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Student Spotlights
The Berkner Robotics Team was recognized by RISD Trustees last evening for winning the 2017 TSA VEX Robot Skills national championship in Louisville, and finishing third in the 2017 VEX World Division Finals in Orlando while being named the Build Award winners.
Pearce senior Darren Carter was recently selected as the top violin player in Texas through the Texas Music Education Association audition process. Darren is a four year member of the TMEA All-State Orchestra and also a member of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. 
Board Meeting Summary - November 6 Meeting
RISD Trustees met for a regular meeting the evening of November 6 to discuss a number of topics. Highlights included:
Financial reporting
Staff shared the annual financial and transparency information related to the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST), which is a state-required hearing and rating system that each school district participates in that is designed to provide the community and taxpayers with information about how school district's manage tax dollars.
RISD earned all possible points under the system and received the highest available rating of "A/Superior," as it has each of the 14 years the rating has been in existence.
CAFR
RISD Trustees heard from Dan Tonn, with the accounting firm Hankins, Eastup, Deaton, Tonn & Seay, who conducted the required annual independent audit of RISD fiscal accounts. Mr. Tonn indicated RISD continues to be in very good financial condition and found no material weaknesses in RISD's accounts. Trustees then reviewed and adopted RISD's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017. 
Human Resources Report
Trustees heard an update from RISD's Human Resources department. Key initiatives include continued efforts in support of recruitment and retention of quality teachers and staff members. Trustees received information related to recruitment efforts, competitive compensation, teacher evaluation systems, staff support and training, hiring demographics, staffing trends and career pathways, along with areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. In conjunction with the Human Resources Report, the Board also heard a presentation of the recently-completed salary study that evaluates how the district's salary structure for teachers and other employees compares to peer districts that RISD competes with for staff.
Sale of White Rock Trail Property
The Board voted to allow RISD to enter into a contract to sell the district property at White Rock Trail to PSW Real Estate LLC. The property is being sold as-is for $5.7 million. After total expenses related to the original purchase and improvements made, the district is expected to realize a net gain of $87,000 through the sale.
2018-19 Calendar Options
Also at the Board meeting, staff presented trustees with initial options for the 2018-19 Student Academic Calendar. Two calendar options were prepared after input and reflection from parents, community members and staff on the District Planning Committee. The calendars were prepared with the best academic interests of students in mind, and attempt to balance the many factors and requests that come with a large and diverse district.
The calendar options have been shared with principals and teacher leaders to solicit feedback leading to this initial Board discussion. With the exception of winter break, both calendar options offer a similar holiday structure to the current calendar based on how days fall in 2018 and 2019. Likewise, both calendars would be compliant with changing state requirements and allowances related to instructional minutes, waivers and staff development days.
Because of the way that winter holidays fall in 2018-19, both calendars include a return from the two week winter break on January 8. This was a topic of extensive discussion due to the impact on child care for some families, but no other viable options were identified for early 2019 that would not substantially impact attendance without shortening the length of winter break. Staff are exploring the possibility of offering an RISD child care option to parents during the first week of January to help families facing uncertain child care alternatives.
The major difference between the two calendar options is the start and end dates of the school year. Option A would begin the school year on Wednesday August 15, three instructional days (and five calendar days) earlier than Option B's start date of Monday, August 20. Accordingly, the final day of the school year under Option A would be Friday, May 24, while the final day under Option B would be Wednesday, May 29.
Option B is similar to the current calendar, while Option A would begin and end the school year five calendar days earlier.
Principal feedback has favored an earlier start date to allow for a shortened week to begin the school year. This approach is consistent with a number of other districts, and allows students a better adjustment to the start of school than five straight days after the long summer break. In addition, the earlier end date would allow for more time and preparation to be dedicated to summer programs, including those required by the state of Texas.
Feedback will continue to be solicited from teachers, staff and parents in different ways.
Parents and stakeholders are encouraged to review both options, and input or questions are welcome by emailing risd@risd.org. The Board will revisit the 2018-19 Student Academic Calendar at their December meeting, when additional feedback from parents, staff and other stakeholders will be discussed.
Free Parent Education Event
Click to learn more about this free parent education event regarding appropriate online communication in the social media age. For parents and teens - mature themes will be discussed.
RISD & America Recyles Day
On November 15, RISD will mobilize its 54 schools to participate in America Recycles Day by encouraging students to take the #BeRecycled Pledge online, and will post banners outside of schools for the younger students to sign and participate.
Throughout the week, Richardson ISD will encourage schools to set up “No Thank You” tables where students can offer unwanted lunch items to others. Lastly, Richardson ISD is contributing to a used clothing drive being held by Keep Dallas Beautiful, as Hurricane Harvey wiped out the surplus of items at many local shelters.
District Calendar

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Have a Question About RISD?
We’re glad you asked!
From time to time, students, parents, residents or taxpayers have questions about information or issues related to RISD, but aren’t sure who to ask or where to go for information. We’re Glad You Asked is a feature on the RISD website that lets stakeholders ask questions about anything related to RISD, and you’ll receive an emailed response from the appropriate RISD staff member. Some questions & answers may be featured in district publications.
Simply visit risd.org/gladyouasked to use this new feature.
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