School Times Now!
Legislative Update from
Dr. Waggoner
RISD Recognizes Autism
Awareness Month
Board Hears Budget
Update, Report on Parent
Engagement Efforts
RISD Program Receives
Magna Award Recognition
Mapping Your Student's
Richardson ISD Board of
Trustees Candidate Forum
RISD Teacher a Finalist
for Eco-Educator
I-Science at Prestonwood
RISD Career and Technical
Education Department Survey
RISD Theatre Productions
Nominated As Area's Best
High School Highlights
PHS & RHS Athletic
Trainers Join Forces
Northrich Elementary Plants
a Promise
Visual Art Scholastic
Event Winners
FMJH Hospitality Students
Visit Area Businesses
Hamilton Park Students
Connect with Senior

See What's New in
Richardson ISD Senior Tour
Northlake Health Fair
West Junior High
Fine Arts Showcase

RISD Job Postings
Follow RISD on Twitter
RISD on Facebook
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Legislative Update from Dr. Waggoner
Both the Senate and House Education Committees have been extremely busy in reviewing bills and hearing testimony. Some major changes that have taken place in the last few days.

Assessment and Accountability
The House voted 30-1 to delay performance ratings until the summer of 2014 based on proposed changes in the student testing program. An exception to this legislation is provided for a school or district that would have improved its ratings under the new system. In other words, a campus or district can improve its ratings but not be subject to a lowered rating. This measure would effectively block Commissioner Williams' earlier announcement that he would implement an A, B, C, D or F school accountability ratings system in 2014.

Other accountability bills, including SB 1408, are still under discussion. SB 1408 states that beginning in 2013-14, the commissioner shall adopt rules to evaluate school district and campus performance using a performance rating of A, B, C, D or F. A performance rating of A, B, or C reflects acceptable performance and a rating of D or F reflects unacceptable performance. An amendment provides for the commissioner to base state accountability ratings on both performance and growth.

We also may see significant changes in accessibility of released STAAR tests with SB 1505. This bill would require TEA to release questions and answer keys each year for STAAR grades 3-8, STAAR Alternate, end-of-course tests, and Spanish STAAR grades 3-5. Teachers would have the opportunity to analyze data, identify students' strengths and weaknesses, and improve instruction. The bill is still pending in the Senate Education Committee.

Several bills in the House and Senate address secondary end-of-course exams, but HB 2836 would reduce the amount of time that the tests require of younger students. In fact, the bill would require that state exams for lower grades be completed in two hours, or less.

Funding and Vouchers
On April 4, the House increased the Foundation Schools Program by $2.5 billion, TRS by $138.3 million (6.6% state contribution), and approximately $56 million for other education programs (agency administration, student data system, and AP incentives). The House version now contains an amendment, which received a 103-43 vote, that prohibits state tax money being used for school vouchers or tax-credit scholarships.

The Senate Education Committee met April 9 to discuss SB 23. This bill would establish the Texas Equal Opportunity Scholarship voucher program to provide businesses with tax credits for donations made to third-party donation aggregators who would then award scholarships to students to attend private schools. To qualify, the students must be either at-risk of dropping out or from households making less than 200 percent times the threshold required for free school lunch.

The Senate Education Committee will also discuss SB 1575 which would establish a taxpayer savings grant voucher program that would provide parents who send their children to a private school with a reimbursement equal to the lesser of either the school tuition or 60 percent of the average state maintenance and operations spending per student. SB 115 is also on the agenda for discussion. This bill would create a school choice program for students with disabilities by opening up the existing Public Education Grant program to include students with disabilities, regardless of the academic performance of the campus to which a student is regularly assigned.

Charter Schools

Education Committee Chair Dan Patrick's SB 2 has gained Committee approval after considerable amendments. This bill would significantly expand charter school operations in Texas and provide avenues for charter schools to secure the use of public school facilities. The current version: 1) eliminates a separate state agency to oversee charter applications and operations; 2) gives the State Education Commissioner authority to grant, monitor and close charters, and authorizes the State Board of Education to veto the Commissioner's decisions; 3) holds the Commissioner publicly accountable for granting charters; and 4) requires that out-of-state charter operators meet Texas accountability standards.

As always, I encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions with our representatives and senators. They appreciate our feedback on pending legislation.

Thank you for your continued support of our students and staff.


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RISD Recognizes Autism Awareness Month
According to estimates as recent as last year from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nearly one in 88 children have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder or ASD (CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring). More recently, the CDC released a new study that indicates that autism spectrum disorders affect as many as 1 in 50 American children. The numbers are astonishing and the reality is that numerous students and families in our district and community are affected by autism. This month the world recognizes April as Autism Awareness Month. Additionally, the United Nations General Assembly declared April 2nd as World Autism Day. In recognition of this day, many organizations have developed ways to observe and support awareness for autism. One such example includes Autism Speaks' Light it up Blue campaign to commemorate this special day. RISD campuses across the district have shown their support of autism awareness this month by providing opportunities for students to further their awareness and of course, by "lighting it up blue". >Top

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Board Hears Budget Update, Report on Parent Engagement Efforts

The RISD Board of Trustees met in a study session Monday evening, April 15 and heard an updated report and projections related to the 2013-14 operating budget. The Board also heard a presentation related to RISD's parent engagement efforts and a preview of the district's six-year plan for secondary students and new College & Career Readiness website.

For more details, please see the April 15 edition of Board Brief. >Top

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RISD Program Receives Magna Award Recognition

RISD's program to distribute surplus laptop computers to low-income families has earned an Honorable Mention in the national Magna Awards Program, sponsored by the National School Board Association's American School Board Journal (ASBJ), which highlights national best practices in schools.

The program distributed 1,600 instructionally outdated and out of warranty laptop computers to families across RISD that applied, becoming the first computer in a student's household.

Due to the rate that technology advances, the 5+ year old machines held virtually no value on the secondary market, yet provided an invaluable tool to extend learning at home for many low income students.

This is RISD's third Magna Award recognition, having previously earned Magna Awards in 2002 for the Superintendent's Medallion Awards Program and in 2009 for Enterprise City.

For more information, please see the press release. >Top

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Mapping Your Student's Future
More than 200 families of district 6th-11th graders attended the recent parent night event: Mapping Your Student's Future. Parents learned about ways they can help their children prepare for success during school and following graduation. Topics included a review of RISD's six year student plan to help parents work with their child and counselor to select courses right for their interests and goals and a demonstration of RISD's new College & Career Readiness website. The event concluded with a panel discussion involving RISD guidance counselors from elementary, junior high and high school.

The event was presented by the RISD departments of Guidance & Counseling, College & Career Readiness and Special Student Services. >Top
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Richardson ISD Board of Trustees Candidate Forum
The League of Women Voters of Richardson and the Richardson ISD Council of PTAs are co-sponsoring a forum for candidates seeking election to the Richardson ISD Board of Trustees. The forum will be Tuesday, April 16, 2013, at 7:00 pm in the auditorium of the Richardson ISD Administration Building, 400 S. Greenville Avenue.

Place 4 candidates (listed in the order they will appear on the ballot) are Bonnie Abadie, incumbent Lanet Gray Greenhaw, and Rachel Chumney.

Place 3 incumbent Kris Oliver and Place 5 incumbent Karen Holburn are not opposed.

If you have a question you would like candidates to answer at the forum, email it to Questions that are emailed are given the same consideration as questions submitted at the forum. All questions will be screened according to League of Women Voters of Texas Guide to Candidates Forums.

The election is Saturday, May 11, 2013. Visit for more election information.

Download event flyer.

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RISD Teacher a Finalist for Eco-Educator
Recent RISD STARS teacher of the year award winner Kim Aman from Moss Haven Elementary has just earned anther accolade, and your online/texted vote is needed. Kim is now one of ten finalists for the WFAA Eco-Educator Award, after being nominated by three Moss Haven third graders who submitted a video about her.

The finalist with the most online votes will earn the viewer's choice award, and people may vote in the following ways: Regardless of how voters decide to vote, they will be required to have a Facebook account. This is to ensure that WFAA is authenticating voting and making sure that voting is fair. Voters may vote once a day through Sunday, April 21. >Top
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I-Science at Prestonwood Elementary
Prestonwood Elementary first, second and third graders recently enjoyed an assembly from I-Science for some "Mind-Stretching Fun!" It involved concepts of chemistry and cool scientific experiments. Students 'oohed' and 'ahhed' as the engaging presentation sparked additional interest in science and helped them further understand that science is around all of us everyday. >Top
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RISD Career and Technical Education Department Survey
To determine additional new courses that the Richardson ISD Career and Technical Department should offer in the future, we need to know the interests of our students. Currently, students from each high school attendance area are being surveyed to help the district understand student interest in a variety of career clusters.

The district is exploring the idea of allowing students to travel to other schools should funding, campus locations and other logistics limit course offerings to particular campuses. At the present time, many career cluster choices are available at different high school locations, but not all courses are offered at every high school campus.

In order to ensure that all key stakeholders are given a voice in these critical conversations, the district is also seeking parent feedback. Parents of 8th, 9th and 10th graders who will be attending Berkner, Pearce, Lake Highlands or Richardson High School for the academic year 2013-14 are invited to participate in the survey.

In order to participate, parents may click here:

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RISD Theatre Productions Nominated As Area's Best
Several RISD productions and students have been nominated for awards in the Dallas Summer Musicals High School Musical Theatre Awards. Berkner High School's production of Bye Bye Birdie and Pearce High School's production of West Side Story have both been nominated in the Best Show category, and Lake Highlands High School's Patrick Mahurin has been nominated as Best Actor for his role in LHHS's production of South Pacific.

Other RISD nominees include:
  • Supporting Actress: Sydney Kane in West Side Story, J.J. Pearce H.S.
  • Featured Performer: Chris Truong in South Pacific, Lake Highlands H.S.
  • Direction: Bye Bye Birdie, Berkner H.S.
  • Direction, West Side Story, Pearce H.S.
  • Musical Direction, Bye Bye Birdie, Berkner H.S.
  • Scene Design: West Side Story, Pearce H.S.
  • Lighting Design: South Pacific, Lake Highlands H.S.
  • Ensemble: Bye Bye Birdie, Berkner H.S.
  • Ensemble: West Side Story, Pearce H.S.
  • Ensemble: South Pacific, Lake Highlands H.S.
  • Orchestra: Bye Bye Birdie, Berkner H.S.
  • Orchestra: West Side Story, Pearce H.S.
Online "popular" voting is open now via the Dallas Morning News website, with no registration required, just click and vote. Please note that online votes do not impact who wins. >Top
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High School Highlights

Richardson High School
RHS art student makes the Governor's 10
Lynette M. Sykora, a Richardson High School art student, recently made the "Governor's 10." These are the 10 pieces from the Youth Art Month Capitol exhibit that Governor Rick Perry and his staff selected to hang in the Governor's business office for the next year. Her artwork will be professionally framed and hung in the Governor's office in June. >Top

  RHS Student Named Richardson Real Hero
RHS student Sabih Khan was recently named a Junior Richardson Real Hero for his volunteer efforts related to Junior Achievement, including his involvement in programs that let him work with RISD elementary students.

Sabih also has been awarded a Junior Achievement Scholarship and will be honored at the upcoming Junior Achievement Hall of Fame dinner.

For more information about Sabih's award, please see his profile as a 2013 winner at >Top

Lake Highlands High School
Two LHHS Wrestlers Earn All American Honors
LHHS wrestlers Thayer Atkins (3rd) and D'Andre Brumfield (6th) both finished as All Americans at the USA National Wrestling tournament recently in Iowa.

Thayer and D'Andre are the first two All American wrestlers from the traditionally successful LHHS wrestling program.

Congratulations to both student athletes, and their coach, Pete Grieder. >Top


Highlandette Revue - April 19-20
The Lake Highlands Highlandettes will dazzle you with their dynamic dances in their upcoming revue FASHION! Head to Toe. Don't miss this entertaining event filled with unbelievable talent and special guests on Friday, April 19th and Saturday, April 20th at 7:30pm in the Lake Highlands High School Auditorium, 9449 Church Road in Dallas. For tickets, please visit the Highlandette website or go to Tickets are $8 for general admission and $10 for reserved seating. >Top


Pearce High School
Pearce Pacesetters Revue - April 19-20

The award winning JJ Pearce Pacesetters are excited to present their year-end dance revue entitled "Cinematic." This year's show will feature favorite music from the movies. Dance styles will range from jazz to hip-hop, tap to contemporary. The Seniors on the squad will have their traditional Daddy-Daughter dance which, along with the hanging of their hats, always brings tears to everyone's eyes. We welcome everyone who is a lover of dance and music from the movies to come out and celebrate our year end performance. Performances are Friday and Saturday, April 19-20 at 7:30pm in the JJ Pearce High School Auditorium. Tickets are $8 for General Admission, and $10 for Reserved Seating. >Top

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PHS & RHS Athletic Trainers Join Forces
Recently, certified and student athletic trainers from Richardson and J.J. Pearce High Schools joined forces at the Eagle-Mustang 5K and Food Truck Festival. Athletic Trainers either participated in the race or volunteered at the First Aid Station to help any runners in need of medical assistance. They provided ice bags, taping, and blister and wound care. Student athletic trainers made signs to help promote the month of March as National Athletic Training Month and this year's theme "Every Body Needs An Athletic Trainer." They displayed the signs at the race and in the hallways at school.

Athletic Trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sports related illnesses.

RISD employs eight full-time athletic trainers, two at each high school. They work throughout the school year covering home sporting events for all teams, some away events and multiple junior high events. >Top

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Northrich Elementary Plants a Promise
During Red Ribbon Week in the fall, students from Northrich Elementary "Planted the Promise to be Drug Free" by planting tulip bulbs. Blooming red tulips now serve as a reminder for students to keep their promise and always stay drug free. >Top
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Visual Art Scholastic Event Winners

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Congratulations to the four RISD recipients who were honored in College Station recently at the 2013 State Visual Art Scholastic Event and Award Ceremony. Out of 1400 entries qualified to advance from across the state of Texas, three art students received the highest UIL Art Award - State VASE Medallion! >Top
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FMJH Hospitality Students Visit Area Businesses
Forest Meadow Junior High Hospitality students recently toured two area business is the hospitality industry, Embassy Suites and In N Out Burger. Students obtained real-world experience at both locations, learning about both businesses and what is required for them to operate successfully. At In N Out Burger, students received a tour of the facility, were given a history of the very successful restaurant, heard about hiring information, and were able to prepare part of the complimentary meals they received.

At Embassy Suites, students rotated between six different areas of the hotel, learning about each aspect of the business. Students were able to understand hotel room layouts and cleaning requirements, learned how to check the indoor pool levels and air filters, made a sales pitch to the sales department, prepared room keys for incoming guests, checked guests into their rooms, prepped food for the culinary department and prepared place settings with rolled silverware and napkin designs.

Thanks to both businesses for providing FMJH Career and Technical Education students with a glimpse into their operations. >Top

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Hamilton Park students connect with Senior supporters
Once a week after school during this school year, Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet students visit residents of the Presbyterian Village North (PVN) assisted living facility to share quality time and fun activities. Both seniors and students enjoy and look forward to the visits. The effort, part of PVN's ongoing Generations Program through Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Texas, was recently recognized with a Volunteer Achievement Award from the Leading Age Texas Trade Association.

Congratulations and thanks to Presbyterian Village North for supporting HPPM students! >Top
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See What's New in Richardson ISD Senior Tour
Join us for the inaugural See What's New in Richardson ISD Senior Tour and learn about your school district. The day will include a walking tour of two campuses, entertainment by students and a closer look into today's academics.

The 2013 tour sites will be Brentfield Elementary and Richardson High School.

Continental breakfast will begin at 8:30 a.m.

The tour and breakfast are open to Richardson ISD residents who are 55 years of age and over. Space is limited so sign up today!

RSVP to Elaine Simmons at 469-593-0301.

The walking tour begins at the RISD Administration Building, 400 S. Greenville Avenue. After breakfast and an introduction by Dr. Waggoner, we will board our RISD school bus to start our fun-filled morning.

Event Details:
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Breakfast and Tour

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Northlake Health Fair
Northlake Elementary recently hosted a health fair for students and families. Attendees learned about asthma, fitness and nutrition, dental health and safety issues in the home. Several RISD school nurses provided blood pressure and vision screening and fitted students with free bike helmets. There was also CHIP and Medicaid registration and many families enrolled that evening. One lucky family won a free 3-month family membership to the Lake Highlands YMCA and two others won gift cards donated by Target.

Thanks to all who volunteered and donated to help area families. >Top
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West Junior High Fine Arts Showcase
Art, band, choir, orchestra, and theater students of Richardson West Junior High Arts and Technology Magnet will be showcasing their talents at the Fine Arts Showcase on Thursday, April 18th from 6:30-8:30 pm at the school. The Showcase will feature an art walk and performances by student musicians and actors from the Theater Arts Magnet.

The public is welcome to attend—West is located at 1309 Holly Drive in Richardson. >Top
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