Richardson ISD teachers now have a new opportunity for professional development.

District trustees approved a partnership Sept. 9 with Texas State University in San Marcos. With support from the district, RISD teachers can participate in TSU’s program to obtain their Master’s of Education in Special Education. The degree will have a concentration in behavioral disorders/positive behavior supports.

The program will begin in January 2020 and include 12 courses, according to a handout from RISD. Spring and fall classes will meet monthly in RISD on Friday afternoons and Saturdays, while summer classes will meet in San Marcos over two separate weeks. There will also be an online component to the courses.

Teachers enrolled in the program will receive guidance from experts in emotional and behavioral disorders, reading and language arts instruction, and teacher education, according to the handout.

Program participants will be expected to take on research projects. They must also remain with RISD through May 2023 and be available to teach in the district’s Positive Approaches to Student Success program, or PASS. PASS classrooms provide support for students with significant behavioral and emotional challenges, according to RISD.


To help participating teachers, RISD will fund a substitute for half of one Friday each month, according to the handout. The district will also pay for some or all of the costs of summer trips to San Marcos.

Interested teachers should contact Special Education Director Kellie Gray-Smith for an interview, and once approved by RISD, they must submit an application to TSU.

The application period is open now through October, RISD Executive Communications Director Tim Clark said in an email.