School Times Now!
2012-13 STARS Teachers
Legislative Update from
Dr. Waggoner
College and Career
Readiness Website
Spotlight on Special
Student Services
Spotlight on RISD
Board Receives Budget,
Construction Updates
Reminder: No School Friday,
STAAR Begins Monday
Exchange Club of LH
Supports Northlake
ACE Acres Garden
Moss Haven Hatching
High School Highlights
Destination Imagination
Regional Tournament

Bowie Beta Club
Richardson West Junior High
Fine Arts Showcase

Alumni Focus -
Adam Saunders, RHS

Bowie Celebrates Student
Work at Open House

RISD Job Postings
Murder Mystery Supports
Parent ESL Classes

Follow RISD on Twitter
RISD on Facebook
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RISD thanks our 2012-13 scoreboard sponsors!

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2012-13 STARS Teachers Honored

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Ten Richardson ISD teachers were honored recently as the 2012-13 STARS (Superior Teaching Achievements in RISD) teachers of the year.

Selection committee members, Dr. Waggoner and representatives of the RISD Excellence in Education Foundation surprised the winners with classroom visits on March 22.

The RISD Excellence in Education Foundation, the district's non-profit foundation working directly for all RISD students and staff, administered the selection and recognition of this year's STARS teachers. Students and colleagues cheered as the teachers were surprised at their schools with flowers and an oversized check for $1,000.

STARS winners were nominated by their schools and will be honored at the Excellence in Education Foundation Gala on April 12, and the REA/Board of Trustees Banquet on May 16. 

Congratulations to all the winners, who represent some of this year's best teachers in a district known for excellent educators. >Top
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Legislative Update from Dr. Waggoner
We have some good news from the Texas 83rd Legislature. The House Appropriations Committee finalized its proposed two-year spending bill that restores $2.5 billion of the 2011 education cuts. The Senate is proposing $1.5 billion. One major difference is that the Senate proposes to spend $40 million for pre-kindergarten while the House Committee does not. Differences will be ironed out by a conference committee once both the House and Senate formally approve their respective spending bills. While neither of these bills has been finalized, RISD will benefit financially if approved. I appreciate these bills that acknowledge public education's fiscal responsibility and need. I encourage you to continue contacting your legislators to provide feedback on bills that affect our schools.

Assessment and Instruction
After almost 7 hours of debate on 118 amendments, HB 5 was adopted by the House on March 26 with a vote of 145 to 2. This bill reduces the number of End of Course exams that high school students must take from the current 15, the largest number in the country, to five (English II Reading and Writing, Algebra I, Biology and U.S. History). Local schools districts would have the authority to decide whether the EOC exams count toward a student's final grade in each subject tested. Under HB 5, Texas would also switch to a single degree plan, and high school students would select one of five graduation paths: arts and humanities, business and industry, multi-disciplinary studies, public services, and science and math. HB 5 calls for a 24-credit graduation requirement and includes a distinguished graduation opportunity.

SB 3, sponsored by Committee Chair Dan Patrick, requires five EOC exams (English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology, and U.S. History). The 15% and cumulative score requirements are eliminated. Under SB 3, Texas would have a 26-credit foundation plan with four possible endorsements: business and industry, arts and humanities, STEM and distinguished.

Other bills address credit by exam, accountability for charter schools, and performance ratings for districts and campuses. We will be carefully watching all of these bills and reviewing the many amendments. I will keep you up to date as bills pass through the respective legislative branches.

Texas High Performance Schools Consortium
You may remember that RISD was one of 23 Texas districts chosen to be a part of the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium (THPSC). The Consortium has been meeting frequently to share best practices and develop recommendations that can transform Texas public education. Representative Bennett Ratliff filed HB 2824 which is specific to the campuses and districts participating in the THPSC. The bill provides greater flexibility for the districts and campuses to implement their findings as pilots for the state. The proposal must be approved by the Legislature before being implemented.

Representative Bennett Ratliff filed HB 669 to give school districts greater flexibility to set and manage their academic calendar. Under HB 669 school would start during the week in which August 21 falls. The change would correspond with the start and end dates of most universities and community colleges.

Senator Robert Deuell and Representative Larry Gonzales have filed SB 643 and HB 103 that would authorize TRS to provide retirees with a supplemental payment if the fund meets certain conditions. TRS retirees have not received a cost-of-living raise in 12 years and a supplemental payment has not been issued since 2008. The supplemental payment would not have an adverse impact on the fund as minimum levels of funding are maintained.

I have previously mentioned HB 1383. This bill calls on the Legislature to increase the state contribution to the TRS pension trust fund to 6.9% in FY 2014 and 7.4% in FY 2015.

Closer to Home
STAAR testing begins next week. Our teachers and students are prepared and ready for this period, but testing adds another level of stress. RISD parents will be curtailing some evening activities and taking extra steps to make certain that children are coming to school well-rested and ready to meet the challenge. In addition, RISD students are in their busiest competition period with students qualifying for state advancement in athletics, academics, and Career and Technical Education programs. I want to add my congratulations to our students. These students are excellent representatives of their schools and our district.

Thank you, our community, for your continued support. As I visit campuses, I see parents, organizations, and businesses involved in our schools and cheering for the success of our students. Your commitment to education makes a difference.


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College and Career Readiness Website
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Spotlight on Special Student Services

Please join RISD for a movie screening of The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia.

Date: Wednesday, April 10th
Time: 6pm-8pm

PDC Auditorium
701 W. Belt Line
Richardson, TX 75080

Click here to download event flyer.


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Spotlight on RISD
Please take a moment to watch the March edition of Spotlight On RISD – a video highlighting news and happenings from around the district.

Click here to watch the video. >Top

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Reminder: No School Friday, STAAR Begins Monday

Parents, please remember that tomorrow, Friday, March 29 is a student holiday and there is no school.

Monday, April 1 begins the first week of state STAAR assessments in different subjects & grade levels:

April 1
English I & III Writing EOC

April 2
Writing 4, 7: Day 1
Math 5, 8
English I & III Reading EOC

April 3
Writing 4, 7: Day 2
Reading 5, 8
English II Writing EOC

April 4
English II Reading EOC

The next round of STAAR assessments will occur the week of April 23. >Top

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Board Receives Budget, Construction Updates

The RISD Board met in a study session on March 25, discussing the district's Career and Technical Education (CTE) program and receiving an update regarding the potential impact of legislative action on RISD's budget planning. The Board also heard district plans to construct additional classroom capacity at three schools in advance of the 2014-15 school year. For details, please see the March 25 edition of Board Brief. >Top

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Exchange Club of LH Supports Northlake
The Exchange Club of Lake Highlands recently presented a $1,000 donation to the Northlake Excellence in Education Fund. The fund was created with the goal of supporting Northlake Elementary School by providing financial resources for additional academic programs, special classroom materials, special projects and professional development for teachers. Every student at Northlake Elementary School benefits from the fund and in turn the community benefits as a whole. The fund was founded in 2012 by a group of residents in the Northlake attendance area and is managed by a board of directors.

The Exchange Club of Lake Highlands is actively involved in supporting public education at all levels in the Lake Highlands community.

Thanks ECLH! >Top
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ACE Acres Garden
Arapaho Classical Magnet students have a new learning garden on their campus. They held an inaugural celebration where each grade level planted in their beds and learned about different vegetations and soils. They also have a nice shed to store tools and supplies in. Students will apply what they learn in science and work in the gardens weekly. >Top
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Moss Haven Hatching Healthiness
Moss Haven Elementary recently celebrated the second year for its learning garden and welcomed four new feathered friends. An area family donated a chicken coop and hens to the school. The children are very excited about the latest addition to the school and will take great care of the hens and are looking forward to learning more about farming. >Top
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High School Highlights
Back Row: (L to R) Attorney Advisor Jonathan Winocour, Ian Miller, Pierce Gordon
Front Row: Raisch Tomlanovich, Vaughan Ollier, Jacquelyn Brewer, Hosanna Yemiru, Anna Scholten, Maysa AlQaisi, Jackie Chao, Coach Alexis Stern, Su Sheehan, Obi Atumah

Richardson High School
Richardson HS Mock Trial Wins Second in State of Texas
Richardson High School Legal Eagles took second place in the recent Texas High School Mock Trial Competition. They also took first place in the Region 10 Competition that occurred in February and first place in the district competition. Senior Jackie Chao & Sophomore Ian Miller received outstanding advocate nominations, and freshman Hosanna Yemiru received a nod for outstanding witness.

Their teacher is Alexis Stern.

Congratulations! >Top

  RHS Journalism Wins District
Richardson HS Journalism students won the sweepstakes (first place) at the recent UIL district competition, and several students qualified for the upcoming regional competition.

Congratulations to:

Feature Writing:
1st Talia Richman
2nd Demir Candas
4th Haley Yates

Editorial Writing:
1st Talia Richman
2nd Demir Candas
5th Peter Mikhael

News Writing:
3rd Talia Richman
6th Haley Yates

Their teacher is Wade Kennedy. >Top
RHS Student a 2013 Texas Scholar Award Recipient
Congratulations to Yaseen Ahmad of Richardson High School for being one of just fifty 2013 Texas Scholar Award Recipients across the state.

As part of his recognition, online voting has been set up to pick your favorite Texas Scholar and possibly win $5,000 for Richardson High School.

To vote, go to and vote for Yaseen Ahmad as your favorite 2013 Texas Scholar.

Voting closes April 15th. >Top
Berkner High School
Berkner Bandolera Spring Show
April 11-13
Berkner Auditorium
Tickets: $12 reserved, $10 general admission and $8 student ($5 Thursday night)
Ticket sales begin at 7:00 p.m.
Show begins at 7:30 p.m.

JJ Pearce High School
Pearce Band to hold "Mustang Market" / Garage Sale
Families of the Pearce Band are cleaning out their attics, garages and closets in preparation for our annual huge, multi-family "Mustang Market"/Garage Sale to be held in the SW parking lot of Pearce High School (Coit/Melrose). The market will occur rain or shine on Saturday, April 13th from 8am – 2pm. You can support the band program by planning to attend or renting a space in the Pearce parking lot to sell your own items while benefiting from the great location, free advertising in the media and signage around the vicinity. There's also the added security of not selling items at your home. Funds from the sale will benefit the Pearce Band Program. Contact Cinde at to get details on renting a space in our lot. >Top
Road Rules
Road Rules: On Wednesday, March 27th at 7:00 in the JJ Pearce Auditorium, Texas PTA will hold a presentation for parents and kids to learn how crashes are not just accidents but most are predictable and preventable.

Click here to download event flyer. >Top
Lady Mustangs Win District
Click here to see a Channel 5 story on the Lady Mustangs. >Top

Lake Highlands High School
Sadie's Night at the Ballpark Supporting CCA
The Lake Highlands H.S. baseball team is hosting our 2nd annual Sadie's Night to help raise money for the Children's Craniofacial Association. The CCA is a national organization that supports families with children with a craniofacial disorder. The Lake Highlands area is a close knit community and our goal is to support our local children that have a craniofacial disorders. Sadie Bono and John Gorman are both future Lake Highlands HS Wildcats and the baseball team would like all families to feel supported in the neighborhood.

Come out and enjoy some Wildcat baseball for a great cause!

Click here to download event flyer. >Top

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Destination Imagination Regional Tournament
The team "Imaginators" posing with a very proud Brentfield Principal, Steve Lemons.
The third grade team "Imaginators" won first place in the Technical Challenge of the Dal-Rich Destination Imagination regional tournament. They are advancing to the affiliate (state) round in Katy, TX in April. Team members: Adam Howard, Warren Mullinnix, Jimmy Ray, Gracie George, Isobella LaBarge, Sutton Rockman, and Jonah Craine. Team Managers: Anne Howard and Alex Ray.

Congratulations! >Top
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Bowie Beta Club
Bowie Beta Club members volunteer at the Highlands North Easter Egg Hunt.
Bowie's Junior Beta Club recently provided student volunteers at Highland North's annual Easter Egg Hunt, a local neighborhood event.

Junior Beta Club is a national community and school service program. Beta members organize and participate in many fundraisers and community service projects throughout the school year. In order to qualify for Junior Beta Club membership, students must also maintain high grades.

Bowie's Beta Club is sponsored by teachers Amy Daly and Emily Gruninger. >Top
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Richardson West Junior High Fine Arts Showcase
The art, band, choir, orchestra, and theater students of Richardson West Junior High will be showcasing their talents at the Fine Arts Showcase on April 18th from 6:30-8:30 pm at the school. The Showcase will feature an art walk and performances by student musicians as well as actors from the Theater Arts Magnet.

The public is welcome to attend—RWJH is located at 1309 Holly Drive in Richardson. >Top
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Alumni Focus - Adam Saunders, RHS
1995 Richardson High School graduate Adam Saunders, now CEO of film company Footprint Features, will make his feature film debut as the co star and producer of Family Weekend premiering March 29 in Dallas.

Also starring Kristin Chenoweth and Matthew Modine, the comedy Family Weekend will be shown Friday, March 29 at Studio Movie Grill on Spring Valley.

For more information, please see the press release here.

Congrats to RHS alum Adam Saunders! >Top
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Bowie Celebrates Student Work at Open House
Bowie 3rd graders perform a "living museum" of American presidents during Open House. Each student dressed as a president and gave a speech based on their extensive research.
Bowie Elementary recently invited parents and community members to Open House. The event served as a showcase of student work and accomplishments- artwork, research, project-based learning, and other special projects were on display throughout the school. >Top
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Murder Mystery Supports Parent ESL Classes

More than 400 RISD parents whose native language is something other than English have enrolled in English as a Second Language classes offered this year through 17 RISD schools. These free classes, facilitated by the Richardson Adult Literacy Center (RALC), provide parents an opportunity to learn English while also becoming more familiar with the American school environment.

"Helping parents learn or improve their English is rewarding on so many fronts," shares Katie Patterson, RALC's executive director. "We see many of these parents go on to obtain better jobs and become more involved in their children's education and in our community."

RALC's work in providing free ESL instruction to parents and other adults in our community is supported solely by private contributions and fundraising events. Their major fundraiser of the year, a Murder Mystery, takes place on Saturday, April 6, at the Richardson Public Library. Former Dobie Principal Kay Reynolds is one of the community actors in this year's performance. Tickets and details are available through >Top

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