RISD Thespians Excel at State Competition

RISD high school theatre students recently competed at the Texas Thespian Festival in Dallas, with students from all four high schools qualifying to advance to the International Thespian Festival this summer in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Berkner HS: Riley Flores and Donovan Mirelez in Duet Musical Theatre

Lake Highlands HS: Blythe Whatley in Costume Design; Braden Weitzel and Rachel Burroughs in Duet Musical Theatre

Pearce HS: Claire Greenberg in Solo Musical Theatre; Shelby Griswold, Erica Newberg and Colton Stricklin in Group Musical Theatre; Grant Oliphant in Short Film

Richardson HS: Molly Molloy for Solo Musical Theatre; Chasyn Andrews-Philbin for Set Design.

In addition, Claire Greenberg will play the lead in the show Big Fish. Alyssa Difurio and Katie Hutchison, also from Pearce HS, will serve on the tech crew. Big Fish was performed on the Texas Thespian Festival main stage. After adjudication by the national office, Big Fish was selected to compete again at the International Thespian Festival in June.

Board Meeting Highlights - January 11

The RISD Board met for its regular January meeting Monday evening, January 11, discussing a range of topics.

Annual Performance Report
A presentation and hearing related to RISD's state-required Annual Performance Report was provided. The APR, typically available each January, summarizes school and district testing, accountability and performance information that is generated from the previous school year. The updated APR is available on the RISD Accountability page.

Bond Planning & Enrollment Growth
Trustees continued discussions about bond planning, including strategies for managing elementary growth that could impact the 2016 bond (see background). Trustees heard a summary of stakeholder feedback about bond priorities from the series of stakeholder meetings held in October-December. The top priority of staff, parents and community members providing feedback is additional technology for classrooms, followed by expanded Career Technical Education courses, then multipurpose facilities, with school library renovations/transformations the fourth option.

Dr. Waggoner announced that the January 5 preliminary recommendation related to a primary education center at Northlake Elementary has been pulled. Staff also confirmed the reduction in scope of the proposed multipurpose facilities and library renovations to less expensive options that could still meet the needs of students and staff. The projected cost reductions would remain included in the proposed bond as additional funds available to address enrollment growth.

Board members further discussed the possibility of calling a single bond election or separating it into more than one proposition. The timing of the election was also discussed, and staff confirmed that classroom construction projects could be ready in time for the 2017-18 school year if permission to begin preliminary planning is granted in February and the funds are approved in a May election. Alternatively, waiting until November for a bond election would push potential new classroom construction to an earliest completion for the 2018-19 school year.

Trustees acknowledged and thanked parents, staff and stakeholders for providing feedback related to bond planning and enrollment growth, encouraging additional feedback as discussions continue. Two additional work sessions are being scheduled to discuss bond planning and the impact of elementary enrollment growth, on January 20 and January 26.

2016-17 Calendar
Trustees continued discussion about the proposed 2016-17 student academic calendar (see background). Due to a legislative change, school districts are now required to measure instruction provided over the course of a school year in minutes, rather than days. For this reason, RISD is joining many districts around Texas in considering lengthening the school day by 5-10 minutes at the elementary and junior high levels. This would better comply with the new requirement and, barring excess snow make-up days, potentially allow RISD to conclude the school year by Memorial Day, rather than go into June.

District instructional staff are working on a revised calendar draft to determine the potential impact, and anticipate having recommendations for the Board at the next regular meeting in February.

Parent & Staff Surveys
Trustees heard results from RISD's survey of campus staff and parents. Strengths identified in the Campus Climate Survey for staff included 93% of staff rating the educational quality of their school to be Good or Excellent, along with 90%+ positive responses in the areas of academic preparation, parent engagement and safety/behavior. Challenges included a 51% staff agreement that the Project Based Learning initiative is being well-implemented. Staff also perceive the survey to be long, with specialized questions leading to a significant number of "Don't Know" responses.

Among the strengths identified in the parent survey, 91% of parents rated the educational quality of their child's school as Good or Excellent, while all dimensions queried received at least an 85% positive response rate when adjusted for Don't Know responses. Among challenges identified: a 15% negative response rate related to the type or timeliness of feedback that parents receive from teachers and an overall drop in parent survey participation, potentially attributed to survey fatigue resulting from multiple parent surveys in recent years.

Learn more about the January 11 regular meeting, including video.

School Report Cards Available

Each year, the state creates school report cards to communicate to parents, guardians and the community information concerning accountability. The school report cards, required by the Texas Legislature and prepared by the Texas Education Agency, are now available for 2015.

Each school report card is prepared for the campus, not for individual students. Parents can contact their school office with questions or for a paper copy.

School report cards and other accountability measures are available on the RISD accountability page.

Focus Accounts Needed for Online Enrollment

In March, parents of current elementary students in kindergarten through fifth grades will be able to enroll their children for the 2016-17 school year online. In order to enroll online, an active Focus Parent account will be required. Focus Parent accounts also allow parents to view their child's grade and attendance information online.

Parents are encouraged to create a Focus Parent account if they have not already done so.

MLK Day of Service Project at RHS

Richardson High School is teaming up with the Corporation for National Community Service, Youth Service America and State Farm to host a local MLK Day of Service on Saturday, January 16. The project’s mission is to collect hundreds of school supply kits for students in need at RISD Academy, Dover and Bukhair elementary schools.

Community support is needed and there are several easy ways to help:

  • Donate elementary school supplies such as pencils, scissors, crayons, glue sticks, erasers, rulers, sharpeners and notebooks. You may also donate money towards the purchase of school supplies. Donations can be left at the front office of Richardson HS from now until the morning of the event on January 16.
  • Volunteer time to help sort and package the school supply kits.

WHAT: RISD Community MLK Day of Service Project

WHEN: Saturday, January 16 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

WHERE: Richardson High School- 1250 Belt Line Road, Richardson (Eagles Nest cafeteria)

For more information, to make donations or to sign up to volunteer, contact Amanda O’Neal at 469-593-0307 or amanda.oneal@risd.org.

District Calendar

  • January 18 - MLK Holiday
  • January 20 - Board Study Session
  • January 26 - Board Study Session
  • February 1 - Regular Board Meeting
  • February 15 - Student Holiday/Staff Development Day
  • February 15 - Board Study Session

Events & Fundraisers

  • LHHS Mattress Fundraiser - Jan. 16
  • PHS Pacesetter K-6 Dance Workshop - Jan. 18
  • RHS Orchestra String Fling - Jan. 21
  • Parent Education - Teens & Social Media - Jan. 22
  • Parent Education - Supporting Social Skills - Jan. 26
  • BHS Theatre - Grease The Musical - Jan. 27-30
  • RHS Mattress Palooza - Jan. 30
  • PTA Used Book Fair - Feb, 11-14

Parent Weather Reminder

As temperatures are cooling off and we prepare for the possibility that weather conditions may impact school schedules, please ensure your child’s school has up-to-date contact information, including an accurate phone number and email address.

When inclement weather arrives, RISD will notify parents and staff directly of any closures or delays, so please make sure the district can contact you.

Learn more