The district’s Launch to Learning for the upcoming school year, the ongoing conversation on equity and diversity, and the LISD dress code were among the topics during the Trustees’ regular board meeting Thursday night.  

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Parent Choice for virtual, in-person learning preference on tap as Launch to Learning 2020–21 planning ramps up 

Trustees continued to discuss the district’s Launch to Learning plan for beginning the 2020–21 school year. LISD will start school virtually Aug. 13 while preparing for a safe return to campuses after Sept. 7.

The district will open the student selection process for families Friday, July 24. Parents and guardians will receive an email and text message on Friday with a link to submit their student(s)’s choice. On Tuesday, July 28, the district will send instructions for families without internet access to submit their choice(s) via telephone. 

“I’m really pleased to see how much planning, effort and thought has gone into how our students will learn virtually in the coming months,” Trustee Pamela Waggoner said. “There’s no substitute for in-person instruction and all of the social and educational benefits that go with it. But we owe it to our community to offer the very best curriculum in a virtual setting for as long as we need to. And teachers need to feel confident teaching virtually in order for students to engage and thrive.”

LISD’s Virtual Empowered Learning in fall 2020 will look radically different from the emergency distance learning that was necessary for the spring. The district is planning extensively for 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.

“I am so thankful for all the work the district has done in our Launch to Learning – focusing on captivating and connecting our students – and making this experience vastly different from the spring emergency remote learning,” Board President Trish Bode said. “This journey from Virtual Empowered Learning to learning in the classroom will be full of challenges given our COVID environment, but I know our entire Leander ISD community, including teachers, parents, and students will work to make this a fulfilling school year.”

Board considers district equity audit

Last month the Board of Trustees was presented with a report on the Community Conversations meetings focused on Equity and Diversity held this spring. The two equity community forums were facilitated by Dr. Cherie Dawson-Edwards and Dr. Bradley Carpenter

To further the district’s ongoing Community Conversation on Equity and Diversity, LISD leadership recommended conducting an equity audit to help identify the root causes of inequalities in LISD. The audit will focus on three areas:

  • Policy and practice
  • Professional Learning
  • Community collaboration

As part of the administrative recommendation and Board direction, Leander ISD will also begin planning the following initiatives to address racism and inclusion of all students:

  • development of a district equity policy;
  • districtwide staff development on racism, diversity, and cultural responsiveness; and
  • expansion of communication and community engagement efforts to improve inclusivity and accessibility. 

Dress code conversation to include stakeholders, continue through the summer 

The district will form and consult a panel of students, parents, board members, and staff to review potential changes to the LISD dress code prior to bringing it before the Board for approval in August. Parents, students, and teachers from elementary, middle and high schools will make up the committee.

Due to implicit and racially biased rules, the administration believes additional changes may need to be made to the dress code. With virtual learning to start the year, every effort will be made to accurately review and get feedback from stakeholders. Parents, students, and teachers from elementary, middle, and high schools will make up the committee. 

Legislative priorities come into focus 

The Board continues to emphasize the importance of advocating for the best interests of our students and families at the state legislature. Trustees adopted legislative priorities for the upcoming session which focuses on four areas:

  • Student Data Privacy 
  • Mental Health
  • Special Education 
  • Fast Growth School District Solutions

Trustees will use these priorities to set an advocacy agenda for the 2021 Texas Legislative session.