Parents Invited to Participate in Biennial Survey
RISD's biennial survey of parents offers an opportunity for parents to share their thoughts about critical school issues such as academic preparation, student support, parent engagement, safety and behavior, special programs, school and district operations, and school leadership.
The parent survey takes approximately 20-25 minutes to complete. All answers are confidential and survey responses will not be used to identify individuals or their students. After the survey closes, aggregate findings will be reported to the Board of Trustees and RISD community.
Parents with students at more than one school are welcome to complete a survey for each school. Please complete one survey per parent/school.
The parent survey is available in both English and Spanish, either online or through a paper copy at your child's campus.
Take the Parent Survey
Trustees Continue Bond Planning, Discuss Enrollment Growth
At its regular meeting on December 7, the RISD Board of Trustees continued discussions about potential items for inclusion in a 2016 bond package. Trustees received an update of feedback from stakeholders provided at recent community meetings and discussed specific topics impacting potential bond items.
Based on stakeholder feedback received at community meetings to date, the top priority among enrichment options for inclusion in the bond is additional classroom technology for teacher and student use, followed by Career & Technical Education/JROTC, Multipurpose Facilities and Library Transformations. Additional community meetings are scheduled and feedback is also being accepted online.
Also based on stakeholder feedback, additional detail of proposed expenditures in each operational and curricular area is being prepared.
Elementary Enrollment Growth
Staff and trustees discussed strategies to address elementary enrollment growth. RISD has constructed 59 elementary classrooms at 10 schools since 2012 to create capacity for additional students. Construction will be completed on six additional classrooms at an eleventh school (Prairie Creek) in time for the 2016-17 school year.
Despite the recent construction of additional classrooms, some elementary schools are operating close to or at capacity and are overflowing students in some grade levels to other schools that have space. RISD anticipates receiving an updated demographic report in January that will include projected enrollment at schools and districtwide into the next decade.
Trustees and staff discussed potential options if the updated report indicates the need to consider longer-term solutions such as construction of additional classrooms at a school, redrawing attendance boundaries and/or construction of a new school.
If construction is needed, the source of funding could potentially be included in the 2016 bond or paid for through one-time use of operating funds.
One strategy RISD could employ to address elementary enrollment growth in the 2016 bond involves including a placeholder dollar amount dedicated to address the issue. The strategy would allow RISD and stakeholders the flexibility and time to address growth as needed through the five year bond period.
The Board also heard strategies to address current elementary enrollment growth for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year, including potential expansion of eligibility for all Lake Highlands areas to apply to attend any elementary magnet school; enhancement of magnet offerings at Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet (the elementary magnet school that has traditionally served Lake Highlands); studying the possible relocation of central programs to provide more comprehensive services and create classroom capacity at specific schools; redrawing attendance boundaries; continuing to utilize overflow as a strategy on a school-by-school basis in grade levels that reach the state-mandated 22 student cap in each K-4 section; and/or temporarily exceeding the 22 student cap on a school-by school basis to reduce student overflow.
More specific long-term options will be discussed by trustees, including potential items for inclusion in the bond, once the updated demographic report is available in January.
Multipurpose Facilities (MPFs)
Trustees received comparison information about indoor facilities that have already been constructed in several other districts. The data includes what other districts paid in base cost, an inflation index and site/project development fees to arrive at an estimated cost for what a similarly-sized and equipped facility would cost RISD to build in 2017. Indoor facilities in other districts vary substantially in size, building materials, code requirements and features like field length, storage space, weight rooms, classrooms and office space. See MPF comparison information.
Staff and trustees discussed possible ways to reduce the cost of potential MPFs by reducing the scope of the proposed projects.
For comprehensive bond planning information, please visit the 2016 Bond Planning website.
Board Meeting Summary - December 7
In addition to the discussion about bond planning, trustees also heard an update from the Retention Task Force, continued discussions about the 2016-2017 Student Academic Calendar, and received an update regarding the Non-Traditional Program.
2016-17 Calendar Draft - Modified Grading Periods Proposed
Trustees discussed a modified draft of the proposed 2016-2017 Student Academic Calendar that reduces the number of grading periods from six to four. Each new grading period would last approximately nine weeks. Feedback from principals and district curriculum staff has been strongly in favor of lengthening grading periods to better reflect a curriculum that has become more rigorous.
Holidays and staff development days would not be impacted. The change would mean parents would receive four annual formal progress reports for their students instead of six, but staff are discussing a framework for providing additional informal grade notices to parents. Teachers would continue to make grade information available to parents on an ongoing basis through typical parent/teacher communication and online via Focus for Parents. See the modified calendar draft.
Trustees are expected to adopt the official 2016-2017 RISD Student Academic Calendar in early 2016. Feedback about the proposed calendar, including thoughts about modified grading periods, is encouraged and may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 469-593-0301.
New Teacher Evaluation & Compensation System
Trustees heard an initial presentation regarding development of a new evaluation and compensation system for teachers. The new system would include the new state of Texas evaluation system (TTESS) that districts will be required to utilize beginning in 2016-17. RISD's new system will continue to include performance components and could allow teachers to reach different tiers of performance with accompanying eligibility for compensation. The RISD Retention Task Force will continue to evaluate details of a new system and seek teacher input, with education and training being planned.
Trustees received an update on the expansion of the Non-Traditional Program, including a site plan draft of the building to accommodate an expanded version of the current evening-only program that serves high school students (see background). The building would also provide RISD with teacher and professional development space. As the design process is underway, the projected cost of the facility has been adjusted to $9.9 million from the initial projected cost of up to $12.5 million.
Learn more about the December 7 Board meeting
2016 Bond Planning - Feedback Requested
RISD trustees are continuing to evaluate potential items to include in the 2016 bond and public input is a critical part of the bond planning process.
RISD's 2016 Bond planning website includes information to learn about items under consideration and allows taxpayers, parents, employees and students to provide feedback and ideas online.
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.