process of helping her apply for a U.S. patent.

Now a Richardson North Junior High student, her patent was recently granted, and she was honored at Baker Botts for her achievement. >Top
Berkner High School's Melissa Henderson was named the 2007 Gatorade National Soccer Player of the Year! She joins the short and exclusive list of elite high school athletes who have won the award as a junior, including current and future NBA superstars LeBron James and Greg Oden.

Melissa received the award during a ceremony at Berkner. >Top
One of the many things that makes RISD a special place is the number of former students who return to the district when it's time to raise their own family. Our teachers are no different, as the district employs hundreds of teachers who attended RISD schools and returned to work in the district that served them so well.

Last spring, RISD took steps to further encourage this arrangement and at the same time prepare and provide incentive to bring some of our best & brightest back home for their careers. Formally named the RISD Elementary Teaching Internship Program, it's informally called "Grow Your Own Teacher."

Its purpose is to offer well-qualified, certified RISD graduates the opportunity to return home for their teaching career. The program targets graduating RISD seniors who:

  • Have enrolled in the RISD Elementary Teaching Internship Program during their senior year.
  • Earn an A or a B in the program during their senior year.
  • Receive the recommendation of their program teachers.

The program allows students to get a head start on college-level education classes and provides an opportunity to be exposed to real-life classrooms in RISD elementary schools.

The final component is an offer of future employment for students who:

  • Earn their bachelor's degree.
  • Are recommended by their college or university for teacher certification.
  • Successfully interview with RISD.
During the spring of each year, Executive Director of Human Resources Donna Johnson meets with junior and senior students in the program to explain the process and encourage their continued interest and pursuit of a career in teaching. >Top
The Pearce High School Acappella Choir has been chosen as a TMEA Honor Choir and has been invited to perform before thousands of music educators at the TMEA convention in February of 2008. This is the highest honor a high school choir can achieve in the state of Texas. Congratulations to Acappella students and directors Michael Lysinger and Laura Taylor for this outstanding achievement. >Top
More than 1500 RISD students completed their commitment to be healthy at the finale of the third year of Dallas Marathon Kids. RISD's Terry Wade coordinated this effort, which included more than 30,000 elementary age students from across the metroplex learning about physical fitness, committing to be healthy and working to achieve their goal of running or walking 26.2 miles over six months and eating 26.2 days a month of 5-a-day fruits and veggies.

The final event was held in Dallas, and attracted more than 7,500 students.

Thanks go to sponsors Whole Foods Market, Children's Medical Center Dallas, The Meadows Foundation, The Moody Foundation, The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation & RunOn! >Top
Congratulations to Pearce High School's Nick Plum and Stuart Keplar for winning a historic third state men's doubles tennis state championship in Austin Tuesday. They defeated a strong Texas High team in the finals 6-0 and 6-4.

Congratulations also go out to Pearce High School's Anastasia Zavgorodni for placing 3rd in girls singles in the state tennis tournament and earning All State honors.

Pearce High School's Hannah Kelley and Jonny Kelley also earned congratulations for their great mixed doubles tennis which earned them a spot at the state tennis tournament and All Region honors. >Top
West Junior High students won both first and third place in the Texas Computer Education Association's state web contest, out of more than 800 entries. From left, Jennifer McCauley, Web Teacher, Michaela Oelhert, third place, Katie Wilson, third place, Harper Spires, first place, Gillian Cole, first place, and Walter Kelly, West Junior High Principal. >Top
The RISD Council of PTAs awarded 23 student and six teacher scholarships totaling $56,000 at their annual Scholarship Awards luncheon this month. Two categories of scholarships were awarded, the Dr. J. J. Pearce Memorial Scholarships and the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of North Texas Scholarships.

Thanks again to the Council of PTAs for being RISD's greatest partner! >Top
Three RISD students accepted $500 scholarships from The Richardson Central Rotary Club at the group's luncheon on May 18. President Richard Gilman (left) presented the scholarships to (left to right): Rachel Broadway, Berkner High School; Sandra Botello, Richardson High School; and Jordan Lacy, Berkner High School. All girls are in RISD's Marketing Education Program, employed in the community, and plan to attend local colleges this fall. >Top
In recognition of RISD winning HEB's Excellence in Education Award, Central Market Plano provided every RISD employee a gourmet cookie yesterday - more than 4,500 in all!

In addition, Central Market has designated specific days where RISD patrons can use their "fundraising foodie" card to earn double the normal amount for their campus - ten percent of their purchase. For details please read the flyer.

If your local campus isn't registered for the foodie program (it's free), contact Celina Cardenas at 469-593-0307. >Top

Imagine - your family of five has suddenly found themselves in a desperate situation. Father Albert is college educated but out of work for the first time in 20 years as a computer programmer. Mother Ann is a part time receptionist. You are a motivated high school sophomore who is looking forward to college. Al, Jr. is in counseling after a shoplifting incident a year ago when he was eleven. Son Andy is nine years old and is doing well in 4th grade.

Ann brings in $1100/ month after taxes, but expenses for housing, food and utilities come to $1420/month. With only $125 in savings where does your family turn?

This is just one of the scenarios from a poverty simulation held by RISD as a professional development tool this month. Through role-playing and extensive props, participants were able to imagine the real-life, day-to-day struggles some of their students and families are experiencing. Participants included RISD board members, teachers and administrators.

Terri Walker, Consultant for Academic Success through Home, School and Community Partnership of Region 10 ESC offered this all too familiar simulation so that district staff could better understand what their students may be experiencing when they're at home.

Lysa Rice, RISD's 21st Century Grant Manager, organized this event for the more than 50 participants. She coordinates the after school program for RISD and noted that many of the students participating are economically disadvantaged. In the United States, more than 38 million citizens subsist on incomes below the poverty level.

After the hour-long simulation where families tried balancing jobs, childcare and bills, a lively discussion ensued. Participants playing parents were tired and often frustrated with the agencies they tried to deal with. By holding underpaying jobs, they found themselves evicted from their homes because they couldn’t earn enough to makes ends meet. Children were often hungry, and with inadequate supervision roamed the neighborhood getting into trouble with police. They felt the stress that their parents and grandparents grappled with, and it carried over into their schoolwork. When frustrations levels became high, crime entered the picture in the form of fraud and stealing.

The administrators and teachers benefited from this well-planned training session by being placed in the position that some of their own students and families face. They understood how tired the parents often were and why they didn’t have the time or money to help out in their children’s schools by volunteering or sending supplies. Participants often didn’t know how or where to ask for help and sometimes they were taken advantage of when they sought assistance. It was an insightful and meaningful evening for all participants. >Top

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