During its Feb. 9 meeting, the Leander ISD Board of Trustees agenda included:
- Spotlight on Learning: Plain ES
- Board Recognition: TMEA All-State Musicians
- Discussion of the Texas Academic Progress Report (TAPR)
- Superintendent Report: Winter Storm Update
- Approving continuation of employee pay for days closed during winter storm
- Listening to a presentation on Early Childhood Program
- Discussing recommendations from the Citizens’ Facility Advisory Committee (CFAC)
Spotlight on Learning: Plain Elementary
Plain Elementary is exemplifying Staff Empowerment by collaboratively creating a culture that allows staff to feel connected and empowered. Find out how students and staff are living up to being the Pride of Jim Plain!
Congratulations to the 46 high school students across #1LISD who were selected as Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) All-State Musicians!
Students Show Bouncing Back after Pandemic in Annual TAPR
The annual Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR) shows the district making steady gains on standardized testing. The Board reviewed the results and held a public hearing as required by the Texas Education Code. Key takeaways include:
- Leander ISD outperformed the region and the state
- Overall, while scores have improved, they are still lower than levels reached before the COVID-19 pandemic
- Since the TAPR mirrored data the district has already examined, campuses and the district have already incorporated a response in their improvement plans.
Superintendent Report: Winter Storm Update
As Leander ISD and the rest of the Central Texas area has learned over recent years, not every winter weather event presents the same challenges.
In February 2021, and even the winter weather stint in December 2022, problems with pipes bursting as a result of the cold temperatures caused the most damage to LISD facilities. However, in this latest go-around last week, downed tree limbs after the freeze thawed out posed some of the biggest challenges.
“The weather was good enough on Friday for us to come to school, but we could not quickly enough create safe pathways for our kids and our staff to walk to the buildings,” Superintendent Bruce Gearing said.
Gearing also highlighted the district’s incredible facilities, maintenance and grounds crews who worked throughout the weather event – from precautionary measures before the cold front blew in, to continuous monitoring of each facility in the midst of the cold temperatures, and afterward as everything thawed out.
As a result, these crews logged more than 900 hours to address issues at all 53 locations in the district, ranging from power outages, small mechanical issues and the large amount of fallen branches. Fortunately, the district sustained no significant damage in this weather event.
Board Ensures Employee Pay Despite Weather Closure
In response to the weather storm, the Board approved employee pay for days missed during the district closure. Due to the need for maintenance and ground technicians to work during the storm, the Board also approved double pay and time and a half for employees who worked over 40 hours.
Teachers, Parents Shine in Update on Early Childhood Program
“When you’ve been a teacher as long as I have, you find the need for a jump start,” Giddens Elementary PreK-4 teacher Sarah Johnson said.
That jump start was teaching 3-year-olds. Johnson, as well as other teachers and parents, shared their testimony with the Board about the district’s Early Childhood Programs. Knowing how differently young children absorb the world around them, the programs Early Childhood offer give these students the ability to learn in an environment that’s safe, exploratory and easily accessible.
“It empowered me to empower my children,” parent Autumn Hebert said.
Hebert learned about the Parents as Teachers program as a pregnant teen. She accessed their resources from prenatal care to preparing her children for school. Through the program, she’s seen her children thrive.
Last year was the first year LISD offered PreK for 3-year-olds. The latest data shows students who attended PreK-3 scored higher on the Ready Set Kindergarten! (RSK!) assessment than their counterparts who did not attend.
Vibrant Discussion Takes Place as Board Nears Decision on Calling Bond Election
As a follow-up to the meeting Tuesday, Feb. 7, district administration filled in detail to security items previously listed without projected costs, an amount totaling $4.4 million. Through an itemized review of the project list, the district also brought forward for consideration $19.5 million for 134 buses outfitted with cameras for Transportation’s vehicle fleet. A majority of these buses – 125 – would go toward replacing existing, aging buses in the fleet, while the other nine are needed to accommodate growth.
Filling in these amounts on top of the $794.7 million presented Tuesday, this resulted in a new proposal of $818.6 million.
The chairs of the CFAC steering committee were on hand to answer questions as Trustees sought to learn more about specific projects and to understand deeper background on the deliberation process of forming the recommendation to the Board.
Board President Trish Bode acknowledged the challenge tasked to CFAC several months ago and applauded their management of moving pieces throughout the process.
“We had the long-range plan, we had additional security needs coming in, we had ongoing development of the LHS master plan,” said Bode, referencing some factors unique to this most recent CFAC iteration. “I am so thankful for you, and you really did an amazing job in providing us a foundation for these discussions.”
The Board added a special meeting Thursday, Feb. 16, to continue discussions on this topic and create the possibility to call for a bond. The Board faces a Friday, Feb. 17 deadline to call an election for May 2023.
The following links provide a summarized progression of this topic over time:
- Board Meeting Feb. 7: Taking a Three-Pronged Approach to the Proposed Bond Election
- Board Meeting Jan. 26: CFAC Recommendations
- Board Meeting Jan. 12: CFAC Update
- Visit the CFAC page For additional detail on the work of the steering committee and each of the six subcommittees – high school, middle school, elementary school, technology, ancillary, security – and the work they did to tier projects and prioritize district facility and infrastructure needs.