School Times Now!
TI Foundation Awards
$1.4 Million Grant to RISD
All Four RISD High Schools
Named Among America's
Best by Newsweek
RISD Community Helps West
Legislative Update from
Dr. Waggoner
Spring Creek Student is
National Free Throw
RISD Students Among First
Visitors to Bush Library
RISD Takes Destination
Imagination to the
Global Level
West JH Students Excel at
State Robotics Competition
Watch RISD Graduations
Via the Web
National Merit Scholarship
Northlake ART featured at
Lake Highlands Cafe
Express Yourself! Youth
Poetry Winner
Berkner Proudly Announces
Three Gates Millennium
Scholars & Five Dell Scholars
Family Literacy Day
Nurse's Notes
LHFC Talent Show a Success
Scholarships for Culinary
Arts Students
Northlake at Wildflower
Wacky Wednesday
See What's New in
Richardson ISD Senior Tour
RISD Job Postings
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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TI Foundation Awards $1.4 million grant to RISD
At the May 6 meeting of the RISD Board of Trustees, it was announced that the Texas Instruments Foundation, in conjunction with the RISD Excellence in Education Foundation, is funding a $1.4 million grant for RISD to expand the Advanced Placement (AP) program in the district. The grant will be administered by the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI).

"We are excited about the opportunities that the Texas Instruments Foundation is providing our students," said Dr. Waggoner. "This grant will allow us to work with NMSI to increase the number of students in AP and pre-AP courses and the rigor of those courses. These efforts are a vital part of RISD's strategic emphasis on college and career readiness."

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

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All RISD High Schools Named Among America's Best
All four RISD high schools, Berkner, Lake Highlands, Pearce and Richardson, have been named to Newsweek's list of America's Best High Schools 2013.

Newsweek considered data from thousands of U.S. high schools and considered college readiness criteria that included graduation rates, advanced course participation and performance, ACT/SAT performance and college acceptance rates.

For more information, please visit the Newsweek website here.

Last month, RISD high schools fared well in similar rankings released by U.S. News and World Report.

Congratulations to the students, staff, parents and community stakeholders from our four schools! >Top
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RISD Community Helps West

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On May 3, RISD parents, students and staff members loaded a truck full of donated supplies for delivery to West, Texas.

The donated supplies, along with gift cards and cash donations, filled the stage at the RISD Administration Building Auditorium and had an estimated value of more then $15,000.

Brentfield Elementary parent and PTA member Jennifer Odell spearheaded the effort, which began at Brentfield and spread to organizations and individuals at schools across Richardson ISD and the City of Richardson.

The supplies were collected over a two week period after Ms. Odell visited West and met with city and school officials to determine what items were still needed by residents and schools severely impacted by the explosion on April 17 that destroyed much of the town and several schools.

Cleaning supplies, school supplies, food, water, containers, books, paper, art supplies, bags and clothing comprised the bulk of the material donations.

During the collection effort, officials in West communicated that clothing was no longer needed, so clothing items already donated were divided between the RISD Council of PTAs Clothes Closet for RISD students in need and the Network of Community Ministries, which assists families within RISD boundaries.

Thanks go to the hundreds of people in the RISD community who donated items, supplies, money, gift cards and time.

Special thanks goes to Ms. Jennifer Odell for her tireless energy and organization of the effort! >Top

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Legislative Update from  Dr. Waggoner
The last day of the 83rd Legislative Session is rapidly approaching with deadlines in the House and Senate reflecting the urgency. Today is the last day the House can consider House bills other than local ones, May 15 is the last day for the House to consider local house bills, and May 22 is the last day the Senate or the House can consider any bills. The final days of the session are reserved for resolving differences in versions of bills passed by both chambers and for making technical corrections on passed legislation. Following the end of the session, the Governor has until June 16 to sign, veto, or allow bills to become law without his signature. To put the number of bills in perspective, in the 82nd Legislative Session, only 22% of bills passed.

Assessment and Accountability:
In a unanimous 31-0 vote, the Texas Senate approved HB 5, the comprehensive legislation that addresses End-of-Course testing and changes the degree plan requirements for high school students. The legislation now goes to a Conference Committee. In the Senate version of HB 5, the number of End-of-Course exams that high school students must pass in order to graduate is reduced to five (English I & II, Algebra I, Biology, U.S. History). The bill also creates a single "Foundation" degree plan, under which students could earn "Endorsements" in Science & Math, Business & Industry, Arts & Humanities, and Distinguished Performance. All Endorsements would require four credits of both English and Math, and two to four credits of science and social studies. Students would select their plan of study when they enter high school. Over 30 amendments were offered in the Senate, including the following which were approved:
  • Students must take four years of math and four years of science to qualify for top 10 percent class ranking.
  • Only districts would receive a letter grade of A-B-C-D-F, based upon overall performance on state accountability standards. Campuses would continue to receive Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable and Unacceptable ratings. The new accountability rating system would be postponed until the 2016-2017 school year.
  • A course in "Personal Financial Literacy" would be developed and offered to high school students as a social studies credit.
This week, the House gave final approval to HB 2836 by Rep. Bennett Ratliff on a vote of 142-0. HB 2836 eliminates the writing test in grades 4 and 7, and focuses on "readiness" standards only for accountability purposes for all STAAR assessments in grades 3-8. This "readiness" provision was originally included in HB 2824, relating to the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium. If HB 2824 is passed in its present form, the "readiness" provision would also apply to high school EOCs for all Consortium districts. The supporting standards would be used for diagnostic or reporting purposes, but not as student achievement indicators. HB 2836 also requires an independent review of state-adopted assessment instruments for validity and reliability. Further, the assessment instruments would be designed so that 85% of students in grades 3-5 should be able to complete the assessment within 120 minutes, and 85% of students in grades 6-8 should be able to complete the assessment in 180 minutes. Maximum time allowed for test administration would be 8 hours. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Safety and Security:
The House gave tentative approval to HB 1009 which establishes a new program that school districts can use to place a certified school marshal on a campus to improve student safety. The bill requires marshals to undergo 80 hours of training. The bill must still pass the House one final time before it can go to the Senate.

SB 1458 has undergone some major changes including the following:
  • Retirement at the age of 62 would now only apply to those TRS active members who are not vested as of August 31, 2014. Vested members are those who have five years of experience or more.
  • Active employees' contributions to TRS would increase from 6.4% to 7.7% of salary.
  • School Districts would be required to contribute 1.5% of total salaries to TRS.
  • The state would increase its contributions to around 6.8%.
If the bill passes, some retired employees would receive a cost of living increase in their monthly pension. Retirees have not received a cost of living adjustment in over 12 years; however, as currently proposed, only those who retired prior to 1999 would receive the 3% adjustment. In addition, SB 1458 seeks to make the TRS pension fund actuarially sound to ensure the continuation of the current defined benefit pension program, and provide a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for some retirees.

Charter Schools:
The House Public Education Committee has approved the SB 2 that would increase the number of charter school operators in Texas beginning with the 2014-2015 school year. The version approved by the House Public Education Committee only allows a maximum of 275 charters after 10 years while the Senate-passed version allows a maximum of 305 by the fall 2019. The House version also requires charters that serve at-risk students to be assessed under the state accountability system and be rated annually. SB 2 now goes to the full House.

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Spring Creek Student is National Free Throw Champion
Under amazing circumstances, Spring Creek Elementary sixth grader Nikayla Green recently became the National Hoop Shoot free throw champion in her age group.

Nikayla advanced through district and area competitions to represent RISD, the state of Texas and the southwest region at the 2013 National Hoop Shoot Championship in Massachusetts.

In the second round of the finals, Nikayla was the 12th and final participant, and needed to make 15 consecutive free throws to become the national champion in the girls 11-12 age division. With no margin for error, and with the championship in the balance, she sank all 15 shots to earn the national title.

Congratulations to Nikayla Green - 2013 Hoop Shoot National Champion.

Special thanks to the Dallas Elks Club which partners with RISD to sponsor the Hoop Shoot program in our district.

For more information, visit


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RISD Students Among First Visitors to Bush Library
Three deserving RISD students, Eduardo Borrego, Mark Twain E.S.; Christian Henley, Pearce H.S. and Dylan Kort, West J.H. were among the 43 North Texas students selected to attend the opening of the Bush Library last week. Students received a major surprise when President Bush himself strolled through a door, posed for photos and answered their questions for 30 minutes.

The photo to the left ran on the front page of the Dallas Morning News. RISD students are highlighted.   >Top

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RISD takes Destination Imagination to the Global Level

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Last month, RISD sent eleven teams to compete in the Destination Imagination State Competition in Katy, Texas. All students spent time trading pins and getting to know other students from around the state. They also presented their creative solutions to a myriad of challenges, competing with hundreds of their peers from across Texas. When the dust settled, three of our RISD teams qualified to advance to the Global level of competition. They are the Super Smart Silly Secret Seven from Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet, Lake Highlands and West Junior Highs; the Moss Haven Hippies from Moss Haven Elementary and the Oodles of Noodles from Westwood and Forest Meadow Junior Highs. We offer our congratulations to the three teams that are invited to move forward to compete with students from around the world in the Global Event.

Good Luck in Tennessee!  >Top

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West JH Students Excel, advance at State Robotics Competition
Eight West Junior High students turned in excellent efforts in the state Technology Student Association VEX robotics competition in Waco. Due to their success, these students have qualified for the national competition in Orlando, Florida.

Congratulations to:

State first place finishers: Miranda Gavitt, Xavier Hernandez, Jack Jelinek and Ashley Ubben.

State second place finishers John Ballard, Linue Gomez, Kyle Owens and Jose Ramirez.  >Top

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Watch RISD Graduations Via the Web
All four RISD high school graduation ceremonies will again be streamed live at no cost through the district homepage.

Simply visit during one of the four graduation ceremonies and click on the Graduation graphic to watch a live stream of the ceremonies from the Curtis Culwell Center.

2013 RISD Graduation Schedule
All graduations will be held at the Curtis Culwell Center (formerly the Special Events Center), 4999 Naaman Forest Blvd. in Garland.

Sunday, June 9
Richardson High School – 12:30 p.m.
Lake Highlands High School – 4:30 p.m.
Berkner High School – 8:30 p.m.

Monday, June 10
Pearce High School – 7:30 p.m.>Top
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National Merit Scholarship Winners
Several academically outstanding RISD seniors, already named National Merit Finalists, have been named National Merit Scholarship winners.

National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state's percentage of the nation's graduating high school seniors.

Congratulations to:
James Bell, Pearce HS (corporate scholarship winner)
Annie Chou, Berkner HS
Christopher Chen, Berkner HS
Kathleen Francis, Pearce HS
James Lee, Berkner HS
John San Soucie, Pearce HS

Additional college-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners will be announced May 29, with additional RISD National Merit Finalists eligible.

For more information, please see the press release. >Top
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Northlake ART featured at Lake Highlands Cafe
Student artwork has been selected to represent Northlake Elementary at the Lake Highlands Café during the month of May as their featured exhibit. Northlake students have graciously shared their creativity to honor and enhance their Lake Highlands community, as one student put it, "It's just another way Northlake is saying "thank-you" to our fantastic Lake Highlands neighborhood."

Stop by and check it out! >Top
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Express Yourself! Youth Poetry Winner
This month, Ian Linenberger from Brentfield Elementary was recognized for his poem in the Seventeenth Annual Express Yourself! Annual Youth Poetry Competition. There were more than 1,300 students in Dallas County that submitted poems and 60 were chosen as finalists. The 60 poems were published in an anthology and the students received a copy of the anthology and a medal. >Top
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Berkner proudly announces three Gates Millennium Scholars and five Dell Scholars
Gates Millennium Scholars
Dell Scholars
The 2013 class of Gates Millennium Scholars was recently announced. Approximately 1,000 scholars are selected nationally based on their leadership, community service, and academic achievements. This year more than 54,000 students applied, making this accomplishment particularly notable. Berkner High School is pleased to announce three Gates Scholars in the class of 2013 – Keti Robele, Ngan Nguyen, and Son Nguyen.

As Gates Scholars these students receive funds to attend any four year university. The scholarship is good through their undergraduate career and graduate school in certain fields. The students will attend the Gates Freshman Leadership Conference, and benefit from other leadership development programs including academic empowerment services, and mentoring.

We congratulate these students on their selection for this prestigious and distinguished award. They truly embody the spirit of the Gates Scholarship – Leaders for the Future.

The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation annually awards 300 scholarships to young men and women who are driven to succeed. The 2013 Dell Scholars from Berkner High School are Son Nguyen, Ngan Nguyen, Milen Haile, Jana Lau, Tyler Johnson.

The award consists of $20,000, a laptop, printer, textbook credits, mentoring and more. >Top
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Family Literacy Day

The Richardson ISD Family Literacy Program celebrated its 8th Family Literacy Day recently. Using nursery rhymes, our parents and children practiced pre-reading, math and science skills to decide if children could really live in a shoe , if a cow could really jump over the moon and many more "think about it" questions. Eighty parents and 100 children participated together to expand language development and communication. >Top

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Nurses' Notes
The Summer edition of the Nurses' Notes Newsletter is here! Click here to read this quarter's articles on eye health, courtesy of RISD Nurses. >Top
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LHFC Talent Show a Success
Lake Highlands Freshman Center recently held its first annual talent show, LHFC's Got Talent. The event was a huge success, with more than 350 tickets sold to see eight outstanding performances. Acts included singing, stepping and even a light show. LHFC's Got Talent was guided by teachers, but was completely run by students.

Congratulations to the cast and crew! >Top

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Scholarships for Culinary Arts Students
Congratulations go to Richardson High School Culinary Arts students, Elizabeth Seitz and Lauren Domingos who were each awarded $5000 scholarships to culinary college. They were recognized recently by the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association at their annual scholarship dinner. Elizabeth will be attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Lauren will be attending Johnson and Wales University in North Carolina. They are outstanding students and a credit to Richardson High School and the Culinary Arts program! >Top

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Northlake at Wildflower
Several 6th Grade Students won top recognition at Northlake Elementary for entering their artwork, created for the Wildflower "Music Magnified" Art contest for the Richardson Community Arts & Music Festival held every year. This year Wildflower is May 17-19. Come see our students' work, along with artwork from other RISD schools. Recognized artists are: Ahreal White, Brandon Rivera, Miguel Ojeda, Jennipher Gamez, Brissa Jimenez, Mary Cade, Isis Ramirez, Tinotenda Nyevedzanai, and Bawi Thang.

Congratulations! >Top

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Wacky Wednesday
Students and teachers at Forestridge Elementary went wacky for the library! Students donated money to wear mismatched, colorful clothes for Wacky Wednesday. The Forestridge Student Council raised more than $100 to buy new library books. >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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