During its March 7 meeting, the Leander ISD Board of Trustees agenda included: 

Spotlight on Learning: Student Athletic Trainers

During the Spotlight on Learning, student athletic trainers and their staff athletic trainer counterparts from each of our six high schools shared their experience. Highlights for these students included the excitement of not knowing what to expect game to game and how the program has helped them build confidence. This hands-on opportunity also has them on a track better prepared for college, all the while learning time management skills.

Way to go, athletic trainers, for working behind the scenes to ensure the health and safety of #1LISD’s athletes and coaches.

Board Recognitions

Special thanks to the Canyon Ridge Middle School announcements duo of Claire and Aarna for helping celebrate stand-out individuals and accomplishments around #1LISD.

The Board recognized the following:

  • UIL Wrestling State Medalists
  • UIL Swimming State Medalists
  • Texas Educational Diagnosticians Week, March 4–8
  • Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) Star Awards – School and Community Relations (SCR)

Special Programs Update

Special Programs update: Co-Teaching

🎬 7.A.1. Special Programs Update

The Board received an update on the state of the Special Programs and Services department. Even as the district’s overall enrollment growth has slowed, the number of students served in special education remains on an upward trajectory, topping 6,300 students and accounting for 14.8 percent of LISD’s student population.

Over the past year, the department has invested heavily in a co-teaching model in two key areas: kindergarten and 1st grade reading intervention along with 4th and 5th grade math intervention. A co-teaching model is one where a collaborative teacher is paired with the general education teacher. 

Zeroing in on the reading intervention initiative, the district saw a huge decrease in the number of students at risk for reading difficulty. Entering kindergarten, students are given a screener that looks at letter knowledge and phonemic awareness. Last year, 753 kindergarten students were flagged for needing additional reading support. Through the reading intervention redesign and leaning into a co-teaching model, the number of those students still considered at risk – now in 1st grade a year later – dropped to 248.

Trustee Trish Bode applauded the department’s implementation of satisfaction surveys to capture the experience of ARD and Section 504 meetings.

“We talk about engaging with our community and parents, and the Board has really wanted to see data like this,” Bode said. ”I appreciate the efforts of this whole team for working with families and making this happen.”

To learn more about services offered to students and to know where to start, check out the Special Programs handbook, which walks families through all of the steps involved – everything from the referral process to evaluations and implementation of services.

Bond 2023 Project Status: Special Education 18+ Transition Services & Science Materials joint buildings

Preliminary Rendering: 18+ Transition Services Kitchen space

🎬 7.C.1. Science Materials Center and 18+ Transition Services Building Project Update

The May 2023 bond included funds for new buildings for the Science Materials Center and the Special Education 18+ Transition Services program, with VLK Architects approved to design them and Joeris Construction to build them.

LISD’s Science Materials Center creates ready-made science kits for all of the district’s elementary school classrooms to provide students with hands-on learning. As the district has grown in the number of elementary classrooms, the existing SMC warehouse has become too small for storage and distribution of the materials.

The 18+ Transition Services program provides young adults, 18 to 22 years old, with the skills and knowledge necessary for successful transition into community and adult living.

A perfect pairing, setting the new building for these programs next to each other on the same lot will further accommodate the work-based learning opportunities available to 18+ Transition Services students at the Science Materials Center. 

“This building is working for the students in it,” Trustee Francesca Romans said. “As somebody with multiple family members who have to bend and twist and try to fit and belong in the building that they are in because it wasn’t built for people like them, this is amazing. This building is facilitating the things that they need and making it easier for them to concentrate on the skills they are learning instead of the environment that they are in.”

To go with the needed additional storage space on the Science Materials Center side of the complex, the 18+ building will focus on providing spaces for real-world career simulation, collaborative student initiatives and hands-on application.

“Shout out to our community for voting for the bond,” Board Secretary Christine Mauer said. “This could not have happened without them. It’s incredible the difference a project like this can make on the lives of students and the lives of our staff.”

These new-builds will be located in Cedar Park next to the district’s warehouse and Central Transportation facility. Based on the current timeline, construction is expected to begin in August of this year, with a target to be ready to open in Fall 2025.

Previous Updates

Bond 2023: Project Funds Released For Leander HS Masterplan’s Phase 1 Construction

Bond 2023

🎬 5.B. Consider Approval of Guaranteed Maximum Price #1 for Leander High School Masterplan – Phase 1

Also related to the 2023 Bond at Thursday’s meeting, Trustees approved the first Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) contract for the Leander High School Masterplan Redesign’s Phase 1, allowing for the release of Bond funds already allocated for this project.

This GMP will go toward equipment, services or materials that must be secured well in advance and early project startup needs. This project will have additional GMPs as it progresses.

GMP #1

  • Leander HS Masterplan Redesign – Phase 1: $3,387,955

Phase 1 of the Leander HS Masterplan Redesign addresses the Athletic area [campus layout] of the campus. This phase will be split into four separate sections:

  • Phase 1A – Relocating the utilities for the auxiliary gym and weight room additions. Construction estimated to start Summer 2024
  • Phase 1B – Addition of an Auxiliary Gym (to be located next to the existing Competition Gym) and a new Weight Room. This phase also includes security gates to enable the campus to be separated from the Don Tew Performing Arts Center and the gymnasiums. Construction estimated to start August 2024
  • Phase 1C – Remodel the existing athletic area. Construction estimated to start Summer 2025
  • Phase 1D – Remodel the existing Blue Belle dance space, auxiliary gym and rubber gym into a wrestling room, dance/cheer gym with supporting spaces and fitness center. Construction estimated to start Summer 2025

As a resource to the #1LISD community to learn more about these projects and track their progress, the district has created a Bond & Construction Projects page. Specific project pages include an overall scope of the project, the status of the project, a timeline, information about contractors and vendors, and more.

Previous Updates

Leading Measures Data Tracks Key Focus Areas for District Improvement

Leading Measures: TEA Safety & Security Requirements

🎬 7.A.2. Discussion of Leading Measures

Building on formative review presentations of past Board meetings where district administrators outlined the work happening in the five goal areas laid out in the LISD’s Strategic Plan, at Thursday’s meeting, Trustees received a leading measures update.

During these quarterly updates, quantitative and qualitative data relating to the district improvement plan and the Superintendent’s Evaluation provides Trustees with a better picture of where LISD is at in a variety of different focus areas.

Goal 5 of the Strategic Plan centers around Safe & Innovative Learning within the district. Through a series of grants and funding from the 2023 Bond, a number of safety and security projects have shown significant progress this year. For example, LISD has completed a fencing project to meet a new state requirement. Another project nearing completion is the addition of entry-resistant film to glass exterior doors and windows adjacent to a door on the ground level not in a secured area.

LISD is also in the final stages of preparing digital maps of every campus and district facility to be shared with first-responders for their use in an emergency response. 

Visit the Bond: Security page for a complete list of projects underway that seek to bolster the district’s safe learning environments.