Time out! No talk of Robin Hood, recapturing, homestead exemptions, budget cuts, repurposing, TAKS, taxes, accountability, legislatures, governors or politics.

Rather, the new year is a time for us to focus on our individual involvement with our schools. Each Advocate reader has a vested interest in the success of each student in each school in our area. It matters not whether you are an RISD parent; the key is that you are an RISD resident.

There are scores of dedicated volunteers who contribute time, energy and dollars for our schools. Those efforts enhance the lives of students and mirror the RISD core belief that “the spirit of community is central to RISD.”

As an RISD trustee, I see our schools in action, attending performances, events, games, productions, assemblies and ceremonies. The breadth and depth of RISD is amazing – talent, fun, passion, compassion, enthusiasm, pride, excitement and excellence are evident at each school.

I want you to see a little of what I see…to experience RISD. If you are an RISD parent, I challenge (actually, encourage) you to attend an event or a program at another school in your feeder pattern each semester. If you are an elementary school family, go to the high school for a basketball game or the annual musical. If you child is in a secondary school, attend an elementary carnival or book fair (where you do not have to work!). If you are a band family, attend a choir concert. If your kids are on a school athletic team, attend a game or match of a team your child is not on. And if you are really adventurous, attend an event in another part of the district.

If you are retired or an empty nester, I encourage you to reconnect with your neighborhood schools. There is no maximum age for volunteers and no minimum service requirement. Schools welcome your presence and assistance.

If you do not yet have children in school, take time to visit your neighborhood school. I am confident that you will be impressed with the learning and excited by the opportunities.

RISD schools are our schools, and you can make a positive impact on students and support our teachers and staffs. Do not leave the needs of our schools and community to others. Become involved as a volunteer, mentor, tutor, spectator or supporter.

See you at school.