Leander ISD Trustees saluted two longtime, retiring Board members, reviewed the district’s annual demographic report, and considered district plans to further support teachers with more dedicated planning time at their meeting Thursday night.
District moves to support teachers with early dismissals for dedicated planning time
Beginning Nov. 11 and continuing for most Wednesdays for the rest of the 2020–21 school year, LISD schools will dismiss two hours early so that teachers can collaborate and plan for in-person and virtual learning experiences. In addition, LISD custodial and contracted cleaning services can use that time to deep clean learning spaces on campuses.
The district made the move after multiple listening sessions with district teachers, many of whom asked for more time to plan and implement the high-quality teaching the district is known for. The flexibility of creating early dismissals is made possible by “extra minutes” that are built into the academic calendar and, as such, will not require additional instructional days.
On the 17 Wednesdays designated as Dedicated Teacher Planning days:
- All students receive lunch
- Normal bus routes run
- After-school programs start early
“We’re investing in our teachers so that they can invest in our students, and we’re asking our community to help us out with the lift here as we make that investment,” Board President Trish Bode said. “It’s a challenge and a tricky wicket, and I appreciate so much the effort to get this message to the community quickly and also coordinate with our campuses.”
Annual demographer’s report predicts returning students, continued growth
Despite the drop in enrollment during the COVID-19 pandemic, the district’s annual demographic report predicts Leander ISD to quickly return to being a fast-growth district in 2021. According to Populations and Survey Analysts (PASA), LISD will need to open nine schools in the next six years to keep up with student population growth. Most of the growth is expected in the northern part of the district.
Through a combination of parental survey data, home occupancy rates at expected or above levels and the absence of charter school expansion in the area, PASA predicts a surge of nearly 3,500 new and returning students for the 2020–21 school year alone. That’s a more than 8% increase over the updated projections for the current school year. Click here to view the 2020 Demographic Update Presentation.
The district receives an annual demographic report that predicts population shifts within LISD boundaries. This helps in planning for new facility construction and the balancing of staff and district resources.
District to move ahead with design, zoning process for ES 29
Trustees voted to modify the district’s attendance zoning charter to allow zoning for Elementary School 29 (which could open as early as Aug. 2022) at the same time as Tarvin ES (opening next fall). The district plans to do zoning for both schools in the coming months, as opposed to one right after the other, to minimize confusion for the community.
Because the latest demographic report continues to forecast the need for ES 29 in 2022, the district will move forward with designing the new school, while the district continues to monitor enrollment before starting construction.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Trustee Aaron Johnson said. “We think ES 29 is going to be built in 2022 but we’re looking at the demographic data and it could be delayed a year. I don’t think that’s a problem for this (design) exercise because they (the two elementary schools) are still going to be sequential, they’re just (potentially) separated a bit more in time.”
Tarvin ES is under construction near the Palmera Ridge subdivision. The district will build ES 29 near the Bryson subdivision. Both schools are in Leander.
Trustees, LISD salute retiring Board members for years of dedicated service
Prior to Thursday’s meeting, LISD Trustees and district staff held a small ceremony (featuring a video tribute) for a pair of retiring Board members in honor of their years of service.
Pamela Waggoner and Grace Barber-Jordan combined for nearly four decades of service to the Leander ISD community. Each achieved the status of “Master Trustee”, held various Board leadership positions, and dedicated countless hours to the betterment of the district.
“Working for the children of our community, and with the staff and parents, has been an immensely rewarding experience, and I treasure the friendships and the learning that we have experienced together,” Barber-Jordan said. “I will continue to pray for you all as you focus on student learning.”
“It has been an honor serving Leander ISD and being part of a destination district,” Waggoner said. “I feel I have been a part of something bigger than myself, something important, and I hope for my small part, I am leaving the district a better place to be. I wish the teachers and administration success and happiness and I wish the students – the reason we are all here – a wonderful educational experience and a lifetime of paying it forward and being good to your fellow human beings.”
Two new Trustees (for Place 3 and Place 4) will be sworn in at the Nov. 19 Board meeting following canvassing of the Nov. 3 election results.