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Community and Student Engagement

Each week, an RISD campus program or department is featured in an article in The Rockdale Reporter.  You can view the past articles here.
 

Recent Posts

2016 Sept 21: RIS Play Ground Volunteers

The community of Rockdale continues to provide opportunities for us to appreciate the small town in which we live. Kathy Pelzel, Rockdale Intermediate School principal, has information she would like to share this week that further proves just how lucky we are.

           I’m not sure if the members of our wonderful community have had an opportunity to drive by Rockdale Intermediate School this year. Not everyone has a student attending on our campus. If you haven’t, I encourage you to drive by and see our new playground equipment! The students have been enjoying it immensely this year. It was a much needed upgrade that would not have been possible without some incredible generosity and hard work.

           David Yarbrough, the PTO, Alpha Tau Delta and Lin Perry made extremely generous donations in order to make all this new equipment a reality. With the monetary donations we were able to purchase a wonderful playset and materials to build swing sets. Once the equipment was ordered, Perry and Perry Builders used their equipment and knowledgeable staff to accept delivery and begin setting up the equipment.

           As you can imagine, this is quite an undertaking. Perry and Perry Builders’ donation included labor and equipment necessary to get the project completed over the summer so it would be ready for students when they returned this year. We had two weekends where members of our community came out in the heat of the day and worked alongside Perry & Perry's crew to construct the playground for us. We had people doing everything from painting to assembling set pieces and setting them in the ground. It was a massive amount of work but our volunteers rolled up their sleeves and got it done with a smile on their faces,​ albeit a sweaty one.

           While we are so very grateful to have this new addition to our campus, this is not the best part of the project. The lesson learned by our students is the greatest gift we received to start the 2016/2017 school year. Our students witnessed what happens when folks in a community set a goal and work together to accomplish it. This project teaches Rockdale students that volunteerism can have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of others. Volunteering time to swing a hammer or dig a hole can be every bit as helpful and rewarding as the generous monetary donations. We are now the proud recipients of a symbol representing what can be accomplished by a determined community that isn’t afraid of a little hard work.

          We challenge our students to reach farther and work hard each day in the classroom. When the children go outside for recess and enjoy all the new equipment, they can literally see evidence of how much our community loves them. These aren’t just values we preach. Our community lives these values and demonstrates them constantly. This is permanent,​ tangible evidence of what we hope to instill in our students as they grow into responsible, giving​ adults.

2016 Sept 14: RHS College Readiness

The 2016- 17 school year is well under way, and this week Ms. Tiffany Commerford, Rockdale High School Principal, would like to share information regarding the opportunities available on her campus for RHS students getting ready for college.

It’s never too early to start planning for college and career options.  At Rockdale High School we have started asking our students about their upcoming plans.  This Wednesday evening our counselors  planned a College Readiness Night in conjunction with our RHS Open House from 6:00 – 7:30pm at Rockdale High School. When visiting with students, counselors and administrators are reminding them of deadlines for exams, encouraging them to be aware of deadlines for admissions, and helping them to understand the importance of financial aid and scholarships that are available this year. Our College Readiness Night will help both students and parents in this important next step in their lives.

The fall semester is crucial for juniors and seniors; here are some key items to remember for the fall:

Stay on track with your classes and grades.
Know what your transcript looks like.  Check on your class rank and your Grade Point Average. Even if your grades haven’t been that good so far, it’s never too late to improve. Colleges like to see an upward trend.

Evaluate your education options.
Now is the time to follow a more specific path. Decide whether you want to pursue full-time employment, further education or training (such as a vocational-technical school, career college, or two-year or four-year college), or a military career.

Make a college list.
Your list of colleges should include schools that meet your most important criteria (size, location, cost, academic majors, or special programs). Weigh each of the factors according to their importance to you and develop a preliminary list.  It is important to have a list when registering for the ACT and SAT.

Continue gathering information.
Attend college fairs, go on college visits, research your college online, and reach out to college admission specialists. You may be able to narrow your choices or add a school to your list.

Organize a testing plan.
Figure out when you’ll be taking important tests like the SAT, ACT, and Advanced Placement exams, and mark the dates on your calendar. You’ll want to have plenty of time to prepare.

Make sure you’re meeting any special requirements.
If you want to play Division I or II sports in college, start the certification process and check with your counselor.

Whether you have high school freshman or a senior finishing up their high school career, there’s something you can be doing now to better your college and scholarship search, and help them plan for their next steps. The administration and counseling staff at Rockdale High School are dedicated to help you and your young adult succeed during this exciting yet often challenging time in your lives. Feel free to contact our staff anytime you have questions or need additional information. We are there for you!

2016 Sept 7: Rockdale ISD iTigers (After-school Program)

The Rockdale ISD iTigers Program has provided after school tutorials and enrichment activities for students for a number of years in our district. Over the summer Rockdale ISD received some great news regarding the funding of this important program. Leesa Perez, Rockdale Junior High iTigers Coordinator, has more information about iTigers and the program’s funding.

ITigers to continue!  RISD is fortunate and thankful to be among the recipients for the Cycle 9, 21st CCLC ACE grant award!  This means that our after school program can continue to provide students with academic assistance, enrichment and college and career readiness activities.  In addition, our site coordinators are working hard to bring meaningful opportunities for parents, as well.  Your suggestions and ideas are much needed and valued!  If you haven’t completed a parent survey, please contact your campus iTigers Coordinator for details.

  • RES iTigers Coordinator – Valarie Willingham – 512.430.6144
  • RIS iTigers Coordinator – Sandy Robbins – 512.430.6226
  • RJH iTigers Coordinator – Leesa Perez – 512.430.6072
  • RHS iTigers Coordinator – Kristin Jakubik – 512.430.6013

It is hard to believe our campuses are buzzing with activity and another year of iTigers is under way.  In the hustle and bustle of things, it is sometimes easy to overlook information, paperwork, or events.  Please make sure that you fill out and return any iTigers forms that your student(s) bring home.  We don’t want them to miss out on the wonderful opportunities that await them!

In addition to our students, we want to see you!  We will be sending a calendar of iTigers parent/student events home with your student. You may also check out our Facebook page for details of upcoming events and ongoing activities. Please help us get the information out by “liking” and “sharing” the iTigers Facebook page. We are excited to announce that every Tuesday evening, our campuses will provide parent involvement opportunities. Listed below are a couple of opportunities for September:

  • September 13 – Computer Lab for RJH iTigers Parents, RJH, starting at 5:15 p.m.
  • September 20 – PTO Meeting – RJH Commons, starting at 6:00 p.m.
  • September 27 – ** Healthy Eating/Cooking Demo – RJH Commons, starting at 5:45 p.m.
    • Courtney Paulsen will give a brief presentation on healthy eating habits
    • Trevor Lee will give a demonstration on healthy meals

Each month will be a similar schedule, with new spins on the district wide activity each time! When you see the double asterisk (**), it denotes a district wide activity.  For the fall semester, district wide iTigers activities will take place on the fourth Tuesday of each month.

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your child’s education!

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” ~ Malcom X

2016 Aug 24: Back to School with Positive Values

The “Good Ole Days of Summer” have come to a bitter sweet end for Rockdale ISD students, teachers and parents. Students have enjoyed days full of leisure and fun, but most felt the need to get back to the routine of school. More importantly, they looked forward to catching up with friends they have not seen or talked to all summer.      Teachers have also enjoyed the summer, and have been working the last couple of weeks prior to the first day preparing for their classes. They too were ready to resume the routine, and were glad to get their students back in their classrooms on Monday. Parents were definitely ready for the first day of school, probably more so than the first two groups mentioned.         

Speaking of parents, you play a crucial role in the development of strong positive values that are established at a very early age of all children. Positive values and actions that are modeled by parents provide their children with experiences that emphasize the importance of positive behaviors. When parents offer an environment that is based on strong morals and values, they:

  • Help their children to know the difference between right and wrong.
  • Encourage them to become independent
  • Develop their integrity
  • Help them to listen to their conscience
  • Develop healthy happy children and later adults

Peer pressure has a powerful impact on children, but if children have a strong support system with positive values, they will have the tools to make the right decisions and not “follow the crowd” thus avoiding negative consequences.

Search Institute researchers have identified 6 positive values that are critical to help young people to develop into healthy and happy adults. They are: 

  1. Caring – The value of helping and caring for other people.
  2. Equality and Social Justice – The value of promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
  3. Integrity – The value of acting on convictions and standing up for their beliefs.
  4. Honesty – The value of telling the truth even when is not the easy thing to do.
  5. Responsibility – The value of accepting and taking personal responsibility.
  6. Restraint – The value of believing that it is important not to be sexually active or use drugs/alcohol.

Children today have a multitude of influences that were not present in our daily lives 20 or more years ago. Cell phones, the internet and social media have changed the landscape of our society, but the basis of strong, positive values has not changed. If children have a foundation built on strong positive values, they can overcome the negative influences and take advantage of these innovations using them in a way that is productive rather than destructive. Parents must be willing to understand the responsibility they to their children, and put forth the effort to teach their children the positive values they need to be healthy, happy and successful.

As we begin the 2016-17 school year, it is very important to remember that you, the parents, are the most influential part of your children’s lives, and the next in line are your children’s teachers. Rockdale ISD staff members are committed to providing the children of Rockdale the best opportunity possible to learn, and at the same time reinforce the values you have taught them. Together, we can make the difference in the lives of our children that can last a lifetime.

2016 May 25: iTigers Summer Offerings and Grant Renewal

It definitely seems like yesterday that the RISD was one of the privileged school districts to receive the 5 year ACE Grant that could fund our after school programs on all campuses. This grant was the beginning of what is now well known as the Rockdale iTigers ACE After School Program. We have been very fortunate for the last 5 years to have this program as a part of our school district. This week Denice Doss has information regarding upcoming iTigers Summer Activities, and hopefully, we will also receive some great news about the program’s grant renewal.

As the regular school year is winding down the iTigers ACE Program is gearing up for summer activities.  Our summer school and camps will extend from June 6-June 30, Monday-Thursday, from 8:00 am to 12:50 pm.  The coordinators are planning on some great events for summer that will help our students not only have fun but stay busy with enrichment activities.

One of our activities that definitely interest the high school students is Drivers’ Education.  The grant pays for $170 for RHS students with the student paying $220.00.  We will have a meeting about Drivers’ Education in May for all the parents to give you an idea of what is expected, the rules, etc.

During the month of June at the high school we have several field trips planned, regular swimming, and a host of activities.  Also if your child needs credit recovery we will also have that available.  Have your student sign up in the office if they are coming to summer school—especially if they will need a bus.

Junior High and High School summer school/camps will meet at the High School and Elementary/Intermediate summer school will meet at the Elementary School .  Call your child’s school for more details on summer school and camps.

This is year 5 (and the last year of this grant cycle) of this ACE iTigers program and we will find out in the summer if the grant has been renewed.  The iTigers program makes such a difference in our students’ lives and we are hopeful that the program will continue.  We will be looking forward to the announcement this summer.

2016 May 18: RISD Volunteers Recognized

“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.” ~ Sherry Anderson       

          Rockdale ISD has always had a deep appreciate for the countless hours our parents and community members have donated for the success of our students and events each school year. I became a part of this community over 30 years ago, and I continue to be proud of the community members that are willing to commit their time, money or other resources.

          From the beginning of our school year in August to the end of the year in May, volunteers work tirelessly to coordinate Cake Auctions, Volleyball and Football concession stands, inventory library books, teach iTigers classes, Fall Festivals, Spaghetti Suppers and the list can go on and on. At the end of the day, the Community of Rockdale has a number of selfless individuals that are willing to go the extra mile to not only provide opportunities for our students, but make them great in the process.

        Recently, the Rockdale ISD recognized many of our volunteers at a luncheon on the Rockdale Junior High campus. Those who were able to attend were treated with a delicious meal provided by the district and our food service manager Mr. Trevor Lee of Southwest Foods. Our volunteers were graciously served by another group of volunteers, students, from our Rockdale Junior High Student Council. Our luncheon guests also enjoyed music selections played by the RJH Concert Band directed by Mr. Marco Estrada.

          Each of our volunteers was given the opportunity to introduce themselves, and describe what role they had while volunteering for Rockdale ISD. During these introductions, I felt humbled listening to their comments that were more expressions of gratitude for their being allowed to give their time for the benefit our students and school district.

          I began this column with a quote about volunteers which is one of my favorites by Sherry Anderson, and I will end it with another favorite.

“You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.” ~ Winston Churchill

           As a small token of Rockdale ISD’s appreciation our volunteers attending the luncheon were given a coffee mug with the Rockdale Independent School District logo, and the quote from Mr. Churchill.

         On behalf of Rockdale ISD, I again want to express our appreciation for all of our parents and community members who chose to donate their time, money and effort to support our students and school district.

2016 May 11: Senioritis, again?

The topic this week is one, as a former high school principal and parent of a high school senior, I can whole heartily relate to and understand. Ms. Tiffany Commerford, Rockdale High School Principal, has been dealing with disorder that occurs during this time of year, and has some suggestions for parents to help with the symptoms.

 

            It’s the seasonal affliction that all high school seniors and parents are warned about. Many high school seniors, fresh off of spring break and finishing up the last of their college applications, begin to lag. Missing class, not doing homework, getting lower grades on assignments they would usually ace - all signs of the ever-present ‘senioritis.’

            It’s not hard to understand why many seniors crash second semester. After months of preparing for the college admissions process, hitting ‘submit’ on that last college application can feel like collapsing across a huge finish line. What many students fail to realize, however, is that completing applications isn’t the end of the journey - it’s just the beginning.

            So what’s the cure for senioritis? While scare-tactics like the threat of holding high school diplomas, rescinded college acceptances, and lost financial aid are the usual go-to, it’s important to remember that battling the spring semester slump is a marathon, not a sprint. While it’s necessary to highlight what’s at stake, students need to arm themselves with the tools to combat the temptation to slack, not just the threat of consequences.

Set small goals. Rather than focusing on the large, long-term goal, students should set smaller, more manageable goals until the end. Get a 90 or above on the next calculus exam. Finish my history report a week early so I can get feedback from my teacher. Set aside an hour every week to prep for AP exams and complete scholarships. By breaking down goals into smaller chunks, students can focus on one task at a time.

Improve study habits. By now most seniors have a good handle on how to study and prepare for tests, but there’s always room for improvement. Students should schedule study time directly into their calendars so they can hold themselves accountable. Focus on consistently reviewing material for a test, rather than cramming the night before. Not only will these study habits help combat senioritis, it will also prepare students for the rigors of a college come fall.

Take some time to relax. Often the pressure to succeed can be the biggest factor causing students to slack. It’s important for students to take some time to recharge. Spend time with friends and family. Set aside some quiet time to read a favorite book or focus on a personal project that’s been put off. Students should embrace down time and use it to relax, reset, and prepare for their next goal.

2016 May 4: Consequences-Natural

           The art of being a parent can be a challenge especially when it comes to consequences for certain behaviors. But in many cases, the most effective consequences require you to do nothing at all.

          Most of us learn from our mistakes. If we drive too fast, we might get a ticket – an expensive lesson. Our children are no different, and they will also learn well from their mistakes.

          For instance, if your child doesn’t do his/her homework, he/she might get detention and/or a bad grade for missing an assignment. That’s the consequence. If your toddler keeps taking their mittens or gloves off when it is cold outside, he/she might get cold hands. Rather than attempting to change your child’s course, you can choose to let them experience the natural consequences of their choices.

          As with many things in parenting, this can be emotionally challenging. After all, you don’t want your son or daughter to get a bad grade! Or you may feel like you’re not doing your job if you let the school’s consequence be enough. Likewise, you want your son or daughter to have warm hands, and you may feel like a bad parent if they not dressed the way they “should be.”

Here are four ways to make natural consequences work for you:

  1. Stay on the lookout for natural consequences.They are all around us. If you are accustomed to giving consequences for certain behaviors, you might not see how well a natural consequence can work.
  2. Don’t save your child from a natural consequence.Many parents have a hard time watching their child experience the physical or psychological discomfort that can be such a powerful learning experience. But your child learns best if he/she experiences the entire scenario with his/her choice and the consequence that follows. You can certainly give your child a warning, but if he/she decides to ignore your advice, allow the consequence to happen without intervening. Of course parents need to intervene if you think there’s serious risk or danger involved.
  3. Recognize when a natural consequence is enough.If your child rides his/her bike too fast and he/she falls, that may be all the consequence they need. Shaken up and scraped, he/she probably learned his/her lesson and will change their behavior next time. An additional consequence isn’t necessary.
  4. Watch for changing behavior…or not.Observe what happens the next time your child repeats the behavior. Did they learn from their previous experience? If you see change, great. If not, evaluate whether you need to intervene and give another consequence.

          Natural consequences are very powerful learning opportunities; they help your child learn on their own and become more responsible for their actions or choices. Knowing when and how to let them work for you and your child involves some letting go, allowing your child to experience the consequence when appropriate, and looking for signs of change.

2016 Apr 27: RIS Student Council

It is always very inspiring to see students, at any grade level, showing pride and leadership on our campuses. This week our Rockdale Intermediate School Principal Mrs. Kathy Pelzel would like to recognize an important group of leaders on her campus.

        Rockdale Intermediate School Student Council has had a very busy year this year. In October, our students began fundraising for the district’s first ever Coins for a Cure. Proceeds were targeted to support childhood cancer research. They then began our second annual Teacher Turkey Feather campaign. Student council members sold turkey feathers for teachers. The teachers in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade with the most turkey feathers had to dress up like a turkey the day school let out for Thanksgiving break.  Student Council raised over $900 from this activity tripling our total from last year.

        This money is used for student council projects throughout the year, such as donating to Christmas Roundup, buying sports equipment for the playground and handmade teacher appreciation gifts for the staff.  The Student Council will also be able to cover the cost of the workshop the officers attend in the fall. 

        This year the Student Council also started a new fundraising campaign with the “Happy Grams Valentine” slide show that was shown during the week of Valentine’s.  That project had no overhead and raised just over $260.  The Student Council is also looking forward to helping this year’s 2nd grade students tour the Intermediate Campus so they can become familiar with their new school for next year. 

        Over spring break the Student Council sponsor Mrs. Reisner filled out an application for a Student Council Excellence Award from the National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation (NAESPF).  To earn this award the Student Council had to participate in at least two school spirit, community service, student leadership or citizenship projects.  Only 140 Student Councils in the entire state of Texas were awarded this honor.  This coming fall the officers will be recognized and honored at the Student Council Workshop they will attend. 

        It is truly an honor and privilege for our students to win this award for the second year in a row.  The staff and administration at Rockdale Intermediate School could not be any prouder of our Rockdale Intermediate Student Council.  We look forward to many more exciting projects from them in the future.

2016 Apr 20: Miller-Starnes Chevrolet-Buick recognized for "Standing Up for Texas Public Schools"

Miller-Starnes Chevrolet/Buick was recognized by the Rockdale ISD Board of Trustees at their last regular meeting for its outstanding support of the students and schools in the Rockdale ISD. Included during this special recognition, Miller-Starnes was recognized at the state level, the Texas Association of School Boards selected Miller-Starnes in their “Standing Up for Texas Public Schools” business recognition program.

                Miller–Starnes Chevrolet/Buick has a long history of supporting the Rockdale ISD Schools and Organizations, and even though they are a small business in a small town, they have a big impact in several ways.

                Sponsorships are annual contributions that Miller-Starnes makes to help support RISD organizations. They sponsor various school programs such as Friday night football program adds and fan contests, yearbook adds, attendance incentives, fundraisers and even scoreboards.

                Miller-Starnes has donated funds for the RISD Band, Athletic, Cheerleader, Career and Technology Education, and Drill Team programs. They have also donated to the Lions Club and Rotary Club’s Scholarships for graduating seniors.

                The Rockdale Junior High School’s Annual Career Day has been supported by Miller-Starnes for a number of years. The owners, sales manager and business manager have all made presentations during the event, and their exhibit is always very popular with our students.

                Miller-Starnes has allowed their employees to attend our Rockdale ISD Parent/Teacher Conference Days every time they are offered, and they have encouraged their workers to attend these conferences to make contact with their children’s teachers.

                Our students, parents and teachers directly benefit from companies such as this that are willing to stand up for public schools, not just in words but their actions. We applaud these community partners for their participation and hope that this will continue to be a strong relationship in the years to come.

                Rockdale ISD’s staff and students owe Miller-Starnes a great debt of gratitude for their support of our school district over the years since its establishment in 1963.

2016 Apr 13: RISD Career and Technology Department (CTE)

This week our CTE Director Ms. Sari McCoy has some exciting news from her department, and I will fully agree with her regarding how quickly this school year has flown by as we complete our 5th Six Weeks of school this Friday.

            What a great year it has been in Rockdale ISD. I am so proud of the efforts and accomplishments of our students and staff. As I write this note, I am amazed that there is only a month and a half left of school! With spring sports in action, beautiful skies, and warmer days, it is easy to be distracted. Please help us encourage our students to stay the course and finish strong.

            The Career and Technology Department (CTE) is excited to host our first CTE Advisory Council meeting on April 20, 2016. We are committed to preparing all students for success, in post-secondary education and in the 21st Century Workforce, through rigorous academic, real-world industry, and leadership training.  As we prepare our students to be contributing members of our global society, we rely on the partnership of business and community stakeholders to ensure that we are providing the most up-to-date instruction.

            In planning for the future, the CTE Department is evaluating opportunities to offer more industry certifications to our students than ever before. These possible certifications include software applications, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe, Carpentry, OSHA – 5 and 10 hour, Veterinary Technician, Floral Design, and Healthcare Certifications. We are excited about the industry knowledge and skills that we can offer the students of Rockdale ISD.

            Thank you, Rockdale community, for supporting all of our students in their achievements. We continue to serve our students well because of your generosity and collaboration. It’s a great day to be a Tiger!

2016 Mar 30: RJH's Family Science, Math, and Art Night

Parent involvement in their child's education is very important for success no matter the age of the student. Involved parents make sure their children have great attendance, complete their home work and assist their children with projects just to name a few ways. Due to various reasons, these examples can sometimes be extremely challenging. In an effort to offer an alternative to the more typical ways, a couple of weeks ago Rockdale Junior High held an event that invited junior high students and their parents to experience educational involvement in a fun and competitive way. Principal April Eschberger has provided us with the details below.

Last week the junior high hosted our annual Family Science, Math and Art Night. This year the activities involved a little friendly competition between students and grade levels. The evening started off with spaghetti tower building. Students were partnered and received a bag of raw spaghetti and marshmallows. The object of the competition was to build the largest tower made from just these two items. The second competition of the evening was building a cup pyramid using plastic cups. While this may sound like an easy task, the students were not allowed to touch the cups with their hands. They were given pieces of string and rubber bands to move the cups and stack them in a pyramid faster than any of the teams. The final competition of the evening involved students building a catapult to launch a plastic army man. Items given to students included paper cups, rubber bands, plastic spoons, and wooden sticks.

While the activities allowed for fun and competition, all of the tasks involved critical thinking skills, a key component in science and education. Before each activity teams were given a small amount of planning time to discuss strategy and the ideas to complete the tasks. Walking among the teams during the planning was interesting as students engaged in relevant conversations about how to engineer their design, why something would or would not work, or how to use the given tools in the construction. These critical thinking skills are sought by employers nationwide. Even though the critical thinking was used in science activities, these same thinking skills can be applied to all subject areas and tasks. Parents were able to participate in the competition with their child as a partner or were able to watch as their child teamed up with another student to participate in the events.

Also on display that evening was the student art work done through art classes. There were beautiful and amazing pieces of art done by students in the categories or design, painting, drawing, and a new category of science art. Thank you to our parents and students for attending and our volunteers for helping run the activities.

2016 Mar 23: Texas Public Schools Week at RISD

Texas Public Schools Week activities have long been a part of Rockdale ISD’s offerings where we invite parents, grandparents and guardians to come and enjoy being with their children at school. This week Rockdale Intermediate School Principal Kathy Pelzel has the opportunity to share some information and background regarding this annual event.

Texas Public Shools Week was officially celebrated at Rockdale ISD March 7th - March 11th. The celebration of Texas Public Schools is not a new idea. It began with the Masonic Lodges of Texas in 1950 as a way to recognize and celebrate the free education system available to the children of Texas. In modern times, we use it as a platform to encourage parents, grandparents, and guardians to have an opportunity to participate more directly in our classrooms.

This year Rockdale Intermediate School was pleased to welcome 198 visitors who participated in a variety of activities.  Some of our visiting parents and grandparents read to their child’s class which they loved. Others had breakfast with us in the cafeteria. Many observed projects on which students have been working. There was a plethora of both opportunities and participation by a wide variety of people. All of these things added to a much needed and greatly appreciated injection of community involvement with our students.

 A quick look at the website of the Center for Public Education reveals a study done by Southwest Educational Development Laboratory which in 2002 synthesized 51 prior studies and concluded that students with highly involved parents were much more likely to earn higher grades, be promoted, pass all of their classes, attend school regularly, have better social skills with improved behavior, graduate and go on to post-secondary education. All of the activities our visitors participated in can be attributed to that lofty and important goal. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child and Texas Public School Week gives our community an opportunity to be that village.

Rockdale Intermediate school would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who took time out of their busy schedules to be a part of our learning environment and contribute. Our students love to have their families join them on campus and we were thrilled to have a chance to do it. We look forward to it every year and we hope that you will remember us next year and come see us for the 2017 event.

 

2016 Mar 9: School Transportation and Safety

School and Transportation safety has always been an important objective in the Rockdale ISD. Our school administrators and staff are devoted to the safety and security of our students, and we want to reassure our parents of this commitment. Parental “Peace of Mind” is the goal, so parents can feel comforted knowing their child is safe in our care. Mr. Kurt Streck at Rockdale Elementary School has some important tips for bus safety this week.

          For the safety of our bus students, please note the following safety tips for riders.

  • Do not run and play while waiting at the bus stop.
  • Upon entering the bus, go directly to a seat.
  • Speak quietly to the driver and always be silent when at a railroad crossing.
  • Keep the aisles clear at all times and keep feet in front of you.
  • Hands should be kept to yourself at all times.
  • Use inside voices and stay in your seat until told to move.
  • Never return to the bus to get something you have left. It will be returned to you later.
  • Always cross in front of the bus and never speak to any strangers on your way home.
  • With your cooperation, Rockdale Elementary School can insure a safe bus trip for all students.

With the recent challenges to school and bus safety, we at Rockdale ISD want to stay “proactive” rather than “reactive” in regards to the safety of our students and staff.

2016 Feb 17: RHS FASFA Night

Getting ready for that next step from high school, college, can be a little intimidating especially for first time parents. If you as a parent have questions or need some helpful advice, Rockdale High School has a great opportunity for you. Ms. Tiffany Commerford, RHS Principal, has for us this week information about an upcoming event that could answer many if not all of your questions.

On Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 6:00pm Rockdale High School will host a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) Night for parents.

If you’re a parent of a college-bound child, the financial aid process can seem a bit overwhelming.  Who’s considered the parent? Who do you include in household size?  How do assets and tax filing fit into the process? Does this have to be done every year?  Here are some common questions that parents have when helping their children prepare for and pay for college or career school: 

Why does my child need to provide my information on the FAFSA?

While the federal government provides nearly $150 billion in financial aid each year, dependency guidelines for the FAFSA are determined by Congress. Even if your child supports himself, he may still be considered a dependent student for federal student aid purposes. If your child was born on or after January 1, 1992, then he or she is most likely considered a dependent student and you’ll need to include your information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

your children but who live with you and for whom you provide more than half of their support Who’s considered a parent when completing the FAFSA?

If your child needs to report parent information, here are some guidelines to help:

  • If the child’s legal parents (biological and/or adoptive parents) are married to each other, answer the questions about both of them.
  • If the child’s legal parents are not married to each other and live together, answer the questions about both of them.
  • If the child’s parent is widowed or was never married, answer the questions about that parent.

More information on who’s considered the parent can be found here http://1.usa.gov

Who’s considered part of the household?

When completing your child’s FAFSA, you should include in the household size: parents, any dependent student(s), and any other child who lives at home and receives more than half of their support from you.  Also include any people who are not.

Do we need to wait to apply until I file my income taxes?

Deadlines in some states are before the tax filing deadline so you’ll want to ensure your child files his or her FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st to maximize financial aid. You do not need to wait until you file your federal tax return.  If you haven’t done your taxes by the time your child completes the FAFSA, you can estimate amounts based on the previous year if nothing has drastically changed.  After you file your taxes, you’ll need to log back in to the FAFSA and correct any estimated information.  If you’ve already filed your taxes, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically pull in your tax information directly from the IRS into the FAFSA. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will be available February 1, 2015.

Do I need to do this every year?

Yes, you and your child need to complete the FAFSA each year in order for your child to be considered for federal student aid.  The good news is that each subsequent year you can use the Renewal Application option so you only have to update information that has changed from the previous year!

What else do I need to know before I begin?

Even if you think your child will not be eligible for financial aid they still need to fill out FASFA for scholarship opportunities.

You’ll need to get a PIN and have all the necessary documents before you begin.  Here’s a handy checklist: http://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa/filling-out

We look forward to seeing parents and students for FASFA Night next week.  There will be staff from Temple College to help parents with the process.