School Times Now!
Barbara Bush Celebration
of Reading
Texas Monthly's - The Best Public Schools
RISD Honored Again!
Proposed 2008-09 RISD Academic Calendar
Pearce High School Earns National Recognition
2007-08 Congressional Youth Advisory Council
Prairie Creek Elementary Honors Veterans
Pearce Pacesetters Participate
in Macy's Parade
Winter Break/First
Semester Reminder
It's That Time of Year
Running Into the Record Books
AP Scholar Awards
American Heritage Day at Prestonwood Elementary
Wampum Bracelets
LHJH Mixes it up at Lunch
Community Leaders Speak at After School Program Meetings
Pictured: Debbie Cotton, George H. Bush, Celia Dominguez, Barbara Bush, Kit Prince, Adam Dominguez
RISD Family Literacy Center student Celia Dominguez was the student keynote speaker along with five prominent authors at the Barbara Bush Celebration of Reading that was held in November at the Morton Meyerson Symphony Center. RISD Family Literacy Center director Kit Prince, teacher Debbie Cotton and Dr. Barbara Baird, RISD's Director of Federal & Alternative Programs, were in attendance with Celia and her husband Adam.

In her remarks, Celia thanked Mrs. Bush for the contributions her foundation has made to RISD's Literacy Center.  She and her husband came to the United States to make a better life for their two young children, and Celia knew that learning to speak English would help her family.  Through the recommendation of friends, she enrolled in classes at the Literacy Center.

The RISD Family Literacy Center, housed at Dobie Primary, is available to assist all families in RISD. It provides opportunities for families to learn together to raise low education levels and limited English proficiency. Comprehensive, integrated services include 1) ESL classes for parents 2) child enrichment classes for 0-5 year olds, 3) parent and child learning and literacy activities with 4) home based instruction in these areas. The First Lady's Family Literacy grant of $50,000 enabled the district to implement "Parenting for Academic Success: A Curriculum for Families Learning English" at the center with training and materials for about 30 additional families. >Top
For the fourth consecutive year, Texas Monthly Magazine has published a list of the top public schools in Texas, and for the second consecutive year, they've presented the higher-performing schools ranked according to the number of subjects (such as reading, writing, math, science, and social studies) in which they excel.

Below are the 17 RISD schools that made this year's list:
Big Springs Elementary Prairie Creek Elementary
Bowie Elementary Skyview Elementary
Brentfield Elementary Spring Creek Elementary
Canyon Creek Elementary Wallace Elementary
Lake Highlands Elementary Parkhill Junior High School
MST Magnet School Berkner High School
Mohawk Elementary Lake Highlands Freshman Center
Northlake Elementary Pearce High School
Northrich Elementary  
Click here to view the full article. >Top

RISD was informed this week that the district has been chosen as one of the 100 districts across the U.S. eligible for the prestigious $1 million 2008 Broad Prize for Urban Education. The $1 million Broad (rhymes with "road") Prize is a national award honoring large urban school districts that annually demonstrate the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among poor and minority students.

One hundred of the largest urban American school districts are eligible. Districts can not apply to be eligible for The Broad Prize. The 100 eligible districts are selected every year from among all urban school districts across the country, based on size, urban environment, and minority and low-income student populations. The Broad Prize is the largest K-12 national public education award given annually by the Broad Foundation. The money goes directly to graduating high school seniors for college scholarships. >Top

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a national venture philanthropy established by entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Broad Foundation's education work is focused on dramatically improving urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition. The Broad Foundation's Internet address is >Top
The process is underway to create the 2008-09 RISD Academic Calendar. As always, parent input is encouraged and appreciated. A current draft may be found here. The proposed 2008-09 academic calendar includes strategically-placed professional development days, holidays at approximately the same time of year as the current calendar, semesters containing close to the same number of days, and of course, a Fair Day. The proposed calendar again accommodates the legislatively-required later start date by concluding the first semester after winter break. The Board of Trustees will ultimately approve the 2008-09 calendar, which should occur in February, 2008.

If you have feedback, please direct it to district Communications at or 469-593-0301.

Thanks in advance for your input! >Top
Pearce High School was recently listed by U.S. News and World Report in their annual rankings of top high schools in the country. Congratulations to PHS for earning this recognition. For more information, please click here. >Top
U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (3rd Dist.-Texas) announced the students selected to participate in the 2007-08 Congressional Youth Advisory Council (CYAC). This year 42 students make up the elite group, with 6 returning members. Because of immense community interest, students, may now only serve two of four years between 9th and 12th grade.

“For years I’ve had the privilege of getting to know a stellar group of high school students who want to make a difference for their generation. Because this group represents their peers, I call them ‘Young Ambassadors to Congress.’ I’m very impressed with them so far and look forward to getting to know them,” said Johnson.

Johnson created the Council in 2004. The Council’s goal is two-fold. First, the group provides Johnson with greater student perspective and insight on issues that directly impact younger Americans. Second, Council activities educate students on government policies relevant to young people. The members of the Council meet approximately four times throughout the school year in the Third District.

The December meeting will bring local leaders of all levels to visit face-to-face with the Congressional Youth Advisory Council. The panelists confirmed for the upcoming meeting are:

Texas House Representative Jodie Laubenberg, District 89; Collin County Judge Keith Self; Judge John Payton, Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3-2; Judge John Roach Jr., 296th District Court; and Richardson Mayor Steve Mitchell.

“The cornerstone of democracy is civic activism. These high school students are well on their way to making North Texas a better community and America a better country,” concluded Johnson.

The three RISD students participating in the 2007-08 CYAC are:

Amanda Dees - Pearce High School

Patrick Ivey - Berkner High School

Kevin Zimmer - Richardson High School >Top
Prairie Creek Elementary honored Veterans during their 8th annual Veterans Day Assembly.

Rob Holmes, former Armor Officer and Bronze Star recipient for the U.S. Army during Operation Desert Storm, addressed the students about Character Counts. Through stories about his active duty, he impressed on students how important good character will be for each of them during their life.

Guest from all branches of the military were present and honored by the 6th grade choir, PCE sign choir, 5th grade recitation, and a touching video program followed by the playing of Taps. >Top
Four J.J. Pearce Pacesetter officers recently participated in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The students were invited as members of outstanding drill teams and danced alongside other girls from around the country.

When asked about the experience, one of the girls said that on that morning it felt as "if there was magic in the air, a special energy on the streets of the city, a moment I will never forget."

Director Ms. Weaver noted, "I was honored to have members of the Pacesetter organization participate.  The officers performed their best and did a fabulous job representing their team, high school, community and state." >Top
PHS Pacesetter officers prepare for the parade.
Please don't forget that the last day of classes prior to winter break is Friday, December 21. The first day back for both students and staff is Monday, January 7. Due to the Texas legislature mandating the late summer starting date of the academic year, the first semester will not conclude until January 17, which means semester exams will not occur until after winter break. Please help pass the word about this departure from what has happened in the past. >Top
In the event of inclement weather that may require classes to be delayed or cancelled, parents and employees will be notified by telephone message of any decision to delay or close by 7:00 a.m.

In addition, patrons can call the district's inclement weather line at 469-593-SNOW, or check the RISD homepage at >Top
Recently, Apollo Junior High student Emily Henderson took first place in the Cross Country District meet. Emily shattered the previous district record time of 10:21 with a time of 10:02.

Way to go Emily! >Top
Three hundred eighty-six students in Richardson ISD have earned the designation of AP Scholar by the College Board in recognition of their exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement Program (AP) Exams.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program offers students the opportunity to take challenging college-level courses while still in high school, and to receive college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on the AP Exams. About 18 percent of the more than 1.3 million high school students in 16,000 secondary schools worldwide who took AP Exams performed at a sufficiently high level to merit the recognition of AP Scholar.

Students took AP Exams in May 2007 after completing challenging, college-level courses at their high schools. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on student’s performance on AP exams.

In Richardson ISD, sixteen students qualified for the most prestigious of the awards, the National AP Scholar Award, by earning an average grade of 4 or higher on a 5-point scale on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.  These students are Christina Auldridge, Max Bathman, Elizabeth Biasatti, Everett Burns, Alice Eckel, Christopher Irvin, James Issac, Isabelle Jargowsky, Sarah Jenevein, Katie McNeese, Justin Sahs, Jennifer Sauer, Michael Sheetz, Madison Silverstein, Edward Skolnick (only a junior at the time) and Kathryn Strong.

Most of the nation’s colleges and universities award credit, advanced placement, or both based on successful performance on the AP Exams (please visit individual college web sites for specific information). More than 1,400 institutions award a full year’s credit (sophomore standing) to students presenting a sufficient number of qualifying grades. >Top
On November 19, second-grade students at Prestonwood Elementary enjoyed educational experiences as groups rotated through eight American Heritage themed centers that brought to life the lessons that had been taught in the classroom.

Students had the opportunity to learn about dream catchers, clay pots, canoes, leg rattles, sand painting and Native American writing. They even got to experience a real tepee. Students were engaged in hand-on activities at each center, creating replicas of Native American artifacts which they were able to take home and share with their families.  >Top
The latest style around Liberty Junior High is the wampum bracelet, a representation of the information students are learning in their 8th grade social studies curriculum.

Each bead of the colored bracelet symbolizes a significant event in American History. The project started when LJHS social studies teacher Linda Ryan made a larger-than-life model of the bracelet on her classroom wall.

The librarian joined in by making a large wall bracelet in the library and placing relevant reference books underneath each bead.

Liberty staff can be seen wearing the bracelets and using them as teaching tools in various content areas.

The 8th grade students each made a bracelet and wear them daily to serve as a reminder of what it is they are learning in class.

The bracelets are doing more than just looking good, as 8th grade benchmark scores are up by 26% from this time last year. >Top
Lake Highlands Junior High held their third annual "Mix It Up At Lunch" day recently.

The concept of this event is to challenge students to step out of their comfort zones and feel the power of good sportsmanship and ability to lead by example. The concept reinforces the importance of kindness and tolerance to others.

The students decided to Mix it Up by birthday tables during the lunch hour. They worked before and after school to make place cards with the name of the months and placed them throughout the cafeteria. They formed an "Ambassador" committee and spread goodwill throughout the school. They invited RISD Superintendent Dr. David Simmons and Assistant Superintendent Bob DeVoll, to join them.
The event was enjoyed by all staff and students. Wrist bracelets, key chains & lanyards were supplied from the Mix It Up At Lunch Foundation and handed out to every student. >Top
As part of a local school initiative to implement the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets, Forest Meadow Junior High's site coordinator, Sarah Brightwell, has increased the community’s participation in after school programs by inviting local role models to speak with RISD students about their jobs and experiences.

Click here to learn more. >Top
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