Following Trustee Jim MacKay’s resignation, the Leander ISD Board of Trustees will consider candidates and could appoint a Board member at its Oct. 7 meeting to serve through Nov. 2022. The Board also explored creating an Early College High School program and reviewed ongoing COVID-19 mitigation efforts at its Sept. 30 meeting. The debut of the Spotlight on Learning segment featured Reed Elementary School.
Board to appoint new Trustee to serve through November 2022
The Board will fill its vacant Place 5 seat, formerly held by Trustee Jim MacKay, through an appointment prior to a November 2022 election. Trustees will consider candidates and could approve a new Trustee as early as our Oct. 7 meeting.
The Board considered holding a special election. Trustees opted to fill the seat through an appointment due to the cost and the desire to have a complete, seven-member board. Holding a May 2022 election would cost between $100,000 – $200,000.
District expands COVID-19 mitigation efforts amid encouraging downward trend in daily case rate
At their Sept. 9 meeting, Trustees directed staff to present options for further COVID-19 mitigation efforts in response to the ongoing surge of COVID-19 in our community. The Board considered multiple air cleaning technology systems. Staff recommends spending $3.65 million to install these systems in:
- Nurses’ clinics and isolation rooms,
- Cafeterias, and
Mindful that the COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available to our youngest learners, we are extending our remote learning program through the end of the 2021 fall semester, Dec. 17. Due to staffing and resource constraints, remote learning is only available to students enrolled from the beginning of the school year.
We are seeing encouraging signs that mitigation efforts are working, as our daily case rate is declining. We ask for our community to continue to help us limit the spread on our campuses. Free COVID-19 testing at Gupton Stadium is open to students, staff and the public.
Trustees will also consider pay adjustments to improve retention and recruitment for custodial, child nutrition services (CNS), transportation, instructional assistants, and substitute teachers.
“Addressing our district workforce needs requires both immediate and long-term solutions,” Board President Trish Bode said. “Trustees have asked the administration to thread a very difficult needle: bring back to us a recommendation that will keep the district on sound financial footing and use taxpayer resources wisely, but aggressive enough to solve the workforce issue so that our students have every support they need to reach their full potential.”
Trustees explore Early College High School program
Leander ISD has been on a journey towards more student choice since the 2018-2019 school year with the development of the Program Advisory Committee (PAC). One potential programming option for a school of choice is an Early College High School (ECHS).
Early College High Schools are open-enrollment high schools that allow students an opportunity to receive both a high school diploma and either an associate degree or up to 60 credit hours toward a baccalaureate degree. ECHS provides dual credit at no cost to the student. The model offers rigorous courses and academic acceleration to students while providing the academic and social support needed to be successful.
Next steps include:
- Visits to local early college high schools,
- Continued planning including drafting an MOU with ACC, and
- Asking for board approval to submit the ECHS designation application.
“I think the transition year open houses – where you’re attending a college and career fair – are a great opportunity to launch this,” Board Secretary Elexis Grimes said. “When you’re transitioning from 5th to 6th grade or 8th to 9th, this would be a good fit for them.”
New Guide to aid in the Materials Selection Process
During the spring of 2021, a cross-functional team of teaching and learning and purchasing staff came together to draft an Instructional Materials Selection Process Manual. The purpose of this manual is to provide standardized processes aligned with district policy regarding the selection of instructional resources in Leander ISD including, but not limited to textbooks, online resources, books, videos, and supplemental materials.
This manual aims to improve the vetting of instructional resources prior to adoption, including:
- Align vetting criteria with the newly revised Policy EF (Local) selection criteria,
- Increase opportunities for community feedback, and
- Align instructional resource selection schedules.
Feedback will be gathered throughout the course of this school year via Let’s Talk to continue making improvements to the manual.