During its Sept. 22 meeting, the Leander ISD Board of Trustees:
- Spotlight on Learning: North ES
- Superintendent Report
- Continued Discussion on Community-Based Accountability
- Update on Instructional Materials Selection Process
- LEEF, District’s Education Foundation, Shares Annual Report
- Findings of Recent Poll on Props A & B
- Update from the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Convention
- LISD Welcomes New Principal at Cox Elementary
Spotlight on Learning: North ES
A little more than a month into the school year, students at LISD’s newest elementary school, North Elementary School, already know it’s a special place to be.
Reasons include their teachers, Empower Hour during Specials on certain Fridays throughout the year, NEIL (North Innovation & Exploration Lab) time with the QUEST teacher, and having input in the selection of the school’s mascot, the Navigators. They even had the opportunity to name the mascot itself: “Northy the Navigator.”
“North ES is a special place,” North ES fifth-grader Jakayla White-Winn said, ”from the building that has space for students to work together to the teachers who make time for us to become a team.”
Board Recognition: Jennifer Meyer
Congratulations to #1LISD Science Curriculum Senior Coordinator Jennifer Meyer! The Science Teachers Association of Texas (STAT) honored her service as president for 2021–22. We are grateful for her leadership!
In his report to the Board, Leander ISD Superintendent Bruce Gearing, Ed.D., highlighted a few important topics:
The district’s annual Choral Showcase, with performances from all six of the district’s high schools, put students’ incredible talent center stage. Check out photos from the event
Campus Safety Audits
The state is conducting campus safety audits through the Texas School Safety Center (TXSSC). Two of the district’s schools have already been audited. Initial results will be presented to the Board at the Oct. 13 meeting.
“As part of the Strategic Plan, one pillar is providing safe and innovative learning environments for our students,” Gearing said, “and we’re grateful that the Texas School Safety Center is working with us to make sure that our students and our staff remain safe.”
Be sure to check out the Empowering Parents: Safety, Security, Health and Wellness Summit Tuesday, Sept. 27. District leaders and community partners will answer questions about substance abuse, particularly the use of fentanyl, and will also address concerns about campus safety and security.
Water Conservation Efforts for Leander & Cedar Park
As the Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority (BCRUA) conducts repairs to a leaking pipeline in Lake Travis, the cities of Leander and Cedar Park have stressed the importance of conserving water.
The district is working with each city to do its part in conserving water however possible, and we appreciate the community’s continued efforts to do the same.
School Improvement Visits
The superintendent, together with his team of area superintendents and the Teaching & Learning department, regularly visits schools and works with principals to achieve the goal of continuously improving at the campus level and making sure the best practices are in place for our students and their learning.
“At the end of the visit, we talk with the principal about what wonderings we might have and then make suggestions of how we can help them move toward that ideal,” Gearing said. “It’s not about fixing everything at one time, but really about that continuous improvement.”
Continued Discussion on Community-Based Accountability
As a follow-up to a discussion from the Sept. 8 meeting, district leaders shared a presentation on Community-Based Accountability and how we hold ourselves accountable to the hopes and dreams discovered through the community conversations from 2019.
Aligning with the framework of LISD’s Strategic Plan, the Community-Based Accountability System, or CBAS, has five focus areas:
- Empowered Student Learning
- Equitable Access
- Empowered Staff
- Safe and Innovative Learning Environments
- Impactful Family Engagement
“A Community-Based Accountability System is for making meaningful decisions. It’s not just a report we put out or a grade,” said Brenda Cruz, director of Assessment & Accountability. “It’s for looking at what it tells us, what other questions does it make us ask, and what is it we need to explore further to reach the impact we want in our system.”
Update on Instructional Materials Selection Process
As part of its yearly review of the instructional materials of a rotating selection of courses, the district will again follow a process in accordance with Texas State law, Texas Education Agency guidelines, and LISD Board Policy. The updated process, finalized in Fall 2022, places an increased importance on opportunities for community feedback and aligning vetting criteria with the new Board Policy EF (Local).
Courses included during the 2022–23 school year, for Fall 2023 implementation:
- K–12 Social Studies, Psychology, Sociology and Financial Literacy
- American Sign Language I–IV
- Chinese I–IV
- AP U.S. History
- AP Calculus AB & BC
*Additional courses may be added to the list based on the LISD New Course Proposal process.
The Board will receive a progress update in early 2023. Visit the Instructional Materials Selection page for more information.
LEEF, District’s Education Foundation, Shares Annual Report
The president of the Leander Educational Excellence Foundation, Crystal Smith, and LEEF Executive Director Jonathan Campbell presented the annual report, highlighted by the organization’s mission to:
- Provide opportunities for all students
- Cultivate success in the district
- Empower students, teachers and staff to build up their communities.
For the 2022 fiscal year, LEEF’s $632,471 raised topped the previous year by more than $100,000. LEEF has a goal of reaching the $1 million milestone by 2025.
In the last year, LEEF investments back into the LISD community included:
- $20,000 in student literacy through community partnerships
- $200,000-plus in mental health services for LISD students and families
- $4,000 of support for LISD’s 18+ Transition Services program
- $50,000 to support college coaching, AP testing and dual-credit textbooks
- $100,000 in grants to teachers to empower them and enrich their classrooms
Visit leeftx.org to learn more about LEEF and how you can help.
Findings of Recent Poll on Props A & B
Baselice and Associates’s Matt Gamble shared the results of a recent poll conducted on Proposition A & B that will appear on the November 8 ballot for voters in the Leander ISD community. Among other findings, the poll showed that with increased exposure to information related to Propositions A & B, support for each proposition increases.
“This polling information provides us with which pieces of the factual information resonate with the different audiences,” Gearing said. “There’s a lot of relevant information we can use to fully describe these propositions, and this poll helps us refine the message.”
Visit the district’s Elections page for information about each proposition and learn what’s on the ballot.
Update from the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Convention
At Thursday’s meeting, Board President Trish Bode and Board Vice President Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia, Ph.D., joined remotely from San Antonio, where they are attending the 2022 TASA / TASB Convention. Bode serves as one of four trustees from across the state on the TASB Legislative Committee. Gonzales-Dholakia is one of 27 school board members from across Texas accepted to the Leadership TASB Class of 2023.
“It’s a valuable experience being able to talk about policy issues that are impacting school boards across the state and be able to share in that space,” Gonzales-Dholakia said.
The other members of the Leander ISD Board will be joining Bode and Gonzales-Dholakia as the convention continues through the weekend.
LISD Welcomes New Principal at Cox Elementary
Kelly Fitzgerald joins Cox Elementary as the school’s new principal after the Board approved her move to this position at Thursday’s meeting.
“Please join me in welcoming Kelly Fitzgerald as the new principal for Cox Elementary,” Superintendent Bruce Gearing, Ed.D., said. “Kelly is a passionate leader with an extensive K-12 instructional background. Her dedication to student growth, staff empowerment, and deep commitment to parent partnership will serve to enhance the culture of success at Cox Elementary.”