At its Sept. 9 meeting, the LISD Board of Trustees supported the district’s established COVID-19 health protocols which include a mask requirement while in the “red stage”, amended Board policy to explore an alternate grading system in fourth and fifth grades on some campuses, and reviewed staffing and enrollment numbers.
Trustees support COVID safety protocols, “red stage” mask requirement continues
Trustees directed the district to explore further mitigation efforts and reiterated their support of the district’s response to the ongoing surge of COVID-19 in our community. As we continue to be in the “red stage”, we will continue the mask requirement that went into effect Aug. 17.
We saw a surge in cases in our community and on our campuses during the first month of school. A total of 28 classrooms, including sixth grades at three middle schools, moved to remote conferencing in response to clusters of COVID-19 cases. In addition, a free COVID-19 testing opened at Gupton Stadium this week and is open to students, staff and the public.
“These protocols safeguard the health of our teachers and staff and help ensure that our students can continue to learn in-person on our campuses,” Board President Trish Bode said. “We know how crucial it is to provide the high-quality teaching and learning, support services and activities to our students, so we’re asking for diligence and support from community, our neighbors as we continue to navigate through this season.”
Staffing challenges remain as enrollment continues to tick up
We’re facing staffing shortages in several crucial areas, which is putting a strain on our campuses (Instructional Assistants, Special Education) and student support services (Custodial, Child Nutrition Services, Transportation). Superintendent Bruce Gearing, Ed.D., said that despite employing several strategies to fill these positions, they remain a work in progress.
“What this is forcing us to do is use administrators across the district and other support staff working on school campuses,” Gearing said. “Even our substitute teacher fill rates are significantly different than pre-COVID and that puts additional stress on our campuses and our system.”
Meanwhile, our enrollment figures continue to tick up, with more than 1,000 additional students enrolling in LISD since last school year.
Board updates policy to allow grading pilot program
For several years, Leander ISD district and campus leaders have learned together about improving grading practices to provide the most accurate, useful information to students and families. Based on this continued study and collaboration, LISD continues to explore expanding standards-based grading opportunities.
Several elementary campuses expressed an interest in piloting standards-based report cards in fourth and fifth grades during the 2021–22 school year. In order to move forward with the pilot, policy EIE (Local) needed to be modified. Campus and district leaders will work together to solicit feedback from teachers, students, and parents through this pilot.
District welcomes new principal at L.W. Bush Elementary
We’re proud to welcome Kimberly Grubb as the new principal at Laura Welch Bush Elementary School. Mrs. Grubb joins the district after seven years at Cactus Ranch Elementary in Round Rock ISD.