The Official Magazine of the Richardson Independent School District
Best for Music Education 30th Anniversary RISD once again has been named a Best Community for Music Education, marking the seventh consecutive year the district received this national recognition.
The RISD Council of PTAs Clothes Closet celebrated its 30th anniversary, dedicating its new location on Belt Line Road across from Richardson High School.
Over 200 Graduates Memorial Park Academy, the district’s non-traditional high school setting, graduated more than 200 students last school year and continues to help students achieve a diploma.
$10,000 Donation Through the Richardson ISD Excellence in Education Foundation, State Farm Insurance donated $10,000 to support the AVID program, which is designed to increase student learning and performance through participation and success in rigorous curriculum.
Fall 2018 • RISD CONNECT •
he Richardson ISD Board of Trustees consists of seven members elected to serve,
without compensation, for overlapping terms of three years each. Notices of all meetings are distributed in advance of the meeting, posted at the front door of the Administration Building and available online. RISD community members, students or staff may address the board on any agenda item by completing a visitor card at the beginning of the meeting and placing it in the designated box. Regular meetings are held at 6 p.m. in the RISD Administration Building, 400 S. Greenville Ave. Special meetings may be held with public notice. Time is allotted each month for public comments.
Why was being involved with Strategic Plan 2017 important to you? VICTOR GARZA Yale ES Parent
ELLEN YOST Northwood Hills ES Parent
As a country, much discussion regards
As a parent of young elementary students
which values to prioritize as society moves
and campus PTA President, I see every day
forward. Education for our children should
how teachers and staff make a difference
top the list. Technology, policy, science and economics change daily in our lives. Operating with past practices will be inefficient and ineffective. As part of the Justin Bono Board President
Educational Equity team, I got to help shape learning so our students are ready for society 20 and 30 years from now.
REGINA HARRIS Richardson HS Parent
Kristin Kuhne, Ph.D. Vice President
Kim Caston Treasurer
community member because it allowed me to provide a voice for my son, RISD
HANS BALDIVAS Richardson HS Senior As a student, it sometimes seems impossible to find that connection that
part of this team. There was instant consideration by the Strategic Planning Design Team regarding what I shared. Actions were taken on each of the suggestions I made on behalf of my fellow RISD students, which reinforced that
RENEE LAFFITTE North JH, Pearce HS Parent
process put students first.
I could not pass on this opportunity. As a member of the teacher recruiting and
to dream big on their behalf! Recruiting, developing and retaining the very best
• RISD CONNECT • Fall 2018
learning for all our students.
making a positive difference.
each and every student. I loved being able
can best support effective, innovative
However, I felt like I was listened to as
employees are critical to the success of
Katie Patterson Member
RISD’s budget and our choices as voters
allows your voice to be heard by adults.
retention group, we recognized that all
Eron Linn TASB Delegate
to learn more about how choices within
important to me as an RISD parent and
opportunity for me to assist RISD in
Karen Clardy TASB Delegate Alt.
I served on the Revenue & Finance team
Being a part of Strategic Plan 2017 was
kids and the community. It was an
Jean Bono Secretary
for kids in the classroom and on campus.
teachers and staff are key for our children and RISD as a whole.
JUSTIN BONO RISD School Board President I felt it was definitely the right time for the district to bring this group of internal and external stakeholders together. The outstanding work created by this team will provide critical support and influence to our district’s decision making process going forward.
CONTENTS RISD Addresses
with Proceeds From Bond Sales
03 RISD Greatness
04 RISD Board of Trustees
04 Community Voice
05 District Calendar
07 Connecting with RISD Superintendent
08 STEM for All
08 RISD Plays its ACEs
10 Dallas County Promise Program
10 RISD Alumni
12 Understanding Differences
13 Marketable Skills through CTE
13 Life Changing Experience for RISD Teacher
14 Methodist Health Science Program
15 TRE on November 6th
15 Strategic Planning Committee
Connect is produced by RISD Communications. The magazine is published periodically throughout the school year and delivered to students, parents and community members.
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• RISD CONNECT • Fall 2018
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Connecting with RISD Superintendent
DR. JEANNIE STONE
nother school year has begun in
Engagement Action Team was issued a
Richardson ISD. And we have another
daunting challenge. Their charge was to
means of sharing and highlighting our RISD
ensure that everyone—literally, everyone—
greatness with this new periodical Connect.
linked to RISD is engaged at some level in
Within this first edition, you’ll find stories
the district’s mission. The team’s solution
about our CTE programs and a note from
focused on grassroots efforts and one result
an alumnae who founded a company that
is this informative and beautiful magazine.
serves the freshest cookies in D-FW, in
Even the name Connect holds significance,
addition to news about some districtwide
finding its inspiration from Emma Young, a
projects and campaigns.
Pearce High School senior who was part of
With so many digital
Strategic Plan 2017. So, with this first
lines of communication available through a
edition of Connect,
click or a swipe, you
we have delivered an
may be asking: “Why
print?” Good question.
for everyone in RISD.
Even though many of
Business owners and
us spend so much time
residents alike can now
in front of an electronic device, jumping through information from online platforms to onscreen apps, many of us still want and appreciate the permanence of print publications. We in RISD have long considered producing a publication to complement our in-depth online content. Concepts and designs have been brought to the table before, but none measured up consistently. Until now. Connect came to life through our Strategic Plan 2017. A group of more than 300 community members and employees, including those on the Community
read the stories that unfold among almost 40,000 students and 5,000 employees. Our robust digital media presence will continue delivering RISD success stories to multiple audiences through various platforms. But now, with Connect, a print periodical has been added to our diverse outreach. It will offer a cornerstone for those who already live here and an instant connection point for the new families we welcome every year.
Stay connected, DR. JEANNIE STONE RISD Superintendent
Connect is a result of a recommendation of the RISD Strategic Plan that sought more avenues of communication for everyone associated with the district and across North Texas communities.
T EX A S IN STRUMEN TS FOUNDATION
AWA R D S R I SD $4.6M TOWARD
Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone says. While the grant has the long-term aim of creating a stronger-skilled STEM workforce for North Texas and beyond, the goal over the next three years will be focused on helping RISD build and implement the “STEM for All” concept in the classroom. The grant also will help the district work with postsecondary education partners in
FOR A L L
business and industry to ensure relevancy and sustainability of the concept. RISD will begin implementing the grant from the
n an effort to improve access to education
STEM subjects across all grade levels to
Richardson-based tech giant during the
in science, technology, engineering and
better prepare students for postsecondary
2019-20 school year.
math, the Texas Instruments Foundation awarded RISD a $4.6 million grant to help
and workforce success. The Berkner attendance zone includes 16
create a STEM feeder pattern within the
campuses with more than 10,000 students
Berkner High School attendance zone.
from 80 different countries.
Together with the TI Foundation and
“RISD strives to inspire students from
Educate Texas—the public-private initiative
their very first day of school to explore
of Communities Foundation of Texas—RISD
and cultivate their interests to pursue a
will reshape the teaching and learning of
career pathway through a STEM culture,”
RISD BECOMES JUST THIRD DISTRICT IN TEXAS TO
“We are committed to changing the culture within the Berkner feeder pattern through STEM-infused curriculum that ensures academic rigor, student engagement and relevancy across the entire curriculum.” – Dr. Jeannie Stone, RISD superintendent
Play its ACEs
our RISD schools—Carolyn Bukhair
the ACE model, the formal school day is
Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone said
Elementary, Forest Lane Academy,
extended, as are before-school and after-
during the ACE launch event at Bukhair
RISD Academy and Thurgood Marshall
school programs. Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Elementary School that was attended by
Elementary—transitioned into ACE campuses
are provided for free to all students, as are
Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike
this year. The Accelerating Campus
uniforms. The programming also supports
Morath and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.
Excellence program has been successfully
more small-group tutoring, more clubs and
implemented by Dallas ISD and Fort Worth
enrichment opportunities and various other
ISD over the past few years.
enhanced academic support options, all at
ACE helps underserved students
no cost to our families.
in underachieving schools experience
“This is about equity for thousands of
consistent educational success. Under
our students with substantial needs,” RISD
“We are introducing this successful program in RISD to match many of our top educators with the students, campuses and communities that need them the most.” 8
• RISD CONNECT • Fall 2018
For more information visit www.risd.org/ACE.
The Excellence in Education Foundation is gearing up for its annual 5K Spirit Run to benefit RISD students and teachers. Join RISD on Saturday Nov. 3 at Galatyn Park. Register online at getmeregistered.com/ SpiritRun.
Richardson ISD is the largest of seven school districts in Texas named to the 2017-18 Educational Results Partnership Honor Roll for its high achievement and student success.
RISD is spreading awareness of student mental and physical health through its new #livewiselivehealthy program. #RISDCelebrates The RISD BoT was
The @dallascowboys Rookie Club visited
honored to have student Deng Deng,
@SkyviewElem as part of the team’s
@BerknerHS Class of 2018, formally walk
celebration of the #NFLPlay60 initiative to
across the stage at the October meeting.
get kids up and active. @EVFusa provided
Deng and family missed graduation due to a
complimentary eye screenings to 5th grade
flight delay when heading back from Sudan.
students and those showing need of vision
assistance received free eyeglasses.
S H A R E YO U R # R I S D G R E AT N E S S W I T H U S @RICHARDSONISD ON TWITTER!
Craig Sandy, RISD’s 2017 Elementary Teacher of the Year, was honored in Austin and represented RISD and North Texas in the state teacher of the year selection process. Read more about Coach Sandy at www.risd.org/newsdesk. #RISDGreatness #RISDConnects
Fall 2018 • RISD CONNECT •
DALLAS COUNTY PROMISE OPENS DOORS TO
FREE COLLEGE FOR RISD STUDENTS T
he Richardson Independent School District is now a part of the Dallas
Some of the participating colleges in the Promise program include UNT Dallas, SMU,
County Promise program, which aims to
Midwestern State, Prairie View A&M, Paul
“reduce financial barriers and support
Quinn College and Austin College.
students to succeed in college, careers
This is the first year RISD has participated
The program is a last-dollar scholarship, meaning it covers the gaps between the cost of attending college and the state and federal grants students receive.
and life with a commitment to securing a
in the program, and registration began in
rewarding job in their career pathway.”
early October. Seniors must register and
are not committed to attending a partner
Seniors at Berkner and Richardson
complete the Promise pledge by Feb. 8
school. The Promise program simply provides
high schools are eligible to
to be eligible. There isn’t an
another avenue for students to cover tuition
apply for these last-dollar
income requirement, nor a
if they do decide to attend one of the
scholarships. The Promise
GPA requirement. There also
participating schools. February 8 is also the deadline for students
program provides funds
is no essay component, but there
that close the gap on a
are non-negotiable deadlines; and
to apply for the Dallas County Community
student’s tuition after all
non-citizens must meet Texas
College District’s Rising Star scholarship that
other applicable state and
provides qualified graduates with academic
While the Promise funds can only
support services, career development and up
scholarships have been awarded
be used at participating colleges, the
to $5,500 for tuition and books at one of the
pledge is non-binding and students
system’s seven campuses.
federal grants and potential
Being a Berkner Bandolera
Set Tiffany Taylor Chen on a Path to Success
Yale Elementary, Apollo Junior High, Berkner High School; graduated 1997 Co-founder and president of Tiff’s Treats, which delivers warm cookies and is based in Austin.
• RISD CONNECT • Fall 2018
RISD was a wonderful school system to attend. I loved going to school in Richardson. My favorite thing about my school experience was the incredible extracurricular activities offered. Being a part of the Berkner Bandoleras was a meaningful part of my life—one that I look back on with joy and one that helped prepare me to succeed. We learned how to work hard, how to remain disciplined, how to respect others, work as a team, and make things happen for ourselves. Once you graduate from high school, it is all up to you. The experiences I had at Berkner prepared me well for my adult life and career.
RISD Addresses With Proceeds From Bond Sales
ichardson Independent School District campuses remain highly sought after by
North Texas parents. The current RISD student population of nearly 39,300 has grown 15% over the last decade. Enrollment is expected to surpass
Proceeds from the bond package, which was approved by 67% of voters, provide for upgrades to all libraries to accommodate more students with flexible learning spaces. Equipment for a junior ROTC program at
41,000 for the 2021-22 school year and top
each high school was also funded with
43,000 students by 2027.
In May 2016, district voters approved a $437.1 million bond package to fund projects impacting all 54 campuses. Much of the bond proceeds will be used for maintenance at existing schools, including updating equipment and technology systems for classrooms at every school. The bond project also supports and funds increased safety and security systems and improved HVAC units across the district. The district will use
The RISD maintains a triple-A rating from Moody’s Investors Service and a AA-plus rating from Standard & Poor’s. RISD is one of only seven school districts in Texas that carries the gilt-edged ratings from Moody’s. S&P doesn’t rate any Texas school district at triple-A due to the confusing nature of the state’s school funding formula that also becomes more uncertain each time the Texas Legislature meets
bond funds to build new
every two years.
multipurpose activity centers
Moody’s analysts say the
at each high school to provide additional practice space and equipment storage for fine arts, athletics and other rapidly growing extracurricular programs. New band uniforms and upgrades to various playing fields are also coming at all four RISD high schools. RISD is adding more career technical
triple-A rating reflects RISD’s “sizeable tax base serving an area with a major employment base and history of strong financial management evidenced by consistently balanced operations.” The high ratings help keep the district’s costs of issuance down and result in lower
education spaces and equipment to enhance
interest rates on the bonds. Most Texas
the popular and growing programs that
school bonds are further supported by the
provide licenses and certifications for high school students in a variety of trades and industries. Expansion of the business, marketing and finance programs at Pearce
state’s triple-A rated Permanent School Fund that secures the debt in the unlikely event of a default. The PSF backing further reduces
and the STEM program at Berkner have
costs for the district and adds another level
begun as well.
of insurance for investors.
SOME INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS FUNDED WITH BOND PROCEEDS INCLUDE: • Multipurpose activity center at each high school • Technology enhancements for RISD classrooms • Transformation of libraries at each school into flexible learning environments • Additional Career Technical Education courses and JROTC program at each high school • Curriculum and instruction materials • Enterprise technology (business information systems, servers, hardware) All projects are on schedule to be
finished within five years. Residents
can learn much more about Bond 2016,
including a school-by-school breakdown of projects and anticipated completion dates, by visiting www.risd.org/bond.
Fall 2018 • RISD CONNECT •
nderstanding Differences is a disability awareness program
“Richardson ISD is committed to providing
immersed in the experience and to relate …
meaningful experiences to all our students
to develop empathy and most importantly to
established by the RISD Council of PTAs
to help support them socially, emotionally
understand how they as a friend, how they
to help students empathize with their
and academically,” Deputy Superintendent
peers through simulations.
Tabitha Branum says. “Understanding
as a peer can support those students who
The first program of
Differences is an
might be differently abled than they are.” Brian Spann is living with muscular
this school year was held
opportunity for our
at North Junior High
students to experience
School in October for
what it might feel like
5th graders from Canyon
to spend a day as a
Creek, Greenwood Hills,
student with autism …
band and how MD doesn’t prevent him from
Mohawk, Northrich and
maybe as a student who
doing anything he wants to do.
Prairie Creek. The program
is experiencing hearing
“Living with a disability doesn’t affect
includes stations designed
difficulties or eyesight
your desire to do great things,” Spann told
dystrophy. He spoke in October to RISD 5th graders about how he is an eagle scout, how he was a member of his high school
with input from district therapists that
difficulties … a student with dyslexia. It
the students at North. “A big thing we
simulate what it’s like to live with a disability.
creates an opportunity for our students to be
are trying to teach [students] is to stand up and protect. And also just be kind to other people that have differences by understanding that they are made differently, but we can help them achieve great things.” The RISD Council of PTAs plans to have all campuses experience this program on a two-year rotation. In November, 5th graders from Aikin, Forest Lane, Merriman Park, Moss Haven, Skyview and Stults Road will attend the program at Forest Meadow Junior High. Then, in January students from Audelia Creek, Forestridge, Harben, O. Henry and Springridge will go to Liberty Junior High. In February, the fifth grades at Big Springs, Dartmouth, Mark Twain, Terrace, Richland, Yale and MST will bus over to Apollo Junior High to participate in Understanding Differences.
• RISD CONNECT • Fall 2018
CT E Gives Students
Marketable Skills in Competitive Industries I n 2014, RISD teamed with local industry leaders and the Richardson Chamber of Commerce to comprehensively evaluate the future of the district’s Career and Technical Education programs. CTE prepares high school students for career pathways by providing authentic, hands-on opportunities and training within areas of student interest, aligned to different industries. Through CTE programs, students
earn professional certifications and licenses that are attractive to potential employers. These programs also provide students with tangible, marketable skills in a chosen competitive industry. Career and Technical Education in RISD is flourishing, and students are able to experience learning environments directly aligned with their areas of interest. More than 9,200 CTE courses were taken in RISD
schools during the 2017-18 school year, an increase of more than 30% since 2014.
Richardson ISD students earned more than 1,700 certifications and licenses last year in industries such as automotive tech, architecture, business administration and marketing, healthcare, hospitality, computer programming, emergency services and STEM. RISD currently leverages partnerships with area cities, chambers of commerce, regional higher education, and employers across North Texas to provide more of these opportunities for students. The district regularly evaluates different CTE industry clusters to match future employment and career opportunities with student interest as a way to determine what courses and
possible certifications and licenses to offer.
eorge Hademenos, a physics teacher at Richardson High School, visited Vietnam
this fall as part of the State Department’s flagship international educational
exchange program. Earlier this year, Prof. Hademenos received a Fulbright award from the State Department to travel to Ho Chi Minh City and work with faculty and students at Nguyen Quang Dieu Gifted High School from Sept. 21 through Oct. 13. “I am very interested in bringing global learning into my classroom and establishing
must tell you, that this is truly a life changing experience for me. The faculty and staff at the school have been so open, friendly and personable. In fact, they recognized me at a school-wide assembly and presented me with flowers. The students are very excited to speak to someone from the United States and are always asking me questions about the culture, language and food of Texas.” Dr. Hademenos said teachers and staff are hungry for new ideas, strategies and suggestions to help students learn. He
an international collaborative partnership
engaged students in various classroom
between our schools,” Dr. Hademenos said.
activities and introduced them to the egg
“I have never been to Vietnam before, but, I
drop project. Fall 2018 • RISD CONNECT •
CTE METHODIST HEALTH SCIENCE PROGRAM
chool district officials from across North
campus to RISD. In addition to learning
Texas, representatives from the Texas
anatomy, first aid and similar industry-
manufactured using a 3D printer. Representatives from the Dallas County
Education Agency and Region 10 toured
specific curriculum, the RISD CTE track
Community College, Methodist Richardson
RISD‘s Methodist Health Science program
also enables students to achieve various
Medical Center, Logotology and Paxton
on Oct. 5.
certifications and licenses.
Patterson also attended the tour.
Attendees at a regional meeting of the
The Health Science program exposes
Educate Texas College and Career Readiness
students to various medical fields and gives
School got to see what some 600 Richardson
instruction in real-world situations.
ISD students are learning and met some of the program’s industry partners. Since the start of the 2016-17 school
Dr. Christopher Sakezles is chief executive officer of SynDaver, which provides mannequins for the program. Dr. Sakezles
Educate Texas is the educational initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas that combines public and private entities “to achieve large-scale change to transform Texas public and higher education systems so that every student is successful in school, the workforce and life.”
year, RISD Career and Technical Education
demonstrated the functionality of the
students have gained invaluable hands-on
company’s SAMM mannequins, an anatomy
within CTE. She thanked the attendees
experience at Methodist Hospital on
and physiology cadaver and a surgical canine
and said the partnerships that have been
Campbell Road. In late 2015, the hospital
unit for attendees of the tour.
established are substantial and critical to
donated 7,000 square feet of space at its 14
• RISD CONNECT • Fall 2018
SynDaver’s SAMM mannequins are
Sari McCoy is director of Health Science
RISD students’ success.
A D D R E S S E S S C H O O L SA F E T Y, CL A SS SIZ E , T E ACH E R R E T E N T I O N
Stakeholders to VOTE Nov 6
fter months of budget discussion, and
$1.04 operating tax rate is no longer
home by $25.45 a month, or $305 annually.
incorporating recommendations from
sufficient to fund the district in a way that
Numerous area school districts have raised
the comprehensive community and staff
meets the district’s mission and community
their operating tax rates over the last
strategic planning process that began last
expectations for a sought-after education.
decade, while Richardson ISD trustees have
fall, the Richardson ISD Board of Trustees
That tax rate has remained unchanged for 11
maintained the lower rate of $1.04 per $100
voted to set the district’s operating tax
years and is at a 27-year low.
of taxable assessed value.
rate at $1.17 per $100 of taxable assessed
From a revenue standpoint, the state has
valuation. This triggered a tax ratification
reduced its portion of funding to RISD by
election for Nov. 6, asking voters to approve
$16.1 million since 2013, and is projected to
a higher tax rate.
decrease another $41.8 million over the next
Many factors and months of study—largely by the community’s Strategic Plan Finance
five years. Trustees seek to raise RISD’s operating
Action Team in 2017—led Trustees to
tax rate, which has remained unchanged
the decision of presenting a TRE to RISD
since 2007-08, to $1.17 from its current
voters. A driving force was due to ongoing
level of $1.04. If approved, the change
reductions in state funding. RISD’s long-time
would raise the property taxes on an average
RISD is asking voters for an increase to specifically meet budget needs, increase pay for teachers and staff, add safety and security officers, maintain class sizes and add educators for students with special needs. For more information visit www.risd.org/tre2018
Community Strategic Planning Committee
Guides RIS D into The Future
ore than 300 community members, staff, parents and students met for more than 100 hours to develop RISD’s Strategic Plan 2017. The comprehensive set of recommendations will guide Richardson Independent School District into the next decade. The plan was
adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees in April. During an intensive three-day development session in the fall of 2017, a 32-member strategic design team established six goals. The team then created six action teams made up of community members.
THE SIX STRATEGIC GOALS OF STUDY ARE: • Ensure that diverse and engaging programs, and learning opportunities, meet the unique needs of all students. • Guarantee that all students will perform at or above grade level. • Recruit, retain, and reward quality personnel. • Ensure that all families, businesses, and community partners are fully engaged in the mission of RISD.
• Actively pursue creative funding sources and responsibly manage current resources to support the district’s mission. • Ensure that RISD facilities and infrastructure adapt to support the mission. Action teams met multiple times throughout the seven-month process, gathering data and hearing presentations
from district departments and student groups. Area businesses and other school districts also shared best practices that RISD can incorporate into its new strategic direction. Progress within all of these areas will be marked, measured and shared with the community. For more information visit www.risd.org/sp17.
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Stay connected with Richardson ISD. Fall 2018 edition.