School Times Now!
RISD High Schools Earn High
National Rankings
Legislative Update from
Dr. Waggoner
2013-14 Budget Update
New Internet Safety Course
for Parents
April Spotlight on RISD
Texas Announces New
Accountability & Rating
System for Schools & Districts
Band, Choir, and Orchestra
UIL Results
Spotlight on Special
Student Services
RISD high schools Successful
in UIL One-Act Play
GenTX Day is May 3
Cottonwood Art Festival
Emerging Artist Winners
Kingpin Tournament "Strikes"
with RHS Community
Liberty Essay Contest
Apollo Student Chosen as
Mavs Academic All- Star
Big Springs Bitty Bobcats
Transition Students New
Adopt a Beach Art Contest
2013 Excellence in AP Arts
and Music Theory Award
See What's New in
Richardson ISD Senior Tour
RISD Job Postings
Follow RISD on Twitter
RISD on Facebook
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RISD thanks our 2012-13 scoreboard sponsors!

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RISD High Schools Earn High National Rankings
U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) recently released their 2013 edition of Best High Schools, and three RISD schools made the list. The rankings considered more than 21,000 U.S. high schools from 49 states and are based on college readiness indicators including Advanced Placement (AP) class participation and AP examination passage rates. In order to be ranked, Texas high schools must first meet TAKS performance measures for all students and economically disadvantaged students.

Under this format, Pearce High School was ranked #51 in Texas and #494 nationally (top 2%); Richardson High School was ranked #81 in Texas and #739 nationally (top 3%), and Berkner High School was ranked #119 in Texas and #1295 nationally (top 6%). Based on college readiness indicators, Lake Highlands High School would have ranked #83 in Texas and #1050 nationally (top 5%), but because LHHS did not meet the TAKS performance threshold for economically disadvantaged students, it was not ranked under the USNWR methodology.

All four RISD high schools will continue to focus on college and career preparedness and reflect our community's high educational standards and the district's mission. For additional information, please visit the USNWR Site here.


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Legislative Update from Dr. Waggoner
We have had more good news from the House which passed a $193.8 billion two-year budget by a vote of 135-12. The budget includes an increase of nearly $3 billion in funding for public education. The budget also includes increased funding for pre-kindergarten programs and fully funds the anticipated increase in enrollment. The Senate version provides approximately $1 billion less in funding for public education. The budget will now be considered by a conference committee comprised of five House members and five Senate members. The differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill will be resolved in the conference committee and then the final version will be voted on by each chamber.

In addition, this week the House is scheduled to debate HB 1025, a supplemental Appropriations Bill that, if passed, would send an additional $500 million to Texas school districts this fiscal year. The $500 million would be appropriated according to Weighted Average Daily Attendance, not to exceed $72.50 per student. HB 1025 is the second supplemental spending bill that state lawmakers are discussing this session. In early March, the House passed HB 10 that replaces the $630 million shortfall in the foundation school allotment for 2012-2013 which was left unfunded by the 2011 Legislature.

Assessment and Accountability
A comparison of the House Engrossed Version (HEHB 5) of HB 5 with the Senate Committee Substitute (SCSHB 5) of HB 5 as of April 19 shows both similarities and differences. Both create a single diploma, the foundation diploma; however, HEHB 5 requires 24 credits for graduation and has 5 possible endorsements while the SCSHB 5 requires 26 credits for graduation and has 4 endorsements. Under HEHB 5 the 15% requirement is replaced with permissive language that allows a district to adopt a policy for test scores to be considered in the final course grade, whereas, in SCSHB 5, the 15% requirement is simply eliminated. HEHB 5 calls for 5 EOC tests for graduation: English II (Reading and Writing), Algebra I, Biology, and US History. SCSHB also requires five EOC tests for graduation: English/Language Arts I and II, Algebra I, Biology, and US History. Under HEHB 5 applied STEM courses can satisfy math/ science credit requirements after Algebra I and geometry or after biology. In SCSHB 5 applied STEM courses can satisfy math/science credit requirements in the foundation program in science, only after the completion of biology. Both versions expand the availability of substitutions of assessments such as AP and ACT to meet graduation requirements. Both versions maintain all testing in grades 3-8 and provide for an A-F accountability system for schools and districts.

Safety and Security
HB 1009 passed out of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety. The bill would create a new subset of law enforcement officers, called School Marshals, to serve as the last line of defense in the event of an armed attacker. The School Marshal program will be an optional school security measure should a school district choose to participate. The bill will now be submitted to the Calendars Committee to be scheduled for a vote by the House.

The Texas High Performance Schools Consortium, of which RISD is a member, is watching HB 2824 closely. This bill would give the consortium schools more flexibility in testing and curriculum. Data will be used to inform state leadership about education transformation via "next-generation" learning standards and assessment / accountability systems. Some of the flexibilities would include grades in which students take state assessments and alternative assessments to the STAAR exam.

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2013-14 Budget Update
Below is a link to an update from Dr. Waggoner regarding next year's budget. The update brings good news on two fronts. The district is addressing two priorities: 1) providing additional teachers to address enrollment growth and reduce class size and 2) increasing compensation to remain competitive with area districts.

Please click here to watch the video.


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RISD Library Media Services has launched a new online course to help parents and families keep their children in grades K-12 safe while online. This course is free and available to anyone who would like to access it. Topics include:
  • Privacy & Security
  • Online Relationships: Cyberbullying, Sexting, and Gaming
  • Family Media Management
Any section of this course can be accessed at any time. Each section includes videos and family discussion questions. Parents can access the course from their school library website or from the district library website at >Top
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Please take a moment to watch the April 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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Texas Announces New Accountability & Rating System for Schools and Districts

The Texas Education Agency recently announced details of the new accountability system that will be used to rate schools and districts, including RISD.

The new system, based primarily on STAAR test results and some additional indicators, will result in initial ratings in August to reflect 2013 performance.

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

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Band, Choir, and Orchestra UIL Results
Congratulations to all the Richardson ISD bands, choirs, and orchestras that competed in University Interscholastic League (UIL) Concert and Sightreading competition. During the Concert portion of the competition, the group performs music they have been practicing and rehearsing in class. For the Sightreading portion, the group is given a piece of music that they have never seen before. They are given a few minutes to look over the piece during which the director can verbally explain the music, but may not count or model rhythmic or melodic material. Then the group performs the piece.

Three judges critique the Concert portion and three different judges critique the Sightreading portion of the competition. The groups are judged against a standard of excellence. They are not judged against each other, so there is no rank ordering of the groups. The judges rate each group as Superior, Excellent, Average, Below Average, or Poor. The three initial ratings are then averaged for one composite rating in each of the categories, Concert and Sightreading.

Please see this summary of UIL Concert and Sightreading results from all the Richardson ISD bands, choirs, and orchestras that competed in UIL competition this year. >Top
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Spotlight on Special Student Services
Dyslexia Program Update

Dyslexia Programming

The 2013-2014 school year is just around the corner and programming recommendations are underway. In addition to the efforts of the Dyslexia Focus Group, RISD is reviewing current staffing and service practices. While the review has not reached completion, the anticipated changes include additional instructional support staff and a restructuring of the identification process. If approved, the additional staff will join current staff in providing direct support to students. The identification process will be adjusted to be more reflective of the collaborative effort employed by staff. An educational diagnostician will team with designated staff members to assess referred students and provide a written report of the team's findings for the Section 504 Committee or the ARD (Admission, Review & Dismissal) Committee. Additionally, plans are in place to provide parents with more tangible information about dyslexia at the point of student referral. The information can be used by parents to build an understanding of the definition of dyslexia as well as available resources.

RISD Dyslexia Focus Group
As part of district efforts to promote continued growth in the area of dyslexia, Superintendent Waggoner created a Dyslexia Focus Group comprised of district employees and parent representatives. The charge of the focus group is to provide input regarding dyslexia programming. The group held their first meeting on February 5, 2013 and determined that they needed to meet routinely to accomplish their responsibilities. Meetings are held every two weeks with additional meetings scheduled as needed. The group started by identifying key areas of discussion based on input from parent education meetings, January's roundtable discussion and other sources of input. The list generated by the group included district communication, parent support, student identification, programming, staff training, program transition/exiting, secondary services and more. After identifying key areas of discussion, the group reviewed the definition of dyslexia as identified in the Dyslexia Handbook as well as historical understandings and misunderstandings regarding dyslexia. This afforded the group the opportunity to develop a common understanding of the definition. The group is currently engaging in a review of instructional options. They are dedicating time to reading curriculum reviews, vendor presentations and gathering information from surrounding districts. The information will be used to make recommendations for future programming.

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Richardson ISD high schools Successful in UIL One-Act Play Competition
This semester, for the first time, all four Richardson ISD high schools competed in the 9-5A University Interscholastic League (UIL) One-Act Play competition that was held in March. For the first round, the four high schools competed in three different zones. The top two theatre groups in each zone advanced to the second round, which is district competition. All four RISD high schools advanced from their zone to the UIL District One-Act Play competition.

The four RISD high school theatre groups then competed in the same district-level competition. The top two theatre groups in each district advanced to the third round, which is the area competition. At it's district competition, the Pearce High School theatre group advanced to area competition and the Lake Highlands High School theatre group was named Alternate to the area competition. Although the Pearce theatre group had a strong presentation at the area competition, they did not advance.

Congratulations to all of our high school theatre groups for representing Richardson ISD so well in UIL One-Act Play competition! >Top
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GenTX Day is May 3

RISD is recognizing "GenTX Day" on Friday, May 3 to continue to promote a culture of college and career readiness.

As part of GenTX Day, employees and students are encouraged to wear a shirt of their favorite college on May 3.

To learn more about GenTX Day and other activities related to the day, please visit >Top

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Cottonwood Art Festival Emerging Artist Winners
Nancy Sierra-Ibarra, Sara LaCosse, Cara Supan and Sarah Fiore

Cottonwood Art Festival Emerging Artist Winners:

Berkner High School:
Nancy Sierra-Ibarra – Best of Show

Lake Highlands High School:
Sara LaCosse – 2nd Place

Pearce High School:
Cara Supan – 3rd Place & People's Choice Award

Richardson High School:
Sarah Fiore - Honorable Mention

By being accepted into this program, the students will have the privilege of hanging their work at the Charles W. Eisemann Center for Performing Arts on the Mezzanine Gallery for the month of April. It also gives the students the opportunity to exhibit at the Cottonwood Art Festival during the first full weekend in May

Congratulations to these emerging artists. >Top

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Kingpin Tournament "Strikes" with RHS Community
The RHS Kingpin Bowling Tournament was recently held as a way to bring together Richardson High School students, teachers, and parents. Each four-person bowling team was required to have an RHS student and one adult (parent/teacher/mentor). The format included: donkey-kicking the ball, off-hand, and the infamous "granny shot." Prizes were awarded for high team score, low team score, and most spirited team.

Thanks to the RHS PTA and all the teams that participated in this community-building event.>Top

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Liberty essay contest winners
The students are (l-r) Johnny H., Ashley D., Bezawit S., Joshua B., Sara A., and Sergio P. (not pictured).
Recently, six students from Liberty Junior High were recognized for their essay submissions in the challenge. The essays of the Do the Write Thing Texas Challenge encourage young authors from various sites across Texas to behave responsibly and to engage in positive pursuits. These six students were recognized for finishing in the top ten percent out of more than 900 submissions from Dallas County area students. >Top

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Apollo Student Chosen as Mavs Academic All- Star
Apollo Junior High 8th grader Brenden Determann was recently nominated and selected as a Mavs Academic All-Star. He and other students from around the Metroplex were chosen from more than 500 nominees. Brenden got to spend an hour playing basketball with Mavericks player Chris Kaman, and was awarded a $50 gift card to the Mavs fan shop, an autographed photo, a Mavs goody bag, and free tickets to the Mavs vs. Nuggets game on April 12th. At halftime Brenden and the other selected students were recognized on the court.

Way to go, Brenden! >Top

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Big Springs Bitty Bobcats
Big Springs Elementary recently hosted a morning of fun and entertainment for incoming kindergarten students and their parents. They spent time with the music teacher and in the library with the librarian. It was a great way to help them become familiar with their new school, teachers and friends as they prepare to be Bobcats in August.>Top
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Transition Students New Venture
Transition Students and the YUMS CART (Your Ultimate Midday Snack)
Up and running for three weeks, the Transition Program have started a new enterprise at the RISD Professional Development Center. Three days a week, students sell snacks, drinks, and popcorn throughout the buildings. Students are learning skills in food preparation, sales, inventory, money management and communication. Every day students are receiving positive feedback about their improvements and skills. This new venture is helping to prepare these students for employment, the primary mission of the Transition Program. >Top

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Adopt a Beach Art Contest
Caroline Spence, Mohawk Elementary, art teacher – Kim Page/ Liz Salmon
Congratulations to Caroline Spence from Mohawk Elementary! She is one of ten 5th grade winners in the 2013 "Treasures of the Texas Coast" Texas Children's Art Contest. This year's contest had 3300 entries from children all over Texas. Out of those entries, 40 were selected as finalist. All 40 winners will receive:
  • Ticket to the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi
  • Two all day passes to Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels
  • Two Tickets to the permanent exhibit hall at the Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • Certificate of recognition from the Texas General Land Office
  • Calendar displaying the winning artwork

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The O'Donnell Foundation is pleased to sponsor the annual Excellence in AP Arts and Music Theory Award Scholarship to recognize four outstanding high school seniors who have participated or are currently participating in the O'Donnell Foundation's AP Arts and Music Theory Incentive Program.

Congratulations to Pearce High School senior Kathleen Francis for being one of the four winners. Her scholarship awarded will be in an amount up to $20,000. Her art teacher is Becky Keeton. >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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Did you miss an issue of School Times Now!? Click here to view the archives. >Top
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