School Times Now!
Update from Dr. Waggoner
RISD District Spelling Bee
2012 STAAR 3-8
Results Available
Board Hears Budget Update,
Salary Comparison
National Signing Day 2013
American Heart Month
Children's Poet Visits
RISD Libraries
Big Springs hosts Multicultural
Night 2013

PPM and Texas Instruments
Mentoring Program
"Out of this World"
Math/Science Family Night
High School Highlights
George Washington Visits
Bowie Elementary

Prairie Creek Elementary
Skype Pals with Long Island

6th Graders at Northlake
Donate Bowls for FoodBank

Creating Character through

Districtwide K-12 Student
Art Showcase

Why Careers? Why Now?
Help RISD Seniors Become
College Bound

Eagle-Mustang 5K and Food
Truck Festival Benefits
Excellence in Education Funds

Follow RISD on Twitter
RISD on Facebook
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Raising Canes Ad
Methodist Ad

RISD thanks our 2012-13 scoreboard sponsors!

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Update from Dr. Waggoner

As promised, I want to keep you apprised of legislation pertinent to education. To date, more than 1,500 bills and proposed constitutional amendments have been introduced for consideration by the members of the 83rd Texas Legislature. In both the House and Senate combined, approximately 150 bills have now been filed under the Texas Legislative Council's broad category of "Education" which equates to roughly 10 percent of all legislation filed to date.

Accountability and Assessment:
A number of bills concerning accountability and assessment have been filed. Last week, the Senate passed its first bill of the session. SB135, by Senate Education Committee Chair Dan Patrick of Houston, would remove the requirement that high school end-of-course examinations make up 15 percent of a student's final grade and permit local districts to decide how these exams affect final grades, ranging from zero to fifteen percent. That bill now heads to the House for approval.

Both HB5, by House Education Committee Chair Representative Aycock, and SB3, by Senator Patrick, propose changes to the 4 x 4 graduation plans. The bills add endorsements in four areas such as Business/Industry, Arts/Humanities, STEM, and Public Services or Distinguished.

In addition, HB5 eliminates the requirement that all students must pass Algebra II and ELA III to receive a high school diploma, reduces the number of end-of-course assessments from fifteen to five, and allows students to meet their graduation assessment requirement by passing ELA II (reading and writing), Algebra I, Biology and US History. HB5 also eliminates the 15 percent rule and allows satisfactory performance on Advanced Placement exams, SAT exams and the ACT to satisfy graduation requirements. HB5 does establish a new accountability system that evaluates schools on financial performance, community and student engagement, and academic performance. In each of these categories, schools would be given a rating of A-F.

SB3 creates a new foundation program for high school graduation with 11.5 elective credits and 14.5 credits in specified areas: 4 in English, 3 in math, 2 in science, 3 in social studies, 1/2 in speech, 1 in PE, and 1 in fine arts or CTE. Students could earn endorsements in one of four areas by completing specified additional course requirements. Personal graduation plans (PGPs) would be required for all middle, junior high and high school students. The number of EOC tests taken by individual students for graduation requirements could range from 8 to 12, counting reading and writing together as one English test.

Outside of the 83rd Legislative Session, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams announced that TEA will not assign accreditation statuses to districts or charters this year, based on last year's STAAR results, FIRST results, data reporting, special program effectiveness, and compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements as is normally required by statute.

Several bills, including HB273, HB904, and HB274 address limiting and/or reporting class size. Other bills address physical education, dyslexia training, and pre-school programs.

In case you missed the recent special edition of School Times Now, I want to let you know that State District Judge John Dietz ruled on February 4 that the system Texas uses to fund public education is unconstitutional. The ruling came at the conclusion of a trial brought by over 600 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 enough funding to provide a constitutionally adequate education. Technically, Judge Dietz will not enter his final, written order in the case until March, and then the state is almost certain to appeal directly to the Texas Supreme Court. This timing means that the earliest that the State would likely address an overhaul in the school funding system would be in a special session in summer, 2014.

The Texas School District Security Act is being discussed by several legislators including Senator Williams, Senator Whitmire and Representative Huberty. Among other things, the legislation would allow individual school districts to vote on dedicated funding for enhanced school security measures.

One of the most consistent statements that we hear from legislators is the need to hear from all voters. I encourage you to contact your legislators with your opinions on any of these, or other, proposed measures. You can make a difference through your actions.


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RISD District Spelling Bee

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The district Spelling Bee was held recently, which included separate competitions within each high school attendance area. Winners from each school, which included students in grades 4-8, competed in the district event last week. Congratulations to the winner and alternate from each competition. These winners will move on to the Dallas County Public Schools competition on February 21 at UTD. >Top
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2012 STAAR 3-8 Results Available

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 with 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.

To view RISD's 2012 STAAR 3-8 grade results, please click here.

Click here to see a video to help parents understand their STAAR Confidential Student Report.


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Board Hears Budget Update, Salary Comparison

At the February 4 meeting of the RISD Board, trustees heard a budget update from Deputy Superintendent Tony Harkleroad as discussions and preparations continued for adoption of the 2013-14 operating budget. Read the details in the latest Board Brief. >Top

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National Signing Day 2013

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February 6 was National Signing Day across the U.S., with high school student-athletes officially committing to play intercollegiate athletics at colleges & universities.

RISD seniors, many flanked by proud parents and coaches, signed with postsecondary institutions to play basketball, football, track & field, and volleyball.

Congratulations to latest group of student athletes who will be representing RISD at the next level of competition. >Top

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American Heart Month
  MTE Staff are Heart Smart!
Mark Twain Elementary teachers and staff helped spread awareness about heart disease by participating in National Wear Red Day. >Top
Northlake Elementary Promotes Heart Health
Northlake Elementary has been celebrating the National Heart Awareness initiative this month holding organized Jump Rope for Heart competitions among their K-6 students. On March 7th from 6-8 p.m. in their cafetorium, they will be holding a health fair, which will include: information about asthma, diabetes, dental health, fitness and nutrition, child safety, poison control, diabetes, and breast cancer; Medicaid and CHIP registration with blood pressure screening by RISD nurses. Northlake will be giving away bike helmets and one 3-month membership to the Lake Highlands YMCA. You will not want to miss this event, which is free and open to the public. >Top
Prairie Creek's Gifts From The Heart
As part of American Heart Month, and with a Valentine's Day twist, Prairie Creek Elementary recently hosted Carter Bloodcare for a blood drive on February 14.

Nurse Shara Strickland and Executive Assistant Margaret Kizzia spearheaded the effort, which saw staff and parents, including principal Kyle Stuard, give the gift of life. >Top


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Children's Poet Visits RISD Libraries

Several elementary school libraries recently hosted children's poet Kenn Nesbitt recently. Mr. Nesbitt spoke with Kindergarten through 6th grade students about how to write poetry, creating rhymes, and the editing process. Many of Kenn Nesbitt's poems can be found on his website- Mr. Nesbitt visited Bowie, Brentfield, White Rock, Merriman Park, and Forestridge elementary schools. >Top

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Big Springs hosts Multicultural Night

Big Springs Elementary students, parents and staff had a great time learning about other cultures and countries recently. Complete with passports, food tasting and entertainment, Big Springs brought together our own "Melting Pot" community! >Top

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Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet and Texas Instruments Mentoring Program

Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet school's Corporate Partner, Texas Instruments, has been instrumental in providing mentors for students at HPPM. These volunteers give their time and effort to assist students in achieving academic excellence and developing social skills. Each Wednesday, a host of T.I. employees make their way to HPPM for the mentoring program. The students look forward to seeing them each week.

If your business or organization is interested in volunteering or mentoring in RISD, please contact Community Relations Coordinator Amanda O'Neal at


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"Out of this World" Math/Science Family Night

Math and Science are out of this world! Prestonwood Elementary celebrated its annual Math/Science Family Night in style recently. There were many "out of this world" experiences at the math and science tables throughout the building for students and their families. Thanks to the incredible Prestonwood staff, PTA and Prestige Community Credit Union for making it happen. >Top

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High School Highlights
  Berkner High School
Berkner Robotics
The Berkner "Fearless" Robotics Club had an amazing tournament in Austin recently, finishing in 2nd place as Tournament Finalists. BHS also won the individual "programming skills award" for best autonomous robot. Finally, all BHS teams collectively won the "Think Award" for an innovative approach to robotic programming by using a flexible programming template. Team updates & photos can be found at >Top
Berkner High Students Win Optimist Speech Contest
The Optimist Club of Richardson held its annual Optimist International Oratorical Contest last month at the First Community Bank in Richardson. First Place honors went to Asif Sheikh of Berkner High School and Second Place honors to Roberto Caballero, also of Berkner High.

The Club contest was judged by members of the Richardson Toastmasters and the Optimist Club. Mr. Sheikh will advance to the Zone Contest where he will compete with winners from other Optimist Clubs in the area for the chance to win scholarship funds.>Top
Richardson High School
RHS Volleyball Receives Philanthropic Achievement Award
The Richardson High School Volleyball program has received its second Philanthropic Achievement Award from the Sideout Foundation for raising funds for breast cancer research. Directed by JV Head Coach Krissy Seaman, team members raised $3550 to donate to the foundation. Freshman Madison Stengel was the top fundraiser, collecting more than $1000.

RHS will be the first school in the U.S. to receive a Sideout Foundation/Dig Pink banner for their gymnasium. >Top

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George Washington Visits Bowie Elementary
President George Washington and the Daughters of the American Revolution present Bowie Principal Staci Low with a framed portrait of the first president.

George Washington, one of his life guards, and members of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) recently visited Bowie Elementary. President Washington spoke to the students, and the DAR presented the school with a framed portrait of President Washington. Student winners of the George Washington art and essay contest were also recognized at the assembly. >Top

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Prairie Creek Elementary Skype Pals with Long Island School

Prairie Creek students recently made some new friends more than 1,500 miles away when they shared a lesson via Skype with students in New York. PCC fourth graders Skyped with fifth graders from Boyle Road Elementary in Long Island in lessons about geography and history. Students traded questions about weather, landmarks, sports teams and favorite subjects in school. Students will be sharing digital presentations through librarian Nancy Prohaska, and future Skype sessions are planned. >Top

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6th Graders at Northlake Donate Bowls for FoodBank Initiative

Sixth Grade Artists at Northlake recently donated their creative clay bowls for the upcoming Empty Bowls fundraiser which is held March 1st at the Meyerson. Empty Bowls is the North Texas Food Bank's annual initiative to help raise money in a fun, creative way. For $35 in advance or $45 at the door, one can enjoy any soups, breads and desserts graciously donated by area restaurants and chefs and also take home one of the many handcrafted bowls created by many RISD students. "It's just a way for us to be able to participate and donate our bowls for a needy cause, " said one Northlake sixth-grader, adding, "You never know when you might be the one in need." >Top

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Creating Character through Karate
Karate Class during Fall enrichment clusters

Texas Karate Institute is helping Spring Valley Elementary students develop self esteem, confidence, focus, fitness, discipline and commitment. Mr. David Mason and Mr. Juan Warner have been donating their time to instruct students during the school's enrichment clusters.

Texas Karate Institute, now celebrating its 51st year, is the oldest professional Karate school in Texas.

At Spring Valley's recent Science/Writing/Reading and Math Night (SWARM), the Texas Karate Institute performed for students and parents. Mr. Mike Hamilton (adult Black Belt), Liana Rivera (first degree Black Belt, senior at Berkner High School) and Espino Barros (9 year old, advance belts competitor) demonstrated various karate moves and actions. A highlight included Mr. Hamilton teaching Nurse Sherry Freeland to break a wood board using her elbow in only a few quick lessons.

Spring Valley is grateful for good neighbors like Texas Karate Institute who contribute their time and effort to help create character in the children at Spring Valley.


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Districtwide K-12 Student Art Showcase

Eisemann Center's Green Mezzanine-Gallery
Now through February 26, 2013

Through challenging curricular art activities which are aligned with the standards outlined in the Art Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and the school's art curriculum, students are provided a venue to showcase their skills as well as their understanding of process and creative development which supports the goals and skill level of all students.

Gallery hours are 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday through Saturday and during all public events. The exhibit is free and open to the public. The Charles W. Eisemann Center is located at 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson, Texas 75082 in the Galatyn Park Urban Center adjacent to the Galatyn Park DART rail station. For more information on exhibits and events, visit the website at

Download event poster. >Top

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Why Careers? Why Now?

Did you know that children begin making decisions about their future in subtle but important ways as early as Kindergarten? The beliefs they form about themselves and the working world from ages 6-13 impact early career decision-making processes in high school and beyond. Empower yourself with knowledge so you can help set the foundations for career readiness.

Date: Thursday, February 28, 2013

Time: 6:30 pm

PDC Auditorium
701 W. Beltline Rd.
Richardson, TX 

Speaker: Dr. Greta Davis, LPC-S, NCC

About the speaker:
Dr. Greta Davis is a career counselor and consultant with 12 years of experience in career counseling and development providing services to individual clients, academic institutions, and the federal government. She is a frequent speaker at professional counseling conferences and workshops at local, state, and national meetings and delivers presentations on all facets of career development. Dr. Davis is the 2009 recipient of the Texas Career Development Association (TCDA) Outstanding Career Practitioner Award. >Top

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Help RISD Seniors Become College Bound

Help make college a reality for Richardson ISD high school students - volunteer at one of RISD's FAFSA (Financial Aid) Super Saturday events:

Date: Saturday, February 23
Locations: Richardson HS and Berkner HS
Volunteer Shifts: 8:30am-12:00 pm or 11:30am – 3:00pm
Over 100 volunteers are needed at each school! A variety of volunteer jobs are available. No experience is required. Training is provided.

To see volunteer opportunities at Berkner HS, click here.
To see volunteer opportunities at Richardson HS, click here.

At these events, high school seniors and their parents will receive help completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) online, as well as gain a better understanding of the college financial aid process. For these events to be a success – and so that a large number of seniors can be helped – volunteers are crucial.

Financial aid is key to being able to go to college for many high school seniors – and the first step is completion of the FAFSA. Research shows that 88% of students who complete the FAFSA go onto college. Help us show these students that we support their college aspirations. Sign up to help at a FAFSA Super Saturday event today!

Questions? Contact Katie Patterson, Volunteer Coordinator, at>Top

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Eagle-Mustang 5K and Food Truck Festival benefits Excellence in Education Funds

TaskinRegistration is now open for the first annual Eagle-Mustang 5K and Food Truck Festival benefitting Richardson High School's Eagle Fund and the Pearce Excellence in Education Fund (PEEF). The two schools have joined forces this year to present this community-wide event on Saturday, March 2 at Eagle-Mustang Stadium. Runners and families are invited to enjoy the great outdoors and a lively morning of entertainment and fabulous food and beverages for sale from some of the city's top gourmet mobile kitchens: Hypnotic Donuts, Rockstar Bakery, Taco Party, Ruthie's Rolling Café, Little Greek and The Mobile Stand.

Our certified 5K course winds through tree-lined streets near Richardson High School, and finishes inside the stadium for awards and live music. In addition to nine age categories, we also have a barefoot runner division. The food trucks are open from 8:30 until 11:30. The race starts at 9:00 a.m.

Registration fees are $15 for students and $25 for adults. After February 23rd, late registration fee is $30 for adults. Entry into the food truck area is free with your race bib, or $2.00 for non-runners. You can register online at, by mail, or at Run On! Richardson between February 26 – 28. Last-minute registration will be held from 7:30 until 9:00 the day of the race. We encourage you to register early to guarantee a race t-shirt in your size!

This event would not be possible without the tremendous support of our community. Gold Sponsors include Award Solutions, Blanks, Debbie & Ron Greene, Libby & Kris Oliver, Stream Data Centers and Texas Mosquito Control. Silver Sponsors include Kim Caston, RISD Board of Trustees; Karen Holburn, RISD Board of Trustees; Renee Rubin, Virginia Cook Realtor; Carla & Rob Cline; Farmers Insurance Gonzales Insurance Agency; Mickey Stengel Build Design Renovate; RHS Class of 1992 and Yellow Rose Landscaping. If you would like to display a poster or yard sign, e-mail us at

So which high school will earn the bragging rights for must runners? Make sure you indicate Richardson, Pearce or both when you register. See you on Saturday, March 2, rain or shine! >Top

Did you miss an issue of School Times Now!? Click here to view the archives. >Top
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