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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.


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

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:

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.

2016 Feb 10: Helpful Suggestions for JH Parents

Adolescent years can sometimes be a tough time for both the adolescent and parent. These are years full of transitions and changes that are both physical and emotional. This week Mrs. April Eschberger, Rockdale Junior High Principal, has some suggestions that can help parents and students during this time of their lives.

Junior high can be a difficult for many students and their parents. At this age, students are becoming more independent and may not want to communicate with their parents about school as much. Often their social world becomes a central focus as they gain this independence. But be assured that there are still many ways to keep up with your middle school child and know what is going on with their academics and help them be successful students. This week we have a few tips that will help parents. First, stay in contact with teachers. Using our automated grading system, Skyward, your child’s grades and attendance are just a few clicks away. You can see what grades they are receiving, if they have missing assignments, and send emails to teachers.

Set a specific time for your child to do their homework each night. Select a quiet place where they can do the work. Students at junior high should be reading 20-30 minutes each night. It is a good idea to mix up the reading between both fiction and nonfiction reading. The more a child reads the greater his or her comprehension and vocabulary increase.  A suggestion is to also take your child’s technology including phones, TV, and video games, when they are working on homework so that he or she can dedicate their full attention to academics. If the homework requires technology, periodically check the screen to be sure that the student is focused and making progress on the assignment. Another great way to help your child in middle school is to help them stay organized.

Because middle school students have multiple teachers and travel to many classrooms throughout the day it is important to develop an organization system such as writing assignment in a planner, having a homework folder, or having folders for each class with the necessary supplies. Checking with you child on a regular basis and asking them about their organization system can help them as they transition to junior high and then on to high school.

Another important skill to work on with your child in middle school is to learn the importance of studying for tests and developing skills to study. A parent can help a student by quizzing them on subject material, creating flashcards, underlining or highlighting important concepts when reading, taking notes, writing summaries, or outlining material. Be sure to ask your child for suggestions on how you can help them and what they need. As a parent you do not have to know everything about the subject matter to help them develop study habits and strategies. All of these tips will help your child be successful in the middle grades. It is never too early to begin working on good study habits!

2016 Feb 3: RIS Jump Rope for Heart

Rockdale Intermediate School will kick off their Jump Rope For Heart fundraiser and fitness program this Friday. This program emphasizes the need for cardiovascular fitness and provides a great opportunity for an effective fundraiser to fight deadly heart diseases. Kathy Pelzel, RIS Principal, has important information regarding this national program and the contribution her campus makes to support this worthy cause.

Jump Rope For Heart is an educational fund-raising event. It’s held each year in thousands of elementary schools across the nation by the American Heart Association and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Jump Rope For Heart raises funds for medical research and for programs such as HeartPower!  that help prevent heart disease and stroke. Jump Rope For Heart teaches students the benefits of physical activity, how to keep their heart healthy, and that they can help save lives right in their own community.  Jump Rope For Heart was developed in 1978 and has raised more than $327 million for cardiovascular research and education programs. 

          Jump Rope For Heart offers students many benefits by engaging school age children in community service while promoting the benefits of lifelong heart-healthy lifestyles. Rockdale ISD has participated in the program for over 26 years. Our community was very giving last year as Rockdale Intermediate School students raised almost $9,900. This year, we have set our goal at $10,000! Please help support our students as they work to meet this goal.  Fundraising will begin on Friday, February 5, 2016 and will continue through Friday, February 26, 2016 when our jumping event will take place. Please contact Regan Fritsche at or 512-430-6200 for more information or to make donations.

2016 Jan 27: Jump Rope for Heart/Hoops for Heart

Health and Wellness is a very important part of all of our lives, and as we all know good habits, whether it be for health or other aspects of our lives, need to start early. This week Robin Faulkner, Rockdale Elementary Physical Education Teacher, would like to give us important information regarding heart healthy programs going on at Rockdale Elementary and Rockdale Intermediate Schools.

Rockdale Elementary and Rockdale Intermediate Schools are excited to be participating in the upcoming Hoops/Jump Rope for Heart event.  Hoops/Jump Rope For Heart is a community service learning program of the American Heart Association. While learning and practicing basketball skills orjump roping skills it teaches students:

*the importance of developing heart-healthy habits;

*that being physically active can be fun;

*that raising funds to support cardiovascular research and education helps save lives in their community and across the country.

Since the program began millions of students have learned basketball/jump ropingl skills while learning how nutrition and physical activity can help them live longer, healthier lives. With the educational programs from the American Heart Association , our students learn how the heart works, how exercise affects their hearts and how to stay fit for life.  Why is it important that we support our students in this effort:

*Heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 killer.

*Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S.

*Our children are developing significant health issues that can shorten their life expectancy.

  -Almost a third of U.S. children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 19 are overweight or obese.

  -Children who are obese are more than twice as likely to die before age 55.

  -Sixty-one percent of children ages 9-13 aren’t physically active outside of school.

  -On average, American children and adolescents spend nearly four hours watching television every day.

The American Heart Association is a major advocate for children’s health. Last year AHA funded nearly $16 million in new research awards broadly related to children’s heart disease.  AHA funding for pediatric cardiac research is second only to the federal government. The AHA advocates for federal and state governments to improve physical education and nutrition wellness in schools. AHA provides life-saving CPR courses for middle school and high school students so they can properly react during emergency situations. AHA and the National Football League have teamed up to create the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge, a program that inspires kids to get the daily recommended 60 minutes of physical activity in school and at home.

What are Rockdale Elementary/Intermediate School’s and American Heart Association’s goals for Hoops/Jump Rope For Heart?

*Increase student’s knowledge of how their hearts work and the best way to to take care of them.

*Honor those in our community who have been affected by heart disease and stroke.

*Raise funds to support the American Heart Association’s efforts to build healthier lives, free of   cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Since 1978, Hoops For Heart and Jump Rope For Heart have raised more than $1.2 billion for research and educational programs.  Rockdale Elementary/Intermediate students will begin  fundraising the week of February 8th and continue through February 28th.  Parents will receive an information letter brought home by the students.  Information will also be available on the RES/RIS website for community contributions or go directly to:


We hope you are as excited as we are to support our students in this important experience.

2016 Jan 13: Rockdale ISD iTigers Update Spring 2016

The Rockdale ISD iTigers ACE After School Programs are back in business at each of our campuses, and this week Leesa Perez, Rockdale Junior High School iTigers Campus Coordinator, has information regarding offerings for the 2016 Spring Semester.

            RJH iTigers is in full swing for the spring semester! We have lots of activities going on after school. In preparation for the upcoming STAAR tests, we will be offering many tutorial sessions throughout the week. Please ask your student if they have received an invitation to attend those tutorials. In addition, we will still offer homework help and we have added a “reading room” on Mondays and Tuesdays, as well as a session for students to work on their assignments on Thursdays.  

            We also have enrichment classes that include: theater, cooking, sewing, crafts, soccer, tennis, wii, college and career readiness, softball and karate. There are several activities each day for students to choose from and they are free for your student! In order for your student to attend iTigers at the Junior High, they must have a completed iTiger form on file. If your student does not have a form on file, he/she may pick one up at the office or from Mrs. Perez. We encourage all students to take advantage of the opportunities presented through RJH iTigers.

***A SPECIAL THANK YOU for your kindness and generosity with the iTiger theater program***

  • Antique Queens and Jewels for loaning us tables, chairs, prom dresses, etc.

Furthermore, as a district wide program, ACE (iTigers) offers opportunities for parents and the community, too!

  • The first Monday of each month, iTigers hosts a Mental Health Awareness presentation. We have had guest speakers Courtney Paulsen and Lynette Guerra talk about sensitive (but important) topics such as: Self Esteem, Bullying, Depression, Anxiety, etc. Although these may not affect you, you likely know someone who deals with one or more of these illnesses/issues. Learn about the signs and symptoms and what to do for someone struggling by joining us each month. Dinner will be provided.


  • iFit is back! Rockdale iTigers offers iFit twice a week: Mondays - 6:30 pm and Wednesdays - 7:00 pm at the RHS weight room. This is also open to the public and it is free! We hope you will seize the opportunity to work with others toward the goal of a “healthier you.”


Thank you for the opportunity to work with your student! If you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact the site coordinator for your child’s campus.

RHS – Denice Doss – 512-430-6140

RJH – Leesa Perez – 512-430-6100

RIS – Sandy Robbins – 512-430-6200

RES – Valarie Willingham – 512-430-6030

2015 Dec 9: RJH UIL Academics Results

Competition is always a great way to encourage participation, and learning. Students at Rockdale Junior High had that opportunity last week, and Principal April Eschberger has a number of results to share with us this week.

Rockdale Junior High School students competed in the academic UIL meet on Thursday, December 3. The meet was held in Franklin and 83 students traveled to the meet to compete in the various events. Mr. Michael Young is the UIL director. The junior high coaches have been working hard with the students for their individual competitions. Art Memory was coached by Mrs. Young. The 6th grade team composed of Hannah Lehmkuhl (6th individual), Jadelynn Warren (4th individual), Heather Murphy (2nd individual), and Payton Shuffield (first individual) placed first. The 7th grade team composed of Averie Hobbs (2nd individual), Jaylynn Stutts (3rd individual), and Mallory McDaniel (4th individual) also placed first. And the 8th grade team placed first with Angel Hollan, Whitley Boyd (3rd individual), Vanessa Reyes (2nd individual), Emily Depine (1st individual), and Marina Costilla (5th individual). The 6th grade calculator team coached by Ms. Austin placed 3rd with Hayden Aguilar, Alize Llanas, and Breanna Avila.

The chess teams were coached by Mrs. Elliott. The 6th grade team placed 2nd with Andrew Hicks (2nd individual), Kade Marburger (6th individual), and Trey Jacob. The 7th grade team placed 1st with McKade Casas (1st individual), Eddie Klekar (2nd individual), and Christian Briggs (3rd individual). The 8th grade chess team placed Logan Plam (2nd individual), Nathan Thomas (4th individual), and Brian Bell (6th individual). Jaylynn Stutts placed 3rd in dictionary skills.

Editorial writing placed several individual writers. Mallory McDaniel placed 3rd, Brande Briethaupt placed 4th, Tyley Arledge placed 3rd, Lane Wallace placed 4th, Xavier Matchett placed 5th, Nick Brindle placed 1st, Devon Whitsel placed 3rd, and Marina Costilla placed 5th. Impromptu speaking coached by Mrs. Roddam placed some individual speakers. Kobe Mitchell placed 2nd, Aaron Avila was 5th, and Anthony Dansby placed 3rd, Jace Robinson placed 4th , and Reese Weise placed 5th. Cady Barcak placed 1st in 6th grade Modern Oratory coached by Mr. King.

Listening Skills coached by Ms. Murphy placed 2nd as a team with Brande Breithaupt (3rd individual), Katia Hernandez (4th individual), and Ivanna Luna. Justice Mayberry placed 1st individual and Hagen Land placed 5th individual in the 7th grade competition. The 8th grade team placed 3rd with Sabrina Pantaleon (6th individual), Devon Whitsel, and Whitley Boyd. Mathematics coached by Mrs. Loewe placed the 6th grade team 3rd with Brande Breithaupt (5th individual), Kade Marburger (6th individual), and Destiny Clarke. Hayden Aguilar placed 6th place in 7th grade competition. The 8th grade team placed 3rd with Keylan Hairston (3rd individual), Jared Stanberry, and Nygia Crawford.

In Maps, Graphs, and Charts coached by Mrs. Cedidla Joseph Miller placed 5th in the 6th grade contest and Xavier Matchett placed 6th in the 7th grade competition. The 8th grade team placed 3rd with Jagger Rubio (6th individual), Payton Miller, and Caleb Cook-Parker. Number Sense coached by Mr. Clark placed 1st as a team in the 6th grade with Jake Hasselbach (1st individual), Hayden Aguilar (2nd individual), and Aiden Borrero (5th individual). The 7th grade team placed 1st with Arianna Eastridge (1st individual), Brayden Burns, and Enrique Rivera. Trey Hill placed 3rd individually and Brandon Hernandez 4th individually in the 8th grade competition.

Oral reading coached by Mrs. Roddam placed Cady Barcak 1st, Taytum Young 3rd, and Katia Hernandez 5th in the sixth grade contest and Lilly Phillips 5th in the seventh grade contest. In Ready Writing coached by Ms. Bexley placed Makailah Huff 5th individual, Ethan Ingram 5th individual, and Kiersten Hyvl 6th individual. Seventh grade science coached by Ms. Thompson placed third with McKade Casas (3rd individual), Caleb Cook-Parker, and Anthony Dansby. The eighth grade science team coached by Mrs. Mynar placed third with Nick Brindle (4th individual), Whitley Boyd (6th individual), and Hailey Bangert. Social Studies coached by Mr. Young placed the 6th grade team second with Jake Hasselbach (2nd individual), Taytum Young, and Creek Windham. The seventh grade team placed second with Ethan Taylor (3rd individual), Hagen Land (4th individual), and McKade Casas. Isaisas Balderas placed 5th individual in the 8th grade competition.

The sixth grade spelling team placed third with Andrea Ruiz (6th individual), Aubrey Brindle, and Talayeh Green. The eighth grade team placed third with Andrea Salazar (5th individual) and Lexi Baggerly. The spelling team coach was Mrs. Scott.

The One-Act Play competition will be held on Tuesday, December 8th in Cameron. Students will be performing “Quiet Please”. This is the first time Rockdale has participated in junior high one-act play. The director is Ms. Andey Perez. The cast are McKade Casas, Michael Radar, Cady Barcak, Brian Perez, Irma Nesbit, Riley Hendeson, Mackenzie Musto. The crew members are Katia Hernandez, Hannah Lehmkuhl, Kiersten Hyvl, Mia Lambright, Nygia Crawford. We are very proud of these one-act play members as they performed dress rehearsal for English classes last Friday. We are excited that many of our students placed in the competitions in Franklin and appreciate their hard work toward UIL.

2015 Dec 2: RIS Reading is a priority

The Holidays are upon us, and I know students and staff thoroughly enjoyed our Thanksgiving Holiday. In less than 3 weeks we will have the opportunity to enjoy the longer Christmas Holidays as well. During those days off, it is important to remember to practice reading skills to insure your child is ready to learn when we return in January. Mrs. Kathy Pelzel, Rockdale Intermediate Principal, has some information that verifies the importance of good reading practices at home.

Reading is important! I think that is something upon which everyone can agree. What benefits do children receive when they invest time in reading each day? The web site Best Books for Kids recently listed the top ten benefits of reading.

1. Kids who read often and widely get better at it.- At Rockdale Intermediate students are required to read every night for at least 20 minutes. Parents are encouraged to read with their children and discuss what they are reading.

2. Reading exercises our brains.- The written word allows and even requires the reader to paint a mental picture of fantastic events as they unfold. Reading exercises the mind of a child and allows them to imagine exactly the hero or villain they wish rather than the choices made by a movie or television director. The hero you create in your mind is so much more robust than the one created for you in visual media. Reading is always time well spent.

3. Reading improves concentration.- This is something that comes with age.  Focus helps in all aspects of every activity we tackle on a daily basis. It is a critical learning skill. Tackling difficult material requires tenacity and mental endurance. Both of these traits are bolstered while reading. There is so much joy in finding a genre of literature that you love and eagerly devouring the pages to find out what happens next. This is what our children need to learn early and practice often.

4. Reading teaches children about the world around them.- Reading allows our students to experience life outside of Rockdale. They can visit Mount Rushmore by reading Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose: Growing Up On Mount Rushmoreby Tina Nichols Coury or venture to the bottom of the ocean by reading Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy. Reading opens doors to places one may never travel. The internet may be a great resource for finding a bit of information on a topic but you simply cannot experience a location fully until you lose yourself in a book devoted to the topic.

5. Reading improves a child’s vocabulary and leads to more highly-developed language skills.- Students learn much more from reading than just content. They expand their vocabulary and learn to form sentences. Reading improves a students ability to write. We all agree that we live in the age of technology. The written word is the currency with which employees extend their value to an employer. A copious vocabulary and fluid writing skills will ensure future success.

These are just some of the benefits of reading. Taking time out of our busy schedules to read with our children is clearly an investment in their future that can be enjoyable for the entire family. As Christmas vacation nears, I challenge you to find time over the holidays to read each day with your children. If you invest the time to read with and to your children, one day when they are grown they will come back to you and ask for the books they cherished or the names of them at the very least. They will be eager to read these books to their own children. You will have created a family tradition of learning and exploring worlds that can be experienced in no other way.

2015 Nov 26: RES Attendance

Rockdale Elementary has the stage this week, and Sandee Calame, RES Principal, would like to share with you the importance of school attendance on her campus.

Successful schools begin by engaging students and making sure they come to school regularly. In the past session, the Texas Legislature revamped state attendance and truancy laws.  In accordance with these changes, Rockdale Elementary has implemented a Truancy Prevention Measure plan.  When a student accrues three or more unexcused absences within a four week period, parents will be notified.  Parents are then required to call the assistant principal to explain the reason for any absences.  If a student has ten or more unexcused absences within a six month period, the school district is required to file truancy charges against the parent.  Parents can easily avoid any adverse consequences by doing the following:  be sure your child attends school on a regular basis, send a written excuse after all absences, and contact the school office when the child will not be in attendance.

How important is attendance?

The attendance rate is important because students are more likely to succeed in academics when they attend school consistently. It's difficult for the teacher and the class to build their skills and progress if a large number of students are frequently absent. In addition to falling behind in academics, students who are not in school on a regular basis are more likely to get into trouble with the law and cause problems in their communities.

At Rockdale Elementary for perfect attendance students have the opportunity to be chosen as “Top Tigers” and have a chance to win $25 dollar gift certificates donated by the Rockdale Rotary Club. Each week classes with the highest attendance are recognized and noted with a certificate on a board by the office. At the end of each six weeks students also receive a pencil if they have perfect attendance and perfect attendance winners also receive extra recess each six weeks.  We also offer classroom incentives, when a class has six weeks of the highest attendance in their grade level they earn a popcorn party.   We are fortunate that most of our students love attending school!

2015 Nov 18: RISD’s CTE OSHA Certification Recipients

Vocational Education has always been a part of Rockdale ISD’s education program, however in the last decade the emphasis on this important aspect of education has taken a lesser role. Thankfully, in the last few years the pendulum has swung back to revitalize vocational education under the umbrella of Career and Technology Education. Rockdale ISD is very fortunate to have Sari McCoy as our CTE Director, so CTE has this week’s focus.

The weather is changing, jackets are finding their way out of the closet, and we are entering the season of celebration and thanksgiving. It is no different in Rockdale ISD. We have so many things to be thankful for and to celebrate! I would like to take a moment and share just one with you.

This year, in Career and Technology Education (CTE), we offered the OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Certification for the first time. We have just under 100 students sitting for this certification. Mind you, this is not a “modified version” of training, but the actual course that many industries require from their employees.

According to CareerSafeÒ, “The OSHA Outreach Training Program for General Industry provides training for entry level workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces in general industry. The program also provides information regarding workers' rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint. Through this training, OSHA helps to ensure that workers are more knowledgeable about workplace hazards and their rights.”

On October 23, 2015, we celebrated with David Costilla and Marcos Gonzales as they were the first two Tigers to receive their OSHA 10 certification. We are so proud of these two students and all of our CTE students who challenge themselves to be authentically prepared for postsecondary education and the 21st Century workforce.

The OSHA 10-Hour General Industry certification transcends all industries. Ms. Commerford, Principal of RHS, shared with me recently that one student received an advancement at work because they are now OSHA certified. The education RISD offers is truly life applicable. What a great example of this truth!

I am excited for all that RISD CTE program offers our students and am anticipating significant growth in the future. Thank you for your support of CTE and of RISD. It’s a GREAT day to be a TIGER!

2015 Nov 11: Afterschool Programs at RISD

In prior weeks I have mentioned the importance of our afterschool program at Rockdale ISD. This week Sandy Robbins, iTigers Coordinator at Rockdale Intermediate School, has information that again verifies my take on this very successful program going on at each of our campuses.

The iTigers ACE programs, (Afterschool Centers on Education), have been very busy this year on each of the campuses, striving to make a difference. The Teachers have been diligent in the daily afterschool tutorials and enrichment activities offered to students. English Language Learning classes were offered at the High School and the Elementary. iFit classes, for parents, have started on Monday and Wednesday nights at the High School. We have had “Lights On After School” showcasing activities from all four campus and we have begun a Parent Night, held on the first Monday of each month. Even with all this, we have much more planned before the RISD Holiday Break.

Please mark your calendars and come join us in these upcoming events:

  • Nov 17, Tuesday - The High School will hold a Clothing Swap/Give-away, all day long in room E 120. All RISD students and families are welcome.
  • Nov 17, 18 and 19 – The annual Pumpkin Pie Event will be happening in the Intermediate Cafeteria. Intermediate iTiger parents are invited to come and make pumpkin pies with their student each day from 4:30-5:30pm. Our goal is to make and donate 100 Pumpkin Pies to the Thanksgiving Outreach Program, which is hosted by a variety of community churches and organizations here in Rockdale.  
  • Nov 19, Thursday – a Thanksgiving Pot Luck will be held at the High School for all iTigers parents and students from all campuses. iTigers will provide the Turkey and Dressing, attending families are asked to bring a covered side-dish and enjoy a fabulous Thanksgiving meal. The meal begins at 5:40pm and goes to 6:30pm.
  • Dec 5, Saturday - iTigers will be offering free Christmas activities for all children at Christmas Down Town. We will be located by the Train Depot from 1pm – 4pm. Please come by and have some Holiday Fun!
  • Dec 7, Monday – Parent Night. The guest speaker will be Courtney Paulsen, from Little River. The Jr. High Commons will be the meeting place and the topic will be Depression. Dinner will be supplied, along with drawings for prizes.

We hope that you will join us at our upcoming events. If you have any questions, please contact one of your iTigers ACE Coordinators:

Denise Doss, High School (512) 430-6013

Leesa Perez, Jr. High School (512) 430-6072

Valarie Willingham, Elementary (512) 430-0737

Sandy Robbins, Intermediate (512) 430-6226

2015 Nov 4: Balancing High School and Life

The life of a high school student can be very complicated and stressful especially in the world we live in today. Rockdale High School Principal Tiffany Commerford has some helpful tips for high school students who have multiple responsibilities.

I visited with a junior this past week that told me high school is not fun. I asked the student what they meant “not fun” and the student said, “I work 20+ hours a week, I play a sport, have church activities, club meetings, and lots of homework”. My principal answer was, you sound overbooked. I know that wasn’t what the student needed to hear at the time, so I shared some strategies for trying to balance scheduling and maybe add a little fun.

Not only can high school be stressful, but playing a sport and having a job as well can double or triple that stress. High school students are very busy people. Many students choose to play two or more sports per year, and have a job on top of it. For adults, it is easy to think that students can handle a lot of responsibilities, but what they don’t understand is that students have many duties. Homework, studying, practices and jobs can be hard to balance, but with the right advice, it can become so much easier.

The best advice for balancing school and work is to have good communication between your parents, coaches, and managers. If your manager knows that you are playing a sport prior to you getting hired, they will be more understanding about you needing days off, and they can help work around your schedule.

Knowing when your practices and games are also helps. If you write a list or keep a calendar of all the things you have going on in a week, you can figure out when the best time to complete school work is. Also, it is okay if you need a day off. If there is a day that you don’t have a practice and game, don’t feel obligated to go into work. Take that day off from work ahead of time, as soon as you know you’re free from sports, and just take a break. It can get very stressful at times without balance, so make sure that you allow yourself breaks or “free days” every week to just relax and wind down from all the commotion.

Another piece of advice I shared, is, make sure you’re still taking care of yourself. It is very important to make sure you are eating right and getting enough sleep each night. Though not all nights allow an early bedtime, take advantage of those that do. If you get a good night of sleep each night, it will make it a lot easier to function the next day.

Lastly, make sure you still have time for friends, family, and school events. High school is a great time to make memories that will last you a lifetime. There are so many opportunities to take advantage of, so don’t miss out.

2015 Oct 26: Junior High Focus-Academics

There are a number of successful extra-curricular activities and programs on each of our Rockdale ISD campuses, but this week the focus is academics. April Eschberger, Rockdale Junior High Principal, has information regarding Math and ELA classes on her campus.

Fall has fallen upon us at Rockdale Junior High. Football and volleyball are coming to an end in just a few short weeks. I would like to take just a few moments to talk about academics and homework for junior high school students. The sixth and seventh grade students have all been doing the Math Fluency program each day. This program was started at the Intermediate School last year and saw great achievements in math skills with students. Wanting to continue in this achievement success the program was implemented in the junior high in mid-September. This program consists of a daily homework on a specific math skill. The homework in turned into the student’s math class the next day and takes a quiz of this same skill. When the student masters this skill, he or she will move on to the next skill. Each night students will have a short math fluency assignment, so please be sure your child completes the paper.

In English classes, students have been challenged to compete in a 40 Book Challenge. This requires students to read 40 books during the school year. There must be books read in various genres such as fiction, nonfiction, historical fictions, fantasy, and others. Students meeting the 40 Book Challenge will be rewarded at the end of the school year. Please encourage your child to read books. The more students read the better their vocabulary becomes and the better their writing becomes.

It is important that students complete their assigned homework each evening and be ready t o turn the completed assignment into their class the next day. Often this homework is a preview of the day’s learning. Other times it is a review of the learning that day to provide practice for students to ensure understanding of material. Parents can help junior high students in this endeavor by asking about school, homework, and what they learned that day. They can provide a quiet place to do homework free from distractions, setting aside a specific time each night for homework, praising their efforts, and motivating them to succeed and get good grades. Most importantly check for completion of the homework each night. Thank you to our parents for supporting their child’s success!

2015 Oct 21: RIS Focus: Service

Rockdale Intermediate School has the spotlight this week, and Principal Kathy Pelzel would like to share information about her campus service organization – RIS Student Council.

Rockdale Intermediate School recently inducted our student council officers for the 2015-2016 school year. This organization focuses on on service learning. It is important that all members of society understand the critical need for community service if we want to create a healthy city, state, and nation. Rockdale Intermediate School believes that even our youngest members can accomplish a great deal if given the opportunity. 

RIS students will hold their first service learning event in the coming weeks. Student council members will sell turkey feathers during the month of November to raise money to purchase toys for the Christmas Roundup. The three teachers who have the most feathers at the end of the fundraiser will dress as a turkey for the day. Our students earned approximately $350 for toys last year and we hope to raise even more this year! If you would like to support their efforts, please contact Keely Reisner at RIS for more information. 

Through projects such as this, students are able to participate and succeed in helping others. They work very hard to provide real results that help real people. The satisfaction of helping others through a time of need is a lesson that is not easily forgotten and will pay dividends throughout a person’s lifetime. We are proud of the students’ accomplishments and thank everyone in our community who support the effort through donations that help these children become active and successful citizens of whatever community they live in. 

News from RIS: Our council made an impact during their first year and we are extremely pleased with the participation and leadership of our students.  Our student council officers returned from student council training last week with a trophy to recognize their efforts. Last year, our council submitted an application to the American Students Council Association and was recognized as a Student Council Excellence School. There were only 105 elementary student councils recognized and we were very proud of our students for earning this award. 

2015 Oct 14: RES Pre-Kindergarten Community Tour

Our children are our future, and it is always great to hear about opportunities for them to discover their community and the world around them. This week Sandee Calame has provided us with several examples of how her Pre-Kindergarten students experienced “Rockdale”.

A very wise person once said it takes a village to raise a child, and here at Rockdale Elementary School, we believe whole-heartedly in that sentiment. Rockdale is home to many unique businesses and very friendly community members. Our youngest, most enthusiastic learners here at RES have recently been learning about many of our hometown Rockdale community businesses, government offices, and community helpers. Last week, the Pre-Kindergarten children had the opportunity visit and explore the Rockdale Police Department, the US Post Office, the Lucy Hill Patterson Memorial Library, and Citizens National Bank. At each destination the children were given an exclusive, behind –the-scenes tour of each facility. Highlights of the tour included sitting behind the wheel of a RPD patrol car, mailing their own letters at the Post Office, hearing an exciting story read by the children’s librarian, and going inside the vault at Citizens National Bank. Additionally, our Pre-Kindergarten students were given a first-hand glimpse into the daily operations of each of these community establishments and into the lives of these most valuable community helpers. A wonderful, exciting time was had by all and we look forward to seeing our new friends as we are out and about in our community.

Another exciting experience the Pre-Kindergarten children were recently afforded was a visit from the EMS personnel at American Medical Response. They showed the children their medical equipment and gave them a look inside the ambulance to help allay any fears they may of had about riding in an ambulance. Finally, the students explored the RVFD fire engine with several volunteer firemen on scene to demonstrate how to handle an emergency situation.

On behalf of the teachers and students at Rockdale Elementary School, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude for these exciting experiences, fun stickers, piggy banks, golden dollars, bookmarks, and fire safety materials that were given to each child. Our children are blessed to live in this community and Rockdale truly is a great place to live, work, and raise a family!

2015 Oct 7: RISD's Career and Technology Education (CTE) Program

Rockdale ISD has completed our 1st Six-weeks of school, and honestly it has flown by with students and staff working hard to expand their minds and horizons. One program that has had a tremendous impact already this school year is our CTE program. Sari McCoy, our CTE Director, has more information to share this week regarding this successful program at RISD.

Annually, Career and Technology Education (CTE) expands in both the State of Texas and locally in Rockdale ISD. According to the Career and Technology Association of Texas (CTAT), “77% of all high school students take at least one CTE course, and one in four students take three or more courses in a single program area.” Here in Rockdale, 89% of our students are enrolled in a CTE course.

There are 16 Federal Career Clusters which provide a framework for programs of study in secondary and post-secondary education. Rockdale ISD is proud to offer courses in 11 of the 16 clusters.

These clusters are:

  • Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
  • Architecture & Construction
  • Arts, A/V Technology, & Communications
  • Business, Management, & Administration
  • Finance
  • Health Science
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing, Sales, & Service
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math
CTAT reports that “according to the data from the Texas Education Agency, students who take two or more CTE courses have lower drop out rates, higher graduation rates, better attendance rates, and higher scores on standardized exams than students who take one or no CTE courses.”

It is the determination of RISD’s CTE program to prepare students for academic success in post-secondary institutions and to train them in the essential ‘soft skills’ needed for the 21st Century workforce. Rick Stephens, the Senior Vice President of HR for The Boeing Corporation, said, “We hire for hard skills. We fire for soft skills.” In RISD, we fill our CTE student’s toolbox with both the hard and soft skills they need for their future achievements.

As previously mentioned, RISD expands their CTE program every year. One of the fundamental drivers of this expansion is our partnerships with community businesses and organizations. We need you!

If you currently collaborate with RISD CTE, we are deeply grateful. If you do not, please take this opportunity to consider establishing a profitable relationship with the RISD CTE program. It is our desire to offer students real-world experiences in all businesses and industries. Through this partnership, you significantly contribute to our training which ensures that we are developing the 21st Century employee that you desire for your organization. 

For more information, please contact Sari McCoy, Director of Career and Technology Education. It’s a great day to be a Tiger!