RISD School Times — February 5, 2020

A Gift of Vision

More than 200 Richardson ISD elementary students have received a free pair of eyeglasses this school year through a partnership with the Essilor Vision Foundation.

Started in 2007, the foundation is part of French ophthalmic optics giant Essilor International. The Essilor Vision Foundation seeks to narrow the gap between the need for and access to vision care and has distributed more than 1 million pairs of glasses worldwide.

In November, Essilor provided new eyeglasses to 71 students at Skyview Elementary and 32 students at Forestridge. About two dozen kids at Audelia Creek Elementary were outfitted with glasses in December, while more than 40 students at both Dover and Forest Lane Academy received a brand new pair last month. Essilor plans to bring the mobile clinic to Mark Twain and Northlake elementary schools next week.

In May, Essilor provided eyeglasses to students at Stults Road and Thurgood Marshall elementary schools.

“Essilor Vision Foundation is thrilled to continue our relationship with RISD and to provide vision exams and glasses to RISD students at no cost to them or their families,” EVF President and Executive Director Becky Palm said. “In 2020, the Year of Vision, we want everyone to make their eye health a priority and to be advocates for the estimated 12 million kids in America with a vision impairment, half of whom are not getting the care they need. The RISD community can help by donating to our Vote for Vision campaign. Together, we can give life-changing vision care to even more children in need.”

A Culture of Reading

RISD is working to establish a culture where every teacher from Pre-K through 12th grade is a teacher of reading as part of the goal to get all students reading at grade level or better by third grade, which is a pillar of the district’s strategic planning efforts.

At the regular monthly board meeting on Feb. 3, RISD Trustees heard from the student learning design team, which recommends adding a literacy coach to each campus, a literacy director for the entire district and a literacy specialist for kindergarten through second grade to further enhance the emphasis on literacy.

RISD Language Arts Director Jill Haltom told the board that the district’s decision to purchase hundreds of thousands of new books is paying off as students are reading more than ever. Students are reading in the cafeteria before school, at lunch and after school. Haltom said targeted professional development ahead of the current school year helped prepare RISD teachers for new literacy standards that emphasize phonics, reading and writing.

RISD teachers understand that decoding and language comprehension lead to reading comprehension. Haltom said literacy is a foundation to all learning that honors the whole child and builds upon the student’s strengths. Literacy instruction requires intentional and sustainable support so growth can occur under a well-equipped teacher. It’s a communitywide effort that develops along a continuum of skills.

With the implementation of the new literacy standards, RISD is on its way to creating an evidence-based early literacy program that ensures all students are reading at or above grade level by third grade.

As part of World Read Aloud Day on Feb. 5, RISD teachers and students all across the district took time to read and listen.

Happy National School Counseling Week! RISD celebrates all the work our school counselors do every single day to help build better humans. Does your school have an outstanding counselor? Let them know with a kind word or gesture this week.

RISD Lands in District 7–6A After Biennial UIL Realignment

Beginning in August, Richardson ISD high schools will be part of the realigned UIL District 7–6A for the next two years for basketball, football and volleyball.

Joining Berkner, Lake Highlands, Pearce and RHS in the new district are Dallas Jesuit, Irving High School, Irving MacArthur and Irving Nimitz. The University Interscholastic League realigns districts every two years in an attempt to maintain a geographic balance between schools of similar size.

The new districts for other sports will be released by March 16 with academic alignments soon thereafter.

National Letter of Intent Signing Day

Congratulations to the RISD student-athletes who signed letters of intent this week to continue their academic and athletic careers in college.

Lake Highlands: Jordan Rush, soccer, Brookhaven College; Isiah Tatum, football, East Central University; Michael Nwokocha, football, Northeastern Oklahoma State University; Jeaver Walitubana, football, East Central University; Azion Washington, football, Henderson State University; LaTrell Smith, football, Lamar University; and Darlington Peter, football, East Central Oklahoma.

Pearce: Livia Felix, soccer, St. Edwards University; Kyle Nolen, soccer, Northwestern State University; Zack Brickert, football, Colorado School of Mines; Jacob Dicharry, football, Lamar University; Dequan Landon, football, Southwest Baptist University; Josh Horlick, football, Southeastern Oklahoma State University; Victor Robles, football, Northwestern Oklahoma State University; David Simmons, football, Southeastern Oklahoma State University; Blake Waters, football, West Texas A&M.

RHS: Spencer Wynne, volleyball, Austin College; Kim Martinez Pompa, soccer, Brookhaven College; Zach Monroe, baseball, Salt Lake Community College; Westin Stringer, football, Jamestown College; and Cam Turner, football, Kilgore College.

Help PTA Grow Membership

An easy way for the RISD community to support our schools is through the PTA.

The RISD Council of PTAs is one of the strongest voices in Austin advocating for our students, our teachers and public education in general.

With more than 21,000 members, RISD PTAs do a little bit of everything. Please consider joining your school’s PTA and maybe join another or become an angel member and be a part of numerous campuses.

Clear Bag Policy Reminder

Richardson ISD’s Clear Bag Policy is in effect for visitors to games and events at junior high and high school gymnasiums and stadiums.

Save The Date

District Calendar

Meetings, Events & Fundraisers


MAC Open Houses

Multipurpose activity centers, approved by voters as part of the 2016 bond package, have been completed at three high schools. The first open house at RHS occurred last week.

All RISD stakeholders are invited to tour the new facilities at Berkner on Monday Feb. 10 and at Pearce on Tuesday Feb. 11. Fine arts and athletic staff members will be on hand to answer questions.

All Juniors Can 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 5, 2020 was originally published in Richardson ISD Newsdesk on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.