Spelling Bee Winners Advance
Students from each of RISD's four quadrants recently competed in the 2016 RISD District Spelling Bee.
Congratulations to these students, pictured with their winning words, who will now move on to represent their school and RISD at the Dallas County Spelling Bee in February.
Board Continues Bond, Growth Discussions
At the January 20 study session, RISD trustees continued discussions about bond planning, including strategies for managing elementary growth that could impact the 2016 bond package (see background).
Deputy Superintendent of Finance Tony Harkleroad provided trustees with feedback from the January 19 Community Bond Advisory Committee meeting, including information that a majority of CBAC members recommend a single proposition for the upcoming bond package, rather than multiple propositions.
Harkleroad also provided trustees with different funding scenarios for capital projects, including one-time uses of operating funds or debt service fund balance that could be used to supplement placeholder funds within the bond package if needed to address elementary growth within the bond period.
Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Jeannie Stone summarized efforts under discussion to address elementary growth, including the following recommendations:
- Expand elementary magnet school eligibility to include all of the Lake Highlands area while also enhancing program offerings at all three elementary magnet schools.
- Move the portion of the Mark Twain Elementary attendance boundary south of Frances Way to Jess Harben Elementary. This change would impact approximately 75 current elementary students, with current fourth and fifth graders grandfathered to remain at Mark Twain. Because this recommendation would involve a change of junior high attendance boundary for affected families, parents would have the ability to request to remain in the Apollo JH area through the existing transfer process. The potential impact on Liberty JH enrollment would begin in 2018-19, and eventually include up to 27 additional students, based on current enrollment.
- Construct additional classrooms at Aikin, Mark Twain, Northwood Hills, Stults and White Rock elementary schools to accommodate enrollment growth in those attendance areas.
Potential actions still under consideration include relocation of some central programs; adding a pre-kindergarten center in Lake Highlands; and exploring land acquisition to potentially construct a new future elementary school. The preliminary recommendation to change Skyview and Thurgood Marshall elementary attendance boundaries has been pulled from current consideration.
The Board also heard information and research from Dr. Stone regarding the optimal size of an elementary school. Dr. Stone's conclusions included impact on curriculum quality, resources for students, operating cost impact, academic achievement, socioeconomics, parent involvement, safety and staff quality. From an instructional standpoint, the research did not support one single optimal elementary school size. Elementary schools that reach 1,000 students can thrive academically if the student population is primarily not at-risk and the school enjoys strong parent and community support. Trustees discussed the need to evaluate each school on an individual basis and the challenges and merits of allowing elementary schools to reach larger sizes.
Trustees are planning to continue discussion of bond planning at a study session on January 26.
Learn more about the January 20 RISD Board Study Session, including a video of the meeting.
The construction of additional classrooms at Prairie Creek Elementary is on schedule. The new rooms are expected to be ready for students when school begins in August.
Filing Period Open For RISD Board Election
Terms expire for places 3, 4 and 5 on the RISD Board of Trustees in May. The window is now open for residents interested in running for the RISD Board of Trustees to file for a place on the ballot for the May 7 election.
Place 4 incumbent Lanet Greenhaw has announced she will not seek re-election after 18 years of service on the Board. Place 3 incumbent Kris Oliver and Place 5 incumbent Eron Linn have both filed to seek re-election to three-year terms.
Potential candidates may pick up an information packet at the RISD Administration Building, 400 S. Greenville Avenue in Richardson during normal business hours. The deadline to return filing documents for the May 7 election is February 19 at 5:00p.m.
A Day of Service
Students and families from around the district and the community joined together for a Day of Service at Richardson High School in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. over the holiday weekend. More than 700 volunteers assisted with the project of collecting and assembling school supply kits for students and teachers at RISD Academy, Dover and Bukhair elementary schools.
The event was in partnership with the Corporation for National & Community Service and Youth Service America and made possible in part by a grant from State Farm.
Special thanks to the Richardson Rotary Club and State Farm for their support.
Focus Accounts Needed for Online Enrollment
In March, parents of current non-magnet 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.
Information about online enrollment for secondary students is coming soon.
Parents are encouraged to create a Focus Parent account if they have not already done so.
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.