During its Oct. 13 meeting, the Leander ISD Board of Trustees agenda included:
- Spotlight on Learning: Mason Elementary
- Board Recognition: Celebrating Custodian & Child Nutrition Services Workers
- Career & Technical Education (CTE) Courses Continue to Enrich Student Experience
- Schools of Choice Survey Results
- Raider Way Renovation Continues to Take Shape
- TASA/TASB Convention Debrief
- District of Innovation Plan Renewal Approved
Spotlight on Learning: Mason Elementary
Mason Mustang students demonstrated what student empowerment looks like, sounds like and feels like during their time presenting in front of the Board. What they described was a direct result of a community coming together to accomplish the goal of empowering students to take action with their learning beyond the walls of our schools.
The Leander ISD Board of Trustees celebrated the appreciation weeks for the district’s Custodians – Oct. 3-7 – and the district’s Child Nutrition Services staff – Oct 10-14. Hear from Custodial Services Director Federico Collazo and CNS Director Suzi David about how their teams have thrived in spite of sizable challenges.
Career & Technical Education (CTE) Courses Continue to Enrich Student Experience
Trustees received a program update from the CTE department, including the course sequences offered and how those enrich the student experience.
Through the variety of opportunities – 193 courses, spread over 13 career clusters, available for campuses to implement – students are empowered to acquire the skills to meet the indicators seen in the Graduate Profile. The program has also seen a middle school expansion from 6 to 26 courses over the last three years.
Industry-Based Certifications (IBCs) set students up with a competitive advantage and career opportunities after high school. Over the past five years, Leander ISD has seen a 97% increase in IBCs earned, with students completing nearly 3,000 in the 2021–22 school year.
“It’s an impressive program,” said Board Vice President Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia, Ph.D. “It’s impressive to not only inspire students in something they find interesting and are passionate about, but also an area they then can make a career in.”
Visit the CTE page to learn more about what the program has to offer.
Schools of Choice Survey Results
A Schools of Choice presentation showed the community survey and student questionnaire on possible future offerings resulted in the following ranking, the lower the score, the higher the ranking:
- STEM High School (Grades 9-12)
- Fine Arts (Grade K-8)
- Design School (Grades TBD)
- Health Professions High School (Grades 9-12)
- School of International Business (Grades 9-12)
- Ready, Set, Teach Academy (Grades EC-12)
- Mastery Based Learning School (Grades K-5)
“It’s great to hear from our community and know that the voice of our students was also captured through the survey process,” Board President Trish Bode said. “This Schools of Choice topic is still in its preliminary stages, so it’s important for our community to stay engaged and continue to give us feedback through the process.”
The results of the survey will serve as contextual information as the Board and the Long-Range Planning committee work to develop a 10-year facility plan for the district.
More information about School of Choice options already offered in Leander ISD and detailed descriptions of the possible future options can be found on the Schools of Choice page.
Raider Way Renovation Continues to Take Shape
The Board approved a resolution authorizing the conveyance of Right of Way and the Special Warranty Deed-Dedication of Right of Way for the Raider Way improvement project overseen by the City of Leander.
At a recent Leander City Council meeting, the council approved continued funding for this project as design plans are finalized for improvements to Raider Way and East Woodview Drive. The city estimates construction to begin Spring 2023 and for the work to be completed by the end of 2024.
The project, aimed to alleviate traffic congestion during morning and afternoon departures from Wiley Middle School and Rouse High School, will include:
- widening the roads,
- a roundabout at the Raider Way and East Woodview Drive intersection,
- dual-use sidewalks,
- dedicated turn lanes,
- traffic signal modifications at the Raider Way and Crystal Falls Parkway intersection,
- and more.
“We know that relief to the traffic congestion experienced by our Rouse and Wiley families is a long time coming,” Board Secretary Elexis Grimes said, ”and we are encouraged to see a finish line in sight.”
TASA/TASB Convention Debrief
Trustees shared their take-aways from the annual Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) / Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Convention in San Antonio last month.
Among the many sessions attended, one catching the attention of Bode involved local accountability and how school boards and school districts measure what matters.
“It’s something I feel our district is already well-positioned for our Community-Based Accountability System as we’re embarking on this process,” Bode said.
Trustee Christine Mauer shared what she learned about peer-to-peer suicide prevention program, Hope Squad, started in Utah.
“We know suicide is a huge issue,” Mauer said. “When kids are in crisis, they tend to talk to each other first. This program was fascinating to me to see how something like this could be replicated here. It’s worth it if we can save one life.”
Through the program, students are trained on how to listen to each other, perhaps noticing if something is off in their fellow students, and how to then go find a trusted adult for further assistance.
During the conference, Bode also saw Trustees from all different backgrounds discussing the impact of students not being in school for a period of time as a result of the pandemic.
“We know our kiddos went through an experience, and they’re not going to be able to, necessarily, just hit the ground running and be right back where they were,” Bode said. “There needs to be time and acknowledgement that we’re all kind of emotionally healing as we move forward.”
As an alternate on the TASB Legislative delegation, Grimes shared her excitement to see LISD’s Legislative Priorities passed by TASB. Notably, there was specific focus on the priority covering a cost-of-living adjustment for teachers and paying teachers appropriately.
“It’s still a big conversation for us to have with our local legislators and teachers,” Grimes said.
District of Innovation Plan Renewal Approved
In the consent agenda item, the Board approved the renewal of the District of Innovation (DoI) plan.
Under the plan, the district has flexibility in designing its academic calendar. While there are other exemptions allowed as a DoI, the district only intends to use the designation for its academic calendar.
The Board adopted our current District of Innovation plan in 2018, and these plans may not exceed 5 years.