RISD GT News 1.3

The Quarterly Newsletter for K-12 GT in RISD

Parent Brown Bags and Supper Clubs

RISD GT is committed to giving parents and community members a voice. This year, we've expanded our popular "Brown Bag" round tables to include evening "Supper Clubs" in order to better accommodate busy schedules. Please refer to the schedule below so you can plan to attend and don't forget to suggest a topic for discussion.

Brown Bag-Topics: Changes for 2019-20 based on the new Texas State Plan and the Strategic Plan in RISD

Tuesday, March 5th

11:30 AM - 1 PM

Professional Development Center - Auditorium

Supper Club

Wednesday, April 17th

6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Professional Development Center - C101A

The Professional Development Center is located at 701 W Belt Line Rd .

Intermediate REACH NPO Project Presentation

Please join Intermediate (Grades 4-6) REACH students for their presentations on Non-Profit Organizations. You have two sites you can visit between March 4 and 8.

Bowie Elementary-9:00 and 11:45 AM

Skyview Annex-11:30 AM

We hope to see you there!

Secondary GT Showcase and REACH Presentations

The Third Annual Secondary GT Showcase will take place on April 23rd. Once again, the showcase will have an element of competition. Ask your child's teacher about how to enter.

More information about Showcase can be found here.

6th-Grade Transitions

To help prepare 6th grade students and parents for the transition from elementary to junior high, the College and Career Readiness Office has generated a newsletter to help with these transitional activities. Please feel free to look through our November and December editions.


English – https://www.smore.com/7mzq9

Spanish- https://www.smore.com/v27s8


English – https://www.smore.com/axj9d

Spanish- https://www.smore.com/gvms9


English - https://www.smore.com/cke4x

Spanish - https://www.smore.com/2q5j9

Campus Spotlight

"In order to acquire intellect one must need it. One loses it when it is no longer necessary."

- Friedrch Nietzsche

JH Teacher Spotlight - Helen Arceneaux

Position/Campus: 7th/8th Grade Science GT/Pre-Ap, Liberty JH

Years in Education: 2 if we’re only counting teaching in traditional classroom.

Bio: I’m a Mom and Wife. I was an Aquatic Biologist in my previous life before education. I also love doing geology field work.

Education: Texas A&M University (Marine Biology), UT Dallas Biology/Geology

Birthday: July 19

Favorite Book: So many…currently digging The Humboldt Current by Sachs

Favorite Movie: I love the Harry Potter movies (I know, I know)

Favorite TV Show: ANY science-y or history docuseries.

Favorite Musician/Band: Whatever blows my hair back- Gogol Bordello, Beethoven, Reverend Horton Heat, Blue Man Group, etc.

Favorite Food: Strawberries

Hobbies: Gardening, reading, geology/biology vacations (Yes, I made it a thing)

Favorite Thing About GT Kids: They teach me to see things from different perspectives. I was GT kid growing up. We’re all so different!

Teaching Philosophy: Spread a passion for science!

Inspirational Quote: “Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

HS Teacher Spotlight - Joe George

Position/Campus: Berkner HS

Years in Education: 4.5

Bio: First year teaching GT. I love teaching English at Berkner, and I’m excited to teach my first large group of GT students. Traveled over 6,000 miles within the US this summer and recorded my first solo album!

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Literary Studies from UT Dallas

Birthday: September 20, 1988

Favorite Book: Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

Favorite Movie: 12 Angry Men

Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones, The Wire

Favorite Musician/Band: Ryan Adams or Jason Isbell

Favorite Food: Kibbee (Grandmother’s Lebanese dish)

Hobbies: Music/Guitar/Songwriting, Movies, Reading, Young Life leader

Favorite Thing About GT Kids: They never cease to surprise me

Teaching Philosophy: Form a relationship of trust with my kids and set up an academic workshop environment. Kids that feel loved and part of an environment that values their ability to fail will run through a wall for you.

Inspirational Quote: “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special.”

- Jim Valvano, Former NC State basketball coach and cancer research advocate

Elementary Teacher Spotlight - Teri Studebaker

Position/Campus: Primary REACH/ GT Specialist

Years: 33 years in elementary education/18 years in GT

Bio: I was born in El Paso and moved to Richardson in 3rd grade where I attended Skyview Elementary the first year it was open. After moving a few times, we finally settled in the Pearce area. I graduated from JJP and my husband graduated from RHS, but we didn’t meet until after college. After marrying, we lived in Plano and Dallas, but found our way back to Richardson. We have two sons who both graduated from Pearce. Austin (25) lives and works in Dallas and Reid (22) lives in New York working his way up to sous chef.

Education: B.S. Elem Ed from UNT, M.Ed. Reading from UNT, and GT Endorsement from SMU

Favorite Books: Nonfiction: And Still We Rise; Fiction: The Help

Favorite Movie: Tie between You’ve Got Mail and The Notebook

Favorite TV Show: HBO True Detective series

Favorite Musician: I love the Eagles!

Hobbies: I enjoy going to concerts, festivals and Fredericksburg.

Favorite Thing about GT kids: They make me laugh. You never know what they’re going to say.

Teaching Philosophy: As a teacher, I believe we are to facilitate and guide students’ learning and allow for opportunities for students to create their own learning.

The classroom should be a nurturing environment where students know that their thoughts and ideas are valued.

Inspirational Quote: It’s actually Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct thy paths.


Congratulations to HPPM GT Teacher Ta-Tanisha Jefferson, the 2019 Texas Alliance of Black School Educators Teacher of the Year! She is a huge influence on all the HPPM students and the community. We are so proud of her.

A Message From... Monica Simonds

I had the pleasure to observe one of our hallmark Intermediate REACH lessons last week. Who Moved My Cheese? was adapted for kids to learn how to deal with change. Cheese represents whatever is important to you and change is inevitable and sometimes unpredictable.

This is the time of year when we can all relate to the idea of change. 6th graders are getting ready for junior high school. 8th graders are getting ready for high school. Seniors are getting ready for their next steps. Families are getting ready for all of the above.

Students explored concepts about paying attention to their surroundings to "see the writing on the wall" and they discussed the tenets of managing change. Here are some helpful tips to navigate our ever-changing world.

1. Let go of the past;

2. Get over the things you cannot change;

3. Keep moving forward;

4. There is no reason to fear the unknown because the unknown may be better than anything you could have ever imagined; and,

5. Change has unlimited potential but it all depends on how you deal with it.

May you embrace the journey as you travel through the spring semester. We are so excited to join you!

Exec. Director of College & Career Readiness

Elizabeth Swaner, M. Ed.

Advanced Academics Specialist

Clint Rodriguez, M.A.


Advanced Academics Specialist

Jasmine Patel, M. Ed.

Advanced Academics Specialist

Sara Mooney