Severe Weather 5/21/13
The tragedy in Moore, Oklahoma yesterday is another reminder of how important it is for staff members, students and parents to be prepared for severe or extreme weather and to understand what to do in the event a tornado or other potentially dangerous weather occurs during the school day. The safety of students and staff is RISD's highest priority.
All RISD schools have severe weather plans, and staff & students practice drills so students can move quickly to the safest areas of a school if needed. Parents should anticipate that a forecast of severe weather in the mid afternoon may impact dismissal times or routines. Schools will not allow students to walk home in lightning or hail, and will either hold students until the severe weather passes or call parents to request a pick up by car.
In the event of a tornado warning, parents are asked not to come to school to pick up their children. Sheltering inside a school is much safer than being in a car if a tornado is in the area.
Severe storms can often quickly develop into tornados, and decisions to shelter in place, delay dismissal or alter schedules may at times need to be made quickly. Schools will make every effort to notify parents of dismissal delays via an automated telephone message, but in the event of extreme weather, it may not be possible to send a message out immediately. In the event of a tornado warning at or before dismissal, parents should anticipate that dismissal may be delayed even if they do not receive notice from the school, as staff members will be sheltering in place. In the event of a tornado warning, parents should not come to school to pick up their children, and should wait until the extreme weather has passed or they receive a call from the school before coming to pick up their child.
Board Receives Dyslexia Simulation Training, Discusses Budget 5/8/13
At the May 6 regular meeting, RISD trustees took part in a dyslexia simulation training, discussed 2013-14 budget priorities and authorized the sale and refunding of bonds to save tax dollars and fund Year 3 capital projects and equipment purchases from the 2011 Bond Program. For details, please read the May 6 edition of Board Brief.
TI Foundation Awards $1.4 Million Grant to RISD 5/7/13
At the May 6 meeting of the RISD Board of Trustees, it was announced that the Texas Instruments Foundation, in conjunction with the RISD Excellence in Education Foundation, is funding a $1.4 million grant for RISD to expand the Advanced Placement (AP) program in the district. The grant will be administered by the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI).
"We are excited about the opportunities that the Texas Instruments Foundation is providing our students," said Dr. Waggoner. "This grant will allow us to work with NMSI to increase the number of students in AP and pre-AP courses and the rigor of those courses. These efforts are a vital part of RISD's strategic emphasis on college and career readiness."
Watch RISD Graduations
Via the Web 5/1/13
All four RISD high school graduation ceremonies will again be streamed live at no cost through the district homepage.
Simply visit www.risd.org during one of the four graduation ceremonies and click on the Graduation graphic to watch a live stream of the festivities from the Curtis Culwell Center.
2013 RISD Graduation Schedule
All graduations will be held at the Curtis Culwell Center (formerly the Special Events Center), 4999 Naaman Forest Blvd. in Garland.
Sunday, June 9
Richardson – 12:30 p.m.
Lake Highlands – 4:30 p.m.
Berkner – 8:30 p.m.
Monday, June 10
Pearce High School – 7:30 p.m.
RISD High Schools Earn High National Rankings 4/30/13
U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) recently released their 2013 edition of Best High Schools, and three RISD schools made the list. The rankings considered more than 21,000 U.S. high schools from 49 states and are based on college readiness indicators including Advanced Placement (AP) class participation and AP examination passage rates.
Dyslexia Program Update 4/23/13 Dyslexia Programming
The 2013-2014 school year is just around the corner and programming recommendations are underway. In addition to the efforts of the Dyslexia Focus Group, RISD is reviewing current staffing and service practices.
Board Election Results – Chumney, Greenhaw in June 15 Runoff
Unopposed incumbent trustees Karen Holburn and Kris Oliver were both re-elected to three year terms in the May 11 election.
In Place 4, Rachel Chumney received 44.85% of the vote, incumbent Lanet Greenhaw received 41.56% and Bonnie Abadie received 13.59%. Because no candidate received at least 50% of the vote, the two candidates receiving the highest percent of the vote, Rachel Chumney and Lanet Greenhaw, will be in a run-off election on Saturday, June 15.
On April 16, the League of Women Voters of Richardson and the Richardson ISD Council of PTAs co-sponsored a forum for candidates seeking election to the Richardson ISD Board of Trustees. Please visit lwvrichardson.org to see candidate questionnaires and a video recording of the forum.
RISD Unique in World After RHS AVID Earns Highest Distinction 3/5/13
After a comprehensive evaluation and site visit by national AVID practitioners, Richardson High School has earned the prestigious designation as a National AVID Demonstration Site for the next three years, the highest honor available for a school through AVID. Richardson joins Berkner High School as an RISD national demonstration site, and will serve as a model teaching and research facility for other AVID systems around the state, country and world. This designation is earned by approximately two percent of AVID schools worldwide, and RISD is now the only district or school organization in the world with multiple high school national AVID demonstration sites.
Congratulations to Richardson High School and RISD AVID!
2012 STAAR 3-8 Results Available 2/7/13
The district recently received State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) results for the 3-8 graders that took an assessment in spring of 2012. The results represent the first year of the state's transition to a new testing system. The STAAR system replaced the Texas Assessments of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) in the 2011-2012 school year in grades 3-9. The STAAR End of Course (EOC) assessment results from last spring, taken primarily by last year's ninth-graders, were released before the end of last school year.
Like the STAAR EOC results, passing standards for the STAAR 3-8 results are being phased in, which is common with new tests. Unlike the 2012 STAAR EOC results, the 2012 STAAR 3-8 results do not have an impact on a student's academic standing. The state has provided confidential student reports (CSRs) to RISD which the district is providing to parents to inform them of their children's performance. In addition, school counselors are available for any questions parents may have as they read the reports.
The state of Texas also released statewide 2012 STAAR 3-8 assessment results. In the All Student category, RISD students outperformed their peers across Texas on 15 of the 17 assessments at the Level II (passing) phase-in standard.
The STAAR tests are more rigorous than the TAKS tests they replaced, but RISD students continue to achieve higher passing rates than the State in almost every subject. RISD's seventh grade math scores were slightly lower than those of the state, 68% versus 71%. Much of the difference can be attributed to the RISD decision to test seventh graders above their grade level, as directed by TEA, if they were receiving the majority of their instruction above grade level. Not all school districts complied to the new requirements regarding above grade level testing. TEA has since clarified their instructions and we expect to see more comparable data in the future. The RISD passing rate of 67% on the 7th grade writing assessment was also lower than the State level of 71%. RISD instructional staff and teachers will evaluate the 2012 STAAR 3-8 results to help determine if specific areas of curricular or instructional change or emphasis may be necessary moving forward.
Eventually, STAAR assessment results will impact a student's academic standing and also contribute toward new school and district accountability ratings. That portion of the new state accountability system has not yet been finalized.
Judge Rules Texas School Finance System Unconstitutional 2/5/13
State District Judge John Dietz ruled Monday, February 4 that the system Texas uses to fund public education is unconstitutional. The ruling came at the conclusion of a trial brought by hundreds of Texas school districts, including RISD, against the state of Texas that began in October of last year. Judge Dietz held that the school finance system has evolved into an unconstitutional state property tax and that the system fails to provide the plaintiff districts access to enough funding to provide a constitutionally adequate education.
"We applaud Judge Dietz's ruling, which is an initial victory for students, parents and educators," said RISD Superintendent Dr. Kay Waggoner. "It is the critical first step in bringing adequate funding to all Texas school districts." The ruling is widely expected to be appealed by the state of Texas, eventually or directly to the Texas Supreme Court.
Mark Trachtenberg, a partner with Haynes and Boone, LLP, and one of the attorneys representing the group of school districts that includes RISD, said "Judge Dietz's ruling is the first step in an important process. While we expect that the Texas Supreme Court will ultimately have its say, there is no reason why the Legislature has to wait on the appeals process before addressing the constitutional deficiencies in the system. Because of statutory mandates, rising academic standards, and declining state funding, districts have lost meaningful discretion over their local property tax rates and have no opportunity to provide enrichment programming desired by their local communities."
May 24 Student and Staff Holiday If not needed for Snow Make Up Day