The district’s Launch to Learning could soon be entering a new phase, while an update to the Leander ISD dress code was among the topics during the Trustees’ agenda review meeting Thursday night.  

View the entire agenda here. Watch the video here.

DISTRICT OPENS THOUGHTEXCHANGE TO COLLECT FEEDBACK REGARDING SEPT. 8 IN-PERSON RE-OPENING FOR BUILDINGS

The reopening of schools for in-person learning is on our entire Leander ISD family’s hearts and minds. To collect feedback from our students, teachers, staff, and families, and be transparent regarding what we are hearing, we are launching a Thoughtexchange survey to gather input.  

Please click here to submit your feedback and to see the feedback from our community. We are collecting input until Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 11:59 p.m. so we can report back to the Board on Aug. 27 for a possible decision. 

For more details about our re-opening plan, please click here.

Trustees explore a phased-in approach to in-person learning 

With the health and safety of students and staff as the top priority, Trustees considered the district’s proposal to petition the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for an additional four weeks of virtual learning. This will allow the district to begin phasing in students that wish to return to in-person learning Sept. 8 in accordance with recommendations from local health departments.

Under TEA guidelines, districts can start the year virtually for four weeks, plus an additional four weeks with Board approval. Should the Trustees vote to approve the timeline Aug. 27, the district’s plan would phase-in students who have chosen in-person learning to return to campuses beginning Sept. 8.

This phase-in process will start with those with the highest needs, which include: 

  • Students served in Special Education
  • Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st, 6th and 9th grades
  • Students without home internet access
  • Children of staff members

All students that chose in-person instruction would return by Oct. 5. Virtual Empowered Learning will continue for those that choose that option.

We will work within the guidelines of TEA’s directions and gauge community spread of the coronavirus. This step-by-step process will allow the district to:

  • Open and stay open
  • Reduce student in-person numbers (minimizing person-to-person contact, minimizing spread)
  • Implement and refine safety protocols 
  • Align with public health guidelines
  • Honor family choice (families who choose Virtual Empowered Learning can continue learning from home)  

“Our staff has done a phenomenal job with our virtual empowered learning as we navigate through these challenging times,” Board President Trish Bode said. “A phased reopening as recommended by our public health officials does provide the opportunity for teachers and staff to apply health guidelines with a smaller group of students, which will help pave the way as we move to more on-campus instruction as certain benchmarks are reached.”

The district is planning extensively to provide extensive safety measures once in-person learning resumes on our campuses. Cleaning procedures, contact tracing, facility enhancements, and protective equipment are integral parts of the district’s COVID prevention and response plans.

During the meeting, Trustees discussed staff health and safety, the rising positivity rate of COVID-19 in the two counties, and the possibility of keeping all students in remote learning if viral spread does not subside.

“We will start, continuously improve, fight for every kid, and never give up,” Superintendent Bruce Gearing, Ed.D. said. “Our goal is to open and stay open as long as possible, prioritizing and working to minimize the health risks for our teachers, staff, students, and families.”

Tax rate discussion nears conclusion 

Trustees heard presentations from the district finance team and its debt strategy partner to discuss the 2020–21 tax rate. The Board considered four scenarios that included rate reductions due to tax compression for maintenance and operations (M&O) and the continued strategy to reduce debt service rates by a quarter-penny. The Board will consider action on a tax rate at their Aug. 27 meeting.

Community panel submits revised dress code for Board consideration  

A panel of students, parents, teachers, board members, and staff revised and rewrote the district’s dress code, which the Board will now review before possibly amending it and adopting it at the Aug. 27 regular Board meeting.During the routine policy review of our student dress code, the Board of Trustees asked for the committee to review the policy for overall improvements. 

Each school year the Leander ISD Board of Trustees approves the Student Code of Conduct. Updates to the 2020–21 Student Code of Conduct reflect recommendations from the Texas Association of School Boards model and feedback from stakeholders. Because this is a non-legislative year, the only recommended changes are to the dress code.

Board salutes LISD Council of PTAs, LEEF 2019–20 successes  

The district’s Council of PTAs boasts more than 11,000 members across 43 campuses, and is a crucial component of community-focused education. As a year in review, PTA leadership marked multiple milestones and successes in its mission to give every child a voice.

Likewise, the Leander Educational Excellence Foundation excelled in its mission to support campuses and families, especially during the current pandemic. From helping meet the basic needs of students to innovation grants for teachers, LEEF’s contributions to the district continue to be impactful. 

Board promotes SRE’s Britteny Clifford to Principal, taps Dr. Shawn Miller to lead Glenn High School 

Steiner Ranch Elementary School Assistant Principal Britteny Clifford was announced as the new principal at the campus. Read more about Clifford’s hiring here.

Dr. Shawn Miller will lead LISD’s newest high school, joining the Glenn High School community after serving as a principal in Wylie ISD. Read more about Miller’s hiring here.