RISD School Times — February 27, 2020

Four RISD Seniors Named National Merit Finalists

Three Richardson High School seniors and one student from Berkner STEM Academy have been named National Merit Finalists. Congratulations to Audrey DeJong, Rachel Johnson and James Rayman of RHS, and Albert Pham of Berkner.

There are nearly 15,000 academically talented high school seniors — representing less than 1% of all seniors across the country — who are in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be awarded in the spring. High school students enter the program by taking the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test that serves as an initial screen of about 1.6 million entrants each year.

National Merit Finalists are selected based on their exceptional abilities, skills and accomplishments, and are highly recruited by selective colleges across the nation with some colleges and universities offering significant scholarships or even full-rides based on National Merit status, according to RHS Counselor Nancy Thompson.

Online Enrollment Now Open

Online enrollment for the upcoming school year is now open, and more than 5,000 students are already enrolled in RISD for 2020–21.

Students currently enrolled and returning to RISD next school year should have received a unique code, called a snapcode, in order to enroll. Snapcodes and specific enrollment information were sent home to parents by each RISD school last week. Current elementary school students received a snapcode in their take-home packets, and current junior high and high school students should have received a snapcode via regular mail by the U.S. postal service.

RISD also sent a message about online enrollment to the primary contact’s email address on file for all current students.

If you have not received enrollment information nor a snapcode, please contact the child’s current school.

Please note that students new to RISD do not require a snapcode to enroll for the 2020–2021 school year.

All enrollment for the upcoming 2020–21 school year must be completed online. There are no paper forms. Those who would like assistance with online enrollment or would like to use a school device or WiFi to complete enrollment are welcome to visit the child’s school beginning Feb. 27 during normal school hours.

For more information about online enrollment for the upcoming 2020–21 school year, please visit RISD’s online enrollment page.

LHHS Mock Trial Heading to State

Earlier in February while competing against 32 other schools from Region 10, the Lake Highlands High School mock trial team performed well enough and qualified for state.

The teams debated a fictitious case based on the real life Fyre Festival, asking did the promoter’s actions cause injury to the defendant? Or did the blame fall solely on the organizer of the event? Or was it something else?

The team is led by senior captains Angela Landry and Daniel Watson, who will act as attorneys at the state competition next week. Junior captain Loretta David and Nick Landry will also serve as attorneys, as LHHS competes against the best mock trial teams from across Texas in the 41st annual event, which is sponsored by the Dallas Bar Association. Will Donnell, Zoe Rose, Olivia Fawkes and Haley Chronister will act as witnesses during the competition at the George L. Allen Sr. Courts Building in downtown Dallas.

At regionals, Loretta David received Honorable Mention for All Region Best Attorney and Sheila Tume received Honorable Mention for All Region Best Witness. The team is coached by Kim Elkjer, and the LHHS teacher sponsor is Casey Boland.

“This is the most hands-on internship you can get. These kids are literally in a courtroom, arguing both sides of a case, as well as acting as witnesses who are being cross-examined,” Boland said. “They learn the absolute intricacies of the law. They learn what legalese is and are able to take a deep dive into the meaning of words, such as hearsay. We all know what hearsay means, but there are different definitions in regards to what is admissible in court and what is inadmissible.”

The dedicated team, which operates as a school club, meets and prepares for nearly 30 hours a week outside of normal school hours, Boland said.

Coronavirus Preparedness

RISD Health Services has been in regular contact with Dallas County Health and Human Services to monitor the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation and to prepare for the possibility of confirmed cases closer to home in North Texas or in RISD.

As in the past with other outbreaks of viruses, RISD is prepared to implement and follow protocols and guidelines as directed by health authorities if necessary.

The best precautions we can take currently are the same basic prevention measures everyone should follow to avoid the flu and other common seasonal respiratory illnesses: get a flu shot, wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and stay home when you’re sick.

Literacy Lab Schools Coming Next Year

RISD is taking steps to change the way reading is taught in our schools. The district is designing Literacy Labs at four elementary schools — Audelia Creek, Dover, Northrich and Skyview — to use as models and fertile ground for teacher learning. The objective is to train all RISD teachers to become preeminent teachers of reading.

The WeRead schools will eventually impact all 2,200 RISD teachers and the experiences and opportunities for all students across the district.

Texas PTA Hosts Panel on Vaping Epidemic

RISD Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone was in Austin this week to raise awareness of what she sees as an epidemic in our schools — vaping.

The Texas PTA, in collaboration with the American Heart Association, hosted Straight Talk at the Capitol: A Matter of Life and Breath. Dr. Stone spoke during the first panel with students, parents and physicians who shared facts and anecdotes, and discussed what can be done — at home, in school, and at the state level. Dr. Stone said that the district has even seen vaping at the elementary level this year.

Three Community Members File to Run in May Election

The deadline to file for the upcoming election of RISD trustess for District 3 and At Large Place 6 was Feb. 14, and three community members filed to have their name on the May 2 ballot.

Debbie Flores Rentería is running unopposed in District 3. Eric Eager and Bridgett Y. Hudson are vying for At Large Place 6.

In early 2019, RISD trustees reconfigured the board to a model with representatives from five districts and two at large seats. The May election will be the second of three votes before the entire board has been elected under the new system.

Learn more, view a board district map and search for a district by address.

U.S. Public Schools Week

More than 50 million students attend public schools, representing about 90% of school age children in America. Public schools educate all children regardless of ability, race, wealth, language, religion or country of origin to prepare all students for life after graduation. Support for public schools is support for the future of our country.

RHS Hoops Survive and Advance

The №5 ranked Richardson Eagles beat DeSoto 63–51 in the bi-district round of the UIL basketball playoffs to advance to the area round against Denton Guyer on Friday at 7 p.m. at Coppell High School.

RISD Servant Leader Award

The Patti Kieker Servant Leader award recognizes an exemplary central administrative employee who has helped RISD achieve its mission and exemplifies servant leadership.

Please consider nominating a deserving RISD central administrator for this award before March 6.

Nominations Open for Nurse of the Year

Do you know an RISD nurse who has positively impacted a campus, families and the health services culture at a school by keeping children healthy and ready to learn?

Follow this link to nominate your deserving nurse for the 2019–20 school year. The deadline is March 13, and the winner will be announced April 1.

District Calendar

Meetings, Events & Fundraisers


The Primary Election is Tuesday

The 2020 primary election is Tuesday March 3. Early voting is underway, and Dallas County voters now can cast a ballot at any polling place in the county. RISD allows Dallas County to use space at 39 elementary and junior high school campuses during the election cycle, and school will be in session on March 3.

Voters should look for the polling place signs to determine what entrance to use and do not need to get a visitor badge from the school’s office to vote. All election workers have had background checks through the Dallas County Elections office and will be wearing an RISD visitor badge on March 3.

All Juniors Take ACT Test for Free

Richardson ISD juniors will take the ACT test for free on Tuesday March 24. Students will take the test at their home campus. The ACT is one measure colleges and universities consider during the application process. There are five sections to the test RISD students will take on March 24: English, math, reading, science and writing.

SMU holds an ACT boot camp at the RISD Professional Development Center on Belt Line Road for juniors and seniors looking to improve their scores. There are also test prep materials available online. Please contact the counselor at your school if you have more questions about the free ACT test.

Census 2020

Richardson ISD is providing information to educate, encourage and engage our school community about the upcoming U.S. Census, and we encourage your participation.

RISD will continue to update this website as we prepare for Census Day on April 1.

Connecting With School

RISD administration and individual schools regularly provide messages to parents of enrolled students with school information, important dates, reminders, and safety information.

In order to reach parents, schools must have accurate contact information.

When inclement weather causes RISD to cancel or delay school, parents and staff are notified by telephone, email and text message.

If you have changed your phone number or email address since enrolling your child, please provide updated contact information to your school’s front office.


Your child’s school is the best resource for questions about school schedules and operations.

Parents may also contact the main RISD switchboard at 469–593–0000 or email the district at risd@risd.org.

Volunteering in RISD

A new background check is required every school year for all volunteers at RISD schools.

Parents, grandparents and community members must be cleared prior to volunteering at school activities, so the beginning of the school year is the best time to complete that process.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities at RISD schools and submit information for a background check.

RISD School Times — February 27, 2020 was originally published in Richardson ISD Newsdesk on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.