All the principals and PTA presidents within the Richardson High School learning community gathered this week to establish new partnerships and coordinate efforts to ensure all students within the feeder pattern have the same opportunity to connect, learn, grow and succeed.

The RHS PTA is one of the largest in the state with about 1,100 members, including more than 600 students. Meredyth Childress is this year’s PTA president at Richardson High School, which recently received an A grade from the state. She encouraged the PTA members to consider the high school as a potential meeting place for larger events.

“We hope to not only support each other through joining the PTAs in the entire learning community, but to also explore opportunities for our students and community to serve schools other than their own,” Childress said. “RHS students are leaders who can be mentors and volunteers in the elementary schools and junior highs they attended. There are many activities at RHS that our younger students can attend and begin looking forward to enjoying as Eagles one day.”

Elizabeth Brown, the AVID coordinator at RHS, advised the elementary and junior high PTAs to contact her when volunteers are needed to help with specific events on campus, such as a carnival or movie night.

“When we made the decision to move to this type of vertical learning community, we did so knowing that these kind of connections may not otherwise happen,” RISD Deputy Superintendent Tabitha Branum said. “It matters to these kids that the entire community is rooting for them. It’s not just at their elementary school. Our junior high leaders have bought into this idea of community, and we are connecting with kids in fourth and fifth grade, letting them know the junior high is also invested in them and their education. It will only help the student when it comes time to transition to a new campus and new structure.”

Principal Chris Choat said the newest magnet at RHS is Computer Science, and the district aligned curriculum for this program from kindergarten through senior year, in yet another way to improve connections for students across the learning community.

The luncheon was catered by students in the RHS Culinary Arts magnet, while chamber music was provided by members of the RHS orchestra. The Legacy choir sang the National Anthem and explored its own version of Pat Benatar’s 1980 classic “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”

PTAs in RHS Learning Community Connect to Coordinate Efforts was originally published in Richardson ISD Newsdesk on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.