School Times Now!
LHHS Supports Our Troops
RISD "Cleared" From TEA List
Dat Nguyen Visits Liberty JH
Berkner HS Student
Council "Adopts A Rocket"
LHHS Young Readers Program
Food Bank, Schools & District
Team Up to Combat Hunger
Choirs Bring Holiday Joy
Care Club of Liberty JH
RHS Battle of the Bands
Graduation Times
Pink Label Girls
Life’s difficult lessons often come not just to adults, but to the very young.  Last month at Audelia Creek Elementary, beloved third-grade teacher Melanie Painter died from complications of cancer surgery. It was a sad life-lesson for the entire school.

In times of such a tragedy, young students typically either withdraw or act out simply because they don’t know how to act. Normally, counselors and other staff will attempt to find some type of outlet for the student’s grief such as cards to the family, a poster they all sign, or a memorial of some kind.

Third-grader Angela Macias, a student in another class, had already made a decision that subsequently helped her handle grief in a physical way. The day the students learned of Ms. Painter’s death, Angela had come to school with her waist-length hair cut off. She had willingly donated her long beautiful hair to the cancer program Locks of Love. Her preschool sister Sissy, 4, also had hers cut for the cause.

School counselor Joy Tribble said, “Ms. Painter’s death hit us all so hard that it just touched my heart to see what Angela had done so unselfishly for other cancer patients. I had to leave the room to cry. I know how big of a deal this was for Angela and I am so very proud of her and Sissy.”
The girls’ mother, Martha Macias said, “It was something we had thought about for a long time.” The family had seen a news story about a little girl who received hair that had been donated. “My daughter and I looked it up on the Internet and decided to let her hair grow a little more before we had it cut. Thanksgiving weekend was the right time.”

Angela said, “I saw some pictures on the computers and thought if people are strong enough to have no hair and be happy, then I could give them mine and it would be ok.  When I heard about Ms. Painter, I knew I had done the right thing.” 

The girls are pictured in the school library showing how long their hair used to be.

Angela said, “I wish some other kids could do the same as us so they can feel as proud.”
The 22nd annual RISD Invention Convention concluded last month at Berkner High School. More than 1,000 student inventors from 29 district schools participated in the program that is designed to encourage creativity, ingenuity and problem solving. Inventions were evaluated by these criteria: Uniqueness, Usefulness, Research, Construction/Design, Salesmanship and Effectiveness of display. Outstanding inventions were chosen by volunteer judges for each grade level, and also for special district-level recognition.

Martin Taylor, a fifth-grader at Lake Highlands Elementary, won the "Most Patentable Invention" for his "Ice Board," which is a shoe skateboard deck for combination skateboarding and ice skating.

Candace Dipaolo, an eighth-grader at Forest Meadow Junior High, won "Best of Show" for her "Shabag," which are footwear with storage compartments built in.

For the complete list of inventions judged most outstanding, click here. >Top
The Federal No Child Left Behind Act mandates that all teachers in core academic areas must be ‘highly qualified’ in the core academic subjects they teach by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. It also requires that newly-hired teachers in Title I programs or schools be highly qualified immediately.

“Highly Qualified” is a specific term defined by No Child Left Behind. The law outlines a list of minimum requirements related to content knowledge and teaching skills that a highly qualified teacher would meet.

In reality, the law requires teachers to have bachelor’s degree and full state certification and to demonstrate content knowledge in the subjects they teach. NCLB requires neither separate degrees nor separate certification for every subject taught. In fact, under NCLB, states decide what is necessary for certification and for determining subject matter competency.

In general, under NCLB, a highly qualified teacher must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree.
  • Full state certification, as defined by the state.
  • Demonstrated competency, as defined by the state, in each core
    academic subject he or she taught.
In RISD, the compliance report for NCLB highly qualified teachers shows:
Total number teachers in core academic subject areas:
Regular 1,982
Special Ed. 214

Total number teachers in core subject areas
who meet HQ requirements:

Percentage of teachers who are HQ on all core
subjects they teach:
Percentage of teachers who are NOT HQ on all core subjects they teach: >Top
One of Lake Highlands High School Student Council’s  meaningful  projects this year is visiting DFW Airport to “Meet the Troops.”  Since September, students have met once a month on a weekend morning to help welcome a flight of soldiers returning to the U.S. from Iraq or Afghanistan.   The soldiers arrive at one of two locations in the U.S., and the organizers at DFW Airport want to ensure that the military personnel receive a warm welcome.

LHHS student council officers, committee chairs, and representatives line the aisle to help greet the returning service men and women.  The students applaud, cheer, shake hands, wave flags, and high-five the soldiers as they enter the lobby.  Standing in the terminal covered with posters and banners of support for the military, listening to the patriotic music playing in the background, and witnessing tearful and joyful family reunions, this project has reportedly become one of the most significant, special activities for  the  student council.
Greeting the troops during December was  deemed the best month thus far;  because the plane was filled with  more than  100 military personnel, all eager to be home for the holidays . Student said they definitely noticed that happiness filled the terminal! >Top
Last week, it was announced by the Texas Education Agency that 590 school were cleared of testing irregularity allegations when no evidence of wrongdoing was found. The Commissioner's Task Force on Test Integrity concluded that security audits, and in some cases, on-site investigations found no evidence of action that violated the state's extensive test security system.

Greg Cizek, a professor of Educational Measurement and Evaluation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of Cheating on Tests: How to Do It, Detect It and Prevent It, who served as an advisor to the task force, said Texas already has one of the most comprehensive test security systems in the country and recommendations being discussed by the task force will improve the system further.

All Richardson ISD schools that were on the previous list of suspicion have been completely cleared of any wrongdoing. They are Berkner, Big Springs, Brentfield, Forestridge, Lake Highlands Freshman Center, Lake Highlands High, Parkhill, Pearce, Richardson High, and Westwood. The announcement confirms what RISD already knew - strong academic performance at these campuses was the result of talented teachers and hard-working students. >Top
Former Texas A & M and Dallas Cowboys standout linebacker Dat Nguyen visited Liberty Junior High this month and spoke eloquently with students about the importance of focus, perseverance, hard work and making the right choices.

He talked with a group of Vietnamese-American students, and a large group of Liberty's AVID students, who were prepared with insightful questions.

Afterwards, he posed for photos with students, signed autographs, and even signed a football for a delighted staff member and proud Aggie alum. >Top
Members of the Berkner student council reached out to help some who are less fortunate this holiday season by "Adopting a Rocket," as in the Richland Elementary Rockets. Beginning with a food drive collection for Thanksgiving, and culminating with toys, gifts & clothing collections for the holidays, Berkner students and their supporting staff members were able to help out many children and families who otherwise wouldn't have many gifts to give or open.

Eight carloads of gifts were delivered to Richland, filled with goodies, including three bicycles (complete with locks and helmets), video games, coloring books, MP3 players, stereos, pre-paid cell phones, and an assortment of coats, hats, scarves & gloves. Staff members at Richland were truly moved by the monumental effort.
Excess food collected was donated to the Network of Community Ministries food bank, and many Richland Elementary families will have a more enjoyable holiday season thanks to the Berkner H.S. Student Council and everyone who contributed to the collection drives. >Top
Lake Highlands High School Young Readers Program combined with nearby Lake Highlands Elementary to encourage and promote the fun of reading. The high school's LULAC (Hispanic Club) and National Honor Society students visit with students from LHE once a month for a two-hour reading initiative to get the elementary children into the habit of leisure reading. More than 50 students participate in grades K-2. This initiative is funded by the National LULAC Education Center by providing incentives and books. >Top
This year, 10 RISD campuses are actively participating in the Food4Kids Program to provide food to the families of those students who often don't get enough to eat on the weekends.

Working through the North Texas Food Bank, volunteers transport food several times a month to RISD's warehouse. From there, it is delivered to each participating campus, where counselors divide the items for students in need.

The students are identified through a collaboration between each school's counselor, teachers, nurse and other administrative or support staff.
A key element of the program is that the food is provided to students discreetly through filling their backpacks on Fridays. This allows students receiving the aid to do so without having to face the stigma that is sometimes associated with being impoverished, eliminating embarrassment of teasing from other students.

The students then bring back the empty backpacks and get them refilled.

During the holiday season, some campuses also use the backpacks to transport donated gifts or clothes as well.

The program is working exceptionally well, and RISD thanks the North Texas Food Bank, its volunteers, and everyone who has donated items to the bank. For additional information or to donate food items, please visit click here. >Top
Holiday music filled the halls, the malls and bounced off the walls all around the district during the last few weeks, as choirs, bands and orchestras of all shapes and sizes showed off their talents. Pictured here are three elementary choirs, two performing at the Administration Building, Terrace and Yale, and the third, Dover, performing at the Central Staff Holiday Luncheon. >Top
The CARE Club of Liberty Junior High has set its sight on the future of education by establishing a tutoring program with their neighboring school, Forest Ridge Elementary.

Over the past couple years there has been a growing population of students from Africa, in particular from the Sudan, who need special attention with their reading skills.

Most of these students have never been in a structured educational environment, making their development of reading skills limited.

In an effort to help these students feel more welcome and get on the road to a successful academic career, the CARE Club members have set up reading tutoring three times a week.

Club members work with the students in small groups or one-on-one to provide special reading instruction. Joining in setting up the event is Forest Ridge Principal Kathy Higgins, Liberty Junior Principal Stephen Quisenberry and community member Walt Webking.

Mr. Webking lives near by a number of the Forest Ridge students, and in speaking with their parents and teachers recognized the need for immediate help.
The CARE club goal is to raise the student's reading levels while also familiarizing them with the school's educational structure. Club members serve as role models to the students and provide them insight to the workings of Liberty Junior High where they will be attending classes in future years.

Both groups are excited about the project, and report that they have enjoyed spending time with each other and learning what school is all about.>Top
Richardson High School held a Battle of the Bands in December, and it was deemed a huge success. The RHS Interact Club held this event to raise money for two international charities: The Keep a Child Alive Foundation and The Wheelchair Foundation. The Keep a Child Alive Foundation provides lifesaving AIDS medicines directly to children and families in Africa with HIV/AIDS. The Wheelchair Foundation gives the gift of mobility to individuals with physical disabilities who are not financially able to purchase a wheelchair.

The RHS Interact Club will be donating the proceeds of more then $1,000 from the Battle of the Bands to these charities. "I am so happy to have been a part of something so great during my senior year", said Grace Hall, the Interact Club's International Service Director.
"What made it even more special was the amount of support, time and energy given by so many faculty members, students, area businesses and the Richardson Rotary Club. Henry Hall, the Interact Club Sponsor and Senior & Magnet Principal said, "They helped make this event a success."

The Richardson High School Interact Club is a community service club comprised of nearly 400 senior students at RHS, making it the reportedly the largest Interact Club in the world. Interact Clubs around the world are the high school division of Rotary International. >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

Arapaho Classical Magnet students Paige Lilley, Madeleine Underwood and Alexis Pullen wanted to start saving the lids from Yoplait yogurts for breast cancer research during October and November. ACM was celebrating women's health and "pink" day on October 20. A container was placed in the cafeteria and announcements made to the school. The girls collected 275 lids in support of this exceptional cause. >Top
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