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TI Foundation inducts Richardson ISD teacher
into its STEM Academy
Extracurricular Drug & Alcohol Guidelines Expanded to Junior High Students
Preparing for Flu Season
Cell Phone Use Banned
in School Zones
Sixteen RISD schools named
to the TBEC Honor Roll
RISD Again Receives Top
Rating for Finances
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TI Foundation inducts RISD teacher into its STEM Academy
L to R: Rich Templeton, TI Chairman, President and CEO; Dr. Patricia Crisp, Regional Representative, U.S. Dept. of Education; with Richardson ISD's Innovations in STEM Award winner Kevin Cieszkowski of Berkner STEM Academy
Award recognizes local educators who improve student achievement in science, technology, engineering and math.

On August 26, the Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation presented awards to 10 area teachers, inducting them into its Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy as fellows.

One of the award recipients was Kevin Cieszkowski from Berkner High School’s STEM Academy. Cieszkowski co-founded the Berkner Physics Club and has served as a district-wide trainer on how to incorporate hands-on demonstrations in Integrated Physics and Chemistry in physics classrooms.

The TI Foundation established the Innovations in STEM Awards in 2006 to honor instructors at the secondary level who consistently demonstrate quality instruction, enhance student achievement and increase interest in the STEM disciplines. As STEM fellows, the teachers participate in a unique professional development program at TI that provides an up-close look at the future of technology, exposure to senior technology leaders, and the opportunity to share their ideas about quality STEM education with peers.

“Science, technology, engineering and math skills are core subjects crucial to remaining competitive and succeeding in today’s high-tech economy,” said Sam Self, chairman of the TI Foundation board of directors. “These awards acknowledge effective teaching, and we hope other educators will be motivated to cultivate interest in and build excitement for these disciplines among their students.”

Principals nominated teachers for the STEM awards based on criteria, such as demonstrating and documenting teaching effectiveness, establishing classroom innovation, participating in education activities outside of the classroom, encouraging curiosity and generating excitement in STEM subjects among students.

Cieszkowski joins two previous winners from RISD, Karrie Looney (2008) and Angela Ciszewski (2007). The 2009 honorees will join the other inductees from 2007 and 2008 who have used their professional development and educational technology funds to attend STEM conferences and to procure classroom tools such as document cameras, projectors, modeling software, interactive whiteboards and graphing calculators. >Top
Extracurricular Drug & Alcohol Guidelines Expanded to Junior High Students
Parents of all secondary (7th - 12th grade) students, please be aware of this information that may affect your child.
 
In 2008, RISD adopted uniform districtwide drug and alcohol guidelines for all students in grades 9 – 12 who participate in extra-curricular activities. The primary purpose of those guidelines was to deter any drug or alcohol use or possession among students, and ensure that consequences under the guidelines for use or possession was consistent across schools and activities.  RISD is pleased that the implementation of these guidelines made a positive difference in helping to reduce drug and alcohol use and possession among students.
 
For the 2009-2010 school year, the district has expanded the guidelines to include junior high students who may participate in extra-curricular activities, beginning with the summer after a student’s sixth-grade year.
 
The first week of school, all secondary students (grades 7-12) received a copy of the guidelines in the district’s Student and Parent Guidebook and Student Code of Conduct. Please carefully review the guidelines with your child along with the Code of Conduct and Student/Parent Guidebook.  Any student who wishes to participate in an extra-curricular activity in RISD (athletics, fine arts, clubs, student government, or other school-sponsored organization), must, along with his or her parent, sign a form agreeing to abide by the guidelines and stated consequences if involved in any drug or alcohol-related incident.  Students will not be permitted to participate in any extra-curricular activity until a completed form is returned with both the student’s parent’s signatures.
 
To view the guidelines or download the form, please visit http://www.risd.org/Parents/Student_Services/index.htm. >Top
Preparing for Flu Season
Per health authorities, school districts can expect an active flu season this year. The H1N1 (Swine) flu is expected to continue, along with the regular seasonal flu strains. While H1N1 is not currently more dangerous than the seasonal flu, it’s still important to get flu shots as they become available.

Also, because the H1N1 flu is so contagious, it is very important to observe basic hygiene and cleanliness precautions like

  • frequent hand washing,
  • coughing/sneezing into sleeves (not hands),
  • frequent cleaning of commonly touched surfaces, and
  • not sharing food or drink with others.

If your child becomes ill with flu-like symptoms (fever of 100.0°F (37.8°C)or higher, plus cough and/or sore throat) , they should not come to school until the symptoms have gone, and they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medications such as Tylenol. Students who come to school with flu-like symptoms may be sent home.

It is also important to call the school if your child misses school due to flu-like symptoms. This allows RISD to track illness data as directed by our county health department. Also, as with any absence, when your child is well and returns to school, please send a note with them to school.

Please read the important attached letter from RISD Health Services for more information. >Top

Cell Phone Use Banned in School Zones
During the 81st Legislative Session, the legislature passed House Bill 55 which prohibits the use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle within a school-crossing zone unless the driver is using a hands-free device.

The law goes into effect on September 1, 2009, and an offense would be considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine. >Top
Sixteen RISD schools named to the TBEC Honor Roll
After two consecutive years leading the state, RISD has the second most Texas Business and Education Coalition (TBEC) Honor Roll campuses in Texas this year. Sixteen RISD schools were named to the prestigious 2009 TBEC Honor Roll for demonstrating continued high performance in all subjects compared to other schools serving similar student populations. This year, TBEC raised the standards by requiring all Honor Roll schools to have a minimum of twenty percent commended scores for all students in all TAKS test categories. Of the more than 8,000 public schools in Texas, only 254 were named to the prestigious TBEC Honor Roll. Congratulations to the following TBEC Honor Roll schools!

RISD’s 2009 TBEC Honor Roll Campuses include:

Bowie Elementary
Brentfield Elementary
Dartmouth Elementary
Jess Harben Elementary
Math/Science/Technology Magnet
Merriman Park Elementary
Mohawk Elementary
Moss Haven Elementary
Parkhill Junior High
Pearce High School
Prairie Creek Elementary
Prestonwood Elementary
Spring Creek Elementary
Stults Road Elementary
White Rock Elementary
Yale Elementary
RISD Again Receives Top Rating for Finances
The State of Texas recently announced that Richardson ISD has again received a rating of “Superior Achievement” under the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST). The Superior Achievement rating is the highest available, demonstrating the quality of RISD’s financial management and reporting system.

This is the fifth year of FIRST ratings, which examines 24 financial accountability indicators and factors within Texas school districts to evaluate their performance in the management of financial resources. RISD has earned the top rating of Superior Achievement every year the system has existed, and this year received the most possible points (85) the system allows.

“We are pleased the state agrees that our finances are exceptionally well-run,” said RISD Interim Superintendent Dr. Carolyn Bukhair. “RISD takes preservation of taxpayer dollars very seriously, and under the leadership of Assistant Superintendent of Finance & Support Tony Harkleroad and his team, continues to place an emphasis on financial accountability.”

The Schools FIRST accountability rating system assigns one of four financial accountability ratings to every Texas school district, with the highest rating being “Superior Achievement,” followed by “Above-Standard Achievement,” “Standard Achievement” and “Substandard Achievement.” Districts with serious data-quality problems may receive the additional rating of “Suspended - Data Quality.” Districts receiving the latter two ratings must file a corrective action plan with the Texas Education Agency.

For a more information regarding FIRST, please visit the TEA site here.

For more information regarding, Richardson ISD, please visit www.risd.org.
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