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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

2018 Apr 4: RISD Career and Technical Education: Get to Work!

The importance of being “career ready” is a major factor of  Rockdale ISD’s Career and Technical Education program. The RHS CTE staff and high school administrators understand how important this factor is to our program, and work extremely hard to provide the support needed for its success. CTE Director Britina Pesak has the spotlight this week, and highlight this very important program at RHS.  

Ask any employer what entry-level employees are lacking these days and the overwhelming response is: soft skills! To be fair, the words employers actually use are, “customer service skills,” “time-management,” “professionalism,” “problem-solving,” and “the ability to take feedback” among others. This all boils down to a collection of skills known as employability or soft skills. These are the skills that allow a person to be successful in any line of work and include communication, listening, a positive attitude, and general people skills. And these are what our human resources representatives tell us they are in desperate need of in industry.

How can we help our youth develop these skills prior to being thrust into the workforce? Once upon a time it was the norm for students to have part-time jobs in high school. Without doubt many readers can relate to developing some of those soft skills mentioned above at a part time job in high school at a fast-food restaurant or on the farm. For the majority of students these days, that is not the case. Why are fewer students engaging in work these days? And is that detrimental to their long term career goals?

Certainly students have many more opportunities and commitments in school than perhaps they once did. But at the cost of transitioning from school to work one day, perhaps we need to include gradual exposure to the world of work during adolescence as a part of their education.

Beginning in 8th grade, students investigate their own likes and dislikes in careers and develop a four year plan for high school that is congruent with their interests. In many cases students can include job shadowing, job internships, and/or job placement as forms of work placement in their four year plan enhance their understanding of the career path, gain valuable employability and technical skills, and develop lasting professional networks.

The benefits of work during high school years includes learning the value of the dollar, developing the knowledge and skills required for obtaining and maintaining a job, and especially if the job is related to the career interest of the student, transferring academic knowledge to working knowledge.

Work experience is important for all youth, and there are so many opportunities available that allow students to gain those important soft skills. Not only can students become better employees, but they might just find their passion as well.

Please contact me, Britina Pesak, Director of CTE (Career and Technical Education) at or 512-430-6027 if you would like to find out more about any of our CTE programs!

2018 Mar 28: Elementary iTigers Spring Update

Spring is in the air, and in less than two weeks, Rockdale ISD will be set to begin our final six weeks of school. We will also begin our STAAR Testing in a few weeks as well, where our campuses hope to excel. One valuable program to help insure student success on all of our campuses, is our iTigers program. It provides tutorials and enrichment for our students who need additional help and/or support. This week Rockdale Elementary iTigers Coordinator, Mrs. Valarie Willingham, has helpful information regarding upcoming iTigers activities.  

Many of you know about iTigers at Rockdale ISD.  You might have a student who attends our tutorials, after school activities, or before school tutorials.   Maybe you yourself have attended some iTigers parent activities like our ELL classes or our workout classes.  No? Well surely you have seen iTigers offering children’s activities at community events. The iTigers program touches so many not only in our schools, but in our community as well.  We are excited to share a few upcoming dates for students, the community, and parents.

Look for iTigers at the Community Easter Egg Hunt March 30th at Fair Park starting at 10:00 am.  We will have buckets for kids to decorate and face painting.

The last day for after school iTigers classes for the spring semester will be Thursday, May 17th and the last day for morning iTigers classes will be Friday, May 18th.  This is for all campuses so please make other arrangements for your students after these dates.

Summer iTigers classes will begin Tuesday, May 29th and will continue until Thursday, June 28th.  For more information please contact the iTigers coordinator at your student’s campus.

2018 Mar 21: Advanced Placement at RHS

The Spring Semester is always a very busy time. Along with all of the activities going on, planning for a new school year is in high gear at Rockdale High School, and valuable decisions are being made that can impact a student’s educational career now and later in higher education. This week, Ms. Tiffany Commerford has information regarding the benefits of Advanced Placement courses on her campus to help parents and students in making these important decisions.

It is the time of year where we are working on student schedules for next year.  Parents and students often ask how they know if they should take an Advanced Placement (AP) course or a Dual Credit Course.  Below is more information about Advanced Placement courses and the benefits:

Stand Out in College Admissions

Deciding to take an AP course lets colleges and universities know that you have what it takes to succeed in an undergraduate environment. When admissions officers see “AP” on your transcript, they know that what you experienced in a particular class has prepared you well for the challenges of college. Taking AP is a sign that you’re up for the most rigorous classes your high school has to offer.

Earn College Credits

By taking an AP course and scoring successfully on the related AP Exam, you can save on college expenses: most colleges and universities nationwide offer college credit, advanced placement, or both, for qualifying AP Exam scores. These credits can allow students to save college tuition, study abroad, or secure a second major. AP can transform what once seemed unattainable into something within reach.

Skip Introductory Classes

If you already know your preferred college major, taking a related AP course and earning a qualifying score on the AP Exam can help you advance and avoid required introductory courses so you can move directly into upper-level classes and focus on the work that interests you most.

Even taking an AP Exam unrelated to your major – whether or not you know what you want to major in – can place you beyond your college’s general education requirements. This opens up additional time on your schedule, enabling you to do a second major or minor, take exciting electives, or pursue additional interests.

Build College Skills

Taking an AP course builds the skills you'll need throughout your college years. You give your mind a rigorous workout while polishing up your time management and study skills. You also get better at handling challenging issues and problems, with the support of your AP teachers. AP courses let you know what to expect during the next phase of your educational journey, and help you build the confidence to succeed.

Advanced Placement and Dual Credit classes are just one way that Rockdale High School is preparing students for College and Career Readiness.

2018 Mar 7: RIS Student Attendance

The importance of children attending shool has and always will be a major reason for their success in school. This week Rockdale Intermediate Principal Kathy Pelzel has reasons why good school attendance is so important.

I'm sure that all of us are aware that school attendance is important. "Being there" is half the battle with any task we undertake. What many don't realize is how critical attendance is to the learning process. Studies have shown that as few as two absences per month can impact student success even when they are excused absences.

Students who attend school regularly are more successful. Even students who struggle with learning will perform better and make significant gains as attendance improves. Regular attendance facilitates learning social skills from interacting with peers on a daily basis. Students who miss very little school time are significantly more likely to graduate.

Reading skills are critical to student success and reading can be heavily impacted by absenteeism. As students reach the third grade, their reading skills have matured to the point where they transition from learning to read into reading to learn. Students with good skills in this area are much more successful, more likely to attend college, and generally become life long learners. 

The staff at the RIS want to let everyone know how much we appreciate parents getting their children to school on time and ready to learn each and every day. This enables us the best possible opportunity to educate our students. There is a great deal of joy in seeing students succeed and achieve their goals.

2018 Feb 21: RHS iTigers Program

This week Martha Gonzales, Rockdale High School’s iTigers Director, has information and an update regarding her program at RHS.

Studies have shown, that high–performing organizations have a common ingredient that points to their success. That ingredient is culture. The culture of winning, perseverance, belonging, and overcoming adversity. Here in Rockdale, most recently, we witnessed this culture first hand, with the State Championship Victory in football. High-performing doesn’t just happen overnight. It has to be rehearsed, repeated, and embraced. I have spoken on several occasions about iTigers and I almost always get the question, “What is iTigers?” Well, today, I’d like to tell you a little more about iTigers at each our campuses, why it is a culture that needs to be embraced, and why it is so important to have this program within our schools and community.

The “i” in iTigers.  The lower case “i” represents the initiative to provide innovative exploration, instruction enrichment, in academics, classes that build the culture of success for the future, and inclusion of all students before and after school at Rockdale ISD.

Why is it so important to encourage attendance and inclusion of all students before and after school? ITigers wants to build a culture of student success by providing academic assistance through tutorials, testing prep, college readiness, and homework help. Each our campuses focus on these aspects both before and after school, to include the summer.  We also build on incorporating enrichment activities such as cooking, sewing, games, theater, karate, dance, and clubs. All the while, promoting and engaging life skills in a safe and fulling learning environment. For example, offering for the first time, a Driver’s Education Class during the school year at the high school campus. This approach can be adapted to the entire school year, before and after school, and it allows the students who wish to take this class the ability to complete it at their own pace.  iTigers’ grant pays a portion of the class total, thus saving our families quite a bit of money.  We have been successful in qualifying over 30 student drivers this last year and currently have 18 students enrolled in the class.

We know that many factors of success, at each of our campuses, cannot happen without the help and participation of our parents/guardians. Beginning this month, we are offering photography classes and ESL classes, free of charge, to parents/guardians of iTigers students.  Also, did you know that we offer Education to Go (ED2GO) classes through Temple College? What does this mean for you as a parent/guardian of an iTigers student? It means that you can apply for online courses though Temple College for FREE. With the work force being so stringent these days, many skill sets are needed. Job applications almost always ask for continuing education experience or certifications. ED2GO, gives you the opportunity to add to your skill set while earning college credits. These classes begin every 6 weeks.  

How can you help build the winning culture of ITIgers? Let’s get involved in these opportunities to engage our youth, our parents, and our community. Let’s encourage participation of the before and after school initiatives and increase support of this important objective.

If you are interested in signing up for any of the Adult Classes, being on our parent/community advisory council, volunteering, or enrolling in any of the classes mentioned above.  Please contact your campus coordinator to get you started.

Martha Gonzales, iTigers Coordinator, RHS, 512-430-6013 or email at

Leesa Perez, iTigers Coordinator, RJH, 512-430-6072 or email at

Sandy Robbins, iTigers Coordinator, RIS, 512-430-6226 or email at-

Valarie Willingham, ITigers Coordinator, RES, 512-430-6144 or email at

2018 Feb 14: Bringing History Alive in 8th Grade Social Studies

Social Studies can be a challenge to teach at any level. The ability to make it interesting and meaningful to students is an art that should be recognized. This week Rockdale Junior High Principal Kelly Blair would like to recognize a teacher on her campus that has this art, and is able to put it into action.

Mrs. Jennifer Auvil, 8th Grade Social Studies teacher, is truly bringing history alive at Rockdale Junior High.  In her very first year as an educator, Mrs. Auvil immediately became a teacher leader in the eyes of her peers and students.  She was the only first year teacher nominated as 1 of 5 finalists in our teacher of the year award last school year.  

Mrs. Auvil routinely incorporates current events, re-enactments, demonstrations, parliamentary procedures and Robert’s Rules of Order as part of classroom procedures to provide students with an understanding of Government operations.  Students study the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and other primary source documents to ensure depth of knowledge on laws which our country is founded upon.  Mrs. Auvil’s students participate in a mock election, from registration to an examination of the electoral college as part of the election process.  As a class, students identify US Senators and US Representative for Milam County.  They review their voting record and write letters, thanking them for their service and persuading them to vote differently on a variety of issues.  Students regularly role-play major events of early American History placing themselves in apecific time periods and uniting with our country’s heroes.  

Mrs. Auvil has created an elevated level of enthusiasm and curiosity about US History by bringing history to life as she dresses in characters based on units of study.  Some characters include Paul Revere, Pocahontas, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Lewis Clark, and Sacagawea.  Mrs. Auvil has many guest speakers who will visit her classes and share a unique perspective on early US History.

The Rockdale ISD community, parents, students, and fellow educators are honored to recognize Jennifer Auvil as an outstanding educator.


2018 Feb 7: RHS Scheduling for 2018-2019

Preparing for the future can be a daunting task for teenagers and even adults. Rockdale ISD is very proud to have Rockdale High School Administration and Counselors who try to help students as much as they possibly can in making the right decisions regarding their future by scheduling meaningful career based classes. Ms. Tiffany Commerford, RHS Principal, has some guidelines for students and parents to remember when our scheduling for the 2018-19 school year begins this month.

            In February Rockdale High School will begin scheduling classes for 2018-2019.  Eighth graders will visit RHS Career & Technology Classes Friday, February 9; we will meet with eighth graders Wednesday, February 14 at RJHS, and have a parent information night Thursday, February 15 at 6:00pm to start helping students plan for high school.  Current RHS students will schedule classes Tuesday, February 20. 

            One of the great things about high school is the variety of classes you get to choose from many students and parents want to know what courses to take to improve their chances for admission to college. With the caveat that every situation and students is different, here is some advice to help guide you as you make these decisions.  Take a look at the 2018-19 Rockdale High School Course Guide on our webpage to see all of the great classes that we have to offer.

A Well-Rounded Approach

            The high school transcript is almost always the most important document in a student’s application. But it is hard to think of a situation in which the appearance (or absence) of any one class on a transcript would determine admission. Admission committees do not make decisions based on a piecemeal review of an applicant’s recommendations.  They look at test scores, activities, and volunteer hours and considers each application as a comprehensive picture of the student.  When the admissions committee looks at your transcript, it will not focus on whether you have taken a specific course. It will be far more interested to see that you have challenged yourself with difficult coursework, and have done well.



            Trends are important. Remember, admissions committees are primarily concerned with what kind of student you will be for them. So it is very important that they see a high level (or an improving degree) of rigor and success throughout your high school years. This includes your senior year. If you wish to make your application among the most competitive, you must take a challenging senior program and continue to excel in it. Senior year is not the time to take a light course load. Do not catch “senioritis!” The admissions committee will check an applicant’s senior year program and performance before offering admission.  Remember that they are looking for students who will make the most of their talents. Knowing how you have engaged in high school gives them an idea of how you might engage at college.


            Colleges look for students who have taken a balanced set of the rigorous classes available to them. Generally speaking, you should try to take courses each year in English, science, math, the social studies, and foreign language.  Be honest with yourself when you are deciding between different courses. Are you choosing a particular course because you are truly excited about it and the challenge it presents, or are you also motivated by a desire to avoid a different academic subject?  You should also bear in mind that many other selective colleges do have minimum course requirements for entering students. It is best to research each school individually.

            When weighing your course selection for the upcoming year, here are a few things to consider:

  • Am I taking a well-balanced academic program that will provide me with a good foundation for college?
  • Am I prepared to take college-level math, writing, and science courses?
  • Do I feel challenged by the courses that I am taking?
  • Are my courses among the more rigorous ones available to me at my school?
  • Am I seeking challenge or avoiding it?
  • Am I choosing classes because my friends are taking them or because I am interested in them?



2018 Jan 31: Intermediate School's Jump Rope for Heart

Rockdale Intermediate School will be kicking off their Jump Rope For Heart fundraiser and fitness program next month. 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. JumpRope 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 millions of dollars 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 27 years. Our community was very giving last year as Rockdale Intermediate School students raised almost $5,800. This year, we have set our goal at $6,500! Please help support our students as they work to meet this goal. Fundraising will begin on Friday, February 2, 2018 and will continue through Friday, February 23, 2018 when our jumping event will take place.

Please contact Regan Fritsche at or 512.430.6200 for more information or to make donations.

2018 Jan 18: School Attendance Vital at RES & RISD

Proper student attendance is vital on all RISD campuses in order for students to be successful and achieve their full potential. This week Rockdale Elementary Principal, Alesha Eoff, has important information regarding good attendance on her campus and why it is so important.

            The start of the school semester provides us an opportunity for refocusing our school priorities.  One of our top priorities for this semester is keeping our students healthy so that they can regularly attend school.  Students who regularly attend school have been shown to achieve at higher levels than students who do not have regular attendance.  Research shows that attendance plays an integral role in student achievement.

            The attendance rate is important because students are more likely to succeed in academics when they attend school consistently. It’s difficult for students to build their skills and make adequate progress if they are frequently absent.  Frequent absences result in students falling behind, and produce gaps in the child’s learning.  Missing even one or two days can put a student behind in their learning. 

            Another factor that we monitor closely is tardies.  Our students are expected to be in their classrooms ready to learn at 7:50.  At the elementary, we provide breakfast for all students, and if a student comes in late, he or she may miss the opportunity to have breakfast with their class.  When a child comes into class late, especially elementary age children, it throws off their routine.  They are often scrambling to find their homework folders, locate assignments, and get settled into class.  This can be avoided by making sure that students arrive on time, and are ready to begin their day at 7:50. 

            Along with tardies, we also closely monitor students who are taken out of school prior to our dismissal time.  We strongly encourage you to avoid making appointments prior to dismissal.  Our learning time is from the time the bell rings in the morning until the students dismiss in the afternoon.  When a child is continually pulled out of the classroom to leave early, it can cause them to miss getting their homework assignments, or cause them to have gaps in certain subjects, or in their learning interventions.  We provide classroom instruction and intervention in the afternoons, and when students are absent or are pulled early for errands or other events, then they are missing quality instructional time. 

            If your child is ill, we ask that you contact the school so that we can document the reason for their absence.  With flu season upon us, we want to make sure that our children are seen by doctors and that we keep all of our students healthy.  If your child is running fever, or shows signs of the flu, please make sure that they are seen by a doctor, and are fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school.  This will help to keep all of our students and teachers healthy this semester.  Also, if the child goes to the doctor or has an appointment, we ask that you provide the school with a note so that we can place it in their file.  We also would like to remind you about the Little River Clinic that we have in our school.  Students can be seen on our campuses which is a convenient option for some parents.  At school and at home, we want to encourage frequent hand washing with soap, coughing into their elbows, using tissues, and never drinking or eating after our friends.  We appreciate your support in teaching these basic hygiene skills that we model at school. 

            Our teachers do a wonderful job of creating a caring climate for our students, and the students know they are missed when they are not here.  To further encourage attendance, our teachers provide things such as stickers, treasure chest choices, and other classroom incentives.  We have even created classroom competitions to encourage the importance of attending school.  At this age, we know that it is parent support that plays the biggest role in our children having regular attendance.  We ask that you work with us to provide our children with the best opportunities to learn and grow so that all of our kids are successful. 


2018 Jan 10: RISD Career and Technical Education (CTE): Focus on Welding

Rockdale ISD continues to be a leader in Career and Technical Education (CTE), and this week we would like to showcase the career of Welding. Mrs. Britina Pesak, RISD CTE Director, has some great information regarding this highly skilled career.

          Welding is not an easy job. It can be brutal in the hot Texas summers and not all that pleasant in the few days of winter. Not to mention it requires a certain amount of strength; this is not a desk job. But welding is essential to the infrastructure of our lives and many people don’t realize the importance it plays in our everyday lives.

          The conversation around the country has centered on the skills gap in the trades for some time now, and Rockdale CTE has been focused on helping close that gap. This week, we will discuss how teachers at Rockdale High School have been working to create interest in younger generations, increase the knowledge in the field, and help fill the growing demand for welders.

          Art Free and Brandon Grigsby both teach students about the welding industry at Rockdale High School. Students who show an interest or aptitude for the career begin the coherent sequence of courses in Principles of Skilled Trades where they earn their OSHA-10 safety certification (OSHA is an industry safety standard) and learn about tools, measurement and other basics. Students can then begin to take classes specific to welding to earn NCCER certifications.

          Once the students are in the advanced level welding classes, they can also compete against other schools in welding competitions through membership in Texas FFA and SkillsUSA. Recently, students competed at the Columbus FFA welding contest where they had the chance to participate in three different levels of competitions: Level 1 – 1F, Level 2 - 1G, and Level 3 - 2G. Students also participated in a timed cutting contest, welding knowledge and tool identification quiz.

          The results from the contest were impressive! In Level 1, three students from Rockdale made the top 20: Koye Bleeker, Blaise Samford, and Tyler Eliot. In Level 2, three Rockdale students made the top 10: Raul Flores, Dalton Hubnik, and Isiah Smith. In Level 3, three students made the top 20: Jacob Phillips, Braden Wallis, and JR Harris. With over 200 contestants in the contest, this was quite the accomplishment and says a lot about the program.

          As students continue to hone their skills in the classroom and laboratory under the supervision of the teachers, in early February, students will have the chance to compete in the District SkillsUSA welding competitions at TSTC in Waco. We look forward to great results from this event as well and hope for some state-qualifiers!

Please contact me, Britina Pesak, Director of CTE at or 512-430-6027 if you would like to find out more about any of our CTE programs!

2017 Dec 13: RISD iTigers Update

Rockdale ISD's iTigers after school program continues to provide effective tutoring and enrichment for our students on all campuses. This week Leesa Perez has an update on this very successful program.  

RISD iTigers programs are off to a strong start as they close their first semester out. Students and teachers have worked diligently across campuses to make the first part of the year a memorable learning experience. Do not fret, though, for the fun is hardly over! iTigers starts back on all campuses  January 16th, 2018. Rockdale High School will host driver’s ed beginning on January 8th, 2018, after school. iTigers would also like to remind students and parents that this upcoming semester is critical. The STAAR test is upon us, and teachers will be working  overtime to make sure that students are prepared. Students must be sure to take advantage of tutorials and homework help that are immediately available to them during iTigers hours before and after school. If there is any reason that you should need to contact your child’s iTiger Campus Coordinator, you can reach them at the following numbers:

RES- Valarie Willingham- 512-430-6144

RIS- Sandy Robbins- 512-430-6226

RJH- Leesa Perez- 512-430- 6072

RHS- Martha Gonzales- 512-430- 6013

 iTigers would like to wish all of Rockdale a Happy Holidays!

2017 Dec 6: RIS Community Projects

Rockdale ISD has a number of fundraisers and community service opportunities throughout our school year many of which sometimes go unnoticed. This week Rockdale Intermediate Principal, Mrs. Kathy Pelzel, would like to highlight community service projects on her campus.

Rockdale Intermediate School has been very busy this year working towards supporting our community with several projects. Our EAFK Rotary Club kicked off the year with fundraising to support childhood cancer. Students purchased Gold Out t-shirts in order to raise money for childhood cancer research. This was the platform chosen by this year's President, Braden Pickel. 

In November, RIS Student Council began our third 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 matching 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. 

Currently, our No Place for Hate initiative is working on connecting compassion and the holiday spirit to this initiative. We are decorating classroom doors with positive, compassionate comments to help remind students of the importance of this mindset over indifference. We are putting this into action by collecting food items for Christmas Roundup. RIS is collecting macaroni and cheese, jello, canned chicken and hot cocoa mix to support needs families in our community. We collected a total of 1507 items and hope break last year's record of 1785 items before December 8th. If you would like to help support our efforts you may drop off food items to Rockdale Intermediate School before December 15th.

The staff and administration at Rockdale Intermediate School could not be any prouder of our students.  They are working very hard to support our community and I am honored to say that their efforts are making a difference!  We look forward to many more exciting projects from them in the future.

2017 Nov 29: Elementary School Happenings

For Rockdale ISD, the week following a holiday is always a challenge due to catching up and getting back in the routine, but amazingly we do what we need to do to take care of our students’ needs. This week Rockdale Elementary has many exciting things that have happened and many that are coming up before we have our next holiday for Christmas. Ms. Alesha Eoff would like to share all of the exciting things happening on her campus.

At Rockdale Elementary School, we are dedicated to creating learning opportunities for each and every student.  This six weeks our faculty has engaged, challenged, and motivated our students through multiple learning experiences.  Our staff has worked to provide engaging lessons for our students through hands-on activities, real world application, and grade-level performances.   

The whole elementary attended our Veteran’s Day assembly at the high school.  Our students made patriotic hats to wear and they sang “You’re a Grand Old Flag”, and “Fifty Nifty United States” to honor those who have served our country.  The students have been learning about patriotism, respecting our country, and appreciating those who have fought to keep us free.  Our flags waved proudly, and our voices sang loudly as we honored our veterans in the ceremony.  

Another opportunity that our students had was to attend the Pre-Kindergarten Extravaganza.  Each Pre-K student shined in their respective roles as they presented our annual Thanksgiving Extravaganza.  There was a little singing, a little acting, a little dancing, and a whole lot of fun!  We hope you were able to attend and that you enjoyed our show.  We would also like to thank our awesome parents for their continued support and encouragement.  

In addition to these activities, we had our annual Thanksgiving Meal for our students and their parents.  Our wonderful cafeteria staff provided a tasty feast for our visitors and students. We served over two hundred-fifty visitors for lunch.  We had a great turnout!  Our Kindergarten children were also able to have their own feast to celebrate the holiday with their classmates.  Students dressed in holiday attire and dined on fruits, nuts, jerky, and vegetables to simulate what their meal may have been like many years ago.  

The Second graders at RES have been busy learning new skills and concepts and engaging in many different, fun activities.  Second grade is the first year that students get the opportunity to participate in academic UIL activities.  They will attend a UIL competition at Rockdale Intermediate on Dec. 5th.  Students have been working very hard, with the help of their coaches, to prepare for Creative Writing, Storytelling, Spelling, Chess Puzzles, and Mathematics. Creative Writers will look at a collection of pictures and create an original story from at least one of the given pictures.  Students are graded on creativity and grammar.  Storytellers are read a brief story.  Then, they are expected to retell the story in their own words before a group of judges using expression and inflection of voice. Speller contestants are given a list of spelling words to study and are tested over the given words. Chess Puzzles involves students being able to anticipate the appropriate chess moves based on the situation given.  Mathematics students will complete three timed sections- addition, subtraction, and story problems.  We wish our students good luck as they compete for RES for the first time.   

Our Second Grade students have also started tryouts and practices for our annual Christmas Variety Show.  It will be on Dec. 15th at 9:30 in the RES cafeteria.  Students will be performing dance routines, singing Christmas carols, and sharing Christmas facts and customs with the audience. The students put on a great show, and we would love to have you join us for some holiday cheer next month.  

Our annual Polar Express, Winter Wonderland, will be at Rockdale High School December 14.  Our teachers are working on developing learning games, arts, crafts, and other activities for our students.  The kids and adults always have a great time celebrating the season during this fun night.  Please make plans to attend this night with your whole family.  

Parents and students are also encouraged to attend our upcoming Winter Wonderland (Polar Express), 2nd Grade Variety Show, and other opportunities to see our students’ hard work and performances.  As you can see, Rockdale Elementary School is a terrific place to be!

2017 Nov 21: To Serve

During this time of year our community does a great job in providing food, clothing and toys for the members of our community who need a helping hand. It is important that our children understand the value of service in a community, and the many benefits they can gain. A child’s perception of the world around them is very limited. Their home, school and neighborhood are what they know, and what is meaningful to them. They have the perception that the world revolves around them, and their way of life. When children have the opportunity to reach out and help others, their world begins to grow along with their confidence. Other benefits of community service and volunteering, according to a recent survey, include:

  1. Leadership skill development.
  2. Patience when dealing with others.
  3. Learning how to understand people who are different from themselves.
  4. Learning new skills.
  5. Learning how to get along with and relate to others
  6. Learning to be helpful and kind.
  7. Gaining satisfaction from helping others.
  8. Learning to respect others.
  9. Learning how to relate to younger children
  10. Becoming a better person.

The Rockdale Junior High Leo Club sponsored by the Rockdale Noon Lions Club recently had a golden opportunity, To Serve, which is our Lions Club moto. During our Rockdale ISD Veterans Day Luncheon, the RJH Leo Club “Served” our Veterans a delicious meal, and according to many of our Veterans and their Spouses in attendance, our Leo’s service was excellent. I know it made our Veterans proud to see young Americans engaged in an activity that is positive and beneficial for our community since the protection of their rights and freedoms was the main reason for our Veterans service.

Next month our RJH Leos will participate in another service opportunity by assisting with the Annual Rockdale Christmas Roundup. The club members will provide help filling the boxes with food items and toys that will be delivered to needy families in our community.

RISD believes that knowledge is key to success in life for all of our students, but they also need to be exposed to community service.  Every thriving community has a strong network of people donating time and resources to helping others.  We hope they learn good citizenship through projects and have a great time doing it.  It makes them feel good to help others and what better time to emphasize it as we begin our holiday season.

2017 Nov 15: RISD iTigers/ACE Program Update

The Rockdale ISD iTigers/ACE program has been in full swing this school year. This week Rockdale Intermediate School’s iTigers Coordinator Mrs. Sandy Robbins has an update for her campus program, information regarding various iTigers offerings across the school district.

The iTigers/ACE, (Afterschool Centers on Education), program is well into the second year of our three year grant.  Programs at each of the campuses have been working hard to make a difference with their students, their families, and the community.  

At the Intermediate School, the first hour of iTigers is dedicated to tutoring sessions that focus on  English Language Arts and Math.  Those tutorials are followed by an enrichment class that is led by one of our teachers or aids.  Examples of enrichment class are: Gardening, Baking, Computers, Board Games, Sports, Arts and Crafts, Legos and Construction, and Morning computer/homework Library Time.   

For the family sessions, the Intermediate iTiger/ACE program invites parents to join a weekly “Make It and Take It” activity.  Parents and their iTigers students each make a fun craft item that can be taken home and enjoyed.  We offer this activity each Wednesday from 4:30 pm - 5:15 pm, in the RIS library.  

The iTigers/ACE program also offers a selection of college courses to our parents.  The wide range of covered by the grant that funds the iTiger Afterschool Program.  Classes run for six weeks, consist of 12 lessons, and begin every four weeks.  Ask your iTiger/ACE Coordinator for more information or you can research it on-line by typing in Ed2Go.

iTigers/ACE is active in our community too.  Once a month each campus helps to supply a lunch to the residents at the Senior Citizen Center.  The Intermediate makes the desert in our Baking class which happens to be one of the favorites on Thursdays.  This year, our students will continue our tradition of making and donating  40 pumpkin pies for a Thanksgiving Outreach Program which will serve lunch to the community right here in Rockdale.  Our iTigers/ACE students also participated in the Rockdale Rodeo Fair Parade.  Some of our students dressed up and joined the community as they walked the parade route in celebration of the Rockdale Fair.  Lastly, iTiger/ACE will participate in the Rockdale Round-up. Some campuses participate more than others, depending on age group.

Please mark your calendar:  We will have no iTigers program Monday and Tuesday, the week of Thanksgiving, November 20 and 21.  Regular iTigers/ACE will be finishing the 2017 Fall Semester on Thursday, December 7th, and morning tutorials and Library will conclude Friday, December 8th.   The program  will resume January 8, 2018, after the Holiday Break.

If you have any questions, please contact one of your iTigers/ACE Site Coordinator:

Elementary, Valarie Willingham  (512) 430-6144

Intermediate, Sandy Robbins  (512) 430-6226

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

High School, Martha Gonzales  (512) 430-6013